The Egg Industry's New Low
Pop quiz: what food product that can’t be labeled nutritious, healthy, relatively low calorie, relatively low fat, or a rich source of protein is now being served to children in an industry-sponsored study that aims to prove serving more of this product will help children learn better?
Did you guess eggs? If so, you’re correct.
That’s right, the Egg Nutrition Center has already begun conducting research using middle school children in Missouri. As part of their study to determine if a “protein-rich breakfast” helps students learn better, they’re not only feeding children an excess of eggs, they’re increasing the servings of processed meat, too!
Serving eggs and processed meat to children everyday is obviously, demonstrably putting their health at risk. Even one of the people involved in this study compared the new breakfasts to Egg McMuffins, so it's hardly a stretch to say kids shouldn't be eating it.
My child is not school-aged yet, but I’ll tell you what, if one of the largest food industry interest groups in the country used her to conduct “studies” at the expense of her health, there would be hell to pay.
In fact, whether or not my child goes to a certain school is irrelevant. There should already be more accountability for companies that sacrifice our children's health in order to profit. Clearly industry self-regulation hasn't worked, because this study and its misleading claims will certainly be used to market more egg products to children under the guise of "nutrition education" in schools. The consequences of a practice like using "research" to circumvent marketing regulations cannot be overstated.
The industry doesn't need children to buy their products - sure, they need kids to want them - but what they really need are the institutions that serve those children to buy their products. The purchasing power of one child is small, but the purchasing power of one food director serving 500 kids (usually more) is huge.
These companies should not, under any circumstance, use children to conduct a study that will inevitably lead - through misrepresentation of the data or outright lying - to the exact outcome the Egg Nutrition Center wanted before they even began the study. More schools serving more egg products.
I can already see the headlines, “New study shows children should eat more eggs and processed meats for breakfast at school.”
These kinds of studies are happening all over the country to unwitting parents and children who are lied to and manipulated by the food industry. Unfortunately, there is no uplifting end to this story, no heroic David vs. Goliath outcome...yet. But knowing what we’re up against is the first step in making the major changes our families desperately need and deserve. And I'm in this fight for the long haul.
Oh, did I forget to mention they incentivized participation by giving children $25 gift cards (page 157)?
Take action to hold these companies and interest groups accountable by leading or supporting a campaign today: balanced.org/lead
Contact the Egg Nutrition Center directly to share your concerns about industry-funded research in schools.
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