In the United States, food corporations and politics are intricately intertwined. That is, corporations (the big players, at least, like Monsanto and Cargill) often have ties to government officials in the Food and Drug Administration, Congress, United States Department of Agriculture, and others. A most recent and obvious example is the Obama administration's appointment of former Monsanto exec Tom Vilsack as Secretary of Agriculture. The only problem of course is he could, and does, support the agenda of Monsanto (approving genetically-modified foods despite safety issues and public outcry).
Closer to home, at least one corporation in San Antonio is accepting some responsibility for the welfare of its customers and maybe, just maybe, putting our well being before the sale of standard processed food. This month, H-E-B grocery stores announced the launch of Healthy at H-E-B
— an initiative aimed at lowering the cost of healthy foods as well increasing the availability of ingredients for special diets. The focus? Gluten-free, lactose-free, natural and vegetarian products, whole grains, and foods for weight management.
While these alone aren't a solution to our nation's health epidemics (obesity, diabetes, cancer), affording healthier items, or simply being able to identify and locate them on the shelf (which, without the guidance of a professional, is often difficult for buyers), are important, too.
Critics, however, may wonder whether H-E-B's questionable history of only stocking stores in well-to-do areas with organic products, wild-caught seafood, and grass-fed meat (the really healthy stuff) would carry over into its new initiative. Will all stores be outfitted for Healthy at H-E-B
or only the most wealthy neighborhoods? Either way, it's a start and a refreshing reminder of (some) corporate responsibility.
Liz Schau is a Certified Holistic Health Counselor who specializes in nutritional changes for women with thyroid disease, food allergies, autoimmunity, and digestive health concerns. You can find her at LizSchau.com.