There are increasing levels of diet-related health issues in Aotearoa New Zealand. Many illnesses have been linked to food including diabetes, attention deficit disorder, fertility problems, thyroid disorders, obesity, Alzheimer’s and cancer. Aotearoa New Zealand has the third highest adult obesity rate in the OECD and one in ten children are obese. The majority of people in the developed world eats excessive quantities of highly processed pre-packaged foods and have no idea about the number of harmful chemicals they are exposed to every day through the food they eat. Many pesticides have been consistently linked to cancers and other long-term illnesses.
Micronutrients are essential for good health but are commonly lacking or diminished in industrially produced food. This has led to a demand for safe, organic food free of harmful chemicals. There is a growing awareness of food and how it determines health. People are now becoming more aware of what is in our food and demanding to know how it is grown.
The Soil & Health Association believes that everyone has a right to safe food, which covers the right to have food free from:
Microbial contamination, harmful organisms, pesticide, harmful chemical, and heavy metal contaminants, harmful additives, irradiation, and genetic engineering.
Soil & Health believes that government intervention and regulation are required to ensure that everyone has access to a healthy, balanced diet, and the knowledge and means with which to make the best food choices.
Soil & Health supports:
Healthy food being available in all public institutions such as early childhood centres, schools, hospitals, retirement homes and prisons.
Education in schools about healthy diets and nutrition.
A greater emphasis on primary and preventive health care.
Photo credit: Nick Holmes