HEAL (Healthy Eating, Active living) is a new campaign being put forth by Ottawa’s public health department to help encourage healthy eating and exercise in the community’s youth. While many are on board with the new plan, there’s one company up in arms over the initiative.
Coca-Cola execs have sent four identical letters to the city’s public health department claiming that HEAL could “undermine efforts to find meaningful solutions” to the fact that many children and youth in the area are overweight.
The four execs targeting the department with their letters include District Sales Manager Carlo Prosia, Distribution Centre Administrator Elaine Huisman, Route Process Admin Ottawa Elizabeth Corneal and Distribution Centre Manager Russell Coburn.
In the letters, the employees state “Coca-Cola Refreshments Canada strongly opposes any program that uses taxpayer dollars to unfairly target our products and mislead consumers. We expect Ottawa Public Health, as a public institution, to be a source of neutral and unbiased information for consumers.”
Mayor Jim Watson, however, isn’t planning to backdown on the city’s planned initiatives.
He wrote a response letter to the organization, noting that HEAL will be “a balanced plan that aims to achieve the goal of improved health through good nutrition, physical activity, healthy self-image and healthy social and physical environments.” He continues, ”As a former provincial Minister of Health Promotion (for Ontario), I believe this is a wise course of action.”
Councillor Mathieu Fleury agrees with Watson, insisting that the plan was not created to target businesses. “We’re not targeting them,” he said. “They’ve obviously targeted themselves.”
Do you think Coca-Cola has a right to be furious over Ottawa’s new HEAL campaign?