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Yes we 'can': The steel industry's push into schools

Nicole Goodkind
Nicole Goodkind
Daily Ticker

The steel industry has a strong lobby in Washington: they fight for manufacturing, trade and tax policy. Lately, however, they’ve been focusing on what’s in the American pantry (or, as they’d like us to put it, “cantry”).

Canned goods made up about 4% of U.S. steel shipments in 2013 but it’s an industry in decline. In 2012 shipments were flat and food can shipments fell 14% over the past decade. The local food revolution and increased focus on freezing meals instead of canning them is hurting the industry—but they’re fighting back.

Related: How Food Companies Trick Consumers Into Eating Their Unhealthy Products

The steel lobby has created an alliance of steel producers and can makers (The Canned Food Alliance) to rebrand canned food as healthy and easy—they’re starting marketing campaigns like “Cans Get You Cooking,” which encourages Americans to use more canned goods and to adopt the word “cantry” in lieu of pantry.

They’re also attempting to get some government support, the $956 billion Farm Bill passed in February by Congress allows canned food into the Federal Government’s school snack program, they’re also working state-by-state to end food-stamp restrictions on canned goods.

Related: Food Labeling Laws: It’s a Matter of ‘When’ Not ‘If’

These programs have some health advocates up in arms, 92% of canned foods contain BPA and tend to have added sugar and salt. Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy for the Center for Science in the Public Interest told Reuters that this was, “a benefit to the canned food industry, not to the benefit of children."

Watch the video above with Reuters reporter Allison Martell for more on The Canned Food Alliance’s efforts.

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