Jamie Oliver asks Canada to join food crusade

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OTTAWA – Jamie Oliver, Britain’s celebrity chef, has thrown down the gauntlet — or maybe it’s an oven mitt — to Canadian politicians to join his international campaign for mandatory diet education in rich countries.

The popular chef, television star and best-selling author says it is time for Canadian politicians to do something about their country’s number one killer: diet-related disease.

Oliver says he’s not political, but the issue of healthy food has been a politically charged one in Canada.

Recent images showed Rankin Inlet residents foraging for food in a dump, while the United Nations food envoy criticized Ottawa two years ago for not ensuring healthy food reached vulnerable populations.

Oliver is well known for his international advocacy for healthy food in schools, and he’s upping the ante with the launch of a global campaign this week that is urging G20 countries to make food education mandatory in schools.

Oliver launched his campaign in Australia this week and in the first 24 hours got 160,000 signatures on an online petition organized through change.org.