Food Politics

by Marion Nestle
Jul 16 2008

My new column in the San Francisco Chronicle

I start a new column today – Food Matters – in the San Francisco Chronicle’s Food section. It’s a Q and A, with room for comments on the online version. I will answer a question or two whenever it runs (how often? I’m not sure). This first one deals with the editors’ question: “What’s the most pressing nutrition issue today, and why?” In a word: calories.

And while we talking about calories, today’s New York Times printed my letter about  last week’s post on the 500-calorie cookie recipe.

Jul 15 2008

CSPI guy video: why?

Thanks (I think) to Hugh Joseph for forwarding the YouTube video, “The guy from CSPI.”  When I see things like this, I assume they are bought and paid for by the Center for Consumer Freedom, but it doesn’t say who made it or who paid for it.  I’m curious: how much does it cost to produce something like this, and who paid for it?  Anybody know?

Jul 14 2008

School food environments: from bad to worse

A new study in Pediatrics finds most U.S. schools to sell junk food from food carts or vending machines. The situation isn’t too terrible in grammar schools but 97% of high schools sell junk food. I’m curious about that other 3%.

Jul 12 2008

Calorie labeling: the research

The Rudd Center at Yale has produced a handy summary of the research in support of calorie labels on menu boards.

Jul 12 2008

UK weighs in on food systems!

The government of Great Britain has produced a major report on the need for healthier food systems, meaning the effects of current trends in food production and consumption on health, society, food safety, and the environment.  It will be interesting to see if they do anything with it.  I wish we could do things like this.  Maybe soon?

Jul 11 2008

Another FDA scandal: big bonuses

CBS News reports that FDA bureaucrats collected $35 million in bonus pay last year, a year in which the agency was charged with gross incompetence. Who got the biggest one? The person in charge of giving them out. Sigh.

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Jul 10 2008

Nathan’s hot dogs: a winner

Thanks to Andy Bellatti of Small Bites for announcing the winner of the Nathan’s hot dog eating contest. 64 hot dogs? The contestants do not look like happy campers, alas.

Jul 10 2008

One cookie is 500 calories?

Yesterday’s New York Times published a gorgeous recipe for chocolate chip cookies but I was stunned by the size. The recipe calls for pounds of ingredients but only makes 18 cookies (5 inches in diameter). I couldn’t resist looking up the calories on the USDA’s food composition data base. If I added them up right, they came to about 500 calories each. If you want to understand the vast change in the food environment that has taken place in the last 30 years, take a look at an old (1964 or 1975) edition of the Joy of Cooking. Its recipe for chocolate chip cookies calls for almost exactly half the ingredients of the one in the Times but makes 45 cookies. Two batches would be the same as the Times’ recipe and would make 90 cookies! These would be just under 100 calories each.

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