Food Politics

by Marion Nestle
Jun 18 2008

Upside of the food crisis?

According to the Wall Street Journal, the rising cost of food is getting the governments of developing countries more interested in supporting agricultural production by small farmers. This will be a tough row to hoe, as it were, but surely worth it. Can anything good come out of the food crisis? Maybe this?

Today’s WSJ coverage of the world food crisis provides a nifty interactive map. Click on the country and the map tells you how its farmers are doing and how its government is reacting to rising food prices.

Jun 18 2008

Obesity is not due to less physical activity

Or so says a new study from Europe. If anything, the study finds that physical activity in Europe has slightly increased since the early 1980s, a result that is consistent with findings of the CDC for Americans (the chart plots the percentage of people who say they never do physical activity; that percentage is declining). What this means, of course, is that people who are gaining weight must be eating more. Big surprise.

Jun 17 2008

Pet food recall settlement: how to file a claim

The New Jersey court has now moved on to the next step in settlement of the class action suit against pet food makers involved in the melamine recalls of 2007. If you think you qualify for compensation, you need to fill out a form and send it in by November 24.  If you want to deal with this some other way, the same claim website explains how.  This won’t bring back the lost pets, but it may help a little.  Go for it.

Jun 16 2008

NYC Calorie labeling: preliminary results

The NYC Health Department has just published its baseline data for evaluation of the effects of the calorie labeling initiative. The results of a survey of 7000 diners at 275 fast food places show that just 4% of customers looked at calorie labeling when it was hidden in brochures, wall signs, and tray liners, – except at Subway. At Subway, the 31% of customers looking at calorie information chose lower calorie items. OK, the reduction was just 50 calories per meal on average, but this study was done before the labels went up on menu boards. Stay tuned.

Jun 16 2008

Indian Medical Association endorses Pepsi?

Rumors are that the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has formally endorsed Pepsi’s Tropicana fruit juices and Quaker cereals as part of a “partnership for health.” Can Indian consumers distinguish one Pepsi product from another. As I mentioned last year (see posts under “India”), I saw Pepsi products everywhere I went in India, even in the most remote villages, and these were not fruit juices or cereals; they were chips. The IMA denies that it is doing this for money. Maybe so, but rumors suggest otherwise and it is difficult to imagine why else the group would do such a thing. Perhaps it is just a matter of solidarity with Indra Nooyi, PepsiCo’s India-born CEO.

Jun 15 2008

The latest reason for the world food crisis: climate change activists!

As you know, I collect reasons for the world food crisis. Here’s the latest from none other than the chairman of Nestlé, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe. His reason? “The blame falls squarely on global warming activists.” Oh. I didn’t know that. In case you have trouble believing this, let me give his reasoning a try: activists advocate for decreased use of fossil fuels. Less fossil fuels means more agriculture for biofuels. More biofuels means less water. QED: the current food and water crisis. I’m so relieved to learn that the effects of global warming won’t be felt for decades. What’s the matter with all you global warming activists!

Jun 13 2008

News: Wonderful new products!

The creativity of junk food makers never ceases to amaze. Try these.

Thanks to Michele Simon for sending information about Engobi chips, infused with caffeine, and lots of it–140 mg of caffeine along with its 220 calories in a 1.5 oz serving. That’s twice as much caffeine as you get in Red Bull!

And thanks to Jessica Anderson for reading her airline magazines and running across the “Hollywood Cookie Diet.” Eat cookies; lose weight. What could be better?

Aren’t you happy to know about these?

Jun 12 2008

This week’s question: why fund the FDA now?

Eating Liberally’s kat wants to know why all of a sudden the FDA is getting some funding.  Tomatoes?  Not likely, as I explain.

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