Food Politics

by Marion Nestle
Dec 25 2007

Santa is overweight. Merry Christmas anyway

The Los Angeles Times has an editorial on the distress in Great Britain about Santa’s never discussed weight problem. It’s worth reading for the comment about “the eternally erroneous Bill O’Reilly” alone. Its conclusion: “Trust us, Santa’s not to blame.” Merry Xmas to all and to all a good night!

Dec 24 2007

Happy holidays!

Eat well and enjoy!

Dec 22 2007

Chocolate price fixing?

Canada has just finished a big investigation of price fixing in the chocolate industry so it seems that we are doing that too.  We buy about $13 billion worth of chocolate a year and the industry is worried about prices because of the rising cost of commodities.  But price fixing?  That’s supposed to be illegal.

Dec 22 2007

Organic mushrooms?

Today’s question: “How important is it to select organic mushrooms?  Any specific risks to conventional versus organic?

My immediate thought is that mushrooms are no different than any other vegetable.  Organics have fewer pesticides and a good chance of tasting better. But I don’t know anything more specific.  Anyone else want to weigh in on this?

Dec 22 2007

Top Health Stories of 2008

It’s the end of the year and Reuters is making predictions about the top health stories of 2008. We must be on the same page. Most of them are issues discussed here. In order: the push for raw milk, melting fat (with injections of something supposed to get rid of body fat? I think I may have to miss that one), the farm bill, defining natural, problems with food labels, Michael Pollan (a story in himself!), the end of cheap food, and the need to fix the FDA and USDA. Sounds a lot like 2007…

Dec 22 2007

Correction: Herbal supplements and irradiation

Oops. I owe the American Herbal Products Association an apology for my previous post about its position on irradiation, which I got completely backwards. As Rebecca correctly points out, the AHPA has asked the FDA to deny a petition to allow herbal supplements to be irradiated. Its arguments against this use of irradiation are thoughtful and compelling: the proposed doses of radiation are higher than used on other foods; current good manufacturing practices will keep contaminants under control and irradiation will mask breaches in those practices; and “the United States will become the dumping ground for poor quality herbal ingredients from around the world, since irradiation of herbal ingredients is not permitted in many countries.”  Let’s hope the FDA turns down the petition and accepts the AHPA’s arguments.  And please accept my apologies.

Dec 21 2007

Fresh basil recall: two sides to the story

I seem to be on an e-mail list for The Perishable Pundit who writes about happenings in the produce industry. Today’s posting has an interview with someone on the receiving end of an FDA request for a voluntary recall of fresh basil contaminated with Salmonella. The FDA found the Salmonella in routine testing, but what happens next must be frustrating for all concerned. It’s an interesting object lesson in why we need farm-to-table food safety procedures so companies do their own testing and this sort of mess doesn’t happen. In the meantime, watch out for fresh basil.

Dec 21 2007

Eating Liberally again

Here’s the latest posting, this one on what it will take to get kids to eat better.

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