Food Politics

by Marion Nestle
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.

Jun 12 2008

Does “green” make it healthy?

Thanks to Lori Dorfman of the Berkeley Media Studies Group for sending me her group’s latest policy “framing” brief, Food Marketers Greenwash Junk Food.

Jun 12 2008

South Korea beef import riots: a plausible explanation at last

It’s not really about mad cow disease. It’s about the South Korean government’s caving in to American pressures. This makes more sense.

Jun 12 2008

Canada’s Industry food guide!

I can’t resist passing along this anonymously sourced spoof of Canada’s “Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide.” Try the “Eating not-so-well with the [Canadian] Industry’s Food Guide.” And thanks for Jennifer Falbe for sending and Yoni Freedhoff for posting.

Jun 12 2008

Tomato misery

So the tomato saga continues, with the source of the Salmonella Saintpaul still not announced.  This means that you need to know which state a tomato comes from so you can avoid eating potentially tainted tomatoes from states that are still under suspicion. State-of-origin labeling, anyone? And you must take draconian measures to protect yourself from killer tomatoes: buy only the good ones (not plum, Roma, or round unless they are from OK states), wash and dry them carefully, and take your chances. Not sure what to do? Drop them in boiling water or cook them into tomato sauce. Isn’t this exciting? Not for anyone who cares about food safety or, alas, for tomato farmers likely to take the same kind of hit the spinach growers did. Check out what the Perishable Pundit has to say about all this. The is another good place to follow this story from the industry’s perspective.

And I’ll say it again: it’s time to do something about our food safety system or the lack thereof. In the meantime, according to the New York Times, Congress again and again asked Commissioner von Eschenbach how much money the FDA needs to do the job right, but “again and again Dr. von Eschenbach refused to give an answer.” Of course he refused.  He has to.  He’s a political appointee.

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