Food Politics

by Marion Nestle
Feb 20 2008

Healthy School Food: How one city does it

Thanks to Dana Woldow of the San Francisco Unified School District for sending this link to resources for making school meals healthier. Check out the salad bar video (way down at the bottom of the list of links). The city now has salad bars in 25 schools.

Feb 20 2008

The latest junk food marketing gimmick: food miles

You have to hand it to the British for thinking this one up: locally grown potato chips. If low-fat labels on food products encourage people to eat more calories (as they apparently do), will locally grown have the same effect?

Feb 19 2008

Colbert on McDonald’s

Thanks to Alexandra Lewin for forwarding this link to the Colbert Report on McDonald’s report card gimmick. Interesting production values!

Feb 19 2008

Teaching kids to eat real food?

I have just received this lovely invitation from Eileen Dolbeare to track a 30-day experiment (she calls it Fresh Mouth) that she is running for her three junk-food loving boys, ages 4 to 6. She says: “We’re an average American family trying to eat better and enjoy it more. We’ll convince our three little kids that fresh food is about pleasure, rituals and family – and not about red dye #40, high fructose corn syrup or hydrogenated oils.” You can track her blog, watch the progress of the experiment, and cheer her on.

Feb 19 2008

Marketing junk food to Hispanic kids

A study from Johns Hopkins has done for Hispanic TV what decades of studies have done for general TV: analyzed the number and content of televised food commercials. Guess what: one-third of food commercials on Spanish-language TV are directed to kids and most of these are for junk foods or sodas. Surprise!

Feb 19 2008

National Restaurant Association (NRA): calorie labeling

From the NRA website:

“The NRA does not support legislation or regulation which requires mandatory nutritional labeling on menus or menu boards. Restaurants should have flexibility and freedom in how they may choose to provide nutrition data to their customers. The National Restaurant Association opposes any proposal that includes a one-size-fits-all menu-labeling approach.”

The site links to a nifty map of state and local proposals, as well as to summaries of pending legislation on this and other issues that worry the NRA. This group should be worried. It is fighting its customers who care about health, which seems like an odd business strategy.

Feb 19 2008

Food safety: the big picture?

Phil Lempert, the Supermarket Guru, has tallied up the recalls and other food safety scares from the last 18 months.  It’s an impressive list, and provides plenty of evidence for the need of a complete overhaul of our food safety system.

Feb 18 2008

The biggest ground beef recall ever

The USDA is announcing the largest recall of ground beef in U.S. history: 143 million pounds, most of it already sold and, presumably, eaten.  The meat was produced at the  Westland/Hallmark Meat company in Chino, California. The recall follows a shocking video of an investigation by the Humane Society at that plant.  The video, which is not easy to watch, shows “downer” cows being slaughtered for food as well as other violations of regulations for meat slaughter. The USDA is taking this very seriously, if too late to keep the meat out of the food supply. It has posted answers to Frequently Asked Questions on its website, along with a transcript of a technical briefing, and links to related statements. And here’s what today’s New York Times has to say about it (as always, the writer, Andrew Martin, provides great quotes).  If you are puzzled about what humane treatment of farm animals might have to do with the safety of the meat we eat, here is as good an explanation as anyone could ask for.

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