Food Politics

by Marion Nestle
Sep 21 2007

Debate: Is overweight a problem or not?

I am indebted to Joel Moskowitz of UC Berkeley’s Center for Family and Community Health for passing along this amazing series of debates from the L.A. Times. This week, Kelly Brownell (a psychologist at Yale) and Paul Campos (a lawyer from Colorado) debate whether rising rates of obesity even exist let alone constitute a cause for concern. The debates were published over the course of a week: September 17, September 18, September 19, September 20. Enjoy (?). Decide for yourself.

Sep 21 2007

Today’s must read: the spinach recall, 1 year later!

USA Today’s star science reporters, Elizabeth Weise and Julie Schmit, have produced an extraordinary investigative report on last year’s spinach recall. They see improvements in America’s food safety system as a result, but question whether these are nearly enough. I think this is great reporting. Take a look!

Sep 20 2007

Alice Waters at Union Square

In case you missed it, here’s Kim Severson’s terrific take on Alice Waters at Union Square. Great photos!

Sep 20 2007

Should food stamps only be used for healthy foods?

I’ve been mulling over this comment, posted a few days ago: “I am a physician, bone-weary of asking my patients about their diets, only to be told they consume 6 to 12 sodas a day plus chips/candies/cakes which they say they buy with their food stamps. Why can’t we get the food stamps program modified like the WIC program, where it will only pay for certain foods, i.e. fresh veggies, fresh fruits, low-fat dairy products, beans/legumes, fresh poultry or fish, whole grain breads and pasta. No soda, candy, cake, chip, pie?”

This is a difficult issue, one with which food advocates struggle mightily. I’m curious to hear what readers think of this? Weigh in, please.

Sep 19 2007

NYU Food Panel Discussions Now Online!

The “Critical Topics in Food” series of panel discussions at the Fales Library at NYU are now online. Enjoy!

Sep 19 2007

Kellogg Unveils New Self-Promotion Campaign

Flying around the Internet is a press release from Kellogg announcing its new method for promoting the nutritional benefits of its products. Like PepsiCo’s Smart Spot and Kraft’s Sensible Solutions, Kellogg products will now have icons–based on the company’s own nutritional criteria, of course–indicating which products are “better for you.” Even better, you can participate in the launch of the new program. Register online for a panel discussion explaining how it all works. When Congress forced the FDA to permit health claims on food packages in 1990, it opened a Pandora’s box. I think we’d all be better off if companies weren’t allowed to do this. Surely, all the different methods of self-evaluation must be confusing, no?

Sep 19 2007

Breakfast?

My son Charles, who lives in Los Angeles, sends this interesting site on which a photographer, Jon Huck I presume, has taken pictures of people posed with what they eat for breakfast. The breakfast project is along the lines of the spectacular books, Hungry Planet among them, done by Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio, and for which I wrote the introduction. These are fascinating takes on what people really eat (as opposed to what they tell nutritionists). Enjoy!

Update: Turns out you can join this project. Take a camera with you to breakfast and send the results to Jon Huck. He will post your entry.

Sep 18 2007

Uh oh. Another salad scare

This time it’s E. coli in bagged salads from Dole. I recently visited the packing plant where the contaminated spinach originated a year ago and could not believe the state-of-the-art testing and holding prodedures that company put in place. Everybody needs to be doing this sort of thing. This is why federal regulations, imperfect as they are, so badly need to be instituted.

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