by Marion Nestle

Currently browsing posts about: Food-crisis

Aug 19 2008

GM foods: the solution to world hunger?

Proponents of genetically modified foods as the solution to the world food crisis have been busy. Dennis Avery of the Hudson Institute blames Prince Charles for the crisis because of the Prince’ distaste for GM foods. In a quotation dear to my heart, he asks: “How would the future king tell the cat and dog owners of Britain that, because of his anti-science elitism, pet food sales must be banned so people could eat?” So without GM foods, we won’t have by-products of human food production to feed to pets?   And then today’s Science Times interviews Dr. Nina Federoff, science advisor to Condoleeza Rice. She says all foods are GM anyway.  Without them, we will have to destroy the world’s forests.  And heaven help us if we rely on organics: “If everybody switched to organic farming, we couldn’t support the world’s population–maybe half.” Why do I think there are some logical pieces missing here? Maybe because the Hudson Institute is not exactly free of corporate influence? Or Dr. Federoff really is, as the interview suggests indirectly, the “ambassador from Monsanto?”

Jul 31 2008

Note to The Economist: read the newspapers!

All The Economist has to do (see previous post) is read the press. Here are a couple of relevant items. What’s bad for restaurants is good for Kraft Foods. Its sales of all those packaged foods are growing. That’s what people are eating instead of going out, apparently. Next, the parent company of two restaurant chains–Bennigan’s and Steak & Ale–in the “casual dining” sector filed for bankruptcy. Why? Higher food costs and fewer casual diners. And McDonald’s is about to give up its popular dollar menu. I suppose there could be an upside to this, but I’m dubious. You think so? Go tell The Economist.

Jul 29 2008

Higher food prices are good for you? The Economist wants your vote

I didn’t know anyone at The Economist ever disclosed the name of anyone who worked there but Jeff Koo, who seems to in some capacity, sent me a link to the magazine’s debate forum.  The proposition for the week is: “There is an upside for humanity in the rise of food prices.”  The magazine invites your comments, along with those of experts.  Here’s your chance.  Tell them you think higher food prices are just what the world needs right now.  You don’t think so?  I certainly don’t.  Better let them know right away.

Jul 9 2008

Reality check: what it takes to eat healthfully

USA Today has just run a piece on how tough it is to eat healthfully if you are poor.  It quotes my University of Washington friend, Adam Drewnowski, giving a brilliantly succinct summary of precisely what it takes.  He says: “It takes three things to be well nourished: knowledge, money and time.  If you have three out of three, you have no problem. If you have two out of three, you can manage…The problem is when you are zero for three.”   And lots of  people are, and more to come it seems.

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 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 7 2008

World food crisis, continued

The emergency meeting of world leaders to discuss the global food crisis foundered when each country focused on its own own needs and political problems.  As the New York Times explained, “everyone complained about other people’s protectionism–and defended their own.”  In the meantime, food has become a hot commodity for investment speculation, and Monsanto says it will solve the crisis through genetic modification (rising food prices did wonders for the company’s stock in the last year).   The need for enlightened leadership seems especially acute these days, alas.

Jun 1 2008

Waste not, want not?

This week’s question for me from Eating Liberally’s kat has to do with food waste and the world food crisis.  I do go on and on about this one.  It’s a worry.