by Marion Nestle

Currently browsing posts about: Let’s Ask Marion

Nov 19 2008

Eating Liberally: melamine again

Kat’s question for me is “Shouldn’t the FDA keep melamine out of our domestic food chain?”  Well yes.  It should.  And thanks to Sokie Lee for forwarding the Mao poster from her “say no to made in China” campaign.  Still, I don’t think we should be too xenophobic about China.  After all, its food safety system is about where ours was before we got food and drug laws in 1906.  It’s just a lot bigger and more complicated so it has even more work to do to keep its – and our – food safe.  And here’s Sokie’s poster in miniature:

gotmelamine_mao_med.jpg


Nov 2 2008

Eating Liberally: What’s up with salt?

For this week’s Q and A on Eating Liberally, kat connects the dots between the recent increase in salt-induced kidney stones in children and the food industry’s new Smart Choices labeling system which, as I pointed out a few days ago, is particularly generous in the salt standard.

Oct 5 2008

Eating Liberally: Can a free market economy solve Africa’s food problems?

This week’s Eating Liberally Q and A is about my talk at a conference run by Jeffrey Sachs at Columbia a couple of weeks ago.  I had no idea that it was possible to cause so much consternation in such brief remarks (we were allotted four minutes), but it elicited a quite lengthy and angry rebuttal from Professor Sachs.  He took strong issue with my view that Capitalist economics might not help African agricultural development because farmers cannot afford to buy patented seeds, fertilizer, and machinery.  The lack of agricultural development seems to me to be a social rather than a technical problem and, therefore, one that requires social rather than technical solutions.  This seems pretty obvious to me, but not everyone agrees, apparently.

Sep 16 2008

Melamine in Chinese infant formula: the saga continues

My interview with Eating Liberally this week concerns the wake of the pet food recalls that I wrote about in Pet Food Politics: The Chihuahua in the Coal Mine. Some Chihuahua!  Now we have the Chinese infant formula scandal and don’t we wish we had Country-of-Origin Labeling?  It’s been a busy few days on the scandal.  The toll so far is 2 babies dead and 1253 sick, with 340 still in the hospital, and 53 of these are in serious condition.   The Chinese have arrested two brothers who run a milk collection center on suspicion that they added melamine to make the protein content appear higher.  An investigation of dairy producers found 22 to be producing milk contaminated with melamine.  The largest of these dairies is owned in part by Fonterra, a New Zealand company.  Fonterra says it tried to get the formula recalled earlier but the Chinese refused.

September 17: Today, it’s 3 babies dead, 1,300 in the hospital, and 6,244 sick.  They were adding melamine to cover for diluting the milk with water.  Hmm.  Just like we used to do in the early years of the 20th century before passing pure food laws.  Regulation, anyone?

When I was in New Zealand last year at a ministerial agriculture meeting, I heard a lot about how ranchers were giving up on sheep and starting large dairy farms to supply milk to China.  This meant the end of pristine streams and sheep dotting the landscape.

Aug 9 2008

Popcorn!

This must be my week for being asked about snack foods. The San Francisco Chronicle (see previous post) wanted to know about pizza? Eating Liberally wants to know about popcorn. Same question, same answer.

Jun 25 2008

Japan gets serious about obesity

Thanks to Jack for reminding me about my Eating Liberally post in answer to the question: What’s with Japan’s taking everyone’s waist measurements and making everyone who fails the test do something about it?  Interesting idea.  Can’t wait to see how it works out.

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 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.