Is Junk Food a Junk Freedom?

29 10 2006

From Michael Pollan’s “On the Table” blog:
So who are these “food police” we’re starting to hear so much about? The term has begun showing up in media accounts of campaigns to reform school lunch or in discussions of the food industry’s growing legion of critics in the media. It’s the “food police” who want to get soda out of the schools and who argue that fast food outlets should disclose nutritional information about what they sell. The “food police” supposedly want to take away your constitutional right to a Big Mac — or, at the very least, your right to enjoy a Big Mac with a clear conscience. . .As near as I can determine, the whole notion of the “food police” got its start in the fevered brain of

Rick Berman, a lawyer and former restaurant industry executive who founded the Center for Consumer Freedom. This nonprofit organization was originally funded by the tobacco and restaurant industries to fight smoking bans . . . “The growing cabal of ‘food cops,’ health care enforcers, militant activists, meddling bureaucrats and violent radicals who think they know ‘what’s best for you’ are pushing against our basic freedoms. We’re here to push back.”

The Center for Consumer Freedom is actually (about) . . . the industry’s freedom to make as much money as possible selling us junk food. . . .large segments of the food industry share corporate parents with Big Tobacco. Not surprisingly, the highest priority of these groups is to counter every suggestion that food, like tobacco, is a public health issue that demands public education and action. . .
But though the phrase seems to have begun its life in this right-wing corporate incubator, it’s been picked up all over the place, and is now used unselfconsciously even in the pages of The New York Times. Last Tuesday, the Science Times section ran a piece about the unintended consequences of the campaign to reform school food under the headline, “Well-Intentioned Food Police May Create Havoc With Children’s Diets.”

Well, at least these food cops are “well-intentioned.” But the phrase should be examined closely before being so lightly tossed around. . .


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2 responses

29 10 2006
misedjj

An opposing view, apparently from a non-commercial individual:
“Legendary TV chef Julia Child, who passed away [recently], warned us that ‘when you’re afraid of your food, you don’t digest it well.’ Unfortunately, American consumers have been scared silly about nearly every item on the menu, from beef and chicken to salmon and veggies. . .”

29 10 2006
Nance Confer

Every time I read one of the “all the children are so fat, the world is coming to an end” stories and about the ridiculous lengths adults go to to correct all that happens in a child’s life during the hours they are in school. . . I think, of course, of my own children.

My DD is tall but of average size/weight. She’d likely be fine with one slice of pizza and a glass of milk. An apple would top her off.

DS otoh. . . well, as they said in the Popeye movie: “He’s large.” He’s 13 years old and 6’2″ (maybe taller but his father and I have decided to deny any more growth this year! 🙂 ) and, when he decides to eat, which isn’t always but often enough, obviously. . . well, when we have pizza, he’s the one with three or four slices on his plate. With the giant glass of milk. Dessert to follow.

Fat, you wonder? No, as a matter of fact, on the skinny side. Very fit, athletic even. But if you are a Mom you might have the urge to make him a big bowl of mashed potatoes! I do! 🙂

One size doesn’t even fit my two kids, let alone one size fitting all these kids trapped in the ridiculousness of adult food obsessions. Which we are all too happy to pass right along and then we wonder why the kids don’t seem healthy. . . let’s cut out PE and have them take a standardized test on their eating habits! After all, if we don’t measure them, how will we know. . . well, you know the rest of that stupid line. . .

Nance

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