Archive for July, 2011

Who Put McDonald’s in Charge of Kids’ Health?

When McDonald’s sneezes, the media jumps. Such was the case yesterday when the company announced it was giving the Happy Meal a makeover. Well not really, but that’s how it got reported, because the media loves simple stories. But when it comes to marketing and PR by multinational corporations, nothing is ever that simple.

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Junk Food Industry Determined to Target Kids

Last week, as health advocates around the nation raced against a deadline to submit comments to the federal government on food marketing to children, the food industry was busy doing what it does best: Launching a massive PR campaign to undermine anything the feds might dare do to protect children from corporate predatory marketing. What exactly got the likes of PepsiCo, Kraft Foods, and McDonald’s in such a tizzy? You would think, by the tone and fervor of their reaction, that the government was imposing a complete ban on food marketing to children. Read rest at Food Safety News…

My comments on junk food marketing to children

Today is the deadline to file comments with Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Children. Industry is fighting back hard. See Marion Nestle’s explanation here and submit your own comments here. This is what I just submitted: (I will be writing more on the industry lobbying soon.)

While I commend the IWG for recognizing that the current industry approach is a complete failure, I do not support the idea of voluntary regulations. The food and media industries have demonstrated time and time again that they cannot be trusted to protect children. The voluntary system has gotten us into this mess, so how could it possibly get us out of it? We need government to step in and do its job to protect children from corporate predatory marketing. It’s time for FTC to stop complaining that it does not have the authority to regulate and ask Congress to fix that problem. It’s also time for the smart lawyers at FTC and elsewhere to come up with feasible solutions that will stand up to First Amendment scrutiny. This can and must be done. Now, before it’s too late.

Oregon Humane Society Responds to Egg Industry Deal

After my article, Who Really Benefits from the Egg Industry Deal? was posted today, I received the following email message from Sharon Harmon, executive director of the Oregon Humane Society in response. She has given me permission to post it here.

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Who Really Benefits from the Egg Industry Deal?

Last week, the Humane Society of the United States held an unusual press conference. The group announced an agreement with its long-time adversary, the United Egg Producers, to jointly seek federal legislation that would improve the housing conditions of egg-laying hens. As a result, HSUS is calling off its recent efforts to get ballot measures passed in Oregon and Washington State on the issue.
Continue reading at Food Safety News.

Big Ag’s Latest Attempt to Chill Free Speech

For many good food advocates, the end of a legislative session often means disappointment that their bills to help fix our broken food system did not pass. But in some states, when lawmakers go home we should really all breathe a big sigh of relief. Such was the case last week when the Iowa Legislature adjourned without passing one of the more obnoxious proposals to rear its ugly head in any state house this year. In the wake of video footage exposing the horrific conditions of animals raised for our consumption, agribusiness decided it was time to fight back. Read the rest at Food Safety News…

Are you a social media whiz who’s passionate about food politics?

OK I admit it. I am closer to the email generation than the Facebook one. While I do have a Facebook page and I have become somewhat addicted to Twitter, I could still use some help. So if you like my work, have a passion for the politics of food, and are a whiz at all things online, I want to hear from you. I need someone who knows how to promote a blog to increase traffic and how to get more Facebook fans. You have to be willing to volunteer, at least in the short-term, and no promises for the long-term either, but who knows? The good news is that I only need a commitment of a few hours / week. To apply, please send me your resume and a short cover email that demonstrates both your skill-set and your passion. And I need someone reliable, so flakes need not apply. Thanks and please share this post with others who may be interested.


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