Archive for August, 2011

ConAgra Sued Over GMO ’100% Natural’ Cooking Oils

If you use Wesson brand cooking oils, you may be able to join a class action against food giant ConAgra for deceptively marketing the products as natural. These days it’s hard to walk down a supermarket aisle without bumping into a food product that claims to be “all-natural.” If you’ve ever wondered how even some junk food products can claim this moniker (witness: Cheetos Natural Puff White Cheddar Cheese Flavored Snacks – doesn’t that sound like it came from your garden?) the answer is simple if illogical: the Food and Drug Administration has not defined the term natural. Read rest at Food Safety News.

Interview by Nourish on Food Marketing

The kind folks at Nourish interviewed me recently. Here it is, cross-posted from their site.

How does marketing influence what we eat?

Michele Simon: It’s quite simple. Food companies convince us to buy unhealthy foods with very sophisticated marketing plans that target specific populations, including youth. Companies want to get children hooked on their brands early so that they will win over life-long customers. The industry says we advocates have no “proof” that food marketing influences people’s eating habits, but if marketing didn’t work, why would food companies spend billions of dollars a year doing it?

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Safe, Organic Animal Foods Too Expensive? Eat Less

In an email exchange with Dr. Richard Raymond over my recent article on the massive Cargill recall of Salmonella-tainted ground turkey, the former head of food safety at USDA warned me that a likely result of tightened food safety laws would be “higher food prices making meat and poultry unaffordable sources of protein to some.” To which I replied: “I have no problem with that.” Read the rest at Food Safety News.

Why the Meat Industry Sells Salmonella

As a lawyer who writes about food policy, one of my biggest frustrations is how reporters often get the law wrong, or omit critical pieces of information. Last week the latest massive food safety recall hit the news – 36 million pounds of ground turkey possibly tainted with Salmonella, courtesy of meat giant Cargill. While some media outlets were asking good questions about why it took the federal government so long to release such vital information (problems began in March), others reported that it’s currently legal to sell Salmonella-tainted meat. While the meat industry might like it that way, that’s not the entire story. Read the rest over at Food Safety News. See also this handy 6-point summary by Mark Bittman of the New York Times.

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