Archive for 2012

Is Big Food Playing Games with Data Reported to Feds on Marketing to Children? A Q&A with ex-industry insider Bruce Bradley

Last week the Federal Trade Commission released its follow-up report on how the food industry markets to children. The media spin is mostly about reduced expenditures, which could be good thing. But is it for real? I asked Bruce Bradley, who worked for fifteen years as a marketer at companies like General Mills, Pillsbury, and Nabisco. He has a different interpretation of what’s going on.

Continue reading →

Feds’ Nutritionism Approach to Food Industry “Progress” on Marketing to Children – Q&A with registered dietitian Andy Bellatti

Last week the Federal Trade Commission released its follow-up report on how the food industry markets to children. The agency praised companies for minor improvements in the nutritional profile of some products aimed at children. I asked registered dietitian Andy Bellatti for his take on the FTC’s approach.

Continue reading →

Newtown Massacre as a Public Health Failure—and Opportunity

By Nicholas Freudenberg* and Michele Simon

While the nation grapples with how 27 lives were lost in small-town America last Friday, the bigger question is, how are so many lives lost all year around in cities big and small? The public health profession – whose primary aim is prevention – is at least partly to blame for the nation’s failure to address gun violence.

Continue reading →

USDA Bowing to Meat Industry Pressure on School Lunch? Guest Post by Amie Hamlin

The recent announcement by USDA that the agency is relaxing (for now) its new limits on meat and grains has garnered mixed reactions from advocates. Some such as Bettina Siegel say the flexibility is needed while others such as Marion Nestle are calling out the politics. I asked Amie Hamlin, executive director of the New York Coalition for Healthy School Food, for her reaction. Hamlin’s group has been pushing for more plant-based options in New York schools for years and knows the issues well. – MS

Continue reading →

How Your City Can Push Back Against Fast Food

Last week, the National League of Cities, which represents over 19,000 cities, villages and towns, hosted its annual meeting in Boston, with one of its three aims to “strengthen neighborhoods and families.” What better way to accomplish that goal than to challenge fast food’s influence in their communities? While a couple of conference sessions featured First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! program, missing from the agenda was the role fast food plays in communities. That’s why Corporate Accountability International released a report and action guide earlier this year called “Slowing down fast food: A policy guide for healthier kids and families” – to fill this void. Read rest at Corporate Accountability International…

Did You Eat Today? Thank a Food Worker

The most under-reported  and neglected aspect of the good food movement is the 20 million workers who toil every day—often under inhumane conditions—harvesting fields, killing and cutting up animals, packing boxes, driving trucks, cooking meals, ringing up orders, serving tables, and cleaning up the mess. Recognizing this reality is the idea behind International Food Workers Week hosted by the Food Chain Workers Alliance, during which numerous actions are being held, including solidarity with the striking Walmart workers planned for Black Friday.

Continue reading →

Time to Stop Marketing Food to Kids

I recently gave several talks at the American Public Health Association conference, an annual gathering of some 12,000 enthusiastic public health professionals. In years past, not many presentations (other than my own) focused on the role of corporations to harm the public’s health. I am happy to report this is changing, as numerous panels struck such a theme. The following is a summary of my talk on the recent failed attempt by the federal government to rein in junk food marketing to children, and why it’s time to set a new and much bolder course to fix this problem.

Continue reading →

Lies, Dirty Tricks, and $45 Million Kill GMO Labeling in California

Prop 37 - California Right to Know

California’s Proposition 37, which would have required labeling of GMO foods, died a painful death last night. Despite polling in mid-September showing an overwhelming lead, the measure lost by 53 to 47 percent, which is relatively close considering the No side’s tactics.

Continue reading →

Serving Science or Monsanto?

Timing of AAAS statement on GMO labeling is highly suspicious

With about a week to go before California voters head to the polls to decide the fate of Proposition 37, which would require GMO foods to be labeled, I expected an already ugly campaign to get even uglier.

But the latest gift to the No on 37 campaign smells especially bad. Last week, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS – goes by “Triple A-S”) released this “statement” on GMO labeling that sounds like it was drafted by Monsanto. The statement ends with the non-scientific but very quote-worthy conclusion that “mandating such a label can only serve to mis­lead and falsely alarm consumers.” While Prop 37 is never mentioned, what purpose could the timing serve other than persuading Californians to vote no on the measure?

Continue reading →

New Feature: Thank a Lawyer

Over the decades, the right wing has done a pretty good job brainwashing the American public into thinking that “trial lawyers” are evil and greedy. That meme has come in handy in the No on Prop 37 campaign’s scaremongering about imaginary “shakedown lawsuits.” (Read more on Prop 37.) So that got me thinking, it’s high-time to refurbish the image of lawyers, especially those fighting against Big Food. (See my post from July, Top 10 Lawyers Working to Improve the Food System for a good start.)

The following three stories have all been in the news in just the past week. Each illustrates the important role of lawyers in helping to curb various harms of our industrialized food system. Watch this space for more stories like these. And if you know any lawyers, please give them a hug; they could probably use it.

Environmental groups win challenge to gene-altered crops on National Wildlife Refuges in South

Monsanto Roundup-Ready Alfalfa Should Be Blocked, Court Told

Dairy farmers threatened with lawsuit for ground contamination

Full disclosure: Each of these stories involves lawyers from the Center for Food Safety, where I am a consultant. However, I did not write this on their behalf.

Join Email List

Speaking Requests

Media Requests

Contact Michele Simon:


  • 2016 (4)
  • 2015 (20)
  • 2014 (41)
  • 2013 (67)
  • 2012 (70)
  • 2011 (53)
  • 2010 (49)