Archive for May, 2012

Advocates Beat Big Chicken in Maryland to Ban Arsenic in Feed






Who is ready for some good news? I thought so. Last week, Maryland became the first state in the nation to ban the use of arsenic in chicken feed. Wait, what? Chickens are fed arsenic, a known carcinogen? Yup and the feds say it’s kosher, despite admitting the dangerous chemical may wind up in your dinner. (The chicken industry uses it to kill bugs and promote growth, cancer risks be damned.) Many groups have tried to stop the practice for years but of course Big Chicken has fought back hard. Kudos to Food and Water Watch, which explains how the good guys won this time: “Given the enormous power of our opponents, like the big chicken industry and pharmaceutical companies who fought against us for three years, this victory is a real testament to the power of grassroots organizing.” We can beat back food industry lobbying one state (or city or county) at a time. It just take a lot of hard work.

Guide to Fighting Fast Food in Your Own Back Yard

It’s hard not to get depressed over the politics of food these days, given the massive power of the food industry to influence everything from the farm bill to childhood obesity.

So a new report, Slowing Down Fast Food: A policy guide for healthier kids and families, on how we can fight back couldn’t come at a better time. A joint project of Corporate Accountability International and Dr. Nicholas Freudenberg and Monica Gagnon of The City University of New York, the guide focuses on four local policy approaches: school policy, “healthy” zoning, curbing kid-focused marketing, and redirecting subsidies to healthier businesses. (Full disclosure: I am a consultant for Corporate Accountability.)

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Uncle Sam and HBO Team up for Fat Shaming, Avoiding Politics

Last week, after I declared my refusal to watch the HBO series, “Weight of the Nation,” Marlene Schwartz, of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity (a group featured in the program) politely suggested that I give all four episodes a chance before I criticize. I did. It was even worse than I feared.

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More Empty Recommendations on Junk Food Marketing to Children

Institute of Medicine Gives Big Food Another Deadline – or else!

This week, the nation’s top public health experts gathered at a much-trumpeted obesity conference hosted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called Weight of the Nation. (A quick glance at the agenda reveals nothing that would even begin to challenge the food industry.)

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Why I Am Not Attending or Watching “Weight of the Nation”

The national hysteria over obesity has reached a crescendo this week, as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hosts the conference, “Weight of the Nation” in Washington, DC. If you couldn’t make it, no worries, more fear-mongering is on the way in a four-part mini-series on HBO to air next week. The show of the same name is produced in coordination with several federal government agencies. The trailer alone almost brought me to tears, seeing all the awful stereotypes of fat people.

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Coke Lawyers Correct Eco-Blogger on VITAMINWATER(circle R)

You’d think high-priced lawyers working for a mega-multinational conglomerate such as Coca-Cola might have better things to do than send silly threatening letters to tiny nonprofits like the Center for Environmental Health. This letter calls out the Center’s blog for misrepresenting Coca-Cola’s VITAMINWATER (TM!) brand by referring to the category of “vitamin water.”

Seriously. I am embarrassed for my profession. At least the letter is good for a laugh.


New Fact Sheets on Food Safety, Nutrition, and Food Stamps

In my work as a consultant for various organizations, I’ve had the pleasure to write the following fact sheets. Please share far and wide. You can learn more about my consulting services at

Center for Food Safety:
Foodborne Illness
Nutrition, Obesity, and Processed Food

Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy: Part of What’s at Stake series on the 2012 Farm Bill
Enough to Eat: Food Assistance and the Farm Bill


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