Archive for June, 2013

Is a Nutritionism Approach to Marketing to Children the Best We Can Do?

Last week at a childhood obesity conference, I participated in an important panel to discuss what has become a controversial strategy among some advocates for children’s health: calling on industry to market “healthy” food to children.

As Susan Linn and I explained in our recent article, any marketing to children is deceptive and harmful; it doesn’t matter what the product is.

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Nutrition, Inc: In-depth Story in Progressive Magazine

 

Proving that a good story just won’t die, the  current issue of the Progressive takes an in-depth look at my report from January on the conflicted corporate sponsorships of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. And good timing too, because registered dietitian Andy Bellatti’s Change.org petition on this subject is gathering steam.

You can download the Progressive article here. Thanks to investigative journalist Christopher Cook for such great coverage. Is anyone at the Academy listening yet?

 

 

 

Top 10 Crusaders in the Food Movement – Lawyer Edition

Last year, I wrote about this topic out of frustration that lists like this one tend to neglect an entire profession. It seems one year later, this serious omission continues to persist. And just to prove my point, my 2013 list does not repeat any of the lawyers I listed in 2012, but be sure to check them out too as they are still deserving of the recognition.

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The Dark Side of Marketing Healthy Food to Children

By Susan Linn and Michele Simon

In response to the public outcry over the negative impacts of junk food marketing to children, food companies have started using popular media characters to market “healthy” foods to children. These products include fruits and vegetables, as well as processed food. So we now have Campbell’s Disney Princess “Healthy Kids” soup, Kellogg’s Scooby-Doo! cereal (with less sugar), and others.

But is this really progress?

The developmental vulnerabilities of children, along with the legal, ethical, and political pitfalls of encouraging the food industry to target kids, make marketing food to children harmful regardless of nutritional content.

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Big Reality Check on Big Food’s Claims on Reducing Calories

In what is becoming an all too familiar sight, the major food corporations recently teamed up with the First Lady’s Partnership for a Healthier America to announce their latest PR attempt to look like they are helping Americans eat healthier. A group calling itself the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, led by the CEO of PepsiCo–the nation’s largest junk food and sugary beverage pusher–claims to have delivered on its promise made in 2010 (a commitment, get it?) to reduce calories “in the marketplace” by 1.5 trillion. They further claim to have exceeded this goal, and all this a full three years ahead of schedule. The quotes by all involved were practically giddy.

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How Did a Hepatitis Virus Get into Organic Berries?

It seems hardly a week goes by without another foodborne illness outbreak. This time, in frozen organic berries, proving once again that even the health-conscious are not immune from getting sick. Although you wouldn’t know it from the packaging, the contaminated fruit came from overseas, raising several questions such as: Can we trust the USDA organic seal on imported food? I address this and other issues about our globalized food system in my latest article for Center for Food Safety, which you can read on their site here.

How Grassroots Advocates Beat the Biotech and Food Lobbies

Connecticut Makes History as First State to Pass GE Food Labeling Law

This week, Connecticut won the honor of becoming the first state to pass a law requiring genetically-engineered foods to be labeled. (The governor has indicated he will sign.) It was really only a matter of time. The disappointing defeat of Prop 37 last fall in California (thanks to a massive industry disinformation campaign) sparked a national movement that has resulted in labeling bills getting introduced in about half the states.

But how did the small state of Connecticut make this happen?

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