Eat Drink Politics president Michele Simon presents lively and thought-provoking lectures at colleges, universities, and professional conferences across the nation. She has spoken at New York University, Yale University, Stanford University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Michele has also taught courses in health policy at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, and alcohol policy at the University of California, Berkeley. In addition, Michele’s presentations are frequently requested by diverse groups that include public health professionals, lawyers, journalists, and faith leaders, both in the U.S. and internationally.
You can watch clips of her talks here and download her “one-sheet” here.

To inquire about Michele as a speaker, contact her at Michele@EatDrinkPolitics.com or (510) 465-0322.

Upcoming Events

World Health Organization technical consultation: “addressing and managing conflicts of interest in the planning and delivery of nutrition programmes at country level”, presenting on U.S. experience, October 7-8, Geneva

Speaking Topics

Food Industry Lies and Your Health

Even if you are a health-conscious person, you may be relying on deceptive information from food companies who put marketing ahead of honesty. With a nation suffering from a public health crisis due to poor diet, it’s critical to learn how Big Food is trying to manipulate you. From GMO labeling to soda taxes, the food industry is increasingly on the defensive against a growing food movement that is demanding more transparency and a healthier food system. Because the Big Food has neither the truth nor common sense on their side, marketers and lobbyists are resorting to various forms of deception and other underhanded tactics. Learn how Big Food uses emotional triggers to make their case and hires academic experts to do their bidding. In this talk, Michele will challenge audience members to look beyond their own personal health and get involved with the food movement that is changing society for good. Hint: It’s not enough that you shop at your local farmers market.

Audience: This talk appeals to a general audience at colleges, universities, and community groups. And it can be tailored to professional non-profit and advocacy groups seeking to understand industry tactics — and how to battle them more effectively.

Ethical Food Marketing, Or, How Not To Get Sued

Just be honest. That’s all your food company has to do to avoid the wrath of a public health attorney such as Michele Simon. “I won’t write about you unless you’re lying,” says Michele. “If you sell big burgers, be honest — don’t pretend you’re a salad company.” In this illuminating talk, Michele will tell tales of companies that got themselves into big trouble by their dishonest actions (including some “natural” food companies) — and tales of food companies that are doing the right thing – and thriving. This talk is a must-hear for anyone who wants to bring understand how ethical marketing practices can be a cornerstone of success. Along the way, the audience will get an inside look at a true industry change agent, and hear inspiring stories of the types of strategies that are winning victories for consumers — and ethical food companies.

Audience: This talk appeals to business groups, natural foods marketers, non-profits, and other leaders in the food movement who seek to understand the best business practices in ethical marketing. It’s can also be tailored to general groups looking for entertaining, inspiring inside stories of the fight against Big Food lies.

Food Industry Lobbying 101: Countering Corporate Tactics

In recent years, the food industry has become more aggressive in undermining public policy. How can advocates be better prepared for industry responses? A better understanding of industry lobbying is critical to help inform policy strategies. This presentation describes:

  • Food industry trade groups and how they lobby;
  • Industry front groups are how they shape the public discourse;
  • Examples of industry tactics, such a co-opting health professionals;
  • How advocates can more effective respond.

Food Stamps, Follow the Money: Are Corporations Profiting from Hungry Americans?

While Congress considers cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (aka food stamps), a debate is raging over allowing purchases of sugary beverages and other unhealthy products with taxpayer dollars. But missing from this discussion is the role of corporations. This talk examines three powerful industry sectors that benefit from the nation’s largest food assistance program:

  • Major food manufacturers such as Coca-Cola, Kraft, and Mars;
  • Leading food retailers such as Walmart;
  • Banks, such as J.P. Morgan Chase, which administer SNAP benefits.

Are the Nation’s Nutrition Professionals in the Pocket of Big Food?

While the nation is plagued by diet-related chronic diseases, the food and beverage industry is finding more ways to influence the very organizations charged with educating Americans about how to eat right. This presentation describes an in-depth study of the junk food industry sponsors of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which represents 74,000 registered dietitians, including:

  • Where else can Americans turn for nutrition advice when registered dietitians are earning continuing education units from the likes of Coca-Cola and Hershey’s?
  • How do these partnerships impact the policy positions of the nation’s leading organization of nutrition professionals?
  • What are the long-term implications for policy-making and credibility of health organizations?

Alcohol Politics: Understanding the Beer, Wine, and Spirits Industry

In recent years, the alcohol industry has become more concentrated and powerful. From its exploitive marketing practices, to selling cheap products, to undermining sound public policy, Big Alcohol is the cause of most alcohol harm. And yet most advocates and policymakers concerned with alcohol problems have little understanding of who the major players and how they operate. This presentation describes Big Alcohol corporations, trade groups, and front groups, how they operate, and how to fight back.


Marion Nestle, professor, New York University

Michele Simon is a terrific speaker.

She is clear, organized, and provocative. If you want groups talking up a storm afterwards, she’s the one.

Claire Brindis, Director, Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California, San Francisco

Michele Simon’s lecture at UCSF on food industry tactics was superb.

Her informative approach and rigorous analyses, along with the crystal clear way she conveyed complex material, helped our diverse audience better understand the environment in which they conduct their efforts. Her speech clearly leveled the playing field.

Josh Golin, Associate Director, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood

Michele Simon is a dynamic, engaging, and informative speaker.

Her knowledge of food policy is second to none, and her presentations make what could be a dry topic accessible and entertaining. I can’t recommend Michele highly enough.

John Robbins, author and speaker

Michele Simon is a powerful and passionate speaker.

Her knowledge about food topics is unassailable and she inspires audiences and challenges them to make a difference.

Janet Poppendieck, Professor Emerita, Hunter College, CUNY

Michele Simon electrified an audience of Hunter College public health students.

Her clear, compelling presentation and trenchant analysis of how food corporations undermine our health was so important for our students to hear. Students stayed for an hour after the formal talk and we finally had to call a halt to the Q&A and chase them out.

Frances Moore Lappé, author and speaker

Michele Simon fits the bill.

With national attention riveted on our food and health crisis, audiences want to hear from credible, clear-headed, and independent experts. There aren’t many, but Michele Simon fits the bill. Her book, Appetite for Profit, is groundbreaking and made Simon the go-to source for fresh, hard-hitting, penetrating analysis of what’s wrong and what we all can do. I continue to learn from her work and highly recommend her as a speaker.

Michele is also a sought-after media spokesperson and expert. She is frequently quoted in respected publications such as the New York Times, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, as well as countless online outlets. She has appeared in numerous television outlets such as NBC, MSNBC, CBS, CNN, and Al Jazeera. You can watch her media appearances here.

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Contact Michele Simon: michele@eatdrinkpolitics.com

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