Archive for 2010

Happy Meal Makeover: How a Healthy Food Coalition Defeated a Fast Food Icon

On election day, while most of the nation was distracted with the mid-term election, another vote was taking place in San Francisco City Hall. The Board of Supervisors approved an ordinance to place limits—based on specific nutrition criteria—on how toys are marketed by restaurants in the city and county of San Francisco.

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One health blogger’s change of heart over Pepsi Refresh

My readers know by now that I am not exactly a fan of PepsiCo’s mega-marketing campaign disguised as philanthropy known as the Pepsi Refresh Project. As I wrote about previously, the nation’s largest food company is exploiting schoolchildren as young as age 6 in an effort to brand itself as the world’s savior.

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Too noisy to save the environment? Frito-Lay responds to SunChips compostable bag debacle

These days, many companies–and especially food companies–are falling over each other to prove their green cred to consumers. But given the usual challenges of trying to save the planet while you’re destroying it, most efforts amount to a whole lot of greenwashing.

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Why are healthy food advocates stumping for Pepsi?

As I wrote last month, it can get pretty annoying when your friends harass you to vote for their favorite cause to “win” a grant from the now-ubiquitous Pepsi Refresh Project.

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While we battle over ingredients like HFCS, Big Food is winning the processed food war

If there was Twitter for food only, today’s trending topic would have been the Big News that the Corn Refiners Association (yes, there are lobbyists for people who refine corn) is asking the Food and Drug Administration to rename high-fructose corn syrup (aka HFCS) “corn sugar.” This, the latest in the corn industry’s attempts to restore the tarnished reputation of its omnipresent by-product. Tara Parker-Pope, health blogger for the New York Times, quotes Audrae Erickson, president of CRA, who explains: Continue reading →

Tweet Responsibly: Tips for being an effective food activist (or any other kind) on Twitter

First of all, I am no Twitter expert. But after about 6 months I’ve noticed a few things that drive me nuts. Because 140 characters is insufficient to explain, I’m airing my concerns in this longer format. I’ve been writing about the food industry, food policy, and the politics of food for about 14 years now, and as a lawyer, I take pride in being accurate about policy, as well as industry practices. While I am used to writing in long format, I also appreciate the fun of saying things quickly and succinctly.

What I love most about Twitter is sharing with, and learning from, my fellow food activists, writers, experts, parents, and just anyone who cares about the politics of what’s on our plate. I love the up-to-the-minute news, blog posts, action alerts, and even the waxing sentimental about whatever local food is in season. Continue reading →

Why is McDonald’s listed a resource for Childhood Obesity Awareness Month?


I am not a fan of any sort of “awareness” month as I find the concept trivializes important health issues. Are we only supposed to care about heart disease, diabetes, etc, during that one month of the year? And I rarely see anything of substance come from the month-long activities, just the usual ineffective educational campaigns, instead of meaningful public policy reforms. Plus many issues tend to crowd themselves into certain months, so it all becomes background noise. September is one such month. Among other causes (e.g., “cholesterol education”), September has been proclaimed “Childhood Obesity Awareness Month” by Congress and President Obama. Continue reading →

Back to school with PepsiCo stealth marketing?

I recently blogged about questions regarding how PepsiCo’s voluntary beverage guidelines, announced in March, would be implemented in schools given that contracts are made at the local level. Now with back- to-school in full swing, I have even more questions about how PepsiCo may be using stealth marketing techniques to gain access to that coveted captive K-12 audience.

Today, the company announced a new program it calls Score for Your School. From the press release: Continue reading →

Must-read aricles on egg recall that I did not write

In case you missed it, either because you don’t watch the news, don’t eat eggs, or like me, both, about 1,500 people have so far been sickened by an outbreak of Salmonella in eggs. A massive recall of half a billion eggs from two Iowa factory farms ensued. I was planning to write my own blog post on this when I realized that others have already done such a good job saying what needed to be said. So instead, I am offering up my list of favorite articles by people I already knew or have just come to admire. Continue reading →

Video of my MSNBC interview on egg recall

Today I was interviewed on the Dylan Ratigan Show about the massive egg recall this week, now at more than half a billion eggs, with at least 1,000 people made ill and counting. The host understood that the root cause of the problem is our industrialized, factory farm food system. The segment starts about a minute into the video clip.

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