I am thrilled to announce that I am now working part-time with the Center for Food Safety. I’ve admired the work of CFS for years to expose the dark side of the industrial food system (long before it became popular). CFS is an effective organization that’s not afraid to take on the most powerful players in the food industry. Their True Food Network has been a compelling force speaking out against the likes of Monsanto for contaminating the food supply with genetically-modified ingredients. And by utilizing the power of the court system, CFS has won important legal victories. This powerful combination of law and grassroots support is exactly what we need to fight the huge multinational corporations that have far too much control over what we eat and how food is produced.
My role will be to help CFS expand into issues related to food safety and nutrition, while connecting the dots to the larger problems of our industrialized food system and the political influence of the food industry. Why does it seem almost every week brings yet another outbreak of food-borne illness? Why does federal and state inspection suffer from a chronic state of under-funding, leaving our food supply vulnerable?
How did an outbreak of deadly Listeria (killing at least 30 in 28 states) happen in a food as healthy and innocent as cantaloupe? Instead of viewing such incidents as one-time anomalies, they need to be seen in the broader context of a broken food system that allows for the rapid spread of disease and other negative impacts caused by economic “efficiency.”
I will also help CFS become engaged in nutrition policy, such as countering the massive marketing machine of the processed food industry. I am also looking forward to examining the role that food additives play in what we eat every day. For example, we’ve known for decades that food dyes are connected to child behavioral problems and yet, the Food and Drug Administration, which took a closer look at the issue last year, has still taken no action.
Also, why are we seeing such a huge increase in food allergies among children, turning schools into a place where a child can actually die from eating a peanut? Clearly more research and better surveillance is warranted to prevent such tragedies. And whether the potential danger is acute foodborne illness, chronic disease, or allergies, the underlying cause is industrialized food production.
Obviously given the imbalance of political power, we have our work cut out for us. But I am excited to work with such a talented and dedicated team that has a strong track record of telling the truth and not backing down. (For example, CFS is one of the organizations leading the new Just Label It! campaign on GMOs – please be sure to sign on.)
I look forward to this exciting new collaboration.