Daily Archives: July 30, 2009

Big Food going the way of Big Tobacco

Here’s a significant story from syndicated columnist Ellen Goodman, writing from Boston, but published in the Seattle Times under the title “Tables are turning on Big Food”. 

Will Big Food soon be riding off into the sunset the way Big Tobacco has?

Will "Big Food" soon be riding off into the sunset the way "Big Tobacco" has?

The Times’ preamble: “Now that two-thirds of Americans are overweight, the lethal effects of fat are catching up to those of smoke, writes columnist Ellen Goodman. We are beginning to see that Overweight America is not some collective collapse of national willpower, but a business plan”

Excerpts from the story: “BOSTON — What caught my eye was not just the ashtray sitting forlornly on the yard-sale table. It was the sign that marked it “vintage,” as if we needed to label this relic of midcentury America.

Ashtrays that once graced every airline armrest, coffee table and office have gone the way of spittoons. Today the car’s cigarette lighter is used to juice up the cellphone. Ask any restaurant for the smoking section, and you’ll be shown the doorway.

If I had to pick the year attitudes changed, it would 1994, when seven CEOs of Big Tobacco came before Congress and swore that nicotine wasn’t addictive. A lobby too big to fail and too powerful to oppose began to lose clout. Smokers are no longer seen as sexy and glamorous but as the addicted dupes. Continue reading

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Food Inc. — the book that picks up where the documentary film left off

Here’s an excerpt from a great new story on the Ethicurean blog, by guest contributor Joshua J. Biggley:

See the movie -- then read the book!

See the movie -- then read the book!

Summer blockbusters are often contrived, schlocky representations of the books on which they are based. But the documentary “Food, Inc.,” which drew heavily on the nonfiction bestsellers “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” and “Fast Food Nation” for its subject matter, has produced an accompanying book, “Food Inc.: How Industrial Food is Making Us Sicker, Fatter, and Poorer — And What You Can Do About It,” that does far more than just rehash the film. This is no “one-two punch” marketing ploy by the folks at Participant Media, but rather a well-conceived, thoughtful follow-up to the overview offered up on the big screen.

Perhaps it is the weighty subject matter-the industrialization and externalization of our food supply-or the all-star cast of creators and real-life participants, but in this case the combination of movie and book offers ample education and inspiration for even the most discerning consumer.

Happily, the book is doing almost as well as the movie, which is the year’s top-grossing documentary: it is currently No. 325 on Amazon.com. Continue reading

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