Saturday, July 19, 2014

Of Course "Big Food" is the Problem

In a classic moment from Morgan Spurlock's pivotal documentary on the processed food industry Super-Size Me, a lobbyist for the Grocery Manufacturers of American (GMA), Gene Grabowski says "We part of the problem." Spurlock could hardly believe his good fortune - and, interestingly, six months after the release of the film at the Sundance Film Festival, Grabowski "no longer worked for the GMA." The reality is that "Big Food," or the corporate conglomeration of processed food manufacturers play the primary role in what America eats. And, if Americans are eating excessive amounts of unhealthy, sodium and sugar-laced products that provide little if any nutrition, then the people peddling the goods are primarily to blame. We can't simply excuse the companies for "selling Americans what they want." The food producers have actually played the primary - and subversive - role in creating those tastes.

Thus, I was a bit dismayed when I ran across an article on in which professional chef and high quality foods advocate Chef Linton Hopkins argued "Big Food is not the Enemy." Well, of course they are, Chef. Granted, the word "enemy" is certainly a bit exaggerated - but if we are having a discussion about the poor health of Americans and the bad dietary choices they regularly make, we can do nothing else but point the finger at the people serving it up. We did not exonerate Big Tobacco, and we do not excuse drug dealers for peddling dangerous products. And, neither should we condone the abysmal quality of some of our most detrimental processed foods.

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