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Appetite for Profit: How the Food Industry Undermines Our Health and How to Fight Back

Overview

The United States is currently embroiled in a national debate over the growing public health crisis caused by poor diet. People are starting to ask who is to blame and how can we fix the problem, especially among children. Major food companies are responding with a massive public relations campaign. These companies, including McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Kraft, and General Mills, are increasingly on the defensive. In response, they pretend to sell healthier food and otherwise position themselves as "part of the ...

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Overview

The United States is currently embroiled in a national debate over the growing public health crisis caused by poor diet. People are starting to ask who is to blame and how can we fix the problem, especially among children. Major food companies are responding with a massive public relations campaign. These companies, including McDonald's, Coca-Cola, Kraft, and General Mills, are increasingly on the defensive. In response, they pretend to sell healthier food and otherwise position themselves as "part of the solution." Yet they continue to lobby against commonsense nutrition policies. Appetite for Profit exposes this hypocrisy and explains how to fight back by offering reliable resources. Readers will learn how to spot the PR and how to organize to improve food in schools and elsewhere. For the first time, author Michele Simon explains why we cannot trust food corporations to "do the right thing." She describes the local battles of going up against the powerful food lobbies and offers a comprehensive guide to the public relations, front groups, and lobbying tactics that food companies employ to trick the American public. Simon also provides an entertaining glossary that explains corporate rhetoric, including phrases like "better-for-you foods" and "frivolous lawsuit."

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Simon, a health policy expert and law professor, skewers the food industry for undermining the health of Americans with "nutrient deficient factory made pseudofoods." In lawyerly fashion, she explains the ABCs of the business imperative of "Big Food" (Coca-Cola, Kraft Foods and McDonald's, among many others): make short-term profit without regard to the product's nutritional value or societal effects. Permissible tactics, she says, include false advertising, sham "healthy" food initiatives and co-opting the government, press and academia. Simon also argues that food-industry advocates use front groups to attack critics and spread misinformation about nutritional needs. Simon also chastises her fellow food activists for applauding all "steps in the right direction," no matter how inadequate; the press for its passive publication of scientifically dubious industry statements; and the government for abandoning effective regulation of the food industry. Her case made, Simon offers a host of suggestions and a manual-like set of directions to parents and other food activists on how to work with legislatures, school boards and the media to create a "just food system" that is "sustainable, affordable, accessible, and convenient." (Nov.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
While food is ubiquitously available in our country, nutritious food is difficult to find, and it is becoming increasingly hard to discern the nutritious from the junky. This is exactly what Big Food wants, according to public health attorney Simon (Hastings Coll. of the Law, Univ. of California; founder, Ctr. for Informed Food Choices). This expos of Big Food's unethical behavior and devious marketing strategies is a convincing call to action. Simon, a vegan, does not offer readers advice on changing their diet. Instead, she proffers tips on how to see through corporate rhetoric that does not match with reality and how to protect children from junk-food marketing. Concerned parents will no doubt find this an especially valuable tool. Appendixes provide a glossary to understanding corporate-speak, a guide to industry front-groups, a breakdown of the myths debunked throughout the book, and resources for those who want to effect change. An essential purchase for public health collections, this book is recommended for public and academic libraries as a follow-up to Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation and Marion Nestle's Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health. Mindy Rhiger, St. Paul Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560259329
  • Publisher: Nation Books
  • Publication date: 10/28/2006
  • Pages: 392
  • Sales rank: 344,929
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Michele Simon is a public health lawyer who has been working as a nutrition advocate since 1996, specializing in policy analysis and legal strategies.

She is the founder of the Center for Informed Food Choices and edits their newsletter, Informed Eating.

She has published numerous articles about such issues as the National School Lunch Program, organic standards, the USDA's dietary guidelines, veggie libel laws, genetically engineered foods, and banning obesity lawsuits. She lectures extensively, has appeared on numerous radio programs, and teaches Health Policy at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, where she also received her law degree. Michele obtained her master's degree in public health from Yale University.

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