Michele Simon

Michele Simon is a public health lawyer specializing in industry marketing and lobbying tactics. She is the author of Appetite for Profit: How the Food Industry Undermines Our Health and How to Fight Back. She is grateful to live in Oakland, Calif., within walking distance of a farmers market. You can follow her on Twitter.

Scary Food

Live and let dioxin: Big Ag is worried about scaring us off meat and milk

This month, the EPA is expected to finally release limits for safe exposure to dioxins in food. Industry groups -- like the United Egg Producers, National Meat Association, and National Milk Producers Federation -- are stepping up to say: shhh!

Food

Sorry Mrs. O, but jumping jacks aren’t enough

At a recent summit on childhood obesity, the first lady announced a shift in her well-known Let’s Move campaign — away from food reform and toward an increased focus on exercise. Instead of “forcing [children] to eat their vegetables,” she told her audience, “it’s getting them to go out there and have fun.” Yes, you heard that right. The first lady actually said that eating vegetables is a chore. And that playing is a preferable focus for her campaign because it’s easier. In February 2010, when the first lady announced a campaign to “end childhood obesity within a generation,” I …

Food

Toying with the Happy Meal: Is McDonald’s evading the law?

Photo: kalavinkaWhile most media outlets dubbed it the “Happy Meal toy ban,” the ordinance passed in San Francisco last year didn’t ban anything. The law just placed a few reasonable nutrition guidelines (a maximum of 600 calories per meal and limits on fat and salt, for example) for restaurants using free toy incentives to lure kids into a lifetime of bad eating habits. In a rare victory for children’s health, the bill passed despite heavy lobbying by McDonald’s. The law is scheduled to go into effect today, but the fast food giant — who didn’t want to change the nutritional …