Skip to content Skip to site navigation

Michele Simon's Posts

Comments

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 …

Read more: Food, School Lunches

Comments

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 …

Read more: Food

Comments

Comments

Pesticides are good for you

Conventionally grown apples topped the EWG's list of the 12 fruits and vegetables most contaminated with pesticides. For years now, I have been hearing about the food industry's influence on the annual conference of the American Dietetic Association (ADA) -- the nation's largest gathering of nutrition professionals -- with some 7,000 registered dietitians in attendance. Last month, I witnessed it for myself and discovered the corporate takeover by Big Food was worse than I even imagined.  While Grist previously covered much of this cooptation, one industry front group deserves special attention: the International Food and Information Council (IFIC). It certainly …

Read more: Food, Food Safety

Comments

Did Walmart buy urban agriculture group's silence?

Photo of Walmart register courtsey of Walmart stores and photo of Growing Power greenhouse courtsey of grfray. Last week, retail behemoth Walmart announced a $1.01 million donation to Milwaukee-based Growing Power, a well-known urban farming nonprofit, whose founder Will Allen has gained many accolades for his hard work to bring local, healthy food to low-income areas. So far the online debate over Growing Power taking this funding is predictable: Some defend it for pragmatic reasons, while others deplore the move, either because they don't like this particular company or they think all corporate money is evil. However, this donation cannot …

Read more: Food

Comments

ConAgra sued over 'natural' GMO cooking oils

Cross-posted from Food Safety News. If you use Wesson brand cooking oils, you may be able to join a class-action lawsuit against food giant ConAgra for deceptively marketing the products as natural. These days it's hard to walk down a supermarket aisle without bumping into a food product that claims to be "all-natural." If you've ever wondered how even some junk food products can claim this moniker (witness: Cheetos Natural Puff White Cheddar Cheese Flavored Snacks -- doesn't that sound like it came straight from your garden?), the answer is simple, if illogical: The Food and Drug Administration has not …

Read more: Food, Scary Food

Comments

Safe, organic food too expensive? Eat less meat

A 1942 National Livestock and Meat Board ad.Image: Brian BennettCross-posted from Food Safety News. In an email exchange with Richard Raymond over my recent article on the massive Cargill recall of salmonella-tainted ground turkey, the former head of food safety at USDA warned me that a likely result of tightened food safety laws would be "higher food prices, making meat and poultry unaffordable sources of protein to some." To which I replied: "I have no problem with that." This exchange, combined with the writing of a few colleagues lately on the alleged conundrum caused by expensive, ethically raised animals, made …

Read more: Food, Sustainable Food

Comments

Why the meat industry sells salmonella

Cargill served up 36 million tons of tough turkeyCross-posted from Food Safety News. As a lawyer who writes about food policy, one of my biggest frustrations is how reporters often get the law wrong, or omit critical pieces of information. Last week, the latest massive food safety recall hit the news -- 36 million pounds of ground turkey possibly tainted with salmonella, courtesy of meat giant Cargill. While some media outlets were asking good questions about why it took the federal government so long to release such vital information (problems began in March), others reported that it's currently legal to …

Read more: Food, Food Safety

Comments

Who put McDonald's in charge of kids' health?

Photo: Jason Whittaker When McDonald's sneezes, the media jumps. Such was the case Tuesday when the company announced it was giving the Happy Meal a makeover. Well, not really, but that's how it got reported, because the media loves simple stories. But when it comes to marketing and PR by multinational corporations, nothing is ever that simple. While my colleagues have done a great job of explaining why, nutritionally, this move is little more than PR, missing from the analysis so far is this: What McDonald's really wants is to remain in charge. The fast food giant's motivation, beyond the …

Read more: Food

Comments

Don't eat your broccoli: Junk food industry determined to target kids

Photo: Amanda WestmontCross-posted from Food Safety News. Last week, as health advocates around the nation raced against a deadline to submit comments to the federal government on food marketing to children, the food industry was busy doing what it does best: launching a massive PR campaign to undermine anything the feds might dare do to protect children from corporate predatory marketing. What exactly got the likes of PepsiCo, Kraft Foods, and McDonald's in such a tizzy? You would think, by the tone and fervor of their reaction, that the government was imposing a complete ban on food marketing to children. …

Read more: Food, Scary Food