Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health

Front Cover
University of California Press, 2002 - Business & Economics - 457 pages
118 Reviews
We all witness, in advertising and on supermarket shelves, the fierce competition for our food dollars. In this engrossing expos, Marion Nestle goes behind the scenes to reveal how the competition really works and how it affects our health. The abundance of food in the United States--enough calories to meet the needs of every man, woman, and child twice over--has a downside. Our overefficient food industry must do everything possible to persuade people to eat more--more food, more often, and in larger portions--no matter what it does to waistlines or well-being.
Like manufacturing cigarettes or building weapons, making food is very big business. Food companies in 2000 generated nearly $900 billion in sales. They have stakeholders to please, shareholders to satisfy, and government regulations to deal with. It is nevertheless shocking to learn precisely how food companies lobby officials, co-opt experts, and expand sales by marketing to children, members of minority groups, and people in developing countries. We learn that the food industry plays politics as well as or better than other industries, not least because so much of its activity takes place outside the public view.
Editor of the 1988 Surgeon General's Report on Nutrition and Health, Nestle is uniquely qualified to lead us through the maze of food industry interests and influences. She vividly illustrates food politics in action: watered-down government dietary advice, schools pushing soft drinks, diet supplements promoted as if they were First Amendment rights. When it comes to the mass production and consumption of food, strategic decisions are driven by economics--not science, not common sense, and certainly not health.
No wonder most of us are thoroughly confused about what to eat to stay healthy. An accessible and balanced account, Food Politics will forever change the way we respond to food industry marketing practices. By explaining how much the food industry influences government nutrition policies and how cleverly it links its interests to those of nutrition experts, this pathbreaking book helps us understand more clearly than ever before what we eat and why. We all witness, in advertising and on supermarket shelves, the fierce competition for our food dollars. In this engrossing expos, Marion Nestle goes behind the scenes to reveal how the competition really works and how it affects our health. The abundance of food in the United States--enough calories to meet the needs of every man, woman, and child twice over--has a downside. Our overefficient food industry must do everything possible to persuade people to eat more--more food, more often, and in larger portions--no matter what it does to waistlines or well-being.
Like manufacturing cigarettes or building weapons, making food is very big business. Food companies in 2000 generated nearly $900 billion in sales. They have stakeholders to please, shareholders to satisfy, and government regulations to deal with. It is nevertheless shocking to learn precisely how food companies lobby officials, co-opt experts, and expand sales by marketing to children, members of minority groups, and people in developing countries. We learn that the food industry plays politics as well as or better than other industries, not least because so much of its activity takes place outside the public view.
Editor of the 1988 Surgeon General's Report on Nutrition and Health, Nestle is uniquely qualified to lead us through the maze of food industry interests and influences. She vividly illustrates food politics in action: watered-down government dietary advice, schools pushing soft drinks, diet supplements promoted as if they were First Amendment rights. When it comes to the mass production and consumption of food, strategic decisions are driven by economics--not science, not common sense, and certainly not health.
No wonder most of us are thoroughly confused about what to eat to stay healthy. An accessible and balanced account, Food Politics will forever change the way we respond to food industry marketing practices. By explaining how much the food industry influences government nutrition policies and how cleverly it links its interests to those of nutrition experts, this pathbreaking book helps us understand more clearly than ever before what we eat and why.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
28
4 stars
42
3 stars
39
2 stars
8
1 star
1

I liked a lot of the ideas and research from the book. - Goodreads
The intro does a good job summarizing her points. - Goodreads
Fascinating and thoroughly researched. - Goodreads

Review: Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health

User Review  - Midge Bork - Goodreads

At first this book made me angry -- government and big business in bed together. Then it just depressed me. As individuals all we can do is be those little candles in the darkness... Read full review

Review: Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health

User Review  - sologdin - Goodreads

very nuts and bolts, not exciting or sensational or unforeseeable--but a strong presentation of how regulation of nutrition is crafted to please food industry interests. we are not surprised that ... Read full review

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2002)

Marion Nestleis Professor and Chair of the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies at New York University. Author of Nutrition in Clinical Practice (1985), she has served as a nutrition policy advisor to the Department of Health and Human Services and as a member of nutrition and science advisory committees to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration.She is the author ofSafe Food: Bacteria, Biotechnology, and Bioterrorism(California, 2003).