More on American Food Issues

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For some reason, these things seem to come in waves. Today I saw this article in the New York Times about how McDonald’s has revived its sales with its high-fat dollar menu marketed to teenagers and young adults of color. The statements from their spokespeople are cringe-inducing.

I also read this fascinating interview on Alternet with journalist Michael Pollan, whose recent book The Omnivore’s Dilemma explores how Americans eat. There’s lots of great material here, including a discussion of responsible agriculture, the ubiquity of processed corn, and how portable foods have changed the way we eat.

The best quote was this:

“Our food system is not a creation of the free market. It’s a combination of a set of rules combined with the market. And those rules are dictating the fact that, for example, cheap corn and soybeans are the predominant ingredients in our food supply.

Because we subsidize those calories, we end up with a supermarket in which the least healthy calories are the cheapest. And the most healthy calories are the most expensive. That, in the simplest terms, is the root of the obesity epidemic for the poor — because the obesity epidemic is really a class-based problem. It’s not an epidemic, really. The biggest prediction of obesity is income.”

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