Synopses & Reviews
Over the past two years, concerned Americans have finally begun to ask: Who is to blame for the growing public health crisis of obesity and diet-related illnesses? Is the junk food industry at fault, or is it all just a matter of personal and parental responsibility? How can we fight back with workable solutions?
While much of the attention remains focused at the national policy level, the real story is taking place in states and communities all over the country, where people are attempting to “take back” their food supply from greedy corporations. Too often media accounts of this heated debate portray the food industry as being “part of the solution,” missing the behind-the-scenes struggles.
Appetite for Profit describes food industry lobbying, front groups, and other tactics that operate to undermine nutrition policy in schools and elsewhere. It explains how to counter attack. Additionally, this book tells how to see through corporate promises; illustrates the importance of rhetoric to control the debate; informs how to respond; celebrates the unsung heroes in the fight; and provides reliable resources on how to get involved. This enlightening book provides hope with real-life examples of winning strategies and a road map for reform.
"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.'" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
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."
About 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.