Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Pollan Count

A few days ago our friend Jason sent us a link to a great interview with author Michael Pollan. If you have a spare 20 minutes and you're interested in the ethics of food, I recommend you watch the clip.

One of his main points is about how sneaky the food industry is. In his book, The Omnivore's Dilemma, Pollan writes that if a food has more than five ingredients, you should avoid it. As a result there are many companies coming forward and saying their products are simpler. Such as Haagen-Dazs who has released Haagen-Dazs 5, a five-ingredient Haagen-Dazs product. 

"You know, it’s still ice cream," Pollan says. "Ice cream is wonderful, but we shouldn’t treat it as health food because it now has only five ingredients."

Pollan is also an advocate for the local food movement, and says companies such as Frito-Lay are advertising that their potato chips are local.

"Now, you have to remember, any product is local somewhere. Right? This food doesn’t come from Mars. But to think that Frito-Lay as a local potato chip is really a stretch," he laughs.
He also writes extensively on the evils of high-fructose corn syrup and says companies such as Snapple and Coca-Cola are now making a virtue of the fact that some of their products contain real sugar, not high-fructose corn syrup.
What that is, is an implicit health claim for sugar. And that is an incredible achievement on the part of industry, to convince us that getting off of high-fructose corn syrup has made their products healthier. It has done no such thing. Biologically, there’s no difference between high-fructose corn syrup and sugar.
And so, Pollan has had to update his rules:
...if you want to avoid all this, simply don’t buy any food you’ve ever seen advertised. Ninety-four percent of ad budgets for food go to processed food. I mean, the broccoli growers don’t have money for ad budgets. So the real food is not being advertised. And that’s really all you need to know.

5 comments:

(Text)ure and (me)aning said...

Here! here!
Wholefoods -the winner once again!
Now, must go, am making a pumpkin, sweet corn and chick pea soup, the chick peas come from the furthest away, Ord river...
How lucky we are.

millie said...

Meg,

I think you will like this blog:

http://thelittleredhen.typepad.com/my_weblog/2009/05/garlic-mustard-.html#comments

millie

ms. delisha said...

This interview re-energized me and helped us get going with our veggie garden this year! Unfortunately, Chris did the bed prep without me, I had dreams of using PJ's very helpful six steps to make our beds even better this year!

Oh well, we're germinating some seeds and still have one bed left...so maybe that one! Can't wait to add yummy late summer tomatoes to our already beginning to show blueberries. I have three bushes in my front yard now - next year, I'm planning to jam them.

Do you keep bees? It's one of the things I daydream about.
xx
t

Meg said...

Thanks for the link Millie.

and T, no we don't keep bees. I am allergic to their stings. We should though. We consume half a kilo of the stuff a week! Seriously. We get our jar refilled every Sunday morning at the local market by a guy called Des.

Tony. E.G.S said...

Pollon galvanizes alot of what we believe at the Elwood General store, thanks for the link..am buying all the staff his books- the manifesto