This is why there is an epidemic of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease
in the U.S.:
food deliberately engineered to make people eat until they get fat.
Georgia is not quite one of the fattest states,
but Lowndes County is one of the fattest counties.
There is something we can do, even while Big Food
continues to act like Big Tobacco.
On the evening of April 8, 1999, a long line of Town Cars and taxis
pulled up to the Minneapolis headquarters of Pillsbury and
discharged 11 men who controlled America’s largest food companies.
Nestlé was in attendance, as were Kraft and Nabisco, General Mills
and Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola and Mars. Rivals any other day, the
C.E.O.’s and company presidents had come together for a rare,
private meeting. On the agenda was one item: the emerging obesity
epidemic and how to deal with it. While the atmosphere was cordial,
the men assembled were hardly friends. Their stature was defined by
their skill in fighting one another for what they called
“stomach share” — the amount of digestive space
that any one company’s brand can grab from the competition.
James Behnke, a 55-year-old executive at Pillsbury, greeted the men
as they arrived. He was anxious but also hopeful about the plan that
he and a few other food-company executives had devised to engage the
C.E.O.’s on America’s growing weight problem. “We were very
concerned, and rightfully so, that obesity was becoming a major
issue,” Behnke recalled. “People were starting to talk
about sugar taxes, and there was a lot of pressure on food
companies.” Getting the company chiefs in the same room to Continue reading →
For many years big agro has treated the world’s health as an economic externality, a problem for somebody else that did not affect its own bottom line. That is starting to change, most recently in Argentina.
In a developing news piece just unleashed by a courthouse news wire, Monsanto is being brought to court by dozens of Argentinean tobacco farmers who say that the biotech giant knowingly poisoned them with herbicides and pesticides and subsequently caused ”devastating birth defects” in their children. The farmers are now suing not only Monsanto on behalf of their children, but many big tobacco giants as well. The birth defects that the farmers say occurred as a result are many, and include cerebral palsy, down syndrome, psychomotor retardation, missing fingers, and blindness.
But this is once again far away in a small country of which we know nothing, right? Wrong:
The farmers come from small family-owned farms in Misiones Province and sell their tobacco to many United States distributors. The family farmers say that major tobacco companies like the Philip Morris company asked them to use Monsanto’s herbicides and pesticides, assuring them that the products were safe. Through asserting that the toxic chemicals were safe, the farmers state in their claim that the tobacco companies ”wrongfully caused the parental and infant plaintiffs to be exposed to those chemicals and substances which they both knew, or should have known, would cause the infant offspring of the parental plaintiffs to be born with devastating birth defects.”
Still, it must be some obscure poison only sold in the third world, right?
The majority of the farmers in the area used Monsanto’s Roundup, an herbicide with the active ingredient glyphosate that has shown to be killing human kidney cells. What’s more, the farmers say that the tobacco companies pushed Monsanto’s Roundup on the farmers despite a lack of protective equipment. In other words, these farmers — many in dire economic conditions — were being directly exposed to Roundup in large concentrations without any protective gear (or even experience or skills in handling the substance). Still, the farmers say the tobacco giants required the struggling farmers to ‘purchase excessive quantities of Roundup and other pesticides’.
That would be the same Roundup that farmers use around here all the time, without protective equipment. The Roundup we already knew was
Continue reading →
An expert panel that advises the president on cancer said Thursday that Americans are facing “grievous harm” from chemicals in the air, food and water that have largely gone unregulated and ignored.
The President’s Cancer Panel called for a new national strategy that focuses on such threats in the environment and workplaces.
Epidemiologists have long maintained that tobacco use, diet and other factors are responsible for most cancers, and that chemicals and pollutants cause only a small portion — perhaps 5 percent.
The presidential panel said that figure has been “grossly underestimated” but it did not provide a new estimate.
“With the growing body of evidence linking environmental exposures to cancer, the public is becoming increasingly aware of the unacceptable burden of cancer resulting from environmental and occupational exposures that could have been prevented through appropriate national action,” the panel wrote in a report released Thursday.
Federal chemical laws are weak, funding for research and enforcement is inadequate, and regulatory responsibilities are split among too many agencies, the panel found.