Month: June 2014

Clashes Over Health

Red meat has once again risen to the forefront among influential conversations about healthfulness. The release of a study showing red meat consumption in early adulthood could create a higher risk of breast cancer gathered widespread attention. There were also spirited debates over GMO labeling, use of artificial ingredients in food service and soda sizes in New York City.

In Washington, D.C., a summit over soda stirred a many-sided dialogue in social media. In particular, talk of a soda tax gathered a lot of attention, not only in principle but also in detail over whether such a tax could be most effective based on size or calorie count.

Twitter was a battleground in the debate over school lunches. Deliberation in Congress over whether schools that show financial hardship should be exempt from nutrition standards continued a dispute that included lunch worker lobbyists and the first lady.

You’ll find these issues and more in the latest summary of discussions from influential voices in food and agriculture.

Under Pressure

Protests, research and well-placed journalism have proved effective for those applying pressure to opponents in the food sector. Advocates for specific nutrition standards for children criticized a House Committee on Appropriations bill that would offer flexibility to school lunch programs. Meanwhile, activists gained notice for urging McDonald’s Corp. to stop advertising to children. Protesters drew attention at McDonald’s headquarters as they sought higher worker wages, while other protests outside Monsanto locations put a spotlight on GMOs. Voters in two rural counties in Oregon outlawed GMOs, while many eyes were on an Oxfam International report singling out 10 major food brands as largely responsible for climate change.

More than two years after the vilification of lean, finely-textured beef, Beef Products Inc. is suing ABC News for its role in propagating the term “pink slime.” In addition, Yelp has found some unintended utility in helping to spot foodborne illness. Worries about an egg white shortage also ricocheted around the news. Read about these and more in this edition of Influence Feed.