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August 16, 2010


Karen Schuh

I'm not sure if the topic of nutrition is always relevant to combine with the topic of hunger. Is nutrition strictly a justice issue, like hunger is? Of course we want those who are starving or not getting enough to eat as healthy as they can, but sometimes that's not possible at the start. I feel to combat hunger, you need to put pressure on the "powers that be," and have a good network in place, like the PCUSA does. Having said that, if these corporations are eager to discuss nutrition and hunger, let's keep the dialog open. Peace to all those who keep the fires burning on these issues.

Joyce Lovelace

It's interesting to see the names of so many distributers of unhealthy food in this project to feed the hungry. For us it's a double edge sword - we purchase and thus support poor food. For those companies they get our money, plus encourage others to eat unhealthy products.
I'd do better to deny myself the Snickers bar, and donate the $ to a better program.

andrew kang bartlett

Thanks for your thoughts, Karen. You bring up a good question about whether nutrition should be considered a justice issue. And yes, we should keep the dialogue going, but I believe only as long as companies are not using such dialogue and partnerships to whitewash otherwise mostly poor social or environmental performance.

I know that some of these corporations have taken steps (after significant and sustained public pressure) to improve the nutritional quality of their products. Some have not, and the two I singled out are notorious. Often when meeting with farmers and food system folk in other countries, Nestle is singled out (sometimes along with Monsanto) as one of the worst, and the ongoing boycotts around the world attest to that sentiment. I think many here in the US may think the baby formula scandal is a think of the past, but apparently similar practices persist. As for Coke, if you google killer coke you will find various documentation on their past and very recent activities.

A time where nutrition is, for me anyway, a justice issue is when the manufacturers may know that their products have corn syrup that research has found to inhibit the bodies knowledge of when it has eaten enough.

And the negative effects of high fructose corn syrup, which many of these companies continue to rely on as a major ingredient, has been well documented, as the Mayo Clinic puts it, "Regularly including these products in your diet has the potential to promote obesity — which, in turn, promotes conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and coronary artery disease."

Not specifically on this point, but related to the problem with an industrial food system perpetuated by these large companies:

In one study, published in the journal Environmental Health, former Food and Drug Administration scientist Renee Dufault and colleagues tested 20 samples of high fructose corn syrup and found detectable mercury in nine of the 20 samples. These were samples taken in 2005.

Whether those companies knew they were selling mercury, probably no one will know, but certainly selling, eating and providing to hungry people more nutritious, non-processed foods would be a step in the right direction.

Best, andrew


cute, snickers, very cute. in the eco-world this would be called greenwashing, in the breast-cancer world it's pinkwashing ( for more info).
what do we call it in the hunger world?
i mean, keep the token gestures coming, it's better than nothing, but let's call a token a token.

andrew kang bartlett

It's called nutriwashing in the health world.

In the hunger world...

Starvewashing would be the opposite.

How about fedwashing?

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