Posts Tagged ‘Marion Nestle’

In Safe Food, Marion Nestle continues to examine the ways in which the food industry contintues to avoid taking responsiblity for the quality of the food that they sell to consumers. 

Nestle’s main argument is that the food industry uses science as a means of deflecting the criticisms of their procedures.  Instead of responding to the social and political criticisms of some of their techniques (their refusal to screen for pathogens, for example), food producers use science to convince the public that their practices are safe.  By doing so, food producers deny that the decisions they make are based on potential profit, rather than on public safety.  

Marion Nestle is not really the same kind of author as Micheal Pollen or Eric Schlosser.  She writes from the position of an insider, rather than as a consumer.  Nestle has spent most of her career working with (or in some cases working for) the agencies and companies that she writes about here.  Rather than looking at the end product, Nestle examines the ways in which the law fails to provide adequate support for the production of safe food. 

At the same time, she examines the ways in which food producers do their best to block new legislation that may affect their methods and sales.  There are relatively simple methods that food producers could adapt to help to reduce the outbreaks of many food-bourne illnesses.  However, food producers are incredibly reluctant to do so, because they do not want their products to be perceived as inherently un-safe.  Their primary purpose is to safeguard their profits.

I enjoy reading Nestle looks at the food industry from the opposite end of the spectrum.  She takes a look at the ways in which industry uses existing law and government connections to maintain the status quo, rather than the specific products produced that cause ill-health.  As an insider, Nestle is able to give real insight into the hows and whys of food production and government legislation surrounding food production.  I recommend this book (and any other book by Nestle) to anyone who is interested in thinking about the ways in which legislation fails to protect the public from contaminated food.


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