Do Corn Subsidies Really Make Us Fat?

“The Plate,” National Geographic • July 12, 2016

Bad health can be linked to wheat, corn, dairy and meat—and a range of foods currently subsidized by the government. That was the catchy finding that researchers announced last week with a study showing a correlation between an increased consumption of subsidized foods and health problems like obesity and high cholesterol. But is it actually the farm subsidies that make people eat those foods?

Continue reading “Do Corn Subsidies Really Make Us Fat?”

Want to Know if Your Food Was Tested on Animals?
Good Luck.

“The Plate,” National Geographic • July 30, 2015

Animal rights activists are warning consumers that foods advertised as healthy might have something else surprising in common: animal testing. What’s more, there’s almost no way to know for sure. Continue reading “Want to Know if Your Food Was Tested on Animals?
Good Luck.”

What Could The Pacific Trade Deal Mean for Diets?

NPR The Salt • May 11, 2015

If you think trade deals are just about business, think again. They can also have a sweeping effect on how people eat. Take all those avocados, watermelon and cervezasfrom Mexico we now consume, and the meat and feed corn for livestock we send there in exchange.

The Obama administration hasn’t shared much detail about the provisions in its controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership, the free trade deal between the U.S. and 11 countries currently being negotiated. But if it’s anything like prior free trade agreements, two things are likely, trade experts say. Continue reading “What Could The Pacific Trade Deal Mean for Diets?”

BONUS: How Whole Foods really prices its food

It’s easy to gloss over the details in all the hubbub over the feature I just published with Slate and the Food and Environment Reporting Network, “Can Whole Foods Really Chance the Way Poor People Eat?” But I would encourage anyone interested in the nuts and bolts of food reporting to pay attention to the data set we amassed for the piece.

What’s the big deal with the data?

Comparing food prices between stores is phenomenally difficult to do well. Brand names, sale prices, different sized packaging…all of it gets very confusing, very quickly. The USDA does track food prices, but only at the bulk level—for a pound of green peas, for example. But most of us don’t buy just a pound of shelled green peas. We buy Green Giant, or we buy Cascadian Farmr, or we buy White Rose, with all the presumed differences between them affecting price. There simply isn’t anywhere that researchers can go, let alone consumers, to see a coherent comparison with name brands. Until now. Continue reading “BONUS: How Whole Foods really prices its food”

When Arugula Became a Thing: How to Tell a Food Fad from a Revolution

Zócalo Public Square Up For Discussion • June 2, 2014

It’s easy to confuse a food fad with a revolution. Restaurant and food media exist to cover new food fads much as TMZ exists to cover celebrity snafus—trends must die, or there will be no news. But a food revolution? That’s harder to market to viewers, because it requires a fundamental shift in our relationship with food. Continue reading “When Arugula Became a Thing: How to Tell a Food Fad from a Revolution”

Wal-Mart and Organic Food

“The Craig Fahle Show” WDET • April 18, 2014

Author of New York Times’ bestseller, “The American Way of Eating,” Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism and Oakland County native Tracie McMillan joins Laura and Travis to discuss an article she recently wrote for The Guardian that debunks stereotypes about who wants and who’s buying organic food. She breaks down the article and talks about Wal-Mart’s role in bringing organic food to the masses. Continue reading “Wal-Mart and Organic Food”

Organic food: it’s not just for yuppies anymore

The Guardian • Apr. 14, 2014

A man who applies pesticides to Iowa fields for $14 hour might not seem a likely organic enthusiast. But when I met Jim Dreier last fall, and he mentioned the backyard patch he and his wife had planted with vegetables in the spring, he told me he didn’t use any pesticides. When I asked him why, Dreier surprised me: “I don’t want to eat that shit,” he said. When I went grocery shopping with his wife, Christina, she surprised me, too, by picking out a bag of organic grapes even though she was paying with Snap – food stamps – for exactly the same reason.

Continue reading “Organic food: it’s not just for yuppies anymore”

Thanks for the shout-out! @BostonGlobe On the family menu: What’s familiar

The Boston Globe • Jan. 29, 2013

For Americans, particularly in the cold months, dinnertime mostly means home and hearth. It also means convenience and comfort.

In 2013 we are making family dinner more often than we dine out, a trend that took root before the recession. Mostly, we’re cooking with and eating a narrow range of foods — and relying, to some extent, on prepared, frozen, and canned items to feed our families quickly and economically. “It’s very boring. That’s the sad truth,” says Harry Balzer, chief food industry analyst for the NPD Group, a national market research company. “For the most part, we’re looking for what’s the easiest way out of this, what’s the cheapest way out of this.” Continue reading “Thanks for the shout-out! @BostonGlobe On the family menu: What’s familiar”

US Food Ranchers Alliance Food Dialogues: Media, Marketing and Healthy Choices

USFRA • Nov. 15, 2012

Today’s consumers have more access to information concerning food than ever before. During this panel, the conversation centered on the types of information consumers access and use to make decisions about their food choices.

Questions addressed included – What more can be done to ensure consumers have access to the right kind of information? What tools are marketers using to promote certain types of food choices over others? What additional voices are needed to help consumers navigate the supermarket and restaurant menu?

Food for thought: Do poor people prefer junk food?

Annarbor.com • Nov. 12, 2012

America is undergoing a food awakening. From celebrity chefs and the popular Food Network to farmers market, the good food movement, organic farming, and the growing population of foodies, Americans are eating, preparing, thinking and talking about good food like never before. But not everyone gets a seat at the table. Continue reading “Food for thought: Do poor people prefer junk food?”