Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Building an original: science and politics in the blender

Interesting article about the food pyramid.
Nestle -- who is now the chair of New York University's Department of Nutrition and Food Studies -- managed the production of the first (and only) Surgeon General's Report on Nutrition and Health in 1988. She chronicled the food industry's influence on government dietary guidelines in her book Food Politics, writing, "My first day on the job, I was given the rules: No matter what the research indicated, the report could not recommend 'eat less meat' as a way to reduce intake of saturated fat....The producers of food that might be affected by such advice would complain to their beneficiaries in Congress, and the report would never be published."

In a similar vein, Nestle says, the USDA weighed industry interests along with nutrition science as the food pyramid was built. The National Cattlemen's Association, for instance, launched a heavy campaign to stop promotion of the pyramid's release -- a campaign that resulted in a year long delay in the pyramid's release.

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