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Mon Oct 15, 2012, 12:56 PM

Vote for the Dinner Party - by Michael Pollan

One of the more interesting things we will learn on Nov. 6 is whether or not there is a “food movement” in America worthy of the name — that is, an organized force in our politics capable of demanding change in the food system. People like me throw the term around loosely, partly because we sense the gathering of such a force, and partly (to be honest) to help wish it into being by sheer dint of repetition. Clearly there is growing sentiment in favor of reforming American agriculture and interest in questions about where our food comes from and how it was produced. And certainly we can see an alternative food economy rising around us: local and organic agriculture is growing far faster than the food market as a whole. But a market and a sentiment are not quite the same thing as a political movement — something capable of frightening politicians and propelling its concerns onto the national agenda.

California’s Proposition 37, which would require that genetically modified (G.M.) foods carry a label, has the potential to do just that — to change the politics of food not just in California but nationally too. Now, there is much that’s wrong with California’s notorious initiative process: it is an awkward, usually sloppy way to make law. Yet for better or worse, it has served as a last- or first-ditch way for issues that politicians aren’t yet ready to touch — whether the tax rebellion of the 1970s (Prop 13) or medical marijuana in the 1990s (Prop 215) — to win a hearing and a vote and then go on to change the political conversation across the country.

What is at stake this time around is not just the fate of genetically modified crops but the public’s confidence in the industrial food chain. That system is being challenged on a great many fronts — indeed, seemingly everywhere but in Washington. Around the country, dozens of proposals to tax and regulate soda have put the beverage industry on the defensive, forcing it to play a very expensive (and thus far successful) game of Whac-A-Mole. The meat industry is getting it from all sides: animal rights advocates seeking to expose its brutality; public-health advocates campaigning against antibiotics in animal feed; environmentalists highlighting factory farming’s contribution to climate change.

Big Food is also feeling beleaguered by its increasingly skeptical and skittish consumers. Earlier this year the industry was rocked when a blogger in Houston started an online petition to ban the use of “pink slime” in the hamburger served in the federal school-lunch program. Pink slime — so-called by a U.S. Department of Agriculture microbiologist — is a kind of industrial-strength hamburger helper made from a purée of slaughterhouse scraps treated with ammonia. We have apparently been ingesting this material for years in hamburger patties, but when word got out, the eating public went ballistic. Within days, the U.S.D.A. allowed schools to drop the product, and several supermarket chains stopped carrying it, shuttering several of the plants that produce it. Shortly after this episode, I received a panicky phone call from someone in the food industry, a buyer for one of the big food-service companies. After venting about the “irrationality” of the American consumer, he then demanded to know: “Who’s going to be hit next? It could be any of us.”


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Reply Vote for the Dinner Party - by Michael Pollan (Original post)
groovedaddy Oct 2012 OP
proverbialwisdom Oct 2012 #1
appal_jack Oct 2012 #6
proverbialwisdom Oct 2012 #2
limpyhobbler Oct 2012 #3
proverbialwisdom Oct 2012 #4
proverbialwisdom Oct 2012 #5

Response to groovedaddy (Original post)

Mon Oct 15, 2012, 04:10 PM

1. Go California!


No On 37 Campaign Spokesman Has Extreme Views On Tobacco, Climate Change, Radiation And DDT
Posted by Dave on October 15, 2012


CA Right to Know Campaign Calls for No on 37 Campaign to Level with California Voters

...The Yes on 37 Campaign today called on opponents of the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act to clarify whether they share the extreme and dubious scientific views of Dr. Henry Miller -- a researcher at the right-wing Hoover Institution, who is featured as a spokesperson in TV ads blanketing California for the No on 37 campaign.

Miller -- who has appeared countless times on television to millions of Californians arguing that Prop 37 is "illogical" -- is a founding member of a now-defunct tobacco front group that tried to discredit the links between cigarettes and cancer, has repeatedly called for the reintroduction of DDT, fronted for an oil industry funded climate change denial group, and claimed that people exposed to radiation from the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster “may have benefitted from it.”

The Yes on 37 campaign today sent letters to No on 37 spokesperson Kathy Fairbanks and other public spokespeople of the No on 37 anti-labeling campaign, asking them to clarify if they stand behind Miller’s dubious scientific beliefs.

“Time and again, Henry Miller has been the mouthpiece of corporate elites trying to deceive the public about issues of health and science,” said Gary Ruskin, campaign manager of California Right to Know. “If the No on 37 campaign shares his extreme views, it shows how far outside the mainstream their campaign really is. If they don’t, they should explain why they want Californians to trust someone whom they don’t trust either.”

In the letter, Ruskin said that Miller has a “highly controversial record on issues of science and public policy.“

Read Ruskin’s Letter to Fairbanks Here: http://www.carighttoknow.org/fairbanks

As the Los Angeles Times reported ( http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-anti-proposition-37-ad-pulled-20121004,0,1204815.story ), The No on 37 campaign’s latest ad featuring Miller was pulled last week for misrepresenting both his occupation and Stanford University. This past weekend, the San Jose Mercury News analyzed a recut version of the ad, and still found it misleading ( http://www.mercurynews.com/elections/ci_21715623/reality-check-pro-proposition-37-ad-is-partially ).

The continuing Miller controversy has not been the $35 million No on 37 campaign’s only credibility problem. The Sacramento Bee fact-checked its statewide radio ad and concluded it was misleading ( http://www.sacbee.com/2012/09/29/4864709/ad-watch-anti-proposition-37-ad.html ). This week, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics sent out a press release stating that they were misrepresented by the No on 37 campaign in the official California Voter’s Guide that was sent to 11 million voters.

“We are concerned that California voters are being misled..." said Academy President Ethan Bergman. "Voters need accurate information in order to make an informed choice."

BACKGROUND: The Dubious Credibility of No on 37 Science Spokesperson Henry Miller

•Miller was a founding member of The Advance of Sound Science Coalition, a Phillip Morris backed front group that tried to discredit the links between tobacco products, heart disease and cancer. http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/The_Advancement_of_Sound_Science_Coalition

•In a 1994 PR memo recommending strategy to help Phillip Morris organize a worldwide effort to fight tobacco regulations, Henry Miller was referred to as “a key supporter.” http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/pqa35e00/pdf

•In 2012, Miller wrote, “nicotine … is not particularly bad for you in the amounts delivered by cigarettes or smokeless products.” http://www.hoover.org/publications/defining-ideas/article/111606

•Miller has repeatedly argued for the re-introduction of DDT, a toxic pesticide banned in the United States since 1972, which has been linked to pre-term birth and fertility impairment in women. http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/re-booting-ddt, http://www.forbes.com/sites/henrymiller/2012/09/05/rachel-carsons-deadly-fantasies/2/

•In 2011, after the Japanese tsunami and radiation leaks at the Fukushima nuclear power plants, Miller argued that “those … who were exposed to low levels of radiation could have actually benefitted from it.” http://www.forbes.com/sites/henrymiller/2011/12/21/can-tiny-amounts-of-poison-actually-be-good-for-you/

•Miller sits on the “scientific advisory board” of the George C. Marshall Institute, which is famous for its oil and gas industry funded denials of climate change.

•Miller has argued that the FDA should outsource more of its functions to private industries, and has publicly attacked the FDA for its efforts to ensure proper vetting and testing of new drugs:
http://www.american.com/archive/2007/october-10-07/the-case-for-fda-outsourcing/; http://www.american.com/archive/2007/june-0607/drug-regulation-has-the-worst-become-the-norm/

For more information see www.carighttoknow.org


Henry I. Miller: I've had three distinct careers: biomedical scientist; FDA drug regulator; and scholar at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, a think-tank. During the first of these, I worked on various aspects of gene expression and regulation in viruses and mammalian cells. I was the co-discoverer of a critical enzyme in the influenza (flu) virus. While at the FDA, I was the medical reviewer for the first genetically engineered drugs and thus instrumental in the rapid licensing of human insulin and human growth hormone. Thereafter, I was a special assistant to the FDA commissioner and the founding director of the FDA's Office of Biotechnology. Since coming to the Hoover Institution, I have become well known for both contributions to peer-reviewed scholarly journals and for articles and books that make science, medicine, and technology accessible to non-experts. I have written four books and more than 1,200 articles. I appear regularly on various nationally syndicated radio programs. My most frequent topics include genetic engineering, pharmaceutical development, and the debunking of junk science. I’m intolerant of dishonesty and hypocrisy and expose them at every opportunity.

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Response to proverbialwisdom (Reply #1)

Wed Oct 17, 2012, 07:17 AM

6. Excellent info. K&R, n/t.

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Response to groovedaddy (Original post)

Mon Oct 15, 2012, 04:15 PM

2. NEW PSA: Vote Yes on GMO Labeling with Prop 37.


Do you have the right to know what’s in your food? Hollywood says yes.

In a new PSA the stars came out to ask the public to vote yes on prop 37, a ballot initiative in California that will make it so companies have to label whether or not their foods contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Danny Devito, Dave Mathews, Emily Dechanel, Bill Maher, John Cho, Glenn Howerton, Kaitlin Olson, KaDee Strickland and Kristin Bauer van Straten use some reverse psychology to say that you don’t need to know what goes into your food. So what that China, Japan, Europe and other countries require foods with GMOs to be labeled. In America, we can’t handle that kind of information so best to let the companies worry about our health and for us just to trust them. Sounds like a good health plan, right? Yeah. Not so much.

Check out the PSA and if you live in California, think about the importance of food labeling when you head to the ballot in November.

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Response to groovedaddy (Original post)

Mon Oct 15, 2012, 06:35 PM

3. kick and rec. nt.

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Response to groovedaddy (Original post)

Tue Oct 16, 2012, 03:14 PM

4. Michael Pollan tweet.


TechCrunch piece on prop 37 campaign: are the technies getting on board? Good news. bit.ly/V39vcx
10:19pm - 15 Oct 12

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Response to groovedaddy (Original post)

Tue Oct 16, 2012, 03:26 PM

5. LA Times Opinion: Engineered crops - bringing us stronger weeds but fewer butterflies?

Link from http://www.carighttoknow.org/stronger_weeds_fewer_butterflies


Engineered crops - bringing us stronger weeds but fewer butterflies?

By Karin Klein
October 3, 2012, 7:00 a.m.

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