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Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health (California Studies in Food and Culture) Paperback – May 14, 2013


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Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health (California Studies in Food and Culture) + In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto + The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
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Product Details

  • Series: California Studies in Food and Culture (Book 3)
  • Paperback: 534 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; First Edition, Revised and Expanded Tenth Anniversary Edition edition (May 14, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520275969
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520275966
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,540 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

"In this fascinating book we learn how powerful, intrusive, influential, and invasive big industry is and how alert we must constantly be to prevent it from influencing not only our own personal nutritional choices, but those of our government agencies. Marion Nestle has presented us with a courageous and masterful exposé."—Julia Child

"This remarkable book is essential reading for anyone who wishes to understand how it has come to be that the richest nation in the world is eating itself to death…. Straight reporting about the shaping of food policy, as this volume makes clear, is certain to offend some very powerful players."—Joan Dye Gussow, author of This Organic Life

"Food politics underlie all politics in the United States. There is no industry more important to Americans, more fundamentally linked to our well-being and the future well-being of our children. Nestle reveals how corporate control of the nation's food system limits our choices and threatens our health. If you eat, you should read this book."—Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation

"'Blockbuster' is one of the best ways that I could describe this book…. A major contribution to understanding the interaction of politics and science, especially the science of nutrition, it is of extreme value to virtually all policy makers and to everyone concerned with the American diet."—Sheldon Margen, editor of the Berkeley Wellness Letter

"A devastating analysis of how the naked self-interest of America's largest industry influences and compromises nutrition policy and government regulation of food safety. . . . A clear translation of often obscure studies and cases, the writing is accessible and lively."—Warren Belasco, author of Appetite for Change

About the Author

Marion Nestle is Professor and Chair of the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies at New York University. Author of Nutrition in Clinical Practice (1985), she has served as a nutrition policy advisor to the Department of Health and Human Services and as a member of nutrition and science advisory committees to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration. She is the author of Safe Food: Bacteria, Biotechnology, and Bioterrorism (California, 2003), Pet Food Politics: The Chihuahua in the Coal Mine (California, 2010), and Why Calories Count: From Science to Politics (California, 2012), among other books.

More About the Author

Marion Nestle is Paulette Goddard Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University, which she chaired from 1988-2003. She also holds appointments as Professor of Sociology at NYU and Visiting Professor of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell. Her degrees include a Ph.D. in molecular biology and an M.P.H. in public health nutrition, both from the University of California, Berkeley.

She has held faculty positions at Brandeis University and the UCSF School of Medicine. From 1986-88, she was senior nutrition policy advisor in the Department of Health and Human Services and managing editor of the 1988 Surgeon General's Report on Nutrition and Health.

Her research examines scientific, economic, and social influences on food choice and obesity, with an emphasis on the role of food marketing.

She is the author of three prize-winning books: Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health (California Press, 2002, revised edition, 2007), Safe Food: The Politics of Food Safety (California Press, 2003, revised edition 2010), and What to Eat (North Point Press, 2006). Her latest book, Pet Food Politics: The Chihuahua in the Coal Mine, was published by California Press in 2008. Feed Your Pet Right, co-authored with Malden Nesheim, will be published by Free Press in May, 2010.

She writes the Food Matters column for the San Francisco Chronicle, and blogs daily (almost) at www.foodpolitics.com and for the Atlantic Food Channel at http://amcblogmte4.atlantic-media.us/food/nutrition.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By I. Darren on May 15, 2013
Format: Paperback
At times you might be forgiven for thinking that surely food can be left free of politics, when so much else in the world is tied up with political string. Sorry, but politics plays a big place here too!

Whether it is public policy and politics dictating what we should eat and drink on health grounds, or should that be "health" grounds, geopolitics with us being encouraged to favour produce from country X instead of country Y for various reasons or just plain business politics, with companies lobbying politicians to help further their own means, food and politics are tied together. Depressing reading, for sure, but this book provides a good non-hectoring read of this subject in a tenth anniversary edition of a classic work.

The food industry is big business and yet this academically-minded book does a good job in opening our eyes to what is actually going on in the wider world, without it sounding like there is a conspiracy behind every door. Written from a U.S. perspective the reader should not, however, be under the misapprehension that things are only an "American problem". It is just that perhaps their own country is less open and thus more things are hidden out of view. Will you be able to look at things again in the same light?

Making food is big business and we are encouraged to consume more than we need. Cutting costs to maximise profits often leads to the food that we eat is not necessarily good for us. Convenience foods sound oh-so-convenient until you notice the chemical soup that often accompanies them. There is a reason why various "corners can be cut", totally legally, that maximise profits and waistlines alike. Ah, but there are pesky government regulations that get in the way of free trade and protect the customer, aren't there?
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By lincone on July 29, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am not finished with the book yet, but it's filled with great information regarding the relationship between government agencies and what is communicated to the public regarding healthy nutrition. I recommend this read for anyone who wants to understand what's behind how hard it is to eat/live healthy without the hype given by companies only in it for the money.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Professor on January 8, 2014
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An alarming read for anyone in the healthcare field. Nestles major premise is that eating less would improve health and this is a challenge because this is in direct opposition to the food industries goal of making a profit. Her message is that involvement of the regulatory agencies should be more independent of the food industry. As so many of our chronic illnesses are cause by obesity or influenced by it - she makes a case for why we should all be concerned where we are heading.

Particularly chilling are the details about marketing to children. In addition, the marketing tactics were a slight surprise to me as I am a new reader in this area of health policy. Nestle dissects the subtle nuances of the dietary recommendations and explains how the food industry shapes those recommendations. Of course these tactics arent illegal but when the food industry is involved with shaping the recommendations - the ethical issues become clear. Nestle suggest we should be cautious of research because the food industry influences which research gets published and even reframes the findings to be favorable to products.

A scholarly read that is approachable as well. I liked the liked that the book because it weaves an interesting narrative in with copious references.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gayle Delaney on February 23, 2014
Format: Paperback
Nestle's work is very careful, honest, courageous. She helps us understand why we are so mis-informed about food. The dirty politics behind your so-called education and the national food guidelines have dark forces pulling the strings. Knowledge is our best weapon, and Nestle hands it to us.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By sloan on June 23, 2014
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Ordered the book as part of a course after listening to her give a webinar. What an eye opening read! Would definitely recommend it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It is a really good book that gives you another perspective of everything around food and industry and how consumers are tricked by companies which only interest is selling without any concern or interest in people's health and well being. The author give us really good approach with her experience and knowledge about the topic using many examples of the industry. I highly recommended it would open your mind to many things you are not aware of and help you be another consumer with more power and smart food choices, who can start being part of the good change.
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By Customer on November 10, 2014
Format: Paperback
If it were not for crocked politicians and bureaucrats making laws and policy to line their own pockets or get re-elected we would not have too much to worry about. So before demonizing the next fad, look to your politician that made it possible. Government is not the answer! We make things possible by informing ourselves and purchasing the best products for ourselves. Not what some pseudo-intellect tells us we need to eat! Wake up America!
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By Dr. Allan Wolf on May 25, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Clear and to the point. It arouses anger toward our government but provides hope that we as individuals can do our part to live a healthier life.
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