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tv   Book Discussion  CSPAN  November 10, 2014 1:00am-1:36am EST

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here's a look at events we'll be attending this week. look for this programs to air in the near future on booktv on c-span2. on monday, we're at the jewish community center of san francisco for former cia operative robert bear's talk on the history of political asass nations. the next evening at the university of pennsylvania book store in philadelphia. steven cook examines the life of joseph stalin. on wednesday, james robbins recounsels the military career of general george custer at the hudson library in hudson, ohio. and on thursday, at book court book store in brooklyn, new york, the chief national cooperate for "the new york times" magazine profiled several politics and members of the media. and that's a look at some of the author programs booktv will be covering this upcoming week. for more go to the web site, book and visit, upcoming programs. ...
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it employs a vast percentage of the nation's people. everybody eats every day. it couldn't be more important. [inaudible] food is different from tobacco.
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it's simple. one product is really bad for health [inaudible] they can't live with it if they don't eat and it's not just one product. it's thousands of products but the question dealing with nutrition issues [inaudible] [inaudible]
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calories available in the food supply every day and the people read about these figures so the food industry is competitive and it has to find lots of ways and in doing that as the number of calories increase it is to contain more and more ways to push food on people and it did that very effectively. >> host: how did it do that? >> guest: we have to go back into the 70s. starting in the late 1970s, early 1980s three things happened. first was that the cultural policy is changed so that instead of paying farmers not to grow food, we paid them to grow
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as much as they can and they do and that's why there's more calories in the food supply. the second is wall street in the 80s changed. whereas the shareholder value that insisted instead of those stocks that we never hear about any more, the shareholders want higher returns on investments and we want them right now so for the food companies that were trying to sell food in the competitive environment now they had to pressure. they had to produce growth every 90 days. this put this under enormous pressure so they began to look for ways they could so more food and they did in the 80s after president reagan was elected.
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on the regulatory agenda the regulating of marketing to children through it was possible in a way that had never been done before. and that combination of things plus the deregulation and the food and drug and administration gave the food companies the market in ways they never had before and they did that while making larger portions of food. they started coming in in the 1980s and they also put food everywhere. there's food at bed bath and beyond into staples.
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they wouldn't allow it anywhere near the library so these are ways of selling food and we are humans. humans eat. >> host: you write food companies would make any product that solves regardless of the value words affect on it. >> guest: take coca-cola for example under an honest pressure from health authorities] have its sugar water. it's not only sugar and no nutrients but in the liquid form that they have their own metabolic difficulties. so yes billions of dollars going
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into marketing coca-cola every year and people would be much healthier if they didn't drink soft drinks. >> host: at all? >> guest: now we can buy 64-ounce bottles. small amounts, fine but it's against our genetic code. >> host: a lot of products are fortified and have vitamins added in. is there not a good thing? >> guest: i read a paper that just came out the shows if you ask people about the differences between products that are fortified and are not, they think the fortified one has fewer calories and if you set up
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the fortified product versus that which they came from people think it's healthier than the average of food that's marketing. that is what some of us called nutrition is some if it is used as a code for food. >> host: had our farmers got gotten more efficient? >> guest: the level of efficiency and productivity has increased dramatically over the last 50 years and the number has gone way down because they can't compete and that has done is the key to the population in rural america if you don't have small farms you don't have people
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around him to and the migrant farmworkers are going through and you go through rural america now and it is just devastating and heartbreaking when the secretary secretary of agriculture in the obama administration came in with an agenda of revitalizing the world america and that meant moving to small farms again. he hasn't been able to do much with that and that has been a tragedy because the forces in this business are huge and they understand that the organic seasonal and local food that is popular among the educated population in the united states has the power in congress. >> host: genetically modified food.
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natural, isn't a bad thing? >> guest: it is as polarizing as the middle east. you can't get people in the same room just like you can't get the palestinian people in the same room. you can't get pro- and anti-gmo people in the room. the industry brought this on themselves by insisting it right from the beginning there was no reason to genetically label the food. think about what happened if they were labeled in the beginning. i was on the advisory committee at the time and i said you've got to label them. if you don't do public will wonder what you are trying to hide and people will not have a choice.
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they always argue about choice except for the modified. if they put a label at it from the beginning and by this time in 20 years later they will realize nobody dropped dead from these foods and maybe there were good ones and bad ones and they could talk about what could products were. >> host: what are the rules on labeling something organic? >> guest: they have convocations that go on i think through what the rules are for the product is labeled organic it has to follow the rules and it is inspected to make sure that it is follow those rules and they see that for the plant crops no genetic engineering, no
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chemical fertilizers or herbicides there is more about what they said because there isn't enough around and it's expensive and they also have certain things to make their conditions a little bit better so those are very clear and anyone that has a label on the food product is following those rules. >> host: as a professor of food studies and hope that new york university do you eat organic foods and look for organic foods? >> guest: i do because what they do is they are produced
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without using the worst of the chemical herbicides and pesticides and they also have to maintain a quality of soil in ways that industrial farming doesn't have to do. it uses fertilizers rather than building up soil and has anybody that knows what really counts is the quality of the soil so every time you pick an organic product or i pick an organic product, i am voting for and willing to pay a little bit more to make sure that it is made more sustainably >> host: why is it that the foods that seem to have sugar or a lot of --
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>> guest: put the products on the shelf and that nothing bad will happen to it. also the government subsidized corn and soybeans which are the basis of a lot of the ingredients in processed foods so those ingredients are cheaper than they would be added the other ingredient is high fructose corn syrup and it's much cheaper than sugar. >> host: do you have faith that the food supply is being protected in a sense or do you think the bad actors are being promoted to? >> guest: i have more faith in the system than i did five years
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ago but it came in with a clean agenda on the safety to the extent that it could and what that meant is getting the congress to pass the food safety modernization act that congress did in 2011 and that gave power that they had been seeking for decades to issue the recalls to require food producers to follow the food safety standard procedures and so forth so the fda is finally getting started on that and there's going to be a few years before they are completely implemented but everybody knows that this is coming into a bomb on board and started following these procedures. the other thing is that the food courts have taken the food
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safety more seriously so the corporation in america was convicted recently of doing very bad things and this was a the company that invented peanut butter was contaminated with salmonella and lots of people got sick and there were deaths in that one sits between the fda rules and increasing the inspection ability and what the courts are doing i think we will see this as an improved. >> host: one thing people know is that food pyramid. is that a successful model? >> guest: it went from 1992 through 2011 when the obama administration replaced it.
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i happen to be very fond of the period and it's something none of them have done which is to make it very clear that it is done in some more than others and they are less hierarchical than that. but the obama administration wanted the clean sweep of anything that had gone before. >> host: when the students come into class what is your reaction to some of the products they have. >> guest: i never comment on what anybody else eats. i think it's rude. >> host: what is your opinion when you go to some of this mac stuff. >> guest: it's about marketing it's not about health. if you want to eat healthy you have plenty of fruits and vegetables in your diet, you
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don't eat much junk food and balance your calorie intake against the number you are expanding. there's really nothing to it and there are lots of tips. lots and lots but those do not get heavily advertised food products. it used to be that the periphery of the grocery store had real foods and i could stay out of the center aisles that i can't do that anymore because grocery stores called on so now they have junk food everywhere. >> host: does the obesity rate? >> guest: it is 22 or 23% considered to be obese that means that by the index it's about 80 or above and roughly
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70% and the risk of heart disease and other kinds of diseases. >> host: when we have bad eating habits do can we really blame that on general mills or kellogg's? >> guest: that is one way of blaming it on one company. i think that we can say that the eating pattern in the united states isn't a healthy eating pattern and the less hopeful foods are cheaper than the heavily advertised and the amount of money that goes into marketing said that $17 billion a year for the food beverages and people are very responsive otherwise they wouldn't market.
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what is interesting about that is that almost nobody that i know recognizes marketing influences what they eat. it's supposed to sit below the radar and marketers are very good at that. so i think it has a great deal to do with creating a food environment that encourages people to eat more of the wrong kind of things. they don't see those advertising budgets for fruits and struggles because they don't have the kind of money that the market of food products do. if you are selling half a billion units of a particular serial you have enough money to promote that serial and you're
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going to be advertising on tv and getting content and all kinds of things or you will be supporting community organizations and funding research into doing all kinds of things just like the cigarette companies do to make sure health professionals don't advise you. >> host: you talk about the marketing campaign like milk does a body good and we have a picture of donna shalala the former secretary at the university of miami. >> guest: that ad came out at the same time the dietary guidelines committee which is a committee of health and human services and the department of
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agriculture was dealing with how many servings of dairy products they were going to recommend in the dietary guidelines of that era and i was told that doctor shelley line didn't see anything wrong with it. she thought that it was fine. they never identified the people that were in it and i thought it was a conflict of interest and i worry a lot about the food industry's intent and unrelenting efforts to get academics of one kind or another to sign on in something i would see as a conflict of interest situation. and guess what those studies
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never showed that they have any effect whatsoever. >> host: if you could make the decision, what you say no more subsidies of any food types and the government? >> guest: i think that they have better ways of supporting the helpful by its and if they are going to subsidize we don't have an agricultural policy that is linked in any way whatsoever. they are completely separate. so as the affordable care act kicks in and it becomes clear that prevention of disease is going to be a better way to go than to try to treat the disease because the treatment will always be huge i think the government is going to look for ways that it can command some of these diseases particularly
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diabetes type ii. they need to promote more fruits, such the chuckles, whole grains and so forth. >> host: it's been updated every couple of years. what's your reaction? >> guest: i don't think they like me very much. in the beginning there was a threat and lawsuit in the sugar association that was extremely upset that i had said something about the sugar in water and nothing else and the sugar association that represents the sugarcane and sugar beads was very offended because they said i should know that they contain
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high fructose corn syrup. that is another lobbying group. they represent high fructose corn syrup and they threatened a lawsuit but he never followed up on it. >> host: general mills, nestlé , are the big bad actors? >> guest: i don't think they need to be. people work for those companies but the are in a situation where they are publicly traded, and publicly traded companies under the wall street rules have to report growth and the ability to meet growth targets every 90 days to wall street. this took them under absolute way unbelievable pressure to demonstrate growth and they would do anything to solve the food product. they would cut corners on food safety. they would market to vulnerable children and they will know all of the marketing overseas.
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so in the places people don't need these products at all in order to meet the growth targets and all you have to do is read the business pages of "the wall street journal" or any newspaper and look at how closely the growth is scrutinized. when students ask me i want to work for a food company and to transform the industry so that it's working towards health i would rather go to the company that isn't publicly traded and if they do they better make sure that it's a benefit corporation in the state that allows corporations to make decisions that are based on other issues
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besides. >> host: what about food labels, they were changed in the last seven or eight years. are they effective? >> guest: the food labels are in play in this moment. the fda has put out proposals to revise their labels in order to make some changes and emphasize calories and make changes people are talking about in the public comment. i don't know how long it will take or what the decisions will be but there's been a great deal of lobbying about it. and again the label is only for food products. we don't see the nutrition facts labels on apples or ranges. one way to deal with the whole what should you eat is never eat
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anything with a food label on it. >> host: how would you design a label? >> guest: with difficulty. i would do something much disagree much like a traffic label system that was used in great britain for a while. the fda proposed a photo packaging system. because the institute of medicine in washington to do the two major reports on the package labeling and the second is a proposed system of photo package labeling and it's like traffic lights where it only looks at the sugar, salt, saturated fat and calories and has a check mark for them. but that came out during an election year and find him and i think the fda is going to leave those reports in the drawer
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until they get the nutrition facts label straightened out and they may never go back to it but i would pull the report out of the drawer immediately. >> host: because of the availability of more calories per person and is thus likely to decrease world hunger? >> guest: would be nice. it is decreasing according to the food and agriculture organization that just came out with its annual report and its down it's down to 800 million people in the world. most of them in asia, africa and india. hunger isn't about the amount of food that's available but whether people can afford to buy it or not and this gets to the
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question of income equities and issues related to how do you develop the system of the individuals that enable people to buy food they need on a dalia basis and have enough for that. in the united states, we have a food insecurity rate. that's 15% of however many million. these are people in the working poor that either have doubts and don't pay enough or they can't get jobs so the issue is an employment and wages. one of the things i like to
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change about it so many important issues in the society. climate change is some of those problems. >> guest: the women and children's programs are the only programs that stand between people in destitution. there's plenty of evidence but it now costs the taxpayers
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$80 billion a year and it costs 80% of the farm bill. if you're a republican legislator who thinks the government is too big and needs to be cut, here's $80 billion it is just a target for people that want a budget cut and nobody cares about the difference takes to a family that us poor. >> host: how did you get interested in the topic? >> guest: i like to eat a and from the first course i took you can't understand anything about why people eat the way they do.
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people don't eat food in a vacuum or make choices in the vacuum they make the choices they based on what the culture requires and a lot of it dips into the arcane politics. the most i can think of the sugar policy is extremely coordinated complicated. if somebody tells me they don't understand the farm bill i tell them they don't know what they are talking about. these are political decisions that have an impact on the lives not only of americans but the lives of people in the world. so we need to understand the politics and dietary overt goal
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is to get them into becoming advocates. >> host: food politics of nutrition and health tv on c-span2. the codirector co- director of the new york university development research institute. to discuss the latest book the tierney of experts. this is part of the tiki college series and it's about 20 minutes. >> professor william easterly the forgotten rights of the poor what is your message? >> guest: my message is a tragedy that we have forgotten about the right to the poor and they are worse off than better
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off. >> host: how are we conducting this vice? >> guest: a lot of it is the american aid agency and some of it is through private philanthropy like the gates foundation. they are giving money to technical solutions and i think they are being politically neutral or indifferent, the president of the crowds that they are kind of colluding with the autocrats in power. one was 2012 when he died of natural causes. he had been praised as contributing a lot to the


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