McDonald’s Selling Sex in China

September 24th, 2006


When you think of traditional Chinese fare, cheeseburgers and French fries don’t immediately come to mind. But that hasn’t stopped the king of fast food from infiltrating the world’s most populous nation. As recently reported by the Wall Street Journal, “McDonald’s is looking to open some 230 new stores in China by 2008, bringing its total here to about 1,000.” Read the rest of this entry »

Lawsuit Against McDonald’s Goes Forward

September 21st, 2006

While late-night comedians joked when a New York lawyer filed a lawsuit against McDonald’s in 2002 for making his clients sick and obese, the fast food giant is now finding itself one step closer to the courtroom door. As reported today by the New York Law Journal (sub req’d) regarding the case of two teenagers, known as “Pelman v. McDonald’s”: Read the rest of this entry »

Special Report on Food Policy Conference

September 17th, 2006

Last week I spoke at the Consumer Federation of America’s 29th Annual National Food Policy Conference. Each year, the meeting brings together government, advocates, and industry. The event was co-sponsored by the Food Products Association, along with such Big Food favorites as Kraft and Coca-Cola. Despite the presence of industry, the panels were remarkably balanced and the atmosphere was such that hard questions could be asked. Topics covered ranged from agricultural policy, to marketing to children, to nanotechnology. Read the rest of this entry »

Soda Lobby’s Back-to-School PR Campaign

September 17th, 2006

As reported on September 7 by the Atlanta-Journal Constitution (Soft drink makers start PR offensive), the American Beverage Association has launched a new $10 million ad campaign claiming its members care about children’s health. (You can view the three print ads on the ABA website.) Read the rest of this entry »

Victory for Local Food Democracy

September 17th, 2006

Because we should celebrate our victories over Big Food, below is an excerpt from a September 1 press release from Californians for GE-Free Agriculture. Note the ironic twist: While soda companies argue for “local control” in school vending,” Big Agriculture is trying to stop local communities from banning genetically-engineered crops. Industry will use any argument that is expedient. This time it didn’t work. Visit Californians for GE-Free Agriculture. Read the rest of this entry »

Back to School Food - Changes or Same Old Story?

September 1st, 2006

It’s that time of year again, when parents can breathe a sigh of relief that their kids are well cared for during the day. But can parents trust that schools will protect their kids when it comes to how they are fed? If you’re like most parents, you’re probably more concerned with your child’s education than the vending machines lining the school hallways. Despite ample scientific evidence of the connection between good nutrition and strong academic performance, (not to mention good health) many schools continue to peddle high-fat, high-sugar, and highly processed food and beverages to vulnerable kids. Read the rest of this entry »

Junk Food Marketing to Kids - Legal Analysis

August 25th, 2006

Last October, I coordinated a legal symposium with Loyola Law School in Los Angeles called Food Marketing to Children and the Law. An important goal was to help dispel many of the myths perpetuated by a defensive food industry about its predatory marketing techniques. The result was a huge success. We brought together some of the brightest and most dedicated legal thinkers in the nation. The published articles from that symposium are now available. Topics include the history of the Federal Trade Commission’s attempt to regulate in the 1970s, the failure of industry self-regulation, First Amendment analysis, and much more. You can view the presentations from last fall here or order a copy of the special issue here. For copies of individual articles, contact me at:

Welcome to my blog!

August 24th, 2006

Loyal fans of my newsletter, Informed Eating and newcomers alike, welcome. It seems that almost everyone these days is blogging, so I figured I better jump in. What can you expect from Big Food Watch? The same edgy, cutting-edge news and analysis you’ve come to expect from my writing. For now, the blog will replace the newsletter as I experiment with the format. Blogging will allow me to be more responsive to the news as it happens. You can also keep up to date as I promote my new book, Appetite for Profit, this fall.

We will still maintain the mailing list (sign up here), but now instead of getting the newsletter, you will receive periodic emails alerting you to my latest blog postings. Not to worry, we won’t clog your in-box. You can expect mailings on average maybe twice a month. If you want me to post something or if you have any feedback at all, please feel free to contact me at: Let’s get started!