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Old 05-24-2015, 08:54 PM
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Default The war on big food.

Special Report: The war on big food - Fortune

It gladdens my heart to see pretty much any big corporate lobby flailing, but I have an extra special love for this right now.

Big agribusiness has been working very hard creating a narrative where their skeptics are all stupid and hysterical, and blowing smoke up people's asses about how sane and rational they'll be for repeating their talking points, and it seems to work a lot of the time. It's nice to see that they're taking an overall hit from it.
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Old 05-25-2015, 02:32 AM
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Default Re: The war on big food.

Quote:
Try this simple test. Say the following out loud: Artificial colors and flavors. Pesticides. Preservatives. High-fructose corn syrup. Growth hormones. Antibiotics. Gluten. Genetically modified organisms.
What does it mean if none of those terms bother me, but I still love seeing big ag take a hit?

I've been told my failure to utter terms like "GMOs" only with a revolted sneer makes me part of the problem. I think that's pretty stupid and hysterical. That doesn't mean I like or trust a nebulous, powerful, profit-motivated big agri-business any farther than I can throw them.
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  #3  
Old 05-25-2015, 03:09 AM
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Default Re: The war on big food.

The irony, of course, is that we've created a society in which it's generally easier -- and considerably cheaper -- to eat poorly than it is to eat well. That's a big part of the reason why obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and other diet-related disorders are such problems in this country.
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Old 05-25-2015, 04:19 AM
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Default Re: The war on big food.

Oh, some of those things make me cringe reflexively, but mostly because it's an indication that someone is going to start spewing silly media talking points.

Last election cycle, we had GMO labeling on the ballot, and there was a constant barrage of ridiculous, alarmist campaigning against it. TV commercials, mailers, and constant robocalls, all sort of citing some superstitious villagers afraid of progress in some big general sense. They even had these obviously prerecorded robodialed "town hall" meetings where they'd have po' family farmers talking about how banning GMOs would force them out of business, and only big factory farms would be able to compete anymore. Seriously, a major component of that campaign was conflating labeling with BANNING.

And they won.

That's what drives me fucking crazy. It's the ridiculous, alarmist bullshit where they paint all of their opponents as unhinged, ignorant extremists, and enough people just swallow that narrative that they can actually get people to vote against labeling the products they buy, based on paternalistic assurances that regular consumers can't be trusted with that information.

But there are plenty of things that people object to these things who aren't just fearful, torch wielding villagers.

For example, I have a real problem with HFCS just because it's encroached on everything and it's like people don't even seem to notice or care how grotesquely sweet most prepared foods have gotten. I mean, A) gross, and B) that just can't be good for people to be getting used to sweeteners in everything. But when I mention that, or the fact that we just plain grow too much fucking corn, someone always manages to parse it as if I'm one of those people they saw on the TV commercials who is just a-skeert of the big words.

Anyways, that's why I'm glad to see them hurting. Because this industry has engineered a huge, pervasive information campaign designed to advance their narrative, and apparently, it's not working as well as I'd thought it was. So hooray.
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Old 05-25-2015, 04:42 AM
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Default Re: The war on big food.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lisarea View Post
For example, I have a real problem with HFCS just because it's encroached on everything and it's like people don't even seem to notice or care how grotesquely sweet most prepared foods have gotten. I mean, A) gross, and B) that just can't be good for people to be getting used to sweeteners in everything.
It isn't.
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Old 05-25-2015, 06:50 AM
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Default Re: The war on big food.

You, sir, are an hysterical alarmist of the very worst kind! :freakout:


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Old 05-25-2015, 07:10 AM
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Default Re: The war on big food.

Companies like Nestle are easily on par with Big Tobacco in the amount of evil. I mean what other corporation is built around marketing sugar and fats and new modern extra sweet sugar and diet dinners that taste just enough like cardboard you treat yourself with a nestle fat and sugar stick. It's tobacco level thinking when sugar lobbyists are claiming there's no connection between sugar and poor health, while marketing another line of products as "healthy" because they contain less sugar.
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Old 05-25-2015, 09:12 AM
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Default Re: The war on big food.

That barely scratches the surface of the evil that is Nestle.
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Old 05-25-2015, 06:52 PM
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Default Re: The war on big food.

Yeah, like their aggressive promotion of baby formula over breastfeeding in developing countries. They'd run advertising campaigns which claimed that their formula was better for babies than breast milk -- from what I've heard, anyway, some of the advertisements all but outright accuse women who opt to breastfeed of being bad mothers -- and they'd send free formula samples to hospitals and maternity wards.

Why is that pernicious? Because, if the young mother feeds her infant formula instead of breast milk, she soon stops lactating. And then she has little choice but to continue feeding her child the formula.

But, of course, as soon as she and her child leave the hospital, Nestlé stops supplying the formula for free ...
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Old 05-26-2015, 08:36 PM
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Default Re: The war on big food.

I recently read a quotation from the head of Nestle saying water isn't a human right. Which didn't surprise me, because they have fought tooth and nail against any attempt to limit them from draining the Great Lakes for bottled water.

In related news, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut have announced they are getting rid of artificial ingredients. That article talked about the food companies getting rid of additives, but not the ones that make the additives. I kind of wonder what's going on with them in all this.
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Old 05-26-2015, 10:05 PM
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Default Re: The war on big food.

Water privatization is a huge, horrific thing. It's been going on in South Africa for quite some time, and they have the cholera and the murders of citizens by private police forces to prove it. The results have been uniformly horrific. That fuckface knows it.

But LOL @ that artificial ingredient article:

Quote:
even though the Food and Drug Administration says GMOs are safe.
Really? The FDA said that? That all GMOs are safe? Like, by their very nature or something? So if you genetically modify an organism, it is by definition safe? Cool.

But, see, that is no more stupid an interpretation than talking about people's 'unfounded fears' about artificial ingredients, or the commonly cited naturalistic fallacy.

The thing about artificial ingredients and new technologies is that they're often not sufficiently tested before they're unleashed on the population and the environment in big, sweeping waves. The reason that we know which 'natural' ingredients and foods are safe is, all too often, trial and error. They've been around for a long time, in naturally occurring quantities and contexts, and we've been able to observe their effects on large populations, in the world. We've seen what they do to the human body, and to human culture and the environment. And despite common misperceptions, we're still doing that. We're still waiting to see how things pan out for the most part. Howcome people are getting fatter? Why are honeybees dying out? What's with the weird earthquake patterns and strange pockets of disease and fishes all turning into lady fishes?

These aren't things that our regulatory agencies test for preemptively. These effects are often unpredictable. Because when you go around changing things on a large scale like that, shit happens, and it's not always the shit you might be looking for during the approval process.

And for that reason, people understandably will sometimes evaluate the usefulness of a particular innovation against its unknown potential to do harm. And maybe the benefits of having more brightly colored Taco Bell or cost savings of artificial flavorings are, in a lot of people's opinions, not really beneficial enough to merit embracing them.

It's not unreasonable or unfounded for consumers to say, "You know, no. This is not an innovation I think is valuable enough to be a guinea pig for. I will pay the premium for real black pepper, and my tacos do not need to be day glo colored."
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  #12  
Old 05-26-2015, 10:34 PM
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Default Re: The war on big food.

I think there needs to be a different term for artificial versions on natural chemicals vanillin comes to mind as a nature chemical duplicated by science. On the other hand many artificial sweeteners were discovered when crappy chemists who licked their fingers when working on petrol additives.
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Old 05-29-2015, 09:07 PM
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Default Re: The war on big food.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lisarea View Post
Special Report: The war on big food - Fortune

It gladdens my heart to see pretty much any big corporate lobby flailing, but I have an extra special love for this right now.

Big agribusiness has been working very hard creating a narrative where their skeptics are all stupid and hysterical, and blowing smoke up people's asses about how sane and rational they'll be for repeating their talking points, and it seems to work a lot of the time. It's nice to see that they're taking an overall hit from it.
Yeah, it is.

You know where that narrative arises, don't you? Just take a look at the PhRMA crowd and the paradigm they've been utilizing for decades now. The model seems to work real well for them, so it was only a matter of time before other privileged economic actors would adopt it.

So, why is it that PhRMA and their minions get a pass here, but Big Agri doesn't?
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Old 04-13-2016, 07:23 AM
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Default Re: The war on big food.

I was wondering if there might be a better thread to hang this off than lisarea's "Miscellany" because she already thinks too much of herself and I didn't want to give her the satisfaction. :shakenancy:

I had just about given up when, lo! I found this thread by lisarea, whose superpowers enable her to prepare important threads months in advance. Where would :ff: be without you, lisarea!

So here's Bill talking about how America hates you being informed.

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Old 04-13-2016, 07:32 AM
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Default Re: The war on big food.

Ugh, Bill Maher's such a piece of shit, even when I agree with him I can't stand listening to his smarmy half jokes.
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Old 04-13-2016, 08:44 AM
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Default Re: The war on big food.

Sorry Ari!

As a European sausage-eating surrender monkey, I know next to nothing of Maher and have no reason to dislike his work. How much the worth of what someone creates is dependent on their conduct and values as expressed in the rest of their life, is an interesting philosophical side-issue (viz. the Wagner problem). But it does seem to me that the kind of work that Maher does is totally connected with, and bound up in, personal qualities, chief among which is integrity.

If anyone can enlighten me about Maher's lack of personal integrity and general wholesomeness, I will resolve not to endorse him or his work again.
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Old 04-13-2016, 09:03 AM
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Default Re: The war on big food.

Maybe I'll eventually go into why Bill Maher is such a shit head douchecannoe, but I'm slowly trying to watch that video without vomiting so I can add something useful to the actual topic.
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Old 04-14-2016, 12:42 AM
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Default Re: The war on big food.

I have watched the video. I am able to attest to Bill Maher's general smarminess and lack of wholesomeness. He made some good points and I will endeavour to avoid seeing him ever again.

Also, please imagine that I would have [thanksed] that post, but I have a doctor's note.
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Old 06-08-2016, 07:22 PM
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Default Re: The war on big food.

Here we go. Bill Maher getting told by Tyson,
Neil DeGrasse Tyson Tells Bill Maher That Anti-Science Liberals Are Full of Shit Too

Maher likes to treat everyone who doesnt agree like they are idiots talking to his superior intellect while being an anti-vaxxer himself and and promoting quack science. Its the hardline smugness while spewing crap that annoys me.
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Old 06-08-2016, 07:52 PM
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Default Re: The war on big food.

Bill Maher is no liberal, he's a PEP (Progressive Except for Palestine, i.e. not progressive at all).
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Old 06-08-2016, 08:31 PM
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Default Re: The war on big food.

DISCLAIMER: I cannot watch the video right now, so if I am misconstruing what happened based on the text, :dealwithit:

As much as I relish the idea of Bill Maher getting yelled at, and as much as I LOL at discovering he believes that stuff, there is hardly a case of equal full of shittedness.

Look at this terrifying headline about anti-vaccination propaganda:

Poll Reveals A Disturbing New Trend About Vaccine Opinions

Read a couple paragraphs down, and you'll see that 84% of Americans believe that vaccinations are 'extremely' or 'very' important. The disturbing trend is that more people have heard anti-vaccination arguments.

Now let's look at some polls on climate change:

https://environment.yale.edu/poe/v2014/

U.S. Concern About Global Warming at Eight-Year High

That eight year high, of people very or fairly concerned about global warming, is 64%.

Those are much worse numbers, and that is a much worse problem. Yes, there is a real tangible risk of outbreaks of near eradicated diseases due to low vaccination compliance, and some have already happened. People, including children, can and will die from those diseases. But that is a limited effect, and it's very likely reversible. Unlike global warming.

And I have never heard a convincing argument that GMO fearmongering would have any serious effect on anything that matters, so, I mean, LOL Bill Maher, it's a stupid belief, but I'm just not seeing it as a particularly dangerous one.

These things are all silly, but they're not by any means equally bad. And yeah, Bill Maher should probably shut the fuck up about that sort of thing. But like the Watser points out, a) he shouldn't call Bill Maher a liberal, and b) he shouldn't call liberals Bill Maher.
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Old 06-08-2016, 08:52 PM
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Default Re: The war on big food.

I would argue the opposite. A single climate denier isnt much of a danger but a handfull of vax deniers can cause an outbreak. Here in the bay area we've already had pockets of outbreaks traced back to groups of anti-vaxxers which endanger whole communities.

GMO fear is less dangerous but does come with problems although the main issue is the general scince illiteracy and scare mongering that allows charlatans to flourish.
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Old 06-08-2016, 10:12 PM
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Default Re: The war on big food.

Climate change deniers and minimizers are a legitimate political force that has been holding back progress for a long, long time. Long enough that we're probably already permanently fucked, and yet still only 64% of people are concerned about it.

We have big pockets of non-vaccination around here, too, and we've had the outbreaks. Yes, people get sick, schools have to close, and if nobody has directly died as a direct result, it will happen before long. That is horrible, but at a societal level, it's also reversible. And I realize this sounds really cold and all, but the number of people who would die or be seriously affected by preventable disease outbreaks is a hell of a lot smaller than the number that will be affected by climate change.

And it's almost as scientifically illiterate to say "GMOs are safe" as it is to say they aren't. Like 90% of people get all kneejerky on that topic. It has not seemed to me that the people on the anti-anti-GMO side of that argument are any better informed than the antis.
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Old 06-08-2016, 11:18 PM
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Default Re: The war on big food.

Well yes in the long run climate change denial is bad and destructive but when talking about the average person 100 climate deniers wont do near the damage that 100 vax deniers will.

Its the big name decision makers that ultimately effect our climate but any Typhoid Joe can seriously hurt others when ignoring vaccines.

GMOs are safe. Theres no known mechanism where a GMO product will hurt consumers, especially since its just a more sciency version of what farmers have done for years. Abuse of GMOs on the otherhand can be dangerous to our food production. Which is more about how far we allow companies to abuse their power. Such as Monsantos total control over patented genetics.
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Old 06-08-2016, 11:33 PM
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Default Re: The war on big food.

Exactly, I don't object to GMO's for sciency reasons but for the patents and the control.
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