You Won’t Believe What the Food Industry Is Doing to Keep Americans Hooked on Junk
Alternet’s April M. Short just put together a great article detailing some of the more devious ways in which corporations peddle their food products.
First, she describes about how processed foods are made to look more natural, like McDonald’s using less perfect circles to mold their eggs or Hillshire Farms layering dye into their poultry wafers to give them a grain. She then gives examples of companies using games and charity to market to children, like when a third grade class takes a field trip to McDonald’s to hear about the Ronald McDonald House. For another great example of McDonald’s advertising to young children, check out happymeal.com. Note the disclaimer in the upper left reading “Hey kids, this is advertising!” Finally, Short talks about how food scientists use salt, sugar and fat to basically render their food products addictive.
And speaking of the science of creating food addiction, the New York Times has this article.
And here’s a great article from 100 Days of Real Food looking at how food companies vary their ingredients to take advantage of lax American food safety laws. It compares the ingredients of US and UK versions of some popular processed foods. (Hint: Here in the US we get much crappier ingredients.) At the end, there are links to some troubling research about GM foods.
Adapted versions of these readings would make a great addition to a unit on food. For more ideas on how to bring critical thinking into food units, check out the materials from my TESOL presentation.