Best practices for fast food? Epilogue

In an earlier blog post, I made the claim that Chipotle is the only fast food company talking about their efforts to  source local produce,  promote sustainable farming, etc. Once again, I have spoken too soon.

In my defense, this is a technicality.

There you have it, folks. McDonald’s making a vague, implicit reference that at one point in time, their fries were originally potatoes at a farm*.

I think the best analysis of this commercial comes from Linda Huehnergarth, New York State Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Alliance, who tweeted: “Farm to factory to fork is more accurate.”

That about sums it up.

*This might also just be some enormous potato storage warehouse/factory.

Best practices for fast food?

Is the title of this blog post an oxymoron? Is it even possible?

I never envisioned myself writing a blog post praising the practices of a fast food institution, but I was just sent a very informative,  excellently produced (and quite adorable, if I might add) video about some of Chipotle’s sourcing practices. The Mexican food chain’s slogan is “Food With Integrity” and while this first made me chuckle a bit,  this video demonstrates that Chipotle is actually serious about this claim of integrity. Check it out:

 

Fascinated by this video, I went to the Chipotle website to learn more about the policies they have in place to, as the sign reads at the end of the video, “Cultivate a Better World.” Here’s what I found:

It means serving the very best sustainably raised food possible with an eye to great taste, great nutrition and great value. It means that we support and sustain family farmers who respect the land and the animals in their care. It means that whenever possible we use meat from animals raised without the use of antibiotics or added hormones. And it means that we source organic and local produce when practical. And that we use dairy from cows raised without the use of synthetic hormones. (via Chipotle)

Critics may dismiss these claims by arguing that, at the end of the day, this is still fast food, and that the food they serve can be very high in calories. This is a valid point. However, I have to commend Chipotle for paying attention to these important issues and working to incorporate them into the food they serve. They seem to be the only fast food restaurant having this conversation today. These sorts of policies are the ones that make food safer, healthier, and tastier.

And as for the politics? If you ask me, these practices are worthy of some well-deserved publicity. See above.

Let’s Move… away from talking about food?? *Addendum*

Maybe I spoke too soon?

After blogging about the same topic, Marion Nestle was contacted by Sam Kass, White House chef and also an advisor to Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign, who insisted that Let’s Move is NOT moving away from food and nutrition, but rather is simply adding a greater focus to physical activity.

Oops? Whether or not this is true remains to be seen. For now, you can read more about this clarification in Nestle’s Food Politics blog.

Let’s Move… away from talking about food??

I am a big fan of Let’s Move, Michelle Obama’s campaign to curb childhood obesity. The movement touts the slogan: “America’s Move to Raise a Healthier Generation of Kids” and they have done some wonderful things related to health eating policies, such as working to revise the old food pyramid into the new and improved food plate.

Yum!

Continue reading

Looking to learn more about food policies?

Food Policy Person #1A Marion Nestle has posted a short blog highlighting some recently published books on food policy, food security, and food safety. Check it out!

Books about food politics: quick reviews

Add these to the required reading list! And of course, if you’re looking to learn more about food politics in general, check out her (appropriately titled) blog at http://www.foodpolitics.com (she has written quite a few excellent books as well!).

The Dark Side of Food Campaigns, Part 3

So after talking about how big beverage corporations have been targeting their marketing campaigns towards young people, and discussing how the Bloomberg administration has been using an advertising campaign to combat overconsumption of these sugary beverages, I think it’s worth examining a more recent battle of food campaigns. The issue/mini case study at hand: calorie counts. Continue reading

Happy Early Thanksgiving!

While 2011 has been difficult for many, there’s still much to be thankful for this year, and this holds true in the food policy world. I could write a blog post about it, but I’ve been beaten to the punch by food/food policy/cooking expert and all around great guy Mark Bittman.  In this past Sunday’s The New York Times, Bittman creates a list (is it too early to start checking it twice?) on all he is thankful for that relates to food, food policy, hunger, farming, and other topics related to food. At the topic of the list is a shout out to food policy expert Marion Nestle, whose blog, Food Politics, is a big inspiration for me. Also making an appearance on the list are programs that help feed low-income families; groups, farmers, and journalists (Michael Pollan!) that support local and healthy food movements; and others who are working to make the world a better, cleaner, and healthier place. It’s a very nice piece that I encourage everyone to read and consider when celebrating Thanksgiving and eating (local??) turkey.

Happy Thanksgiving!