Monday, June 15, 2015

Meatless Monday: We Have the Power

For years author and food advocate Michael Pollan has been urging consumers to “Vote with your fork.” 

People have been listening, and all this spring the results have been rolling in. A growing number of companies have been addressing consumers’ concerns about food sourcing and food quality.

On April 20, Kraft announced that it will remove artificial color from its Macaroni and Cheese and use paprika, annatto, and turmeric in its place.

On April 27, Chipotle stated that they had become the first national restaurant to cook with only non-GMO ingredients. [As the NPR blog the salt points out, however, the chain is still serving soda containing high fructose corn syrup.]

The next day Tyson publicized that they were striving to “eliminate human antibiotics from our broiler chicken production by September 2017.” [Note that only human antibiotics were mentioned.]

Last year Subway finished removal of the artificial ingredient azodicarbonamide from its bread, in response to a campaign launched by blogger “Food Babe,” who had dubbed the chemical the “yoga mat material.” This spring Subway announced that it was introducing a new roast beef devoid of artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. 

On May 15, Panera published “The No No List” of artificial preservatives, sweeteners, colors, and flavors it pledges to remove from their bakery-cafes by the end of 2016. 

Later that month CNN Money published an article appropriately titled “You won't believe the $%#! you've been eating” that referenced a few more stories that had not appeared on my radar. Check out the paragraph on Taco Bell, who announced that it would stop using “artificial pepper” and start using real pepper. Really? What $%#! indeed? 

That’s a whole lot of changes without the government stepping in. But we have a long way to go.

Money talks. Collectively we have the power. Keep on voting! 

Happy Meatless Monday!  Have a great week.

On Mondays I often blog on food, food issues, or gardening in support of Meatless Monday, one of several programs developed in the Healthy Monday project, founded in 2003 in association with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications. Meatless Monday’s goal is “to help reduce meat consumption 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet.”

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