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Blogging the Adelaide Festival of Ideas 2007 « Previous | |Next »
July 6, 2007

I walked into the 2007 Adelaide Festival of Ideas for the mid morning session in the delightful Bonython Hall on food entitled Before You Eat. It was hosted by Norman Swan, who runs the Health Report on your ABC. The session was introduced by Swan as a conversation amongst the participants on the politics of food. with the audience able to ask questions at any point. The session rambled over many topics as conversations do.

Marion Nestle kicked it off by introducing the industrial system of food or agri business that externalizes the cost of production (polluted rivers), has huge waste problems and produces poor quality food The reaction to this in the form of the sustainable family farm or organic farming. So we are faced with choices about the food we eat.

Kerin O'Dea argued that if change what we eat then we have to change the food supply. Instead of sending market signals to farmers to produce lean met we pay by the weight and so we have fatty meat. The food supply is not connected to public health.

Peter Clifton deepened this insight by arguing that as water is the crucial issue for Australians so there needs to be a trade of between the water used and the calories produced. So we weigh up white rice and an animal source of protein that also contains vitamins and minerals as a balancing act.

Clifton argued that as food production is efficient in Australia, food is cheap, Australians eat too much and so they become obese. I would have thought that junk food makes us fat and that there is a class divide around food: the middle class eat good quality food whilst the working class eats fatty food. That's what promotes obesity. The politics of food is a class issue. Even though we are surrounded, seduced and tempted by junk food, eating good food does matter in terms of our health or wellbeing.

A number of interesting questions were raised by audience about antibiotics in industrial produced chickens, the effects of gene technology on farmers, the greater inequality in diets, what our diets would be in 2040 given the effects of climate change---shortage of water and increased cost of energy.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:41 PM | | Comments (3)


Supermarkets in the US break up the meat by lean-ness and put it in separate packages. For instance minced meat is broken out into 70% lean, 80% lean, 85% lean and 90% lean.

That leaves all the fat that has been trimmed off the meat. Where does that wastage go?

Sausages are pre-packaged in the US too, so not there. Probably sent back to the factories to make hot dogs haha. Hot dogs are known in the US as 'lips and assholes'.