Joan Gussow: Is it Fair to Sell Sugar to Children?

Via Daniel Bowman Simon, the food movement’s archival Indiana Jones, comes this nugget from the excellent Joan Gussow. Writing in 1974 she asked a question that, if the Twitterverse’s response to last week’s article and yesterday’s Q interview is anything to go by, still matters to many: Is it Fair to Sell Sugar to Children? It’s a terrific, prescient indictment of the food system.

1974 Joan Gussow is It Fair to Sell Sugar to Children

2 Replies to “Joan Gussow: Is it Fair to Sell Sugar to Children?”

  1. My question related to this (and almost any subject) is:
    “Does any person or group have any right to continue doing what they have been doing?”

    In other words, does “precedent” actually mean anything at all?

  2. Niiice. A very astute and coherent look into the food industry and its imperatives.

    This piece was written at a time when the perpetual bombardment of our society’s senses via TV advertisement was yet a relatively new phenomena. And thus it imparts a more fundamental and deliberate analysis of the nature of the beast than can be usually found today.

    (It was also written at time when my 8 year-old ass was being sold on the wonders of Life-Savers and Ring-Dings while I watched the Bugs Bunny, Road Runner Hour… I have fillings to show for it.)

    The questions raised here persist. The industry on which we rely for our food is actively promoting, and is profiting from, our bad health. Is this an unavoidable or acceptable side-effect of an otherwise wonderful free-market system? Or can something be developed to counter this? After all, our government does have some say in what can be advertised and sold as food.

    Free-market defenders would cry that our reliance on this industry for our food alone proves its utter and indisputable benevolence etc… but we have been made to rely on this industry, because our reliance guarantees those endless profits, and we are actively discouraged (legally and rhetorically) from building or imagining alternatives.

    Might be high time for us to soberly assess whether or not our current food system is actually working for us. Much of Dr. Patel’s work in the past has served to make us aware of the disastrous effects our food system has on people all around the globe. And if the system does not work for us eaters in the developed world, the supposed beneficiaries of it all, then it does not work for anyone anywhere. Except the handful who rake in the profits.

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