Will the plaintiffs’ bar be able to break “Big Food”? Will added sugar be “the tobacco of the 21st century”? Is it true that “we make our food very similar to cocaine now”?  Has food overtaken smoking as the biggest preventable cause of morbidity and mortality in America? Science supporting such claims is woefully lacking and what little there is is doubtful at best. But it may not matter. As Mark Bittman put it in his op-ed piece lamenting the failure of GMO-labeling and soda-taxing initiatives (and calling for new strategies to be deployed in "the fight" against the food industry):

"When a healthy person drinks 10 sodas a day and develops Type 2 diabetes, sues Pepsi and wins, and that victory stands up in a higher court, the research will be validated.

While having lay juries vote for their favorite narrative is certainly not the hypothesis-testing approach contemplated by the scientific method, the practical effect of a torrent of civil judgments is as sure as the guillotine. And that, after all, is Bittman’s point.


In the next few days we’re going to launch an effort to tweet, daily, about the unfolding assault on processed food.  We’ll undoubtedly add to the list but for now we plan to organize our tweets across the following categories:


1)      They were the best of bugs, they were the worst of bugs

a.       Bad bugs

1.       E. coli O-167

2.       Salmonella

3.    Etc.

b.      Good bugs

c.       Tracing

2)      The Politics of food

a.       Food Modernization Act

b.      Food Labeling

c.       Federal initiatives

1.       FDA

d.      State initiatives

e.      “Joe Camel” is to cigarettes as “Cap’n Crunch” is to food

f.        Food pyramid

g.       Right to know

3)      Food Liability Law

a.       Common approaches to liability

b.      Other liability-assigning strategies 

c.     Outbreaks/Recalls/Product Defect

4)      Addicted to food

a.       Salt

b.      Carbohydrates (obesogens)

c.       Oils/fats/transfats/saturated fat

d.      Caffeine

e.      High-fructose corn syrup

5)      Marketing

a.       Proven?

b.      True?

c.       Trends

6)      Industrial food

a.       Processing 

b.      Additives (GRAS)

1.       Preservatives

2.       Sweeteners

3.       Flavorants

4.       Dyes

5.       Sodium

6.       Extracts

7.       Bacteria

c.       Luddism

d.      Herbicides / Pesticides

7)      Allergic to Food

a.       Man-made allergies

b.      Emerging allergens

8)      "Frankenfoods" / GMOs

a.       Functionality

b.      Altered risk/benefit profile

c.       Escape


If you find it at all interesting and think we ought to add something to the list, please let us know.