Michael Pollan on biotech foods, sodas, subsidies, labeling, Ag-gag laws

Michael Pollan's book "Cooked"  Source: MichaelPollan.com
Michael Pollan’s book “Cooked” Source: MichaelPollan.com

Morgan Korn reportd for Yahoo Finance, that in his interview with Aaron Task, Michael Pollan says that, “Nothing,” is what, “Genetically modified foods offer consumers.”

Click on the link above to watch the video interview with author and teacher Michael Pollan by Aaron Task from “Daily Ticker”.

Task begins with the proposed soda and junk taxes, then asks Pollan where things stand on the labeling of genetically modified foods today.

Pollan – “The soda industry has been defeating every tax that’s been proposed.  They’ve spent hundreds of millions of dollars doing it… I’m in favor of trying a soda tax.  I can’t tell you it’s going to work.  But, I think we have such a serious problem with obesity..

On screen – “Pollan: The obesity epidemic is a public health crisis.

Pollan – “If you want to see how our diet has changed in the years since we started getting fat, the big increases in fine carbohydrates, AKA, sugar.. If you could decrease soda consumption, you would take a big bite out of obesity and, even more important because it’s more expensive to the whole system, type-2 diabetes.”

On screen – “Pollan: It costs NYC $425,000 for every new case of Type II Diabetes.”

On screen – “Pollan: To lower health care costs we must change our food culture.”

Task – “Will labeling gmo produce change consumer habits?

Pollan – “It already has.”

On screen – “Pollan: The fastest selling food products are labeled GMO-FREE.”

Pollan says that it is important for people to know where their food comes from, that this is a “fundamental right“.

Pollan – “We’re fighting for food transparency on so many fronts… We have these laws to criminalize whistle-blowing in so many states.. Ag Gag Laws that their trying to pass.  They really don’t want you to know how the food is produced.  And it seems to me that Whole Foods is making a really interesting bet that there are allot of consumers that will pay for transparency.”

Pollan – “This is our idea of the free-market that personal responsibility should rule, but personal responsibility depends on information.”

Pollan -“So far, the big food manufacturers, the grocery manufacturers have stood arm in arm with Monsanto to defeat this, which puts them in a very awkward position with their consumers who want this, at least half of them want it.  And, I think that that alliance is going to crumble and Monsanto’s going to be out on their own with this.  And, at that point we will get these laws on the books.”

Task – “How do we change a system where it’s now cheeper to eat worse, where you have poor people who are obese?

Pollan – “We have to look at our subsidy system.  We subsidize agriculture to the tune of tens of billions of dollars a year.  Right now, we’re subsidizing the worst possible calories.  We subsidize corn and soy, for example. These are the building blocks of fast food…  This becomes feed lot meat and this becomes high fructose corn syrup.”

On screen – “Pollan: The U.S. government basically subsidizes fast food.

On screen – “Pollan: U.S. government is subsidizing Type II diabetes.

Pollan says that government needs to align health care policies with agricultural policies.

Pollan – “Since the 80’s, when the obesity epidemic begins, the price of fresh produce has gone up 40%, and the price of soda has gone down 7%.

Michael Pollen has a new book called, “Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation“.


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