You’re taking Paul Freedman's Politics of Food—that’s why it makes sense. The dense network of food, its producers, consumers, distributors, regulators, farmers, workers, marketers, restauranteurs, are everything to him. During the class he examines controversies over agriculture subsidies, labeling requirements, taxation, farming practices, food safety, advertising and education. Each of these things leads to an examination of American democracy—representation, regulation, legislation, and public opinion. Ultimately the class examines the ways in which the politics of food represents both a reflection and a distortion of fundamental democratic principles.
Dr. Anna Maria Siega-Riz visited Food Politics during J-Term. Her presentation was a recap of the process, negotiation, and compromise which she and her committee go through in revising the joint USDA/Health and Human Services Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The 600 page document includes well-known suggestions such as reducing sugary drinks and trans fats, but also emphasizes less publicized ideas like the Mediterranean Diet.
The report is backed with science—hundreds of pages of analysis, conclusions, and recommendations. The Guidelines are revised every 5 years to account for new research and better data analysis.
Dr. Siega-Riz also covered some recent alcohol research which enlivened the Q&A.
Dr. Siega-Riz is Program Leader for the Reproductive, Perinatal, and Pediatric Program in the Department of Epidemiology at Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.