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Marion Nestle | Food Politics, Industry-Funded Research, & The Unsavory Truth

Discussion in 'THC+ Episodes' started by enjoypolo, Sep 11, 2019.

  1. enjoypolo

    enjoypolo Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jun 17, 2016
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    Love, love this episode. To be honest, I haven't even gone through the whole interview yet. But like any good food, I'm taking my slow-ass time to enjoy it.
    Marion is a great guest, I love her rational and scientifically-minded perspective on the Food Systems issue, especially regarding the weaponization of food.

    Her own experiences offer valuable insights into the world of academia, conflicts of interests in industry-funded research, the threats and lawfare tactics employed to dissuade her. In spite of that, I commend her for her groundedness, and commitment to the well-being of people, and to empirical data.

    One point that stood-out to me, although unsurprising, was when she mentioned how clueless were most scientists when doing their skewed research funded by the industry.
    Although there are certainly good things to be said about academia (like encouraging research and inspiring people), the only things that increasingly comes to my mind is it's one massive circle-jerk.
    She's had the opportunity of having a tenure, and speak her mind, but how many really get that privilege nowadays? I wonder..

    Still, I love the forward-looking direction this episode takes, talking about the current/next-generation of student-researchers being committed to bring about a better world and increased well-being (hopefully not a transhumanist, lab-grown meat type of agenda). As well as the trend towards growing food in urban settings, and at home (or on university campuses).

    The latter, I had the privilege of being involved whilst living in Vancouver. I was volunteering to take care of tiny indoor vertical food garden at my former Uni, and many people, including faculty members were praising our work and giving support (some told me it gave them peace of mind on their meal breaks).

    It gave me lots of hope, especially since the campus was in an area with an epidemic of homelessness and drug abuse. I’m convinced that growing food can be a valuable re-skilling method to teach disadvantaged (not trying to sound all SJW-ey). Not to mention many, most, have a First Nations’ background (some of them have lots of insights into local plants medicine knowledge). But I digress!

    Though I may be wrong, I don't think the interview addressed the concerns of GMO and the gut-biome in relation to the mental-and-physical health of populations (including pets). That's definitely a big-one, and really, an underlying issue. And although it's scary, there are solutions. For one, I was listening to Kathleen Draper's interview on Biochar yesterday, and things like Activated Charcoal can suck-out and detox chemical elements from the body, including glyphosates. A common medicine in Japan as well, always taken whenever stomach-ache or food poisoning occurs.
    So lots to look forward to in the future.


    Edit 9.14:
    So finished listening and a few notes:
    - Yes it's true, Japan celebrates Christmas with KFC buckets, or at least it's widely advertised. Other food-chains, like Mos Burger, have also followed suit (so it's pretty deeply ingrained).
    But it's hardly the only case. Edward Bernay, the father of PR, touted his genius when he convinced doctors to advertise bacon for breakfast; same for cereals. I mean the world's awash with such examples stemming out lobby groups, that we take for granted.

    - This wasn't clearly laid out, so I think it needs emphasis. The biggest issue with GMO personally, is that they're genetically-engineered to resist herbicides, thus allowing even more toxic-fluids to be dumped in the soil (which ends up in food). It's a means-to-an-end (which is destroying the soils the world-over).

    - Marion talks about the lack of research about the influence of the gut-biome and its effect. Unfortunately, this is where conventional scientists are still two-steps behind commonly-known wisdom. There are tons of scientific literature pointing to the gut-biome as health indicator, not just for physical health, but even more crucially, for psychological health.

    Example 1: Researchers find differences in gut-biome in people with schizophrenia.
    Dare I say, I think a lot of the recent epidemics, like celiac's disease, autism stem from the gut.
    This is also the perspective by physicians like Luc Montagnier, mainly that autism is caused by a bacterial infection facilitated by inflammations in the gut (a pioneering scientist in water research, as well as Nobel Winner for his research on AIDS).
    One of the perversion of the modern civilization, is how we've shifted Quality for Quantity.

    Which brings me to a point that was looked-over a bit:

    Organic means shit in a time where anyone can slap a sticker without penalty.
    As Greg said, Local means much more. Hence, look for Farmer's Markets around you, you're not only supporting small local businesses around you, you're also doing yourself a benefit. You don't have to get everything there, as we all know it can get pricey. But even getting your veggies and fruits, is a step-forward. Also, I'm guilty as well, that we've lost the habit of eating seasonally, which puts a huge burden on global food-trade, where we expect to eat blueberries and strawberries (or corn, lettuce) in the winter for instance.

    /!\ Last but certainly not least, Schauberger mentioned this and its worth repeating:
    Your thoughts are only as good as the food you eat.
    Industrially grown food has very little nutritional content (hence why you feel the need to eat more vs high-quality food which is satiating for this reason).
    #1 enjoypolo, Sep 11, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2019
  2. enjoypolo

    enjoypolo Moderator
    Staff Member

    Jun 17, 2016
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    I really wished this had english subtitles. Christophe Brusset is a food-chain engineer who's worked 25 years in the agro-food industry. In 2015, he published a book called "Vous etes fous d'avaler ca!" (You're insane to eat this!) and became a best-seller (more than 90.000 books sold). Since then, he published over three books, one in 2019.

    What I enjoy (in a disturbing way) is the clarity he brings to all his statements, no doubt due to his engineer background. His no-nonsense, and gnosis'd attitude is such an incredible light in the darkness that is the industrial food-industry.
    Some of the highlights from this interview, which I haven't even finished, include:

    - Fake honey epidemic made in China, which is in fact sugared-water with insane amounts of antibiotics (to prevent mold). Moreover, the ways in which he describes the resources available at the Chinese factories, state-of-the-art technical research labs, to figure out ways to jump/adapt over these hurdles, is mind-blowing.
    For instance a scenario he mentions:" no glucose allowed in honey": Chinese response: replace with fructose instead. "No pollens in the honey": Chinese response: add some pollen into the mixture. While they're not the only ones to do this kind of thing, it seems, they have the most resources to do so (incl. state-backed resources)
    All of this shows, how industries' capacity to adapt to make their fraudulent products is rampant, with virtually no oversight.

    - Same thing in the tomato industry
    . Not to mention the ownership of such conglomerate: Chinese military generals as CEOs, and all the way-down the chain of command as workers (this "greylining" between State-private-industry chimera is not new, as it is also the case for other big sectors incl. Tech, it's still hard to believe)

    - How seafood are being pumped full of water to increase weight (up to 30%), an illegal practice, but that is routinely performed.
    - Up to 10% of all food that is surveyed by French national fraud agencies contain pesticides above safety threshold (6-7%) + 2% contain downright illegal chemicals (pesticides and other toxins).
    Keep in mind, these numbers are only representative of what the agency was able to surveil.
    By no means does it reflect the actual numbers of products affected.
    Of course, this only means that the 70-80% of the "safe" food contains pesticides/fungicides in the "safe" range.

    - Speaking of pesticides, the EU regulatory body that is responsible for implementing safety threshold, is composed by lobbyists from the industry. In other words, it's the manufacturers who create the rules on what's safe and not. Something like 50% of the food-agro scientists are on the payroll by those very companies.

    -Another thing that gets me every time, is reading the names of these chemical manufacturers: BASF, Bayer, etc. We're talking weapons-manufacturer chemical manufacturers and BigPharma (Bayer which recently bought Monsanto).

    More over, pesticide analysis are time and resource consumming (although they do happen occasionally), however, no research has been conducted regarding the synergetic effects of multiple toxins mixing together (which is the real-world effect when we consume these products in the household). There's also the talks about the hundreds of chemical additives that are added, but not reported on the label (due to negligible amounts). Food for thought..!

    - In his book, he also lectures readers on what exactly is the ingredient list, and how to read it (so that you are better informed). There are even apps on the phone that can scan barcodes and give you info from the database (although that only contains info that the manufacturer willingly submitted to the regulatory agencies).
    - A rule of thumb: the lesser the price, the more likely there are shenanigans in it.

    I like Marion, but her perspective was more academic, whereas Christophe's is really an insider that was at the heart of this insanity.

    Frankly, I'm a bit surprised no anglophone media outlet has approached him for interviews, and since he resides in Singapore, he's more than likely to be fluent in English.
    No-doubt he would make a great guest on THC!

    PS: This comes quite synchronistically, at a time when Macron who is on a State-visit to China, has promised Xi Jiping to export French-raised pork to the Chinese. It is total insanity from every angle you look at it: financially, ecologically, ethically, and socially. What a bizarro world.

    Resources to navigate this insanity:
    Foodwatch: https://www.foodwatch.org/en/homepage/
    #2 enjoypolo, Nov 11, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2019