“Certainly it’s a marketing ploy. This is about marketing. It’s not really about nutrition.” That’s what food cop Marion Nestle told NBC Nightly News last week, after General Mills announced that it would begin making all of its cereals from 100 percent whole grains. Nestle’s histrionics fly in the face of some of the most ardent diet scolds — including herself. Only a year ago, she told Newsday: “It’s always better to have whole grains.” It would seem that Nestle has never seen a nutrition improvement by a business that she liked. And it’s becoming increasingly clear that she uses the guise of “good nutrition” to push a purely anti-corporate dogma.
Her agenda is nothing new. Last year Nestle spoke at the Socialist Caucus of the American Public Health Association and the Socialist Scholars Conference. The real story is that time and time again Nestle allows her anti-big-business philosophy to trump her nutrition nostrums. In 1996 she told the New York Times: “I like it better when Mike [Jacobson of the Center for Science in the Public Interest] takes on the big corporations like McDonald’s. I like it less well when he takes on mom and pop outfits like Chinese restaurants.“
In 2003, the New York City School Board announced that it would replace soda vending machines with 100 percent fruit juice drinks made by Snapple. In turn, Snapple agreed to pay the faltering school district more than $100 million dollars over five years. When Marion Nestle caught wind of the agreement she moaned in Marxist fashion:
This is late-stage 21st-century capitalism. I can’t fix that … Just when I think I’ve heard everything, I learn that Snapple is buying out our school system … Healthier junk food is still junk food. There’s a real contradiction here. Companies cannot sell as much food as they want and not be part of the problem.
When did fruit juice become “junk food”? When it made a profit. Just ask Marion.