In the next stage of the Sociology of Nutrition, participants will analyze the the “food industry” including where it fits into the industrial food system, its relationships with nutrition experts, and federal policy makers and regulatory agencies. They will identify the crops that agribusiness grow which the food industry re-engineers into products sold as food. They will recognize the profit motive of the food industry. They will explain how the industry influences federal policies and dietary guidelines, markets its products, and uses science and technology to increase consumption.
American agribusiness produces a large volume of crops that are not food for humans in any sense of the word. In this seminar, for example, participants will learn the difference between “sweet corn” and commodity corn. They will examine the uses to which commodity corn is put including the fact that while only 12% ends up in products consumed by humans it ends up in a very large proportion of processed foods.
The seminar participants will examine how large agribusiness firms benefit from government subsidies and the ability to sell their commodity crops to the food industry for re-engineering.
Students will explain their responses to the following questions:
- Why can it be difficult to consume many of these products in moderation?(nutrionism and the science of “addictive” food).
- Do functional foods really enhance wellness? (nutritionism and functional foods).
- If these foods are so “unhealthy” why don’t nutriton experts and federal agencies tell us to stop eating them?
- How does the food industry influence federal nutrition policy?
- Does the food industry engage in deceptive advertising? If so, why is this allowed to happen?