The development and marketing methods of the food industry have drastically changed over the last seventy-five years. The spokes that make up the wheel that is the food industry works together to keep it a billion dollar business and like any business there is pressure for growth and making the bottom line is its main goal. Unfortunately, what suffers is public health.
With advances in food science companies have the means to pinpoint the exact formulation at which the food product has reached maximum satiety of the general population. It would be a foolish food company that would not create foods to taste as pleasing as possible. By formulating foods this way they are intentionally created to make it easier to overeat (Moss 2013).
While on the GMO front the industry has been pouring millions of dollars to block labeling efforts, the momentum of public awareness is putting pressure on local and state governments to begin labeling initiatives. With increased consumer demand labeling will most likely be required in the next five to ten years. Maine is the most recent state to tackle GMO labeling legislation with it passing in their house. Although it is a small victory since the bill will also have to pass in their senate and a final vote in the house (Stone 2013).
The states that have instituted ag gag laws are doing so under pressure of the businesses that supply food, by prosecuting whistleblowers there will effectively be no regulation changes in animal agriculture processes. Since the animal agriculture industry is largely self-regulated they are not likely to report cases of animal abuse and improper handling that can lead to foodborne illnesses (“PBIS Non Compliance Reports for Plants requested in FOIA 2011B00258 for 03J01 and 04C04 1st Shift Procedures from 3/1/11 B 8/31/11”. Table). One of the largest recalls of beef in U.S. history was the result of an undercover investigation done by an animal welfare group (Martin 2008). The ag gag laws are specifically intended to prohibit these kinds of investigations.
Marketing to children has been an issue since the 1970s. With a government that will support the industry it has been difficult to make sufficient change. While the industry has made some improvements in marketing to children on television there is less incentive to restrict online and mobile marketing to children (Nestle 2007).
Martin, Andrew. “Largest Recall of Ground Beef Is Ordered.” The New York Times [New York] 18 Feb. 2008: n. pag. Web. 12 June 2013.
Moss, Michael. Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us. New York, NY: Random House, 2013. Print.
Nestle, Marion. Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health. 2007 ed. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007. Print.
“PBIS NonCompliance Reports for Plants requested in FOIA 2011B00258 for 03J01 and 04C04 1st Shift Procedures from 3/1/11 B 8/31/11”. Table. Foodandwaterwatch.org. Foodandwaterwatch.org, n.d. Web. 12 June 2013. <http://documents.foodandwaterwatch.org/doc/PBISResponseRecords.pdf>.
Stone, Matthew. “Maine House overwhelmingly supports GMO labeling requirement.” Bangor Daily News 11 June 2013: n. pag. Web. 12 June 2013. <http://bangordailynews.com/2013/06/11/politics/maine-house-overwhelmingly-supports-gmo-labeling-requirement/>.