Parke Wilde on the Food Police

Parke Wilde, who is a professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University and who recently wrote a book on Food Policy, weighed in on my book the Food Police.

His response was, shall we say, critical.  I like Parke.  I respect his work and enjoy his blog.  Criticism is never fun, especially when it comes from people you respect.  That being said, I'm quite confident that Parke and I start from different premises which leads us to different ideological perspectives. And that, more than anything, seems to affect Parke's view of the book.  

In his review, he asserts that I'm fine with the food system the way it is. In fact, in the introduction of the book, I explicitly say I'm no fan of the status quo.  In the farm policy chapter, I explicitly discuss my dislike for many aspects of current farm policy.  So, the issue isn't whether one wants change, but rather how that change occurs.  My book is largely a critique of popular notions for how to make future changes happen and a judgement on whether past changes in food have been "good" or "bad."    

Ultimately, Parke likens my book to a long Michelle Malkin blog post.  It is true that some of the book is tongue-in-cheek, sarcastic, and polemical - I wrote to engage, challenge, and provoke.  But, his comment overlooks the fact that the book contains hundreds of references to the scientific literature.  More than anything else, Parke is critical of the style.  But it would have been  nice to hear something about the substance.  Did I get it wrong on organic foods?  Or local food? Or biotechnology?  Why?  How?  I critique the inferences people draw regarding the policy implications of behavioral economics.  Am I wrong?  How?  I critique the fashionable policies proposed to curb obesity.  Where did I go wrong?  

In any event, I'm happy to bring "another perspective" to the table on the national food debates.  The fact that Parke even felt compelled to mention my book makes me think I might have done precisely that.