Monday, August 31, 2009

Good news for opponents of Whole Foods boycott

Posted By on Mon, Aug 31, 2009 at 5:02 AM

Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma and king of all things politically correct in the food world, has announced that he does not support the boycott of Whole Foods:

John Mackey’s views on health care, much as I disagree with them, will not prevent me from shopping at Whole Foods. I can understand why people would want to boycott, but it’s important to play out the hypothetical consequences of a successful boycott. Whole Foods is not perfect, however if they were to disappear, the cause of improving Americans’ health by building an alternative food system, based on more fresh food, pastured and humanely raised meats and sustainable agriculture, would suffer.

I happen to believe health care reform has the potential to drive big changes in the food system, and to enlist the health care industry in the fight to reform agriculture. How? Because if health insurers can no longer pick and choose their clients, and throw sick people out, they will develop a much stronger interest in prevention, which is to say, in changing the way America feeds itself.

When health insurers realize they will make thousands more in profits for every case of type II diabetes they can prevent, they will develop a strong interest in things like corn subsidies, local food systems, farmer’s markets, school lunch, public health campaigns about soda, etc. So Mackey is wrong on health care, but Whole Foods is often right about food, and their support for the farmers matters more to me than the political views of their founder. I haven’t examined the political views of all the retailers who feed me, but I can imagine having a lot of eating problems if I make them a litmus test.

Announcement of the statement on Huffington Post produced over 1500 comments.

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