Not that he hasn t been ranting based on nothing more than his own superficial understanding of the food business, economics, or even common sense for some time now, but this week s column clearly indicates that Bittman has crossed some line between fantasy and reality.
The column is entitled Parasites, Killing Their Host. Yes, you read that correctly. Such purple prose (or is it yellow journalism?) has not been seen round these parts since the commie scares of the 1950s. And he is not referring to rootless cosmopolites or other useless, aimless, safety-net abusers: no, he is referring to Big Food, as he subtly puts it. His thesis: BF is intentionally ignoring the best interests of America s public health by cynically packaging real food into unrecognizable junk products which are killing (or at least contributing in a major way) to the skyrocketing epidemics of cancer, heart disease, and nonalcoholic steatosis (what? oh, that s fatty liver disease caused by diet, according to Bittman. My gastroenterologist daughter disagrees, advising me that we really don t know the cause of this uncommon but serious condition).
ACSH s Dr. Gil Ross has a skeptical view of some of Bittman s work here: First of all, America s health, in general, while perhaps not up to the standards of some other wealthy but way-more-homogenous countries, is pretty good. Each year, heart disease, cancer rates, and life expectancy improves contrary to Bittman s main thesis, if such ramblings can be considered a thesis. The products of Big Food are in fact not killing us all with junk, not even our children, whose defense is a particular concern to the columnist, or so he says (as is environmental degradation and justice for food workers ). And what is junk, anyway? I believe it s any food or product that Bittman disapproves of. And how would he deal with the vicious perpetrators of this pervasive junk food holocaust? Well, government needs to step in here and regulate the heck out of em, so that they are forced to see the error of their ways and only work in the public interest. You know, like the government does!
Why does the New York Times continue to give space to Bittman s ravings; have they no shame, after all? He surely does not.