Oprah Winfrey is encouraged to give her viewers a more complete picture of modern food production in a letter sent by the American Feed Industry Association this week.
The letter by AFIA President and CEO Joel G. Newman was sent in response to the Jan. 27 edition of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” that featured journalism professor and author Michael Pollan and actress Alicia Silverstone.
“The Jan. 27 program offered “an interesting glimpse into one aspect of dietary preference, and a singular perspective on production, processing and retailing of food in this country.
“But, as intriguing as Pollan and Silverstone’s perspectives may be, they are not a full, accurate story of how food gets from farm to plate for 95% of Americans,” according to the AFIA letter.
More complex than stated
“The enterprise that is US food production is complex, diverse and near-miraculous in its ability to feed over 300 million Americans, maintain exports, provide food aid around the globe, and achieve these goals in the spirit of food security, namely, safe, nutritious, sustainable and affordable food,” stated the letter.
To give viewers the rest of the story, the letter urges Oprah “to consider a follow-up program, one that goes beyond food alternatives embraced by 5% of the country--a show that would lay out the real story of where 95% of America’s food comes from. We believe such a program would be a true eye-opener for your viewers.
Information, not confrontation
“We welcome an open and frank discussion of the food system, one that is balanced and accurate. We don’t seek a confrontation with critics, but an opportunity to provide your audience our best information on food production, safety and diversity.
“Your show has great influence over people who deserve to know there are myriad alternatives to standard supermarket offerings and the average American diet, but many of these options are priced out of their reach at two to five times more than foods produced in a conventional manner.
“Therefore, these foods, while intriguing, are unavailable to many consumers due to their higher price, more limited availability, and other production and marketing constraints. This simply does not make them a viable option for most American families.”
The letter concludes by stating that AFIA is willing to “work with your producers to find farmers, feed companies, animal health firms, processors and retailers who would participate in this ‘roundtable on food production’ we envision, and it’s hoped, make it entertaining and informative.”