Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Archive for the day “February 16, 2011”

When Walmart Cares About Our Health More Than The FDA

Last month, Whole Foods suspended their composting program because it was too expensive. Ironically, on the same day, Walmart announced that they were beginning a composting program at most of their stores.

Michael Jacobson’s article in the New York Times caught my eye. The FDA Should Be Bolder Than Walmart tells how Walmart is using its muscle to help accelerate a number of changes including:

– taking concrete steps to reduce their carbon footprint,

– forcing their retailers and distributors to do the same,

– supporting the fight against childhood obesity by insisting on the removal of trans fats from products that they sell. Though this isn’t a stated claim, they are probably helping cut cardiovascular diseases as well.

– insisting that their suppliers across the board cut sodium levels significantly.

Jacobson says that”Wal-Mart’s plan to lower produce prices (modestly) should increase consumption and (modestly) lower the risk of heart disease and generally improve health. All told, Wal-Mart will be saving thousands of lives, something it should be very proud of.”

The First Lady agrees and has openly complimented Walmart. What would be great, as Jacobson says, would be for the First Lady to put her influence behind pushing the FDA to lead the war, instead of following behind everyone … from quite a distance.

Now before anyone wonders whether the author of The Accidental Activist (an anti-multinational corporation novel) is getting soft, let me leave you with this.


Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at www.alonshalev.com

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