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The Foodie Elitism Debate Continues

Plus McDonald's releases the Idaho burger in Japan


Are foodies self-indulgent elitists? The debate has been simmering on the pages of major magazines and in the opinion columns of newspapers for the last couple months, drawing commentary from food heavyweights like Michael Pollan and Mark Schatzker.

Well, now Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation, has weighed in. In The Washington Post, Schlosser makes the argument that foodie critics have gotten the elitism charge backward. Our current industrial food system, he notes, clearly demonstrates "how the few now rule the many."

"The wealthy will always eat well. It is the poor and working people who need a new, sustainable food system more than anyone else. They live in the most polluted neighborhoods. They are exposed to the worst toxic chemicals on the job. They are sold the unhealthiest foods and can least afford the medical problems that result. A food system based on poverty and exploitation will never be sustainable," writes Schlosser.

McDonald's recently released a new line of burgers in Japan dubbed the "Big American 2" line. The calorie-laden burgers are named after four American cities/states: Idaho, Texas, Manhattan and Miami. The Idaho burger breaks the scales at 713 calories and comes with a quarter-pound beef patty topped with hash browns, cheese, bacon, onions and a pepper-mustard sauce. The Manhattan features a beef patty, mozzarella and pastrami on an artisan bun.

In other "artisanal" news, The Atlantic's Jane Black recently derided the pork industry's new slogan, "Pork: Be Inspired," as an example of "the food industry's desire to convey virtue--no matter how dubious."

That piece inspired writer Joyce Slaton to look into other examples of fake artisanal claims, including Wendy's "natural-cut fries with sea salt" and Tostitos scouring sun-dappled fields with hand-baskets for the freshest ingredients. For links to these articles visit