The food you buy & eat...supporting Big Tobacco

Last week I participated in a focus group (a group of 50-something women in NYC who were the primary food buyers for their families), and was paid by an advertising agency for our opinions on brands and food issues/concerns. It was fun and friendly, and they gave us snacks and drinks before they made us sit down to doodle, speak about and write down our opinions. Like most well-educated people, I always try to use fresh foods and whole foods, but inevitably, there are some things that you need to purchase packaged. I always thought that I was knowledgeable about who manufactured which brands, but I've since found out that like most people, I don't know nearly enough to make wise purchases at the supermarket. I'm NOT talking about just my family's health or well-being, but the health and well-being of our ENTIRE COUNTRY...well actually, THE WORLD.

For example, among leading food producers in the US, the primary manufacturer (in addition to Con Agra where an employee wiped out several coworkers a week or so ago) is KRAFT Foods, now known as "The Altria Group" (sounds nicely anonymous), owned by Philip Morris. Owned and dictated to by big tobacco. So to do my part in helping to cause the downfall of big tobacco--(not likely to happen anytime soon), I'd like to share the information I garnered with you, my LIS News friends.

FYI, here are some of their brands:

Sanka, Maxwell House, Starbucks,Yuban,Jell-O,
Country Time,Crystal Light,Kool-Aid,Tang,
Nabisco Cookies,Chips Ahoy,Claussen Pickles,
Good Seasons,Toblerone,Lifesavers,Ritz,Post Cereals (all those cool ones I like such as Great Grains and Shredded Wheat), Cream of Wheat, Breakstones, Polly-O, Light‘N Lively,Oreo,Oscar Mayer,Philadelphia Cream Cheese, Temp-tee Cream Cheese, Cheez-Whiz, Capri Sun,
Louis Rich, Taco Bell Dinners, California Pizza Kitchen, DiGiorno, Jack's Tombstone, Lunchables,
It's Pasta Anytime, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese (subsistence for my teenagers), Velveeta, Baker's Chocolate, Calumet Baking Powder, Bull's-Eye BBQ Sauce, Postum, Shake ‘n Bake, Grey Poupon,
Milk Bone Dog Biscuits (the doggie vote), Dream Whip,
D-Zerta, Jell-O, Knox Gelatine, Cool Whip, Kraft
Margarine, Parkay (Puerto Rico only), Minute Rice,
Nilla Wafers, Honey Maid Graham Crackers, Oreo Cookies, Stove Top Stuffing, Lorna Doone, Nutter Butters, Barnum Animal Crackers, Stella D'Oro, Snackwells, Triscuits, Uneeda, Zweiback (so that babies can participate in encouraging smoking), Peak Freans -- a very serious cookie, Planters Nuts, Jet-Puffed Marshmallows and Altoids.

So if you want a schmear on your bagel, and you don't want to support the tobacco industry, you can't use either Philadelphia brand or Temp-tee.


You could say food companies are controlling the parent company.
You could say that so many people have given up tobacco that those companies needed to diversify to stay in business.
You could say most of our self inflicted bad habits (food, tobacco, alcohol and sex) are what's killing us and adding to our medical costs.

Food and sex (where I come from anyway) are not usually bad habits. They are required to sustain life and health. Alcohol addiction can easily become a habit for some people, and that's bad. For others, it's another one of life's little pleasures (along with food and sex). Tobacco addiction usually becomes a habit for people at a tender age when they are most susceptible to peer pressure and not thinking about the consequences to their health or the environment. If your comments are meant in support of the poor tobacco companies who are suffering from a cutback in sales, that is certainly your prerogative. Buy whatever you please...I wasn't dictating or even suggesting that you buy or not buy certain products...I was simply trying to share what I found out.

Like most well-educated people, I always try to use fresh foods and whole foods, but inevitably, there are some things that you need to purchase packaged.

Birdie - My intention is not to question your heart (or your education) here, but there are some important facts you have omitted...

Whole foods, aside from being a staple only afforded by wealthier consumers, are no better or safer than genetic modified foods. That's a fact. As well, organic foods require more land, more labor (usually the migrant variety from Mexico) more tillage, create more soil erosion, are more expensive and can still harbor food borne pathogens. One other important item. Whole or organic foods can be cultivated with pesticide and still be labeled as such. (Often, much more pesticide than genetically modified crops) Summing up, you are buying a "feeling" here that may in fact be more harmful than beneficial.

Regarding the bagel. Perhaps a rice cake would be a healthier substitute if preventative health habits are your concern? Obesity related deaths, 300,000 year according to the CDC, are second only to tobacco in preventative deaths in the U.S. Adding a dollop of cream cheese pushes your standard bagel to over 350 calories and nearly 20 grams of fat. (FWIW, as a long distance runner, it takes me 3 miles at a pace of 9 mph to burn just over 400 calories)

It really is a matter of personal choice.

One persons cigarette is another's spread laden bagel.

I too was going to comment on :" Like most well-educated people, I always try to use fresh foods and whole foods," but I guess that is not too far out there. I wonder if the stupid people would get frozen dinners or fresh meat, fruits, veg and the like if there were still 'old fashioned' butchers, bakers and green grocers around. The nice thing about the city (NYC for those who did not grow up simply calling it the city)is that there are bakers, butchers, fish markets and the like available.

I however have no problem supporting big tobacco. It beats supporting big abortion, or big pornography. Tobacco is legal and not immoral. If people choose to use tobacco that is fine with me. I don't smoke but I think others would be allowed to if they so wish. If heroin were legal they could do that too.

Sure, smoking is damaging to one's health but so is drinking, and riding a motorcycle without a helmet. We all take risks everyday. You live in the City, a much more dangerous place than small town middle America, but a much more interesting place I am sure. Its all a trade off.

N.B. I hold Altria stock, but not enough to make a difference in my opinion.

Tobacco is legal and so very immoral, not only that, for you it's a sin. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. html

This shopping guide lists GMO-containing packaged foods and non-GMO alternatives.

Thanks for that Liz...interesting and scary. I wasn't even talking about genetically engineered/modified food, but it's quite clear from looking at the list that the major non-health food brands (ConAgra, Altria, Unilever, Pepsi-Quaker, Coca-Cola etc.) don't give a hoot about that issue either.

Leaving aside the context of the passage you cite (which deals with visiting prostitutes rather than smoking), help me to understand under what circumstances tobacco is a sin. Is it a sin if I smoke one cigarette in a six-month period? Is it a sin if my pastor smokes a cigar or two per week without inhaling? I doubt that either of us have measurably increased our risk for cancer.

Probably you are just ribbing mdoneil, and I should know better than to respond in a thread on foods and health after three whiskies (Jameson's, still--but the next bottle will be Powers!). :-)