Food and Behaviour Research

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The Great Food Gamble: What We Are Doing to Our Food and How It Affects Our Health

Author: John Humphrys

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The Great Food Gamble Review

John Humphrys, broadcaster, writer, farmer and consumer, has written The Great Food Gamble to address the serious questions he and many of his audience have about the food on our tables in the wake of BSE, foot and mouth, and concerns about the effects of factory farming practices on the nation's health and environment. Humphrys knowledgeably traces such intensive agricultural practices to British food policy from the end of the Second World War to ask whether the relentless drive for more and more food has been a mistake and whether the risks we run are worth it to have what may ultimately prove to be an illusion of choice. Are there really no alternatives, he asks? As readers of Devil's Advocate and listeners to Radio 4's Today programme will no doubt expect, Humphrys has a no-nonsense approach. He has little time or patience with mealy-mouthed politicking. Industrial practices, backed up by political will, is costing our health and our environment too dear, he argues. He counts the cost of intensive factory farming, not only in terms of the destruction of our rural heritage, long-term environmental effects and mounting health concerns about the use of antibiotics and pesticides, but the hard cash cost of subsidies and cleaning up pollution that put the lie to the food industry's claim of providing "cheap" food. Humphrys adds his voice to the great food industry debate along with George Monbiot's critique of the supermarket's control of food production in Captive State and Eric Schlosser's stomach-churning analysis of our unfortunate infatuation with fast food in Fast Food Nation. Humphrys' prose is unashamedly popular: evocative and even nostalgic for a fast disappearing experience of the British countryside, even as he stops short of being romantic. If this means that he substitutes rhetoric for detail, he remains bang on target and knows that to engage people in this debate and connect it effectively to their lives is the most effective way to counter the enormous power wielded by the other side. A bitter harvest indeed.

An Amazon Reader's Review

Clearly written from the heart. Most of us by now are either extremely concerned about the food we are eating or wearing blinkers and earplugs to shut out the facts. John Humphreys expands on our fears about the food we eat. If you would rather not know about the damage to yourself and your family and the environment by over use of pesticides, herbicides, hormones, anti-biotics, to name but a few, this book is not for you.