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The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that as the movie version of Eric Schlosser's book "Fast Food Nation" is shown for the first time this week at the Cannes Film Festival, "an array of U.S. food companies are sharpening a campaign to rebut the allegations in the film and a new book that fast-food chains contribute to the nation's obesity epidemic and other problems."

According to the Journal, "more than a dozen trade groups representing producers of beef, potatoes, milk and snacks, along with restaurant groups, are fighting back with a media campaign to counter what one groups contends is the 'indigestible propaganda' Mr. Schlosser is spreading. They've launched a Web site called Best Food Nation that quotes employees from Tyson Foods Inc., Cargill Inc. and other food concerns praising the quality and safety of the food supply. They're also encouraging consumers to write letters to local school boards and contact government officials to voice their support for the U.S. food industry."
KC's View:
What is indigestible, in our view, is the idea that simply by creating a public relations campaign, people in the fast food business think they can wash away the nutritional stench that often accompanies their products.

They can hide behind all the press releases they want. The fact is that if people ate less fast food, they'd probably be healthier. Consumers are beginning to realize that, prompted by books like "Fast Food Nation" and movies like "Super Size Me," which creates pressure on fast food chains to offer a broader number of menu alternatives that seem to be healthier than fat-laden burgers and fries. Forget the hyperbole of what would happen if you ate nothing but fast food for a month – it is an effective propaganda tool, though hardly realistic. (It might not call you, but our feeling is that after eating a month's worth of fast food you’d probably want to kill yourself.)

In the end, fast food chains are going to sell what they believe consumers will buy, as is their right. Which is why it is important for consumers to be more aggressive about speaking with their wallets and pushing for a more responsible approach to nutrition by fast food chains.

The best thing we can say about the consumerist approach is that after we showed "Super Size Me" to our kids, they pretty much swore off McDonald's and its ilk. They eat more food bought at the supermarket, including fresh produce and meat and sure, even baked goods and ice cream. But their diets are, if not as diverse as we'd like them to be, maybe a less little less harmful to their bodies.

How is any of this a bad thing? (Especially for supermarkets!)