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A Handbook of Food CrimeImmoral and Illegal Practices in the Food Industry and What to Do About Them$
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Allison Gray and Ronald Hinch

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781447336013

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447336013.001.0001

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Responding to food crime and the threat of the ‘food police’

Responding to food crime and the threat of the ‘food police’

(p.403) 24 Responding to food crime and the threat of the ‘food police’
A Handbook of Food Crime

Allison Gray

Policy Press

The contemporary corporate-industrial food system – the ‘risky food regime’ – produces a particular conceptualisation of food crime. Discursively, this global era of food constructs and maintains a risk discourse which normalises food crime and shifts blame for food harms away from food corporations, to responsibilise consumers for ‘food choice’. This has important consequences for food movements and activism – predominately constructing a false belief that consumers can change food systems through ‘buycotts’ and ‘voting with forks’. While there are many forms of resistance to food crime, food corporations actively counter or co-opt these efforts, largely through values aligned with corporate social responsibility. This is exemplified through specific defense strategies, such as greenwashing and nutriwashing, and broader tactics to accuse anyone intervening in consumers’ food choice as being ‘food police’. However, food corporations significantly mediate consumer choice themselves, and thus, ironically, are simultaneously key ‘food cops’ and key facilitators of food crime.

Keywords:   risky food regime, food movements, food choice, greenwashing, food police

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