Prof. Andrea Freeman's work develops a theory of food oppression that analyzes how the joint actions of federal food policies and the food industry engender the health crises in poor and already oppressed American communities. While our food and agriculture systems oppress all of us endangering the health of all, they more deeply and negatively impact poor American communities, Indigenous communities, Black Communities and Latino communities, which these systems target with fast food and fat-laden milk. Professor Freeman states that while the USDA discourages the general population from using fat-laden cows milk it simultaneously works with the pizza fast food industry and other fast food corporations to promote this same fat laden milk to Black and Latino communities.. While Professor Freeman does not discuss the international aspects of this oppression, her work leads one to wonder how these same food policies and industry work with regard to international communities that have even less power to protect themselves than poor American communities. .
These articles are the bomb. The smoking gun of food justice. She also discusses possible solutions.
Andrea Freeman | William S. Richardson School of Law
Fast Food: Oppression through Malnutrition
The Unbearable Whiteness of Milk: Food Oppression and the USDA
"The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), as the entity
responsible for the federal Dietary Guidelines, encourages Americans to avoid
high-fat dairy products,
based on extensive medical research revealing their
This advice precipitated a thirty-year decline in milk sales.
deal with the resulting surplus, the USDA, which is also responsible for the health
of the dairy industry, created Dairy Management Incorporated (DMI).
DMI is a
marketing branch of the USDA funded primarily through fees levied on dairy
DMI partners with fast food companies to create new products, such as
Domino’s seven-cheese American Legends pizzas and Taco Bell’s steak quesadilla,
which contain higher than usual amounts of cheese. DMI also works with the fast-
food corporations to market and advertise these products. For example, DMI
launched the American Legends pizza line during the 2009 Superbowl.
sales subsequently increased by 14.3%,
and the additional sales helped reduce the
milk surplus. DMI also created the award-winning advertising campaign, “Got
Milk?,” which featured a vast array of celebrities with milk moustaches.
The USDA’s efforts to reduce the high-fat milk surplus by selling it to fast
food consumers impose health costs on Americans generally, but
disproportionately harm low-income African Americans and Latina/os who live in
urban centers dominated by fast food restaurants.
campaigns that specifically target these populations, such as “Got Milk?” and
“Toma Leche?” ads featuring African American and Latina/o celebrities, alsoexacerbate already significant health disparities between African Americans
Latina/os, and whites.
The USDA’s policy of promoting dangerous milk
consumption in some communities while warning the general population against it
is an example of food oppression."