Can Chef Jamie Oliver Make U.S. Food Safer?

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Jamie Oliver

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is an agreement that could allow the U.K. to import U.S. foods that are higher in pesticides and growth hormones than current British regulations allow. Chef Jamie Oliver wants to stop that from happening.

Even though the chef spends a good bit of his time here in the U.S. (and presumably eating our food), Jamie Oliver is hoping to help the U.S. raise its quality standards rather than see the U.K. drop its own in order to accommodate the demand for U.S. food products abroad.

Oliver told The Times of London: “We don’t have hundreds of poisons and pesticides that have been proven to be carcinogenic. They do. [U.S.] laws, their set-up, their safety regulations are nowhere near ours.” And he’s right. U.S. safety regulations for many conventional foods are abhorrent. That’s not even taking into consideration the mislabeling and deceptive advertising positioning unhealthy U.S. foods as safe to eat.

But consumers around the world still want American food. It remains a sign of progress and success for many countries--at least it once was. It seems things are changing in unlikely places. Brits may still want U.S. imports, but the former Soviet Union is now shutting down McDonald’s locations in Russia over food safety violations and mislabeling that officials say threaten public safety.

TTIP isn’t earning any praise from the Center for Food Safety, either. The advocacy group says the agreement could drag other countries’ standards down to U.S. regulations to meet consumer demand. That will make U.S. Big Food corporations happy, of course, but with obesity already on the rise around the globe, it's definitely not in humanity's best interest.

Jamie Oliver has been successful as the squeaky wheel before. Here in the U.S., he encouraged healthy eating through his “Food Revolution” television show, and even got the Los Angeles Unified School District to ditch sugary flavored milks. But his show was cancelled after just two seasons. He’s back, however, with his own Youtube channel (“Food Tube”) and a book release for “Jamie’s Comfort Food.”

Find Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

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Image via Jamie Oliver

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