The Coronavirus Reveals The ‘Invisible Inequalities’ In Our Food System
Professor Marion Nestle offers a sobering assessment: “That the food system is failing is a given.”
Americans are worried about food, many for the first time in their lives. While the U.S. government has said there are no nationwide shortages, that hasn’t stopped panic buying in supermarkets as coronavirus cases continue to tick upward.
Yet the most immediate crisis ― according to Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University ― is not the availability of food, but its affordability to the tens of millions of people who have lost their jobs and income. Experts are already warning the coronavirus pandemic will make inequality worse in the United States, with reports of mothers skipping meals to feed their children.
Nestle spoke to HuffPost about what the pandemic reveals about our broken food system, and her hopes for a political awakening once the COVID-19 crisis ends.
The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
You’ve been collecting evidence on the impact of the coronavirus on food. What stands out so far for you?
Every single part of the food system is affected by [the pandemic], starting from production and where we are going to get people to harvest food if they’re not allowed to be near each other or come into the country.
And then transportation and distribution. Who’s doing the home delivering? And how are the people working in stores staying safe and stopping themselves from infecting others if they have the virus?