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Omnivore - WaPo's Ezra Klein starts a food blog

First column takes a look at "Food, Inc."

Well, here's something cool. Ezra Klein has begun a new bi-weekly column, "Gut Check," in the Washington Post. It's about food and politics.

In preparation for his first column, Klein interviewed Robert Kenner, the director of "Food, Inc.," and Michael Pollan, author of "The Omnivore's Dilemma" and a consultant on the film.

Klein's first column looks at the film. A snippet:

Amid all the concern over global warming, we are beginning to reckon with the fact that meat production accounts for more carbon emissions than cars. As we labor to reform the country's health-care system, we now realize that the skyrocketing costs are in no small part due to the way our diets make us obese and sick. An IBM poll released last week found that 77 percent of Americans want more information about the food they buy. That's no surprise. As food writer Michael Pollan says at the start of the film, "the way we eat has changed more in the last 50 years than the previous 10,000." The way we think about the way we eat hasn't kept up.

Quite the opposite, in fact. We know rather less about our food than our grandparents did. In part, that's because the process of creating food in a lab is less familiar than the process of growing it in a garden. Food producers might have to print ingredient lists, but no one ever passed a law saying we had to understand them. (How do you hydrogenate an oil, anyway?)

But there also has been a concerted effort to pull a curtain across the food production system. You see that twice in "Food, Inc." Once, when a farmer who raises chickens for Tyson agrees to allow cameras onto his farm, only to have Tyson quickly call and persuade him to rescind his offer. And again, when Monsanto refuses to comment on, well, anything. It's one thing to be kept out of Dick Cheney's underground lair(s?). But we're eating this stuff.

Klein is also the author of a blog on domestic policy and economics for the Post.