The intersection between food writing and investigative journalism

When people hear the term “food writing,” they usually picture a snobby restaurant critic, a hipster blogging about urban agriculture, or a middle-aged mom writing a cocktail column for a local newspaper. But some food writers do more than just share recipes and review food trucks. When food writing and investigative journalism collide, you get a group of journalists who fulfill a civic duty and dig deep to learn about the food that the public is eating.

We’ve all seen, or at least heard of, the behind-the-scenes books and documentaries that show us farms where the United States’ corn is grown, or where livestock is raised. But these are often sponsored by the corporations being shown on screen, and can often be biased.

Independent journalists report on the food industry in the same way that they investigate politics or economics; they uncover fraud and answer to their readers, not to huge corporations. Some examples of organizations that employ investigative journalists to reveal what goes on in the food industry are listed below.


One thought on “The intersection between food writing and investigative journalism

  1. alivalerio February 19, 2015 / 4:56 am

    You make some great points here. I think that food writing probably has a lot of misconceptions, and it seems that it can be a pretty fun, exciting, even important path to take. There’s more to it than what food is served at a particular restaurant and how it tastes; there are questions about what we as a society are eating, and how that reflects on and even influences our culture. I think food journalism is where these questions are answered. I enjoy reading about food journalism, not just because I love food, but because to me it draws a lot of parallels with film journalism, which is the topic of my report. It’s not just about what films are out there and their quality, but also what those films say about us. But with investigating the food that is consumed by the public, there is obviously a more concrete need for journalists to discover these facts. And I think that’s a good thing for food writers; film doesn’t need to be talked about in the same way that food does. And, while film journalists can potentially make an impact on what people watch, food journalists can have a more physical impact on consumers’ actual health and lifestyle. Honestly, it seems like a really great writing path to pursue. Thanks for sharing!


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