March 24, 2010

Jamie Oliver: The Dollar Is More Powerful Than The Kid

Posted: 07:54 PM ET

Jamie Oliver is a world renowned chef, and host of a new TV series: "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution" which premieres Friday on ABC.  The series focuses on the town of Huntington, West Virginia, recognized recently as the unhealthiest city in the US.  His crusade is to change that.

Oliver gave us a few moments to play 5 Questions.  Here are two of the 5, and CHECK THE BLOG TOMORROW for the rest.

LKL Blog: What do you think of Michelle Obama’s efforts combat childhood obesity and promote healthy eating?

Oliver: We’ve been watching and monitoring what they’ve been doing for the last year now, and they’re proactive, they’re doing a great job.  I can only compare it to what was happening back home in the same situation, and it wasn’t as much.

To me the biggest worry isn’t Michelle Obama, it’s congress doing its job. I think largely their heart's in the right place.  They get the vision, they get that it has to be across the board.  It can’t just be about fixing school dinners, it needs to be about the workplace, it needs to be about the fast-food industry, supermarkets, food producers, you know everyone trying to have a better impact on the world.  But she’s talking about something that no president or president's first lady has gotten close to in 40 years.  This is new territory for them, for her, and for politics.  I think it’s so exciting to see what unfolds.

LKL Blog: What do you see as the governments role to encouraging more healthy eating?  Can the government legislate people into eating better?

Oliver: Well, let’s reverse the question.  The environment is obviously not doing itself any favors without it.  You’ve got an environment at the moment where companies want to self-police their own packaging.  But you’re in a country where packaging’s probably the worst in the world.  You can baffle people with bull&%$t left, front and center.  You can express with pictures or words things that aren’t true.  Obviously there needs to be some interjection because it ain’t working.

You can’t be a government or a country that on the right hand says, “we’re in a health epidemic, first generation of kids expected to live shorter lives than their parents.”  Then on the left hand, with military precision, have free commodities that are basically processed junk, with lots of additives and other things that don’t need to be in the food.  The government doesn’t necessarily need to lead the charge, but if they did, it would give signals to companies, retailers, the fast-food industry, producers, supermarkets, parents and schools, that we have to start to care.  You can do a little bit.

There is certainly a lack of clear standards.  Everything is complicated and nothing is safe.  Even milk has as much added sugar as fizzy pop.  So you’ve got that getting poured on some cereal in the morning, which is also riddled with all sorts of sugar, and flavoring and things, and it’s just not great for the kids.

So politically, making legislation is always argued against, and there are always people that don’t like it.  I don’t think it’s radical for me to say that the dollar is far more powerful than the kid, because there’s lots of proof.  Kids can’t sway things to change, but the dollar can.  I just think it’s interesting times and there needs to be some controls in place.

READ MORE on the LKL Blog tomorrow!

Filed under: Jamie Oliver • LKL Web Exclusive

Share this on:
butterfly   March 24th, 2010 8:08 pm ET

Good for you Jamie! Thank you for helping to make a difference in this world! Bless you.

Joe G. (Illinois)   March 24th, 2010 8:42 pm ET

If one’s life style is immoral or unhealthy.. Expectation about that person’s heating habits should not come as a surprise. The question is as to whether the devil will allow selective “Opt out.” And that I think as both an obvious and false undertaking.

A. Smith, Oregon   March 25th, 2010 12:53 am ET

Having the opportunity to have healthy food does not guarantee that food is healthy to consume. The Republican led horrific Bush-Cheney administration gutted FDA inspectors to a very small few. Thousands of TONS of produce do not get even visually inspected by federal agents of the FDA much less chemically and biologically tested for hazardous heavy metals, toxic chemicals, dangerous virus's, and harmful bacterial organisms.

Do those good looking Carrots in the market contain any PCB's or a spoonful of DDT?

Does that Apple Juice contain E-Coli Bacteria?

Does that carton of Milk contain deactivated E-Coli Bacteria that is present after being radiated by Ultra-Violet lamps?

Does that savoring portion of fish contain harmful levels of Mercury, PCB's and Cadmium?

Very few people would come to realize they just got poisoned by eating 'good food' unless they suddenly came down with critical illness's that typically result from heavy metal poisoning, or toxic chemicals.

Bottom line, Eating Good Food is a good goal, however it is worthless if the Federal Govt. does not adequately inspect food and produce for ANY and ALL Possible harmful contamination.

Jessie from Auckland, NZ   March 25th, 2010 5:30 am ET

Glad he is bringing attention to this problem also and trying to do something about it. Good on him.

Jessie from Auckland, NZ   March 25th, 2010 7:58 am ET

Taken from the article above – Jamie's words.....

"So politically, making legislation is always argued against, and there are always people that don’t like it. I don’t think it’s radical for me to say that the dollar is far more powerful than the kid, because there’s lots of proof. Kids can’t sway things to change, but the dollar can. I just think it’s interesting times and there needs to be some controls in place."

Lot of truth in this. Man after my own heart. God bless him.

Maria Copelli   March 25th, 2010 1:05 pm ET

Jamie Oliver ! I am rooting for you ,and I HOPE THE RESPONSE IS ENORMOUS!!!!!!You cook the way we should be eating daily! well done are on it!Love Maria Copelli

Nicole Gallegos   March 25th, 2010 3:44 pm ET


I am a Director of Child Nutrition in South Texas. I as well as many of my fellow Directors take great offense to your methods. We know we need change, we know that fresh foods, fruits and vegetables are better for the students and we are willing to go the extra mile to get them to our students. But you have to look at this from both sides. Everything you are proposing requires much more funding than what is available to us. There are also regulations from the state and federal level that we must follow. Do you understand these regulations? Have you studied what different states have done to make their regulations more strict than those of the federal government? Under the National School Lunch Program, school lunches must meet federal nutrition standards and include a choice of fruit, vegetable, dairy, grain and protein. Despite a limited budget Child Nutrition Departments around the country are meeting all these requirements and going the extra mile to make school meals healthy and enticing for students through student taste tests, ethnic meal choices, school gardens, the Farm to School program and the DoD Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Program. Even the students have gravitated to more nutritious choices such as lean meats, whole grain breads, low fat cheese and a wide variety of vegetables and fruits. Most of the time the students don't even realize that they are eating the healthier food options. You need to begin to understand the huge costs and financial strains that switching to items such as whole grain breads puts on the departments. For example in a district of 12,000 students making the whole grain switch would cost nearly $80,000. Federal reimbursements of $2.68 for free meals served through the National School Lunch Program are 24 cents less than the average cost to prepare each of these meals and this of course puts a greater strain on the schools.

Jamie, we are with you. Change must happen but making the Child Nutrition Departments and the employees look bad isn't going to help our cause. We did not cause the obesity in America. We are trying to find the solutions and many of us are already providing solutions. Students get taught bad eating habits at home. We cannot force students to eat right we can only give them the option to. What good does it do for us to offer the healthy choices when the students won't eat them? The teaching starts at home and you are doing an excellent job of doing that in your program.

I have an idea for you....come work with us and showcase all the realities of what is needed on the school district level to do what you are proposing. We need to find money to pay for the higher priced food items that do not contain the transfat, and to purchase the equipment we will need to cook it. Change to the program would be wonderful but we need help getting the funding needed for it.

Please take another look at the approach you are taking. We want the same change you do but there has to be a better way to do it. A way that does not put a negative spot light on Child Nutrition Departments and gives the public a clear picture of what we are up against.

Chef Scott Horwitz   March 26th, 2010 12:22 am ET

Jamie – I have a challenge for you! If you teach me how to help kids and families eat healthier and how to forward the food literacy/awareness movement (aka Food Revolution) then I can teach others also and it is my desire for them to take it even further than what we can.

I challenge you to show me and get me going on this. I've already started this in Dallas TX.

S.Baker in Washington   March 26th, 2010 12:53 am ET

Thank you Jamie!

Let's hope the gov't agencies are paying attention to what we all want in the U.S. – healthy food, clear labeling, and the truth.

Bill Peterson   March 26th, 2010 12:58 am ET

You just have to laugh at goofballs like this.

Imagine....Ryan Secrest and the "naked" Chef popping in out of the blue and preaching to us about something that three or four entire industries in this country deal with every single day.

As with all bleeding heart liberals....there assumption is that everyone else is some inbred hillbilly that needs to be "saved" by them.

I just watched an entire hour of Larry King selling this new program. I"m telling you...a solid hour .......and not once....not once....did they discuss federal nutrition guidelines or show a single product produced by the "master" chef to replace the meals the cafeterias are currently serving.

This is a gaggle of liberals selling "awareness" of a problem.....that we are all fully aware of. They are not selling ANY SOLUTIONS.....NOT ONE SINGLE SOLUTION. They are insulting the millions of people in this country dealing with these issues every single day. THEY ARE WASTING EVERYONE'S TIME.

Maggie   March 26th, 2010 10:35 am ET

Thank you Nicole for stating what all of us fellow Directors of School Nutrition Programs are feeling. Well Done!!!

Susan   March 26th, 2010 2:27 pm ET

Bill, you're off your rocker.
Jamie, we need you more than ever before.
Time will tell if people are able to turn their backs on their old habits, but you are giving them the chance, a lifeline.
And for that, THANK YOU!

Diana   March 26th, 2010 5:05 pm ET

Hi Jamie;
I was really glad to see what you are doing to fight childhood obesity. I wanted to reccomend you check out the book, Fat to Skinny Fast and Easy by Doug Varrieur. He really writes in such a simplistic way and exposes where the hidden sugars are in our diets- esp. the fast food diets we all consume too much of. My Dad is 84 and has Adult onset Diabetes and when he read the book – he made the comment that this book should be in all schools as a text book.
Keep on- you will be literally saving lives. Thanks for doing this.

Jennifer   March 26th, 2010 8:07 pm ET

I think it's absolutely AMAZING what Jamie is doing....I totally agree that children should be taught about the foods they eat, the impact it has on their health and that a cooking class should be madatory in secondary school to teach the basics of healthy eating and how good foods can taste good when you know how to cook them. I wish him the best of luck and will do everything I can to spread the word about his mission. I live in Canada and also would love if the schools here would do the same thing....ABSOLUTELY 100% FANTASTIC JAMIE!!!
Love, love, love what you are doing!!

Becky   March 26th, 2010 10:49 pm ET

Thank goodness for you Jamie Oliver. I am a cook at a daycare and I fight this everyday. You have to follow regulations made by the food program people, and for the life of me I don't understand how they can say any processed food is good or should be approved for eating by anyone especially our children and grandchildren. I would love to see a change in the way I am allowed to cook for the children at my daycare and the way lunches are made for the children in our school system.

Jessie from Auckland, NZ   March 28th, 2010 7:50 pm ET

I wonder if Jamie has put out a cook-book on how to cook plain, healthy, simple foods that are not too costly. I am not really up on his books, will try and check them out. Maybe he has?

Comments have been closed for this article

Keep up to date with Larry

Follow him on Twitter

Become a fan on Facebook

Contact us
Go Behind The Scenes


LARRY KING LIVE'S Emmy-winning Senior Executive Producer Wendy Walker knows what it takes to make a great story.

With anecdotes, provocative emails, scandals, show transcripts and insights into Walker's long working relationship with Larry King, her new book PRODUCER issues readers an invitation to listen in on the most intriguing conversations on the planet.

Order from:
Barnes & Noble

King of Hearts

Larry King's King of Hearts

Saving a heart a day is the goal! Learn more about the Foundation and it's efforts to help the uninsured

Visit the Larry King Cardiac Foundation.

subscribe RSS Icon
Powered by VIP