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"Food Product Design" by Eric Schlosser

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Krista Foss

on 4 November 2013

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Transcript of "Food Product Design" by Eric Schlosser

Reasoning Errors
Introduction to Food Theme
"Food Product Design"
Jim Scherer/ Houghton Mifflin
WRITER FACTS
VOCABULARY BANK
FURTHER INVESTIGATIONS:
distinctive
tallow
saturate
barrage
innocuous
dehydrate
palatable
embed
divulge
nondisclosure
dapper
volatile
differentiate
olfactory
traverse
churn
infinitesimal
culinary
ubiquitous
distill
solvent
cosmopolitan
desiccate
egocentric
OVERKILL?
Sometimes writing is meant to be tedious. Because Schlosser's essay is so packed with information, his writing may seem a bit dry. What is the rhetorical advantage of listing obscure ingredients and chemicals? Do you find the sheer weight of numbers effective? How does this style of argument compare with the way food is advertised?
GRAS
The phrase "Generally Regarded As Safe" is not as reassuring as it may intend. What about the phrase might some find unsettling? What rhetorical operation does making a phrase into an acronym (GRAS) accomplish?
NATURAL VS. ARTIFICIAL
One of the fun things about this essay is discovering the various neologisms, or invented words, that flavorists deploy as specialized terminology (like "mouthfeel"). At the same time, this playful approach to language can turn sinister. Reread the following excerpt. What is Eric Schlosser saying about the importance of language in this field? Can you think of other fields in which language is used to obscure meaning?
Copyright © 2012 colorMaker Inc
While Eric Schlosser's work is primarily journalistic, other food writers have taken a more political approach to food culture. Michael Pollan has written many books about the politics of food, and the above talk examines the ways that what we consume impacts the environment.
Schlosser's sections on smell may have piqued your interests. If you'd like to try another writer who brings our sense of smell alive on the page, you may want to read Patrick Süskind's wonderful and disturbing novel "Perfume: The Story of a Murderer."
Utilitarian philosopher Peter Singer looks past health concerns to examine the ethics of what we eat. His seminal text "Animal Liberation" argues that the food industry operates according to deeply unethical principles.
Born in Manhattan
Studied at Princeton
Author of several books, including "Fast Food Nation," which has been required reading at several universities
Narrated feature documentary "Food, Inc."


What distinguishes a strongly argued opinion from just a rant, is how well it is reasoned, and if it avoids the classic logical fallacies (or reasoning errors.)
Reasoning Errors
Hasty Conclusion
occurs when you make a claim based on insufficient evidence – or a sweeping generalization is drawn from limited observations.
Did you commit any of these errors in your blog?
False cause
Ad Hominem (Attacking the Person)
Hasty Generalization
Appeal to (False) Authority
Appeal to Popularity
Appeal to Tradition

Because one event followed another, therefore the first event caused the other. (ignores the possibility of another entirely different cause, or multiple causes)
ex. He ate your cooking and died of a stroke, therefore your cooking killed him
False Cause

When a person is attacked on a personal quality that is irrelevant to the issue or argument.

Ad Hominem
Appeal to Unqualified or False Authority

Argues for something by invoking alleged authorities who in fact have no relevant expertise to the claim being made.


a false appeal to the authority of everyone. We are told a course of action should be taken, or allowed, because everyone is doing it.


a belief or action is supported simply because it conforms to the traditional ideas or practices.
Ad Populum:
Appeal to Tradition
ResearchPaper
Due: November 30th,
Optional theme: how industrial food production impacts on human health
your thesis statement can tackle any variation on this theme that interests you(and remember there are other themes to choose from)
Theme Introduction
"Food Product Design"
Full transcript