News - February 11, 2016

‘It feels like a fatwa’

Rob Ramaker

Who? Tiny van Boekel, director of the Education Institute (OWI)
What? Made the case for processed food in national newspaper Algemeen Dagblad and regional papers
Followed by? A tsunami of aggressive reactions; a chef who wanted to ‘string him up’

How do you feel about the storm you’ve ended up in?

‘I do feel amazed when I look at this and see the lack of nuance in the reactions. I find it interesting as a phenomenon but I don’t take it personally. Some people have expressed their sympathy, which is kind of them but not necessary.’

You have been saying this for a while. Do you know why you are suddenly getting this response?

‘I wrote this morning in a response on Foodlog that it feels like a religious fatwa has been issued because I’m saying something people don’t want to hear.’

You seem to have touched a nerve. Are you going to do something with this?

‘I can see how much emotion and confusion there is about this subject and I intend doing more with this. I am open to a debate as long as people come up with arguments. It annoys me when people dismiss you as someone in the pocket of the food industry ‑ total nonsense and a pathetic response. That’s just a way of avoiding talking about the substance.’