Lemonade with vitamins, yoghurt that strengthens the immune system and green tea to prevent cardiovascular disease. Companies are busy making healthy food; they put together a variety of products with the same ingredients and claim the products are good for our health. In a round table discussion, organised by the WUB, six food scientists discuss the issue. Consumers are not in a position to assess the healthiness of food products and the marketing people use myths - a combination of scientific research and common sense - to sell healthy products at a high price. The scientists think that the government should draw up regulations, especially for food products which it is claimed prevent disease. A Finnish company adds citosterol to margarine, which dramatically decreases the level of cholesterol. Where a large proportion of the elderly population is at risk from cardiovascular diseases, I would add it to food products, one participant declares. Others are careful - the component should not have an effect on people with a normal cholesterol level. And where will it end? You cannot pretend we know enough to produce balanced food, says another participant. Better advice would be: eat a varied diet, so you don't miss important nutrients
The city of Wageningen could attract much more tourists if it integrated its dispersed attractions into a full product. This is the opinion of Sandra Huijnen and Ellen Gebben, two students of Physical Planning and Design. Wageningen can aim at nature and landscape tourists, but then footpaths and cycle tracks should connect the arboretum and nature reserves nearby the city. The lack of inexpensive hotels and natural camp sites also needs tackling. Apart from that, Wageningen has a lot to offer the knowledge tourist, claim the students. These visitors should be able to have access to the state-of-the-art agricultural science here through computer facilities and should be able to visit agricultural museums and the weather office here. Last but not least, Wageningen should build a golf course
Henriette Maassen van den Brink is the new part-time chair in Household Economy in Wageningen. She graduated in psychology and wants to add psychological and sociological aspects to the study of economics, in which the rationality of human decisions is still dominant. The models of classical economics miss a lot of information. She did research in Amsterdam on the costs and benefits of pre-school daycare and found out that the state investments in daycare centres are more than compensated by an extra tax income of 1.3 billion guilders. She now plans to analyze poverty in agriculture. She was attracted to Wageningen by its multidisciplinary, small-scale and international research, says the professor, but recent changes in the management structure of the university may weaken that strength. The Board says it answers letters, but that is not the same as having a dialogue.