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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 2, No. 9. June 7, 1939

Food for Thought

Food for Thought

This is the first special issue of "Salient" this year. It is hoped that in the eyes of students it may justify itself.

The topic of nutrition was chosen because the problem it presents is urgent and widespread, yet almost universally neglected. It is certain that students, in common with the general public, are disturbingly ignorant of the existence and menace of malnutrition in New Zealand and elsewhere.

Yet no one reading Miss Lorimer's excellent statement of the case and the additional evidence appearing in this issue could remain unconvinced.

Why is it that this knowledge, so important to every man, woman and child in New Zealand, is so restricted? Is it not everyone's right to be kept informed of such a serious matter—by the "enlightened organs of public opinion"? Yet what do we find? In the newspapers there is a conspiracy of silence—and a plethora of advertisements for patent foods and medicines.

Is it too much to say that one is the corollary of the other? That for the newspaper proprietors the revenue from their advertisements is very much more a matter for concern than is the health and welfare of their subscribers?

Malnutrition is admittedly rampant in New Zealand, but the newspapers have nothing to say, for they have nothing to gain.

If they were to publish the formulae, etc., of many of the processes which they permit to be advertised in their columns, it would have no other effect than to destroy the ensuing demand for those processes. And, despite the claims of truth and justice, one never Bites the hand that feeds, does one? Especially if one is a newspaper proprietor. Or even the Controller of a Commercial Broadcasting System.

In face of such vested interest in falsehood, individual action may seem futile, but there is still much that can be done. It should be the duty of everyone to spread a knowledge of the facts of the case as widely as they are able, to support organizations working to this end, and to help towards the realisation of the practical measures of reform outlined in this week's "Salient." The two articles, "Malnutrition in New Zealand" and "Truth in Advertising" should certainly provide the requisite "righteous indignation."


How often when the thought of suicide
With ghostly weapon beckons us to die,
The ghosts of many foods alluring glide
On golden dishes, wine in purple tide
To drown our whim. Things dance before the eye
Like tasselled grapes to Tantalus: The sly
Blue of a curling trout, the battened pride
Of ham in frills, complacent, quails that lie
Resigned to death like heroes—July peas,
Expectant bottles foaming at the brink—
White bread and honey of the golden bees—
A peach with velvet coat, some prawns in pink,
A slice of beef carved deftly. Stilton cheese,
And cups where berries float and bubbles wink.

—Iris Tree.