Thursday, May 6, 2010

A little financial kinhin

For years now I have avoided buying anything made by Kraft, because I knew they were part of Altria, which is a name behind which an enormous tobacco industry - Phillip Morris - hides. This morning I thought I'd check on that. Indeed, it turns out that Altria sold off Kraft a few years ago and now relies on tobacco and wine. Altria is the last thing I want in my mutual funds - but when you invest pre-tax money in a mutual fund through our state retirement program, you have only so many choices, and none of them are "socially conscious." It is very hard to do no harm in this world, but it would cost us to move this money. And Tom and I have special reasons for ongoing retirement savings. I have seen too many good people end up in old age like the Teachers Stephen and Andrea Levine, sick and without a safety net of savings. (Click here for a moving appeal on their behalf.)

Back to Kraft. Here's a list of their astonishing number of brands. As I surveyed it I thought, They make everything unhealthy to eat. Almost everything. I have liked Grey Poupon mustard and wheat thins - but I'm sure there are good alternatives in the Natural Health section, or down at the co-op. Kraft specializes in the middle-of-the-store items we are advised by Michael Pollan to avoid. (At my Kroger's, you can shop the outside of the store, produce, Natural Health, dairy, bread, and just dart down the aisle with beans and rice and pasta.)

What is this about? I think it comes from the fact that I have been thinking often lately about how hard it is just to not do harm in this world. Still, we keep watching where we walk.

1 comment: