Sick ‘scapes : boutique and corporate food geographies and Mexico’s public health crisis




Stycos, Mary H.

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Mexico is sick, and it is getting sicker. Since the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1994, Mexico has become one of the most obese and most undernourished and diabetes-ridden countries in the world. Its food landscape has been completely transformed. An examination of the current panorama reveals a neoliberal foodscape arranged to reinforce and deepen pre-existing health, gender, race, and class inequalities. Throughout the country there is an emerging elite boutique food movement heralded by public health officials and food activists as healthy and sustainable, yet, paradoxically, the country is also witnessing a massive expansion of corporate food sources, largely left unchecked and understudied. These sites of neoliberal “ruination” are emblematic of the NAFTA-created industrialized food system impacting the livelihoods, diets, and ultimately health of Mexico’s most vulnerable residents. As a result, the Mexican foodscape reflects the violence present of global food geopolitics, which is dominated by multinational companies with an enormous power to dictate not only what people eat but what food is produced, how, and by whom. The resulting globalization of the Mexican diet is physically manipulating and exerting control over the bodies of residents, ultimately maintaining existing power structures. A “food geography” analysis of the corporate takeover of the Mexican food system is necessary to understanding the post-NAFTA neoliberal public health crisis that the country is facing


LCSH Subject Headings