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Food Revolution Summit undaunted by denial-of-service attack

A barista makes a 'cat'achino' at the pop-up shop 'Cat Cafe' on April 24, 2014 in New York City.
A barista makes a 'cat'achino' at the pop-up shop 'Cat Cafe' on April 24, 2014 in New York City.
Photo by Andrew Burton

The Food Revolution Summit, which is being broadcast daily through May 4, was hit by a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack on its first day, April 26. Organized and hosted by John Robbins and his son Ocean, the summit is a week-long series of interviews with scientists, attorneys, activists, and celebrities involved in food and health issues. Although the summit organizers were prepared for a large audience listening in via SoundCloud, telephone, and Skype, the DDoS attack was unexpected. The Robbins duo and their team worked quickly to handle the attack, and got the program back on track.

"A team of engineers worked with us all day," Ocean Robbins told listeners on April 27, "and we have weathered the storm. The Food Revolution is alive and well, and we will not be stopped by toxic food, or by malicious attack." In order to ensure that all registered participants can listen to the programs that took place on April 26, these interviews (with Dr. Mark Hyman, Dr. Dean Ornish, and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn) have been made available for replay through May 4.

Sunday's program included interviews with Saru Jayaraman, Amy Goodman, and Raj Patel, in which the ethics of food production and food service were discussed. Saru Jayaraman, an attorney who is the co-director of the Restaurant Opportunities Center United and the director of the Food Labor Research Center at UC-Berkeley, spoke about the poor wages and working conditions of food service employees. According to Ms. Jayaraman, one in 12 Americans works in the food service industry, an industry with notoriously low wages. One item of data uncovered by Ms. Jayaraman is that the federal minimum wage for tipped workers is $2.13 per hour, a figure that has not changed in 23 years -- a fact that Ms. Jayaraman attributes to the lobbying efforts of the National Restaurant Association. "In 1996," Ms. Jayaraman said, "[the National Restaurant Association] struck a deal with Congress, saying they wouldn't oppose an increase in the overall minimum wage as long as the minimum wage for tipped workers stayed frozen forever."

With an employer-paid wage as low as $2.13 per hour and no paid sick days, many restaurant workers choose to come to work even when they are sick, according to Ms. Jayaraman. She cited a CDC report that traced between 50 and 90 percent of all norovirus outbreaks to six restaurant workers, and noted that she has interviewed restaurant workers who came to work despite being ill with H1N1, hepatitis, and typhoid fever.

Beginning at 8 a.m. Pacific Time on April 28, Andrew Kimbrell, the director of the Center for Food Safety, will speak, followed by Michael Hansen of the Consumers Union and Ken Cook of the Environmental Working Group. Interviews during the rest of the summit include Dr. Jane Goodall (8 a.m. Pacific Time on April 29), author Jonathan Safran Foer (10 a.m. Pacific Time on April 29), actress Alicia Silverstone (8 a.m. Pacific Time on May 1), and sugar addiction researcher Dr. Robert Lustig (8 a.m. Pacific Time on May 2).