It’s not really about mad cow disease. It’s about the South Korean government’s caving in to American pressures. This makes more sense.
I can’t resist passing along this anonymously sourced spoof of Canada’s “Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide.” Try the “Eating not-so-well with the [Canadian] Industry’s Food Guide.” And thanks for Jennifer Falbe for sending and Yoni Freedhoff for posting.
So the tomato saga continues, with the source of the Salmonella Saintpaul still not announced. This means that you need to know which state a tomato comes from so you can avoid eating potentially tainted tomatoes from states that are still under suspicion. State-of-origin labeling, anyone? And you must take draconian measures to protect yourself from killer tomatoes: buy only the good ones (not plum, Roma, or round unless they are from OK states), wash and dry them carefully, and take your chances. Not sure what to do? Drop them in boiling water or cook them into tomato sauce. Isn’t this exciting? Not for anyone who cares about food safety or, alas, for tomato farmers likely to take the same kind of hit the spinach growers did. Check out what the Perishable Pundit has to say about all this. The Packer.com is another good place to follow this story from the industry’s perspective.
And I’ll say it again: it’s time to do something about our food safety system or the lack thereof. In the meantime, according to the New York Times, Congress again and again asked Commissioner von Eschenbach how much money the FDA needs to do the job right, but “again and again Dr. von Eschenbach refused to give an answer.” Of course he refused. He has to. He’s a political appointee.
The giant food company, Nestlé (no relation), says it will not join the food industry’s voluntary efforts to stop marketing junk foods to kids. Why not? Here’s one guess: maybe the company doesn’t want to make promises it knows it can’t keep.
Alexandra Lewin did an extra-curricular project during her doctoral studies in nutrition at Cornell. She tried to get healthier products placed in the department’s junk-food filled vending machines. No doubt you think it would be easy to do something like this, especially in a nutrition department. Wrong. I was an occasional advisor on this project. All I could do was laugh at what happened and cheer her on. If you want to understand what it means when public health people like me refer to “deeply entrenched institutional barriers to dietary change,” take a look at her post on Corporations and Health Watch.
Yesterday, I received a press announcement from the USDA with an invitation to join today’s press conference, “The Road to Healthville: Challenge to End Childhood Obesity.” The press release explains:
Dr. Brian Wansink, Executive Director of the
Kellogg is among the charter members. Today’s Kellogg press release lists what the company promises to do. Uh oh. It’s developing a curriculum for K through 8 school kids. Want to bet that Kellogg’s logo will be prominently displayed?
More than 65,000 people in Seoul took to the streets to protest the South Korean government’s decision to allow imports of American beef. Why? Because we haven’t convinced them that our cattle do not have mad cow disease. Sunday, 40,000 rioted again. The issue has a long history rooted in distrust of America dating with our war with Korea in the early 1950s. It also has a lot to do with our less than stringent efforts to ensure that U.S. cattle do not have or get mad cow disease. The situation with Korea is a mess, and one likely to be difficult to clean up.