The Ask Marion question this week has to do with whether there is anything good about food biotechnology. This is a good week to ask since the industry’s genes have been leaking again, this time into corn that is not genetically modified. Apparently, according to Food Chemical News (and I do love the way these things are described) “Dow AgroSciences had earlier informed the agencies that it had detected extremely low levels of an unregistered plant-incorporated protectant (PIP), known as Event 32, in some Herculex RW and Herculex XTRA Rootworm Protection seed lines. Seed containing the PIP was inadvertently sold to farmers by Dow’s affiliate, Mycogen Seeds, and planted in 2006 and 2007.” Translation: The Mycogen Co. sold seeds containing an unapproved gene to be planted with conventional corn. Oops, and not the first time.
Obesity is more common in low-income areas. Why? It may seem intuitively obvious that lack of adequate income, transportation, cooking facilities, supermarkets, and opportunities for physical activity would make it difficult for people to eat healthfully and be active, but inituition is one thing and evidence is another. My NYU colleagues Jennifer Black and James Macinko now provide the evidence in a most useful review paper. Want to improve the “built environment”? This is a great starting place.
If you are having trouble understanding what the huge meat recall is about, catch this well linked piece by Elissa Altman on the Huffington Post.
The recall of 143 million pounds of hamburger is a big blow to the image of the meat industry, and its lobbying groups are hard at work. Calling calls for more regulation “simply outrageous,” the Institute argues that what was caught on the Human Society’s notorious videotape is not typical: We will not let a video from what appears to have been a tragic anomaly stand as the poster child for our industry.
And if you were wondering what happened to the recalled meat, the USDA gives an accounting: 50.3 million lbs were distributed as part of the national school lunch program; of that, 19.6 million were consumed; 15.2 million are identified and on hold; and 15.5
million still being traced. But what about the remaining 93 million? All eaten?
I’ve always said that the research on salt is complicated, not least because it is so difficult to separate out the effects of salt itself from the junk food company it keeps. So a new British study provides some confirming evidence: kids who eat a lot of salt also drink a lot of soft drinks. Guilt by association! The effects of salt on hypertension also might be influenced by everything else in the diet. That’s why it’s so difficult to make sense of research on one dietary factor at a time.
Thanks to Dana Woldow of the San Francisco Unified School District for sending this link to resources for making school meals healthier. Check out the salad bar video (way down at the bottom of the list of links). The city now has salad bars in 25 schools.