The USDA has just come out with a new study documenting declining use of the Nutrition Facts labels, especially among adults too young to have known anything about them when they first came out in the early 1990s. Now that trans fats are zeros, the only thing people look at these days are fiber and sugar. To this one-track mind, this is another reason why calorie labeling is a good idea. Why don’t people look at calories on package labels? I’m guessing because they get confused by the serving size. About five years ago, the FDA proposed a way to make calories more prominent but nothing ever came of it (too much opposition). I still have hopes.
Kelly Sonora sends a list of 100 food blogs to “inspire your healthy eating.” Mine is listed at #91. But I don’t see most of my favorites (see Blogroll) on this list. Are your favorites on it? What would they be?
Here’s a story for you. Whole Foods has just recalled ground beef contaminated with the toxic form of E. coli, 0157:H7. The company had had to go into full damage control. It needs to. The beef came from Coleman Natural, which used to take pride in the quality of its meat and its safety procedures. But Coleman was bought by Meyer Natural Angus last spring, and Meyer uses Nebraska Beef for processing. Nebraska Beef has a history of problems with E. coli 0157:H7. Whole Foods didn’t check. This is a fine mess, one that I attribute to the usual results of pressures on corporations to please their stockholders, never mind public health, but I am curious about one thing: What is Meyer Natural? Is it owned by another, larger company? If so, which?
Thanks to Harold Goldstein, executive director of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, for sending a link to the Center’s video on public understanding of brochures put out by fast food chains. This reminds me a lot of my screen debut in SuperSize Me! where Morgan Spurlock tries to find out if anyone can define calories. I used to have a clip of it at www.foodpolitics.com, but it seems to have vanished.
Try to get your mind around this one. To make high fructose corn syrup, it is necessary to (1) extract the starch from corn, (2) treat the starch with an enzyme to break it into glucose, and (3) treat the glucose with another enzyme to turn about half of it into fructose. OK class, explain how this can be considered natural? Answer: because the enzymes are fixed to a column and do not actually mix with the starch. Oh. So the FDA considers HFCS natural because Archer Daniels Midland and the Corn Refiners Association asked it to. Regime change, anyone?
After 20 years of controversy, Monsanto is looking for a buyer for recombinant bovine somatotropin, the growth hormone that increases milk production in dairy cows. How come? According to the New York Times, Monsanto says this has nothing to do with problems selling the hormone and didn’t say a word about consumer opposition. I think consumer opposition had plenty to do with this, don’t you?