by Marion Nestle
Dec 1 2007

Wonderful new food objects!

This must be the week for wonders of food technology. Michele Simon (Appetite for Profit) sends me this photo of this great new Disney product. And another writer tells me that I must take a look at Arby’s new Cheesecake Poppers. I can’t wait to try them! Care to join me? great new product

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  • Hi Marion,

    Those are in fact one of the products I blogged about regarding Canada’s Heart and Stroke Foundation pushing junk food on kids.

    In the supermarket they were sold with a 4 foot tall poster of Mickey Mouse from the Sorcerer’s Apprentice pointing down into the bin of food.

    That checkmark on the right hand side is in fact the heart and stroke foundation’s Health Check endorsement that in fact those Mickey burgers are “healthy” choices.



  • Jane

    While I agree that a burger shaped like Mickey Mouse is stupid, I have to ask, “what’s so bad about a burger in generald??”

  • Right on, Jane.

    Though I happily eat a hamburger that I grind from a single cut of meat at home (I started doing that years ago when the pathogenic e-coli known) or is ground fresh by my butcher for me, I wouldn’t want any burger like this cheapened-by-Disney example. It is probably factory farmed grain-fed industrial feedlot beef from mechanically-harvested carcasses from umpteen countries, and more than likely is contaminated with E. coli 0157:H7 (aka there’s sh*t in the burger). The shape is the least problematic aspect.

  • Hamburgers are indeed delicious.

    I quite frankly adore them.

    I just don’t suggest to folks that they are “Healthy”.

    A poll done by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (the one’s with that check on the box) reported that 72% of folks seeing a Health Check believe that the item so checked is “Healthy” and “Nutritious” and while certainly there are nutrients in ground beef, as far as health benefits go it’s a hell of a stretch to call burgers “Healthy”.

  • I’ll agree with you, Yoni, if you mean a typical hamburger unknown origin with a bun (even whole grain), with catsup made with added sugars, especially if you are including fries and a soda.

    But a bunless grass-fed freshly ground burger (from a farmer you know) seared briefly over a medium-hot grill, then cooked few minutes more over indirect lower grill heat to medium rare or at most, medium (a la Farmer and the Grill cookbook), with a touch of homemade olive oil mayo and mustard (or a crumble of artisan blue cheese inside the beef)?

    Heaven *and* health. My mouth is watering already.

  • Oh, man, Anna, now I’m hungry.

    And heck, even the supermarket ground beef is probably better for you than, say, a soyburger. More zinc, more B6 and B12, more good quality animal protein, more oleic and stearic acid, and more satiating than soy, with no phytoestrogens or mineral-depleting phytates and fewer omega-6 fatty acids. If you can get grass-fed meat, do! But if you can’t, what’s in the supermarket is still better for you than a lot of so-called “healthy” foods.

    The Disney burger probably also has soy protein added to extend it, too. I wouldn’t buy it, partly because it’s processed but partly because I hate Disney for reasons that have nothing to do with nutrition. (Oh, and when I was a kid, my mother’s idea of a way to make food more appealing was to cut my sandwiches on the diagonal. I never had food that looked like cartoon characters!)

    The media keeps reporting on premature sexual maturity in girls, retarded sexual maturity in boys, and babies with enormous birth weights (remember when a 9 lb baby was rare? now they’re everywhere). We keep hearing about mothers who have difficulty nursing their babies. And infertility is rampant and inexpensive. Could this have anything to do with phytoestrogens? And if you don’t think that phytoestrogens mess with our reproductive systems, just remember that the first birth control pills were derived from plants with high levels of plant estrogen.

    But the saddest thing about this is the tremendous waste of our national resources that go to develop products like these. We could use those resources to solve real problems.

    Anna – mix tomato paste into your mayonnaise. This has a fancy French name, but I forget what it is.

  • I had the thought about the Disney burger having soy extenders, too (what do they call it, texturized vegetable protein?), but I was too lazy to look it up to be sure so I didn’t mention it. Thanks for bringing it up, ’cause I’m willing to bet $$ that TVP is in there, along with some MSG or such. I stopped buying Trader Joe meatballs for my son and made my own to freeze when I noticed the TVP (now he likes meatballs with ground lamb and Moroccan spices). Like you say, a 9 yo boy doesn’t need all those phytoestrogens (there’s a reason phyto-estrogens are with the “women’s stuff” in the health food store).

    I’ll try the tomato paste next time I make mayo. Sounds good. I’ll ask my SIL the name; she lived in Paris 14 years.

    Phytoestrogens (could be that soy milk well-intentioned parents are tossing down kids’ gullets), xenoestrogens (leached from plastic food and beverage containers), the world is awash with estrogens. But I wouldn’t mind a little extra progesterone. How come we don’t get additives that give us doses of what we really need? 🙂

  • Fentry

    It’s always amazing to me that people buy food when it even looks vile in the advertisement.

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