by Marion Nestle

Currently browsing posts about: Pizza

Aug 24 2017

Globalization in action: more cheese for pizza in China

Every now and then I see an article that seems like the most perfect indicator of food globalization; this one.

According to FoodNavigator-Asia.com, Fonterra, the New Zealand milk producer, is opening up a new milk production facility in Australia for one particular purpose: to meet the demand for cheese to top pizzas—in China.

Fonterra opened a $240m mozzarella plant to produce individually quick frozen (IQF) mozzarella in Clandeboye, New Zealand, last year, the largest producer of natural mozzarella in the Southern Hemisphere…40% of people in urban China now eat at Western style fast food outlets once a week, and the use of dairy in foodservice has grown by over 30% in five years</i>,” said Jacqueline Chow, COO, Global Consumer and Foodservice, Fonterra.

Where to begin?

  • Dairy cattle in New Zealand have replaced the sheep.  The green sheep meadows are disappearing.  Formerly pristine waters are now polluted.  Why not in Australia too?
  • The Chinese population is largely intolerant to lactose, the sugar in milk.  They can eat dairy products, but should they?
  • Does anyone else think that replacing the traditional Chinese diet with heavily cheesed pizza might not be the best idea?
  • Does anyone else find this mind-boggling?
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Jul 24 2017

The food industry vs. menu labeling: the saga continues

Remember menu labeling?  The idea started in New York City in 2008.  Here is one of my early posts on it.  My point in mentioning this: if you care about such things, menu labeling is useful, fun, and effective if you pay attention to it.

Despite a lot of research suggesting otherwise, menu labeling must work.  How else to explain industry’s ferocious and unrelenting opposition to it?

The latest is a lawsuit filed by the Food Marketing Institute and the National Association of Convenience Stores against New York City, which announced that it plans to enforce the regulations it has had in effect for nine years—even though the FDA has delayed national implementation once again until 2018.

To get some idea of what fast-food places are upset about, it helps to check in with the American Pizza Community, the friendly-sounding, but actually highly aggressive trade association for fast-food pizza places.

Here, for example, is its congratulatory statement to the FDA for delaying compliance with the law for another year:

The American Pizza Community welcomes the important step by the Food and Drug Administration toward applying common sense to federal menu labeling regulations…The previous approach threatened to impose excessive burdens on thousands of small businesses without achieving meaningful improvements in educating consumers. The American Pizza Community commends the Administration’s decision to extend the compliance date to May 7, 2018 and its request to collect comments for reducing the regulatory burden and increasing flexibility in implementation methods.  We support menu labeling and look forward to working with policy makers to implement a permanent solution that provides consumers with information and enables small business owners to comply with flexibility while continuing to thrive and create jobs.

By “support,” the pizza folks mean the “Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2017.

Instead of requiring calories to be posted next to the menu item, this bill would allow nutrition information to be available “solely by a remote-access menu (e.g., an Internet menu) for food establishments where the majority of orders are placed by customers who are off-premises.”

Also, “an establishment’s nutrient content disclosures may vary from actual nutrient content if the disclosures comply with current standards for reasonable basis.

The pizza industry has the Wall Street Journal on its side.

The Food and Drug Administration can’t possibly fulfill all of the responsibilities it claims to have, and here’s one way the Trump Administration can set better priorities: Direct the agency to end its effort to inform Americans that pizza contains calories.

I guess the hope is that if they delay long enough, menu labeling will quietly disappear.

CSPI, however, has other ideas.  It filed a lawsuit to force the FDA to implement the regulations.

This lawsuit asserts that the delay of the menu labeling requirement—published without prior notice or an opportunity for comment, one day before the menu labeling rule was supposed to take effect—is illegal and must be vacated.  Since the regulated industry was ready to comply before the delay, it can promptly comply with the menu labeling rule once reinstated and, thus, begin to provide this important health information to the public without delay, according to the complaint.

Recall that menu labeling was authorized by Congress as part of the Affordable Care Act in 2010.  No wonder CSPI wants the rules implemented right away.

The ACA is still with us—so far.

Nov 23 2016

Tonight is Thanksgiving Eve: Eat Pizza?

What with holiday travel and all, it’s a slow news week, so I am indebted to the American Pizza Community for a press release informing me of an American holiday I had no idea existed: Thanksgiving Eve.

Apparently this holiday comes with its own tradition: pizza.

“Pizza,” says the press release, “is tradition for millions of families on Thanksgiving Eve.”

According to the American Pizza Community (APC), pizza is frequently chosen around celebratory occasions and large family gatherings because having a highly-customizable, oven-baked meal delivered to your door is an easy choice for big crowds…The night before Thanksgiving is one of the five busiest days of the year for pizza orders.  Some of the larger pizza companies estimate that they will sell more than one million pizzas on Thanksgiving Eve.

How come?  According to the APC, which is a trade and lobbying association “a coalition of the nation’s large and small pizza companies, operators, franchisees, vendors, suppliers and other entities,”

  • Pizza offers wholesome-quality, customizable ingredients that are sure to satisfy a whole group.
  • Pizza is a flexible option: pick it up, dine in or have it delivered. Any way you slice it, it’s hot, fresh and easy.
  • Pizza is a low-stress choice.  You don’t have to pile everyone into a car to go out the night before a long day of travel.
  • Pizza is the perfect meal to bring people together and for many special celebratory occasions. It’s a convenient and communal meal that is meant to be shared, and is a real crowd pleaser.

The American Pizza Community’s “coalition was formed in 2010 to advocate for policies affecting pizza companies and operators including menu and labeling information, fair wages, work opportunity tax credit, background checks, tax policies and small business access to capital.”

This is the group that succeeded in getting Congress to insist that pizza is counted as a vegetable in school lunch programs, and is doing all it can to make sure that pizza places do not have to put calorie labels on their menus.

Jun 27 2014

Lobbying in action: pizza!

This just in from Politico Morning Agriculture:

At their recent Capitol Hill fly-in, members of the American Pizza Community — which included representatives from Domino’s Pizza, Godfather’s, Little Caesars, Papa John’s and Pizza Hut — met with more than 70 congressional offices, according to a statement from the APC. Part of their ask was for lawmakers to back the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act. The bill, which was introduced about a year ago by Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.), would exempt grocery stores from the ACA menu labeling requirements and allow restaurants to disclose calorie counts online.

American Pizza Community?  Indeed, yes.

The American Pizza Community is a coalition of the nation’s largest pizza companies, regional chains, local pizzerias, small franchise operators, supplier partners and other entities that make up the American pizza industry. This joint effort will highlight the importance of the pizza industry on American communities and promote policies that permit its continued success, including reasonable menu labeling standards, including small business owners in tax reform, commodity policies and employment and labor policies.

The APC knows how to work the system.  Meeting with 70 congressional offices takes some hefty organizational work.

This is, no doubt, how pizza came to be counted as a vegetable in the school lunch program.

Happy weekend!

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Aug 29 2007

What a Concept: Oreo Pizza!

I am indebted to Michele Simon for sending a photo of this flier for the latest innovation in home-delivered food–Oreo Dessert Pizza. I’m sorry I can’t figure out how to make the photo bigger so you can see it better, but the way this works is that with any online pizza order you get a dessert pizza worth $3.99 tossed in.   And, if you order two 20-ounce sodas, you get slap-on cooler wrappers, whatever those might be.  The flier doesn’t disclose Nutrition Facts, so you have to guess the calories.  Hint: Lots. Somebody try this and report back please.

This flier