Mark Bittman is a food writer for the New York Times who is a very dear pal. (I haven’t actually met him, but I still hold him close to my heart.) For several years he’s done weekly videos on cooking good stuff easily, effortlessly, and enjoyably. Recently, he’s traded the videos for articles on food subjects that interest him. This one was published today, with highlights below.
My take on food is this: It is the sworn obligation of the US government to insure that the general foodstuffs of an unseen nature are not harmful to the populace. Anti-biotics,”subtherapeutic” and otherwise, for poor sick animals too mistreated to be healthy is a cheap fix that causes more problems than it solves. AND. The FDA not banning BPA in infant food containers like yesterday? They’re not doing their job. Bad FDA.
But, when I read the other points I have to think it’s all common sense, isn’t it? And all things we have control over. As parents, we stand between our children and Walt Disney, Subway, General Foods, McDonalds, Burger King, sugary drinks and high-fructose syrup. Also, as sentient beings we have to understand that when we watch the Subway clerk spray our sandwich with salt from a one gallon shaker, that maybe we might want to speak up.
1. The Walt Disney Co. announced a curb on junk food marketing aimed at kids, to be implemented by 2015.
2. McDonald’s is also helping to set new norms, by establishing a 10-year timeline to phase out pork gestation crates from its U.S.
3. Subway has announced not one, not two, but three new vegan sandwiches
4. Speaking of Subway, in 2011 the chain said it cut salt by 15 percent across the board. This might be good news, but only if you believe that salt is harmful. The real good news is in this Gary Taubes piece (see bottom of page) which essentially maintains that everything you thought you knew about salt was wrong. Pass the shaker.
5. A court ruled that the Food and Drug Administration must reconsider two petitions urging the agency to restrict the subtherapeutic use of antibiotics on livestock.
6. We need the F.D.A., and we need it to do its job well. It’s good that it’s also considering placing a ban on BPA in infant formula containers (although one could easily say “just do it”)
7. It denied the Corn Refiners Association’s petition to change the name of high-fructose corn syrup to “corn sugar.”
8. Then Senator Frank Lautenberg, Democrat of New Jersey, introduced an amendment mandating that the government study the link between sugary beverages and obesity.
9. An Ohio judge has ruled that a state law limiting the ability of local governments to regulate restaurants in order to improve public health is not constitutional.
And why are we still talking about the harmful effects of boxed breakfast cereals? Good grief. I’ve known cocoa puffs aren’t good for kids since I raised my two 20 + years ago. I did not need a pubic service announcement to tell me any product with sugar as its second ingredient wasn’t the best thing for little, or big, bodies. Why can’t people just use their heads? Hamburgers for 99 cents might just be made from cattle raised on factory farms. OMG. Who can’t figure that one out?
Problem is, it’s not that people don’t know the difference between sugar cereals and oatmeal, they don’t want to bother. If their children have been whining for the junk they learned about by watching (too many) commercials, they roll over and buy it just to shut them up. (Spend 10 minutes in the cereal section of your local market for examples.) It’s just lazy parenting and totally uneconomical as well.
And now the article about salt by Gary Taubes, NYTimes 3 June 2012
Salt, We Misjudged You
From the article:
“The evidence from studies published over the past two years actually suggests that restricting how much salt we eat can increase our likelihood of dying prematurely. Put simply, the possibility has been raised that if we were to eat as little salt as the U.S.D.A. and the C.D.C. recommend, we’d be harming rather than helping ourselves.”