Eat With Your Head

Feds Crack Down on Food Labels that Lie
March 4, 2010, 11:12 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized
It's healthy, but it's not a miracle worker

The FDA warned POM that only drugs can make the type of health claims POM made.

The FDA warned more than a dozen companies to changes “misleading” food labels, a measure the Washington Post calls “unusually broad.”

You can find a list of the targeted companies and their products here. Note how many of the products are”organic.” And the number of foods marketed to little kids.


US and Food Waste
March 3, 2010, 10:41 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I’m making a good-faith effort to get this blog back up and running. And I bring some distressing news: From Scientific American, the US throws more than 25 percent of the food it produces away.

As you might imagine, this brings many problems.  At a time of increasing rates of hunger, we throw out 25 million tons of food a year. This food heads off to landfills, where it releases methane and contributes to global warming. In general, we don’t need our landfills to be quite so big.

The article’s reader comments are also worth checking out. One person reminded readers that most of this food waste is probably industrial in nature. We may be pretty careless, but the problem of food waste can also be tied to poor policy and no economic incentives — not just gluttonous personal habits.

Change we can believe in, and charge more for
November 16, 2009, 8:10 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

This article has to do with drugs,  not food. Though they’re very related. You consume both of them, and sometimes we overconsume them. Bracing themselves for healthcare reform, drug companies have raised their prices “at the fastest rate in years,” according to the New York Times.


Industrial farms: Better for workers?
November 3, 2009, 9:48 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

To blog yet another Slate article, here’s a case for why farm workers would rather work at big, industrial farms rather than the small family farms we romanticize on our trips to the farmer’s market.

The main point is, big farms have more money, so they can afford to hire workers for longer periods of time and provide health insurance.

Ideally, I’d like to see all farmworkers (and actually, everyone) have health coverage, which is too expensive for small farms. So sure, if you have more money, you have more resources to fairly compensate employees and ensure a strong workforce.

Slate is all about articles that turn conventional liberal wisdom on its head, and it’s worth noting that not everything about small farms is sweet and good,  and everything about big farms evil and wrong… though I would argue that working for a large farm is probably not exactly a luxury job…or we wouldn’t be so  dependent on undocumented immigrants to pick our crops.

Coke Mini
October 28, 2009, 6:12 am
Filed under: Uncategorized
Smaller but sassier


Coca-Cola is coming out with a mini can of coke, 7.5 ounces and 90 calories per can, a number prominently displayed on the can’s new design.

Slate’s William Saletan, clearly irked, compares the new coke can to the tobacco industry’s marketing of light cigarettes.

He lays out  how smaller coke bottles can lead to even greater consumption of calories and “that coke sparkle” — just as light cigarettes often led to higher consumption of tobacco and nicotine.

Of course, I share Saletan’s cynicism, although it made me wonder what size coke cans used to be, before  food companies caught on to the fact that selling bigger portions meant consumers would buy and eat more,  not cut back. I know the cans were smaller, though I can’t find any information on how much smaller, just yet.

Marketing ploy it may be, but perhaps it’s also a sign of a growing trend of moderation? Even if that moderation comes in a can of astoundingly high levels of sugar.

Personally, I usually avoid drinking soda but sometimes I get a craving that nothing but a glass of soda can ease. So this is a good option for those of us who don’t want to feel deprived but do want to moderate our consumption of soda.

On a side note, I came across this tidbit in my attempt to research coke can sizes — Coca-Cola reduced the size of its cans in Hong Kong (they are now aligned with can sizes in Europe) in response to rising aluminum costs.

We pay for McD’s to hawk fries abroad
September 17, 2009, 2:33 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Our taxpayer dollars help food advertising to citizens of other countries.  Personally, I think it’s pretty arrogant of the USDA to believe it can help companies like McDonald’s and Tyson Foods practice capitalism.mcnifica

According to Jonathan Rauch, McDonald’s received $465,000 through the Poultry and Egg Council to promote chicken mcnuggets abroad. This figure comes from Government’s End: Why Washington Stopped Working in which Rauch argues that interest groups (like the Poultry and Egg Council) choke the federal government into inaction.

It has a benign-sounding name  (the Market Access Program), and it makes no secret of its effort to help promote “brands.”

It’s fine for companies to promote their products, but why is the American public called to help them out? How does paying for  M&M/Mars advertisements  serve us?

And  why do billion-dollar corporations need these subsidies that, to them, amount to pocket change? And if we’re so set on channeling government funds to sell food to people abroad rather than feed homeless people here, why not direct it all instead of just some to smaller food companies, to foster competition?

There’s lots of upsetting things about this, but here’s one more:  There doesn’t seem to be an adequate amount of reporting on this. Rauch quotes NPR and the Fresno Bee, and I came across this article in a google search. It’s easy to see why there hasn’t been an outcry from a program working this quietly.

Slashfood makes procrastinating delightful
September 16, 2009, 10:59 am
Filed under: Uncategorized