Posts tagged as:

salt

“In a report that undercuts years of public health warnings, a prestigious group convened by the government says there is no good reason based on health outcomes for many Americans to drive their sodium consumption down to the very low levels recommended in national dietary guidelines.” [Gina Kolata, New York Times, on Institute of Medicine report; CBS News; Philadelphia Inquirer]

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On Sunday the New York Times published a long, breathless screed attacking food company marketing (“Inside the hyper-engineered, savagely marketed, addiction-creating battle for ‘stomach share.’”) The article itself furnishes an example of empty, hype-fueled journalistic calories, or so I suggest in a new op-ed at the Daily Caller.

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“[Glenn] Richter has been collecting food from places like the Ohav Zedek synagogue and bringing it to homeless shelters for more than 20 years, but recently his donation, including a ‘cholent‘ or carrot stew, was turned away because the Bloomberg administration wants to monitor the salt, fat and fiber eaten by the homeless. … Richter said that over the years he’s delivered more than two tons of food to the homeless.” The NYC mayor says he’s not planning to reconsider the recently adopted policy. [CBS-NY] Earlier here (Connecticut), here (N.J.: “retail food establishment”), here, etc.

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Food law roundup

by Walter Olson on January 27, 2012

  • NYC health officials, in yet another federally funded food-denunciation ad campaign, Photoshop leg off obese guy to turn him into supposed diabetic amputee [my new Cato post, Radley Balko; more Caroline May/Daily Caller] Still at it update: “First 5″ government program ad campaign Photoshops pic of little girl to make her look more obese [Jezebel, Jun. 2013]
  • Are White House advisors reading my posts? Probably not, but deregulation of dairy-farm “oil” spills still gave President an applause line in State of the Union speech [also at Cato]
  • More on L.A. schools’ healthy-lunch debacle [WSJ edit, earlier] It’s an illustration of how promising pilot projects often don’t scale [Megan McArdle] New Penn State study finds no connection between child obesity and availability of “bad” foods at school [NYT, Philly Mag, study via Wajert]
  • “Obesity plateau” of American population should offer chance for calm policy reflection, but probably won’t [Jacob Sullum] “Food Lawsuits Claiming ‘Addiction’ Coming To a Courtroom Near You?” [Lammi, Forbes]
  • Despite lip service to “letting consumers make their own food choices,” Obama won’t legalize raw milk [Obama Foodarama]
  • Coming in April from Tyler Cowen, “An Economist Gets Lunch: New Rules for Everyday Foodies” [Amazon, Freakonomics, Food and Drink category of MR, and you can follow Twitter account @AnEconomistGets;
  • "2011 Brought Lots of Good News for Salt Lovers" [Greg Conko, Open Market]
  • Steve Chapman on FDA salt reduction initiative [Tribune/syndicated] Canada: “Health minister takes sodium-reduction plan off the table” [Calgary Herald] Flashback: FDA holds first hearing on regulating salt content in food [2007, Medical News Today] Discussion of my piece last week [Adler/Volokh, Instapundit]
  • More on McDonald’s sidestepping of San Francisco would-be Happy Meal ban [Fair Warning, earlier; background here, here, here, here, etc.]
  • “Caveat Venditor: Cottage Food Laws Great in Theory, Often Less So in Practice” [Baylen Linnekin of pro-freedom Keep Food Legal, who guestblogged at Reason last week]
  • Rather than get government out of way, left’s farm bill (“Local Farms, Food and Jobs Act”) would cut small/local/organic growers in on more USDA programs [Obama Foodorama, Linnekin]
  • Good riddance to monopoly powers of the Canadian Wheat Board [CBC]
  • Texas now allows home bakers to sell their wares [Austin Chronicle via @pointoflaw]
  • Widespread opposition to new Department of Labor proposal to ban kids from much work on farms [Nebraska Outback]

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I just joined listeners at San Diego’s KOGO to talk about the FDA/USDA initiative to regulate salt content in food, about which you can read here and here. Deadline for filing comments is tomorrow; the most direct link I know of for doing so is here (use “Individual Consumer” as category of comment unless that doesn’t apply).

If the Food and Drug Administration continues down its current path, it could begin ordering mandatory salt reductions in processed and restaurant foods ranging from pretzels to cold cuts to take-out chicken nuggets. As I explain at Cato at Liberty, time is running out for public comment on the FDA’s plans to enter the field. Earlier here, etc.

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  • Just as FDA begins laying groundwork for mandatory salt reduction in prepared food, research raises new doubts about the science [Reuters, Atlantic Wire, Alkon]
  • Feds now scrutinizing “everything about kids’ food” [Star-Tribune] Top-down remake of school lunches runs into trouble in Congress [AP]
  • “Christmas tree tax”: blame big growers and GOP lawmakers, not White House [Tad DeHaven, , Mark Perry]
  • Living right by a USDA-designated “food desert,” she’s “never had better access to food in my life.” [Angie Schmitt, Urbanophile] “As income rises, so does fast-food consumption, study finds” [L.A. Times, Sullum] “You can eat local, or you can eat organic, but it’s very hard to do both.” [Felix Salmon]
  • Bloomberg News (not Bloomberg Hizzoner) hypes food-as-addiction, child obesity figuring in more custody battles [WSJ] Michelle Obama on the role of personal responsibility, alas not in this realm of life [Andrew Coulson, Cato]
  • Private bed-leasing law is finally restoring Maryland’s depleted oyster stocks [Rona Kobell, Reason] Catch shares for Alaskan king crab might even be saving human lives [Adler]
  • Why bother cooking for your kids at all? Feds ramp up program that serves them dinner as well as breakfast, lunch [Stoll]

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With a “Request for Comments, Data, and Information” (PDF), the Food and Drug Administration has begun laying the groundwork for mandatory sodium reductions in food processing. Caleb Brown interviewed me for a Cato podcast on the subject. For more on the furor over H.J. Heinz’s unpopular reformulation of HP Sauce at the suggestion of the British government, see Telegraph and Daily Mail accounts.

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This week has brought one nudge forward and one push back for the paternalistic “food policy” crowd, or so I argue in a new opinion piece for the New York Daily News (& welcome Instapundit/Glenn Reynolds readers, Center for Consumer Freedom “Quote of the Week“).

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Food law roundup

by Walter Olson on July 11, 2011

  • Texas legalizes sale of home-baked goods; “Mom can come out of hiding” [KLTV; @JohnWaggoner] New York regulators order Greenmarket cheese vendors to stop custom-slicing wedges for customers [Baylen Linnekin]
  • Children who take school lunch more likely to be obese than those who brown bag it [Freddoso] And is there still time to save chocolate milk? [Boston Herald on proposed Massachusetts school ban]
  • “Obesity policy” in theory: “High-calorie food is too cheap” argument of NYT’s Leonhardt is open to doubt [Josh Wright] “Is obesity really contagious?” [Zoë Pollock, The Dish] Knives out among scientists debating food causes of obesity [Trevor Butterworth, Forbes] Feds look to regulate food similarly to tobacco in hope of saving money on health care [Munro, Daily Caller]
  • …and practice: “Calorie counts don’t change most people’s dining-out habits, experts say” [WaPo, Richer/WLF] Obama nutrition campaign: eat as we say, not as we do [The Hill] Of recent USDA “recipes for healthy kids,” 12 of 15 would not have met proposed FTC ad standards [WSJ] Nanny’s comeuppance? “States rein in anti-obesity laws” [WSJ Law Blog]
  • “Food safety chief defends raw milk raids” [Carolyn Lochhead, SF Chronicle, earlier]
  • “It’s Time to End the War on Salt: The zealous drive by politicians to limit our salt intake has little basis in science” [Melinda Wenner Moyer, Scientific American]
  • After talking with experts, NYT’s Mark Bittman walks back some assertions about the European e. coli outbreak, now blamed on Egyptian fenugreek seeds [Science Mag; related, Kolata/NYT]
  • “If anything, China’s food scandals are becoming increasingly frequent and bizarre.” [LATimes]
  • Public criticism of activist food policy often calls forth a barrage of letters defending government role in diet. Ever wonder why? [Prevention Institute "rapid response" talking point campaign; how taxpayers help]

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I’ve got a new opinion piece up at the Daily Caller on the USDA’s new nutritional chart. And tune in to C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” on Monday morning at 8:30 a.m. Eastern when I’m scheduled to be a guest on this subject.

More: Link to C-SPAN video here, and more at Cato at Liberty.

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Modern American government has been dispensing nutritional advice for quite a while, and enough of it has been misguided, erroneous or even harmful that you’d think there’d be a lesson of humility to be learned. Instead, we get a bossier-than-ever crop of new regulators like Thomas Frieden et al [Steven Malanga, City Journal]

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If it turns out they’re right, will there be someone we can sue? [Oliver; more on government's tendency to expose the public to risk]

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April 25 roundup

by Walter Olson on April 25, 2011

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Amid much hoopla, the Center for Science in the Public Interest had filed a suit on behalf of a New Jersey man claiming Denny’s hadn’t adequately warned its meals were salty. Now an appeals court has upheld the dismissal of the suit’s consumer-fraud theory, meaning that the complainant would be able to proceed only by proving actual personal injury [Abnormal Use, Home News Tribune via NJLRA; earlier here, here, etc.]

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“Whoppers with sleaze”

by Walter Olson on November 16, 2010

In today’s Washington Times: my take on the growing aggressiveness of “public health” officialdom in pushing scare campaigns about everyday consumption risks, including Mayor Bloomberg’s controversial new campaigns against sweetened drinks and (even more misleadingly) salty foods, as well as the FDA’s proposal to put corpse photos on cigarette packs. It begins:

The Puritans held that reminders of mortality had an edifying effect on the living, which is why they sometimes would illustrate even literature for young children with drawings of death’s-heads and skeletons. Something of the same spirit seems to animate our ever-advancing movement for mandatory public health. The Food and Drug Administration has just floated the idea of requiring cigarette packs to carry rotating pictures that would include corpses – yes, actual corpses – as well as close-ups of grotesque medical disorders that can afflict smokers.

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s superactivist Health Department has begun public ad campaigns about the health risks of everyday foods, including a controversial YouTube video portraying soda drinkers as pouring globs of shimmery yellow fat into their open mouths and – just out – an ad showing an innocent-looking can of chicken-with-rice soup as bursting with dangerous salt. Whether or not you live in New York, you’re likely to be seeing more of this sort of thing because the mayor’s crew tends to set the pace for activist public-health efforts nationwide; the Obama administration, for example, picked Bloomberg lieutenant Thomas R. Frieden to head the influential Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why should government use our own tax dollars to propagandize and hector us about the risks of salted snacks, chocolate milk or the other temptations of today’s supermarket aisle? The Bloomberg-Obama camp seems to feel that government dietary advice is superior to other sources of information we might draw on because (1) it’s more objective, independent and pure of motive and (2) it can draw on better science.

Whole thing here, and more on Bloomberg’s anti-soup crusade at the New York Post, Reason, and ACSH. More: My Food My Choice.

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October 21 roundup

by Walter Olson on October 21, 2010

  • “Japanese landlords sue families of suicide victims” [Telegraph via Tyler Cowen]
  • Best candidate you’ve never heard of: lawprof Jim Huffman runs for a U.S. Senate seat in Oregon [Weekly Standard]
  • “Freedom of culinary expression: Chefs speak out on behalf of salt” ["My Food, My Choice" via Ponnuru, NRO]
  • “In-House Counsel Expect More Regulatory Litigation, Survey Finds” [NLJ]
  • “Oladiran’s ‘Motion of the Year’ Earns Him Sanctions” [AtL]
  • Resisting a music-delivery-system claim: “Patent Trolls and Public Goods” [Julian Sanchez]
  • More transparency for New Jersey lawyer/lawmakers? [Philly.com]
  • “Ninth Circuit: marine mammals don’t have standing…yet” [six years ago on Overlawyered]

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