Posts Tagged ‘food safety’

Big Food regulatory net

It’s not hard for a small chicken farmer to get caught in it, as we find in this Jesse Walker account. The food safety bill passed last year similarly carves out a little exemption for small producers who sell directly to consumers at farmer’s markets and the like, while not exempting those who sell through intermediaries — even though the intermediary in such a case may be simply a neighboring farmer who is headed in to the city market.

Related: India’s ingenious dabbawallah lunch-distribution system, which could probably never get past health codes in this country [37 Signals via Market Urbanism]

Mark Steyn on Kinder Egg ban

We’ve previously discussed the FDA’s ban on importation of European “Kinder Surprise” kids’ treats (a toy wrapped in a chocolate egg) and last night conservative writer Mark Steyn ran into the law, as his kids saw two of the confections confiscated at the Canada-U.S. border. The Border Patrol agents would not allow the kids to separate the chocolate from the surprise, eat the chocolate on the spot, and then take home the toys. “The real choking hazard,” he observes, “is the vise-like grip of government.”

Plus: “Woman campaigns to legalize chocolate Kinder eggs” [Northwest Florida Daily News]

February 22 roundup

Scare du jour: caramel coloring in sodas

It’s long been known that the processes by which food is browned, whether in the frying pan, grill, rotisserie or stewpot, generate a variety of chemicals with alarmingly hard-to-pronounce names. David Oliver thinks the flap over 4-methylimidazole in the familiar cola ingredient, “caramel coloring,” is likely to go the same way as the flap over supposed cancer risk from acrylamide in French fries, potato chips and many other foods.

P.S. Per commenter Jerry, I’ve jumped to conclusions, and the “caramel coloring” found in sodas is generated by other chemical processes, not by caramelization.

Artisan cheese, Mark Bittman and Michelle Obama

I’ve got a food policy roundup at Cato that tries to answer such questions as:

* Has FDA’s regulatory zeal finally met its match in the foodie zeal of cheese-makers and -fanciers who are beginning to insist on their right to make and enjoy cheeses similar to those in France, even if they pose a nonzero though tiny bacterial risk?

* How annoying is it that Mark Bittman would stop writing a great food column in the NYT in order to start writing an inevitably wrongheaded politics-of-food column?

* Is Wal-Mart secretly smiling after First Lady Michelle Obama publicly twisted its arm to do various things it was probably considering anyway, along with some things it definitely wanted to do, such as opening more stores in poor urban neighborhoods?

Related: Led by past Overlawyered guest-blogger Baylen Linnekin, Keep Food Legal bills itself as “The first and only nationwide membership organization devoted to culinary freedom.” 11 Points has compiled a list of “11 Foods and Drinks Banned in the United States.” And has more on the “shadowy community of outlaw Amish and Mennonite dairy farmers” portrayed in several recent press reports.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich sues House cafeteria over olive pit in sandwich

He bit into a sandwich wrap in 2008 and encountered an olive pit, and now he wants $150,000. [Cleveland Plain Dealer, Wonkette, Memeorandum]

P.S. Gawker finds video taken five days later on the House floor in which the Ohio representative “looks fine and talks normal” notwithstanding the “serious and permanent dental and oral injuries requiring multiple oral and dental surgeries.” And Daniel Fisher at Forbes:

No indication why Kucinich mulled this lawsuit for three years before filing it…..* The lawsuit alleges negligence and breach of implied warranty.

*Commenter “Mattie” says the SOL in DC for this type of suit is indeed three years, though it would be one year for some other torts.

Who besides the People’s Congressman would be willing to name America’s olive pit safety crisis and call out the Big Pit interests responsible?

P.P.S.: As someone was asking, wasn’t generous government-furnished health insurance — like the kind available to Members of Congress — supposed to cut down on the need for personal injury suits? And Matthew Heller at OnPoint News finds some precedent for the suit.

And further: That was fast, Kucinich says he’s settled the suit (Jan. 28).