Daniel Gold in the New York Times and Kenneth Turan in the L.A. Times review “Food Evolution,” a new documentary on fear of GMOs directed by Scott Hamilton Kennedy and narrated by Neil DeGrasse Tyson. Trailer here.
- “What’re You In For?” “Lemonade.” A Boston professor wants sugary drinks handled the same way as alcohol [my new Cato post]
- Hershey, many other firms sued over “slack fill” packaging by guy who wrote book entitled “Sue and Grow Rich” [John O’Brien, Legal NewsLine]
- What if we forced food to be more local? The unintended consequences might surprise you [Jayson Lusk]
- “Shaking up the Conventional Wisdom on Salt” [Michelle Minton, CEI, in January]
- Demands in U.K. to put “junk food” in plain packaging the way some countries require for cigarettes [Trevor Little, World Trademark Review] Another demand of U.K. anti-food campaigners: stop discounting and offering deals on snacks and candies [BBC]
- Missed from 2011: FDA vetoes culinary use of the subtle tonka bean, but is it actually any more toxic than nutmeg? [Ike DeLorenzo, The Atlantic]
Suppose you’re devising an security attack on the hospitality and restaurant industry meant to get unwary email recipients to click on an infected file, thus unleashing malware capable of stealing banking records. What do you think would be a good psychological pitch for you to use? [Dan Goodin, ArsTechnica]
One variation started with an e-mail threatening a lawsuit because a visitor got sick after eating at one of the company’s restaurants. To increase the chances the attached Microsoft Word document is opened, the attackers personally follow up with a phone call encouraging the recipient to open the booby-trapped file and click inside. The attacker calls back a half-hour later to check if the recipient has opened the document. The attacker immediately hangs up in the event the answer is yes.
“If you’re wondering why our country seems so bizarrely fearful, here’s the answer: We absolutely cannot understand that risk is inherent in everything, even things that are outrageously safe, like eating cookie dough.” [Lenore Skenazy]
- Delay FDA menu labeling rules? Tinker? No, repeal [Baylen Linnekin, earlier]
- European trade negotiators would like to keep cheeses and beverages on American shelves from bearing names like Parmesan, Gouda, feta, Champagne, port, and sherry unless made over there. Nein danke, no grazie, non merci [William Watson, Cato] Weird how EU laws prevent spirits producers from being completely honest with consumers [Jacob Grier]
- Regressive-yet-progressive: “Taxing soda fits the narrative in which the obese are oppressed and soda manufacturers are the oppressors.” [Arnold Kling]
- New research (“no consensus among scientists on whether a population-wide reduction of salt was associated with better health outcomes”) could be blow to Gotham’s sodium regulation cause [Dan Goldberg, Politico New York] “Suit Halts NYC’s Misguided Restaurant Salt Warning Labels” [Linnekin]
- Lawyers in hot coffee suits still pushing “unreasonably high holding temperature” theories [Nick Farr, Abnormal Use, earlier]
- Chef turned Amish traditional sausage maker in rural Maine finds that regulation is a grind [Linnekin]
Baylen Linnekin asked several food policy wonks what they thought were last year’s and next year’s biggest food stories, and here is part of my reply:
The troubles at Chipotle (whose food I like and buy, despite its dumb anti-GMO stance) brought home two points: local and handmade and every other good thing bring real tradeoffs, and food hazards aren’t just the result of moral laxity fixable by replacing “them” with educated idealists like “us.”
I also predicted that food commentator Mark Bittman, often criticized in this space, would find few takers for his notion of carding kids who want to buy a Coke. Read the whole thing here, and unrelatedly, if you are interested in food issues, check out this Russ Roberts interview with outstanding food scholar Rachel Laudan (earlier).