“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]
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.
“[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.
- 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]
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.
- 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]
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.