- Gee, thanks, NIH: “Taxpayer-Funded Propaganda to Show the ‘Evils’ of Private Alcohol Sales” [Michelle Minton, CEI]
- “So this summer, under the supervision of officials from U.S. Customs, all three thousand two hundred and ninety-seven pounds of Mimolette were tossed into dumpsters and doused in bleach.” [The New Yorker, Dec. 9, subscription; S.F. Chronicle, earlier on French cheese controversy here, here, etc.]
- FDA forced to back off FSMA regs, NYC soda ban loses twice in court, and other highlights of the year in food freedom [Baylen Linnekin] “Americans Think They Should Be Allowed to Buy Foods with Trans Fats and Caffeinated Energy Drinks” [Emily Ekins on new Reason-RUPE poll] “The Dangers of a Soda Tax” [Trevor Burrus] Linnekin podcast on FDA’s trans-fat ban [Cato, Caleb Brown interview]
- “Annals of Closing Statements in Exploding Bottle Cases” [Kyle Graham]
- “Minnesota says raw milk makes more people sick than recognized” [L.A. Times]
- It’s for the children: proposals for regulating in-store food marketing [Jennifer Pomeranz via Public Citizen]
- Federal sugar program devastated domestic candy manufacturing, as WaPo (sometimes) recognizes [Chris Edwards]
- “The FDA’s Ill-Conceived Proposal to Ban Trans Fats” [Baylen Linnekin] Margarine and other butterfat substitutes help in keeping a meal kosher, but FDA appears indifferent to individual preference [Ira Stoll] Can the baker fudge the formula for Baltimore’s Berger cookies? [Baltimore Sun, WTOP/Capital] Organized grocery lobby appears to be going quietly, perhaps a misguided strategy since this sets a precedent for yanking familiar ingredients off Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) list, and many activists would like to move on to things like sugar next [Bloomberg Business Week, Doug Mataconis/Outside the Beltway, Michelle Minton/CEI, Bainbridge] Switch to palm oil might accelerate deforestation [Scientific American]
- FDA’s regs implementing Food Safety Modernization Act could tank small farmers and other food operations, commenters write in by thousands [Baylen Linnekin, Jim Slama, HuffPo]
- Proposed Austin curbs on fast food restaurants might ensnare its beloved food trucks [Linnekin]
- Any day now FDA could issue long-awaited, highly burdensome new menu calorie labeling regs [Hinkle] Sens. Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Angus King (Ind.-ME) introduce bill to excuse grocers and convenience stories from rules and simplify compliance for pizzerias [Andrew Ramonas/BLT]
- “Panel weighs in on soda ban at law school” [NYU News covers my recent panel discussion there with Jacob Sullum and Prof. Roderick Hills, pic courtesy @vincentchauvet]
- “Organic Farmers Bash FDA Restrictions On Manure Use” [NPR via Ira Stoll]
- Nick Farr looks at NYT retrospective on the Stella Liebeck (McDonald’s) hot coffee case [Abnormal Use]
- “Sugar is the most destructive force in the universe” according to expert witness who meets with less than favorable reception in corn syrup case [Glenn Lammi, WLF]
“The Food and Drug Administration announced Thursday it is taking the first step toward banning dangerous trans fats that are found in a variety of processed foods. The agency said in a statement that the fats, used in a number of products from margarine and coffee creamer to frozen pizza, are a major health concern for Americans despite lower consumption of the dangerous, artery-clogging fats over the last twenty years.” [Chicago Tribune, our earlier coverage] More: Julie Gunlock, IWF; Scott Shackford, Reason; Michelle Minton, CEI (logic of removing ingredient from GRAS list based on long-term cumulative health effects could point toward regulating salt, sugar).
From comments: “Trans fats are pretty rare in my experience at this point outside of, ironically, military rations.” [L.C. Burgundy] More: Via Jacob Grier, Olga Khazan at The Atlantic recalls the days when the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) denounced restaurant chains for using saturated fat. The ensuing pressure campaign resulted in a widespread switchover to supposedly healthier trans-fat.
- If you thought “finger in chili” was bad, meet the Utah couple arrested on charges of planting razor blade shards in doughnuts and swallowing some [KSL, Daily Mail]
- My talk a few weeks ago as part of Cato Institute panel on nanny state [YouTube, Bruce Majors]
- New Reason-RUPE public opinion survey finds public broadly opposed to food and drink bans [Sullum]
- Feds’ bad advice on polyunsaturated fat: more damaging than any mass tort in sight? [David Oliver] More: Hans Bader.
- Coroner blames woman’s death on Coca-Cola addiction [TV NZ] Monster Beverage: natural causes, not caffeine toxicity, killed Maryland teen [Reuters, NYT, earlier] More: Jacob Sullum.
- Oh, CSPI, thou contradictest thyself [Baylen Linnekin; more from him on parents’ and kids’ food choices quoting me, NYC soda ban]
- “Bloomberg limits seder portions” [Purim spoof, New York Jewish Week]
- Kelly Brownell, guru of obesity-reduction-through-coercion formerly based at Yale, named dean of public policy school at Duke;
- “A Knife, a Walmart Birthday Cake and a Frenzy of Overreaction” [Free-Range Kids] Mardi Gras perennial: can you buy king cake with baby figurine already in it? [same, earlier]
- Now they tell us: NYT book review not conspicuously enthusiastic about Michael Moss anti-food-biz book hyped to the rafters in NYT magazine three weeks earlier [Ira Stoll, SmarterTimes, our take]
Trans fat in frozen pizza? You might not find that so terribly surprising, but it’s reason enough for a class action against Nestlé, makers of DiGiorno, Stouffer’s and California Pizza Kitchen, which flings around words like “toxic” to describe partially hydrogenated vegetable oils [LaMesa Patch]
The Boston suburb of Chelsea, emulating New York City and other municipalities, is banning trans fats in restaurant recipes effective Jan. 1, leaving bakery owner Richard Katz “vowing to stop selling pastries rather than peddle what he calls ‘awful’ tasting trans fat-free baked goods.” [Fox Boston via Keep Food Legal]
- Many of the best New Jersey sledding slopes are off limits now: “Litigators ruin pretty much everything” [Bainbridge]
- Granola bar trans-fat lawsuit leaves Russell Jackson unimpressed;
- “Criminal barbering”: license lapse gets 82-year-old Oregon hair-cutter in legal trouble [Perry]
- Tomorrow’s economy won’t thrive if municipal authorities strangle innovative businesses where they incubate [Conor Friedersdorf, City Journal]
- Need to bring property taxes under control? Try litigation reform [NJLRA]
- Convicted at height of 90s child-abuse prosecution fever, Ohio pair seek to reopen case [Briefcase] More: Balko.
- Here’s an idea: “Let the shareholders decide if SOX is worth the costs.” [Ribstein]
- Retired Massachusetts attorney found in possession of stolen art trove [five years ago on Overlawyered] Updates courtesy reader Ronald Stimbert: Legal Blog Watch 2008 (attorney convicted); Cape Cod Times 2010 (paintings returned to owner).
Last night’s show.
Governor Schwarzenegger has signed into law the first statewide ban on the use of the maligned ingredient by restaurants and food service facilities. (Samantha Sondag, “Gov. signs nation’s first statewide ban on trans fats in restaurants”, San Francisco Chronicle, Jul. 25).
P.S. Speaking of the nanny state in California, Los Angeles is moving to ban new fast food restaurants from poorer sections of South Central L.A. on the explicitly paternalistic grounds that it knows better than local residents what they should be eating. Prof. Bainbridge has more.
It’s going on from California to New York City: a Drew Carey feature for Reason.tv.