American Elephants

Please Stop Telling Us What to Eat! You Don’t Know Squat. by The Elephant's Child

Digital StillCameraThe trouble is, somebody gets a bright idea about something or another, and first thing you know the federal government has created an agency or bureau to deal with it. In this particular case, the bureaucracy was already there — it was just a matter of expanding their jurisdiction. Obama thought as long as we were doing new dietary guidelines, they should address his fallback ‘good thing’ — addressing the environment:

U.S. dietary guidelines, the government’s benchmark for balanced nutrition, have long advised Americans to eat dark, leafy greens. Now, there is another way the standards could be going green.

A panel of nutrition experts recruited by the Obama administration to help craft the next set of guidelines, to be issued this year, said in long-awaited recommendations Thursday that the government should consider the environment when deciding what people should eat.

The environmental focus means endorsing a diet that included limited amounts of meat and more plant-based foods, while encouraging consumption of seafood whose stocks are not endangered. The market may be accomplishing that without Obama’s help, the price of beef continues to climb, and California’s concern for the comfort and well-being of chickens — legislating larger cages, means that the cost of chickens and eggs will go up as well. One of the major environmental concerns seems to be cattle effluent which they believe contributes too much CO² to the atmosphere, but the worry now refers to burps, rather than the other end.

I do not now, nor never have, posted a U.S. Department of Agriculture poster on healthy eating, whether a “my plate” contemporary version, multiple food pyramids, nor earlier, kindlier “Guides to Good Eating.” Nor do I know of anyone who has, nor anyone who takes the slightest interest in what the federal government has to say about the proper food to eat according to self-proclaimed experts.

I think the entire department can safely be abolished, the bureaucrats released to go annoy someone else, and lots of money saved for taxpayers. They have always been wrong about everything anyway. Butter is good. Fat is fine, bacon is fine, fruit is all sugar anyway, coffee is actually good for you, don’t worry about cholesterol which was prominent in their very first dietary guidelines issued by a U.S. Senate committee in 1977, though any scientific evidence linking cholesterol to heart disease was and is inconclusive. Oh yes, salt may be good for you after all.

“Organic” in foods refers only to the process of growing food, and excludes chemical fertilizer, though animal manure is fine. Same for pesticides, no chemicals, but you can use the extremely poisonous pyrethrum based pesticides. Organic is only a marketing ploy, and there is no nutritional benefit, nor are organic foods healthier or safer in any way. They will be about 30% more expensive.

Steven Malanga has a nice history of the food guidelines here.The previous guidelines were much more dependent on carbohydrates, which have had the effect of making more Americans fat, and giving more American diabetes, so perhaps someone is paying attention. More proof that they have always been wrong. Abolish the food bureaucracy, abolish the food police, shut down the “health food stores” and eat what you please. And never pay any attention to those silly little ads at the bottom of the page saying “never eat this one food,” or conversely “this one food can…” The American people have enormous good sense and do just fine — uncontrolled and unregulated.

The Democrats’ Insatiable Demand to Regulate Other People’s Lives by The Elephant's Child

Nanny government strikes again.  Or should we call them the Food Police? The Food Police raided an Amish farm in Pennsylvania,at 5 o’clock in the morning.  The raid was the result of a yearlong sting operation including aliases and surreptitious purchases, which concluded this week with the federal government’s announcement that it has gone to court to stop Rainbow Acres Farm from selling its contraband to willing customers.  The contraband in question— unpasteurized milk.

This is a battle that has been going on behind the scenes for years.  Natural foods advocates argue that raw milk is healthier than the pasteurized product.  The Food and Drug Administration says that raw milk may carry harmful bacteria such as salmonella, E. coli and listeria. (So does the raw chicken you bring home from the store, but most people learn to cook the chicken).

Tamara Ward, FDA spokesman said “It is the FDA’s position that raw milk should never be consumed.” They filed a 10-page complaint in federal court seeking an order to stop the farm from shipping across state lines any more raw milk or dairy products made from it.

This  federal government has become noted for all the violations of law that they choose to ignore, but drinking raw milk is beyond the pale.  Raw-milk devotees are furious.

Raw-milk devotees say pasteurization, the process of heating food to kill harmful organisms, eliminates good bacteria as well, and changes the taste and health benefits of the milk. Many raw-milk drinkers say they feel much healthier after changing over to it, and insist they should have the freedom of choice regarding their food.

One defense group says there are as many as 10 million raw-milk consumers in the country. Sales are perfectly legal in 10 states but illegal in 11 states and the District, with the other states having varying restrictions on purchase or consumption.

Congress has joined the nanny state regulation.  They are forcing vendors to post the calorie counts of vending machine items. Thus we will pick the ancient apples instead of potato chips or heaven forbid — a Snickers bar.

Last year, President Obama signed the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act which grants the FDA all sorts of new regulatory authority. ($1.4 billion in new spending— did you think regulation is free?)

The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act would authorize the FDA to dictate how farmers grow fruits and vegetables, including rules governing soil, water, hygiene, packing, temperatures, and even what animals may roam which fields and when. It would also increase inspections of food “facilities” and tax them to do so. And, fulfilling the dream of a long line of agency officials, the bill grants the FDA unilateral authority to order recalls.

There’s more.  The USDA, the Department of Agriculture, has declared war on potatoes. The tuber itself contains no fat, is low in calories, and supplies about the same nutrition as a banana.  It adapts itself deliciously to being fried, topped with sour cream, butter, bacon and cheese. Bananas only get topped with ice cream and chocolate sauce.

The Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine recently recommended that the potato should be blacklisted from the variety of starchy vegetables to be included in the federally funded, state-provided WIC (Women, Infants ,Children) program.  That is now trickling down into the school lunch program.

This is idiocy. A very large percentage of school lunches end up in the garbage can, as anyone who has visited a school during lunch period can attest. The elimination of salt has spoiled flavor, and contra Mrs. Obama, parents are better judges of what their children should eat than the federal government.

The federal government is intruding into areas where it does not belong.  Big Time! Neither the FDA nor the Department of Agriculture nor any of their assorted bureaus have any business telling the American people what they may or may not eat. But the Nannies desire to tell other people what to do is insatiable.

Way Too Much Information About Food And Nutrition. by The Elephant's Child
March 2, 2010, 12:41 am
Filed under: Health Care, Law, Progressivism | Tags: , ,

Pediatricians are calling for a “redesigned” hot dog.  Not because of any nutritional deficiency, but because they pose a choking hazard to small children.

Gary Smith, director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio said “If you were to take the best engineers in the world and try to design the perfect plug for a child’s airway, it would be a hot dog.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics  says that more than 10,000 children under 14 go to the emergency room each year after choking on food, and up to 77 die.  Their new policy statement says that about 17% of food-related asphyxiations are caused by hot dogs.  That’s up to 13 kids, nationally,  in a year.  Losing a child is a terrible thing, but rather than redesigned hot dogs, pediatricians might be better off instructing parents on how to cut up food for little kids.

We’re a little over-inundated with “warning labels”, and they are far more often the subject of jokes than they are read.  Warning labels, devised by lawyers, get pediatricians and manufacturers off the hook.

Last year, the FDA warned the manufacturer of Cheerios against boasting about the health benefits of oat cereal.  “We have determined [Cheerios] is promoted for conditions that cause it to be a drug,”they said in a letter to General Mills.  A prescription to buy a box of cereal?

First Lady Michelle Obama is making childhood obesity her signature cause.  She will doubtless be advised about taxes on junk foods and soda. She is known to be an enthusiast for “organic” food and “local” food. The term “organic” is simply a marketing ploy, and refers to the process of growing food rather than any nutritional benefits. I hope that she can avoid becoming another food-nanny.

We are over-saturated today with food advice.  This is an era of a sort of “preciousness” about food.  If we just eat the right food, in the right combinations and in the right quantity, and dose ourselves with just the right supplements and the right herbs then we might have a longer healthier life.

Maybe so, but I doubt it. Food fads, acai berry juice, green tea, oat bran, shade-grown coffee, no coffee, free-range eggs, no eggs, brown eggs, egg beaters, all egg whites, bee pollen from New Zealand, and fish oil from Iceland.  We suffer from way too much information, much of it simply hype. Koreans do just fine eating dog and that dreadful smelling kim chee, the Japanese eat poisonous blow fish and usually survive,  the Inuit eat blubber — who is right? Man is omnivorous.  Eat a wide variety of foods with plenty of fruits and vegetables.  Skip the supplement store.

And ignore the food police. The chief nanny promotes a diet of bread and carrots, and restrictions on almost everything else.

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