With the exception of an unfortunate slip-up by one major news outlet, there was a promising pattern in this week’s food news: common sense. A landmark study broke the bad news to dieters in denial about the importance of moderation and exercise. A Chicago Tribune article telling orthorexic Americans to ignore flavor-of-the-week health scares made the rounds in over a dozen newspapers. And it turns out that Benjamin Franklin was not an animal rights activist. But there were plenty of other notable food stories that came across our desks this week — thanks to actor Jeremy Piven, the “sea kitten” crew, and an angry brigade of German bakers.
Yesterday marked the latest development in the Piven sushi saga when the television star defended his fish story in front of a grievance committee at the Actors’ Equity Association. And half of the committee members were less than impressed with Piven’s claim that seafood-induced mercury poisoning was the reason he abandoned his commitment to the Broadway production of “Speed-the-Plow.” After the split decision, Piven gave a dramatic 25-minute interview with The New York Times, peppered with tears and even a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. reference.
Also in seafood scare news: Residents of Madison, Wisconsin got a heaping dose of fish hype this week courtesy of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Seemingly fresh out of ideas on how to package vegan propaganda for public consumption (see here and here), PETA’s latest anti-seafood campaign is a billboard reading “Got Drain Bamage?” Clearly PETA doesn’t mind that its bogus mercury messages have already had disastrous effects on public health. But what should we expect from a group led by Ingrid Newkirk, who declared this week that “seriousness has a very small place in today’s society.”
On the contrary, German bakers are very serious about halting European Union efforts to regulate the salt content in their pretzel and brown bread recipes:
The anger of the bakers — who condemned the bureaucrats in Brussels as “taste police” — seems to reflect a rising resentment of the European Union by a country that has long been among its biggest supporters…
“What the E.U. is doing amounts to stupid interference,” said Matthias Wiemers, chairman of the Central Association of German Bakeries, a lobby for 12,000 of the country’s 15,000 bakeries.
“The E.U. is trying to change the way we bake our bread, change the way we market it — and of all things, change the taste of our bread.”
According to The New York Times, the baker backlash has been so intense that the EU has now postponed its decision on salt regulations. Fellow adversaries of the state-side “taste police": Take a page.