Health and Human Services Secretary Donna E. Shalala and Surgeon General David A. Satcher will release the Healthy People 2010 initiative final draft tomorrow. Healthy People 2010 contains broad-reaching national health goals for the first decade of the new century. It is evident in preliminary drafts we've obtained that the federal government is going to try to make the case that restaurants are partly to blame for the so-called "obesity epidemic," giving credence to legislative initiatives like those in Colorado. Check back here for full coverage of the release.
Terrorists from the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) are taking responsibility for $400,000 worth of damage to a Michigan State University (MSU) agriculture building housing Monsanto-funded research projects on genetically engineered food. The research goal of the partially destroyed projects is to develop long-term solutions for food security in the developing world where undernourishment is an epidemic. "I can't think of a worse target for them than this project," said the head researcher.
PETA protesters in Iowa are trying to catch the attention of the enormous media presence covering the presidential caucuses with their "Cut the Pork -- Tax Meat" campaign. Without evidence, PETA blames meat consumption for $123 billion per year in health care costs. It wants a meat tax to "pay for dietary education programs that would help reduce health care costs and save consumers' and animals' lives."
The Washington City Paper criticizes "Fresh Fields" grocery stores for using the groundless paranoia generated by activists on issues like food coloring, pesticides, and genetically engineered foods as the basis of their marketing plan.
The radical vegetarian group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is petitioning Maine Governor Angus S. King against allowing the state to restore a lobster motif to its license plates. "We hope you'll agree that the state's license plate is no place to put the image of an animal who has been boiled alive," said a PETA letter to the governor. ("PETA fights lobster plate resurrection," Bangor Daily News, 1/20/00, No link available.)
Columnist Terence Corcoran rages against anti-genetically engineered food activists, rightly noting that these special interest groups have no qualms about using junk science to prove their point. "Greenpeace, for example, is making the rounds of newspaper editorial boards and using its usual technique: If the science isn't there, then make it up," said Corcoran.
Prompted by environmental groups, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is forcing farmers who plan on growing GE corn next spring to plant up to 50 percent of their crop with conventional seed. The EPA bases its unprecedented action on a controversial Cornell University laboratory study that found pollen from GE corn could kill Monarch butterfly caterpillars, despite the fact the author of the study maintains that the conditions created in the laboratory are extremely unlikely to be duplicated in nature.
The director of the University of Pennsylvania's Weight and Eating Disorder Clinic blames the fast-food industry's marketing practices for causing obesity: "You don't see them giving away toys with health meals… When you look at all the fast-food marketing to children, it's analogous to tobacco marketing. Super-sizing. Big Gulp. It's absolute junk food… People should have ethical standards when they promote products to children." ("He'll let you eat fast food, but fie on the French fries," The Philadelphia Inquirer, 1/15/99, No link available.)
One of the latest rages among vegetarians is to force their dogs to go vegetarian too. Vegetarians claim an all-plant diet will transform Fido from fat to fit. However, Dr. Andy Turkell of the American Animal Hospital Association says, "The obesity issue has nothing to do with too much meat… A dog's closest relative in the wild is the wolf. Wolves kill plant eaters like rabbits and eat their intestinal contents, which contain carbohydrates. You have to respect your dog's ancestry and anatomy."