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."
The power of the internet to perpetuate urban legends is being felt by KFC. A recent e-mail claims that Kentucky Fried Chicken had started calling itself KFC because it no longer uses real chickens. Instead, the e-mail claims KFC uses genetically altered organisms that are kept alive by tubes that "have no beaks, no feathers, and no feet." The University of New Hampshire, mentioned as having done a study on the KFC "chickens" in the e-mail, set up a web page to handle the hoax which is getting about 15 to 18 hits per minute per day.
Nannies on the editorial staff at the Capital Times (Madison, WI), are calling for labels on genetically modified foods, including foods in restaurants. Noting that some chains, including McDonald's, KFC, Pizza Hut and Domino's, have removed genetically engineered ingredients from their menus in the UK, the Times asks, "Do those corporations continue to dish out genetically modified foods at their restaurants in countries that do not label-most particularly the United States? Of course. …It's time for the United States to require the labeling of all foods sold in this country."
Calling obesity “a full blown health crisis and truly a national epidemic,” Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) promoted her “Lifelong Improvements in Food and Exercise Act” at a press conference…
As the FDA considers labels for food containing trans fat (including labels for restaurants making a health claim or providing nutritional information on menu items), The Center for Science in the Public Interest is calling upon diners to forgo all restaurant fried foods (especially whole fried onions and Buffalo wings), salads with meat and cheese, and even mayonnaise, until trans fat labels are put in place.
Anti-aspartame activists have taken their campaign against the sweetner across the pond to the UK with some success. The British government has in the past agreed with the FDA's assessment that aspartame is perfectly safe, but, having been influenced by the scare tactics of activists, some British officials are calling for further investigation. One Member of Parliament demanded, "Aspartame should be withdrawn immediately pending further investigation."
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) is renewing its wearisome push for more food labels. CSPI wants new or more bothersome labels on nearly everything, including beef, natural foods, fruit drinks, foods containing genetically engineered ingredients, foods containing caffeine, and foods with added sugars.
Columnist Judith Blake reviews the century in food, from the early 1900's enjoyment of food (introduction of the wildly successful chocolate Hershey bar and the popularization of ice cream) to the 1990's fear of food (demonstrated by the growing vegetarian and organic movements).
The Wall Street Journal profiles attorney Michael Hausfeld, focusing on his current lawsuit against Monsanto (instigated by professional nanny Jeremy Rifkin). In the suit, Hausfeld, known for his anti-industry litigation, accuses Monsanto of attempting to "monopolize" genetically modified crops. Rifkin praises Hausfeld for, as the Journal puts it, helping evolve "mass litigation into a full-fledged adjunct to lawmaking and regulating." ("Why Americans look to the courts to cure the nation's social ills," WSJ, 1/4/00, No link available.)
In response to calls from the White House, FDA, and Congress for warning labels on raw eggs, the Los Angeles Times speaks to various scientific experts who firmly disagree with critics that malign the safety of eggs. One former FDA chief counsel calls the mathematical model that produces food poisoning statistics "the closest thing I can think of in this modern age to a Ouija board. …The statistics are all over the place because none of them are any good. They are all wild guesses."