Big Food’s Money vs. Children’s Health: Guess Which Wins?

by Bettina Elias Siegel on April 27, 2012

In the almost two years I’ve been writing The Lunch Tray, I’ve told you about one dispiriting episode after another in which Big Food’s dollars and lobbying have blocked sensible and critically needed efforts to improve children’s health.  (Remember how Congress, at the urging of frozen food manufacturers, agreed to continue treating pizza as a school food vegetable?  Or how the food industry killed purely voluntary federal guidelines to rein in the marketing of junk food to children?)

That’s why I was fascinated — and sickened — by a comprehensive Reuters report issued today, “Special Report:  How Washington went soft on childhood obesity,” which gives a highly detailed accounting of how food and beverage lobbyists have scotched one legislative effort after another in the public health arena.  Put bluntly:

At every level of government, the food and beverage industries won fight after fight during the last decade. They have never lost a significant political battle in the United States despite mounting scientific evidence of the role of unhealthy food and children’s marketing in obesity.

Some of the figures in the report are stunning:

. . . the Center for Science in the Public Interest, widely regarded as the lead lobbying force for healthier food, spent about $70,000 lobbying last year — roughly what those opposing the stricter [children's advertising] guidelines spent every 13 hours, the Reuters analysis showed.

[Emphasis mine.]

The report is not only highly critical of Congress, but also of the Obama administration and Mrs. Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative, both supposed champions of anti-childhood-obesity efforts. (I have also been critical of Mrs. Obama in the past).

Reuters describes a White House visit by executives from Big Food and children’s media, companies with a combined market value of more than $350 billion:

In the weeks after the meetings, proponents of tougher [children's advertising] standards said, neither the president nor the First Lady spoke out for the work on healthy food guidelines that had been drafted by the administration’s own agencies. And industry representatives said their White House lobbying — which also included calls, letters and visits to the White House — proved successful on a hot political issue.

Nicholas W. Papas, a spokesman for the White House, disputed the notion that it had failed to champion the work of its own agencies . . .

But Papas could not point to any specific example of the president or First Lady voicing support for the working group report. Lobbyists on both sides of the issue and two key members of Congress said the administration stood back at crucial junctures, allowing Congress time to thwart the effort.

I urge you to read the entire Reuter’s report for an eye-opening education on the role of unfettered corporate spending in our government.

So what’s the answer?  How do ordinary consumers get their voices heard against such powerful, well-funded adversaries?   It seems to me the only avenue is the direct expression of our views outside traditional channels.  While I’m the last person to claim that the success of my recent Change.org petition would be easily replicable, it did demonstrate the tremendous power of social media and grassroots efforts to get consumer voices heard, changing government policy in a mere nine days and giving industry a real wake-up call.

I’ll have more musings on that topic in the coming days.

[hat tip:  Dana Woldow of PEACHSF.org for sending me the Reuters piece.]

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{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }

Marcia W. April 27, 2012 at 3:19 pm

All your whining and threatening might be tolerable if (and it is a big, important IF) your singular opinions and manifestos were representative of the vast majority of consumers. They are not. And wishfully calling agenda-driven activist groups like CSPI “consumer groups” is a wonderfully bold lie but scarcely bold enough to suffocate the truth. Nope, your frustration stems from the very real, very understandable fact that you are in the minority in your determination to establish a food police state in our schools and in America generally. The Obamas are skilled politicians and they will play along with your cult’s screwball foodie ideas so long as it make people smile and doesn’t alienate the majority of real consumers…and voters. They know which side their abundant, safe, affordable bread is buttered on and they know when to get serious about important issues…and when to ignore insipid non-issues. It is unfortunate you were so successful in your libelous smear of LFTbeef. That drama isn’t over quite yet, by the way.

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Tammy Verberg April 27, 2012 at 4:04 pm

No need to be so nasty Marcia W! And BTW her opinions aren’t so singular! Many, many, many other parents out there share her views, which is why we regularly visit this blog. If you are so offended by the blog you don’t have to visit it!

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lindtfree April 28, 2012 at 12:06 am

Marcia W., please be very careful when you accuse Bettina of libel. As a trained attorney, she is certainly much more aware of the definition, nuances, and potential consequences of libel than most (if not all) of her accusers.

Is your last line a potential threat?

Perhaps you should take your own fatty, coarse-textured drama elsewhere.

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Uly April 29, 2012 at 1:36 pm

How funny, Marcia. I thought that when the government started serving food in the schools it automatically became responsible for choosing what sort of foods are served in the schools.

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mommm!!! April 30, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Oh Marcia, Marcia, Marcia. You just can’t tell tacky people that their tacky because it just makes them act….more tacky. Like you for instance! The idea that people who want to feed their children actual food (the shock! the horror! why the audacity! the unmitigated gall!) as a “cult screwball foodie” concept is…well…much like falling down the rabbit’s hole in Alice In Wonderland except not nearly as entertaining.

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Bettina Elias Siegel April 30, 2012 at 4:44 pm

Hey, guys. Let’s try to tone this down.

To be honest, I actually regret posting Marcia’s original comment, not because she disagrees with me (that’s always 100% fine around here) but because she did so in a tone that was unpleasant and in violation of my comments policy (see tab above).

As many of you know, I’m striving to return this blog to its former status as a comfortable, safe space in which anyone can express any view without fear of personal attack, or even just nasty, snide, or needling responses. I know some might feel this is too tight a standard for moderation and I respect that view, but on a personal blog such as TLT, where comment moderation is entirely in my discretion, I would rather err on the side of “tone censorship” to ensure everyone feels free to express their views.

And again, just to reiterate, I care only about tone. As to viewpoint, you can say anything you like so long as you do so in a civil, polite manner.

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mommm!!! April 30, 2012 at 5:57 pm

Bettina, I deeply apologize. I’m new~ish here and I will try harder to refrain from being as sarcastic as I can be because I really respect what you’ve done here. Sometimes people just make me wanna GAHHH! But I will refrain. I promise.

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Uly May 1, 2012 at 3:13 pm

My apologies. Sarcasm is the easiest way for me to talk (no, really), but if you’re trying to limit it I’ll try to tone it down in the future.

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Carol P. in Detroit April 27, 2012 at 5:54 pm

Bettina do you really think it is a good idea to gloat over what you did to workers in the beef industry and their families? Even if you have abruptly and conspicuously stopped using your derogatory term “pink slime”, that bus left the station weeks ago when you were hurling the moniker around like a stink bomb. It is a matter of public record. You claim to care about kids but I feel sorry for the children of those beef workers. When they were securely employed those families probably didn’t earn a fraction of what your family enjoys. The whole thing was kind of elitist, really. Not necessarily something to be proud of, nothing to brag to Mother about as they say.

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Dana Woldow April 28, 2012 at 9:31 am

Carol P
What is your motivation in posting this attack on Bettina? I don’t see anything in your comment that challenges any of the facts of Bettina’s position on LFTB; instead, this appears to be purely an ad hominem attack on her. If you disagree with the facts, please state your own.

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heartsmart April 28, 2012 at 9:54 am

Carol, I do not consider what Bettina wrote above about the the LFTB gloating, and it is awful to say that someone who was bringing something to the attention of the public (that should have been there in the first place) was doing something wrong. We all deserve to know what is in our food, to me it was more about the secrecy then anything else. If this product ingredient was on a label, I do not think the fallout would have been so severe, but the fact that it was not on any label of any product that contained it , to me, is wrong. As has been said, it takes a village to make a change, and Bettina, was just the person who brought the issue to light, it was the many other people who signed the petition that moved the ball…so if you are going to put blame, blame hundreds of thousands of people that signed in agreement, who want to know what is in their food.

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mommm!!! April 30, 2012 at 3:12 pm

Dearest “Carol P. in Detroit”,

I find it both mildly disturbing and amusing that you think that the entire beef eating population, some of whom have died after eating pink slime by the way, should somehow feel bad for a handful of people who had no problem at all whatsoever pushing such a disgusting product onto an unsuspecting populace. Furthermore, I highly doubt that you keep a spritzer full of ammonia in your kitchen to douse your meat in before cooking it, which, in effect, makes your argument moot. Lastly, what anyone makes on a paycheck has nothing to do with the conversation, which you only brought up as a door to fling an insult, which enlightens all of us to how unimaginative you are.

And before I say something I may regret later….Thank you all for being such wonderful advocates for our children’s’ health. I have never gotten so much satisfaction from the reading the news than I did when I read that our consumer power shut down the pink slime factories. GREAT JOB EVERYONE! Woot!

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Bettina Elias Siegel April 30, 2012 at 4:45 pm

Mommm! I really appreciate your defense of LFTB opponents generally (and me in particular!) but just to be clear, I know of no cases in which anyone has died from eating the product.

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mommm!!! April 30, 2012 at 5:13 pm

I bring you this article linked below. There are many actually, but one link is plenty. For clarity, I equate industrialized beef to be the same as LFTB. (lookit me being all pc!) The reason the product required ammonia gas was because it was so contaminated and unfortunately, it doesn’t always work, meaning the product doesn’t necessarily come out the other end of being gassed as “sterile”. Sure, no one has actually said the words, “died from pink slime”, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to connect the dots. Thousands of cow bits + industrialization + ammonia gas + cheap fast food outlets = about 14 deaths a year from food poisoning. The article states “food borne pathogens (often found in ground beef)” in the last paragraph on the first page. Hope this helps :)

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=126450&page=1#.T58MZdXU-YR

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mommm!!! April 30, 2012 at 5:30 pm

Wait! there’s more!

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/13/business/federal-officials-extend-e-coli-ban.html

And the clincher~
http://bucks.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/29/what-might-replace-pink-slime/?ref=ecolibacteria#

~to which I find this statement from the article most interesting:
“Ammonia, while considered ‘icky’ by some consumers, was used to reduce the risk of pathogenic E. coli in their product,” Mr. Waldrop said in the statement.

end quote.

See? the bits come in crawling in e.coli, they gas it to kill it, which doesn’t always kill every last little microbe, and then it’s shipped off to every fast food joint in America. And voila! Cooking is supposed to kill it, but if that burger is taken off the griddle just seconds too soon, then you’re paying a dollar to flirt with potential death. And whose to blame? The fast food joint? The advertisers? The LFTB producers? The feed lots? I think they all are. It’s a deadly system and it’s just not worth it.

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mommm!!! April 30, 2012 at 5:41 pm

OK last one I swear :) and only because I found this little tidbit a little frightening…from the article:

“Companies subject to such recalls are allowed to cook tainted meat to kill the bacteria and then use it in other products, a common practice in the food industry. ”

say whuuuttt!! here’s the link

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/33585209/ns/health-food_safety/t/two-deaths-possible-ground-beef-recall/#.T58Tk9XU-YQ

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bw1 May 8, 2012 at 7:05 pm

“So what’s the answer? How do ordinary consumers get their voices heard against such powerful, well-funded adversaries?”

Vote with your dollars. DON’T BUY THEIR STUFF. Take control of your family’s food spending back from your kids.

Tammy Verberg : “And BTW her opinions aren’t so singular! Many, many, many other parents out there share her views, which is why we regularly visit this blog”

If that’s the case, then the solution I mentioned above would have resolved the issue already. Right or wrong, you’re in the minority, as junk food sales figures amply demonstrate.

“The idea that people who want to feed their children actual food (the shock! the horror! why the audacity! the unmitigated gall!) as a “cult screwball foodie” concept is…well….”

….a statistically valid assertion. It never ceases to amaze me how people assume everybody agrees with them despite overwhelming statistical evidence to the contrary.

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mommm!!! May 9, 2012 at 8:32 am

Choosing not to “buy their stuff” would be great if “their stuff” was labeled. For example, if you would like to eat pink slime on a regular basis I have no problems with that. However, since the products containing it are never labeled, then no one knows exactly what they are buying and that leaves me with NO choice. So since it’s kind of hard to choose something when there is only one option, I’m not sure what your point is there.

Junk food sales are a direct result of millions upon millions of dollars in advertising, strategically placed high fructose corn syrup, and prime residential space in grocery stores. That’s all. So to say it’s just simply what people want is misleading and a gross understatement. Not to mention, if that was true, food movements, of which there are hundreds (possibly thousands) wouldn’t exist.

Lastly, I don’t assume everyone agrees with me. However, I know I’m not alone in my views because I read. :)

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bw1 May 15, 2012 at 9:42 pm

You can easily avoid LFBT, label or not. It’s a consumer choice to care, and then to take steps to satisfy that care.

Regardless of what you may think of the merits of their decision methods, the majority of Americans CHOOSE to consume junk food. No one holds a gun to their heads. It IS what they choose and what they want, even if their reasons don’t meet with your high and mighty approval. You claimed you’re not a fascist, and yet your statement regarding the free choices of the majority of your fellow citizens is effectively an accusation of what Orwell called ThoughtCrime.

No, you’re not ALL alone in your views, but you’re MOSTLY alone, and if your claim of scientific education is accurate, you should have the requisite understanding of statistics to grasp that. I actually share many of the food preferences you push, but I’m not deluded by reading limited to syncophantic echo chambers so as to believe they are majority preferences.

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mommm!!! May 16, 2012 at 2:13 am

Actually, there are lots of consumer markets where the option to have the beef of your choice ground for you by the butcher behind the counter does not exist. Just because I enjoy that luxury does not mean that all people in America do.

Junk food happens to be cheaper than most everything else. That’s not an accident. It’s also what lots of people can afford. Do not reference Orwell until you understand that there is no free choice (really) regarding our food supply and I think it’s hilarious that my position for the freedom of better food choices compels you to compare me to Thoughtcrime. In fact, everyone I told this to also had a long laugh over this.

Fortunately, I am not “mostly alone” in my thinking. There is an entire food movement that spans across farms, chefs, food manufacturers, bloggers, critics, consumers, etc that think EXACTLY the way I do. Books, cookbooks, documentaries, magazines, conferences, seminars, clubs, societies, organizations, fundraisers, and countless news stories have been done on the very views I hold about this very issue. There are even entire grocery stores devoted to catering to people who have the same food views as I do! All across the United States! I could suggest some reading/viewing if you like. :)

mommie sez so April 27, 2012 at 8:30 pm

I know how you must feel. So very discouraging I have been telling our school principal what he has been doing wrong for about 5 years with no success. One time he was so rude to me I thought I could finally get him fired but the board sided with him so it is not always about money. I am thinking about taking my kids (3 wonderful girls future vegans) out of that school but my husband says it is not in the budget. It is so very depressing.

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Todd April 28, 2012 at 9:51 am

It truly is sad that the profit motive is stronger than the good health motive. Preserving the status quo is always the driving force, unfortunately.

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mommm!!! April 30, 2012 at 3:22 pm

What most people don’t realize is that the chips and sodas on the shelves today are not the chips and sodas we had growing up. (I’m 40 now) It’s not like junk food companies announced every time they started using new chemicals in their products. I recently watched a documentary that actually weighed out the chemical content vs. the nutritional content of a processed food and the nutritional content ended up being something like only half of the total weight of the product. It suggested that this was one cause for over eating because the body is actually getting less usable “food” so people will eat more of it. And I have to wonder….are we being raised on chemicals on purpose? It’s a deeply disturbing thought especially in light of the enormous lobbying power these products have been paying for.

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MamaRalf April 30, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Mommm!!! What was the documentary? I recently saw Food Inc. and it really opened my eyes. I wasn’t incredibly surprised by some of it, but some things were pretty crazy to me. For example, the Veggie Libel Laws (and that Oprah was sued for saying something bad about the meat industry), the horrible e.coli stories, and the attention it brought to the horrible working conditions of those who work in the big slaughterhouses and the treatment of animals in CAFOs. I never really thought about it and I can’t remember who says it in the film but these big corporations only care about money and therefore they don’t care about the treatment of animals OR people!! I think this is a movie that everyone needs to see!!

So, Carol P. (if you are still reading!), although I don’t know the whole story of people who might have lost their jobs in the beef industry, my guess is that they were not being treated in a humane fashion and I hope that they find work in producing whatever is going to replace this “beef.” I also sincerely hope that people are starting to realize that the food industry is exploiting workers, treating animals horribly, and harming consumers!

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mommm!!! May 1, 2012 at 1:27 am

MamaRalf….I have quite possibly seen every food documentary known to man. I have a huge list that could keep you occupied for weeks and keep you up at night hand wringing over the state of our food supply lol! I’m happy to compile the list for you, but for now I’ll give you the ones that stand out in my mind:

The End Of The Line (this one will change your mind about what fish you buy and where you buy it from if you care about this sort of thing)

Forks Over Knives (a real eye opener on cows milk among other things, although it just made me crave meat more)

Food Matters (just a great flick)

Fresh (this is where there might have been a brief mention of the chemical content vs the actual food content)

TEDtalks:Chew On This (this is also where it might have been mentioned, it’s hard to remember without sitting down and going through them all again. TED is an invitation only conference of the greatest minds on the planet where people get 17 or 18 minutes to give their spiel…it’s fascinating stuff)

I agree with you about Food, Inc. It was a great flick and it was my gateway documentary into all the others. I think what Bettina is doing is really putting a spotlight on a factor or consequence of a much larger issue and I think her dedication is amazing. The state of our food supply involves, as you all are learning, a huge range of factors which influences our health, our futures, our politics, and even our environment. It’s so complicated, that it can, at times, feel overwhelming. Stay strong! I’ve been so inspired by the sudden and unexpected death of LFTB (why can’t we call it what it is?) that I have renewed energy to continue talking to anyone that will listen about my secret obsession….the current state of our food supply.

Netflix has all of these food documentaries I listed plus more so it’s worth the 5 or 8 bucks or whatever they charge. There’s several more food related ones and even more about the state of our water supplies (eegads don’t get me started on that) and plastics and how they affect our food supply (somebody stop me) and more. Baby steps :) It’s a lot of information to take in.

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bw1 May 8, 2012 at 7:07 pm

“What is your motivation in posting this attack on Bettina? I don’t see anything in your comment that challenges any of the facts of Bettina’s position on LFTB”

What facts? Her condemnation of it was entirely esthetic.

When I first saw the pink slime headlines on this blog, my first thought was, “this might be something I could get behind, certainly better than the cupcake nazi campaign.” Then as I read more about the product, that changed. I think Maggie Koerth-Baker at boingboing.net expressed my sentiments about the product pretty well:

“the actual existence of pink slime—in and of itself—is not something I find offensive. In fact, I think it’s a good thing….. Given the massive amounts of energy it takes to raise a cow, I’d rather have us use all the cow, rather than waste the gross parts. And, when it comes down to it, I’m not convinced that pink slime is any more gross than, say, what goes on in 3/4 of French Provencal cooking. Or authentic Chinese cuisine. Or, really, any cooking tradition that hasn’t bought into the uniquely American belief that only the nicest parts of the muscle are edible and everything else is gross and unsanitary.”
(http://boingboing.net/2012/03/29/pink-slime-in-the-context-of-h.html)

I noticed one commenter asked Bettina to what aspect of LFTB she was objecting, and didn’t get an answer. Since the product is scientifically provable to be safer than the ground beef to which it’s added, and there are no objective negative nutritional implications, it seems that your objections are just the aesthetic ones Koerth-Baker describes. I’ve looked hard for even the insinuation that it contains CNS tissue, which would be a rational objection, but haven’t found one.

It’s important to note that this product lowers costs, and that’s a good thing, especially since ALL school lunches are subsidized by taxpayers. That’s something you seem to miss – if your kid gets ANYTHING from the school cafeteria, he’s effectively eating, at least partially, on the dole. You said to Tiffany and Tina, “and we all know the pressure and anxiety of having young children dependent on us for all their needs. ” but if that was true, you wouldn’t care what’s in school lunches, because your kids would only be eating on your dime. In the admittedly short time I’ve been reading it, I’ve yet to read anything on this blog that shifts the onus for raising and supporting children toward the parent and away from the government, but plenty that attempts to shift it in the other direction.

You’re asking the taxpayers to foot part of the cost of feeding your kids, and somewhere you got the idea that beggars can be choosers. Your complaints are effectively demands that the taxpayers pay through the nose for your kid to have only the more expensive, more wasteful meat products to satisfy your aesthetic idiosyncrasies – your western-upper-middle-class-white-people hangups. You’re saying your kid is too good to have any scraps in his meat, but apparently not too good to be on partial lunch welfare. It’s like demanding hardwood floors, tray ceilings, and woodburning fireplaces in public housing projects, or heated leather seats on city buses.

If you want your kids to have nothing but ground prime tenderloin in their burgers, then pack them a lunch with food you paid for yourself. This petition epitomizes the tactics of self-indulgent welfare-state freeloaders. Those are my tax dollars with which you’re demanding to be so profligate. I see no reason why I should be taxed to provide luxury cuisine to the child of someone with your elite, privileged credentials.

So far most of this blog seems bent on abdicating all but the most gratifying components of parenting to the state. There’s a bunch of moms in Brooklyn, NY who want to ban ice cream trucks because they can’t bear the agony of saying no to their little dears – you’d better go jump all over that.

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Bettina Elias Siegel May 9, 2012 at 7:55 am

bw1: There is simply no way you could have read my many, many posts on LFTB in the last few months and concluded that my opposition to it was “entirely esthetic.” That breezy summation of my views is inaccurate and entirely unfair. Not that it’s my job to go back and find these for you, but for other readers who might see your misleading comment, here are some of the the many posts that outline my views on the product: “Beef Is Beef? Why Experts Refute That Claim for LFTB” , “Has LFTB Really Been in Our Beef for Twenty Years and Without Incident? and “Let’s Not Give in to Beef Industry Slimewashing”“.

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mommm!!! May 9, 2012 at 8:35 am

Exactly. Not to mention that I posted links to several articles on the inherent danger of the product in this blog post.

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mommm!!! May 9, 2012 at 8:48 am

AND! The product does not actually create a cheaper product on retail shelves, which is also what sparked outrage. Often, I see the per pound price of ground beef to be the same, if not higher, than whole beef cuts that I can ask my butcher to grind for me and I know exactly what’s in it.

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bw1 May 9, 2012 at 9:29 pm

“That breezy summation of my views is inaccurate and entirely unfair. ”

Really? Not based on the three links you gave.

“Beef Is Beef? Why Experts Refute That Claim for LFTB” ,
Short version – taste and texture is different, i.e. esthetics.

“Has LFTB Really Been in Our Beef for Twenty Years and Without Incident?
Short version – Dispute how long it’s been in use – irrelevant. Smells like ammonia in the kitchen – esthetics. You claim it’s not safe, but in this world where food-borne illnesses are investigated more carefully than Al-Quaeda, you (and mommm!!!, for that matter) fail to provide any substantial evidence that anyone has ever been harmed by the product. As for the faulty batches that, if not caught, might supposedly have caused harm, when was the last time you saw a school cafeteria serve a burger any way but very well done?

“Let’s Not Give in to Beef Industry Slimewashing”“.
Short version:taste and texture significantly different. Unsupported claims that it’s more pathogenic for reasons not mentioned in the linked reference.

There’s been nothing to support the idea that it’s any less safe than pure ground beef by the traditional definition, and any incremental risk that may be proven at some future time is likely less than the decrement in obesity risk (one of your pet causes) because it’s lower in fat. Any risk is more than erased by thorough cooking, and given the support for vegetarianism on your site, it’s very improbable you or any of your fans are into rare burgers.

Mommm!!!’s and your claims about “inherent danger” (actually all your non-esthetic complaints, such as they are) amount to nothing more than speculation and innuendo – science doesn’t work the way you think it does. Show us the sickened kids, and the proof that LFTB made them sick. Make your burden of proof. Bettina, if you were a prosecutor, would you file murder charges when you couldn’t even NAME a victim?

In the end, your activities still boil down to nannystatist demands that government promote and cater to your personal preferences. If you’re so picky about your kid’s food, then use that ivy-league earning power and pay for ALL of it yourself. Do as others with special food preferences do – there’s a huge industry to enable a rather small segment of the population to obtain food that meets their preferences, all created by voluntary, private interaction – just look at all the foods marked with a circled K in your supermarket. Imagine that, far stricter preferences than yours, all effectively met, with nothing more than preexisting trademark laws.

I actually hold many of the same food preferences as you do – I just don’t expect the government to coerce others to either fund or facilitate my ability to exercise those preferences. Sound nutrition is great; fascism in the pursuit of it is not.

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mommm!!! May 10, 2012 at 9:31 am

1.) Since the product is not labeled, people dying after eating contaminated ground beef cannot prove it was from pink slime. So, you are correct just not for the reason you think you are.

2.) “Beef is Beef” clearly quotes scientists, mentions differences in protein amounts, and the fact that regular ground beef is absent of ammonia.

3.) “Has LFTB Really Been in Our Beef for Twenty Years and Without Incident?” The point of the article was that the beef industry lies to consumers. It went on to discuss how the levels of ammonia that were approved by USDA made the already inedible product even more unappetizing so they nefariously lowered the levels of ammonia without ever having the product tested or approved by the USDA nor did they tell anyone.

4.) “Let’s Not Give in to Beef Industry Slimewashing” actually talks about the fiscal dubiousness of products containing the filler not being labeled because the prices are the same, if not higher, but I’ve already stated that once in this blog post. I don’t mind repeating it, however, for the sake of the challenged.

5.) I actually hold two science degrees. So, I know exactly “how science works.”

6.) My child has never been the recipient of a free lunch at the expense of taxpayers.

7.) Expecting transparency from the people that sell food to us does not equal fascism.

8.) There have numerous documented cases of deaths after eating fast food burgers and they have been documented in the news and in food documentaries complete with the names of those victims. I’m not going to google that for you, but you can.

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bw1 May 15, 2012 at 9:42 pm

“1.) Since the product is not labeled, people dying after eating contaminated ground beef cannot prove it was from pink slime. So, you are correct just not for the reason you think you are.”
Absence of evidence is absence of evidence – it doesn’t justify pulling allegations out of your backside. Further, lack of labeling doesn’t make a difference – when food borne illnesses occur, the CDC and Dept. of Agriculture trace the food better than the FBI traces guns in a murder. If any LFBT was the source of an illness, the proof would be available.
“2.) “Beef is Beef” clearly quotes scientists, mentions differences in protein amounts, and the fact that regular ground beef is absent of ammonia.”
It talks about vague, unspecified differences in protein from those claiming to be scientists. Again, that is not how science works. Real scientists deal with precise, quantitative values, not ephemeral innuendo. There is mention of an ammonia odor in the presence of huge quantities of RAW LFBT-containing meat. Ammonia boils off well below the recommended cooking temperatures.
“3.) “Has LFTB Really Been in Our Beef for Twenty Years and Without Incident?” The point of the article was that the beef industry lies to consumers. It went on to discuss how the levels of ammonia that were approved by USDA made the already inedible product even more unappetizing so they nefariously lowered the levels of ammonia without ever having the product tested or approved by the USDA nor did they tell anyone.”
There is no lie – LFBT is beef. It consists of skeletal muscle tissue from cattle – i.e. beef. The product wan’t already inedible, and the ammonia simply allowed a level of certainty as to its safety. As to the lowering of ammonia levels, it’s been very well tested – millions have consumed it without being sickened.
“4.) “Let’s Not Give in to Beef Industry Slimewashing” actually talks about the fiscal dubiousness of products containing the filler not being labeled because the prices are the same, if not higher, but I’ve already stated that once in this blog post.”
You’ve claimed they’re higher, but not substantiated it, and how could you, since, as you said, it’s not labeled. Maybe they pocket the savings, and don’t pass them on to consumers – that’s a function of market pressures and elasticity of demand. The school lunch system is a much more competitive market than the meat counter at your supermarket – multiple vendors are proactively contacting administrators to gain their business. In such a situation, the savings are more likely to be passed on.
In any event, given the resources needed to raise cattle, even if the processor is pocketing ALL the savings, it’s still more efficient from an environmental standpoint If you want to waste food, do it on your own dime.
“5.) I actually hold two science degrees. So, I know exactly “how science works.”
Well, then either you’re badly in need of some remedial continuing ed., or you’re willing to toss scientific rigor under the bus when it suits your purpose.
“6.) My child has never been the recipient of a free lunch at the expense of taxpayers. ”
Maybe not 100% free, but if you think you’re shelling out market rates for those lunches, then you’re ignoring reality. Unless your child brings every scrap of food he/she consumes from home, then you’re feeding your child on the dole. All the food provided in school lunchrooms is subsidized by taxpayers so as to be sold to students significantly below market rates.
“7.) Expecting transparency from the people that sell food to us does not equal fascism. ”
Expecting the government to force others to cater to your preferences is the epitome of fascism. You want transparency? Leverage it through the spending of your own money that you earn.
“8.) There have numerous documented cases of deaths after eating fast food burgers and they have been documented in the news”
I thought you said you understood how science works. Dying after eating fast food is not evidence of something real scientists call CAUSALITY. Again, the investigative process is very throrough – show me ONE case where a death or illness was traced to LFBT.
Here is an example of the difference between being sick after eating food and being sickened BY food. Several years ago, several children were APPARENTLY sickened by food at the Ohio State Fair. Every food venue was exhaustively investigated and tested. Everything the victims and several non-sickened consumers did that day was traced carefully. The result? The victims had one consistent commonality – their last stop before purchasing and consuming finger food was the petting zoo, and they did not wash their hands in between. Even after this was announced, some of the parents still hysterically called for some food vendor to be crucified for their children getting sick. Your rhetoric reminds me of them.
Do *I* want to eat LFBT? No – I prefer my burgers lightly seared on the outside and raw on the inside, and if I were to smell ammonia from them, that would be a problem. I patronize establishments that grind their own, preferably brisket. However, *I* decide to spend *my* money on that.
Spend your own money with vendors you’ve verified meet your preferences, and let the rest of the world make their own choices, even if they choose willful ignorance. You are your child’s mother, you are not OUR mother.

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mommm!!! May 16, 2012 at 1:56 am

1.) Again, since it’s not labeled your point is not valid. Also, BPI has admitted fault in allegations of recalled ground beef products (of which there are literally millions of pounds involved in more than a few instances that are well documented by the way), but again I leave it up to you to google it for yourself. However, the beef industry has amazingly broad laws that protect them from not only being sued but also from speaking out against them. Again, you can do your own googling.

2.) “those claiming to be scientists”? Mkay. Well you don’t need to be scientist to understand that cartiledge and muscle tissue do, in fact, have different levels of protein and that beef does not come naturally soaked in ammonia.

3.) It has not been tested. Prove it. Sure millions have eaten it….unwittingly. And, yes, there have been deaths and yes they have been documented.

4.) To state that “given the resources needed to raise cattle, even if the processor is pocketing ALL the savings, it’s still more efficient from an environmental standpoint” is a glaringly obvious flashpoint of how little you really understand the system because raising feedlot beef is horribly inefficient on more than a few levels and that, also, has been documented ad nauseum.

5.) No point in commenting here.

6.) I’ve always packed my son’s lunches. Next!

7.) I expect my government, the one I pay taxes to pay for, to not protect shady food systems over the well being of it’s people. Again. that also does not equal fascism.

8.) Once again, (gosh I get tired of repeating myself) I completely believe in voting with your wallet. However, this product IS NOT LABELED. Therefore, the only way to be sure that I’m not buying it is to not buy ground beef at all. So that leaves me, the consumer, with NO CHOICE (if I want to buy a product that is already ground) and THAT is exactly the point. And trust…I have no desire to mother you. Believe it.

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bw1 May 17, 2012 at 10:12 pm

1.) “Again, since it’s not labeled your point is not valid. ”
Again, the investigative infrastructure doesn’t need it to be labeled to trace it.

“Also, BPI has admitted fault in allegations of recalled ground beef products”

Everything has been recalled, from lettuce to peanut butter to beef with NO LFBT in it. That is the safeguards working. Show us the bodies of the dead. Demonstrate material harm.

“but again I leave it up to you to google it for yourself. ”

I have. Plenty of people have been sickened, and the source is always traced, label or no label. Lots of foods have been directly implicated, many of which would meet with your categorical approval. LFBT has not been directly implicated in any harm done, which is to be expected, because the venues in which it’s likely to be used don’t serve ground beef any way but well done.

“However, the beef industry has amazingly broad laws that protect them from not only being sued but also from speaking out against them.”

Sorry, but the few occasions where such laws have actually passed, they’ve not survived constitutional challenge.

2.) ““those claiming to be scientists”? Mkay. Well you don’t need to be scientist to understand that cartiledge and muscle tissue do, in fact, have different levels of protein and that beef does not come naturally soaked in ammonia.”

A) it’s not cartilage, it’s muscle, B) that doesn’t mean it’s nutritionally inferior – cartilage is good for you, and B) it’s not soaked in ammonia – it’s exposed to ammonia in a gaseous state. You have a problem with conflating “feature” and “benefit” – show how any of this is harmful.

“3.) It has not been tested. Prove it. Sure millions have eaten it….unwittingly. And, yes, there have been deaths and yes they have been documented.”

It has been tested with a HUGE sample size. “unwittingly” makes the test at least single-blind, which makes it more rigorous. And NO, they have NOT been documented as caused by LFBT.

“4.) To state that “given the resources …… more efficient from an environmental standpoint” is a glaringly obvious flashpoint of how little you really understand the system because raising feedlot beef is horribly inefficient on more than a few levels”

Not at all – it REINFORCES my point. That raising cattle is inefficient militates all the more strongly for seeking efficiency where it may be found, and against letting any of the meat go to waste for the sake of your esthetic hangups.

“6.) I’ve always packed my son’s lunches. Next!”

Then what’s in school lunches is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. Next! (Note: However, if he buys milk at the school to go with his lunch, then he’s on the dole. It’s subsidized.)

“7.) I expect my government, the one I pay taxes to pay for, to not protect shady food systems over the well being of it’s people. Again. that also does not equal fascism.”

Look at the topic here. It’s the use of LFBT in school lunches. You’re asking for the government to spend more of my tax dollars to cater to your esthetic hangups, even though your kid doesn’t eat the stuff. Thus you’re asking for the imposition of your preferences upon others at BOTH ends of a process in which you do not participate, without their explicit buy-in. That, my dear, is inherently fascist.

Furthermore, if you REALLY stood for freedom of food choices, you wouldn’t call for labeling or other regulations by government. You’d organize that vast army of like minded people you claim to have, and they’d all let retailers know that they refuse to buy hamburger unless they can be assured it’s LFBT free, and they’d set up a trusted organization to certify compliance with their preferences at the producer’s expense, and you’d leave the government 100% out of it.

“that leaves me, the consumer, with NO CHOICE (if I want to buy a product that is already ground) and THAT is exactly the point.”

THAT *IS* A CHOICE. Notice your parenthetical begins with an IF. No one ever said voting with your wallet would mean having your cake and eating it too. That’s the thing about freedom – it presents us with choices that aren’t always easy to make – both options have downsides, like having to grind your own beef. It’s not my duty to subsidize your desire for your favored choice to be free of consequences. Just because you want something doesn’t obligate anyone to make it available. Your grocer has freedom to choose as well – to choose not to carry a product that has a negative impact on his bottom line, because he has to earn a living to feed his family. This blog is clearly about government subsidizing and imposing one set of food preferences. If you TRULY believe in freedom of choice, then stop wasting your time calling for Big Brother to solve your problems and get started on that organization – get all those like minded people together and start helping yourselves.

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bw1 May 17, 2012 at 10:22 pm

“Actually, there are lots of consumer markets where the option to have the beef of your choice ground for you by the butcher behind the counter does not exist.”.

I see meat grinders in good condition at garage sales for under five dollars every single weekend. There’s no manifest right to the luxury of having someone else grind your beef for you.

“Junk food happens to be cheaper than most everything else.”

That myth, and the one about urban food deserts, have been thoroughly debunked. Junk food is more convenient, and tastes better.

“Do not reference Orwell until you understand that there is no free choice (really) regarding our food supply”

There is plenty of free choice, if one has the mental wherewithal to look in the right places. What you’re seeking is a regime to allow you to have your cake and eat it too. If you want to put forth least common denominator effort, then you get the options preferred by the least common denominator.

” and I think it’s hilarious that my position for the freedom of better food choices compels you to compare me to Thoughtcrime”

Except that you’re NOT seeking freedom of better food choices. You’re looking to have government either compel or subsidize YOUR choices. You’re putting forth the elitist assumption that those who choose differently than you aren’t really choosing – that they’re being denied a choice or manipulated, and asking government to suppress freely chosen at-will transactions in order to reduce the incidence of choices of which YOU disapprove. Effectively, you are calling for the suppression of preference for junk food, which epitomizes the concept of Thoughtcrime.

“Fortunately, I am not “mostly alone” in my thinking. There is an entire food movement that spans across farms, chefs, food manufacturers, bloggers, critics, consumers, etc that think EXACTLY the way I do.”

And they constitute a tiny minority. There are about 350 million people in the USA. That means it takes about 100 million just to muster a plurality on any issue, let alone a majority. STOP PROJECTING – most Americans don’t give a rat’s behind about the things that move your passions. The fact that you have the vocabulary for this discussion, that you understood who Orwell is, renders you a gross statistical outlier. Talk to me about how many foodies there are when the combined programming of the Food Network garners one tenth the audience of any one of the sideshow-freak reality shows or professional wrestling. When will you realize that merely being fully literate constitutes a yawing gulf between you and the rest of the nation? It’s astounding after every presidential election, you can always find a bunch of supporters for the loser walking around scratching their heads saying about the winner “how did that happen – I don’t know ANYONE who voted for him?” Step outside your “movement” bubble and broaden your outlook. For crying out loud, standing on any street corner and looking at the waistlines passing by should be enough to show you that the vast majority of Americans don’t devote give any more consideration to the food they put in their mouths than they do to the end product they expel out their anuses.

“Books, cookbooks, documentaries, magazines, conferences, seminars, clubs, societies, organizations, fundraisers, and countless news stories have been done on the very views I hold about this very issue.”

SO WHAT? 75% of Americans will NEVER open a book, view a documentary, open a magazine that isn’t about celebrity gossip, attend a conference or seminar, or belong to any organization that isn’t effectively dedicated to drinking or some sport involving a ball. Simply by claiming to know what a seminar is, you’re singling yourself out as an iconoclast.

“There are even entire grocery stores devoted to catering to people who have the same food views as I do! ”

There are entire stores dedicated to comic books, kinky erotica, science fiction memorabilia, and the occult, and THOUSANDS of restaurants dedicated to serving raw fish wrapped in seaweed. That doesn’t make ANY of those things mainstream majority pursuits. Entire industries exist to serve the needs of fringe groups. In my old neighborhood there were 2 large grocery stores and a dozen restaurants that were strictly kosher – that doesn’t justify a government bureacracy staffed by rabbis at taxpayer expense with police powers.

It strains the credibility of your claim to multiple science degrees that you have such a poor grasp of statistical reasoning.

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mommm!!! May 18, 2012 at 9:45 am

1.) 1998 : IBP recalled 140 tons of tainted ground beef. (IBP is the maker of pink slime)
2001 : half a million pounds of tainted ground beef recalled from IBP
2002 : ConAgra recalls 19 millions pounds of tainted ground beef
2007 : Companies recalls 22 million pounds of tainted ground beef (that’s enough for one fast food burger for every American in the United States)
2001 : Barbara Kolwalcyk’s son, Kevin, died after eating tainted ground beef in just 12 days. It took almost 3 years and a private attorney to match the beef to a recall and it took the plant 16 days AFTER Kevin’s death to recall the beef. The e.coli test was done on August 1st at the plant, but the recall didn’t happen until August 27th. So, that is 27 days from the time the plant was documented as producing tainted ground beef to when they finally recalled the product.
1998: Courts ruled that the USDA can’t shut down processing plants that are repeat offenders.

During the Bush administration the chief of staff of the USDA was the former chief lobbyist of the beef industry. The head of the FDA was a former executive vice president of the the national food processors association.

In 1972 the FDA conducted approximately 50,000 food safety inspections.
In 2006 they conducted just 9,164 such inspections.

Since 2005, E. coli has been found 3 times and salmonella 48 times, including back-to-back incidents in August in which two 27,000-pound batches were found to be contaminated. The meat was caught before reaching lunch-rooms trays.

In July, school lunch officials temporarily banned their hamburger makers from using meat from a Beef Products facility in Kansas because of salmonella — the third suspension in three years, records show. Yet the facility remained approved by the U.S.D.A. for other customers.

2.) Ground beef = a hunk of meat ground up. It does not = connective tissues and trims mechanically processed and sprayed with ammonia.

3.) See number 1.

4.) Raising feed lot cattle is inefficient. It’s well documented.

5.) Let me rephrase for the challenged. I pack my son’s lunches AND his drinks.

6.) Health does not =aesthetics. Aesthetics is what you choose to call health, not I. Also, food is a basic human need. Frankenfood, however, is not a basic human need. Furthermore, it’s not unreasonable to expect truthfulness in labeling.

More statistics for the google challenged:

~Total Annual Revenue for Organic Foods (2010) $26.7 billion
~Total Percentage of Organic Food sold by Mass Market Retailers 54%
~Total amount of U.S. Certified-Organic Farms in 50 states 14,540
~Total amount of surface area covered by Certified-Organic Farms 4.1 million acres
~Percentage of Americans that never eat fast food 28%
~As of 2010, 4.0 percent of all U.S. food sales are organic.
~Fruits and vegetables account for the largest percentage of organic food sales, achieving nearly $10.6 billion in sales in 2010, an 11.8 percent increase from 2009.
~Organic fruits and vegetables now account for nearly 12.0 percent of all U.S. fruit and vegetable sales.
~Organic dairy accounts for the second largest percentage of organic food sales, with sales totaling $3.9 billion in 2010, a 9 percent increase from the previous year.

I hold two science degrees. Two does not = multiple, which implies many.
To quote you :
“You’re putting forth the elitist assumption that those who choose differently than you aren’t really choosing – that they’re being denied a choice or manipulated, and asking government to suppress freely chosen at-will transactions in order to reduce the incidence of choices of which YOU disapprove. Effectively, you are calling for the suppression of preference for junk food, which epitomizes the concept of Thoughtcrime.”

Again, refusing to label a product is the removal of choice by the producer to the consumer. And again, Frankenfood is not actually food by definition. Processed chemicals are not food. By that standard, that being the standard to which I hold food to actually be food, then we are having different discussions. What you insist on talking about as being food is highly processed, highly contaminated, highly filler containing products that dilute that actual “food” content of the product. I call this Frankenfood, you call it junk food, I don’t regard it as food at all. Again, food is a basic human need. Cheetos are not a basic human need. If you would like to stretch that out into me epitomizing Thoughtcrime, then I should share with you how many more laughs I got from that. I’ve emailed this discussion around and people keeping asking me what you’re going to say next. You’ve been dubbed “The Orwell Hysteric”. However, since you insist on dragging poor Orwell into this discussion, however misguided, you remind me of the pigs in the Animal Farm because it shows how potential ignorance and indifference to problems within a revolution could allow horrors to happen if a smooth transition to a people’s government is not achieved.

As far as subsidies go, you need to have a much broader understanding of what is actually subsidized in and around our food system before you decide to cherry pick one out and complain about how unfair it is to you. Also, you would need to have a deep understanding of the complicated economics that surround those issues before you could have an argument based on “children should be fed junk food because it’s cheaper and since I’m paying for it then that’s what they should get” stance.

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bw1 May 18, 2012 at 1:59 pm

1.) You provide a litany of recalls. In none of them do you cite a link, causal, or otherwise, to LFBT. IBP’s products are not limited to LFBT. Furthermore, even if recalled beef contained LFBT, you provide no citations of the LFBT component as the source of contamination in any product. And yes, the investigations are granular enough to draw such conclusions. You’re citing cases where food was contaminated, but you’re NOT tying it to LFBT in any sound way.
The second part of your first point is a list of failures of the government-imposed food regulatory system. Thank you for making my point that fascist government bureaucracies are not a sound means of achieving food safety.
2.) LFBT is not connective tissue. It consists of the small pieces of muscle tissue that could not be separated from the connective tissue in large pieces. Ground beef is beef muscle and fatty tissue reduced to small pieces by a mechanical process. However, if you wish to choose your own definition, and set up a voluntary, privately funded infrastructure for certifying that products meet your definitions, you have my full support.
3.) You reference point 1, which cited ONE death in the MILLIONS of servings of LFBT consumed. That’s a far better safety record than any drug on the market, and better than peanut butter, lettuce, and tomatoes.
4.) “Raising feed lot cattle is inefficient. It’s well documented.” You don’t grasp logic very well, do you? I never said it wasn’t. The fact, ON WHICH WE AGREE, that the process for raising cattle is inefficient and resource intense militates for not wasting any more of the end product than is necessary. BECAUSE it’s inefficient, we should seek any efficiencies downstream in the process that we can – LFBT is one such opportunity to maximize the usable yield from each animal.
5.) “Let me rephrase for the challenged. I pack my son’s lunches AND his drinks” Let me reSTATE for the reading comprehension challenged – that makes the topic of LFBT in school lunches NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS, since your kid doesn’t consume them.
6.) “Health does not =aesthetics.” No, it doesn’t, but you have yet to credibly establish LFBT as a health OR safety issue. As such, it is an esthetic one. Food, including within whatever definition you choose, varies widely in nutritional content and risks. One fringe activist giving some foods scary names doesn’t make them not food.
No, truthfulness in labeling isn’t an unreasonable expectation, but reasonable people can differ on what constitutes an adequate level of DETAIL. About 25% of the world’s population (1.5 billion people, VASTLY more than your co-idealists) cares deeply about whether their beef was killed in narrowly described ritualistic manner. Personally, I don’t. Failure to specify that information isn’t untruthful.
“More statistics for the google challenged”
More remedial information for the statistically and mathematically challenged – when determining the prevalence of some attribute within a population, TWO values are needed – the incidence of the attribute, and the size of the overall population. The former is divided by the latter to produce the percentage incidence of the attribute for purposes of determining if it constitutes a mainstream or majority attribute. You gave a lot of big numbers that have no meaning because they are numerators without denominators.
Oh, wait, you DID produce one correct ratio of participation:
“As of 2010, 4.0 percent of all U.S. food sales are organic.”
WOW – FOUR PERCENT!!!!! Ross Perot, the poster boy for fringe causes, got FOUR TIMES that percentage of the popular vote. It’s clear you have no comprehension of the nature of the mainstream majority of Americans. By the way, the top 20 fast food chains accounted for over 20%.
You seriously need to step outside your insular circle of merlot sipping sophisticates and go slumming to see the REAL America. Go to a NASCAR race, or a WWE event. Watch a few episodes of Jersey Shore. Warning, it will be a rude awakening, and I’m guessing you’ll be saddened by it even more than I am. If people who looked at food the way you do represent anything more than a fringe minority, we wouldn’t have an obesity epidemic, and McDonalds and Frito Lay wouldn’t be in business. Nine out of ten random passersby on the street wouldn’t even recognize the term “pink slime.” Most Americans can’t read above a sixth grade level, and you’re crowing about how the existence of books and seminars on your ideas makes them mainstream.
“I hold two science degrees. Two does not = multiple, which implies many.”
multiple strictly means greater than one. Last I checked, 2 > 1.
“Again, refusing to label a product is the removal of choice by the producer to the consumer. ”
No, it’s not. The consumer is free not to patronize those producers who do not label to the consumer’s standard. That is like saying every producer of non-kosher food, by not explicitly labeling it non-kosher or kosher, is denying the consumer a choice to buy kosher food. Just because you desire a given product or service, or a product labeled to a given level of detail doesn’t obligate anyone to make it available. For a number of years, I have wished to try haggis, but I’m not willing to take the steps to make it myself. The fact that no one serves it doesn’t infringe on any right of mine.
If your co-idealists are so all fired numerous as you claim, then you should be able to organize and institute your own certifying agency for food that meets your criteria – a mere 2 million Orthodox Jews managed to do it without any government involvement – instead of fascistly demanding that government force compliance with your criteria. Most of the major food producers willingly pay to be certified compliant with the food production preferences of a tiny one half of one percent minority, and it’s all 100% voluntary with no government coersion. If you’re such a huge mainstream majority, why do you need Big Brother’s nannystate to do everything for you?
“And again, Frankenfood is not actually food by definition. Processed chemicals are not food.”
An orange is an amalgam of cellulose, sucrose, ascorbic acid, and several other chemicals. If it’s washed, sorted, and labeled for the grocer’s SKU system, it’s been processed. Ergo, an orange is not food. Where did you study science, Hogwarts?
“What you insist on talking about as being food is highly processed, highly contaminated, highly filler containing products that dilute that actual “food” content of the product.”
You’ve cited the presence of connective tissue as one of the things that disqualifies something as food. Connective tissue is the single best source of collagen, a necessary nutrient. Perhaps you’re counting a social science, like psychology, as a science in your C.V.?
“Food is a basic human need. Cheetos are not a basic human need.”
Nor is ground beef in any form. MILLIONS of people have never had ground beef, or beef at all, for that matter. Millions more have never tasted ANY animal flesh. So, since beef, ground or otherwise, doesn’t meet your definition of food, what do you care what they add to it?
” remind me of the pigs in the Animal Farm because it shows how potential ignorance and indifference to problems within a revolution could allow horrors to happen if a smooth transition to a people’s government is not achieved.”
hmm, that’s an interpretation contrary to intent. Your characterization endorses implicitly revolution to achieve collective totalitarianism, as lont as it’s smooth and there is not ignorance and indifference. So you ARE a fascist opposed to human liberty.
As far as subsidies go, you need to have a much broader understanding of what is actually subsidized in and around our food system
I fully understand all the subsidies, and support none of them.
“have an argument based on “children should be fed junk food because it’s cheaper and since I’m paying for it then that’s what they should get” stance.”
You clearly don’t read for comprehension – I’ve never supported junk food in school lunches. Meatloaf containing LFBT is not junk food. Properly cooked, it’s safe, and even under your jaundiced and incorrect interpretation of its content, it provides several important nutrients.

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mommm!!! May 18, 2012 at 3:01 pm

1.) You demanded statistics so I produced a few samples. There’s more than what I generously provided. LFBT, until just recently, was a component in 70% of all ground beef products. It’s not hard to cross the bridge with those numbers and the statistics I provided to make the connection. Also note that all of the recalls involved ground beef and not, for example, t-bone steaks or perhaps stew meat pieces. I gave ONE example of what happens to be about 14 deaths a year due to tainted ground beef. That doesn’t mean only one exists. To assume only one exists based on the fact that I only gave one example is grasping at best.
The second part was in response to your claims how efficient those agencies are in policing food illness outbreaks. So either they are or they aren’t. You seem to flip flop on this point. Now you say “Thank you for making my point that fascist government bureaucracies are not a sound means of achieving food safety.” Are the fascists or bureaucrats? Are they efficient and CDC-like as you first claim or are they now unsound and confused about what type of political group they want to be? Try to stick to your original points.

2.) Actually, connective tissue exists to varying degrees in all muscle mass. This is where science trumps your opinion flat out. Connective tissue in meat is called collagen and it increases with age in the animal. An excerpt from the study of fluorescence, which is produced by collagen and elastin fibres :
“As cattle get older, their connective tissues get stronger and stronger, and more resistant to cooking. Despite some initial uncertainties in the 1980s, pyridinoline now is widely recognised as a cooking-resistant cross-link between three tropocollagen molecules. In the medical field, the presence pyridinoline in the urine is used as a marker of pathological collagen degradation.”
So anyway….

3.) See number 1. On a sidenote, it’s also been documented that e.coli and salmonella from feed lots contaminates crops via the water since you insist on harping on about spinach and the like.

4.) Anything coming from feed lots that requires the astounding amount of machinery and chemicals needed to make it barely edible is simply a bad idea, which is confirmed by the staggering millions upon millions of pounds of recalled ground beef in the last decade alone. The numbers are against you. You claimed I had no statistics, I gave you some. You can’t convince me that utilizing trash combined with chemicals is a good way to justify a failing food system just because it’s such an amazing health failure.

5.) I could say the same to you.

6.) Your hysterical diatribe bored me 4 sentences in . Oh, you mentioned collagen! All is not lost. Phew. And something about haggis and several paragraphs of blahblahblah.

Well this has been fun! However, like most children who don’t know the difference between good attention and bad attention I must end our debate and bid you farewell. I have given you all the attention you are going to get from me.

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bw1 May 18, 2012 at 9:45 pm

1.) You demanded statistics
No, I demanded evidence.
LFBT, until just recently, was a component in 70% of all ground beef products. It’s not hard to cross the bridge with those numbers and the statistics I provided to make the connection.
Not if you have an agenda and don’t comprehend basic logic. It’s a COMPONENT. Food borne illness investigations are root cause exercises – they find the component responsible. If there was evidence that the LFBT component was the source of contamination, I’m assuming you’re intelligent enough that you would have stated that front and center. The absence of such a citation is glaring. If there are two components to a food product, and one is treated with ammonia, and the other isn’t, the smart money is on the component NOT treated as the culprit.
I gave ONE example of what happens to be about 14 deaths a year due to tainted ground beef. That doesn’t mean only one exists.
And yet you still can’t find one where LFBT is implicated.
The second part was in response to your claims how efficient those agencies are in policing food illness outbreaks. So either they are or they aren’t.
I never said they were efficient or effective. They ARE good at finding the source AFTER the fact, which, while an impressive investigative process, doesn’t bring the dead back to life.
Now you say “Thank you for making my point that fascist government bureaucracies are not a sound means of achieving food safety.” Are the fascists or bureaucrats?
Both. They are also very good at ferreting out the culprit AFTER the harm is done, but that doesn’t necessarily achieve food safety for the victims. Sorry if that distinction escaped your grasp.
2.) Actually, connective tissue exists to varying degrees in all muscle mass.
But not enough to supply adequate collagen, which is why a little catilege is a good thing.
3.) Most vegetables are grown HUNDREDS of miles from where most beef is raised, but in any event, #1 doesn’t address anything, as I’ve already pointed out. You keep harping that LFBT isn’t beef, then claim that illnesses traced to beef are evidence against LFBT – make up your mind.
“4.) You claimed I had no statistics, I gave you some. ”
I claimed you had no evidence and you responded with a pile of IRRELEVANT statistics that were not about LFBT. If I ask for evidence that OJ was guilty, and you respond with the annual banana production of Costa Rica, that’s comparable.
“5.) I could say the same to you.” Not really – it’s my money you’re demanding be spent on luxuries of which you don’t even partake.
6.) “Your hysterical diatribe bored me 4 sentences in . Oh, you mentioned collagen! All is not lost. Phew. And something about haggis and several paragraphs of blahblahblah.”
Translation – you’re either too logic challenged to follow, or you just can’t manage a cogent response and decided to play the airhead card.

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Jamie May 29, 2012 at 11:03 am

Dang, Bettina. I’ve been MIA for a while…shoot. I remember the good ole days. That’s all.
When I started reading TLT, Pascal was not yet in public school. Now as we are nearing the end of his first year, I’m seriously considering homeschooling, simply because of the food situation. I can’t tell you how much I admire what you do here.

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Bettina Elias Siegel May 29, 2012 at 11:49 am

OMG Jamie! I’ve missed you! :-) (For newcomers. Jamie was one of my first readers back in 2010.) Would love to hear what’s going on, if you feel like sharing. (bettina at the lunch tray dot com)

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Jamie May 29, 2012 at 6:42 pm

Oh good Lord, woman…how many days you got? First off…congrats..you know you’ve made it when you got haters :)

I could just start with mandatory breakfast. Breakfast was available from 8:30 to 9, for those student who might be in need. Either because of social stigma or scheduling demands, very few children would make it on time. To keep all the funding, they went to mandatory breakfast as part of the classroom routine. Not mandatory that every child eat it, but that it’s part of the day. I have no problem with that except they serve shelf stable “maple waffles” which contain hardly a single pronounceable ingredient. Full of sugar, white flour and hydrogenated oils, it’s doubtful if this is any better than hunger. I do my best to feed Pascal a large amount of healthy fat and protein since I can’t very well ask a 5 year old to “just say no”…the best I can do is try to make sure he’s full enough to not eat it all (if you recall his appetite you’ll know this child can always eat). The waffles or “fruit” bars are accompanied by fake grape juice and chocolate milk. It’s depressing. Coupled with a whopping 15 minutes of recess to make room for more academics (yes. Kindergarten. Thanks, No Child Left Behind, for nothing) and the teachers are bemoaning that behavioral problems are on the rise. Hm. Shocking.
So school starts at 9…I’ve taken you to 9:10. Heard enough?
And the cupcakes. The endless freaking cupcakes. Again, can I expect a 5 year old to just say no? Also, the irony of a community dentist coming in to see children who can’t afford dental care. That same day, the kids exit the school with LAFFY TAFFY they got at an assembly. FREAKING LAFFY TAFFY. Just pull their teeth now, for crying out loud.
Okay. Sorry to rant and rave but man! And the machine is ginormous and very, very hard to move. Even with my formidable energy and very large mouth.
So yeah…homeschooling might be a very real option.

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Bettina Elias Siegel May 29, 2012 at 10:16 pm

Jamie: You’ve recapped in one comment some of the many issues so many of us grapple with in school. It’s amazing in a way how universal these problems are – we’re from all over the country and seeing all the same stuff. About breakfast- in my kids’ school, you need a meal card to get the breakfast and can ask the school to take your kid’s card out of the stack so that he/she can’t take the meal. Do you think that might be an option? As for the cupcakes, you KNOW I’m working on that one! :-)

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bw1 May 30, 2012 at 9:32 pm

No haters, just the sort of common sense that might have been more common here if not for your hiatus, given that you’re the first person I’ve seen here to even mention activity level as a factor (your comment about cutting recess.)

You’re also the most sensible TLT fan I’ve seen in that you’re contemplating home-schooling to achieve your child’s compliance with your preferences rather than reflexively and solely trying to impose your preferences on all the children in your community.

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Bettina Elias Siegel May 30, 2012 at 9:58 pm

Bw1 – Hmm. I’ll let Jamie speak for herself if she comes back to this thread, but I think her possible decision to home school has to do more with her belief that she can’t change the system (“And the machine is ginormous and very, very hard to move. Even with my formidable energy and very large mouth.”) not that she wouldn’t change the system — for all children — if she could.

And just to be clear, we do often talk about recess and physical activity on TLT, but my primary focus is, as you know, on “kids and food.”

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Jamie May 31, 2012 at 9:49 am

Okay. So let’s agree to put sarcasm aside for a minute. In the interest of actual discourse, I’m having a hard time ascertaining what it is you are fighting here on TLT.
If I’m reading correctly, I think we are talking about the fight of your constitutional right to feed your kid whatever you want. Yes? There seems to be a personal fight here as well, given your passion but I’m not sure if that’s true.
Your constitutional rights are certainly an admirable battle. But I question the battlefield being our children’s health. Do you have the constitutional right to smoke in your car with your child present? Honestly, I think yes. However, is that REALLY where you want to fight for your right? How “right” are you by doing something proven unhealthy to your child? It’s an iffy ethical question.
The key here is PROVEN unhealthy. You say “food preferences”. To me, food preferences is, I like oranges and you like apples. Not nutritious vs. non-nutritious.
There is overwhelming documentation that excess sugar, trans-fats, food dyes, and white flour contribute to obesity and behavioral problems. That’s not a preference. We KNOW fresh fruits, veggies, high quality fats and protein are the best foods for optimal performance. If you prefer to choose unhealthy options for your child, that’s fine. But when is it stepping on MY constitutional rights? And because my son is 5, I’ll say this in his terms: How come your preferences win over mine? That’s not fair, either.
But this also brings us to the idea of preferring to choose unhealthy options for a group of our community that can’t choose for themselves; children. Two children in my son’s class have NO baby teeth. All had to be removed due to bottle rot. I’m sure those children didn’t choose root canals at 3 years old. I see children who already can’t sit still eating cupcakes with dyed frosting…is that REALLY a good thing? At what point are we stepping on our children to prove a point?

Now you mention that I’m sensible for bringing up activity level. So you agree then, that schools have a responsibility to maintain a level of health through physical activity. Why then not the other big contributing factor to health and weight: food? Your argument is flawed. If activity levels should be maintained in school, shouldn’t nutritious food?

Or maybe your fight here is about what constitutes nutritious food? I don’t know but again, that doesn’t really seem up for grabs.

If your fight here is about a “nanny state”, it begs the question, why are schools responsible AT ALL for feeding our children? Because my understanding is, whether you agree with it or not on a political level is that many children would go hungry, if schools didn’t provide food.
I don’t actually care what is served for hot lunch. My child will never touch it. I do care that breakfast, a crappy breakfast, has become mandatory class time. I do care that cupcakes are consistently brought in. Yes, I can tell my 5 year old he can’t have them but really, in a humanistic sense…is that the right thing to do?

Lastly, I don’t understand, mom to mom (I’m assuming you’re a mom) human to human, why you are expending so much energy with vitriol on this particular blog. This is a relatively small community of people, not a government agency. Wouldn’t your energy be better spent on a pro-eat-whatever-you-want site? I’m sure they exist.

In one year, I’ve taken a survivalists view of school food. If that’s what you want to feed YOUR child, be my guest. My child is healthy, lean, well-behaved and focused, most of which I attribute to very conscious eating. Personally, I’d like to see NO food provided by the school. Let everyone bring their own food and let the nutritional chips fall where they may.

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mommm!!! May 31, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Thank you.

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bw1 June 2, 2012 at 9:36 pm

mimmm!!!,
For what are you thanking her? As I’ve just pointed out in my response, she put forth many of the same ideas I did. Speaking of our conversation, I completely missed THIS exchange earlier in the thread:

Bettina : “to be clear, I know of no cases in which anyone has died from eating the product.”

So, Bettina herself doesn’t think there is a basis for your claims.
mommm : “For clarity, I equate industrialized beef to be the same as LFTB.

And there we have it. Anyone who dies after eating beef that didn’t come from a small farm that does its own butchering, you lay at the feet of LFTB. It would be just as legitimate to claim killed Jimmy Hoffa, JFK, and Elvis. After all, it’s a good bet they all ate beef touched by the farm-industrial complex in the 48 hours prior to their deaths.

“Sure, no one has actually said the words, “died from pink slime”, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to connect the dots.”

No, it takes far less – it takes someone who has completely renounced the scientific method and evidence based conclusions in favor of tinfoil-hat conspiracism.

“Thousands of cow bits + industrialization + ammonia gas + cheap fast food outlets = about 14 deaths a year from food poisoning. The article states “food borne pathogens (often found in ground beef)” in the last paragraph on the first page. Hope this helps”

It definitely helps verify your disregard for sound, evidence based reasoning. For the quoted phrase to support your conclusion, “often” must mean “always” or “exclusively.” Is that your idea of applying your scientific training, drawing sweeping cause and effect generalizations from a news article in which you failed to apply the clear English meaning of the most common of adverbs?

Several children were sickened by E. Coli after eating hamburgers at the Ohio State Fair a few years ago. I suppose you would blame that on LFBT, even though others were similarly sickened without eating hamburger, and investigators conclusively traced the root cause as eating after visiting the petting zoo without washing hands in between.

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bw1 June 2, 2012 at 9:35 pm

“In the interest of actual discourse, I’m having a hard time ascertaining what it is you are fighting here on TLT.”

Wow – yours is the most focused and rational response I’ve seen here – kudos.

Here is what I am opposing – There is a consistent statist, authoritarian, and socialist line of reasoning here at TLT. I agree with much of the nutritional PHILOSOPHY (more on the importance of that characterization below) – the issue is with the knee jerk resort to government imposition and/or subsidy as the be-all, end-all solution to nutritional problems. Specifically:

-The LFBT hysteria: Calls for the elimination of a cost-saving product from taxpayer subsidized lunch programs in the complete absence of any scientifically verifiable health or safety detriment. No one has supplied any sound evidence to support any non-esthetic objection to LFBT.

-Other demands made of the school lunch apparatus – ALL lunches served in public schools are subsidized and thus represent food welfare programs. I have a real problem with people on the dole making demands for better or more expensive benefits, especially when those people posess more earning power than I do (I believe Bettina has an Ivy League JD.) Yes, it irks me that I am being overtaxed to subsidize the ability of people far better off than I to feed their children according to their preferences. If you want to be a chooser, stop being a beggar and purchase all your kid’s food at market rates from private vendors.

-The demand that schools place intrusive restrictions on legal forms of horizontal, student to student interactions and exchanges. I wholeheartedly endorse Bettina’s jihad on TEACHERS and other authorities handing out treats, using food as rewards, and other such vertical interactions between state actors and children, but if a kid wants to celebrate his birthday by offering his friends cupcakes, it’s not Big Brother’s place to intervene. Starting in first grade, I attended school with kids who I personally observed complying with their parents’ instructions not to accept such treats without any school intervention.

-The proposition that all children should be fed by the school, for such frivolous reasons as a futile attempt to prevent the stigma of poverty, as if kids can’t tell who has money by the clothes and toys they have, where they live, or what their parents use to drive them to school.

-Although I’ve not seen any posts directly focusing on it, the sentiment here from both Bettina and the fans seems to be in support of statist spasms like the San Francisco Happy Meal ban and other state measures to relieve parents of the need to tell their kids “no” by restricting the commercial offering of food of which they disapprove. Why should people with the fortitude to tell their kids no have their opportunities and choices restricted for the sake of those lacking it?

“If I’m reading correctly, I think we are talking about the fight of your constitutional right to feed your kid whatever you want.”
I’m fighting for my right not to have my liberties curtailed or my wealth confiscated to facilitate other peoples’ pursuit of their preferences.

“But I question the battlefield being our children’s health. Do you have the constitutional right to smoke in your car with your child present? Honestly, I think yes. However, is that REALLY where you want to fight for your right? ”

No. In that particular instance, I am fighting for the right of others to do so. We cannot expect our own rights to be safe if we do not stand up for the rights of others to do that of which we may not approve. Does no one anymore recall the words of Pascal – “I do not agree with what you say, but I defend your right to say it,” or is it simply that no one grasps the underlying principle?

“How “right” are you by doing something proven unhealthy to your child? It’s an iffy ethical question.”

How “right” is one in teaching one’s child to be racist? To be a Scientologist? How “right” are you by letting your child play contact sports, ride a minibike, ski/snowboard, or play with a 100 lb. dog? How “right” are you in taking your child hunting (I believe there are a fair number of vegetarians/vegans among this blog’s ilk.) Just like cupcakes and second hand smoke, these are moral or physical RISKS about which parents make judgments every day.

You, and I think others here, fail to grasp that you needn’t endorse an activity to defend the rights of others to engage in it.

Here’s an example: I feel strongly enough about the fact that children under 12 should not be SCUBA diving that, after 20 years of teaching diving, I canceled my membership in PADI and walked away over their decision to start teaching/certifying 8 year olds. As far as I am concerned, letting an 8 year old dive is farm-animal-stupid. However, if you, as a parent, want to enroll your 8 year old in such a course, I will staunchly defend your right to do so.

When you try to stop another parent from smoking with their kid in the car, you endanger the rights of ALL parents to deviate from some enlightened, elitist would-be philosopher king’s template of perfect parenting. The right of parents to impact their childrens’ lives for the better goes hand in hand with the right to do so for the worse. Statistics undisputably show that life-expectancy correlates to socio-economic bracket. Thus, the proposition that society should enforce “healthy parenting” begs the question of an income floor below which one may not have children. Is that really the road you want to go down?

“The key here is PROVEN unhealthy. You say “food preferences”. There is overwhelming documentation that excess sugar, trans-fats, food dyes, and white flour contribute to obesity and behavioral problems. That’s not a preference. We KNOW fresh fruits, veggies, high quality fats and protein are the best foods for optimal performance.”

In my lifetime we have KNOWN that carbs were good, and then that carbs were bad, that all fats were bad, and then that some fats were good, that margarine was better than butter, and then that butter was better than margarine. We have been told to eat more fish, then to limit our fish intake. There are presently at least four competing and mutually exclusive models for the cause and mechanism of heart disease, none of which have yet been conclusively falsified. Nutritional science is in a state of flux, and reasonable people disagree on many aspects. Your own reference to “high quality fats and protein” allude to a nutritional school of thought that is highly controversial. Nutrition is no more a settled matter than religion.

Speaking of which, there is ample evidence of the positive impact of religious faith on health and life expectancy – does that mean we should return to prayer in school?

Behavioral problems? The DOMINANT theory within the medical and psychological fields is a genetic flaw in brain chemistry that can only be addressed pharmaceutically. No, I do not agree with this theory, but the way school officials are pushing it, pressuring parents to drug their children, the hazards of asking the schools to select one of several competing theories and enforce it should be pretty clear.

“If you prefer to choose unhealthy options for your child, that’s fine. But when is it stepping on MY constitutional rights? ”

Never – I am not asking you to subsidize anyone else’s preferences (if I had my way, there would BE no school lunch subsidies, and I have repeatedly said that what Bettina should be doing is fighting to get the government out of the business of feeding her, your, or ANYONE’S kids.) Nor am I asking the school to restrict your or your child’s conduct in order to spare other children the temptation to violate WHATEVER preferences to which their parents instruct them to adhere.

Legally speaking, Bettina’s desire that the school keep other kids from offering hers a cupcake are no different from a Muslim parent’s desire that the school keep other kids from offering hers a strip of bacon. In my view, everyone’s interests would be a lot better served if we closed the public schools and gave Bettina a voucher to send her kid to a private school run by locavore organic food scolds and the Muslim parent a voucher to send her kid to a Madrassa.

“How come your preferences win over mine? That’s not fair, either.”

They don’t. I’m not seeking to restrict your exercise of your preferences, I’m merely declining to pay the incremental premium your preferences entail, and refusing to coerce others into altering their behavior and customs so you can more easily get your kid to comply with your preferences.

“But this also brings us to the idea of preferring to choose unhealthy options for a group of our community that can’t choose for themselves; children. Two children in my son’s class have NO baby teeth. All had to be removed due to bottle rot. I’m sure those children didn’t choose root canals at 3 years old.”
So what? How many kids do you think chose to be born to illiterate unwed teenage mothers? How many kids chose to be born to impoverished parents? Are you seriously proposing some sort of government crackdown on infant/toddler feeding practices of which you don’t approve? WHO gets to choose the “golden template?” If you think abortion or gay marriage are political hot potatoes, wait until you see the La Leche League and the arch-feminists square off over the government mandates about weening ages.

“I see children who already can’t sit still eating cupcakes with dyed frosting…is that REALLY a good thing?”

According to the AMA, APA, and NEA, yes, because all those so very authoritative organizations say failure to sit still is caused by a Ritalin deficiency. As far as I’m concerned, whether it’s a good thing is a function of frequency – I’ve averaged one meal from McDonald’s per decade since graduating high school – do you honestly believe that’s going to kill me?

“At what point are we stepping on our children to prove a point?”

Do you really believe, if I put your parenting under a microscope, I couldn’t find a whole laundry list of things that some fringe group thinks is “stepping on your children?” because of your world view which they find to be utterly false? Keep in mind, those who believe that you should mutiliate your daughter’s genitals for the sake of moral purity constitute a large plurality, bordering on an outright majority, of the WORLD’s population , never mind how many of them live in mud huts. Before you presume to tell other people how to parent, keep in mind how fickle the world is and how easily you could end up on the wrong end of such coersion.

“Now you mention that I’m sensible for bringing up activity level. So you agree then, that schools have a responsibility to maintain a level of health through physical activity. ”

NOT AT ALL!!!!!! What is it with leftists and the failure to distinguish between “a good thing to do” and “a good thing for the GOVERNMENT to do?” While your remark mentioned cutting recess, that is definitely not what made it stand out from the din at this site.

“Or maybe your fight here is about what constitutes nutritious food? I don’t know but again, that doesn’t really seem up for grabs.”

First of all, as I’ve already pointed out, it most definitely IS up for grabs. I personally don’t have much argument with you about what constitutes nutritious food, but unlike you, I don’t presume that my views represent the entirety of humanity or that my conviction of their correctness entitles me to impose them upon my fellow citizens.

“If your fight here is about a “nanny state”, it begs the question, why are schools responsible AT ALL for feeding our children? ”

Another glimmer of light!! From what I’ve seen, THAT question is anathema around here. Keep in mnd, though, I have no problem with PRIVATE schools feeding kids or restricting what they bring in.

“Because my understanding is, whether you agree with it or not on a political level is that many children would go hungry, if schools didn’t provide food.”

I’ve heard that, but then there’s a chicken-or-the-egg question of whether such efforts only encourage people to have more kids than they can afford to feed. There was no school breakfast program when I was in school, and poverty was common enough that the government felt the need to declare war on it, and yet the streets weren’t littered with young corpses. The more the government does to alleviate social problems, the worse they get.

“I don’t actually care what is served for hot lunch. My child will never touch it. I do care that breakfast, a crappy breakfast, has become mandatory class time.”

Well then, stop supporting the mentality that begat such programs.

“I do care that cupcakes are consistently brought in. Yes, I can tell my 5 year old he can’t have them but really, in a humanistic sense…is that the right thing to do? ”

ABSOLUTELY!!!!! Do you think you can play permissive good-cop, parent-as-pal, and then, on the eve of his 18th birthday, the maturity fairy will touch him with her magic wand and instantly bestow upon him all the self control needed to be a responsible citizen? And what of the stranger on the corner in a trenchcoat with a pocket full of candy? It’s a parent’s job to deny children’s harmful desires, to instill impulse control and an appreciation for deferred gratification. In any case, if your kid has a class of 30 kids, 75% of whom have birthdays during the school year, over a 180 day school year, that works out to a cupcake per week. If one cupcake a week is a threat to your kid’s health, then you SERIOUSLY need to throw your TV in the trash.

In any event, if you’re not prepared to tell him he can’t accept a cupcake from a friend, with the implication that you want the school to restrict the friend from offering it, maybe you’d like to be the first one not to avoid the corollary question and tell us what you would do if his classmates responded to such a prohibition by letting it be known they’d be handing out cupcakes off school grounds after school?

“Lastly, I don’t understand, mom to mom (I’m assuming you’re a mom)”

Not biologically possible – wrong plumbing.

“why you are expending so much energy with vitriol on this particular blog.”

First, what vitriol? I’ve engaged in vigorous debate by specifically focusing on peoples’ assertions and what they’ve offered in support of those assertions, in every instance quoting the points to which I was responding inline, to leave no uncertainty.

Why does anyone discuss any issue? Why does this blog exist, except to promote ideas That, and I’m sick and tired of busybodies trying to expand the nannystate. Move to North Korea or Cuba if you’re so convinced that humans can’t direct their own lives without the forced guidance of their “betters.”

“This is a relatively small community of people,”

According to mommm!!!, it’s a vast majority, but, yeah, I not only get that, but I pointed it out to her. However, Bettina claims responsibility for the downfall of LFBT with her petition.

“Wouldn’t your energy be better spent on a pro-eat-whatever-you-want site? I’m sure they exist.”

Actually, not so much. Organizing goes against the nature of those who don’t suffer from the impulse to control others.

“In one year, I’ve taken a survivalists view of school food. If that’s what you want to feed YOUR child, be my guest….. Personally, I’d like to see NO food provided by the school. Let everyone bring their own food and let the nutritional chips fall where they may.”

I wholeheartedly endorse that paragraph. However, it puts you at odds with many of Bettina and her ilk’s explicitly stated positions and makes you as much of a dissident here as I am. Actually, if I go all out, I’d have to amend it slightly – I’d like to see NO supervision or instruction provided by the government and every parent choose a school that conforms to all their preferences, dietary and otherwise.

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Jamie June 3, 2012 at 6:24 pm

Funny. I was lying down for a nap with my son and I actually thought, “Oh. No response from that Bw1, yet. Hmm.” And then I awoke to your response. I also find it funny (odd, not haha) that you would quote Pascal to me. My son is named Pascal, after Blaise Pascal and
that quote was unfamiliar to me, a Pascal aficionado. I looked it up and it’s Voltaire, if you care.
But I digress into the coincidental.
My issue, at this point, is that as crappy as the food was in my high school, I was on the debate team and not once was it
considered good form to use the phrase, “What you and these people can’t seem to grasp…” Insinuating my inability to grasp
a concept is not really the way to discuss, debate, or least of all, knock some sense into me.
I would love to keep discussing this, though much of what you bring up is going down a veritable rabbithole of politics.
However, I have no desire to keep up a debate in which I have virtual spit on my face from someone screaming their opinion AT me.
Not discussing WITH me.

And again, largely this is your opinion against Bettina’s and TLT community, et al.
Why choose to voice HERE? A tiny, personal blog full of leftist whack jobs? Or perhaps there’s fear that one tiny blog is
affecting change? I don’t get it. If what Bettina is saying is so meaningless and useless, why spend the energy here?
Clearly, what’s she’s spouting can’t gain any speed in the big machine, if it’s so transparent.
Seriously. I’m not trying to poke you. I’m not trying to have the last word or anything. I don’t understand it.
Even if, to everything in your last post I gave a whole hearted, “Yes! You are so right!” Aren’t there better places
for YOU to affect the change you’d like to see or not see?
Perhaps your own tiny, personal blog.

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Julia Moravcsik July 10, 2012 at 9:02 am

Thanks for your change.org petition.

Here’s an article on how Big Food uses psychological research to get kids addicted to their products: http://smartparentprogram.blogspot.com/2012/07/10-ways-food-manufacturers-hijack-your.html

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Bettina Elias Siegel June 22, 2012 at 9:26 am

If you’ve posted a comment and don’t see it appear after a reasonable time, the comment is in violation of The Lunch Tray’s comments policy. No comment is ever censored for expressing an opposing view; comments which include personal attacks, ugly language (or even just a needling, snide tone) will always be censored. Some might object to this moderation policy as too strict, but I am deeply committed to keeping TLT a pleasant, safe space for all. If I’m particularly offended by and/or receive several comments in violation of the policy from a single commenter, all future comments originating from that IP address will automatically be placed in my blog’s spam filter and I won’t see them for moderation.

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