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Archive for December, 2011

Speaking With…: Dr. David Wallinga

Last week, the FDA withdrew two 34 year-old proposals to limit the use of two non-therapeutic antibiotics (penicillin and tetracycline) in cattle feed, opting instead to recommend voluntary withdrawal.  This is particularly outrageous in light of the dozens of countries that have instituted these bans successfully.

Upon hearing this latest bit of news, I got in touch with Dr. David Wallinga, a renowned expert in the link between the ubiquity of antibiotics in animal feed and increased human resistance to these drugs. I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Wallinga at the American Dietetic Association annual conference this past October, where he was part of a point-counterpoint panel on that very issue.

I wanted to get his thoughts on the FDA decision, as well as on the public health threats posed by antibiotics in cattle feed. His responses below:

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2011: A Year to Remember (and Forget!)

It wasn’t until I started compiling stories for this post that I realized just how much had taken place this year on issues of food, agriculture, and nutrition. While by no means a definitive list, I think it covers the most substantial events.

So, if you’ve been spelunking in Antarctica for the past twelve months — or just want a short trip down memory lane — let’s review 2011, the year where:
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McDonald’s Rings In 2012 with Farmwashing

Remember last year’s Washington state-based “from here” campaign, which added a “locavore” twist to McDonald’s highly processed offerings?

Well, the fast food giant will take farmwashing to a national scale starting next month with a truly groan-worthy advertising campaign (here is one of the upcoming ads).

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Big Food Crimes: Farmwashing, Ruining Oatmeal

By this point, Big Food’s nutritional rap sheet is longer than the ingredient list for Pop Tarts — and it only continues to grow.

A recent stroll through supermarket aisles has uncovered even more felonies of deception and extreme processing.

These products are considered armed (with lousy ingredients) and dangerous (for your health). If you spot them, do not approach them. Keep walking.

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Front of Package Labeling: An Exercise in Futility?

Behold the "Nutrition Keys'!

The current issue of the Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition includes a commentary co-authored by myself and public health attorney Michele Simon. The piece is a response to the recent – and ongoing – debate surrounding front of package labeling.

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4 Nutrition & Food Must-Dos for the New Year

I’ve never been particularly enthused with New Year’s resolutions, particularly ones that relate to nutrition and food. Too often, they involve unsustainable habits and substantial lifestyle changes that are somehow supposed to take place overnight. Never mind the completely arbitrary notion that January 1 is the best day to begin new ventures.

That said, I do enjoy setting goals — and encourage others to do so. The ideas below are not intended to be started fanatically on January 1. They are, however, actions I encourage everyone to take on (some of you may already do these things; if so, keep it up).

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Giveaway: Mary’s Gone Crackers

A few months ago, Mary Waldner — creator of the Mary’s Gone Crackers snack linespoke with me about what inspired her to create her popular line of organic, vegan, non-GMO, and gluten-free snacks, and why avoiding genetically modified ingredients is so important for her as a manufacturer.

In case you’re not familiar with Mary’s Gone Crackers, they provide a unique spin on common snacks.

Their crackers are made from a combination of brown rice, quinoa, sesame seeds, and flax, and are great for snacking and dipping.  Their cookies are not cloyingly sweet, contain spices instead of flavorings (their ginger cookies, for example, list ‘ginger root’ as an ingredient), and are made with chia seeds, coconut oil (instead of the commonly-used corn or soybean), and several gluten-free flours.

This month, two lucky Small Bites readers will score some Mary’s Gone Crackers loot.

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Call Off the War on Obesity

“The war on obesity” has become a familiar battle cry.

It serves as the basis for professional health conferences or exploitative “motivational” extreme-weight-loss shows like The Biggest Loser, and is referenced almost daily. Despite the intent to increase awareness of a public health issue, it is plagued with problems that severely impede progress.

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