Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405

Facebook: Digby Parton

@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)

thedigbyblog at gmail
satniteflix at gmail
publius.gaius at gmail
tpostsully at gmail
Spockosbrain at gmail
Richardein at me.com


Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic

Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Cheerios Follies

by tristero

As predicted, the right is making food issues into an all-out cultural crusade. The latest battlefield: Cheerios:
Disputes over food-label claims are always political. But the current, insane iteration of the American right has walked several steps past the crazy line with its collective reaction to the Food and Drug Administration's demand that General Mills (GIS) tone down its health claims for Cheerios.

"It's fairly obvious to me why the Obama administration is going after Cheerios over possible deceptive advertising," says the Deadenders blog. "Babies love them more then him."

"This is the kind of irritating, intrusive nonsense that makes people weary of their government and every smarmy bureaucratic microbe in it," writes David Crocker of the Behind Blue Lines blog.

The FDA wants General Mills to reel back its claim that Cheerios can "lower your cholesterol 4 percent in 6 weeks." Such a claim is not backed up by science, according to a letter sent to the company by the FDA. The agency says that General Mills is making claims for its cereal that more properly, and according to federal law, should apply only to drugs designed to cure disease. The claims amount to a "serious violation" of laws governing label claims, according to the letter.

That's true, of course. But it hasn't stopped critics from characterizing the situation as President Obama yet again attacking a venerable American institution. Never mind that Obama almost certainly had no idea that his FDA was planning to go after Cheerios.

Food seems to be a common theme among crazy conservatives. For them, wholesome, "American" foods are a-OK. Eurocommie foods are right out. "Washington raised ciggie taxes to pay for SCHIP expansion and are [sic] gearing up to raise soda taxes to pay for Obamacare," writes the reliably nutty Michelle Malkin. "No vice is safe from the health police. Dijon mustard and arugula exempted, of course."
We can expect more and more of this kind of nonsense. The anti-Cheerios president! The pro-Arugula, Hawaii -vacationing, Dijon-swilling, liberalcommunistsocialistfascistmonarchist-terrorist coddler! The next thing you know, Obama'll ban AK-47's from national parks and then where will we be?

As if this is about the character of a president rather than deceptive health claims to a public that is in no position to evaluate them. As if this is about elitism rather than profiting by marketing a mediocre food as if it was a cure-all. FYI, if you want to know what goes into Cheerios, go here. Bottom line: as factory food goes, there are a lot worse choices you can make. The ingredients include corn starch (of course), trisodium phosphate, salt, sugar (not as much as the usual factory junk) and a chemical preservative. In other words, compared to a bowl of real oatmeal... well, whatever floats your boat, far be it from me to pick a fight over the taste of Cheerios. There's bound to be a zillion commenters who will complain mightily that I'm insulting their very being because they grew up on the stuff and it tastes far better than the oatmeal swill their friend's evil mother tried to shove down their throat after a sleep over. So rather than argue over exactly how bland and unpleasantly processed Cheerios tastes (sorry, couldn't resist) let's talk the language we Americans prize above everything, even childhood memories: Money.

As Michael Pollan pointed out today on The Brian Lehrer Show (the podcast doesn't seem to be up yet), Cheerios costs some $4.00 a pound. The far more nutritious organic steel cut oats can be bought for $.79 a pound.* At that price, you can whip up vast quantities of Mark Bittman's awesome coconut oat pilaf, which is flat-out the best cereal for breakfast I've ever had in my life and which I eat as often as I can.

*Perhaps. Here, you can get Cheerios for $4.83 a pound, so maybe somewhere they're available for 4 bucks (you're welcome to post lower prices!) in large quantities. As for organic steel cut oats, I found them for $.87 a pound here if you buy 50 pounds. But that is a lot of oats! I should know. I bought a 25 pound bag of organic steel cut oats from Bob's Red Mill ($1.57 a pound) and proudly show off the huge (by NYC apartment standards) tub of oats to my flabbergasted fellow Manhattanites.