Just the Facts
It’s Not Easy Being Ronald
Sam Hirsch, the attorney who represented Caesar Barber in his recently dropped lawsuit against fast-food restaurants, has filed a new suit on behalf of children who became hooked on McDonald’s food and grew obese. Meanwhile, rumors from within the McDonald’s organization suggest that the chain aims to retire Ronald McDonald in favor of more “up-to-date” methods of attracting children.
Hold the Cheese
The Cheesecake Factory chain recalled all baked goods made over a three-day period after discovering they were tainted with potentially deadly listeria bacteria, which causes illness in 1,500 people each year and is often found in unpasteurized cheese or other dairy products. The infection can sicken anyone, but it is especially dangerous for newborns, the elderly, immunocompromised individuals, and pregnant women. The recall also affected 50 Olive Garden restaurants.
‘Magic Bullet’ Misfires
A surgeon whose Web site boasted “magic bullet” powdered egg yolks as a cure for everything from rheumatoid arthritis and yeast infections to autism and chronic fatigue was indicted on 26 counts, accused of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and distribute a misbranded drug. The Illinois doctor failed to disclose the results of his own study, which confirmed the product was bogus.
Signs of the Times
- Sales of Yves Veggie Cuisine’s burgers and patties have grown 26 percent in the last year.
- Gardenburger has delivered three consecutive quarters of profits and a $4 million fiscal improvement in operating income versus the same period last year.
- Sales of soymilk in the United States have grown 250 percent since 1995 with 2000 sales reaching $2.7 billion.
Hunters Risk CJD
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is investigating the deaths of three Wisconsin hunters who regularly ate wild game, two of whom died from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), the brain-wasting illness that has swept Europe and that, in its new variant, is caused by eating meat from cattle infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy, popularly known as mad cow disease. The fatal neurological disease is found in deer and elk in North America.
Hold the Haggis!
Traditional Scottish haggis (a dish made of a sheep’s heart, liver, and lungs boiled inside its intestines) could be banned due to concerns over mad cow disease. Britain’s Food Standards Agency wants the European Commission to ban the use of sheep intestines in food throughout Europe. The government says mad cow disease may be present in sheep who were fed meat and bone meal from infected cows.
Vegan Dog to Set World Record
A 27-year-old Border collie named Bramble may end up in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest living canine. Her secret? A vegan diet of rice, lentils, and organic vegetables, plus weekly swimming sessions and daily romps outdoors. An Australian cattle dog who lived to 29 currently holds the record, but Bramble’s energy and spirit have convinced many that she’ll beat the record, paws down.
And They Call Them “Value” Meals
With Beijing’s automobile market booming, the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant chain wasted no time opening China’s first ever drive-thru restaurant. While China’s chronic disease rates have traditionally been low, its prevalence of type 2 diabetes is expected to increase 68 percent over the next 20 years, mostly due to dramatic increases in consumption of animal products and fast food. Other diseases of “nutritional extravagance,” such as hypertension, stroke, heart disease, and cancer, are rapidly becoming common in the country.
Picky Eaters Can Be Reformed
Researchers at the University College in London studying how and why children select foods have found:
- The earlier in life food is introduced, the more likely it is to be favored.
- It takes up to 10 exposures to change a dislike to a like.
- Positive reinforcement works better than offering alternatives or using bribery.
- Pushing the health message too hard can backfire.
- American and British kids are fussier than the French, apparently because they have too many choices and too many “kiddie” foods.
Oprah 2, Cattlemen 0
After Oprah Winfrey and ex-cattle rancher Howard Lyman won their first meat-industry lawsuit sparked by Winfrey’s comment, “I’ll never eat another hamburger,” the Cactus Feeding Club, Inc., dragged the pair back into court yet again, hoping for a meat-friendly judge. No dice. In August, U.S. District Judge May Lou Robinson dismissed the case. No doubt the industry’s continued wrangling left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.