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Beverage & Dairy Industry Shills: Must We Swallow Their Swill?
Submitted by KAT on Mon, 01/14/2008 - 8:38am.
Now that the majority of Americans are overweight if not downright obese, there’s a whole lotta hand wringin’ and head scratchin’ goin’ on. Who’s to blame? What can we do about it? How can we lead a healthier life?
The answers seem painfully obvious: don’t eat so much, and get more exercise. Is that so hard? Sadly, for many of us, the answer is yes, because gluttony and inertia are now the cultural norm in the U.S. Our consumer-driven economy counts on us to not do the math on that Angus Third Pounder or Mocha Frappuccino Venti. Although, if the “diabesity” epidemic continues unabated, it’s hard to see how our carb-and-carbon-crazed way of life won’t collapse under the weight of all that disease and disability.
Sure, we get some exercise; we exercise our freedom of choice to buy such free market marvels of American ingenuity as the Burger King Stacker (”choose from double, triple or quadruple layers of meat and cheese—topped with bacon and sauce…no veggies allowed”!) or Jimmy Dean Chocolate Chip Pancakes and Sausage on a Stick, which prompted Jon Stewart to exclaim, “Finally, the classic taste of chocolate chip pancake-wrapped sausage with the convenience of a stick!”
But we don’t have a choice in making the policies that underwrite the overproduction of the foods that are making us fat, because our government’s a wholly owned subsidiary of Big Food and Agribiz, who get the final say-so on our food and agriculture policies.
Consider the case of soda; now that it’s getting expelled from schools for getting an “F” in nutrition, the beverage industry’s scrambling to fill those vending machine slots with “healthy” fruit-based beverages.
How this will make a dent in the childhood obesity epidemic is a mystery, because fruit juice has about the same number of calories as soda does. Nonetheless, our acting Surgeon General, Dr. Stephen Galson, appeared on CNN’s House Calls With Dr. Sanjay Gupta this weekend and applauded the beverage industry’s efforts to baste our little butterballs with something other than soda.
Gupta asked Galson how the Department of Health and Human Services planned to combat the childhood obesity crisis:
Everyone, it seems, except the food industry and the more than $10 billion dollars it spends annually targeting kids. I’d call that a starring role, but it doesn’t merit a mention from Galson.
Yeah, replacing high-fructose-corn-syrup-sweetened soda with sugary fruit juices is huge. Because, you know, they’re natural. Naturally sugary. This really works, if by “works,” you mean saves the beverage industry from having to relinquish its ultra lucrative stake in school vending machines.
Gupta noted that Galson’s predecessor, Dr. Richard Carmona, testified that he’d been subjected to significant political interference in his four years as Surgeon General (among other things, Carmona was ordered to mention President Bush three times on every page of his speeches while being forbidden to address such issues as global warming, stem cells, or sex education.) Gupta asked Galson whether he’d had a similar experience:
But shills like Galson are a problem for us, and our government’s got plenty of ‘em. As OrangeClouds115, aka Jill Richardson, noted on Daily Kos yesterday, Pennsylvania’s about to ban the use of milk carton labels that tell you whether that milk comes from cows treated with rBGH, the Monsanto-made growth hormone.
You can argue about whether use of this hormone is healthy for cows or humans (there are indications that it’s not good for us, and solid evidence that it’s bad for the cows). What’s undisputed is: (a) consumers want to know whether the milk they’re buying comes from dairy producers who use this stuff, or not, and (b) they’ll gladly pay a premium for rBGH-free dairy products.
This is hurting Monsanto and the dairy farmers who use rBGH. So Dennis Wolff, Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Ag and a former dairy farmer himself, began pushing for the ban a while ago in response to a supposed public outcry from “confused consumers,” as a dairy diary from another Kossack, shirah, spelled out last Friday.
Of course, the real impetus for the campaign comes from Monsanto, who’s spending a fortune to prop up its product in the wake of massive consumer rejection. If Monsanto succeeds in depriving consumers of the right to choose rBGH-free dairy products in Pennsylvania, it will surely try the same thing in your state, too.
So, please, take a moment to write, call or e-mail Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell and ask that the ban—which is set to take effect on February 1st--be stopped (thanks to OrangeClouds115 for providing the info):
Or, for maximum impact, write a letter:
Governor Edward G. Rendell's Office
Or, make a phone call to the Governor's Office:
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