Reading List: Beef Recall Alert, Bio-Alfalfa Ban Lifted and Happy Meals Without Toys

In this week’s nutrition news: The link between depression and obesity, another beef recall and CSPI threatens to sue the golden arches over Happy Meal toys
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In this week’s nutrition news: Exploring the link between depression and obesity, Ohio passes law to combat childhood obesity and CSPI threatens to sue the golden arches over Happy Meal toys.

More Hamburger Recalls

A California-based meat packing company recalled a whopping  35,000 pounds of ground beef products because of possible E. Coli contamination. The recalled products produced by South Gate Meat Company contain the establishment number "EST. 6217" and were packaged between June 7 and June 21, 2010 and were distributed around the Los Angeles and Orange County area.  A second ground beef recall of 3,700 pounds of ground beef was also recalled by a Long Island, New York food company for the same reason.  The recall affects numerous products W.B. Stockyard products sold in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The products bear the establishment number 20889  and were produced on June 11 and June 15, 2010. If you find these products in your fridge, return them to the store for a full refund.

CSPI To McDonald's: No More Happy Meal Toys

What's most appealing about a Happy Meal: the food or the toy? Nutrition watchdog Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) thinks it's the plastic prize that's the big draw, and the group has threatened to sue the golden arches if the fast food chain doesn't stop using toys to market junk food to children. A press release from CSPI equates McDonald’s "to the stranger handing out candy to the kids in the playground," and quite frankly — I agree.

TELL US: Do you think McDonald’s should take toys out of Happy Meals?
Ohio Schools Battle the Bulge

The statistics are staggering — one in three U.S. kids are overweight or obese. But change is on the horizon: Ohio has just passed The Healthy Choices for Healthy Children Act, which mandates that schools 30 minutes of rigorous physical activity each day (and recess doesn’t count). It also means schools must offer healthier options in the cafeteria and vending machines.  Bravo, Ohio -- hopefully more states will take action to create a healthier environment for kids.

Supreme Court Lifts Ban on Bioengineered Alfalfa Sprouts

The Supreme court made its first decision about genetically-engineered crops this week, handing down a 7-1 ruling that lifts the ban on genetically-modified alfalfa. The ruling reversed a federal court ruling that kept seed company Monsanto from selling its Roundup (a popular weed killer)-resistant alfalfa.  Environmental groups cried foul, and placed an injunction that prohibits the  planting of the seeds pending a full environmental study.

TELL US: Should bioengineered alfalfa sprouts be banned?
Linked: Depression and Weight Gain

Which comes first, depression or weight gain? The results of a 15-year study indicate that young people feeling sad or hopeless tended to gain weight more rapidly (especially around the belly) than those who reported happiness. Folks that were overweight to begin with didn't become more depressed over time.  The results make sense -- depressed individuals don't exercise much and often eat more, plus many antidepressants have weight-gain side effects.

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. See Toby's full bio »

Next Up

McDonald’s Has a New Adult Happy Meal Featuring ‘McNugget Buddies’ Toys

The classic chicken nugget-shaped toys are back for the first time in over 25 years as part of a collaboration with artist Kerwin Frost.

Reading List: Overweight Pets, Fake Alli Warning & A Huge Beef Recall

In this week’s nutrition news: Concerns over BPA in plastics, counterfeit Alli sold online, and celebrate National Popcorn Day!

Reading List: Better In-Flight Foods, Contaminated Beef and Proposed HFCS Ban

In this week’s nutrition news: Home cooking makes a comeback, General Mills pledges to reduce salt levels in its products and a potato chip stand-in takes snackers by storm.

Reading List: Investigating BPA, Stress and Your Weight & Yet Another Beef Recall

In this week’s nutrition news: a study shows the chronically stressed turn to fatty foods, kid-friendly TV channels are full of junk food ads and have you checked your fridge for recalled beef?

Reading List: Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, Bake Sale Ban & Kombucha Madness

In this week’s nutrition news: Jamie Oliver's new TV show takes on fat America, stay fit by moving an hour a day and baby food is the latest snack trend.

Healthy Debate: Should Happy Meal Toys Be Banned?

Whoever came up with the marketing for Happy Meals toys is a genius. Kids are drawn to popular characters and love their trinkets ( more than the food). But with this type of marketing comes a price—especially when you’re talking about high fat and calorie-laden food during a time where tremendous efforts are being put forth to diminish the incidence of childhood obesity.

McDonald’s Is Swapping Out Happy Meal Toys for Books

Its Happy Meal Readers program in New Zealand offers the diners the delicious literature of Roald Dahl.

Reading List: Peanut Allergy Solution, the Raw Milk Ban & Choke-Proof Hot Dogs

In this week’s nutrition news: Restaurants are serving up lower-calorie fare, an artificial food coloring controversy and the cure for peanut allergy might be near.

Reading List: The Gluten-Free Hype, Massive Egg Recall and Heart-Healthy Chocolate

In this week’s nutrition news: Rare heirloom veggies up for auction, gulf seafood finally being thoroughly tested and the gluten-free fad

McDonald’s Pledges to Make Its Happy Meal Toys More Sustainable

The company says it will phase out plastic in favor of more 'innovative' materials.