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