Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Many Works of Fiction and Hysteria...

Hello blog world, haters, and curious eavesdroppers.  It's been a while since I posted, so I thought I would toss together a tolerable hodgepodge of food things...

Cloned meat has reportedly been found in the UK...  cue the music... dun dun duuuuunnnn!  Oh no!  Run everybody, ruuuun!  Cloned cows!  Holy cow!  Panic!  Freak out!

Don't worry... don't panic... and don't freak out.  There is no science that I am aware of that supports any theories about meat coming from cloned animals being anything less than safe.  Seriously, it's cool.  It's just more panic from the Food Hysterics that I think stems from a lack of fundamental science knowledge.  

Remember these simple rules when wading through these stories:
1.  Just because someone puts it in a book, doesn't make it true.
2.  Established science, and a consensus of credible, peer reviewed scientific studies can never be undone by one study.  Never.
3. Always pay close attention to the Expert's area of expertise before you consider what they're talking about.  Don't take medical advice from a food scientist, don't take environmental science info from a doctor, and certainly don't give much credence to what an environmental scientist says about food.
4. Chef's have almost zero food science knowledge.  Same goes for journalism professors.
5. Beware of percentages in the absence of hard numbers. Percentages often sound worse than they really are. i.e.  Grass fed cows have 60% more omega-3 fatty acids than grain fed cows....  but the grain fed has 1.2 and the grass fed has 1.92. When you see actual data, the percentages get less scary.

Hooter's update...
For those unaware of my writings about Hooter's, please read this as well as this.
I met someone that was going to train to be a Hooter's manager several months back.  I caught up with him recently and asked how it was going.  He quit the training and made several complaints about the company and told one interesting anecdote.  He says he went to get some raw wings to bread and fry from the cooler and noticed some had a greenish tint and smelled foul.  As any good kitchen worker does, he immediately alerted the manager in charge.  The manager took a look and advised him to go ahead and cook them.  For those concerned for their health, the training location was North of Columbus in the Polaris area and the store is located on Sancus Blvd.  I advise nobody to eat there.  Hooter's never got in touch with me and their training continues to be ignorant of the most basic food safety logic.  If anyone from Hooter's is reading this... I can help you.  You need to seek help from someone before your food kills someone, especially since more families and children are eating there.

School lunch...
I'm all for nutritious school lunches, but aside from the money needed to increases the free lunche program, it shouldn't cost more per person.  The school lunch bill being considered now is confusing.  It aims to simultaneously reduce childhood hunger while fighting childhood obesity.  The bill includes an increase in the number of kids eligible for free lunches, and also includes stricter controls on fat and sodium.  

Here is what Mrs. Obama has not considered... the other 18 hrs that the kid isn't in school.  They assume that kids blow their diets at school, which I'm not so sure of.  Kids get 1 meal at school in most cases, and while they may go for higher sugar, higher fat foods, are they eating more calories than they do at home?  Also, the law states that they must get a full 1/3 of the minimum daily calories from the school lunch... shouldn't calories be cut to reduce obesity?  I've heard they have provisions aimed at encouraging schools to go local and organic, so they'd be paying a premium for the same food without any health benefits.  

Who does this benefit other than organic farmers?  Here's a plan: offer a tax break to families that brown bag it.  That way, the parents have only themselves to blame for fat kids.  Secondly, simplify the menu with lunch meats, and fruits/veggies.  Less to cook means lowered energy costs and these foods are already lower in fat/calories.  You don't need to increase the spending on this, aside from what you spend to increase free lunches.  This seems to be another bill based on more emotion/opinion than logic, reason, and science.

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