Harvard Professor Under Fire After Calling For Obese Children To Be Removed From Homes In Severe Cases

Harvard University Professor Dr. David Ludwig is under attack for his public call this week for some obese children to be taken from their parents to protect their health. Ludwig stated that “[i]n severe instances of childhood obesity, removal from the home may be justifiable, from a legal standpoint, because of imminent health risks and the parents’ chronic failure to address medical problems.” That legal standpoint may need a bit more work.

Ludwig is an obesity expert at Children’s Hospital Boston and associate professor at the Harvard School of Public Health. His comments came in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

First, in defense of Ludwig, he prefaced his statement by saying that such intervention would only be in severe cases. It is indeed possible for a child to be removed in a severe case where the child is in imminent risk of seriously injury or death due to either acts or omissions by the parents.

However, the statement rightfully raised concerns. There is growing evidence of genetic predispositions for obesity in some people. The parents may not be at fault in the continuing condition. Moreover, removing the child from the home will only increase stress for the child.

Parental rights are protected by the Constitution and, while child services are given a fair degree of discretion in the removal of children from homes to protect them, those decisions are subject to a full legal process. Most such removals are likely to fail under current legal standards absent a showing of imminent harm and a failure of the parents to follow medical advice. As a comparison, courts often express reluctance to order cancer treatments or medical interventions for a child when parents claim religious objections to treatment. The child is often at immediate risk when a court issues an order of removal or arrest.

The problem is that obesity is very common (unfortunately) among children today and they are all at some level of risk. An estimated 12.5 million children and teens (17% of that population) are obese.

Ludwig would need a case where the child is in immediate risk of heart failure of some of medical emergency. Such a status usually required hospitalization, not foster care. Moreover, experts in the article below question whether care would improve in foster care.

This was the case of 3-year-old Anamarie Regino who weighed 90 pounds and was removed from the home for two months. She did not show any improvement in foster care. She is now 14 years old and was raised by her parents.

Source: ABC News

166 thoughts on “Harvard Professor Under Fire After Calling For Obese Children To Be Removed From Homes In Severe Cases

  1. “That legal standpoint may need a bit more work”

    What does this mean? Children are not ‘possessions’. The parents are their guardians and I suspect that the Convention On The Rights Of The Child has something to say on the issue (signed but not ratified by the US).

  2. How dare he even consider any alternatives to the present course! Who knows where thinking and discussion might lead?

    Please people, never ever ever suggest any solution that might be in the least controversial or potentially upsetting. Particularly when you know the media does not do nuance and will gloss over any subtlety you might have in mind. There is no room in this modern world for open debate of ideas – god, bad or indifferent.

  3. I had a case in family court 15 or 16 years ago, in which I represented the mother of the child for whom the action was taken. As I recall, the action was for medical neglect.

    The child was suffering from congenital problems with her ankles for which a doctor hired by the state recommended breaking the ankles and putting the child in casts so that the bones could heal in a way that should alleviate the problem. To anyone who saw the way she walked, they would have said the child was “pigeon-toed.”

    The mother was aghast that the cure recommended sounded much more horrific than the problem, and whether I had represented her or not, I had to agree. The attorney for the state (always a party in such actions) was an old friend of mine from law school, but was adamant that since a doctor prescribed the breaking of bones and such, it had to be done that way.

    Fortunately the social worker assigned to the case was blessed with a carload of common sense, and explained to me that two of her children had been diagnosed with the identical problem, and it had been remedied by the simple wearing of orthopedic shoes for about a year.

    The common sense of the social worker won out and sure enough, orthopedic shoes solved the problem. Obesity is clearly a different situation. But we must remember that there was a movement at the end of the 19th century where certain beneficent States were going to remove children from families who didn’t rise to a perceived norm of functionality, and raise the children itself. While not conceived as an act of cruelty, the effect of the program was to destroy many families completely.

    I don’t doubt the Harvard professor’s sincere conviction that something must be done, and if, in most states, some sort of nutritional abuse or neglect can be proven, there are legal and medical procedures for addressing the problem. But spare me the vision of schoolteachers and child care workers ranging about amongst their charges, body-fat calipers in hand, and their cellphones with a speed-dial button set to the Department of Social Welfare.

  4. If you’re going to suggest that in severe cases of obesity a child should be removed from his/her own home, you should have a program in place to treat such children. IMO, placing such children in a foster home doesn’t sound like the best alternative.

  5. The parents and the children need treatment for their eating disorders not foster care. Some of these cases are genetic.

  6. There are already provisions in the laws of most states that will permit intervention in the event a child’s health is placed in serious jeopardy through the actions or inactions of parents. Presumably those laws would be available in a situation in which morbid obesity is creating an immediate and serious risk to a child and the parents refuse to acknowledge the risk or arrange for treatment. But placing such a child in the temporary care of foster parents would not be indicated unless there were evidence of neglect constituting abuse. And even in that case, the goal would be reunification.

    I understand Dr. Ludwig’s concern, but it was not particularly well expressed. Of course, we will now all be treated to Fox News pundits railing about government assumption of parenting obligations and Michele Bachmann is liable to toss in a reference to those famous youth “reeducation camps” being set up by the Obama administration.

  7. The Bastard Should be removed from practicing….Sounds familiar…oh Yes, Bastille Day is here….

  8. Damn liberal … and if he’s not, then … damn conservative

    I liked Dredd’s comment about fat cats

  9. Having worked in Child Welfare I could see some aspects of neglect such as this calling for removal, but Elaine’s comment wins me over. Having worked with and in foster care, in most localities the solution is worse than the problem, except in the most life threatening cases. If this country was really interested in Child Welfare they would reform the systems that provide alternates to parental care. To find out about foster care read any of Andrew Vacch’s excellent Burke novels.

  10. Before the states start removing kids from their family for obesity maybe they should address the empty calorie meals that the states feed children every day, sometimes twice a day. Did anybody else watch seasons 1 and 2 of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution? If the American school breakfast/lunch program is half as bad as that TV series painted it to be then the state is a big part of the problem.

  11. Being overweight is very different from being a smoker and a drinker. The body does not need cigarettes or alcohol; but, it does need food. Thus, a person cannot get totally away from food. Our processed foods and the food companies are the biggest problems; and, I don’t know what the solution is for these problems. However, I think America needs to rethink it’s obsession with thinness. Our bodies are biologically and genetically programmed to be a certain weight. What is a good weight for one person is not necessarily a good weight for another person. Learning to accept ourselves for what we are, which includes body type, is probably the hardest thing Americans can do because of our culture of worshipping the thin body. I learned to accept my less than perfect body and set a goal of just not gaining more weight even though at the time, I probably would have been judged overweight. But, I have succeeded with this goal pretty much. And, I never gave up pizza. All diets are boring and difficult because most of them make you hungry. Going hungry is not good. That is what causes binges after dieting–or in the middle of dieting. Americans eat too fast, which doesn’t give your body an opportunity to tell you it is full. The average American meal takes 6 minutes. It takes your body 20 minutes for your body to digest the first bite of your meal. Americans just need to relax and enjoy.

  12. I want ever’ bald man with a comb-over or thin tuffits of hair sprouts on top removed from hisn’ home and put in a bald clinic under armed guard 24/7 until hisn’ hair returns. I do not care that balding is largely hereditary and he caint hep it–he shouldn’t a’ been bornt then.

    Harvard smarvard…

    Now I know how Obama got them good Harvard Law school marks of hisn’…

  13. Change the economic dynamic in this country to reflect a semblance of reasonableness and I guarantee that many of these ‘social’ problems will evaporate. Period.

  14. Empty calorie meals?? You wish the states were serving your kids empty calorie meals instead of what they are actually serving.

    In the past three years, the government has provided the nation’s schools with millions of pounds of beef and chicken that wouldn’t meet the quality or safety standards of many fast-food restaurants, from Jack in the Box and other burger places to chicken chains such as KFC, a USA TODAY investigation found.

    For chicken, the USDA has supplied schools with thousands of tons of meat from old birds that might otherwise go to compost or pet food.

    McDonald’s, Burger King and Costco, for instance, are far more rigorous in checking for bacteria and dangerous pathogens. They test the ground beef they buy five to 10 times more often than the USDA tests beef made for schools during a typical production day.

  15. “McDonald’s, Burger King and Costco, for instance, are far more rigorous in checking for bacteria and dangerous pathogens. They test the ground beef they buy five to 10 times more often than the USDA tests beef made for schools during a typical production day.”

    oF course they do, its called making sure your stock price doesnt tank.

  16. Roco:

    you dont know what you are talking about, government is much better at making people comply. The stats must be wrong, you are quoting some libertarian crap put out by the Mises Institute or your favorite religious person Ayn Rand.

    Prove your statement or STFU with all this government is bad crap. I think you are lying.

  17. Mike S: “To find out about foster care read any of Andrew Vacch’s excellent Burke novels”

    OMG! You have revealed one of my most guilty pleasures :-) I love the Burke novels- he is an outlaw, a samurai outlaw living in the shadows of a broken society. He is a bad man, a killer, an adherent to a code of structured ‘natural justice’. The writing in the Burke novels makes the Spenser novels dialogue look ‘wordy’ by comparison. Burke is a chainsaw of a character and I am addicted. I love the noir feel of them. I have always thought that the Burke novels would be perfect for translation to the graphic novel form, illustrated by Frank Miller. I swoon at the prospect ……

    He did do a Batman novel Ultimate Evil that was a GN but it was a one off. Nicely done and I had hoped it would gin up interest in converting his Burk series but it didn’t. Darn.

    I did an Internet search to see if Vachss had written any new ones and I was amazed at the large fan base for the Burke novels. I found it endearing that Vachss did an interview and felt the need to explain that Burke wasn’t a hero, wasn’t written to be one and shouldn’t be considered a role model. Burke was more of a form of demon purging than anything else for him (Vachss). LOL, I don’t care, I want all of the series released in a special Frank Miller run of GN’s. Burke, sigh……

  18. then USA today is a subversive element in our society if they are saying the private sector does a better job at controlling food safety than the USDA.

    I think you and Roco must be some sort of sociopathic cabal trying to suck the life out of our country.

  19. K, The food the government buys for schools, and sells to schools at a loss I believe from season 1, are actually one of the ways the government props up the food manufacturing industry. I grew up when schools cooked their own food and it was often the best thing about the school day as I recall.

  20. @JStol, you must be right. Apparently they do a much better job. Shame on the USDA for making their standards accessible and transparent like that.

  21. kderosa:

    It was parody. I just thought when in Rome do as the Romans do.
    You and Roco dont seem like sociopaths at all.

  22. @lottakatz, are you saying that government might be taking the side of big chicken and big beef over our school children? Who can you trust?

    All I remember from my school days was that the frozen french fries my school used (not a public one at the time) were stamped “no nutritional value, but edible” which was reassuring.

  23. kderosa:

    I have been reading and learning how to “argue” in an appropriate liberal way. That way when I go to cocktail parties I can know how to respond when someone brings up conservatives.

    For example:

    “Did you hear what that Sarah Palin just said?

    Yes, she must be a sociopath with elements of stupid.

    Yes, you are right, In fact I was thinking the same thing myself.”

    Uh I am sure you were. :)

  24. We need to change our whole food system. the Princeton study comparing HFCS with ordinary sugar shows this toxic substance causes, calorie for calorie, more weight gain than sugar and damages the liver.

    We have a terrible meat production system that has caused our meat to be banned in the Eu and Japan. It is contaminated with genetically engineered steroids, hormones, and antibiotic resistant bacteria.

    Our national use of Roundup plants has caused our soils and the food grown in that soil to be nutrient deficient. Roundup works by inhibiting the chelation of minerals we need for good health.

    All of this is why we have high obesity rates. Look in the grocery store and try to find a loaf of bread that does not contain HFCS. It is in everything from soup to nuts, from pasta sauce to ketchup.

    Big Ag makes us sick so Big Pharma can sell us drugs. We are killing our youth, not just with obesity, but with terrible food that is nutrient deficient.

    The FDA has been battling people who want real food by closing down raw food producers and farm co ops, these are SWAT team raids on real food producers. This is government and corporate collusion of the worst sort.
    If you want to show a legal problem with food in America, this is one of the most horrible and under reported stories of all.

  25. “After weeks of hearings and debate, the bill finally passed the Senate on February 12, 1906. It passed by such a wide margin that only four senators voted against it.[26] The matter would now move into the House for a climactic battle between supporters and opponents of federal food and drug regulation. The timing proved extremely fortuitous for Wiley and his allies. Less than two weeks after the Senate passed the bill, and just as the House began to consider the issue, the “muckraking” journalist Upton Sinclair published a book that would transform the debate permanently and vindicate Wiley’s lifelong efforts on behalf of pure food and drugs. Sinclair’s book was The Jungle, a graphic account of hideously unsanitary conditions in the meat-packing industry. Sinclair came from an unusual background for a muckraking journalist. A twenty-eight-year old writer from a riches-to-rags Baltimore family, Sinclair had an obsessive fear of alcohol, sex, and impurities of any kind. After converting to socialism while a graduate student at Columbia University, Sinclair accepted an assignment from the editor of a left-wing magazine to investigate labor unrest in the Chicago stockyards. The horrendous working conditions of stockyard laborers appalled Sinclair, and he decided to write a novel dramatizing their plight.[27]

    When Sinclair’s novel The Jungle reached bookstores in late February 1906, it became an overnight sensation, but not for the reasons he expected. Sinclair devoted over 90 percent of his novel to describing the plight of immigrant workers and to calling for a socialist revolution in the United States. The reading public ignored Sinclair’s political message and focused instead on the 15 pages of the book that described the grotesquely unsanitary processing practices of the meat packing industry. In those few pages Sinclair had catalogued a horrifying litany of industry misdeeds, including workers falling into processing vats, children drinking milk tainted with formaldehyde, and spoiled meat routinely concealed through chemical adulteration. The public reacted with a ferocity that bordered on mass hysteria. Ignoring the turgid political message of Sinclair’s book, the reading public concentrated exclusively on his lurid inside account of the meat packing industry and the clear threat such practices posed to the public health. Years later, deeply embittered by the failure of his socialist message, Sinclair admitted in resignation, “I aimed at the public’s heart, but by accident I hit it in the stomach.”[28]

    The book became such a public sensation that President Roosevelt himself read Sinclair’s novel. Roosevelt had a passionate reaction. Both Sinclair’s call for a Socialist form of government and Sinclair’s revelations of meat-packing horrors revolted the president. In a letter to F.N. Doubleday, the book’s publisher, Roosevelt complained, “I wish he had left out the ridiculous socialist rant at the end, which merely tends to make people think his judgment is unsound and to make them question his facts.” Doubleday shared Roosevelt’s disdain for Sinclair’s “unfortunate sermonizing,” but he explained that Sinclair had already been forced to cut out 30,000 words.[29]

    In a letter to Sinclair, Roosevelt did not mince words when it came to his assessment of Sinclair’s political beliefs. “In the end of your book,” Roosevelt observed, “among the various characters who preach socialism, almost all betray the pathetic belief” in social revolution as a solution to the nation’s problems. Such a development, Roosevelt warned, would lead to mass starvation and chaos, not to freedom and equality. Roosevelt noted further, “A quarter of a century’s hard work over what I may call politico-sociological problems has made me distrust men of hysterical temperament.” Clearly, Roosevelt believed that Sinclair was as a man of hysterical temperament. Yet, despite his condemnation of Sinclair’s political message and his reservations about Sinclair’s judgment, Roosevelt assured Sinclair that he would take action against the meat packing industry: “But all this has nothing to do with the fact that the specific evils you point out shall, if their existence be proved, and if I have power, be eradicated.”[30]

    As a astute observer of public opinion, Roosevelt knew how dominant the issue of food safety and sanitation had become in the public mind. Roosevelt immediately directed Agriculture Secretary James Wilson to investigate Sinclair’s allegations, insisting that the Agriculture Department conduct a thorough investigation. Roosevelt had no doubt that the main thrust of Sinclair’s allegations had a basis in fact. He noted that prior experience “with these beef trust people convinces me that there is very little that they will stop at.” Newspaper reporters in Chicago and other major cities, Roosevelt believed, had been bought off by the beef trust in episodes of “wholesale newspaper bribery” to keep the truth from the public. This fact persuaded Roosevelt to take aggressive action, as Sinclair had personally recommended in his letter to the president. “I do not think that an ordinary investigation [into the beef trust] will reach anything,” Roosevelt explained to Wilson. “I would like a first-class man to be appointed to meet Sinclair, as he suggests; get the names of the witnesses, as he suggests; and then go to work in the industry, as he suggests.” Roosevelt concluded by emphasizing the importance of the task ahead. “We cannot afford to have anything perfunctory done in this matter.”[31]

    Even as Roosevelt authorized a full-fledged investigation, he remained wary of the investigative journalism that had exposed the meat-packing scandal. In a speech on April 14, 1906, two months after the publication of The Jungle, Roosevelt expressed his reservations about “muckraking” journalism: “Now, it is very necessary that we should not flinch from seeing what is vile and debasing. There is filth on the floor, and it must be scraped up with the muckrake; and there are times and places where this service is the most needed of all the services that can be performed. But the man who never does anything else, who never thinks or speaks or writes, save his feats with the muckrake, speedily becomes not a help to society, not an incitement to good, but one of the most potent forces for evil.”[32] Roosevelt’s criticism of “muckrakers” such as Sinclair stemmed from his fear that their sensational revelations would promote social upheaval. Roosevelt had good reason to fear social disorder. After all, he had inherited the White House as the result of an assassination, a fact that heightened his fear of public disorder and social chaos. He worried that if the public lost faith in the capitalist institutions that undergirded American society—corporations, banks, even the federal government itself—then the United States would experience social turmoil similar to that which embroiled Europe during much of the early twentieth century.

    Nevertheless, Roosevelt knew the evils exposed by “muckrakers” like Sinclair demanded a government response. He appointed two highly qualified investigators for the government’s probe of the meat-packing industry: Charles Neill, the Commissioner of Labor, and James Bronson Reynolds, a well-respected social worker. After an exhaustive probe, the Neill-Reynolds investigation completely confirmed Sinclair’s allegations. When Roosevelt received and read the full text of the Neill-Reynolds report, he was more appalled than ever. If anything Sinclair’s allegations had understated the severity of the problem. Roosevelt knew that when the public learned of the full scope of the wrong-doing, any politician standing on the wrong side of the issue would soon be out of a job. Roosevelt also understood that Sinclair’s revelations had devastated public faith in the industry, and that further muckraking revelations would soon be hitting the front pages of newspapers across the country. As he privately noted to Representative James Wadsworth, “I have recently had an investigation made by Commissioner Neill of the Labor Bureau and Mr. J.B. Reynolds, of the situation in Chicago packing houses. It is hideous, and it must be remedied at once.”[33] Roosevelt felt so enraged by the report he initially considered landing a public relations body blow on the meat packing industry. “I was at first so indignant that I resolved to send in the full report to Congress,” he explained to Wadsworth. “As far as the beef packers themselves are concerned I should do this now with a clear conscience for the great damage that would befall them in consequence would be purely due to their own actions.”[34]

    But, at the same rate, Roosevelt feared that if the report became public, it would have devastating economic ramifications, particularly for American exporters. He lamented the fact that the damage resulting from public panic would also harm “the stock growers of the country and the effect of such a report would undoubtedly be well-nigh ruinous to our export trade in meat for the time being, and doubtless the damaging effect would be apparent long after we had remedied the wrongs.”[35] Several European nations had already announced plans to ban American beef imports, a development which would land a severe blow on the already floundering cattle industry.[36]

    Roosevelt decided therefore to use behind-the-scenes pressure to coerce the meat packing industry into compliance. More precisely, he would use the threat of publicly releasing the report to force the meat packing industry’s supporters in Congress to vote for the Beveridge amendment. Authored by Senator Albert Beveridge of Indiana as a rider to the Agricultural Appropriations bill, the amendment mandated sweeping reforms of the meat-packing industry. It required the industry to submit to constant surveillance and investigation by the Agriculture Department, the cost of which would be borne by the industry itself. It also required the industry to date stamp every can of meat that went on the market for public consumption.[37] Roosevelt demanded that Congress approve the Beveridge amendment. As he privately explained, “I am . . . going to withhold the [Neill-Reynolds] report for the time being, and until I can also report that the wrongs have been remedied, provided that without making it public I can get the needed legislation; that is, provided we can have the meat inspection amendment that has been put on in the Senate in substance enacted into law.”[38]

    Roosevelt staunchly believed that federal regulation of meat production would benefit, not harm, the packing industry. “Of course what I am after is not to do damage even to the packers, still less to the stockmen and farmers. What I want is the immediate betterment of the dreadful conditions that prevail, and moreover the providing against a possible recurrence of these conditions.” Roosevelt knew that things would only get worse if the meat packing industry resisted federal regulation. “I happen to know,” he revealed to Congressman Wadsworth, “that in the near future further publications will be made showing how badly they have done.” Roosevelt placed maximum importance on restoring public confidence. “The only effective way to meet these publications, which will doubtless contain a very great mass of exaggeration together with a quantity of damaging truth, will be to show that the situation has been met and the evils complained of have been remedied; and above all that legislation has been had which will guarantee us against their recurrence.” According to Roosevelt, Senator Albert Beveridge’s meat inspection act not only benefited consumers, it was also “a good thing from the standpoint of the beef packers themselves. Their practices have been very bad and it is useless for anyone to attempt to whitewash them.” Therefore, Roosevelt urged Wadsworth to see to it that Beveridge’s amendment passed through the House and established “effective inspection and control over the packing industry.”[39]

    Despite having public support behind him, Roosevelt knew he faced staunch opposition from many of his erstwhile supporters in corporate America. “In my effort to correct the abuses in the packing industry I am met by a most violent opposition, not merely from the packers . . . but also from great bodies of capitalists who are interested mainly through that noxious feeling in which the socialists exult and which they call ‘class consciousness,’” Roosevelt explained to his friend Lyman Abbot. “The National Manufacturers’ Association and the Chicago Board of Trade have written me violent protests in offensive language, stating that the reports of the Government committees are false, that everything is clean and perfect in Packingtown.”[40]

    Yet, even in the face of such intense opposition, Roosevelt found strong support from the most unlikely of places: the very corporations that the food and drug bill proposed to regulate. Contrary to prevailing assumptions that corporations monolithically opposed reform, many companies that engaged in food and drug production saw federal regulation as an advantageous, pro-business measure. Indeed, Harvey Wiley himself had strong support from several leading corporations, such as the Heinz ketchup company and the Old Taylor whiskey company. These companies had much higher standards of sanitation and product purity than their competitors, a fact that put them at a competitive disadvantage vis a vis their less savory market rivals who could sell inferior products at a lower price. Government regulation of food and drug production rewarded corporations that already had high standards because it forced their competitors to engage in expensive improvements in sanitation and product quality. As this fact dawned on many leading companies, they began to work behind the scenes to promote passage of the Food and Drug law.[41]

    With Roosevelt’s strong support, and with newspaper editorials across the country demanding action, the Senate passed the Beveridge Amendment by an overwhelming margin. Nevertheless, the real battle would be fought in the House, where the meat-packing lobby had its strongest base of support. Undaunted, Roosevelt personally lobbied House Speaker Joe Cannon on the bill’s behalf. Roosevelt wrote, “I understand the Pure Food bill and the Naturalization bill [a bill regarding citizenship requirements for immigrants] must be considered first. I earnestly favor both, especially the pure food bill.”[42]

    Roosevelt’s efforts to sway Congressman Wadsworth, however, fell flat. In the House, Wadsworth and Representative William Lorimer of Illinois led the fight against the Beveridge Amendment and the Heyburn Bill. Although in public they mounted a states’ rights argument against the Beveridge and Heyburn bills, Wadsworth and Lorimer had other incentives for opposing reform legislation. Both had strong ties to the meat-packing industry, ties that inspired them to mount a desperate, last stand defense against Congressional passage. Wadsworth proposed amendments to the Beveridge bill that essentially stripped it of its reform character. Roosevelt responded with indignation. To Wadsworth he wrote, “I am sorry to have to say that it seems to me that each change is for the worse and that in the aggregate they are ruinous, taking away every particle of good from the suggested Beveridge amendment.” Roosevelt went still further, informing Wadsworth he had decided to make the full Neill report available to the press.[43]

    As Roosevelt expected, the publication of the Neill report created a storm of public outrage as vociferous as that which had greeted The Jungle three months before. It also led to a precipitous drop in American beef exports, for governments around the world refused to allow their importation. But Roosevelt had no sympathy for the meat packers. As he explained to Lyman Abbott:

    “I did not wish to make the report public. I had the different Senators informed privately of the facts that would be shown, and stated that if I could get proper legislation I would not make these facts public until I could also make public the fact that the evils had been remedied. The Senate passed the necessary legislation. But the packers, through their tools in the House, held up the legislation, produced a sham bill, and made it evident that the only chance to get a decent law was through an aroused public feeling that could only act on full knowledge. It was the packers themselves and their foolish or wicked friends who rendered imperative the publication of the report, with its undoubted attendant harm to our export business in meat. We can put this export business in meat on a proper footing again only by proper legislation; and if we have this legislation I will guarantee proper administration under it.”[44]

    Roosevelt knew he had the industry on the run. An administration ally in Chicago sent Roosevelt a first-hand account of the meat-packers’ belated efforts to clean up its act. The correspondent’s experience made clear that panic had infected the industry:

    “On Monday I began a tour of all the great packing houses—going first to Libby’s, then Swift’s. . . . On every hand there was indication of an almost humorous haste to clean up, repave and even to plan for future changes. Brand new toilet rooms, new dressing rooms, new towels, etc. etc. Swift’s and Armour’s were both so cleaned up that I was compelled to cheer them on their way, by expressing my pleasure at the changes. The sausage girls were moved upstairs where they could get sun and light. . . . I asked for showers and lockers for the casing workers at Armour’s, and got a promise that they would put them in. The canning and stuffing room, chip beef and beef extract at Armour’s seemed really quite good. . . . They are putting in toilet rooms which they say are temporary, and that when the building is remodeled they will have these put in a better place. The haste towards reform would have been amusing if it were not so nearly tragic.”[45]

    Roosevelt warned Wadsworth that with every passing day, the administration’s resolve grew firmer. The investigations had produced enough evidence “in my judgment to call for immediate, thoroughgoing and radical enlargement of the powers of the Government in inspecting all meats which enter into interstate and foreign commerce.” Roosevelt insisted that reform would benefit business, not harm it. “Unfortunately, the misdeeds of those who are responsible for the abuses we design to cure will bring discredit and damage not only upon them but upon the innocent stock growers, the ranchmen and farmers of the country. The only way permanently to protect and benefit these innocent stock growers, theses farmers and ranchmen, is to secure by law the thorough and adequate inspection for which I have asked.”[46]

    The tide of public and political support for the acts had become irresistible. After years of appearing insurmountable, the opposition to a federal food and drug law collapsed. On June 30, 1906, Congress passed and Roosevelt signed into law both the Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act. Although passed independently from one another, the Food and Drug Act encompassed both the subject matter of both acts, since under the terms of the act the Food and Drug Administration would regulate meat. Although written in the broadest terms, the Food and Drug Act of 1906 transformed food and drug production in America. Even at the time, contemporaries recognized that a historic achievement had been made. The federal government was now permanently in the business of protecting American consumers from unsafe food and drugs.[47]”


    Yeah, private industry has such a sterling reputation for policing itself.

  26. @JStol, you hit the nail right on the head. If you want to learn how to argue like a true lefty, all you need to do is ratchet up the vitriol and hatred tenfold. You’ll also have to lose sense of shame and reason.

    If you want to see 800 posts worth of prime examples just check out this thread. Start at my first post and enjoy. Bear in mind that these are educated professionals, mostly lawyers.

  27. @GeneH, you naive fool, will you ever learn:

    Sinclair’s novel caused a sensation, and led to Congressional investigations, even though many politicians were skeptical of Sinclair. For instance, here’s what President Theodore Roosevelt wrote about Lewis in July 1906 (even though he shared Sinclair’s distrust of big business):

    “I have an utter contempt for him. He is hysterical, unbalanced, and untruthful. Three-fourths of the things he said were absolute falsehoods. For some of the remainder there was only a basis of truth.”
    (Source: letter to William Allen White, July 31, 1906, from “The Letters of Theodore Roosevelt,” 8 vols, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1951-54, vol. 5, p. 340.)

    Sinclair’s fictional characters talk of workers falling into vats and being turned into “Durham’s Pure Leaf Lard,” which was then sold to the public. This was supposedly made possible by the alleged “corruption of government inspectors.” (Source: The Age of the Moguls by Stewart H. Holbrook, Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1953, pp. 110-111)

    Yes, you see, there were government inspectors, even back in 1905, so does it really make sense that the solution to this supposed food safety problem was . . . government inspectors?

    In fact, there were hundreds of inspectors. They came from all levels of government, federal, state, and local, and had been at work for more than a decade. As for their supposed corruption (and Sinclair’s other claims), a Congressional investigation found little evidence. Instead . . .

    The 1906 report of the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Animal Husbandry refuted the worst of Sinclair’s charges point-by-point. The report labeled his claims . . .

    “willful and deliberate misrepresentations of fact”
    “atrocious exaggeration”
    And “not at all characteristic (of the meat packing industry)”
    (Source: U.S. Congress, House, Committee on Agriculture, Hearings on the So-called “Beveridge Amendment” to the Agriculture Appropriation Bill, 59th Congress, 1st Session, 1906, pp. 346-350.)

    Meanwhile, as Congress went through the time-consuming process of investigating Sinclair’s fictions, the free market was regulating the meat packing industry in its own harsh way. Meat sales plummeted.

    This led the meat packing industry to lobby Congress for increased regulation!

    The industry actually wanted the government to protect them from the consumer backlash by imposing regulations that would restore consumer confidence, even though new regulations were totally unneeded! The result was the passage of the Meat Inspection Act of 1906.

    But this was not a triumph for the idea of government regulation. Instead, it was a victory for corporate welfare . . .

    Taxpayers picked up the $3 million price tag for the new regulations
    Big meat packers benefited because small packers had a more difficult time complying with the new regulations
    Upton Sinclair himself actually recognized this, and opposed the law!

    (Source: Upton Sinclair, “The Condemned-Meat Industry: A Reply to Mr. J. Ogden Armour,” Everybody’s Magazine, XIV, 1906, pp. 612-613.)

    The myth of The Jungle has had a terrible impact on the American mind. It has led millions of people to believe that regulation by politicians and bureaucrats is superior to regulation by the free market forces of consumers, investors, lenders, insurance companies, and legal liability.

    If the meat packing industry wanted government regulation, then it should have paid for it, not the taxpayers
    And all packing companies should have been free to reject government regulation, especially small producers
    This would have allowed consumers to decide what they preferred, and what they were willing to pay for – meat inspected by the government, or meat regulated by the self-interest of the meat packers.
    In other words, government coercion was completely unjustified, even if Sinclair had been writing fact, instead of fiction.

  28. GeneH:

    what does a hundred year old novel have to do with anything today? Food is having a rebirth and there are many fine restaurants and farms from which to pick.

    I buy from local suppliers all the time, most without USDA oversight. I have not been sick once from the food I purchase. My wife on the other hand went to Chipotle and got a raging case of food poisoning. They are checked by local government, which it came to be known had had multiple complaints against this particular chipotle.

    So much for your story and anyway the public read the Jungle and was disgusted. TR had an easy time of it. He probably didnt need to take any action at all. the public would have taken it on their own. And the meat packers would have complied or gone out of business.

  29. You call me a naive fool as if I take anything you say seriously let alone an insult from you, Mr. Makes Up the Definitions He Wants.

    By all means if you want to focus on the fiction of Sinclair when it was the factual Neill-Reynolds report that moved Congress into action after Roosevelt clubbed them over the head with it, please do so. That The Jungle was the impetus for commissioning the report is irrelevant to the facts uncovered by the investigation, which as noted above showed that “[i]f anything Sinclair’s allegations had understated the severity of the problem.”

  30. Jstol,

    If you have a problem with local inspections, that’s a local matter. Local restaurant inspections are a lot like local building inspections; better in some jurisdictions than others. In addition, your anecdotal evidence pales in comparison to the systemic abuses and bad practices the Neill-Reynolds report revealed.

  31. interesting. Look beyond the story given by the liberal and you get to the actual truth.

    I think Gene H is falling into the fallacy of Ignacious Loyola.

  32. That’s GeneH’s tell.

    Whenever he realizes he’s lost the debate, he states that “he doesn’t take anything we say seriously,” even though he was deadly serious just a minute before when he thought he had a full house and rushed to lay down his cards..

  33. By the way, an inspector with no regulations to enforce is not really very effective. It was only after the regulations put in place by the Federal Meat Inspection Act of 1906 that the BAI could put inspectors in the field with enforcement powers over said regulations (covering mandatory inspection of livestock before slaughter; mandatory postmortem inspection of every carcass; sanitary standards established for slaughterhouses and meat processing plants; and ongoing monitoring and inspection of slaughter and processing operations).

  34. Lost? Oh no, not lost! You seem to think I take your assessment of winning and losing seriously too. I don’t though.

  35. They must have had some regulations to enforce or else they wouldn’t have been there in the first place.

    I’m thinking they were like the regulations we have today which allows schools to sell meat normally fed to animals and that our fast food places refuse to sell to humans.

  36. There you go again making a false equivalence. School lunches are state run programs. I thought you want to talk food safety at the industrial level as regulated by the Federal government. You’re never going to get a ball in the end zone if you keep moving your goal posts.

  37. Roundup Ready wheat caused a 50% abortion rate in cattle at Purdue University.
    The cause is a new pathogen seen on GMO crops, part virus-part fungus, that can only be seen under an electron microscope. A proffessor at Purdue has asked for an emergency funding to study this new pathogen.

    We could be reducing fertility in the human population with our food system. They are testing and pulling out all GM crops in Hungary.

  38. @GeneH,

    The standards are set by the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service for beef supplied to the National School Lunch Program.

    Come on Gene,make an effort.

  39. I also don’t take your assessments of effort seriously. The NSLP helps pay for school lunch programs. It sets rules stating that states who want to participate in the program must meet minimum standards for nutritional value. Nutritional standards have changed over the years and consequently, the USDA issued new nutritional standards to compensate for the new information.


    However, the menus are set at the local level and local level participation in funding varies.

    That’s five, just so you don’t lose count.

  40. @Shano

    One scientific panel after another has concluded that biotech foods are safe to eat, and so has the FDA. Since 1995, tens of millions of Americans have been eating biotech crops. Today it is estimated that 60 percent of the foods on American grocery shelves are produced using ingredients from transgenic
    crops. In April 2000 a National Research Council panel issued a report that emphasized that the panel could not find “any evidence suggesting that foods on the market today are unsafe to eat as a result of genetic modification.” Transgenic Plants and World Agriculture, a 2000 report prepared under the auspices of seven scientific academies in the United States and other countries, strongly endorsed crop biotechnology, especially for poor farmers in the developing world. “To date,” the report concluded, “over 30 million hectares of transgenic crops have been grown and no human health problems associated specifically with the ingestion of transgenic crops or their products
    have been identified.” Both reports concurred that genetic engineering poses no more risks to human health or to the natural environment than does conventional plant breeding.

    Today, pest resistance and herbicide resistance, along with some disease resistance traits, are the chief improvements incorporated into biotech crops. And most of those enhancements have been made in leading commercial crops, such as corn, soybeans, and cotton, grown in developed countries. The next frontier will be applying genetic enhancements to crops that will feed the hungry in developing countries.


    Shano, why do you hate the poor so much?

  41. I’m sorry, but you’re not going to get me to take you any more seriously by calling me a moron when you’re the one who compared what school lunches serve to dog food.

    The regulations for beef as set forth by the USDAMS are:

    3. Ground Beef Requirements
    a) Quality Control Program – The ground beef quality control program must be
    documented within the contractor’s technical proposal and have received a
    satisfactory onsite capability assessment by the ARC Branch.
    b) Traceability – All ground beef must be traceable to the production lots and associated microbial test results for each lot of boneless beef and LFTB used in the production of that lot. [From: TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS
    FROZEN Effective: July 2010, emphasis added]

    In other words, to be considered nutritional and suitable for the NSLP, beef must have gone through the grading process in a plant with approved sanitary practices. All of the beef must meet the specifications of USDA grading for human consumption, meaning the beef used must be classified as one of the quality grades (prime, choice, select, standard, commercial/standard, utility/canner). Yield grading really only applies to buying whole carcasses. If beef does not fit into one of these categories, then and only then is it graded “pet food only”. Because the nutritional guidelines call for using only inspected meats of suitable for human consumption, school lunches are not dog food quality meat unless someone is breaking the law.

  42. Once again, I’m growing bored with watching you chase your own tale. I’m going to bed. If you post anything worth responding to, I will do so tomorrow. If you don’t, I won’t.

  43. you’re the one who compared what school lunches serve to dog food.

    GeneH, stop being stupid for a second. The USA Today article stated that the meat, “spent hens,” was being purchased by the USDA for the national school lunch program and was considered safe for human consumption. However, the article also pointed out that fast food restaurants had an even higher standard for the meat they served and, as such, the ‘spent hens” if not purchased by the USDA would likely go to pet food or compost. The article didn’t mention anything about pet food grade food.

    I think you are just trying to post anything that was vaguely relevant to save face after your repeated blunders on this issue.

    Try reading slowly and carefully and you won’t embarrass yourself quite so much.

  44. kderosa, hmmm nothing about suicides in India, the poor yield of GMO crops, the incredible reliance on expensive fossil fuel based fertilizers and herbicides, fungicides, etc. GMO crops need more of these chemicals than conventional seed crops.

    GMO grains may be turning our gut bacteria into pesticide producing machines as all genetic material is traded quite rapidly in bacterial evolution.

    This is why we find MSRA at rates up to 50% in all CAFO workers.

  45. Does anyone think that ‘natural food’ created a little girl like that?

    It is a combination of steroids in US meat, HFCS and all the “approved” food chemicals that disrupt endocrine systems in humans -coloring, flavoring, preservatives, packaging chemicals, et al

    The food we have now is not the food I grew up on.
    Biologically or esthetically.

  46. I was referencing the Utube video above.

    If they put this girl on the typical supermarket ‘low fat’ food and diet soda, she will have an even bigger chemical load that will not enable her to lose weight.

    The body needs real nourishment. Not food substitutes.

  47. kderosa,

    “For chicken, the USDA has supplied schools with thousands of tons of meat from old birds that might otherwise go to compost or pet food.

    Poultry, like beef, only has a limited number of grades. A, B and C. All are safe for human consumption. If they are not one of those grades, they are classified as “pet food only”. Grades B and C poultry are usually used in further-processed products where the poultry meat is cut up, chopped, or ground. Grade C chicken is safe for human consumption, but guess what? It also gets used for other things like dog food and chicken nuggets. If sold at retail, they are usually not grade identified. Again, if ungraded or pet food only graded chicken is being purchased, it’s against the law. Too add to your collection, if you think I care what you think about “saving face”, I don’t take that seriously either.

  48. Its all contaminated CAFO chicken anyway. No matter the grade. In CAFOS, they feed arsenic to the chickens for weight gains, and it is becoming a problem in land contamination when they use compost from CAFO chickens.

    They are only now considering banning this practice.

    I would never eat a CAFO chicken of any kind. Too much risk of antibiotic resistant ecoli and MSRA.
    To say nothing of the sodium water plumping of the carcass they do to cheat people.

  49. I wouldn’t feed my dog CAFO chicken. But it might go to the higher quality dog food processors. You are usually safe buying lamb based dog food. Lamb will die if you try to put them in a CAFO. So, I buy the lamb, bison or venison based dog foods.

  50. shano,

    Not to mention the taste issue. Both of my grandmothers raised chickens. They tasted like chicken. Any factory farmed chicken tastes just about like the Styrofoam tray they pack it on.

  51. @Shano, right because old wives’ tales are not science.

    @GeneH, so then it’s safe to assume hat the “spent birds” are graded since they have been determined by the USDA to be safe for human consumption. Nonethless, fast food restaurants won’t use them and apparently no one else wants them for human food either. So they go to pet food or compost. Did you have a relevant point to make?

  52. kderosa:

    since no one asked what the fallacy of Ignatius Loyal is, I present this for your criticism:

    “Loyola’s devotion to the Catholic Church was characterized by unquestioning obedience to the Catholic Church’s authority and hierarchy.”

    I would therefore call the fallacy a slavish, unthinking devotion to an institution or an idea or ideology.

  53. Lotta and Mike,

    If you like Vachss, you should give Joe Lansdale’s Hap and Leonard books a try. I wouldn’t recommend starting with either of the two published this year, but that’s mainly because they don’t stand alone nearly as well.

    Of course I just like Lansdale in general.

  54. “OMG! You have revealed one of my most guilty pleasures”


    You were the one who tipped me off to Vachhs in the first place. I couldn’t remember who and thought it was Buddha, Bob, Mespo or AY. I’ve read all of the Burke Series, including the final wrap-up novel. I love the series as much as i love good hot and sour soup. He is a great writer and Burke’s companions are also a fascinating group.

    When I ran an elite investigation Unit in NYC Child Welfare I had planned out a novel where when the perpetrator got off on a technicality, I would end the book by throwing him off a tenement roof. Never wrote it, but imagine my vicarious thrill when you turned me onto Burke. The thing with Vachhs is he knows the system from his career and he gives the inside scoop on the troubles of Foster Care.

  55. kderosa; Darwins law will sort it out then. Ignore the science coming out about our terrible food system? Stupidity.

    I do realize most people are addicted to the food they eat and cannot or will not consider changing even if their life depends on it.

  56. We should enact the food and cosmetic standards of the EU. That would cut costs of medical care in the US by 30% or so. No doubt about it.

  57. What gets lost in a discussion like this is why crap fast food is so popular, beyond the hefty percentage spent on advertising and promotion. It’s cheap and people don’t have money. People by “Dollar Meals” for their kids because they are cheap. Add to that the fact that in many family’s today both parents works and so don’t have time for preparation of good meals.

    I must admit that at points when my daughter’s were young, my wife and I were so lacking in money that Roy Rogers was the location for our Friday night meals. Many of my daughter’s friends parents were there also. I even found a way to feed my family of four at Sizzler for less than $10.00. I knew it was wrong, but when you’re strapped for cash in America you do make choices. I can remember not paying a utility bill one time because my daughter needed an antibiotic for Strep that cost $75. This is why the professor’s meanderings are not responsive to the issue. Food is a necessity and many people are simply unable to feed their children as well as they might like.

  58. kderosa,

    Do you understand the difference between the words “safe” and “unsafe” and the phrases “good food”, “simply food” and “bad food”? Could more be done to improve the efficacy of food safety in this country? Why yes it could; a more rigorous scientific testing regimen (as the CDC and FDA are both recommending) and enough inspectors to properly do the job just to name two things that would help. Letting the food industry police the problem themselves though isn’t in any way going to result in improvements to anything other than their profit margin judging by their past performance.

  59. @shano, show me the scientific studies that speak to you think are the dangers of GMFs.

    @Mike Spindell, what’s wrong with fast food? I thought you were all about individual freedoms.

    @GeneH, what exactly is your point with your defined terms and how do they apply to the issue at hand. Also, your conclusion re more government inspection seems moot, private industry already has higher standards and their own testing regime. The USDA’s testing regime is substandard. It is a waste of taxpayer money. All it does is dish off inspection costs to the taxpayer and gives big business an advantage over small business. Businesses already has a big incentive not to kill their own customers or make them sick. It’s bad for repeat business.

  60. Mike Spindell:

    you can eat healthy for cheap. Oatmeal, barley, beans, chicken and leafy green vegetables and potatoes.

    whole chicken – 6 bucks
    Oatmeal 10 bucks for about 10 lbs
    barley – couple bucks for a couple of pounds
    beans – around 80 cents a bag
    leafy green vegs – 2 bucks a bunch
    potatoes 2-3 dollars for a couple of pounds

    Roman gladiators ate beans and barley.

    for 25 dollars a family of 4 could eat at least dinner for 2 days and maybe lunches and breakfast for at least a week. It would cost about $2 dollars per person. Much less than McDonalds.

    There cannot at the same time be a food shortage and an epidemic of obesity.

  61. “Also, your conclusion re more government inspection seems moot, private industry already has higher standards and their own testing regime. ”

    Proof, please. Independent proof too, not just the industry’s say so.

    “Businesses already has a big incentive not to kill their own customers or make them sick. It’s bad for repeat business.”

    Specious reasoning as everyone who understood Econ 101 knows you can make up lost repeat business through volume. Your statement also contradicts history which has ample examples of companies selling toxic and unsafe products, especially if they decide the cost of litigation is less than their profits.

  62. The proof is in the US Today article I already cited. The fast food company’s standards are far more stringent than the USDAs. ANd now that the USDA is a player in the market since they aer offering food for the National Food Service Program, they are not exactly an independent and neutral agency any more.

    As your bogus Jungle incident revealed, meat purchases plummeted after publication, and only rebounded after the government ran cover for them again.

    And to the extent that there is a long history or businesses trying to sell unsafe products as you claim, many of those products still got buy the incompetent safety inspections and regulations, were discovered by the market, rectified by the businesses, and/or and damages were handled by he courts as a tort action.

  63. Mike,

    Also, fat and sugar are physically addictive. I still get an occasional craving for the Totino’s party Pizza. Oh, and we should probably also factor in the social and cultural aspects of dining out.

  64. kderosa,

    Do you always talk gibberish when backed into a corner? The USAToday article is repeating what fast food corporations tell them. That is not independent proof that industry has higher food safety standards. As to “rectified by the businesses”? You mean rectified like Ford rectified the Pinto problem by calculating that it cost them less to pay out litigation than to do a recall? Businesses won’t rectify a damn thing unless 1) it profits them to do so or 2) government compels them to do so. You keep on believing in your Unregulated Free Market Religion if you want, but like all religions it isn’t based on empirical facts or evidence.

  65. gee kdreosa, a I already gave you the studies:

    Princeton Study showing HFCS causes more weight gain than sugar in equal amounts and liver damage.

    Purdue study showing a 50% abortion rate in cattle fed GMO wheat. New pathogen tied to GMO grains.

    Any search: 19 studies show GMO foods linked to organ disruption.
    GMO foods cause long term sterility in mice.
    Monsanto workers ban GMO food from their own cafeteria.
    Study finds toxin from GMO crops is showing up in human blood.
    GM foods more dangerous for children than adults.
    Bacteria in your gut can take up DNA from GM food
    GMO peas caused lung damage in mice
    GM potatoes cause cancer in rats, etc et al.

  66. Mike S., One lives to be of service :-)

    I’m glad you liked the books. I forgot about ever mentioning him on this blawg. One of the joys of senility- you can hide your own Easter eggs. I did not know there was a final book in the series and will have to visit his website and hunt it up. /pause/ Just checked the interwebs and there are three, THREE, Burke books I haven’t read including the last one! Thanks for sending me on that trip, I will enjoy them no doubt.

    “I had planned out a novel where when the perpetrator got off on a technicality, I would end the book by throwing him off a tenement roof.”

    It’s never too late and obviously, someone has to fill the void now left by Burke’s retirement.

  67. Gyges: “If you like Vachss, you should give Joe Lansdale’s Hap and Leonard books a try.”

    I read some of his SF/Horror work early on but never progress beyond that. I will now though. I knew the name but hadn’t read him until I saw the movie “Bubba Ho Tep” which was an excellent cult fav with some interesting, comedic dialogue. I’ll be sure to get his book list off Wikipedia and give the Hap and Leonard books a read. Thank you for the recommendation.

  68. “Also, fat and sugar are physically addictive”


    Don’t I know it. Six years ago being a medium framed 6 footer I weighed 236. This was no good for my heart and being the cook in my household I put on a low fat, low salt diet and no sugar. I lost 41 pounds in almost 4 years and went down to 185, while still enjoying the foods I love. As my heart started failing I went down to 178 and at first credited to my diet and its’ extra benefits. when I fell rapidly to 172 it coincided with my heart starting to fail and despite increasing my eating my weight wasn’t affected. Now a year later, with a new heart I’m up to 195 and again want to lose 10 more pounds. The fact is that if you cook it yourself you can still have the foods you love only prepared without frying, sugar and salt.

    My other trick is to let myself fantasize about the food I love but can’t eat. I never give into the fantasies, but they help pass the time. Some might see this as self torture, but what should they expect, I’m Jewish.

  69. “It’s never too late and obviously, someone has to fill the void now left by Burke’s retirement.”


    I’m glad I could be of service. His last 3 books are great. Though I am in the process of editing a novel I’ve written, I have written something that allows for my limitations in writing skill. Vachhs is a master, I’m not in his class, or the class of any authors I enjoy. Given my limitations I like my book thus far, but I have no pretensions of literary excellence, just having fun and trying to tell an interesting story..

  70. @Shano

    HCF does not contain any genetically modified DNA.

    There is no Purdue study, it’s just an unsupported anecdote from the alarmist Dr. Huber.

    And I don’t see any cites for the remaining list of “studies.”

  71. Let’s try this again, without the link.


    “The fact is that if you cook it yourself you can still have the foods you love only prepared without frying, sugar and salt.”

    I suggest getting a hold Sally Schneider’s A new Way to Cook. Her other cook book is great too.

  72. @GeneH

    I see you backed off your nonsensical claims and are now trying to attack my claims. That was probably smart.

    I’ll take the USA Today article and many others on the “spent hens” topic over your lack of proof.

    Ford paid out quite a handsome sum of damages to the victims of their flawed design. And they haven’t made another one of those poor decisions again. Also, let’s see what the government regulatory agency accomplished: “The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) pressured Ford to recall the Pinto, motivated by public outcry and pressure from groups such as Ralph Nader’s Center for Auto Safety. Initially, the NHTSA did not feel there was sufficient evidence to demand a recall due to incidents of fire. The 27 deaths attributed to Pinto fires is the same number of deaths attributed to a transmission problem in the Pinto, which resulted in 180 total deaths in all Ford vehicles, and in 1974 the NHTSA ruled that the Pinto had no “recallable” problem” That’s right: nothing. Ford eventually went on to redesign the defective design on its own. I guess getting whacked with enough multi-million dollar lawsuits tends to clarify priorities for companies.

    You keep on believing in your Government Regulation Religion if you want, but like all religions it isn’t based on empirical facts or evidence.

  73. Mike Spindell
    1, July 15, 2011 at 3:18 pm
    “Also, fat and sugar are physically addictive”


    ….Some might see this as self torture, but what should they expect, I’m Jewish.

    Not limited to the practicing Jew….I can assure you…..I think being reared in a Episcopal/Jewish nee Catholic/Parochial education….they have plenty of companions….

    I had a secretary one time that me in a matter of fact way, that she was raised Methodist and did not do guilt….that was the occupation of the Catholics and Jewish….

  74. Well, well well. We have a corporatist right here. HFCS made out of GM corn certainly does have genetically modified DNA. It is genetically modified to survive being sprayed with Roundup ™- not modified to increase nutrition or yield in any way.

    I am not going to do all the work for you- there have been thousands of studies done and the consensus is only being formed that we do not know enough about the effects science is seeing in animals being fed these crops.

    Hungary is testing all crops and destroying any GMO crops they find. Plowing them under. People are waking up to the fact that this sort of industrial agriculture does nothing to feed the masses (why do we still have billions of people starving if that were the case?)

    It increases our reliance of fossil fuels and decreases the nutrients available in the soil. And the stuff produced from these GM plants are not as nutritious as the natural plants grown in good soils that have not been exposed to Roundup.
    Some of the rates of nutrition degradation are astonishing. Lower rates of ALL vitamins.

    People hate this subject because for them food is an emotional issue. Not for me. I grew up on natural food, I grew my own food and ran a farm for 30 years. there is no way I will eat this stuff.

    It has not undergone rigorous testing by industry and government is in collusion with big business to let them monopolize the market, regardless of the preliminary studies that show damages and increased rates of disease and infertility in animals.

  75. kderosa,

    Just because you don’t understand the nature of my attacks on your claims doesn’t mean I wasn’t always attacking your claims. For somebody with a discernible bent toward propaganda, you sure don’t seem to grasp the concept that all warfare is based on the use of illusion. However, be aware that “I know you are but what am I” only works if you’re eight and not very bright. The historical facts are that industry has always worked on the “if the cost to litigate is less than than the cost to remediate, then litigate” paradigm and always will unless government compels them to do otherwise. The business of business is not safeguarding civilization. The business of business is profits. It is not in their best interests to do the right thing if it cuts into their profits. It’s an amoral enterprise just as market mechanisms are amoral, no matter how much you want to paint them to be otherwise.

  76. I ask again, does anyone think real nutritious food could result in producing a girl like this?

    I travel all over Europe (which has banned CAFO meat, GMO grains and does not use HFCS at all) and I have never seen fat people there like the people you see in the United States.

    I can eat anywhere in Europe. The food is wholesome and delicious. You have to really try to find processed food that is laden with chemicals in the EU. People would not stand for it. The opposite is true here.

    We have to change the collusion between government and these giant corporate food processors. We need more local food, more small producers and we should ban HFCS.

  77. Shano,

    How do you define “real nutritious food?” Hugely obese people existed before genetically engineered crops, high fructose corn syrup, and massed produced food products.


    The fact is, we (Americans) have lousy eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle. We could be eating free-range chicken and drinking soda made with another sugar, and there’d still be a huge obesity problem. I’ll grant you it might not be as big, but it’d still be there. You’re focusing on a small part of the problem without addressing the fundamental roots, the entire way we think about food is off, and until we change that, America will have a weight issue.

  78. No doubt, the way we think about food is pathological.

    But, I fly all over and the US has the most overweight people of any nation I travel to. The Princeton study shows that HFCS increases weight MORE, calorie for calorie, than sugar.

    the chemicals we allow in our food act as endocrine disruptors, in fact, we are now seeing 10 year old girls coming into menses, as well as having weight problems.

    When you take a child to McDonalds, they are eating HFCS, CAFO meat that has genetically engineered steroids, and all sorts of unnatural chemicals for ‘flavor’ and ‘color’ .
    HFCS will be found in the ketchup, in the bread bun, in the soda, in the pickles. The cooking oil for the fries is GMO, as are the potatoes. The soda is HFCS laced with chemicals.

    I have never seen any person in Europe who was too fat to walk. I see them all the time here.

  79. kd, the corn it is produced from, the source, is GMO. Why do you continue to try and argue this point?

    All commercial corn stock grown for HFCS is GM corn, modified to survive being sprayed with Roundup. I know, I used to do some no till corn planting before I knew better.

  80. Unless a food package specifically states it is NOT GMO, you can bet is IS GMO. That is the way it is in the US.

    And believe me, we fought hard to get this labeling. And will have to continue to fight to keep it.

  81. @Shano, if it were GM Corn it would have been plastered all over the study since it would have been the first study that ever showed anything deleterious with GM foods/

  82. “We have to change the collusion between government and these giant corporate food processors. We need more local food, more small producers and we should ban HFCS.”


    Very good and true point.

    “the entire way we think about food is off, and until we change that, America will have a weight issue.”


    Another good and true point.

    Now let’s put them together. The government with its USDA food chart and it lax regulation+giant chain restaurants & food processors/distributors+ Billion$ spent on mouth watering TV Ads psychologically tested to push peoples hunger buttons+a gullible uninformed public and people who are economically unable to buy good food=Obesity.

    I have never in my long life seen so many people, so fat. Babe Ruth a known over-eater and guzzler never weighed more than 240 and looked fat with a pot belly. Today 300 pounds for a man and more than 250 pounds for a woman represent about 10% of the public. My father had a bit of a pot belly and was 6’2″ never weighed more than 220. How the hell do people get to weigh 300 pounds, pr 400 pounds? Perhaps by eating McDonald’s salads that could be 800 calories alone. Or meals at chains like Friday’s,
    Big Bob’s, Denny’s, Applebee’s etc. that average more than 2,000 calories.
    Now I’m no gourmet, nor am I a food snob, but the food in those places tastes like crap, besides being spectacularly fattening.

    It’s all sold with the smoke and mirrors we call advertising. We need to stop blaming the victims of this and start looking at the perpetrators.

  83. kd, virtually ALL corn grown for commercial use is GM corn now. And it has been this way since 1998. The Princeton study is pretty recent.

    Unless corn is marked NOT GMO, it IS GMO. All HFCS is made with GM corn. You are trying to argue with a farmer! You know nothing about it!

  84. @GeneH, it helps when you find research by researchers that release their data when requested by other researchers and go through the peer review process instead of releasing their research at conferences, especially when their results are not consistent with the work of other researchers.

  85. Kderosa,

    Most farmers get upset when you mess with their sheep….that is not bias….bias…is a person from Arkansas keeping his sister to himself….There is a difference…

  86. yea, Mike, it is astonishing to get off the plane after being in Europe and see people in the US airports driving their hoverounds because they are too fat to walk.

    I see heavy people in the EU, dont get me wrong, but they look HEALTHY and they can walk!. They are eating real food, not food like substances.

    We should just enact the EU standards for food and cosmetics. Our health care costs would go down 30%, no doubt in my mind.

  87. kd is a shill for continuation of corporate foodstuffs that are draining the health out of our people.

    She is probably addicted to this crap, I know many people who are.

    And they get very defensive when you point out that the food they eat is really very bad for their health.

    As I say, Darwins law will sort it out.

  88. Diet Soda Linked To Weight Gain
    Huffington Post
    Amanda Chan

    Diet soda might not help you stay trim after all, new research suggests.

    A study presented at a American Diabetes Association meeting this week shows that drinking diet soda is associated with a wider waist in humans. And a second study shows that aspartame — an artificial sweetener in diet soda — actually raises blood sugar in mice prone to diabetes.

    “Data from this and other prospective studies suggest that the promotion of diet sodas and artificial sweeteners as healthy alternatives may be ill-advised,” study researcher Helen P. Hazuda, Ph.D., a professor and chief of clinical epidemiology at the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio’s School of Medicine, said in a statement. “They may be free of calories but not of consequences.”

  89. Sugar May Be Bad But This Sweetener Is Far More Deadly
    Dr. Joseph Mercola, Physician and Author
    Huffington Post

    Study after study are taking their place in a growing lineup of scientific research demonstrating that consuming high-fructose corn syrup is the fastest way to trash your health. It is now known without a doubt that sugar in your food, in all it’s myriad of forms, is taking a devastating toll.

    And fructose in any form — including high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and crystalline fructose — is the worst of the worst!

    Fructose is a major contributor to:

    • Insulin resistance and obesity
    • Elevated blood pressure
    • Elevated triglycerides and elevated LDL
    • Depletion of vitamins and minerals
    • Cardiovascular disease, liver disease, cancer, arthritis and even gout

    A Calorie is Not a Calorie
    Glucose is the form of energy you were designed to run on. Every cell in your body, every bacterium — and in fact, every living thing on the Earth–uses glucose for energy.

    If you received your fructose only from vegetables and fruits (where it originates) as most people did a century ago, you’d consume about 15 grams per day — a far cry from the 73 grams per day the typical adolescent gets from sweetened drinks. In vegetables and fruits, it’s mixed in with fiber, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and beneficial phytonutrients, all which moderate any negative metabolic effects.
    It isn’t that fructose itself is bad — it is the MASSIVE DOSES you’re exposed to that make it dangerous.

    There are two reasons fructose is so damaging:

    1. Your body metabolizes fructose in a much different way than glucose. The entire burden of metabolizing fructose falls on your liver.

    2. People are consuming fructose in enormous quantities, which has made the negative effects much more profound.

    Today, 55 percent of sweeteners used in food and beverage manufacturing are made from corn, and the number one source of calories in America is soda, in the form of HFCS.

  90. Actually Elaine…

    If you’ll read the ingredients on the label…You will see that sodium is like either the 3rd or 4th on the label….not only IMO the artificial stuff bad for you…but the sodium….keeps you just a little bit thirsty….so you want more….a few years ago I pretty much gave up sugars in drinks of any kind…I do sometime do have my Dr Pepper though….

  91. Artificial sweeteners are all neuro toxins. Especially if they have been heated in the can, at a loading dock for instance.

    This is just one more chemical load that US corporate interests are making tons of profits off of at the cost of the health of Americans.

    Aspertaime (sp?) has never gone through any controlled studies that prove it is safe for humans to consume. Donald Rumsfeld got it fast tracked over strong objections from the scientific community.

  92. I am addicted to the diet soda but I don’t gain weight on it. I eat healthy food that is mainly organic otherwise.

  93. kderosa,

    It would help if you didn’t rely upon reports paid for by those with financial stakes in the propagation of GMO crops. If you have problems with the study methodology of the Italian National Institute of Research on Food and Nutrition and the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna as commissioned by Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety, take it up with them. I read nothing that indicated that any of those groups refused to allow their research to be peer reviewed. If you have proof of that likely specious claim, please provide it.

  94. AY,

    Read the labels on lots of packaged foods and you may find two/three/four different kinds of sugars as major ingredients–even in some foods that don’t taste sweet

  95. Swarthmore mom,

    I find that artificial sweeteners have a strange after-taste. I cut soft drinks out of my diet years ago. They’re just empty calories.

  96. Elaine,

    That is very true. This is purely anecdotal, but one time when I was in college, I recalled how much I enjoyed Spaghettio’s as a kid so on a lark a bought a can at the grocery store one day. They were the sweetest, most disgusting thing I had the displeasure to taste as an adult. Learning to cook as a teen and a young adult had refined my tastes which not only made my sense of taste more discrete, it had re-tuned it to note imbalanced flavors as well. Imbalanced sickly sweet was the dominate taste I got from that can.

  97. The first aspartame study was a correlation study which doesn’t prove anything except maybe further control study research in this area might be fruitful.

    The second study was conducted on diabetes prone rodents. The insulin level increases were not statistically significant in any event, hence the “suggests” language.

  98. Yeah, but Bijou Boy….is it still a toss up between mud bugs and spaghetto’s today? or are they both off the digestion track…..

  99. And now they are hiding HFCS in labels under different names , using modified corn starch, maltodexidrine, etc. There are dozens of frauds like this in corporate foodstuffs. All the same crap.

  100. kd, and how do you know that Big Ag is not paying Google for top billing to discredit real scientific research?

  101. Smom,

    I’m a big fan of homemade lime or lemonade lightly sweetened with a simple cane sugar syrup infused with fresh mint that I make myself. The syrup is also good for sweetening tea. It gives me total control of the sugars and tastes awesome in lemonade (the mint really makes the lemon mellow).

  102. That sounds really good, Gene H.

    Big Ag makes us sick so Big Pharma can sell us drugs.

    That is the food system in the USA.

  103. From the Mayo Clinic:

    My favorite diet soda has a warning about phenylalanine. Is phenylalanine bad for your health?

    from Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.

    Phenylalanine isn’t a health concern for most people. But if you have the genetic metabolic disorder phenylketonuria (PKU), or certain other health conditions, phenylalanine can be a serious health concern. If you have PKU, phenylalanine can cause mental retardation, brain damage, seizures and other problems.

    Phenylalanine occurs naturally in many protein-rich foods, such as milk, eggs and beef. Phenylalanine also is sold as a dietary supplement. And the artificial sweetener aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet), which is added to many medications, diet foods and diet sodas, contains phenylalanine. Because of this, federal regulations require that any food product that contains aspartame bear a warning stating “Phenylketonurics: Contains phenylalanine.” This warning helps people with PKU and other conditions avoid products that are a source of phenylalanine.

    If you don’t have PKU, you probably don’t need to worry about harmful health effects of phenylalanine — with certain important exceptions. Aspartame can cause a rapid increase in the brain levels of phenylalanine. Because of this, use products with aspartame cautiously if you:

    – Take medications such as monoamine oxidase inhibitors, neuroleptics or medications that contain levodopa
    – Have tardive dyskinesia
    – Have a sleep disorder
    – Have an anxiety disorder or other mental health condition

    If you aren’t sure if phenylalanine or aspartame is a concern for you, talk to your doctor.

  104. Mike and Shano,

    I’ve actually read quite a bit on the subject, and it’s a combination of many many factors: an increased premium on “convenience” meant to sell kitchen appliances; lowered expectations due to war rationing and prohibition; the increase in both adults in a household working outside the home (cooking takes time); an emphasis on mass production; etc., all of which culminated in a detachment from the preparation and origins of food that no other culture in history has every had. Both in terms of physical remoteness, and conceptual awareness.

    Not only do Americans not have the time or money to eat healthy, we no longer have the skills or desire to.

  105. Gyges,

    Both my mother and I worked outside the home–as did my husband. We prepared home-cooked meals. Most of the salad dressings that I make take just a few minutes. They’re cheaper than store-bought dressings and don’t have sugar and preservatives in them. Soups and stews can be very economical–as they usually provide food for more than one meaI. It may be true that many people no longer have the desire to spend time to cook/prepare more healthful foods. That’s sad.

  106. Yes, Elaine, because food is a big part of any human culture. Food is medicine. There is a reason humans combine different ingredients in traditional cookery. It fulfills a role of maintaining human health over the centuries.

    Why do we have the traditional parsley sprig on plates? Because parsley is one of the relatively rare sources of Vanadium, something we need for health in ultra tiny amounts. No one eats it any more when it is probably the most vital thing on your plate these days.

    Our food system is sick and that can only produce a sick culture.

  107. I couldn’t agree more, Elaine M. Unfortunately, too many who work in the healthcare field seem to view nutrition courses as mere formalities… It’s crazy…

  108. You have to find a doctor that practices some form of integrative medicine. Otherwise by the time you are eighty they have you on 15 pills a day.

  109. Swarthmore mom,

    Yes… and as pills are added, a rule of thumb, is that the side effects aren’t additive but, rather, exponential, as you probably know…

  110. Since they first came out I would only drink diet sodas. After having kids I switched to Seltzer Water and drink that exclusively. Problem is when I eat out I have to order club soda, which has salt in it.

    Regarding the inappropriateness of sugar, isn’t it amazing that besides all their other unhealthy attributes, McDonald’s french fries also have sugar added? WTF?

  111. Mike,

    What about water with a slice of lemon, lime, or orange? It’s not quite the same — there’s something about a fizzy drink…

    I don’t know it’s already been mentioned here, but “Fast Food Nation” is worth the read, IMO.

  112. “What about water with a slice of lemon, lime, or orange? It’s not quite the same — there’s something about a fizzy drink…”

    anon nurse,

    When I was a kid we always had a seltzer man delivering cases to our home. It would come in thick blue and/or green glass bottles and had a metal top like a siphon. Now THAT was seltzer. There was the problem of the bottle exploding, but usually only when put in the ice box and I’m old enough to remember ice boxes and the Iceman coming. I’m not someone who likes water as a beverage, probably it comes from my formative years.

    Also wasn’t Fast Food Nation a movie, which I think I saw?

  113. Mike S.,

    I love those old seltzer bottles… Miss the old glass milk bottles, too, as well as the days when they were delivered.. (Back to the selzer, as you said, “Now THAT was seltzer.”) I’ve had a couple of selzer bottles explode… one, in the middle of the night…

    I thought that someone had broken in to the house… Called 911… And the bottle was in a rarely-used cupboard, so it took me a few days to figure out what had happened… The cops were very nice about the whole thing…

    I’ve grown to like ice-cold water with a little citrus twist…, but it’s definitely an acquired taste…

    Yes, there is movie based on Fast Food Nation, but I haven’t seen it…

  114. Elaine,

    Which is why I pointed out that it was a variety of factors.

    If you want to change the way people eat, you have to change WAY more than just “look, it’s not the hard to make all the meals for the week on the weekend.” You need to change attitudes about convenience, restaurants, and family scheduling. You have to re-educate the populace on cooking techniques and basic nutrition. You have to change the tax code, health regulations, and farm subsidies. In some cases you even have to change the availability of non-prepared foods foods. Most importantly, you have to shift the basic concept of “meal” from the mental category of “product.”

    If you really want to get into it I suggest looking into the modern era section of “Food: the History of Taste.”

    Of course parents make a choice one way or the other about feeding their children, but we as human beings are such products of our culture that most of them aren’t even aware there’s a choice to be made.


    I’m pretty sure I’ve read several places that the use of Parsley as a garnish was stolen butcher shops in the mid 1800’s (butcher shops still use it for a garnish, in fact, you can buy cheap plastic “parsley” dividers at butcher supply stores). That said, it is good for cleansing bad breath and you’re right about it’s several health benefits. It’s also an incredibly ubiquitous herb, so not eating the garnish probably isn’t going to eliminate it from your diet.

    I agree with much of what you say, but some of your facts about food just aren’t true. There are plenty of well researched books about the history of food, with lots of great documentation. The one I recommended to Elaine is a great place to start (if very academic). There’s lots of things to gripe about with the modern American diet without making things up.


    My guess is that the sugar either helps the fries brown better, covers up substandard potatoes, or both.

  115. Gyges,

    “Of course parents make a choice one way or the other about feeding their children, but we as human beings are such products of our culture that most of them aren’t even aware there’s a choice to be made.”

    I think some parents are well aware of their choices. They just may be too lazy to cook or prepare their children’s lunches when fast foods and convenience foods are so readily available.

  116. i think that sure there is is obese children but that is their problem and they got to want to change there self first before anyone else does

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