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Nov 20 2010

The USDA is Pretty Cheesy

(10 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Last week in a New York Times report, While Warning About Fat, U.S. Pushes Cheese Sales, there was a conflict of interest story that would give any Tea Party member a coronary. It’s bad for Democrats too.

You know how the United States Department of Agriculture is running a federal anti-obesity drive? Well, how about the fact that they also advised Domino’s on how to develop a new line of pizzas with 40 percent more cheese, then helped them devise and pay for a $12 million marketing campaign. Sales soared by double digits.

That’s just the beginning. You should read the whole story about Dairy Management Inc. that was created by the government in 1995 and not only invented the “Got Milk” campaign but runs an aggressive campaign to promoting the excessive consumption of cheese and convince Americans that saturated fats are good for you.

It’s almost comical that a subsidiary of America’s nutrition police ran a national advertising campaign promoting the notion that people could lose weight by consuming more dairy and lobbied the Agriculture Department not to cut the amount of cheese in federal food assistance programs by citing these false weight-loss claims from research they mostly financed and already knew to be false.

Tonight on the PBS show that replaced Bill Moyers Journal “Need to Know,” there was a follow up report Mixed signals: Why is the USDA promoting nutrition and pushing cheese? I think it’s must see TV and goes a little further than “Got Milk?”

We wanted to know whether there are other examples of the USDA working at cross purposes with … the USDA. Sure enough, Need to Know correspondent Rick Karr found that the example cited by The Times isn’t the only case of the government sending mixed messages when it comes to the food we eat.

Starting off with some of the commercials with the USDA seal of approval like the marketing campaign for the sandwich that McDonald’s only offers certain times of year for fear of killing off their customers.

Oh and it gets worse. Most of the $700 million that is used to promote overeating is paid by farms and ranches while small and medium sized farms get almost no benefit from the promotion of fast food restaurants or research that is bad for you.

The wonderful Marion Nestle helps to explain the conflict of interest but Dr. David Aaron Kessler had the best line in the segment “Get the Tea Party focused on Cheese.”

The same old story, the agriculture lobby representing companies like Conagra, Monsanto and ADM gives plenty of cash to elected officials so they won’t do anything about it, so the government spends tons of money to make us both fat and skinny at the same time.  

With all that stacked against the American people perhaps Michelle Obama should just say “Cheese.”  

1 comment

  1. Eddie C

    Don’t want to leave out the FDA so have a fish tale so have  a fish tale from NBC Nightly News.

    Did you know that 80% of our seafood is shipped here from overseas. Brian Williams told me this week as he was showing video of toxic sludge fish farms in Vietnam.

    The FDA test less that 2% of imported seafood and the FDA declined to speak with NBC on camera.So they had to go to a guy named John Connely who runs a trade group that imports seafood. You know you can always trust people who run trade groups, right? So this guy claims that the problem is being overblown as a trade issue.

    Anemia, cancer and birth defects for starters from imported fish but it got interesting when the reporter got around to the fact that most customers have no way of finding out what country fish come from in restaurants. The comedy came when the reporter asked the trade group hack “As a consumer, don’t I have the right to find out where my seafood comes from?” The answer “Consumers should fell safe that the FDA does a good job.” That same FDA that refused to be interviewed.

    Real scary stuff and I won’t be eating seafood outside the home anytime soon.

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