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

by in Food News, June 25, 2010

mcdonalds fries

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

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

CSPI To McDonald’s: No More Happy Meal Toys
What’s most appealing about a Happy Meal: the food or the toy? Nutrition watchdog Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) thinks it’s the plastic prize that’s the big draw, and the group has threatened to sue the golden arches if the fast food chain doesn’t stop using toys to market junk food to children. A press release from CSPI equates McDonald’s “to the stranger handing out candy to the kids in the playground,” and quite frankly — I agree.

TELL US: Do you think McDonald’s should take toys out of Happy Meals?

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

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

TELL US: Should bioengineered alfalfa sprouts be banned?

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

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

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Comments (6)

  1. Fine with toys says:

    I feel like taking a Toy out of a Happy Meal will not change rather or not children will want to eat the food. It is the parents who are the enablers in this situation. McDonald's does offer healthier choices for kids in their happy meals. It is the parents job to choose those options instead of opting for the french fries and milkshakes. Maybe McDonalds can continue to offer the toys in the happy meal but eliminate the option of french fries to go with it…

  2. Heather says:

    I think toys are fine. Its ultimately the parents who make the decision what to purchase. You dont see a 6 year old walking into McD alone do you?

  3. LaDawn Wells says:

    I think the parent is the guilty one by allowing the food choices. They are suposed to teach them good habits. McDonald's, trying to make the experience fun, could help by adding the toys to the better food choices for the children, a little reward for eating better.

  4. LaDawn says:

    Yes, bioengineered alfalfa sprouts should be banned as other genetically modified produce. They are proliferating the country with products that have little nutritional value and we eat it, possibly with residue from the chemicals that they used. For our health, we should be concerned.

  5. Ron says:

    When did we come to the state of needing a big brother to watch over us and tell us how to act, live, bring up our children. Who elected the CSPI to protect us from the toys in McDonald's Happy Meals?

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