Tag Archives: label

House votes to gut FDA menu rules

The U.S. House recently voted to gut the Food and Drug Administration’s proposed rule for calorie counts on menus at restaurant chains.

The legislation, the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act — with bipartisan sponsorship and strong support from the restaurant industry — is now before the Senate.

The measure would diminish the impact of the FDA’s effort at requiring restaurants to inform diners about calories and nutrition.

On lobbyists’ menu

“Despite the clever name, this anti-menu labeling bill is neither common sense nor would it disclose additional information,” said Margo G. Wootan, director of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest. “It would result in consumer confusion and prevent disclosure of straightforward, consistent calorie information at many food service establishments.”

A recent study released by Harvard showed that menu labeling could prevent up to 41,000 cases of child obesity and save more than $4.6 billion in health care costs over 10 years.

Also, a national poll found about 80 percent of Americans support menu labeling.

The federal requirement for menu labeling at restaurants with more than 20 sites passed six years ago, as part of the Affordable Care Act, but lobbying by the food industry delayed implementation. The chief opponents of labeling are the Food Marketing Institute, a supermarket trade group, and the American Pizza Community, led by Domino’s Pizza.

A coalition of more than 100 health and nutrition groups, including the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association and American Diabetes Association opposes the congressional attempt to weaken the rule.

“We do not think that it is common sense to weaken a policy that would allow people to make their own, informed choices about how many calories to eat at a time when obesity rates are at a record high,” the groups said in a joint statement.

The health and nutrition advocates now are focused on the Senate, where Republican Roy Blunt of Missouri has introduced a companion bill.



Americans eat and drink about one-third of their calories away from home, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which has proposed a rule requiring the posting of calorie information on chain restaurant menus.

PHOTO: GraphicStock The U.S. House has voted for legislation to weaken federal rules requiring restaurant chains to post nutritional information, including calorie counts, on menus.
PHOTO: GraphicStock
The U.S. House has voted for legislation to weaken federal rules requiring restaurant chains to post nutritional information, including calorie counts, on menus.

Oregon test: soy engineered for heavy pesticide exposure found in infant formula

The Center for Food Safety says genetic testing confirmed the presence of soy genetically engineered by Monsanto for heavy pesticide exposure in infant formula that is being sold in Portland, Oregon. The organization announced the test results on Food Day 2014 and in advance of a vote in Oregon on whether to label genetically engineered foods.

CFS and Dr. Ray Seidler, the first EPA scientist to study genetically engineered crops and former professor at Oregon State University, worked together on carrying out the testing. With recent published studies confirming that genetically engineered soy has significantly higher levels of chemical herbicides than conventionally grown soy, the test findings raise concerns about increasing infant exposure to chemical herbicides.

The testing follows up on a recent nationwide study by Consumer Reports finding genetically engineered ingredients in more than 80 common food products.

“I think most moms purchasing infant formula have no idea they are feeding their baby a product that has been genetically engineered to survive exposure to high levels of chemical pesticides,” Aurora Paulsen with Center for Food Safety’s Portland office said in a statement. “It’s no surprise that Monsanto is the top donor opposing Measure 92 which would give Oregonians the ability to know what foods have been genetically engineered. The presence of these products in infant formula being sold in Oregon really highlights the need for basic labeling.”

Seidler said, “Everything we know from the recent medical literature suggests we should be doing everything possible to reduce infant exposure to chemicals.  Finding soy in infant formula that has been genetically engineered specifically to survive high levels of chemical pesticide spraying is a real concern and takes us in the wrong direction.”

Genetic tests were conducted on three brands of infant formula bought at the Fred Meyer in Portland. Two products that tested positive for genetically engineered soy included Similac Soy Isomil and Enfamil Prosobee Powder Soy Infant Formula. Both products tested positive for Monsanto’s genetically engineered soy that is engineered to tolerate spraying with the herbicide glyphosate, as well as, Liberty Link soy that has been genetically engineered by Bayer Crop Sciences to tolerate spraying with the herbicide glufosinate.

AP Stylebook drops use of ‘illegal immigrant’

The Associated Press Stylebook – long considered the U.S. journalist’s bible – issued an update today that says no to the use of “illegal immigrant.”

The update corrects an entry that civil rights advocates and many journalists have long sought to change, for multiple reasons. Before the change, a number of news organizations that generally adhere to the Stylebook had rejected the use of “illegal immigrant.”

The new Stylebook entry for “illegal immigration” states:

“Entering or residing in a country in violation of civil or criminal law. Except in direct quotes essential to the story, use illegal only to refer to an action, not a person: illegal immigration, but not illegal immigrant. Acceptable variations include living in or entering a country illegally or without legal permission.

“Except in direct quotations, do not use the terms illegal alien, an illegal, illegals or undocumented.

“Do not describe people as violating immigration laws without attribution.

“Specify wherever possible how someone entered the country illegally and from where. Crossed the border? Overstayed a visa? What nationality?

“People who were brought into the country as children should not be described as having immigrated illegally. For people granted a temporary right to remain in the U.S. under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, use temporary resident status, with details on the program lower in the story.”

On the AP blog, senior vice president and executive editor Kathleen Carroll said, “The Stylebook no longer sanctions the term ‘illegal immigrant’ or the use of ‘illegal’ to describe a person. Instead, it tells users that ‘illegal’ should describe only an action, such as living in or immigrating to a country illegally.”

The AP, in discussions on the issue, rejected the use of “undocumented immigrant” as not precise.

Earlier this year, the AP updated the Stylebook to make its entries for “husband, wife” and “widow, widower” inclusive of same-sex marriages.

Bumper crop | Vehicle decals convey a growing diversity of political sentiments

The lyric “Saw a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac” went through Paul Cone’s mind when he affixed the black-and-white bumper sticker to his 2010 Lexus RX350.

The Lexus is a sweet car – pearl white with leather seats and wood interior trim. Cone, of Milwaukee, has been known to pet, talk to and boast about the vehicle. Now, stuck prominently on its rear bumper is a black sticker with white text that reads, “HOW MANY ARMED PSYCHOPATHS DOES IT TAKE TO CHANGE A GUN LAW?”

Cone decided to adorn his Lexus with the sticker after the mass shooting of children and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December.

“I had to respond to the idiots in the NRA. I feel that strongly about the need for gun control reform, and I knew she wouldn’t mind,” Cone said as he leaned against the freshly washed SUV, which stood out among the salty, dusty autos in the parking lot of Beans & Barley, 1901 E. North Ave.

Nearby, Melissa Wilson, of Milwaukee, hauled two bags of groceries to a 1998 Saturn S that someday might be held together by its stickers: “What a long strange trip it’s been,” “Was Columbus an illegal alien?” “Occupy Milwaukee,” “Earth First,” “Coexist” and more.

“First car. First bumper stickers,” she said, describing the rite-of-passage that comes with leaving for college and being liberated from borrowing the family cruiser. “I had to drive my dad’s car with the George Bush sticker for years. Hope he needs to borrow mine someday.”

Citizens have any number of ways to express themselves publicly these days, but people use bumper stickers to label themselves and express their identification with causes and communities in a physical way that tweets and posts cannot match.

“It’s a message that has value because it has permanence and a physical presence,” Cone said. “The Internet stuff is forgotten in a day, or an hour.”

The bumper sticker, according to histories on the Web, developed with the debut of the Model A Ford in 1927 – the earlier Model T lacked a bumper. The first bumper stickers were made of aluminum or cardboard and attached to the auto with wire. Forest P. Gill, a silk-screen printer in Kansas City, Mo., is credited with first using adhesive in the 1930s so the motoring messages could become practical and widespread.

On March 1, after the late February snow had fallen from many bumpers, WiG found stickers on about one in every four vehicles parked on the streets of a half-dozen Milwaukee neighborhoods. Around Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the ratio was more like one in three, and those bumpers tended to be more crowded.

A Subaru parked on North Cramer Street on the East Side sported bumper stickers proclaiming: “Ordain Women or Stop Dressing Like Them,” “My comedy channel: Fox News. My news source: Comedy Central,” “Dance Local,” “Love my teachers” and “Recall Walker,” one of the more common stickers on cars in Milwaukee.

A bumper in Avenues West displayed a Mickey Mouse decal, “Wall Drug of South Dakota” and two sets of the Grateful Dead’s Dancing Bears.

In the Historic Third Ward, a minivan with two car seats displayed a collection of badges – “Mom on Board,” “Be good, be green” and “Choose Choice.”

In Walker’s Point, many compacts and coupes, trucks and SUVs, sported blue-and-yellow equal signs and rainbow Pride decals, as well as a variety of Barack Obama re-election stickers, including a crayon-like one on a Ford pickup that said “Dogs against Romney.”

“I did that with Seamus in mind,” the truck’s driver, Shelli Anderson, of Racine, said, referring to the dog that Romney placed in a carrier on top of the family wagon for a 12-hour vacation drive in 1983. 

Anderson makes her own stickers on CafePress.com and changes the slogans and sayings on her truck several times a year.

“My truck is like a big T-shirt,” she said. “I love bumper stickers, always have. I like to have them and read them. I see a really good one, that gets the driver a toot on the horn. I see one I don’t like. So, OK, I’ve flipped the finger to a few.”

The bumper-watcher said she’s noticed fewer stickers in the past decade.

So have sticker manufacturers, used car dealers and car wash attendants, who speculated there are several reasons for a possible decline. For one thing, a lot of auto models no longer have distinctive bumpers; for another, people who lease cars want to avoid penalties for damage caused by stickers. And some motorists have concerns that stickers might provoke vandalism.

Also apparently on the decline are sales of specialty license plates that provide, for a price, an opportunity to drive a message. Surveys show a decline in specialty plate sales in recent years in Oklahoma, Tennessee and Florida, possibly due to the economy, too many plates on the market or drivers deciding they don’t want government interfering with their messages.

Legal battles have erupted in recent years in Oklahoma, North Carolina, Virginia and Indiana over what groups can participate in specialty plate programs and what messages the plates can convey. Indiana lawmakers are considering a bill to limit the number of specialty plates following controversy over a plate for the Indiana Youth Group, a support group for gay teens.

There also have been legal skirmishes over bumper stickers, specifically First Amendment defenses of motorists arrested on obscenity charges.

A Florida woman, for example, was arrested in 1999 for a bumper sticker that stated, “Fuck you, you fucking fuck.” The charge against her was dropped, but a Georgia man, James Daniel Cunningham, had to go to his state Supreme Court to appeal his conviction for driving with the bumper sticker “Shit Happens.” The court sided with Cunningham, finding that “the peace of society is not endangered by the profane or lewd word which is not directed at a particular audience.”

A federal court also ruled in favor of truck-driver Wayne Baker, who was stopped by an Alabama public safety officer and ordered to remove offending language on a bumper sticker that said, “How’s My Driving? Call 1-800-2-EAT SHIT!”

Baker scratched out the sticker and then filed a federal lawsuit. U.S. District Judge Myron H. Thompson, in his decision, said the sticker wasn’t offensive and “is also protected speech under the First Amendment because it has serious literary and political value.  Although surely not a likely candidate for a literary prize, Baker’s bumper sticker has serious literary value as a parody of stickers such as ‘How’s My Driving? Call 1-800-2 ADVISE.’”

Thompson also observed, “For those citizens without wealth or power, a bumper sticker may be one of the few means available to convey a message to a public audience.”

That’s something Wilson thought about when she donated a dollar for the “Occupy Milwaukee” sticker that she added to an older-model car. “Free speech that’s almost free,” she said.