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These diaries haven't been attracting too many comments. My apologies that I don't have any good sex scandals to write about in the world of food. All the same, the more participation there is, the better our end result will be.

Here's the third installment about labeling. I'm combining 2 topics into 1 diary: Added Sugars and State & Local Labeling Rights.

The reason for the long-winded diaries on labeling is because I feel that lobbying for more labeling will be popular enough with most Americans that we might have some success in asking for it. Unlike banning a food, labeling is seen as giving people more freedom and choice, not less. Of course, Big Business makes website after website calling the labeling requirements "burdonsome" and trying to fool consumers into writing their representatives to say we don't want labels...

Anyway, without further adieu...

Added Sugars

I've posted this statement on the Recipe for America website ( http://www.recipeforamerica.org ). Please let me know what parts of it you agree/disagree with. It is meant to state the agreed upon position of the all of us, and I'd like it to represent more opinions than just mine.

In 1999, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) petitioned the FDA to require that food labels declare how much added sugars foods contain. "Added sugars" refers to table sugar (sucrose), high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), honey, or other sweeteners added to a food. Reading the petition, one gets the sense it is about as gainful as the Morgan Freeman character’s parole hearings in The Shawshank Redemption; the FDA denied similar petitions from CSPI in 1986 and in 1993.

Currently, you can see total sugars on a food label, but there is no way for consumers to tell whether a food’s total sugars are naturally occurring or added. Take blueberry yogurt, for example. The label tells you the ingredients and the amount of total sugars, fat, and calories. You know yogurt has milk, blueberries, and a sweetener of some sort. Milk and blueberries each naturally contain sugar. If you are looking for the brand of yogurt with the least amount of added sugar, you have no way of knowing which one to pick! Labeling does not impose on the freedom of anyone to sell or eat junk, but it helps educate consumers and spread awareness about how they can make healthy choices.

Over the past several decades, Americans have replaced some of their sucrose habit with HFCS, but increased their total consumption of added sugars. Since its invention, per capita consumption of HFCS rose from nothing to 59.2 pounds per capita in 2004.  At the same time, sucrose consumption fell from 101.8 pounds per capita in 1970 to 61.5 pounds per capita in 2004. Sucrose and HFCS consumption together in 2004 was 120.7 pounds per capita.

The impact the increase in added sugars we are enjoying has on our health is felt two ways – from what we are eating, and from what we are not eating. If you look at how we are eating all of these sugars, you will find that almost half the time we are drinking them: 33% of added sugars come from soft drinks, 10% of added sugars come from fruit drinks, and 3% of added sugars come from tea. Other sources are baked goods, dairy desserts, candy, and breakfast cereal.  From that list, you can see that what we are eating (and drinking) is sugars, fat, sodium, preservatives, and artificial coloring and flavoring. What we are not eating is fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.

Citing osteoporosis, cancer, and heart disease as risks of such a diet, CSPI petitioned the FDA to establish a maximum Daily Reference Value of 40 grams (10 teaspoons) of added sugars, representing 10% of a 2000-calorie per day diet. CSPI did not pick the number 10% out of thin air; it is a worldwide standard – recognized by the WHO’s Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity, and Health, and implicitly recommended by the USDA’s Food Pyramid. CSPI’s petition requested that the FDA formalize the USDA’s implicit recommendation as a Daily Value and then require that food labels reveal how much added sugars the food contains too.

The FDA denied the CSPI petition in 1986 and in 1993, giving reasons like lack of public interest in reducing consumption of added sugars, lack of conclusive evidence that sugar is associated with chronic disease conditions, and inability to distinguish between added sugars and naturally occurring ones. In other words, Americans don’t care about what they eat, eating junk isn’t unhealthy, and even if it was – we couldn’t enforce required labeling because we can’t tell how much added sugar is in foods anyway! As for that last one, how does the FDA regulate foods that are allowed to claim "No added sugar!" now?

In 1999, CSPI shot back with a 71-page (count ‘em) petition answering every single one of the FDA’s excuses for why added sugars are not labeled on foods. You can read the petition here: http://www.cspinet.org/... .

Recipe for America supports CSPI's call for required labeling of added sugars with a Daily Reference Value set at no more than 40g (10 teaspoons) per day, assuming a 2000-calorie diet. We see this as a first step to quantify how much added sugar qualifies a food as "high in sugar" so that future steps may be taken such as banning the advertisement of foods high in sugar during children's shows or forbidding foods high in sugar from making health claims on their labels.

State & Local Labeling Rights

As food companies try to resist new labeling initiatives at the federal level, they also try to use the federal government to prohibit individual states from adding labeling requirements of their own. Central to this debate in recent years are California’s Proposition 65, a 1986 law which requires businesses to provide warnings when they expose consumers to known reproductive toxins, and the National Uniformity for Food Act, a bill designed to override Prop 65.

The National Uniformity for Food Act was a bill backed by the Grocery Manufacturer’s of America, forbidding individual states from passing food-labeling requirements. Their stated goal was to make the laws more "fair" to food companies who could potentially have to create 50 different labels to follow the laws of the 50 different states. Of course, food companies could simplify such a dilemma by including all required information for every state on every label (e.g. if North Dakota requires X and South Dakota requires Y, the food company could print both X and Y on all labels and thus distribute to both North and South Dakota with no inconvenience). Their unstated goal, providing less information to consumers that may cast their products in an unfavorable light, would be accomplished by overriding Prop 65 and other current and future state laws like it.

The troubling part of overriding Prop 65 is two-fold: first, it would remove consumers’ ability to avoid foods containing toxins by reading their labels, and second, the National Uniformity for Food Act (or any similar future measure) impedes states’ rights. In 2006, the House overwhelmingly passed the National Uniformity for Food Act (HR 4167), but the Senate failed to vote on it. Recipe for America opposes the National Uniformity for Food Act or any other legislation that prohibits states and localities from passing their own food labeling requirements. For now, we can breathe easy – but keep an eye in the news for future legislation on this topic. No doubt the "other side" hasn’t given up!

For now, please comment on these topics here in this diary and I will edit the text on the Recipe for America website based on your feedback and critique. In the future, please check out the Recipe for America site, sign up, log in, and make comments there. Come on, we need a good, old fashioned pie fight! I've been interpretting your silence as agreement, and there's no way that a big bunch of liberals like us all agrees on everything :)

Originally posted to OrangeClouds115 on Fri Feb 16, 2007 at 06:15 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  If you want to see the ridiculous astroturfy (21+ / 0-)

    websites that oppose labeling, check the Recipe for America website ( http://www.recipeforamerica.org ) - the bottom of each page has relevant links, and I've included those websites there (hint: Check the pages for State & Local Labeling Rights and COOL)

    By the way, does anyone have a squirt bottle so I can get my cat to leave me alone? She woke me up at 6am by pulling my hair...

    I'd like to take this opportunity to whore my own website, Simple Vegetarian Recipes

    by OrangeClouds115 on Fri Feb 16, 2007 at 06:17:37 AM PST

  •  Labelling is critical - for health reasons (7+ / 0-)

    for many people. While it is important to know whether sugars are naturally occurring or otherwise, it's important just to know what's in food. Many that watch their diet, my household included, do it because of diabetes (sugars / carbs), high blood pressure (sodium), and just general concern for additives.

    Keep up the good work on fighting for labelling. Big thanks for all the work that goes into these diaries!

    Sanity will be restored as soon as I find the back up tapes!

    by SallyCat on Fri Feb 16, 2007 at 06:19:32 AM PST

  •  No labeling of GMO foods pisses me off (8+ / 0-)

    The industry's position is that genetically modified foods are perfectly safe, but we can't be required to tell you which foods contain them. That might tend to "create the impression" that they're unsafe.

    The same excuse was used to PROHIBIT 100% testing of beef for mad cow disease, as one small meat packer tried to do (so it could continue exporting to places like Japan that require it). Oh no, said the USDA, testing all beef might create a false (!) concern in the public's mind that the meat supply isn't perfectly safe.

    News is what they don't want you to know. Everything else is publicity. --Bill Moyers

    by RobLewis on Fri Feb 16, 2007 at 06:27:19 AM PST

    •  you're so right (5+ / 0-)

      Did you see the diary I posted on that 2 days ago? It's also on the RFA site already. Yesterday CSI Bentonville gave me a new link that I added to that page on the RFA site - a website listing which brands contain GMOs and which ones don't. It might be out of date since the list was compiled in 2003 but it's a start at any rate. I just try to buy organic all the time but who knows what I eat at restaurants.

      I'd like to take this opportunity to whore my own website, Simple Vegetarian Recipes

      by OrangeClouds115 on Fri Feb 16, 2007 at 06:30:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  This is the same excuse they used (6+ / 0-)

      when car makers suggested putting seatbelts in.  Oh no, that would make it appear that the car is unsafe, can't have seat belts.

      If you are looking for Truth, you better be ready to change your mind.

      by jimraff on Fri Feb 16, 2007 at 07:02:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  70% of US processed foods are now GMO (0+ / 0-)
      I diaried this back in September:
      70% of Processed Foods GMO, according to USDA

      This came out when the experimental Liberty Link rice escaped into the environment and was discovered to be contaminating the entire southeastern long grain rice crop:

      Federal officials stress there are no "health, food safety, or environmental concerns", and the secretary of agriculture, Mike Johanns, has admitted that 70% of all processed foods currently on grocery shelves contain genetically engineered ingredients.

      Basically, if it has soy or corn on the label, or HFCS, and the soy or corn isn't labeled as organic, it's almost certainly GMO.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Sun Feb 18, 2007 at 09:49:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hey.. you go screw yourself! (7+ / 0-)

    These diaries haven't been attracting too many comments. My apologies that I don't have any good sex scandals to write about in the world of food. All the same, the more participation there is, the better our end result will be.

    Your stuff is GOOD, man.

    I would argue that you DON'T lament the absence of commentary because you are dealing with a very real and "non-sexy" topic.

    I too will often add blurbs at the end of my posts such as "Alas, too bad Tom Cruise's baby won't talk about this" or "Too bad Brad and Jen can't make a co-statement so the press and media will actually listen.

    And I was just being rhetorical about "go scre yourself". It was just an attention-grabber to lightly smack your hand for feeling bad about few comments.

    You are excellent with these topics you focus on.

    Keep it up...or you will incur a very severe taunting.

    Food lableing is absolutely essential and it is NOT overboard to express concern that people ARE NOT paying enough attention to it.

    Again, I am apalled at the effort by Wal Mart and others to water the whole concept of labeling and "organic" down to a point where it is meaningless.

    The media conspires with the large corpse corps here. The corps hate the regs and the media COULD report on efforts to liquidate, but the media is too busy sucking up to American Idol and bullshit like that.

    Perhaps you could do a TV show about food lables! Certainly the Food Network would show it (not!)

    Thanks OC115!!

    •  thanks, and nice diary yourself (5+ / 0-)

      the other day :)

      I don't mind a lack of comments for any reason other than I don't want to create an entire website of ideas to represent all of us that has only been proofread and edited by me. Otherwise - less comments means that I don't get any trolls or anyone disagreeing or calling bullshit on me... can't complain there! :)

      Not sure if you saw it but I put up a diary several weeks ago now about organic standards and then translated that into a page on the RFA site about the subject (check it out there since that's more current - and feel free to make comments). The Wal-Mart stuff bugs me and I'm glad the Cornucopia Institute is catching them mislabeling things and holding them accountable for it.

      I'd like to take this opportunity to whore my own website, Simple Vegetarian Recipes

      by OrangeClouds115 on Fri Feb 16, 2007 at 06:34:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  labeling (6+ / 0-)

    I would definitely like to know more about the source of sugars. Another label issue that is big for me: allowing garlic, onions, mustard, etc simply to be labeled "spices." For the small percentage of people who are intolerant of or allergic to these items, it makes buying almost any canned food really difficult...

    http://www.eatwell.gov.uk/...

    I recognize that companies don't want their "secret ingredients" to be known, but is that really worht people getting sick and (in some cases) having an anaphylactic reaction?

  •  next time, call it anna Nicole's diet (4+ / 0-)

    and watch the response.

    In the United States, doing good has come to be, like patriotism, a favorite device of persons with something to sell. - Mencken

    by agnostic on Fri Feb 16, 2007 at 06:43:06 AM PST

  •  HFCS makes cannabis safer than Coca~Cola (10+ / 0-)

    HFCS related to the current epidemic of shildhood obesity and diabetes.

    I try to avoid it when possible but it's in every goddamned thing under the sun.

    I am a lucky, lucky zombie in that I have married an awesome woman from Viet Nam and she's a SCIENTIST when it comes to cooking.

    She cooks about 95+% from absolute scratch. Here in Atlana we have several Asian and Farmer's Markets and it's simply an education to follow her around and watch her choose foods, have her tell how to cook it and why it is good for you.

    I think, based on her abilities - which I have never seen much in anyone my age or younger - I have to say that America has more or less lost any real knowledge of food management: everything is processed and pre-prepared. Our entire relationship with food is off-kilter and it could be argued that this is not good.

    •  ooh, someone from atlanta trashing coca cola!! (5+ / 0-)

      Wow, your wife sounds amazing.

      I've been reading a great book lately, The Female Thing by Laura Kipnis, and I've been thinking of writing a diary about food & feminism. With two parents working - or with a single parent working - who has time to cook all the food? And with each generation, I'm assuming less people will pick up cooking skills at home. But then again, my mom cooks from scratch and I still had a rough time learning when I first got out on my own.

      From what I've read, the two factors linked to childhood obesity are TV watching and soda consumption. The more TV and soda, the fatter the kid. And soda means "added sugar" - nearly 50% of the added sugars we have, we drink. Labeling won't fix it but as I said in the last paragraph it's a first step. Ultimately I'd like to see foods "high in sugar" prevented from advertising to kids or making bullshit claims like "Promotes cardiovascular function," etc.

      I'd like to take this opportunity to whore my own website, Simple Vegetarian Recipes

      by OrangeClouds115 on Fri Feb 16, 2007 at 06:52:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  my dad does all the cooking, and... (5+ / 0-)

        since my parents have retired, they have discovered that their arrangment is not that unusual amongst the couples in their Midwestern retirement community. A lot of the 70somethings have arrangements whereby the men cook, although most of the couples (who married in the 1950s) didn't start out that way.

        Gender in the kitchen...sounds interesting!

      •  "part of a balanced breakfast!" (5+ / 0-)

        One of my fav Calvin and Hobbes.. Let's see how well I can remember the dialog..

        Calvin: But they say it's part of a balanced nutritional breakfast!

        Hobbes: And they show a guy eating 3 bran muffins, 5 bowls of oatmeal...

        I was close.

        Blechh, I feel sick. Oh, c'mon, that's only your second bowl of cereal. This stuff is pure sugar. But it's FORTIFIED with eight essential vitamins, so it's good for you. Give me a break. This is like eating a bowl of milk duds. Look, it says right on the box, "part of a wholesome, nutritious, balanced breakfast." And they show a guy eating five grapefruits, a dozen bran muffins... You know why you shake like that? Vitamin deficiency, I'll bet.

        http://www.s-anand.net/...

      •  we don't have children, but issue still applies (6+ / 0-)

        in terms of quality of our own diets.  Both of us are overscheduled, and as a result, while we are not regular denizens of fast-food emporiums, we both eat far too much processed (frozen) food.  

        If we could get on a schedule where we were both home and able to eat dinner by 8 PM, then it would probably be me doing most if not all of the cooking.  I already knew how by the time I met my then 17 year old girlfriend, and by the time we moved in together, after 4 years of college and 3 of grad school at Oxford, she had not had the opportunity to really learn beyond some basic stir fries.  When we are able to entertain people  here for dinner, I am always the chef.  I enjoy cooking  and wish I had more time to do it, but I won't do it just for myself, and sometimes, during soccer or musical theater, I am not getting home until 8:30 or 9, and really don't feel like starting to cook.  I just want to eat something,

        If we are really going to address our dietary (and health related) problems in this country, we will need not to have so many of us so overscheduled.

        Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH!

        by teacherken on Fri Feb 16, 2007 at 06:59:39 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Cooking from scratch (4+ / 0-)

        As a single adult who's really trying to avoid most processed foods (and always did--I could never stand the taste of most prepackaged meals) I think it comes down to a couple of issues--one is preparation, as in having basic ingredients on hand to make a variety of dishes. If you've got the stuff in the house, it's really not much more complicated or time consuming to make from scratch.

        The other issue, I think, is confidence in your cooking ability. I think people who feel the need to follow a recipe exactly, or who are unable to bring themselves to substitute ingredients, have the most trouble. Now that I think more in terms of categories--need some protein, some fiber, veggies in each meal--and am confident enough to experiment, I find cooking from scratch a lot easier and a lot more fun.

        Speaking of which, I have a recipe for rolls which calls for orange juice; I don't have any oranges, but I have grapefruit--anyone think grapefruit flavored rolls would work?

      •  Coke is simply addictive (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        OrangeClouds115

        and sex promotes cardiovascular function...;)

        The GreenState Project: Putting the grass in the netroots.

        by xxdr zombiexx on Fri Feb 16, 2007 at 12:25:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  HFCS is in everything (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OrangeClouds115, aphra behn, Zoskie

      it's extraordinary - i bought some hummus a week or so ago - a brand which used to be a good, solid healthy brand, too - AND I FOUND HFCS IN THE INGREDIENTS LIST

      i wanted to buy some worstershire sauce for a cabbage recipe i found that looks just yummy - but i couldn't find a single one without HFCS - not a one

      at this point, i'm very close to being too scared to buy processed foods of any kind

      kos, my daughter keeps writing on the wall with crayons. I'm tired of it. Do something about it NOW, dammit. -MJB

      by cookiebear on Fri Feb 16, 2007 at 07:20:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Other countries with no HCFS have similar obesity (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OrangeClouds115, CSI Bentonville

      epidemics. I know it's worse in the USA than almost anywhere else, and I also think HCFS is a worse ingredient than regular sugar - from what I've read I believe it has different, not yet fully understood complex reactions which affect metabolism. Just wanted to point out that many OECD nations where you can't find a single HCFS-containing product are having a similar growth in obesity. The UK and south pacific nations are really not all that far behind.

      The biggest factor in the different obesity rates between the USA and other developed nations with rising obesity, is probably not the sugar->HCFS ingredient difference but fast food habits: higher frequency of consumption, and much larger serving sizes. A "medium" soda in the USA looks a lot larger to me than a "large" elsewhere.

      Other than that, I agree with everything you wrote. It's Saturday morning here, Farmers Market day, I'm off soon to get fruit and veges for the week.

  •  local labelling (4+ / 0-)

    I'm torn on this one. While I think that a locality should be able to regulate the food products in their jurisdiction, it can get really messy.

    Yes, your example of X in ND and Y in SD makes sense. But that's a simplistic example, imo. If all states had varying regulations, that is unfair to the companies, I think. Especially when you get into a situation where State X's requirement mandates a 3"x5" box and State Y's requirement mandates a 2"x6" box, or something like that. Also, it means you have to keep on top of 50 different sets of regulations. I do environmental consulting, where most states have different regs, and it's hard enough keeping on top of just two or three states, then EPA on top of that.

    I like regulation, but all of these layers really make it a pain in the ass, and imo, it contributes strongly to the anti-regulation sentiment of the GOP.

    All of that said.. I'm still torn. It's hard for me to balance a jurisdiction's right to regulate themselves and a company's ability to smoothly operate (note, I did not say a company's right to operate. they have no such right).

    P.S. Want to see an example of local labelling gone awry? Check your foods for "Reg. Dept. Penna. Agr."

    •  very interesting (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SallyCat, cookiebear, aphra behn

      Yeah, in my job (or, former job) we had to keep on top of a million state laws for healthcare. The three top pains in the butt there were CA, OH, and TX - and I had clients in CA and TX!!! So I feel your pain.

      It depends here. I can see it both ways like you do. However, given all the money and influence peddling from the Grocery Manufacturers of America and others lobbying for uniformity, I just can't come down on their side. Corporations aren't citizens. They argue that it's too confusing for people to read different labels in different states. Ummm, right.

      When a crowd of individual citizens starts marching in the streets of DC over that issue, then I'll believe it. As someone who traveled to other states on a weekly basis in my last job, I can tell you that confusion over food labels was never a problem for me. Confusion isn't the issue. They want to disclose less information about their products to consumers.

      I'd like to take this opportunity to whore my own website, Simple Vegetarian Recipes

      by OrangeClouds115 on Fri Feb 16, 2007 at 06:57:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  yeah (4+ / 0-)

        Where the GOP gets their sympathy on these issues is the "small business". They find (or invent) a guy whose life has been ruined by some regulation. Hell, sometimes they don't even personify it. People are swayed by putting themselves in that situation.. running a business and having to deal with 50 different regs rather than being able to focus on the business.

        I suppose I support the system as it currently stands. The Feds should have tough rules, and when that happens, the states should try their best to stay out.

        If the feds fail to do their duty, the states should step in. What should logically happen then is that the producers lobby the feds to standardize things. What's happening in reality is that the producers are lobbying to eliminate the states' ability to require labelling.

        I should probably disclose that I'm not a big fan of the whole state thing in the first place. It creates unnecessary competition (states out tax-breaking each other to lure business) and adds a layer of complexity to many areas of government.

        •  But that's the beauty of it! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          OrangeClouds115, CSI Bentonville

          I should probably disclose that I'm not a big fan of the whole state thing in the first place. It creates unnecessary competition (states out tax-breaking each other to lure business) and adds a layer of complexity to many areas of government.

          A lot of the issues that perhaps should be dealt with at the federal level actually work better under local control.

          I'll cite the nasty ol' NCLB (or as we say locally, no child's dignity left intact) as a primary example.

          Those of us living in states without much agribusiness (The People's Republic) have a different perspective; especially if we grew up in the shadow of ADM and Ralston-Purina (Kansas City).  I vastly prefer my local <STRIKETHROUGH>greengrocer</STRIKETHROUGH> family-owned market to the supermarket 3 blocks further along; half of the products at the local market list the farm of origin (all of the meat products do).  Besides the better quality and same or cheaper prices, knowing where the heck my food came from comforts me.

          California is I believe our largest (in production) agricultural state; it's also one of the more diverse in that it includes both corporate and private producers.  I don't think the feds are as qualified to decide on labeling as is California.

          I'd feel the same way about Massachusetts and cranberries, or Vermont and either dairy or maple products.  Encourage us leverage our expertise; don't stymie it.

          1/31/07: The most overblown case of prosecution for littering since Alice's Restaurant.

          by FlyingToaster on Fri Feb 16, 2007 at 08:02:18 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  what states don't have much ag? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            OrangeClouds115

            States that you might not think of Ag still have it, but it may not be dominated by the AgCorps. For instance, NJ has fairly large corn, tomato and blueberry crops (among others). Yet most people think of it as an industrial state.

            I'll certainly agree that many issues work better under local control, education being the most obvious. But general welfare type laws, such as food labelling and enviro regs, are best dealt with at the national level in the interest of an easier climate for business.

            I don't think the feds are as qualified to decide on labeling as is California.

            But why? Why is a Calif. state legislator magically more insightful than a national legislator on this issue? I'm not sure you've really argued your point. I see no reason why federal regulation would be unable to mandate farm of origin, etc. The problem is a lack of will, and of course the corrupting influence of business (which still happens on a state and local level).

            •  For one thing, there are state marketing programs (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              FlyingToaster, CSI Bentonville

              and it's not that the feds know more than the state govt, it's just that the states are the ones with the incentives there.

              I'd like to take this opportunity to whore my own website, Simple Vegetarian Recipes

              by OrangeClouds115 on Fri Feb 16, 2007 at 11:18:22 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Lots of possible measures... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              CSI Bentonville

              ... but usually agriculture as a percentage of GDP is the primary measure.  Or ranking of agriculture as contributor to GDP (same thing).

              So Massachusetts makes most of its money from non-agricultural production (students, tourism, finance, biotech, high-tech, telecom).  NJ makes most of its money from industrial production, tourism, telecom, shipping.  However, I learned early on that Massachusetts promotes its local products (the MassGrown project); many other industrial states do so as well.

              California makes insane amounts of money from agriculture.  And unlike, say, Indiana (corn) or Missouri (soybeans and feed grains), it has a diversity of both agricultural production and size of producers.

              A California state legislator may or may not have personal expertise in agriculture (more likely in Fresno than LA), but if they want to stay in office, they'll damn well have staffers who have developed that expertise.  It's in their interest -- which is anything but magical.

              1/31/07: The most overblown case of prosecution for littering since Alice's Restaurant.

              by FlyingToaster on Fri Feb 16, 2007 at 02:17:34 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  Ingredient list... (5+ / 0-)

    Current law requires that ingredients are listed by order of volume (weight?)...

    So if one blueberry yogurt lists yogurt, blueberries, HFCS, and the other lists yogurt, HFCS, blueberries, you have an answer. Not the best solution, but at least for comparative purposes, it's something.

    I know this is important to my health and I have been trying to do "better", but I have to say that some of the stuff that is billed as HFCS-free is positively dreadful tasting. I threw away an almost-full box of cereal because I just couldn't stand the taste. And it was a LOT more expensive than the General Mills stuff.

    Getting the food industry to find ways of making foods healthy and palatable seems to be the major impediment. And I realize that my tastebuds have probably been "trained", but it's still an enormous issue.

    The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it -- GB Shaw

    by kmiddle on Fri Feb 16, 2007 at 06:49:12 AM PST

  •  you have my sympathies (5+ / 0-)

    on excellent and informative diaries that are not getting the attention they deserve.  As the site has grown, the percentage of users who knew the quality of your writing may have gone down.  Thus even if all those who previously recommended your diaries continued to do so, it makes it less likely that they will ascend to the recommended box.  Also, now that you are on the West Coast, the time at which you are posting makes it less likely that you will be at the top of the new diaries list all that long before scrolling down.  The additional traffic at the time you post also makes it harder for a diary to ascend.  And let's face it - being in the recommended box of course draws a lot more traffic from people who don't yet know your work.

    I have experienced some of this recently.  Yesterday I post what I thought was a fairly well-written diary.  But because I posted it in the afternoon (because school was closed) it did not get the kind of attention I would have expected.  I also did not have NCLB has part of the title until it had already scrolled dwon to about 15th or so on recent diary list.  (In case you want to check my judgment on qualify and importance, you can look here).  Maybe if I had a sexier title, like NY Times and WashPost suck?

    Anyhow, don't get discouraged.  Know that a lot of people pay attention to what you write, and the number of comments or recommends is not always an indication of how many people have read what you have written.

    Those who can, do. Those who can do more, TEACH!

    by teacherken on Fri Feb 16, 2007 at 06:53:35 AM PST

    •  thanks, Ken. I rec your diaries when I see them. (5+ / 0-)

      You're right about the time period, but I don't mind if I'm not in the rec'd list... it's nice to see new people get their chance in the spotlight as our community grows. I'm more worried about the amount of discussion going into this stuff. By YK07 I want to have the RFA website pretty much fleshed out so it's something we can all really be proud of. The work there is getting done, but I'm afraid its not under the dKos microscope enough to get critique and feedback.

      I'd like to take this opportunity to whore my own website, Simple Vegetarian Recipes

      by OrangeClouds115 on Fri Feb 16, 2007 at 07:03:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Just out of curiousity (4+ / 0-)

    Does anyone know regulatations about labeling for common allergies like peanuts?  What is required, what isn't?

    If is made in a faility with nuts, are they required to say so?

    If you are looking for Truth, you better be ready to change your mind.

    by jimraff on Fri Feb 16, 2007 at 07:09:33 AM PST

  •  if these corporations were smart ... (4+ / 0-)

    ... they'd not only support labeling, but dump the HFCS

    i swear, sugar lobby or not, it's all going to bite them in the you-know eventually

    even the most libertarian-ist person is going to eventually run into a product which is poorly labeled and which contains ingredients they or their loved ones are trying to avoid either by choice or by necessity --- and even they are going to get annoyed enough about it to start avoiding (at the very least) poorly labeled brands

    that may sound like a stretch, but it's how it is.

    in the meantime, though, it is so very, very problematic. i think about the hummus i bought that i found HFCS in --- i mean, wtf??? it's ending up in almost all processed foods, much the way salt is and MSG was at one time.

    and in the meantime, it's wrecking the health of countless people and contributing enormously to our national epidemic of diabetes

    kos, my daughter keeps writing on the wall with crayons. I'm tired of it. Do something about it NOW, dammit. -MJB

    by cookiebear on Fri Feb 16, 2007 at 07:15:48 AM PST

  •  Question on sodium content (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OrangeClouds115

    Several years ago I heard that, although labels disclose the % of sodium, there could be ingredients that are types of sodium but that aren't required to be included in the amount disclosed.  IOW, an item might say that a serving has 10% RDA of sodium, but it really might have 15% if they included all of the sodium source ingredients.
     Wish I could remember more of the specifics of that report.

    My Karma just ran over your Dogma

    by FoundingFatherDAR on Fri Feb 16, 2007 at 10:44:00 AM PST

  •  Recommended. (0+ / 0-)

    PS I usually don't have a comment, because you're usually right! What, I'm going to argue for less labeling? More added sugar?

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