Friday, June 6


Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming have joined the chorus of US states assuring their citizens that the chance of their having been fed BSE beef, while not yet able to be ruled out, was still really really small. That's because after stopping in Montana, the five high-risk cows - which could be any five of a pool of 22 - were spread among various states for slaughter, and "what became of the carcasses after slaughter was unclear." Well, uh, does it really need to be said - that if you had a credible program to test these things and track them, it'd be a hell of a lot clearer??? The best the USDA can offer is "as far as I know"s. As far as I know, they've all been sent to slaughter,"Veneman told reporters. Great. "As far as I know, you're not dying of Mad Cow Disease." Whew! Meanwhile, even Japan is apparently considering banning American beef over safety concerns as the foolhardy nature of U.S. meat regulation becomes apparent to the outside world. The silver lining is, this should lead to substantially more testing of cows, and hopefully more thorough record-keeping of human CJD patients. And once that happens, who knows?

No one knows

As far as I know.

Thursday, June 5


Yes, again. The USDA is trumpeting its new take-no-prisoners response to the wave of killer bacteria that have made headlines over the past year, and really getting tough now. Yes sir! Just listen to this: "The new USDA rule requires U.S. meat plants that produce ready-to-eat products exposed to the environment after cooking to develop a plan to prevent listeria, then to verify the effectiveness of the plan through testing". Oh man! Yow! Cowa-bunga! If you don't think this is gonna stop greedy producers from feeding Americans feces-smeared meat, well... you're probably right.

Wednesday, June 4


That's the headline. Ain't it a beaut? Ya can't make up material like this. Anyway, yeah, the American Heart Association followed up on Center for Science in the Public Interest's bust of Laura's Lean and told them they must "stop using the AHA's special heart and check mark logo on ribeye and strip steaks within 30 days or face legal action, the association said in a statement. Why? Becausethese "Lean" meats are still loaded with twice the saturated fat the label admits to. Can't wait till they test a few other brands...

Tuesday, June 3


"As mad cow scare enters third week, [Canadian] beef industry cries for help become louder." In other words, they're asking Joe Canadian taxpayer to pay extra, once again, in compensation for the industry's mistake. Didn't they read those 1998 interview where Howard Lyman said "Get out while the getting out is good"?

Meanwhile, back in the U.S. even good ol' USA TODAY has fallen off the bandwagon, pointing out once again the fallacy of "we don't need more tests 'cause we know there's no BSE here."

UPDATE 6/4: I was just kidding around with that headline, but who knows? The Billings Gazette reports that Canada's BSE investigation has spread to Montana: "Canadian bulls sold to Montana came from herd that contained BSE cow," they say.

Monday, June 2


I'm not referring to the famous constipation symptoms when I say that with the Atkins diet, it seems there's always a "but." When the studies came out a little over a week ago comparing Atkins to a wussy low-fat diet and finding again that people initially lost more weight on Atkins, many newspapers' headlines trumpeted the "vindication" of the tragically clumsy diet doc. But those that looked a little closer at the data phrased it a little differently, such as "Atkins Diet May Be No Better Than Just Cutting Fat" (Reuters) and "Atkins Diet Works Quicker, But Long-Term Benefits Negligible" (Washington Post).

Notably, even the New York Times, which kicked off the latest wave of Atkins-mania with last summer's "Big Fat Lie" article, is now cooling a bit on the high-protein regime. In an editorial, the paper pointed out that "neither diet worked all that well given the group's excessive weight, averaging 216 pounds at the start. Those on the Atkins diet lost an average of 15 pounds by the end of six months and those on the conventional diet lost 7 pounds. By the end of a year, however, each group had gained some of the weight back, with the Atkins group leading the way. Worse yet, people dropped out of both diets in droves. The sad truth is, no matter what diet people go on, they have a hard time sticking to it." As a case in point, NYT food writer Jason Epstein not only gave up the diet he had endorsed so strongly, he apologized for misleading the public: "My apologies to readers who may have been seduced by my euphoric example when I announced my conversion to Atkinsism in these pages nearly a year ago. The diet worked. My conversion failed. In half the time it took to lose 20 pounds, I gained 12 back." Yeah, the diet worked. It was all your fault, Epstein. Seriously now, even assuming it doesn't have any long-term liabilities, what good is a diet that almost no one can stick to?