In December 1975, Baker/Beech-Nut, the baby food manufacturer, sent out 760,000 letters to new parents warning them about the hazards of feeding babies home prepared foods. Instead, they recommended feeding babies Beech-Nut products.
A suit was filed by four San Francisco mothers in August 1976, charging the company with a scare tactic that was false and misleading.
Last Friday at a joint press conference, the plaintiffs and the president of Baker/Beech-Nut announced settlement of the suit.
The company agreed to send out another 760,000 letters to new parents which will state that "baby foods prepared by a parent in the home are completely acceptable as long as the parent exercises reasonable care in the selection, preparation and storage of such foods."
In addition the letter will say that the chances of food poisoning with homemade baby foods are remote; that all cooking of foods - whether commercial or in the home - leads to some loss of nutrients.
Beech-Nut will then provide some simple rules for getting the most nutritional value out of home-prepared foods: use only raw fresh ingredients and cook them in the smallest amount of water possible, store unused portions in air-tight containers and place in the freezer.
The lawyer for the plaintiffs, Marsha Cohen, said her clients "were all pleased with the responsible manner in which the company had acted."
A new, twice-weekly Farmers' Market has opened in Silver Spring. The market is situated next to the National Guard Armory, at Fenton and Pershing Streets, and functions from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. each Saturday and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. each Thursday.
The Ball Corp. reported last week that it is producting 3 million replacement lids a day, an amount it considers ample to prevent any repetition of the lid shortage that plagued home canners two summers ago and to some extent last summer.
Futher evidence of the high cost of buying food in Washington was provided by the July beef price survey compiled by the American National Cattlemen's Assn. The association prices five representative cuts of beef in 19 cities each month. This month the average price for the five cuts here was $1.60, a penny above the June average and 2 cents above the average one year ago. Over the last month the national average had shown a decline of 2 cents.
Only Portland, Ore. ($1.77), showed a higher average. Baltimore's was the same. Among the cities where beef was priced lower are Chicago ($1.31), Detroit ($1.53), Los Angeles ($1.55), New York ($1.58) and San Francisco ($1.36).
The newly launched training program for cooks sponsored by the American Culinary Federation has enrolled its first apprentice. She is Susan Bay Abell of Annandale, who signed a three-year contract on July 13 in a ceremony at the Alibi Restaurant in Fairfax.
Abell will pursue a combination work and study program in a restaurant or hotel and at Northern Virginia Community College leading to an academic certificate. The program, being promoted with a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, has been approved by the Commonwealth of Virginia. Officials of the National Capital Chefs Assn., the local affiliate of the Culinary Federation, expect the program to be approved soon by the District of Columbia and the State of Maryland.
Those who desire information on the program or applications should contact chef Heinrich Hofmann at the Alibi.