The fight over "superdonuts" continues. A year ago, the Department of Agricultural proposed a ban on those so-called "breakfast bars," known technically as fortified grain-fruit products. They were created as an alternative to the "conventional" breakfast, a serving of fruit and bread product or cereal, to go with a glass of milk.
Opponents of these high-sugar, high-fat foods have said from the beginning that feeding them to children runs counter to nutrition education since children are unable to distinguish between the fortified donuts, cookies and cupcakes sold in the schools and their look-alikes which are not fortified.
The Grocery Manufacturers of America, at the request of two of its members, (manufacturers of the grain-fruit products), launched an intense lobbying effort on Capitol Hill to prevent USDA from going through with the ban.
GMA was successfully in the House, which passed a bill giving local school authorities the option on whether or not to ban the superdonuts.
The late Sen. James Allen (D-Ala.) had put language in the Senate version of the agricultural appropriations bill that would have prohibited USDA from banning superdonuts until an 18-month study was completed.
But last month an amendment to the bill, offered by Sen. Robert Dole (R-Kan.), made it possible for USDA to ban those superdonuts from the school breakfast program.It has been approved by the Senate.
The language of the amendment is as follows: "If the secretary determines that such alternate foods no longer fulfill their original purposes, or that such foods are not in integral part of a nutritionally sound diet or contravene currently accepted nutrition education principles, the secretary shall revoke any previous approvals of such alternate foods."
Differences are going to have to be worked out either on the Senate floor or in House-Senate conference.
The following item, which appeared in the trade journal Supermarket News, is printed in its entirety:
General Foods' Tang Ad
Draws Fine in France
"Paris (FNS) - An appeals court in Versailles has fined General Foods' French subsidiary for misleading advertising of its Tang drink in this country, on the grounds that 85 percent of the product marketed here is made of sugar and chemical substances.
"Reversing a local court's decision, it ordered General Foods to stop marketing Tang here as a drink which has "the taste of a freshly squeezed orange," and assessed damages of 40,000 francs ($8,700). The manager of General Foods France was fined 2,000 francs ($434)."
A great many shoppers like generics, according to a poll conducted by Better Homes and Gardens Magazine. Three-quarters of the respondents said they would like to see more of these "no-brand" or brandless item in the stores.
Most of the people in the survey, taken among the magazine's consumer panel, had heard of generics. (More than half of the panel have family incomes in excess of $20,000 a year, compared to about one-quarter of the U.S. population as a whole.) The reason most often given for not buying them was lack of availability.
A great majority, well over 80 percent, believe that generics cost less because of inexpensive packaging and lack of advertising. There was no such unanimity in response to the question concerning the price of generics in relationship to the quality. Only 43 percent believe that generics cost less than other products because they are slightly below first quality.
If this survey is any guide, generics are here to stay, at least until the food industry can come up with other ways to cut costs.
In a related development, plans have been shelved, at least for now, for a government press-release promotion for generics.
According to Food Chemical News, at one time there were plans for a joint appearance by FDA Commissioner Donald Kennedy, USDA Assistant Secretary Carol Foreman and White House Consumer Adviser Esther Peterson backing the products, but the appearance has been canceled.
The bologna and hot dogs you buy from Oscar Mayer will not contain any of that controversial substance called Mechanically Deboned Meat, MDM, according to a recent press release.
Because, according to the same notice ". . . studies to date have not convinced the company that the material can be used without changing the eating characteristics and possible lowering the quality of its products."
MDM is a mixture of pulverized bone and meat scraps which have been removed from the carcass by machine.
The Department of Agriculture, which recently granted permission for the use of MDM in processed meats after a lengthy battle with opponents who feel its safety has not been proven, will not allow the substance in the products it buys for its schoolfeeding programs either.
Because, according to Carol Foreman, assistant secretary for Food and Nutrition Services, food used in the school-feeding programs should be of top quality.
While beef and pork products that contain MDM must be labeled to indicate the presence of this material in the food, there is no requirement that the presence of mechanically deboned poultry be listed on the label of such products as chicken franks or smoked turkey bologna. Yet this substance has been used for quite awhile.
Everyone knows food is expensive, but how about a crepe and a cup of coffee in return for a pint of blood?
It's not as if you could barter your blood for the crepe and coffee, but that's what Ridgewell Caterers gave to all those who donated blood at a Mini-Bloodmobile outside their Bethesda headquarters last Thursday.
If you didn't want a crepe, you could have a croissant instead.
Beats donuts, anytime!
Environmental Nutrition" a bimonthly newsletter edited by three registered dietitians, seems to have its head screwed on right. In other words, it doesn't go off the deep end on either side.
A good example is the newsletter's discussion of hyperactivity in children and its relationship to diet. It takes the middle road, between those who pooh-pooh it as something created by Dr. Benjamin Feingold and those who insist all the hyperactive children can be cured by changing their diets to eliminate artificial colors, flavors and certain classes of food, a claim never made by Dr. Feingold himself.
The articles says that "studies conducted . . . have so far given limited support to Dr. Feingold's contention that some children may benefit from a diet restricted in certain natural and processed foods."
Six issues, one year's subscription is $5. The price for a single copy is 95 cents. Write to Environmental Nutrition, 15 West 84th St., Suite 1-E. New York, N.Y. 10024.