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A study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience determined that when rats consume high-fat, high-calorie foods in great quantities, it leads to compulsive eating habits that resemble drug addiction.

In addition to the fact that this is a rat study, it does not reflect the way that humans eat, says ACSH s Dr. Elizabeth Whelan. In fact, this study doesn t even reflect the eating habits of rats, so there s no way it could be a realistic model of human eating habits.

After months of wrangling with Senate Democrats over a nominee for head of the FDA, the Bush administration has appointed an academic, a former federal regulator, to the number two job. Veterinarian Lester Crawford will run the agency as deputy commissioner until a permanent head is nominated and confirmed.

Crawford's previous experience at FDA (as chief of the Center for Veterinary Medicine) and expertise on food issues (as head of USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service) will be useful. The FDA center that regulates food safety, currently directed by a lawyer reputed to be a bureaucrat's bureaucrat, is sorely in need of better priority-setting and a more prominent role for science in decision-making. For instance:

A conspicuous example of these problems is a...

About 48 million Americans are stricken with food-borne illness, of variable severity, every year. A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examining the data surrounding this unfortunate situation was just released. They analyzed the statistics on foodborne illnesses from 1998 to 2008, and found, to some surprise, that leafy greens and dairy products are largely responsible for these outbreaks.

The study, published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, looked at about 5000 outbreaks and almost 130,000 illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths. Of those numbers, 23 percent of...

Nutrition activists like the Center for Science in the Public Interest are scaring Americans away from technology that could help us lose weight.

There is plenty of blame to go around for America's growing obesity crisis. Responsible or not, fast food, sodas in schools, and even SpongeBob Squarepants have all come under attack. But one villain has gotten off scot-free. Until today. By scaring consumers about "unnatural products," "processed food," and "artificial additives," the food police, led by Michael Jacobson's Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), are guilty of interfering with American's effort to battle the bulge.

Some background: The federal government's recently published...

Letter published in San Luis Obispo (CA) Tribune http://www.sanluisobispo.com/mld/sanluisobispo/8712182.htm

The article that ran in The Tribune titled "Exposé or con job? 'SuperSize Me' takes a bite out of McDonald's," calls director-star Morgan Spurlock a glutton for punishment. But what he demonstrated in his movie, "Super Size Me," was just plain gluttony, compounded by an intentional lack of physical activity.

Although he says the movie wasn't really about McDonald's food per se, Spurlock still accuses the company of being one of the culprits responsible for America's obesity problem. If McDonald's is a culprit, so is every deli, supermarket and salad bar (check out the...

This piece appeared May 31, 2006 on National Review Online:

Last week an FDA-sponsored and -funded report on Away from Home Foods recommended ways restaurants might lend a hand in our nation s fight against obesity. The report was based on input from a number of scientists, consumer advocates, and food-industry representatives, including members of the National Restaurant Association (which in the end did not support the report s conclusions because they unfairly targeted its industry).

Among other things, the committee urged the FDA to prevail upon restaurants to...

McDonald's has decided it's time to tell you everything you ever wanted to know about the caloric content and nutritional value of the burgers, fries, chicken nuggets, and other delectables they serve at 13,000 establishments around the country. Starting next spring, the leading fast-food chain will print in clear, basic language and symbols the fat, calorie, carbohydrate, and sodium count -- right on the wrapper.

This is both a good move for consumers (it will help them make informed food choices) and for McDonald's (by protecting the company from legal charges of withholding information from consumers, causing them unwittingly to get fat). The new full-disclosure policy could be seen as successful industry "self-regulation" -- where progress is made without the heavy hand of...

Reprinted with permission of The Wall Street Journal © 1992 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.

In one of his final regulatory moves as president, George Bush last week capitulated to the strident calls of self-appointed consumer groups. In announcing the administration's decision mandating the relabeling of nearly 300,000 American food products, Louis Sullivan, secretary of health and human services, declared: "The Tower of Babel in food labels has come down, and American consumers are the winners." The media bought this line, hailing the move as a victory for consumers. The reality is just the opposite. consumers will be the losers, left paying the bill with no benefits to show for it.

The new labeling rules require detailed information about...

Last month McDonald's was ordered to pay $12 million to Hindus, Sikhs, Jews, and vegetarians who thought they were eating beef-free fries and hash browns. In 1990, McDonald's issued a statement saying they would no longer use beef fat for frying, using 100% vegetable oil instead. However, the company never claimed that the fries they sold were appropriate for vegetarians. It was assumed among the restricted eaters that something as innocent as a fried potato would be appropriate, when in actuality the fabulous taste of McDonald's fries was due to added "beef essence." Currently, American Muslims who follow halal a ritualistic slaughter of beef are trying to get in on the settlement as well.

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For the past four or five years a clarion call to eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains has been heard throughout the U. S. Often it is coupled with "and avoid saturated fat" or "avoid dairy and meat because of saturated fat." All versions of the call, one way or another, are urging us to reduce meat and milk products in our diets. No doubt one purpose of the fruit-and-vegetable cry is to help deal with the obesity epidemic, a very worthy objective, but it doesn't seem to be working. Americans are reported to be getting fatter all the time. The simplistic admonition to eat more vegetables should stop.

Both meat and milk products have long been recognized as strong contributors to a healthy, balanced diet. The idea that consumption of milk in its many processed forms...