February 4, 2012

Freshworthy: Drugs, Sugar, and Pink Slime

I didn't mean for this Freshworthy to be quite so icky, but it turns out there's plenty of that kind of food news out there this week.

First up, pink slime. Mmmm.
Image: Flickr member pointnshoot, licensed under Creative Commons.

McDonald's Burgers: Now Without Pink Slime?
The Week

I mentioned having watched and been inspired by Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, and here's another newsworthy story that comes straight from the pressure Jamie Oliver put on the food industry and the awareness he has raised. To tell you the truth, I can't remember the last time I ate at McDonald's. But back in the day, my little sister and brother and I begged for Happy Meals. Now I'm glad I began to shun the place once I got older; the "meat" is not anything worth ingesting. In any case, McDonald's is bowing to pressure and is reportedly removing pink slime—beef trimmings washed in ammonia—from their meat.

Let's be clear: I am NOT advocating eating at McDonald's. In fact, if you eat there, I would strongly encourage you to stop that immediately and instead turn to organic fast food chains, if you must eat fast food, or ditch the drive-through all together! But let's face it, for the millions of folks worldwide who do eat there, this is a small step toward improving their health, and to me, that's pretty fantastic.

New Call to Regulate Sugar
Chow, Rebecca Flint Marx

Should we regulate sugar? Taxing sodas, banning children from convenience stores, even removing sugar from the FDA's "Generally regarded as safe" list—these are all directives being pushed by Robert Lustig, a leading expert on childhood obesity.

So what's the answer here? Do we collectively need the government to regulate sugar—help us help ourselves? Or will awareness and education begin to take hold? We've seen the public make great strides in accepting (or at least listening to) warnings regarding heart health, trans fats, and more. Can we expect the public to begin making better decisions about sugar?

Drug-Resistant Bugs Found in Antibiotic-Free Meat

Ewwww. Here's the short version: after scientists tested nearly 400 samples of meat, including 95 samples of meat labeled "antibiotic-free," they found instances of antibiotic-resistant staph. Yes, even in the antibiotic-free meat.

Here's the way to avoid it: since the label "antibiotic-free" is not regulated, be sure to purchase "certified organic" meats only. Here is more information about meat labels and what's regulated by the FDA.