Independent Women's Forum RSS feedhttp://www.iwf.orgThe RSS feed for the IWF. News/Commentary, Blog posts and publications(...)IWF RSShttp://iwf.org/images/email-logo.pnghttp://www.iwf.org33968The FDA's New Food Regulations Are A Recipe For High Food Prices<p class="p1"> <span class="s1">Food prices continue to go up and consumers are feeling the pinch. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the price of food has spiked to its highest rate since September 2011. Consumers are now paying more for such staples as ground beef, chicken and turkey, eggs, bacon, citrus fruit, coffee, peanut butter, and margarine. Normally, politicians would try to alleviate this financial strain on American families. Yet, this administration seems to want to make food more expensive.</span></p> <p class="p1"> <span class="s1">Consider the recent announcement from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that it plans to create &ldquo;voluntary&rdquo; guidelines for food manufacturers and restaurants to reduce the amount of sodium in their products and prepared meals. FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg explained the move with the classic &ldquo;it&rsquo;s good for you&rdquo; rationale, saying, &ldquo;We believe we can make a big impact working with the industry to bring sodium levels down, because the current level of consumption really is higher than it should be for health.&rdquo;</span></p> <p class="p2"> But is American salt consumption really unhealthy?</p> <p class="p1"> <span class="s1">According to a new study from researchers at the University of Copenhagen Hospital in Denmark and published in the American Journal of Hypertension, the daily salt intake guidelines offered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (currently set at 2,300 mg per day for people under 50 years old, and less than 1,500 mg per day for people over 50 years old) are &ldquo;excessively and unrealistically low.&rdquo; &nbsp;The researchers found that most Americans consume more sodium than the CDC recommendations (at around 2,645-4,945 mg per day) and that when sodium consumption fell outside that range, there was an increase in mortality.</span></p> <p class="p1"> <span class="s1">But this research means little to regulators at the FDA. In the absence of science to bolster the agency&rsquo;s position, the FDA has simply decided to go another route &mdash; forcing food companies, in direct contradiction of the science &mdash; to change their recipes to conform to government, instead of consumer, tastes.</span></p> <p class="p1"> <span class="s1">One might assume based on this government strong-arming that consumers have trouble finding low-sodium options in the supermarket. But as anyone who does the grocery shopping knows, that&rsquo;s a load of (soon to be low-sodium) baloney! Grocery stores are full of reduced and no-sodium options &ndash; from reduced and salt-free chips, crackers, soups, canned vegetables, nuts and seeds, salad dressings and mayonnaise, to butter, canned broth, fish and meats, frozen meals, pasta sauces and many other products.</span></p> <p class="p1"> <span class="s1">Those na&iuml;ve to how Washington works might argue that since these guidelines are &ldquo;voluntary,&rdquo; food companies can simply ignore them. Yet the truth is when a powerful regulatory agency &ldquo;suggests&rdquo; something, even while saying it&rsquo;s totally &ldquo;voluntary,&rdquo; everyone knows the message is: comply or else!</span></p> <p class="p1"> <span class="s1">Consumers should also know obedience to these &ldquo;voluntary&rdquo; guidelines will come at a cost &mdash; specifically higher prices at the grocery store and in restaurants as companies will be forced to invest more in research, testing and product development. And if you prefer to support your local and mom-and-pop brands, prepare to switch to bigger brands as these types of regulations come at a particularly high price to smaller manufactures that simply do not have the resources to comply.</span></p> <p class="p1"> <span class="s1">One industry insider speculated food companies would face &ldquo;tens of millions of dollars&rdquo; in added costs. And, as NBC reported, &ldquo;it will be easier for behemoths like PepsiCo and Kraft Foods, which have bigger R&amp;D budgets to throw at the problem&rdquo; but for businesses just starting out and small-scale manufacturers, the costs of these new regulations will be devastating.</span></p> <p class="p1"> <span class="s1">Restaurants should also fight these guidelines. Already struggling due to a host of regulations included in Obamacare, restaurants are working hard to attract customers. Traditionally, eateries have succeeded by providing customers with food that tasted good. Now what? Should restaurant owners simply place a big-gulp sized salt shaker on each table with a placard that reads &ldquo;please add more salt, you&rsquo;ll need it!&rdquo;</span></p> <p class="p2"> Americans are extremely fortunate to live in a country with abundant food choices, and they should be free to make their own choices. Business should also be allowed to respond to consumer demand.</p> <p class="p2"> If the government wants people to make better decisions for their health, our Constitution permits government officials only to keep hoping. Forcing people into salt-free compliance tastes a bit like an attack on our basic freedoms and a recipe for higher prices at the grocery store.</p> <p class="p1"> <span class="s1">J<i>ulie Gunlock is a Senior Fellow at the Independent Women&rsquo;s Forum and the author of the book From Cupcakes to Chemicals: How the Culture of Alarmism Makes Us Afraid of Everything and How to Fight Back.</i></span></p> http://iwf.org/news/2794882/Julie GunlockTue, 26 Aug 2014 10:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumRIP Pink Cookies<p> Fox News reported late last week that kids in Elyria, Ohio will no longer be taking part of a 40-year tradition&mdash;getting homemade pink cookies at lunch.</p> <blockquote> <p> The fabled cookie, long served in local school cafeterias, was done in by a pound of butter, six cups of powdered sugar and the Obama administration&rsquo;s food police.</p> <p> &ldquo;It no longer meets the national school lunch program guidelines for snacks,&rdquo; said Amy Higgins, the spokesperson for Elyria City Schools. &ldquo;It has too many calories.&rdquo;</p> <p> The USDA &ldquo;Smart Snacks in School&rdquo; standards mandate that all snacks must contain less than 200 calories. It&rsquo;s not exactly clear how many calories are in the pink cookie but the recipe for the frosting calls for a pound of butter.</p> </blockquote> <p> These cookies do indeed seem decadent but it&rsquo;s truly sad to see these sorts of traditions phased out. It&rsquo;s particularly sad given the fact that kids have greater access to processed food and so, seeking a sweet snack, many kids will simply head to the nearest gas station to buy a pack of cookies that have been on a store shelf for months.</p> <p> While these school lunch reforms have clearly failed in their mission to get kids to eat healthier, they&rsquo;ve succeeded in one area&mdash;homogenizing the diets of young Americans and killing feel good traditions like selling homemade cookies in the cafeteria.</p> http://iwf.org/blog/2794859/Julie GunlockMon, 25 Aug 2014 09:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumCity Focuses on Safety not Soda Taxes<p> I support the idea that childhood obesity deserves some public policy attention. I disagree with how politicians usually tackle the issue--with sin taxes and bans and all sorts of rediculous regulations that cost jobs and hurt the poorest Americans. &nbsp;</p> <p> I can support government efforts to make cities safer so that kids can go outside and play or feel more secure walking to school. After all, as IWF visiting fellow Lane Scott <a href="http://www.iwf.org/news/2789517/It's-How-We-Live,-Not-What-We-Buy;-Why-Soft-Drink-Taxes-Won't-Work--">explained last year</a>, according to study released last year by the Archive of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, only half of American preschoolers go outside on a daily basis and according to another report by the National Wildlife Federation, on average, American kids only spend four to seven minutes playing outside every day, compared to more than seven hours in front of a television or video game.</p> <p> That&#39;s pretty grim.</p> <p> Exercise is key to keeping fit and unfortunately fewer kids are doing it.</p> <p> That&#39;s why I was happy to see this <a href="http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2014/08/20/baltimore-officials-have-new-initiative-to-get-kids-to-school-safely/">story from the local CBS station in Baltimore, MD</a> &nbsp;(h/t Lenore Skenazy of <a href="http://www.freerangekids.com">Free Range Kids</a>) about a new program called &ldquo;Safe Routes to School&rdquo; that will place flashing lights on the road to warn drivers and bikers and provide bright, colorful footprints on the sidewalk to help guide kids safely to school.</p> <p> I&#39;m sure some curmudgeons might say &quot;hey, I walked to school and I didn&#39;t need bright flashing lights and a painted path&quot; but I can&#39;t help but applaud city administrators for focusing on these initiatives rather than silly soda bans and sin taxes. These things might just work to get kids to walk to school and get some activity in their daily routines.</p> http://iwf.org/blog/2794835/Julie GunlockThu, 21 Aug 2014 15:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumNew York Times Hosts Panel on Farming, Forgets to Invite Farmers<p> The paper of record seems somewhat confused about what it means to be a farmer.&nbsp;</p> <p> Consider <a href="http://www.nytfoodfortomorrow.com/speakers.aspx">this pane</a>l planned for November hosted by the New York Times. The panel, titled &quot;<a href="http://www.nytfoodfortomorrow.com/speakers.aspx">Food For Tomorrow: Farm Better, Eat Better, Feed the World</a>&quot; includes exactly zero farmers on the panel. That&#39;s right, not one farmer has been asked to speak about...FARMING.</p> <p> The panel is described this way (emphasis mine):</p> <blockquote> <p> The first annual New York Times&nbsp;Food&nbsp;for Tomorrow conference, hosted by renowned Times journalist and&nbsp;food&nbsp;writer Mark Bittman, will explore two of the most important&nbsp;food&nbsp;challenges facing the world in the 21st century: how to feed a growing population of the world&rsquo;s poor and how to reverse poor eating habits in the developed world.&nbsp;</p> <p> The event, to be held at the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, will gather over 200 C-suite <em><strong>executives, chefs, researchers, N.G.O. leaders and important thinkers</strong></em> about food issues for a day-and-a-half of networking and discussion.</p> </blockquote> <p> Hmmm...&quot;important thinkers&quot; about food and farming and the future of agriculture and the needs of a world&#39;s increasing population. Gosh, who do I want to hear from? Let&#39;s take a look at just who the New York Times considers an important thinker on these issues:</p> <p> Well, there&#39;s Dan Barber, a celebrity chef who grows organic food to supply his restaurant the with the pretty, dainty vegetables that populate his $50-plus a plate menu items. And then there&#39;s Rep. Chellie Pengree, who reprents Maine, a well known and very powerful agriculture state (wink) and then there&#39;s a handful of &quot;writers&quot; and &quot;activists&quot; and super smart &quot;think tank&quot; &nbsp;brainiacs and of course well known acivist and nutritionist Marion Nestle and then a smattering of environmentalists (natch). But really none of these folks matter because the New York Times managed to snag the two most well known experts on these issues--the city-dwelling, hipster&#39;s authority on food and farming, Mark Bittman and Michael Pollan.</p> <p> The one bright spot is the presence of&nbsp;<span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; line-height: 18px;">Kathleen Merrigan, the executive director of sustainability at George Washington University who previously worked at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. I&#39;m pretty confident Ms. Merrigan worked and talked daily to farmers. So at least she&#39;ll be there.</span></p> <p> <font face="Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif"><span style="line-height: 18px;">This is a good illustration of how agriculture is largely covered by the mainstream media today. Leaving farmers out of discussion on important topics like the future of food is ludicrous and frankly insulting to the entire agriculture community particularly when it&#39;s so easy to find legitimate sources on the subject. Personally, I&#39;m glad I read farmers&#39; personal blogs and follow several on twitter. I find these resources to be particularly useful:</span></font></p> <p> <a href="http://thefoodiefarmer.blogspot.com">The Foodie Farmer</a></p> <p> <a href="http://dairycarrie.com">The Adventures of Dairy Carrie</a></p> <p> <a href="http://www.nurselovesfarmer.com">Nurse Loves Farmer</a></p> <p> The real thinkers at <a href="http://www.biofortified.org">Biofortified</a> and scientist <a href="http://kfolta.blogspot.com">Kevin Folta</a>&nbsp;(for GMO and other agriculture questions)</p> <p> There are many, many others but this is a good start. I hope&nbsp;<span style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; line-height: 18px;">you&#39;ll look to these resources for information instead of spending money to attend the New York Times &quot;environmental activism dressed up as a farmer&quot; panel.</span></p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p style="line-height: 18px; font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;"> &nbsp;</p> http://iwf.org/blog/2794833/Julie GunlockThu, 21 Aug 2014 12:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumAre Kids Eating Window Caulk?<p> Well known cover girl Cindy Crawford is <a href="http://Routine soil tests apparently found elevated levels of the chemicals, commonly known as PCBs, in window caulking in the rooms. PCBs were banned by Congress in 1976 after it was revealed they could cause cancer and harm the immune and reproductive systems. Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/gossip/cindy-crawford-pulls-children-malibu-high-school-pcbs-found-article-1.1909057#ixzz3B2l05yZC">pulling her kids out of their Malibu school</a> because routine soil tests on the school grounds found elevated levels of a chemicals called PCBs in window caulking in the class rooms. PCBs were banned by Congress in 1976 after it was revealed they could cause cancer and harm the immune and reproductive systems.</p> <p> Over the years, schools have been instructed to remove the caulking around windows if the schools were constructed between 1950 and 1979. But some schools haven&#39;t done it yet and so, during these routine tests, PCBs can sometimes be found.&nbsp;</p> <p> Now, it&#39;s important to understand that kids in that Malibu school are not under imminent threat of death. The EPA advises that &quot;though this is a serious issue, the potential presence of PCBs in schools and buildings should not be a cause for alarm &ndash; there are steps school administrators and building owners can take to protect students, teachers and others.&quot;</p> <p> The Malibu school has announced it plans to remove the caulking which according to the EPA is quite a process. The <a href="http://www.epa.gov/pcbsincaulk/pdf/caulk-fs.pdf">EPA explains</a> that during removal of PCB-containing caulk &quot;it is critically important to ensure that PCBs are not released into the air during renovation or repair of affected buildings.&quot; In other words, it&#39;s a lengthy process not best undertaken weeks before the new school year begins.</p> <p> It&#39;s also important to realize that children aren&#39;t being exposed to massive doses of this chemical. Unless they&#39;re snacking on the calk or snorting the caulk, very little of it is actually entering their bodies.</p> <p> Of course, none of this is good enough for Crawford who responded to the school&#39;s promise to remove the caulk by saying she &quot;I still don&#39;t feel 100 percent safe.&quot; Someone might want to inform this woman living a charmed life that very little in this world comes with a guarantee of 100 percent safety.&nbsp;</p> <p> Crawford then addressed her real motivation: avoiding mommy guilt, explaining her concern that ten years from now her child could develop a caulk-related problem, adding &quot;How could I live with myself, if I knew that it was a possibility, and I still sent them to school there.&quot;</p> <p> Crawford and her husband have offered to pay for further testing in the school and some have defended her (she wants daily testing) saying at least she&#39;s ponying up the cash to pay for these tests. Some have asked why the school doesn&#39;t simply indulge her demands and acquiesce to daily testing? Well, because maybe the school&#39;s administration recognizes how unnecessary this is. Maybe they don&#39;t want the distraction or maybe it&#39;s because the school officials know it&#39;s their job to educate kids (and protect them from real dangers) not entertain the whims of every parent who freaks out about window caulking.</p> <p> Look, every single day parents calculate the risks facing their kids and knowing the facts helps parents stay calm. The facts here are simple: Yes, caulk made with PCBs should be removed. Are her kids exposed to dangerous levels of this chemical? That depends on if they&#39;re somehow managing to eat the caulk.</p> <p> Something tells me Cindy&#39;s kids are well fed and haven&#39;t resorted to snacking on window caulking to make it through the school day.</p> <p> But who knows...this is Hollywood!</p> http://iwf.org/blog/2794831/Julie GunlockThu, 21 Aug 2014 10:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumAttack on onions, salt, and correlation b/w big govt & trophies for all • Cam & Co. http://iwf.org/media/2794826/Julie GunlockTue, 19 Aug 2014 08:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumChemicals Fight Bacteria--and that's a good thing!<p> I constantly try to <a href="http://www.iwf.org/blog/2792901/be-afraid-of-your-nail-polish">remind people</a> that the <a href="http://www.iwf.org/news/2789289/Manufactured-Fear-Drives-Needless-Regulations">trace amounts of chemicals</a> in common, everyday products is put there to protect that product from bacteria that can actually harm humans. But this concept can be tough to explain, especially when women (particularly moms) are constantly bombarded with incomplete information about chemicals.&nbsp;</p> <p> Luckily, I came across <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPjoOQDyQMo&amp;feature=youtu.be">t</a><a href="http://youtu.be/UPjoOQDyQMo">his video that helps explain the point</a><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPjoOQDyQMo&amp;feature=youtu.be">. &nbsp;</a></p> <p> The video starts with a question: &quot;Imagine your cosmetics without preservatives.&quot; The video then shows you what happens to face cream that doesn&#39;t contain bacteria fighting chemicals. Take a look for yourself.</p> <p> <iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/UPjoOQDyQMo" width="560"></iframe></p> <p> As you can see from the video, mold begins to form at day 8. Now, I don&#39;t know about most readers to this blog, but I can tell you I have makeup in my bathroom drawer from the first Bush Administration (yeah, yeah...I need to do some de-cluttering). You might do a better job of cleaning out your makeup drawer but something tells me you hang on to your cosmetics, lotion, shampoos, and other personal care products for longer than 8 days.</p> <p> This video is a good reminder that companies use chemical preservatives to do just that--preserve things, so that they&#39;re safer and can stay on store shelves longer. That&#39;s good news for consumers because the use of preservatives drives down prices. If manufacturers couldn&#39;t use these ingredients, products would have to be made in small batches and much of it would have to be destroyed if it wasn&#39;t sold or used within that small safety window. But the most important thing for those worried about chemicals in common products to understand is that manufacturers only use trace amounts of these preservatives to get the job done--levels that aren&#39;t harmful to humans.</p> <p> So, when you hear about &quot;toxic&quot; chemicals in your makeup, soap, shampoo, or children&#39;s products, remember this video and that trace levels of preserving chemicals are used to protect, not harm.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> http://iwf.org/blog/2794770/Julie GunlockWed, 13 Aug 2014 11:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumHow the French Do It<p> I generally dislike the type of stories that pit one country against another, but this <a href="http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-14845/what-french-kids-eat-for-school-lunch-it-puts-americans-to-shame.html">particular article</a> caught my eye. It compares how kids eat at school in France compared to American schools.</p> <p> The article does focus on the fact that in French schools, much of the food is locally sourced and cooked from raw ingredients in the school&#39;s kitchen and that certainly accounts for some of the reason the food tastes better. But I noticed something else from the pictures; The food looks wonderful and clearly, the food contains flavorings--butter, fat, and probably salt--things that are severely limited by our federal government. As you can see in one picture included in the article, kids are even offered camembert--an extremely high-fat (and delicious) cow&#39;s milk cheese. Can you imagine the outrage if a kids were served somethign equally fatty (and somewhat more recognizable to kids) in American schools?</p> <p> The article also explains that French children tend to walk more to school which is in stark contrast to the busing and drop-off system here in the States. &nbsp;In fact, as <a href="http://iwf.org/news/2789517/It's-How-We-Live,-Not-What-We-Buy;-Why-Soft-Drink-Taxes-Won't-Work--">IWF visiting fellow Lane Scott wrote last year</a>, according to The National Wildlife Federation, American children only spending four to seven minutes playing outside every day on average. And the Archive of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine found that half of American preschoolers do not go outside at all on a daily basis.&nbsp;</p> <p> Perhaps then the solution to childhood obesity isn&#39;t limiting how schools feed kids; it&#39;s giving them more freedom and parents taking steps to get kids outside more.</p> http://iwf.org/blog/2794752/Julie GunlockMon, 11 Aug 2014 12:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumFood Alarmists Make It Difficult for Dieters<p> This morning, Robyn O&rsquo;Brien, an anti-everything mommy blogger, tweeted out an <a href="http://news.yahoo.com/critic-artificial-sweeteners-pilloried-industry-090000937.html?soc_src=mediacontentsharebuttons">article</a> to her 38,000 followers that a scientist name Susan Swithers who published an article critical of artificial sweeteners was being attacked by scientists with &ldquo;industry connections.&rdquo; The article to which she linked in her tweet is typical &ldquo;hero independent scientist&rdquo; attacked by &ldquo;big bad industry-funded sell-out.&rdquo; It&rsquo;s all so tiresome.</p> <p> But I decided to take a look at the article because 1) I love Diet Coke (no one paid me to say that, Robyn, so CALM DOWN!) and 2) millions of dieters are helped by diet products currently in the marketplace.</p> <p> Anyway, I looked at the <a href="http://download.cell.com/images/edimages/Trends/EndoMetabolism/tem_888.pdf">Swithers study</a> and right way I noticed something amiss. The Swither&rsquo;s study says, &ldquo;&hellip;evidence suggests that frequent consumers of these sugar substitutes may also be at increased risk of excessive weight gain, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.&rdquo;</p> <p> Hmm. This sounds serious. But is it the diet soda?</p> <p> Probably not and here&rsquo;s why.</p> <p> <a href="http://www.foodnavigator-usa.com/Regulation/Soda-tax-wouldn-t-work-as-obese-people-prefer-diet-drinks-study-suggests">Research also shows that the main consumers of diet products</a> are people who are already overweight. That creates a chicken or egg question: is it the diet soda that&rsquo;s causing these people&rsquo;s weight to increase or were these people already overweight and the diet soda is a way for them to save calories so they can use their daily calorie allotment on food.</p> <p> Which brings up another well known phenomena: the person who orders a super-sized fast food meal along with a&hellip;diet cola. Yes, that happens quite a bit. The reason? People will sacrifice a full-sugar drink in order to eat more. This is because people who are overweight often struggle with eating too much and not getting enough exercise.</p> <p> Dr. Swithers is simply behaving like many people interested in the obesity issue: she&rsquo;s searching for that one thing that makes us all battle weight instead of accepting the truth: obesity is a complicated issue that deserves a far more complex solution than banning one ingredient or vilifying another.</p> <p> O&#39;Brien should think twice about tweeting out junk science to her followers. No doubt, there are people among those 38,000 that struggle with their weight and because of her article have crossed off their daily treat of having a diet drink. That&#39;s not much help to these people looking lose weight.</p> http://iwf.org/blog/2794751/Julie GunlockMon, 11 Aug 2014 11:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumAnother School Says No to School Lunch<p> A Cincinnati, Ohio school has announced it&rsquo;s dropping out of the federal school lunch program. Citing the draconian calorie limitations and restrictions on the types of foods that can be served to kids, the school superintendent decided it was time to gain some independence from the federal government.</p> <p> That&rsquo;s good news for the kids attending this school. It means that the people closest to the kids&mdash;the teachers, the school administrators, and parents will have a greater say in what kids eat.&nbsp;</p> <p> Yet, a <a href="http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/education/2014/08/09/district-drops-federal-lunch-program/13847169/">local newspaper</a> frames this as reason to worry (emphasis mine):</p> <blockquote> <p> Lunch at Fort Thomas Independent Schools <strong>may include more French fries, fewer vegetables and larger portions this year</strong>. One thing that won&#39;t be on the menu: federal dollars.</p> <p> The Campbell County district is opting out of the federal school lunch program, forfeiting hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal funding.The reason: Kids didn&#39;t like their healthful lunches.</p> </blockquote> <p> I love how the story suggests that by opting out of the federal school lunch program, the school will immediately revert back to unhealthy fries and fewer vegetables. How insulting. Clearly this reporter believes that without the guiding hand of federal bureaucrats and the first lady, local school officials are incapable of preparing healthy food. Are we to believe only the federal government cares about the health of chilren?</p> <p> The reporter&rsquo;s lede also suggests that school meals had improved after Michelle Obama&rsquo;s reforms. According to tweets (by actual eye witnesses to these school meals&mdash;the kids eating this food!) rounded up by <a href="http://conservativepost.com/students-are-fed-up-with-michelle-obama-and-this-is-why/">another publication</a>, there hasn&rsquo;t been much improvement although there has been one very visible change: there&rsquo;s simply less food on the trays. I guess that&rsquo;s one method of make kids lose weight&mdash;just withhold food.</p> <p> Here&rsquo;s just a sample of those tweets from dissatisfied kids:</p> <p> <img alt="" src="http://iwf.org/images/school-lunch-1.jpg" style="height: 351px; width: 350px;" /><br /> &nbsp;</p> <p> <img alt="" src="http://iwf.org/images/school-lunch-2.jpg" style="height: 467px; width: 350px;" /><br /> &nbsp;</p> <p> <img alt="" src="http://iwf.org/images/school-lunch-3.jpg" style="width: 350px; height: 485px;" /></p> <p> Is it any wonder schools are opting out of this broken program?</p> <p> Democrats love to use the term &ldquo;it&rsquo;s for the kids&rdquo; except when it comes to protecting entrenched entitlement programs &ndash; like the school lunch program. It&rsquo;s time for serious reforms to this program: privatization and means testing are just some ideas that would help make this program work better so that it can actually serve those kids who really need help getting a healthy meal.</p> <p> I&rsquo;m glad to see some schools take that important first step. Let&rsquo;s hope the press catches on to this innovation.</p> http://iwf.org/blog/2794749/Julie GunlockMon, 11 Aug 2014 10:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumParents, not government, should get more involved in school lunch nutrition • WILS Capital City Recap with Michael Cohenhttp://iwf.org/media/2794723/Julie GunlockFri, 8 Aug 2014 08:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumGMOs in Medicine<p> The outbreak of Ebola has everyone a bit jittery these days, and there&#39;s reason to be nervous. Ebola is among the most deadly of communicable diseases; usually killing 9 out of 10 infected people. But as University of Pittsburg infectious disease doctor Amesh Adalja reassuringly points out in a <a href="http://www.webmd.com/news/20140404/faq-ebola-virus">WebMD article</a> about the disease, &ldquo;It&rsquo;s hard to say exactly what the [death] rate would be in a modern hospital with all of its intensive care units.&rdquo;</p> <p> Still, the disease is terrifying and in West Africa, where an outbreak is still killing hundreds, the lack of modern hospitals, medical personnel and equipment are certainly contributing to the death toll. For those who contract the virus, there is no cure. Yet, two Americans working as missionaries in Liberia recently received an experimental&nbsp;drug which is now being credited with<a href="http://www.christiantoday.com/article/kent.brantly.improving.every.day.families.united.in.faith.in.jesus/39373.htm"> saving their lives</a>. &nbsp;</p> <p> An interesting side note about the drug is that it was derived from genetically modified plants. As the <a href="http://www.kentucky.com/2014/08/04/3365612/drug-given-to-american-ebola-victims.html?sp=/99/322/&amp;ihp=1">Lexington-Herald Leader</a> explains, this drug &quot;wasn&#39;t manufactured but grown &mdash; in a greenhouse full of genetically modified tobacco plants.&quot; Read this <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/07/business/an-obscure-biotech-firm-hurries-ebola-treatment.html?_r=0">New York Times article</a> for a fascinating and more detailed description of how the drug was developed.</p> <p> So, if this medicine turns out to indeed work after more detailed and lengthy human trials, will anti-GMO activists begin to complain that this life saving medicine should not be used because it&#39;s made of GMOs? Will the Food Babe and blogger and activist Robyn O&#39;Bryan take to their blogs to suggest thousands more in West Africa should die because this life saving serum was made with GM technology?</p> <p> More importantly, those who fear GMO food should take a moment to consider the wide variety of pharmaceuticals currently derived from GMOs. Those include: insulin for diabetes, treatments for hemophiliacs, recombinant&nbsp;hepatitis&nbsp;B vaccine,&nbsp;tissue plasminogen activator which is used for cardiovascular patients, &nbsp;and medicines still in development, like &ldquo;edible vaccines.&rdquo;</p> <p> Many of these drugs, which have been used for decades, are injected directly into a human&rsquo;s blood stream and have helped millions of people manage heretofore-killer diseases. The development of these treatments and pharmaceuticals is one of the reasons life expectancy continues to go up.</p> <p> Most of these genetically modified medicines are heralded as life savers, progress, miracle drugs. Yet, when it comes to food, we&#39;re told to worry about a tortilla chip made out of GM ingredients.&nbsp;</p> <p> It&#39;s obvious why the anti-GMO activists choose to stick to stick to food and avoid the medical area of the GM question. It&#39;s simply easier to tell people to pay more for tortilla chips that forgo life-saving treatments for deadly diseases. But for those who wonder about these issues, they should know that GM technology is used for far more than increasing the yield of corn and soybeans.</p> <p> GM technology is used to save lives.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <div style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; font-size: 10pt; font-family: sans-serif; vertical-align: baseline; width: 1px; height: 1px; overflow: hidden;"> <br /> Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2014/08/04/3365612/drug-given-to-american-ebola-victims.html?sp=/99/322/&amp;ihp=1#storylink=cpy</div> <p> &nbsp;</p> http://iwf.org/blog/2794716/Julie GunlockThu, 7 Aug 2014 10:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumBanning Bake Sales Won't Solve Childhood Obesity<p> I remember way, way, wayyyyyy back (sniff) that as a child I sold cheap candy bars for school fundraisers. I remember my mom buying me a brownie or a cookie or some sort of treat at my school bake sales. And, I recall in high school being asked to help out and bake for a few other school-sponsored bake sales.</p> <p> Oh how things have changed. Today, I can cross baking for the school bake sale off my to-do list because thanks to new Obama administration regulations school-sponsored bake sales are a big, fat, obesity-causing NO NO!</p> <p> <a href="http://online.wsj.com/articles/schools-plan-to-lighten-up-on-bake-sales-1406923280">Yesterday&#39;s Wall Street Journal</a> covers the issue:</p> <blockquote> <p> The restrictions that took effect in July stem from the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act championed by first lady&nbsp;<a href="http://topics.wsj.com/person/O/Michelle-Obama/5355">Michelle Obama</a>&nbsp;and her &quot;Let&#39;s Move!&quot; campaign. The law overhauled nutrition standards affecting more than 30 million children. Among the changes: fatty french fries were out, while baked sweet potato fries were deemed to be fine.</p> <p> The law also required the U.S. Department of Agriculture to set standards for all food and beverages sold during the school day, which includes vending machines, snack carts and daytime fundraisers. It allowed for &quot;infrequent&quot; fundraisers, and states were allowed to decide how many bake sales they would have that didn&#39;t meet nutrition standards.</p> <p> Without state-approved exemptions, any treats sold would have to meet calorie, sodium, fat and other requirements. The law permits states to fine schools that don&#39;t comply.</p> </blockquote> <p> Several states have already passed exemptions and that&rsquo;s great but the idiocy of this policy should still be examined. We know that the Obama Administration (and a compliant Congress) has a habit of passing legislation before reading it, so is this what happened when the Healthy and Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010 passed and banned school bake sales? Did someone simply miss that this provision was included in the bill? &nbsp;Because what other explanation can there be for banning these fundraisers which go to pay for school trips and extracurricular activities--you know those things that ostensibly keep kids off the couch and their hands out of the Doritos bag...</p> <p> Do the Obamas and the members of Congress who were pushing for this bill&rsquo;s passage not understand how fundraisers work? Perhaps Mr. and Mrs. Obama could examine their own prolific fundraising habits for a lesson.&nbsp;</p> <p> Let&rsquo;s put this in campaign terms a politicians might understand: I believe rich people (moms at school pick-up) are told they will get five minutes and a photo opportunity with Mr. Obama (a cookie, browning, rice crispy treat, muffin, pastry, slice of pie, piece of cake, or slice of banana bread) in exchange for a hefty contribution (a dollar or two). These rich campaign contributors (moms) are getting access to the President (a much-deserved sweet treat) for their considerable contribution (spare change). But, in order for these captains of industry and Hollywood nitwits (exhausted moms who probably forgot to eat lunch) to hand over their contributions (quarters mined from the floor of the minivan), they need to be given time with the president (something that tastes good). So, just like lobbyists in Washington and other wealthy contributors to campaigns, in order for me to hand over money, I want to get something in return. I don&#39;t want a fruit cup, an apple or a dry granola bar&mdash;the campaign contribution equivalent of taking a picture with the office intern. I want chocolate. Got it? CHOCOLATE.</p> <p> And since school bake sales have been around for decades, do Washington bureaucrats behind this ban really think these fundraisers are the cause of obesity? Of course not. This is just another way in which the Obama administration can tell Americans how to eat and blame common traditions for a health issue that is far too complex for simplistic solutions like banning school bake sales.</p> <p> Look, if a school decides&mdash;at the local level&mdash;that they only want to sell kale chips, celery sticks and other Food Babe-approved foods for their school fundraisers, that&rsquo;s fine. Good luck raising money on rabbit food.</p> http://iwf.org/blog/2794693/Julie GunlockTue, 5 Aug 2014 13:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumAnti-obesity activists go after school bake sales • NRA News Cam & Co. http://iwf.org/media/2794727/Julie GunlockTue, 5 Aug 2014 09:08:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's ForumDo-Gooders Strike Again<p> Oh look, we&#39;re arresting more moms for doing the right thing.</p> <p> <a href="http://hotair.com/archives/2014/07/29/florida-mom-charged-with-felony-child-neglect-for-letting-her-son-walk-to-the-local-park-alone/">Hotair</a> and <a href="http://reason.com/blog/2014/07/29/no-child-left-outside-another-mom-arrest">Reason</a> report on another case of moms being arrested for letting their kids play at a park without the constant hovering presence of a parent, grandparent, babysitter, nanny, or some other voting-aged adult. A few weeks ago, I <a href="http://www.nationalreview.com/article/382928/tyranny-do-gooders-julie-gunlock">wrote about the disturbing case of Debra Harrell</a> who was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to play at a park (cell phone in hand). As a result of that arrest, Harrell&#39;s daughter was put in protective care (she&#39;s now back home with her mom) and Harrel was fired from her job at McDonalds before being <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/she-the-people/wp/2014/07/24/debra-harrell-back-on-her-job-at-mcdonalds-lawyer-says/">rehired</a>.</p> <p> What&#39;s interesting about this <a href="http://hotair.com/archives/2014/07/29/florida-mom-charged-with-felony-child-neglect-for-letting-her-son-walk-to-the-local-park-alone/">latest case</a> is that when someone approached the child to ask him about his mother&#39;s whereabouts, the child ran away. Wait, what? The child ran away when approached by a stranger? Isn&#39;t that precisely what we tell kids to do? In other words, the mother had clearly taught her child the approproate reaction when approached by an adult he doesn&#39;t know.</p> <p> And for that, she&#39;s arrested and now faces felony charges.&nbsp;</p> <p> The tyranny of the do-gooder strikes again.</p> <p> (Here is the <a href="http://www.youcaring.com/help-a-neighbor/support-debra-harrell/204837">link to the YouCaring fundraising effort</a> for Debra Harrell to help her pay for her legal fees.)</p> http://iwf.org/blog/2794642/Julie GunlockWed, 30 Jul 2014 07:07:00 CSTen-usIndependent Women's Forum