Regulation Nation Rolls On

by: the Common Constitutionalist

 

What we need is more regulation, because without proper federal oversight, we make all the wrong choices; spend our money indiscriminately, use too much energy, pollute the planet, eat the wrong things and generally misbehave. Basically, we are what’s wrong with this country.

 

And how is all this misbehavior measured? Well, by “independent nonpartisan studies”, of course.

 

Take this recent study for example. It looked into food expiration dates. The study of food expiration dates was conducted by Harvard Law School. Law school? Yes, they have a food law and policy clinic. Of course they do. It was done in conjunction with the partisan free Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). They are an environmental “action” group and we all know “action” is good.

 

Glossary of terms: When you see the word “action” describing an organization, 9 times out of 10 it is liberal. Just a little tip.

 

Anyway, the study found that 90% of Americans prematurely tossed out food because they don’t properly understand the “use by” or expiration date. read more

This Ain’t Your Grandpas Field Rations

The Military Is Pushing the Bounds… of Food Science

Tremendous breakthroughs are often born out of military pursuits. In the past, military research has directly or indirectly led to technological innovations like the microwave oven, nuclear power, and the Internet.

You can also add M&M’s to that list — yes M&M’s. Those delightfully crunchy and satisfyingly chocolatey candies that melt in your mouth (not in your hand) were originally intended for American troops in World War II.m & m

Legend has it that Forrest Mars, Sr., while traveling in Spain during the Spanish Civil War, found soldiers eating tiny chocolate pellets coated in hard, sugar shells. Returning to the states in 1940, Mars perfected the candy and negotiated an amicable deal with the Hershey Corporation, which already had an agreement to provide chocolate to the army. When World War II rolled around, M&M’s became an instant hit with the troops because the candies could travel well and withstand high temperatures without melting.

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Today, M&M’s remain a troop favorite, but the battleground has changed. While the first rendition of the delectable candies could withstand the temperatures of Europe, Africa, and the Pacific fairly well, they were found to be no match for the incessant heat of the Middle East. So, in the midst of Operation Desert Storm, food technologist Tom Yang led a team that redesigned M&M’s so they wouldn’t turn into a “sticky mess.”

“Regular chocolate is protein in the center coated with fat, so that fat can easily melt,” Yang explained to PBS’ NOVA. “So we came up with sort of a reverse phase chocolate, putting the protein on the outside and the fat in the center. And protein is not that easy to melt.”

A Meat Roll-Up

Yang isn’t solely focused on the sweet side of food, however. He’s recently been investigating a method called osmotic dehydration for use in military MREs (meals, ready-to-eat). The process involves rolling meat into thin sheets, extracting water via osmosis, osmotic dehydration of meatthen running the product through a brine composed primarily of an oligosaccharide food additive called maltodextrin. The end product is a meat roll-up, very much like a fruit roll-up.

Yang plans to adapt osmotic dehydration to all sorts of foods. “The beauty of this technology is you can use beef, you can use  pork, you can use poultry or you can even use fish or a combination of  fruit, vegetable and meat together,” Yang said.

Years of Freshness

An American army soldier’s “meat and potatoes” is the MRE. Available in 24 different varieties, the meal must — as described by Director of Combat Feeding Program Jerry Darsch — have at least “a minimum shelf life at three years at 80 degrees Fahrenheit, six months at 100. It has to be stored, distributed for minus 60 degrees Fahrenheit to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.  It has to be able to be thrown — free fall out of a chopper at 100 feet, and obviously airdropped with parachutes from about 2,000 feet and higher.”

320px-MRE_20071124.PNGIt also has to be at least mildly pleasurable to eat. Military food scientists’ constantly try to balance taste and longevity — a difficult task — but recently they made a breakthrough by creating a sandwich that can stay fresh for three years! The key to the near immortal sandwich was limiting moisture, which is necessary for bacteria to grow. The scientists utilized three surprisingly simple ingredients — honey, sugar, and salt — to retain moisture and seal it off at the same time, thus keeping the sandwich fresh and safe-to-eat. Oxygen, a primary cause of food deterioration, was also limited. A small package of iron filings placed within the sandwich bag traps the gas in a layer of rust.

Another part of the food pleasure equation is warmth. All MREs come equipped with a flameless heater. It’s a small pad filled with magnesium dust, salt, and a little iron dust. Add water, and an oxidation reaction begins that releases a good amount of heat, which can be used to warm the food packages.

Military food scientists continue to push the envelope. During the Civil War, salted pork and hardtack was the faire du jour. Today, it’s lemon pepper tuna, chicken pesto pasta, and beef roast with vegetables. Vast improvements have been made, but the work is never done.

Soldiers have been clamoring for pizza, but technologists have yet to master a version that fits to the MRE’s stringent requirements.

Attribution: Ross Pomeroy, Real Science

Pleas Fall on Deaf EPA Ears

The EPA Rejects Governors’ Plea Over Ethanol

The governors of seven drought afflicted states petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency, asking for a suspension of rules requiring refiners to blend biofuel — mostly ethanol — into the nation’s gasoline supply.

The governors of Georgia, Texas, Arkansas, drought-afflicted statesNorth Carolina, Maryland, New Mexico, and Delaware contended that the renewable fuel standard (RFS) program requiring the use of biofuel, combined with the worst drought in 40 years, had pushed corn prices to record highs and harmed the states’ meat and dairy producers, who use corn as an animal feed.

On Friday, Nov. 16, the Obama administration’s EPA turned down the petition.

This year about 4.7 billion bushels, or 40 percent of the nation’s corn crop, will be used for ethanol production, and ethanol production is set to increase next year.

The Clean Air Act authorizes EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson to waive the RFS targets for ethanol production for one year if the requirements would “severely harm” the economy of a state or the nation as a whole, which the governors claimed they do.food-prices-rise

Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe’s petition to the EPA stated that “virtually all of Arkansas is suffering from severe, extreme, or exceptional drought conditions,” and rising corn prices are “having a severe economic impact” on the state’s livestock producers.

“While the drought may have triggered the price spike in corn,” the fuel standards exacerbated the problem — the policy boosted corn prices 193 percent since 2005.

He also asserted that livestock producers hit hard by rising corn prices “represent nearly half” of the state’s farm sales.

“However, the EPA stacked the decks against petitioners, establishing a burden of proof that was virtually impossibleethanol to meet,” according to Mario Lewis, a senior fellow in energy and environmental policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

In an article on National Review Online, Lewis explained that the EPA in essence required the petitioners to show that the biofuel requirement was entirely responsible for the harm and not merely a contributing factor, and that waiving the requirement would “remedy” the hardship facing livestock producers.

“These criteria are ridiculous,” Lewis declared.

“The Clean Air Act does not require the EPA to don analytical blinkers and ignore other factors that, in combination with the RFS, cause severe harm, nor does it say that any waiver granted must be a silver bullet.”ethanol scam

But he adds: “This cloud may yet have a silver lining. Jackson’s rejection of the waiver petitions exposes the RFS program as an arbitrary, inflexible system that provides corporate welfare to corn farmers at the expense of livestock producers, consumers, and hungry people in developing countries.”

Administrator Jackson was designated for the post by President-elect Obama in December 2008, and she was confirmed by the Senate in January 2009.

Lewis observes: “The EPA’s decision may very well build support for RFS reform — or repeal.”

Attribution: Drudge Report

Spice Up Your Life

SAN DIEGO — The food that inspires wariness and tears is on course for inspiring even more wonder. Scientists reported this week the latest evidence that chili peppers are a heart-healthy food with potential to protect against the number one cause of death in the developed world.

The report was part of the 243rd National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world’s largest scientific society, being held in San Diego this week.

The study focused on capsaicin and its fiery-hot relatives, a piquant family of substances termed “capsaicinoids.” The component that gives cayennes, jalapenos, habaneros and other chili peppers their heat, capsaicin already has an established role in medicine in rub-on-the-skin creams to treat arthritis and certain forms of pain.

Past research suggested that spicing food with chilies can lower blood pressure in people with that condition, reduce blood cholesterol and decrease the tendency for dangerous blood clots to form.

“Our research has reinforced and expanded knowledge about how these substances in chilies work in improving heart health,” said Zhen-Yu Chen, Ph.D., who presented the study. “We now have a clearer and more detailed portrait of their innermost effects on genes and other mechanisms that influence cholesterol and the health of blood vessels. It is among the first research to provide that information.”

The team found, for instance, that capsaicin and a close chemical relative, boost heart health in two ways. They lower cholesterol levels by reducing accumulation of cholesterol in the body and increasing its breakdown and excretion in the feces. That’s number two for those of you in Rio Linda.

They also block action of a gene that makes arteries contract, restricting the flow of blood to the heart and other organs. This blocking action allows more flow through blood vessels.

“We concluded that capsaicinoids were beneficial in improving a range of factors related to heart and blood vessel health,” said Chen, a professor of food and nutritional science at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. “But we certainly do not recommend that people start consuming chilies to an excess. A good diet is a matter of balance. And remember, chilies are no substitute for the prescription medications proven to be beneficial. They may be a nice supplement, however, for people who find the hot flavor pleasant.”

Chen and his colleagues used hamsters for the study. They gave the hamsters high-cholesterol diets, divided them into groups, and supplemented each group’s food with either no capsaicinoids (the control group) or various amounts of capsaicinoids. The scientists then analyzed the effects.

In addition to reducing total cholesterol levels in the blood, capsaicinoids reduced levels of the so-called “bad” cholesterol (which deposits into blood vessels), but did not affect levels of so-called “good” cholesterol. The team found indications that capsaicinoids may reduce the size of deposits that already have formed in blood vessels, narrowing arteries in ways that can lead to heart attacks or strokes.

Capsaicinoids also blocked the activity of a gene that produces cyclooxygenase-2, a substance that makes the muscles around blood vessels constrict. By blocking it, muscles can relax and widen, allowing more blood to flow.

The American Chemical Society is a non-profit organization chartered by the US Congress. With more than 164,000 members, ACS is the world’s largest scientific society and a global leader in providing access to chemistry-related research through its multiple databases, peer-reviewed journals and scientific conferences. Its main offices are in Washington, DC, and Columbus, Ohio.

Face Lift for the Oat Man

The Quaker Oats man featured on the boxes of the popular oatmeal shed five pounds and now sports a more youthful look in the brand’s new logo to highlight its healthy products.

PepsiCo Inc, owner of the cereal company, also decided to give the jolly-faced character a haircut and broader shoulders so consumers can associate the image with ‘energy and healthy choices.’

The makeover of the rosy-cheeked man, known as ‘Larry’, is part of a new direction to make the 134-year-old brand ‘fresh and innovative.’

The new physique removes the man’s double chin.

The rolls and plumpness that made his face and neck look rounder were toned down so he can appear slimmer.

‘We took about five pounds off him,’ said Michael Connors, vice president of design at Hornall Anderson, which was in charge of the change.

The man’s shoulders have greater emphasis so Larry can be seen as a stronger, more vibrant image

His white hair, which dangles down from his top hat, is also shortened as a way to keep him looking thin.

The traditional logo featured Larry on a white background with his fuller face centered within a gold band.

The new image has the man in front of a two-toned red background so it ‘adds a sense of movement,’ according to Connors.

The company did not want to dramatically change Larry – instead opting for subtle differences – to keep the image consistent with consumers who are used to the old look.

Quaker Oats became a registered trademark in 1877 as a breakfast cereal. Owners Henry Seymour and William Heston wanted the products to be associated with good quality and honest value.

The company used an image of a man in “Quaker garb” to be connected with its products.

In 1922, the chubby-cheeked Larry was first prominent on the Quaker Quick Oats box.

His face would remain on the box for decades, including on labels of the oatmeal in 1995 when the company submitted a petition to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to establish the first health claim for a specific food.

The oatmeal became the first to say on its label that the products help improve heart health.

Attribution: Mailonline

Joke du Jour

A man traveling by plane was in urgent need of a restroom facility. But each time he tried, it was occupied. The flight attendant, aware of his predicament, suggested he use the attendant’s ladies room, but cautioned him not to press any of the buttons.

There next to the paper roll were four buttons marked: WW WA PP ATR.

Making the mistake soooo many men make of not listening to a woman, he disregarded what she said when his curiosity got the best of him.

He carefully pressed the WW button and immediately a gentle flush of Warm Water sprayed on his bare bottom. He thought “Wow” these gals really have it nice!!

So a little more boldly he pressed the WA button and body temperature Warm Air blew across his wet bottom and dried it comfortably.

“Aha” he thought, “no wonder these women take so long in the bathroom with these kinds of services!”

So he pushed the next button PP with anticipation. A soft disposable Powder Puff swung below him and dusted his bottom lightly with talc.

“Man, this is great,” he thought as he reached out for the ATR button. When he awoke in the hospital, the morphine was just wearing off…confused he buzzed the nurse to find out what happened.
He explained the last thing he remembered was intense pain in the ladies room on the plane.

The nurse explained, “Yes, you must have been having a great time until you pushed the Automatic Tampon Removal button.”