Adult supervision for fries and Dr. Oz hype over arsenic and apple juice

09/15/2011 02:43:00 PM
Tom Karst

The Drudge Report had a headline "Adult supervision for fries" as a link to the story about the commitment by Darden Restaurants to feature fruits and vegetables as the default choice for meal options for kids. Here is the White House press release about the news.

In short, here are the changes Darden agreed to:


Kids’ Menus – changes starting now and to be fully implemented by July 2012

  •    Guarantee a fruit or vegetable will be the default side for every kids’ menu item at those restaurants offering a default side on the children’s menu: Bahama Breeze, LongHorn Steakhouse and Red Lobster.
  •    1% milk will be the default beverage, provided automatically if no alternate beverage is requested. Milk will be prominently promoted on the menu and made available with free refills.
  •    Food illustrations on the menu will promote the healthy choices for meals and drinks.
  •    Healthier menu options will be more prominently displayed when possible.
  •    Carbonated beverages will not be displayed on children’s menus.
  •    Improve the nutritional content of one or more children’s menu items to provide equal or less than 600 calories, 30% of total calories from fat, 10% of total calories from saturated fat and 600 mg of sodium.

 

These are great changes. Can we agree that kids should eat more fruits and vegetables? Then replacing fries with fruits and vegetables is a good thing. Also, kudos for removing carbonated beverages from the children's menu. All of us, particularly young people, could do well without the calorie load of sugary pop. Can we stop eating cookies by taking away the cookie jar? That's the idea, if we put it far enough out of reach...

 

How many readers saw the Dr. Oz segment about apple juice and arsenic? I watched for about half an hour. In my view, Dr. Oz was less MD and more mass media manipulator, true to the vacated Oprah time slot. Talking to moms (and one dad) about parts per billion of arsenic in apple juice, he successfully evoked gasps, exclamations (I've been duped!) and applause (let's get the industry and FDA to do something, by God). I must say however, his alarmist approach seemed more credible when no one from the apple juice industry or from the FDA appeared on his show. The apple juice industry needed a "million dollar man" to step and answer the fire from Dr. Oz. That was not to be.


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