Megalomania and other modest propositions - The Packer

Megalomania and other modest propositions

05/29/2014 05:31:00 PM
Tom Karst

Tom KarstAs a modest Midwest journalist, I suppose it surprises me to think that there are really people that read what I write. It is the opposite ego trip to the notion - which I am susceptible to as well - that simply everyone hangs on each word I pen in rapt wonder. Both ideas are silly.

Anyway, it was nice to hear from a reader by e-mail to say they do check in on Fresh Talk. Thanks for that, if you are reading these words - all 7 billion of you!

Every day I check the web for interesting tidbits. I don’t always have time to process them and communicate them to readers. Perhaps this short-form approach may help.

Here are a few today.

 Under the heading of lost causes, UK Supermarket Waitrose is offering a 1 kilogram pack of less than perfect tomatoes in what the online publication The Guardian calls a “supermarket first.” The pack consists of round, cherry and baby plum tomatoes that are misshaped. The concept of marketing ugly produce has been attempted by Waitrose in the past, the coverage says, with blemished apples, odd looking strawberries and other items. Food waste has become more of a consumer issue after the Waste and Resources Action Programe reported that British families threw away about $100 per month in food per household. Will consumers really snap this up?

I was surprised that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack came out as strong as he did against potatoes in a recent teleconference. When a reported suggested that potatoes were being forced upon WIC by the House and the Senate, Vilsack didn’t equivocate on the USDA’s position.

From my coverage this week:

Vilsack also said the USDA remains opposed to adding potatoes to the Women, Infants and Children fruit and vegetable voucher, despite language in both the House and Senate appropriations bills instructing the USDA to do so. “Medical experts tell us that youngsters don’t consume enough dark green, orange, red vegetables, and the WIC program supplements and provides moms the opportunity to purchase those vegetables they might not purchase to complement the potatoes that are already part of that family’s diet,” he said. The USDA doesn’t think the inclusion of potatoes is necessary or consistent with the experts, he said. “Pediatricians know more about children’s health than politicians do,” he said. “This shouldn’t be driven by economics of an industry, it should be driven by the health care of our children,” he said.


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