Monday, May 01, 2017

Menu labeling rule in limbo?

While I was taking a look at the news, I came across an article entitled: “Menu labeling rule in limbo as feds signal last-minute delay.”  The federal rule to take effect on 05 May 2017, “would make it mandatory for all restaurant, supermarket and convenience store chains to post calorie counts on their menus…” Now, just as it was about to take effect, the FDA indicated that the rule could be delayed.

So what do you think is behind the delay?  Some would say that it is a last ditch effort by certain forces to lift regulations that are burdensome to businesses, because of the additional costs associated with the production of new menus.  A counter argument would suggest that since the food industry is already producing some form of labelling, the so-called additional cost is nothing but a smokescreen.

So what are some of the benefits to such a rule?  Foremost, consumers would be in the position to see the calorie counts before buying food and would tend to order less calorie-laden options.  Also, a directive that requires the food chains to admit on paper the ingredients they put in the food they serve is a godsend.  It would allow consumers to be better informed on the chemicals/poison readily put in most foods.  Social pressure for healthier food could, potentially, lead the food conglomerates to produce healthier alternatives.  So far, this sounds pretty good, right?

What do I say?  It’s about time that such regulations are put in place!  It would force the food chains to disclose to all their customers the kind of garbage that they serve!  Therefore, it isn’t surprising that forces within the food industry are trying their best to prevent such law from coming into effect!  However, my darker side believes that such a law really won’t make much of a difference.  Why, you ask?  Because the populace is so addicted to the hollow, sugar-laden foods served at fast food joints!  The same is true for the quick-cooking/time-saving trash available at supermarkets!  The result is that most people wouldn’t/couldn’t alter their choices! 

I find it sad to admit/realize that a potentially great law would not make much of a difference.  This is a clear case of the food industry controlling the populace for such a long time that the people have become powerless.  So where should we place the blame?  To me it is simple.  Blame it on fast foods!

- B. J. T. Pepin

Monday, April 10, 2017

Fake news? You mean that not everything we read on the internet is true?!

Back in late February, while my dearest was watching a recording of the Doctor Oz show, something caught my attention: The term “fake news” was used to describe information presented by certain websites.  If you aren’t aware of the term, Wikipedia describes “fake news” as “a type of hoax or deliberate spread of misinformation…with the intent to mislead in order to gain financially or politically.”

During the broadcast, Dr. Oz’s guest, Jestin Coler, admitted to creating fake news websites and profiting from them.  What surprized me most were the comments suggesting how and how many people are actually drawn into the scams.  In order to trick millions of people into believing and sharing content, the websites involved would copy the look of more reputable news websites.  This included creating web addresses that closely resemble those of the well-known websites, “banking” on the fact that many people only see the first part of the address.

Later in March, CBS’s show, “60 Minutes,” also looked into the topic of fake news.  Although Jestin Coler was again center stage, what came out of the interview with Michael Cernovich was significant.  Looking beyond the content of Cernovich’s stories, “the 60 Minutes team realized that the very definitions of words like ‘true’ and ‘false’ were not agreed upon by everyone in the room.”  The discussion on this topic suggests that “there is a basic fundamental disagreement right now in the country about what is false information.”

To me, the last comment really sealed the deal.  It is crystal clear that many people will choose to believe anything.  Why?  Well, either they are daft and will believe just about anything or they use the lies to push an agenda in one way or another.  The most recent presidential race in the United States is a perfect example.  It is sad to see that people will buy into it!

But where does this come from?  It’s simple: We live in a society that is built on “smoke and mirrors.”  What I mean is that the populace is willing to buy anything and everything.  Whether or not what is bought is real or good, it is that which appears to them as real or good that is most important.  Sad but true!  People simply believe what they want to believe.  The purchase of fast foods presented as “healthy”/“healthier” is another example of this reality.  I really think that fast foods have rotten our brains!  So what do I say in the face of fake news and people believing the fabrications?  Blame it on fast foods!

- B. J. T. Pepin