Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Bitter Sweets

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Intern Rebecca here, with news in from Candy Land…

Corporate chocolate giant Hershey’s is suing rival corporate chocolate giant Mars for use of the color orange. Last time I checked, neither of their products are rich in Vitamin C, so what’s this about?

Hershey’s says Mars’ new product, Peanut Butter Chocolate Dove Promise Squares, is piggybacking off of Hershey’s Reese’s well known advertising campaign by using the color orange, plus a splash of brown, in their packaging.

Mars’ says the lawsuit is bogus, as it’s nearly impossible to depict a chocolate peanut butter product without using orange and brown in the packaging, and I have to agree. I’m not going to eat anything called “peanut butter” that’s the color purple, and neither would Oprah. Unless it’s Acia peanut butter, in which case I will follow Oprah and buy at all costs.

Nor am I going to confuse Dove Promises with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Dove Promises offer a heartfelt message with every serving, such as, “You deserve this chocolate,” or, “You look amazing, eat ten more!” Reese’s just display the depressing nutritional facts, which are defiantly not guilt free. Once Reese’s start telling me to forego the gym because I’m above it, I’ll agree there’s something fishy happening.

This could all be nasty courtroom backlash from a case last winter when Mars sued Hershey’s because Mars felt their rival’s new Bliss Chocolates were too similar to the Dove Promises. If that’s the case, maybe both chocolatiers should take a break and enjoy some of their own products, which might remind them, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”

And the color Orange is certainly small stuff. This can’t really be a case, can it?

Another Way to Give Thanks…

Friday, November 27th, 2009

Sure, it’s for an ad — and arguably one in which the product’s claims could be challenged in a lawsuit — but it’s still pretty damn funny.

You’re welcome.

AMY on CNN at 10:30 AM!

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

Tune in momentarily and catch Amy on CNN LIVE at 10:30!

cnn

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

When Pigs Fly…

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

I really do feel bad for celebrity chef, Paula Deen, who got knocked in the schnoz by a flying ham as she was doling out food for the charity organization, Feed the Hungry. While tossing around turkeys and hams with other volunteers, Deen was nailed in the whiffer when the “pig skin” was unexpectedly thrown back to her.  Clearly this is the Thanksgiving version of the old saw, “No good deed goes unpunished.”

But Deen, who’s been a favorite of mine since her hilarious segment on Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me!,  responded to the incident with characteristic humor later tweeting: “I haven’t met the ham that could stop me yet!”

As we all head into the Thanksgiving and holiday season, and we go to other folks’ homes, eating their food, drinking their libations, possibly playing ball on their lawns (or having people over to do all of these things in our own homes), it’s important to keep in mind that not everyone will blow off a nose-knocking as quickly as Chef Paula. And even during the holidays, there are legal issues to consider…

Fortunately, Amy will be on CNN tomorrow morning at 10:30 to discuss questions like:

  • What if the canned cranberry sauce you serve at Thanksgiving causes a guest to be rushed to the hospital for food poisoning. Are you liable for their medical bills?
  • What if you get caught in a crush of people during a Black Friday sale and accidentally knock an old lady to the ground, breaking her hip. Are you responsible for paying her bills or is the store?
  • What if your deep fried turkey catches on fire and destroys your kitchen?  Are you covered for the damages?
  • Your son brings home a friend from college for Thanksgiving who drinks to much of your wine, then gets into an accident, injuring a pedestrian.  Is he at fault or are you for serving the wine?
  • Your boss wants you to work all day on Thanksgiving but you decide to take the day off anyway because your family is in town. He threatens to fire you. What are your rights?

So tune in, turn on and have a healthy, happy and lawsuit-free T-Day!


Drink Slinger, Chain Blinger

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

Pity poor, busty Melody Morales, the former Hooters waitress whose dream job — being a waitress at the Hawaiian Tropic Zone — continues to elude her. Miss Morales believes that the reason she’s been twice rejected for the position in which she’d get to serve food and drinks in a bikini(!) isn’t because she can’t fill in the costume. (Looks to me like she was inflated to fit it just perfectly.)

Doubly blessed

Doubly blessed

The reason, Morales claims, is that she–HEY, eyes back here!–failed the interview portion because she didn’t “speak white” enough to satisfy the managers.

So what did Chesty McLookatMyTits do, you ask?

Well, she filed a lawsuit against the HTZ “eatery” claiming she was discriminated against because of her Latin accent.

Her lawyer, Derek Smith, was quoted in the NY Daily News (and yes, there’s another pic of her there) as stating: “I don’t think accent should play any role in service at a restaurant where the waitresses serve drinks and meals in bikinis.” In a way, I can see the man’s point–it recalls my favorite line from Bullets Over Broadway, spoken by Dianne Wiest , “No, no, don’t speak. Don’t speak. Please don’t speak. Please don’t speak. No. No. No. Go…”

But the problem is, speaking actually is a necessity for someone discussing the day’s specials and taking orders. So for asserting that Miss Morales’s job would simply be that of bikini’ed side of beef in heels, Mr. Smith gets a big slap. That said, HTZ lawyers, in trying to discredit Miss Morales by hinting she was a hooker after her photos appeared on what they deemed “very filthy” web sites, should get kicked in their collective nads.

Whether a judge will ultimately deem this a case of a discriminatory hiring practice remains to be seen. Because unlike the case of the porky waitresses at the Borgata casino who sued for weight discrimination, claiming discrimination in the case of race or ethnicity does have merit.

Personally I hope Miss Morales gets the job. Not only is this her dream, I think she’d add some much needed spice to the otherwise vanilla Hawaiian Tropic Zone.

Fork Over the Cheese!

Friday, September 11th, 2009

pizza-wonder-woman1So who’s the biggest loser now?

An Indiana court has ruled that Boston’s The Gourmet Pizza shop must pay for an obese employee’s gastric bypass surgery because it will help him recover from an on-the-job injury he received when he was hit on the back with a freezer door. (Ed note: uh, wha?)

Adam Childers, a 25-year-old, 340 pound cook , was, according to the AP story, “accidentally struck in the back by a freezer door. Doctors said he needed surgery to ease his severe pain, but that the operation would do him no good unless he first had surgery to reduce his weight, which rose to 380 pounds after the accident.”

Now the company had agreed to pay for Childers’s back surgery, but it balked at the idea of ponying up for the lap band procedure. In a nutshell I believe their argument was this: “We hired him as a fatty, so fat he shall stay!” (I imagine they probably also thought he was a good advertisement for a very satisfied pizza-eating customer base.)

But the court ruled in favor of the pizza guy, stating, “The surgery – and disability payments while Childers was unable to work – were covered because his weight and the accident had combined to create a single injury.” They also noted that Boston’s failed to provide any evidence that Childers’s excessive poundage had presented medical problems before the accident. In other words, “just because he was ‘morbidly’ obese and probably sweat a lot, it did not an unhealthy employee make.”

What’s interesting, though, is that the consultant quoted later in the piece, Tom Lynch, CEO of Lynch, Ryan & Associates Inc., gets his employment law WRONG when explaining why he thinks this ruling is bad because employers might start finding reasons not to hire obese people:

“Legally, you cannot refuse to hire this 350-pound person because they’re 350 pounds. That’s illegal. But you might find some other reason not to hire them,” he said.”

Guess what, guy? That’s not true. An employer can absolutely refuse to hire you because you’re too fat. Why? Because being fat isn’t considered a protected class (like race, ethnicity, etc.) Guess what else? This is something we discuss in the first chapter of the book, that’s the chapter entitled, “Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s Off To Sell Your Soul to the Devil You Go!”

And we’re very glad to say we’re but 2 1/2 weeks away from our pub date, but you should feel free to pre-order your copy today!

Blind Justice

Monday, August 31st, 2009

You can’t say the folks in the Coca-Cola Customer Service department don’t have a good sense of humor… a good grasp of how to avoid litigation? Uhh, less so. Just ask Ming Fu Hu, a New Zealand man, who was struck in the eye by an exploding bottle of Coca-Cola’s Keri orange juice.

The injury cost Mr. Hu $5000 in medical bills and permanently damaged his vision.

So how did the Coca-Cola Corporation respond? Well, they offered the injured man an entire case of that very explosive orange drink and $200 worth of grocery vouchers. Best part is, they said it was done as a goodwill gesture!

According to the article, Northcote shop owner takes on might of Coca-Cola, “Coca-Cola’s lawyers said the company had no liability to Mr Hu, there was no issue of public safety arising from these circumstances and “CCA now considers this matter at an end”.

Perhaps not surprisingly, a lawyer for Mr. Hu sees the matter through a different lens: “It is not acceptable that Coca-Cola’s attitude is that it can remedy the problem by offering this man more of the very same product that injured him.”

Hu has yet to file suit against Coca-Cola, but still has an open claim with the Accident Compensation Corporation. It will be interesting to see how this case moves forward, but word to the wise: before you offer to buy the world a coke, beware that no good deed goes unpunished and that one man’s refreshment might be another’s pain in the eye…

Chunky Monkey

Friday, July 10th, 2009
Rhesus Peanut Butter Cups

What an anorexic monkey sees when she looks in the mirror...

Good news for all the perpetual dieters out there! According to an article in the New York Times, Dieting Monkeys Offer Hope For Longer Life. Apparently a newly released study shows that a calorie restricted diet helped slow the aging process in monkeys. The study did not discuss whether these thin little monkeys were any happier or more successful than their fat friends, but suffice to say they were the most popular primates on the block (particularly after the others had died.)

But the big question is if this news will translate for humans, and if so, if humans would even want to live longer if forced to subsist on a lettuce leaf and sawdust each day for the rest of their endlessly miserable lives?

Still, say you want to jump the gun and get started on creating your own near starvation diet. The problem is, if you walk into a supermarket you’ll see myriad products passing themselves off as diet food. Are they for real? What do those nutritional labels really mean? Well, as women who have frequently found ourselves on the wrong end of a Snackwell box, we want to give you the lowdown on “low cal.”

You should be aware that the FDA has defined and strictly regulates the use of eleven core terms on nutritional labels so that manufacturers can’t deceive the public into believing the food they’re selling is healthier than it is. Similar to George Carlin’s list of “the seven words you can never say on television,” these eleven words are strictly regulated by the FDA: Lean, Extra lean, Light, Percent fat free, Low, Less, Reduced, Fewer, High, Good source, Fresh

The following definitions for these terms are taken from the FDA Web site, and can be found at www.fda.gov/fdac/special/foodlabel/lite.html.

Term

Definition

Lean

The food has less than 10 grams (g) of fat, less than 4 g of saturated fat, and less than 95 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol per serving and per 100 g.

Extra Lean

The food has less than 5 g of fat, less than 2 g of saturated fat, and less than 95 mg of cholesterol per serving and per 100 g.

Light or “Lite”

Can mean one of two things: The first, that these nutritionally altered products contain one-third fewer calories or half the fat of the reference food. If the food derives 50 percent or more of its calories from fat, the reduction must be 50 percent of the fat.

Second, that the sodium content of a low-calorie, low-fat food has been reduced by 50 percent. The term “light in sodium” is allowed if the food has at least 50 percent less sodium than a reference food. If the food still does not meet the definition for “low sodium,” the label must include the disclaimer “not a low-sodium food.”

Percent Fat Free

Products bearing “percent fat free” claims contain relatively small amounts of fat and must meet the definitions for low fat. The claim must also accurately reflect the amount of fat present in 100 g of the food. For example, if a food contains 2.5 g of fat per 50 g, the claim must be “95 percent fat free.”

Low

If a person can eat a large amount of the food without exceeding the “daily value” (www.fda.gov/fdac/special/foodlabel/dvs.html) for the nutrient, it’s considered “low.” “Low” claims can be made in reference to total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, and calories. A claim of “very low” can be made only about sodium.

Less /
Reduced /
Fewer

A relative claim must include the percent difference and the identity of the regular product. However, “reduced,” “less,” and “light” claims can’t be made on products whose nutrient level in the regular food already meets the requirement for a “low” claim. Reference foods for “light” and “reduced” claims must be similar to the product bearing the claim—for example, reduced-fat potato chips compared with regular potato chips. But the reference foods for “less” and, in the case of calories, “fewer” may use dissimilar products within a product category—for example, pretzels with 25 percent less fat than potato chips.

High /
Good Source

To qualify for the “high” claim, the food must contain 20 percent or more of the daily value for that nutrient in a serving. Approved synonyms for high are “rich in” or “excellent source.” “Good source” means a serving contains 10 to 19 percent of the daily value for the nutrient.

Fresh

“Fresh” can be used only on a food that is raw, has never been frozen or heated, and contains no preservatives. (Irradiation at low levels is allowed.)

The Giant Crunching Sound

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

Shiver me timbers & loosen me teeth!

Shiver me timbers & loosen me teeth!

On what tree does the Crunch Berry grow? I can tell you one thing: if it ever did exist—which it doesn’t—it would certainly grow nuts, just like the one who sued Pepsico, the makers of Cap’n Crunch with Crunch Berries for misleading her into thinking that Crunch Berries were actual berries, when in fact there is no such thing as a “crunch berry” nor are there any real berries in the Cap’n's Berry Crunch.

Have we descended so far into individual non-responsibility that brands must make sure that even the most dimwitted among us (and the lawyers who are ready to take their cases) could not possibly be confused? As the Latin speakers among us might say, “Q.E.D., muthafuckas.”

So what is the law on what food labels are considered misleading and how do you really know what you’re getting when you buy them?

The Food and Drug Administration regulates food labels and nutritional content, and the Federal Trade Commission ensures that no labels are misleading to consumers. Under regulations, all consumers need do if they are confused by the name of the product or picture on the package is to turn the box over and read the actual ingredients. Clearly this is something that you should (but rarely) do to know what the nutritional value of what you’re buying anyway.

As it turns out, there are no misleading health benefit claims on the box of Cap’n Crunch other than, “This mythical sea Cap’n may shove a giant spoon in your face!”And fortunately for all of us, the court found that this is not something that could or would deceive a reasonable consumer. Argh!