Food Taxes Report
One of the problems that has emerged since the first local governments started to impose sugar taxes has been the disinformation campaigns being run by big sugar.
They have consistently lied and distorted information in an effort to protect their positions and to confuse the public.
One excellent example of this was the are where they disseminated just plain old lies to the public that the proposed sugar tax was actually a tax on groceries causing untold confusion and fear.
Fortunately in that case and just about every other case their efforts were to no avail because the people proposing the taxes were already aware of the tactics big sugar would use.
Probably to the dismay of Big Sugar what all this noise has created has been a keen interest in the effects of sugar taxes by independent research bodies.
As a research subject it has all the hallmarks of something they like to get into because it has controversy, a little cloak and dagger on the part of one side, social implications, economic implications and health implications.
And because it has been played out so publicly with so much emotion it is just the kind of thing dry researchers love to wade into to extract the facts and draw conclusions.
So in light of that the Urban Institute has weighed in with it’s own report and finding and although an interesting read I would recommend it is pretty well summed up as follows:
“The report concludes: We conclude that taxing based on the amount of added sugar a drink contains, either by taxing sugar content directly or by levying higher volume taxes on drinks with more sugar, is feasible in many jurisdictions and reduces sugar consumption more effectively than comparable taxes on drink volume.
Broad-based volume or sales taxes on all soft drinks, however, raise revenue more efficiently.
Federal, state, and local policymakers thus face trade-offs between using sweetened-beverage taxes to raise revenue and to discourage consumption of added sugars.”
Let’s Settle This! How to Care for Cast-Iron
Many years ago I was making a major move overseas and the choice of keeping a whole bunch of my stuff was out of the question.
Years of collecting various cooking and kitchen equipment unfortunately had to go the way of the dod.
Bear in mind that was about 15 years ago now and to this day their is only one item I still feel a little pain of regret when I think of it.
That item was my cast iron frying pan.
I spent years building up the most glorious non-stick surface and I could put it up against the best teflon products around.
Pancakes would instantly release and slow scrambled eggs were likewise.
It truly was a thing of beauty especially when you consider it has a lid as well and could be used in an oven.
These days I have to make do with flimsy cookware designed for a throw away generation… it’s a tragedy.
Anyway, I have a friend who has just bought a new cast iron pan and he was looking for help on the care and feeding of same.
There are some simple rules to follow but basically if you bake and fry the hell out of it… it just gets better and better!
A Review of the Year in Sugar!
Well I am thinking the sugar industry as a whole might be similar to the rest of us in at least one sense in that we all probably consider 2016 to have been a bit of a disaster!
On the other hand my year was at least improved to some degree by their disasters… and believe me they had many!
From a bunch of local city governments passing sugar tax laws to their big “tobacco moment” when there bribery of research fellows to exonerate sugar in heart disease it all went a bit off the rails really!
Probably the worst of all of this for them is that there are a number of websites and organizations around the world now who are sharing all of their data on dealing with Big Sugar.
You have to keep in mind that the tobacco companies only managed to survive because there were barriers to the dissemination of information.
It took a long time and a great many court cases to get the whole story revealed and widely known.
Fortunately for us and unfortunately for Big Sugar that is no longer the case.
Sugar watchers all over the world are connected and freely exchanging information making it very difficult to “keep them in the dark and feed them bulls**t!
In fact not only are the raw pieces of research data being exchanged but more importantly, the exact tactics the sugar industry is using in each case making it just gets easier and easier to head them off at the pass!
I came across this article and I thought I would include it for this week for a very important reason.
The article itself covers the fact that food additives are not just automatically bad because they are additives and they are not necessarily bad because they are not organic.
In fact banning or calling for the removal of something from food is not always a cut and dried affair.
Take Carrageenan for example.
The facts are that although there have been some reports that this food additive may not be good for health there is no clear evidence that this is true.
If you are not familiar with it, it is a thickening or gelling substance that is derived from a specific type of seaweed and has been used for centuries without being called into question.
The source of most carrageenan is from poor countries where fishermen eek out a living by collecting the seaweed and selling for processing.
This is their source of living and they mostly completely depend on it to survive.
So that’s one side of the situation.
Against that we have calls to remove it because of health concerns connected to its use but no clear evidence that is the case.
All we really have are some questionable research projects that suggest “maybe” there is a problem.
On top of that we also have the “organic” community calling for its removal because it can’t really be deemed as organic.
They are not saying it is dangerous or anything like that.
They are simply stating that there has been no verification of the sources as being organic so you can’t use it in organic labelled products because of that.
So then we get the kind of “smushing” together of all the information resulting in a backlash against the product.
Now you could say well who cares?
Use it, don’t use it, what’s the big deal?
Well the big deal is that this kind of half done action will most likely result in a bad outcome for the people who can least afford a bad outcome here!
The people who are managing to survive through the collection of the seaweed in the first place.
I really think everyone should get their ducks in a row before they get all hot’n’heavy on banning things.