Tag Archives: usda

There Is No More Fat to Trim from Government Budgets, Part 3

The USDA is spending $2 million to take pictures of what San Antonio school children eat for lunch.

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CEI Podcast – November 30, 2010: Food Safety, Washington-Style

Have a listen here.

CEI Senior Fellow Greg Conko looks at the major provisions of the food safety bill that the Senate is voting on today. The bill would set in stone ever-evolving best practices. Changes to plant inspection and food recall policies are a mix of ineffectiveness and perverse incentives that could raise food prices. Overall, the FDA is too blunt an instrument to be effective on this sensitive issue.

Regulation of the Day 154: Potatoes in School Lunches

The federal government is considering limiting, or even banning potatoes from school lunches. Officials fear the tasty tubers are causing childhood obesity. They would rather children eat more leafy greens instead.

The children are not pleased. One child told the Associated Press, “That would be so not cool. I love tater tots.”

Critics of the nanny state’s slow but steady mission creep often ask, “What’s next, a law saying eat your vegetables?” Well, apparently it is next. Freedom advocates need to find a new reductio ad absurdum.

In fact, the USDA already has a temporary regulation in place disallowing food stamps to be used to buy potatoes. The rule may be made permanent next year. Poverty has more important indignities than losing some choice of what you buy at the grocery store. But what a way to treat adults.

Eat your vegetables. Or else. They’re good for you.

Regulation of the Day 137: Brownie Recipes

The Pentagon’s official brownie recipe is 26 pages long. If you don’t care to read document MIL-C-44072C in its entirety, here are some highlights:

-The water used in this recipe must adhere to EPA drinking water regulations.

-The eggs must comply with USDA “Regulations Governing the Inspection of Eggs and Egg Products (7 CFR Part 59).”

-The brownies must also comply with rules and standards from HHS, The American Association of Cereal Chemists (AACC), the American Oil Chemists Society (AOCS), the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), the Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC), and the National Academy of Sciences’ Food Chemicals Codex.

-The coating must be exactly right:

3.3.5 Brownie coating. The brownies shall be completely enrobed with a continuous uniform chocolate coating (see 3.2.14) in an amount which shall be not less than 29 percent by weight of the finished product.

-Like pecans on your brownies?

3.2.5.2 Nuts, pecans, shelled. Shelled pecan pieces shall be of the small piece size classification, shall be of a light color, and shall be U.S. Grade No. 1 Pieces of the U.S. Standards for Grades of Shelled Pecans. A minimum of 90 percent, by weight, of the pieces shall pass through a 4/16-inch diameter round hole screen and not more than 2 percent, by weight, shall pass through a 2/16-inch diameter round hole screen. The shelled pecans shall be coated with an approved food grade antioxidant and shall be of the latest season’s crop.

And so on.

By contrast, delicious recipes from allrecipes.com and cooking.com are less than a page each.

UPDATE: Reason’s Katherine Mangu-Ward has more; her post was picked up by Fark, too. The comment thread is pretty entertaining.

Friday Regulation Roundup

Government does more wacky things than anyone could possibly write about in any detail. Listed here are just a few that I dug up over the course of the week. If you have more, I’d love to hear about them.

206 occupations require licenses in New Jersey.

– Federal money is paying for a museum exhibit called “Race to the End of the Earth.” (Note: the earth is round.)

– In the market for a new air conditioner? Act fast, because new regulations are on the way.

– The federal government pays for a website that monitors jellyfish sightings.*

– Fear not: the federal government has a Potato Research and Promotion Plan.

– Last year, the feds started a Dairy Industry Advisory Committee. Let the rent-seeking begin!

– And finally: 2,000 House staffers make $100,000 or more per year.

*CORRECTION: Commenter Steve, who works at jellywatch.org, writes that “Our web site is NOT supported by the federal government in any way. It would not be a bad thing if it were, since people are dependent on fish which interact with jellyfish. However we are presently supporting the site through our volunteered time and money from our own pocket. The article you cite refers to associated research which our project will contribute data. Please correct your site accordingly.”

I take Steve at his word, thank him, and issue this correction. Federal money does go to jellyfish research, but not to jellywatch.org.

I also received a thoughtful email from  a colleague of Steve’s that deserves a thoughtful reply. I will post it this weekend.

Regulation of the Day 90: The National Poultry Improvement Plan

Having solved all the nation’s other problems, the federal government has a National Poultry Improvement Plan. Run in conjunction with state governments, “The main objective of this program is to use new diagnostic technology to effectively improve poultry and poultry products throughout the United States.”

Because the government puts so much time and attention into issues like chicken health, it is neglecting its core duty: protecting citizens from attack. Last week’s terrorist attack should be a wake-up call for the government to drop non-essential tasks and concentrate on what it should be doing.

Regulation of the Day 75: Food Containers

The Code of Federal Regulations has 28 sections on food containers. Metal, glass, plastic, flexible, rigid – if you can put food in it, there are rules for it.

Recent innovations, such as easy-open tabs on cans, have prompted the Department of Agriculture to issue a 13-page update to its food container inspection regulations. If you have some spare time on your hands, you can have a look by clicking here.