Why assume conspiracy when stupidity works? Keep your government hands off my cheese

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has, apparently, started to enforce a rule  after the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition issued citations to several New York State cheesemakers for the use of wood shelves, which prompted an inquiry from the state government, which allows the practice.

cheese.wood.boardIn response, the FDA clarified its position, saying that the use of wood shelves violates a provision of its Current Good Manufacturing Practice regulations that requires “all plant equipment…to be adequately cleanable.” The agency is applying this interpretation to all imports as well — an important aspect, since the majority of cheeses imported from Europe are aged on wood.

With the Intertubes that discussion has, within 24 hours, turned conspiratorial.
“A sense of disbelief and distress is quickly rippling through the U.S. artisan cheese community,” according to the Wisconsin blog Cheese Underground.

Naturally, conservatives and libertarians see this move as yet another assault on liberty by the Obama administration. It’s not. It’s a dumb mistake by the F.D.A., not a metaphor for overreach that implies the government should also stop regulating coal emissions and health insurance policies

This afternoon, responding to the uproar in the cheese world, FDA. issued a statement saying it was willing to work with artisanal cheese makers to determine if some cheeses could be safely made on wooden boards. The agency is “always open to evidence that shows that wood can be safely used for specific purposes, such as aging cheese,” the statement said, according to the Associated Press.

Any government agency needs to clearly and effectively communicate risk-based decisions, and provide the evidence to back a particular decision.

Otherwise, a risk information vacuum is created, and others will rush in to fill that space.

Consumers looking for antioxidants in food to control aging

A pomegranate salad, a Frozen Sangria Rita and an oxygen facial.

According to the Arizona Republic, these are the ingredients for a more youthful appearance, and restaurants are jumping on the trend by offering antioxidant-rich dishes.

Annika Stensson, spokeswoman for the National Restaurant Association, said the association recently conducted a survey asking more than 1,200 professional chefs in the United States to list the trendiest items on their menus. Out of almost 200 items, pomegranate finished 16th, fresh fruits were 61st and scallops were 100th. All are foods rich in antioxidants.

The interest in antioxidants also has been transforming beverage lists. Trudy Thomas, director of beverages for Camelback Inn, said the resort created an antioxidant-rich margarita, the Frozen Sangria Rita, after guests expressed interest in red wine’s antioxidant qualities.

Since its debut in February, the concoction of red wine, pomegranate and blueberry has been one of the most popular drinks on the menu, she said.

Diane Aiello, owner of Glam Lounge in Scottsdale, said,
"I am a huge believer in antioxidants. … When we do an oxygen facial, we can see the person’s skin actually changing. The skin is more hydrated, more plump, and lines are softer."

Madonna is said to be a fan.