“A Duraflame Log is 42% Beef” and other news

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McDonald’s Isn’t Normally Ironic. I missed the Lewis Black rant on Taco Bell’s “meat,” which originally aired on “The Daily Show” on February 1st. (If you missed it, you must watch it; he shames Taco Bell for failing to come up with more than the alleged 36% beef in its meat, stating that “even a Duraflame log is 42% beef!”) When I went to look it up on the Comedy Central site, it was flanked by an ad for McDonald’s promoting its “Angus beef.” As Taco Bell defended a lawsuit that claimed its tacos and burritos weren’t exactly filled with what could be legally defined as meat, another issue in the world of fast food meat was brewing that didn’t get as much as coverage. The company Beef Products International launched a lawsuit to keep its records about using ammonia in its meat private from the public right as The New York Times went to press on the subject. If you watched Food Inc., this is the company that takes all the “remnant” parts of cows, processes them into a pinkish gooey material that is washed with ammonia, colored, injected with flavoring and then used as “filler” in hamburgers. So while it is technically beef, it may be less appetizing than the oats and extenders used in the Taco Bell recipe for “meat.”

  • The new USDA dietary guidelines came out this week, inviting a series of articles on the subject. Marion Nestle compiled an excellent roundup from various nutritionist, while Mark Bittman wrote an intriguing opinion piece titled “Is Real Food Unthinkable?” in The New York Times. Among other things, the guidelines raise questions about all the politics that affect the official word on what to eat and the delicate balance not to offend various lobbies plus promote the agriculture industry, which is after all, the USDA’s job.
  • As her contribution to Fashion Week, Marth Stewart declared on The Huffington Post that Food is the New Fashion. Those gluten-free snack bars you’ve got squirreled away say just as much about you as your choice in handbag or those Manolos in your closet.
  • Lawyers, activists and government officials will meet today in Minneapolis to promote a little-known aspect of the new food safety bill — a provision that protects whistleblowers in the food industry who call attention to food safety issues.
  • Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the Guardian in London revisits the annually revived subject of aprhodisiacs.

About katflinn

Kathleen Flinn is the author of "The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry," "The Kitchen Counter Cooking School" and "Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good." All are published by Viking/Penguin.


  1. These are great links. I found the one by Marion Nestle intriguing. I just finished one of her books. As someone who recently discovered a gluten intolerance, I’ve been amazed at how much wheat is a commodity pushed in our culture.

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