“The New Tobacco”

In the United Kingdom, health experts are calling for junk food to be more tightly regulated, reports the Guardian:

“They have urged severe restrictions on supermarket promotions of processed foods, and bans on fast food outlets near schools, and TV adverts for pizzas, burgers and similar foods before 9pm. One campaign group even urged the government to consider plain packaging for processed food.”

Junk-Food Jump

Sales of processed food have shot up since the COVID-19 crisis hit, writes Katie Way:

“It’s easy, though, to chalk spiking processed food sales up to slovenly millennials pigging out, mere hypocrites who nagged their parents about the benefits of clean eating and buying organic only to crawl back into the arms of boxed mac and cheese when the going gets tough. It’s much less amusing to consider that maybe the prospect of being jobless and hopelessly in debt for the foreseeable future influenced people’s decisions to grab canned soup instead of fresh produce.”


Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador is encouraging citizens to adopt a healthy diet, writes Jude Webber—even as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement goes into effect, making Mexico a prime market for processed food.

“The president’s crusade against junk food has been given a new urgency because of Covid-19, which is particularly dangerous for the nearly three-quarters of Mexicans who are overweight or obese and 16 per cent who are diabetic. But it has also intensified pressure on processed food manufacturers who are major investors in Mexico and are upset at the plans to slap warning labels screaming ‘too much salt,’ ‘too high in calories’ or ‘too much fat’ on snacks and sodas later this year.”

Thinking Out of the Box

In an interview with Cooking Light magazine, Michelle Obama reveals one food she won’t let her kids eat: boxed macaroni and cheese.

“My kids loved the macaroni and cheese in a box. And [White House chef Sam Kass] said, if it’s not real food then we’re not going to do it. If we want macaroni and cheese, we’ll cook it with real milk and real cheese. He said, there’s nothing wrong with mac and cheese, but it’s got to be real food.”

Sweet and Salty

According to a new study, packaged food for toddlers contains too much salt and sugar, reports Joanna Rothkopf:

“‘Some of the foods had about similar [sugar or salt] content to what we see in adult foods,’ said the study’s lead author Mary Cogswell, a scientist in the division for heart disease and stroke prevention at the CDC in an interview with Live Science. ‘For example, in the category of savory snacks or salty snacks, the average sodium concentration, or amount of sodium per 100 grams, was about the same as you see in plain potato chips.'”

Shell Game?

In advance of Easter, to cut costs, Cadbury has changed the chocolate it uses in its Creme Eggs, and there are now five eggs per box instead of six, prompting outrage. Andrew Baker investigates:

“The truth is that separating the contents of a Creme Egg from the shell is a tricky and messy business – part of the appeal of the things being the difficulty in eating them. But when the chocolate is consumed without the goo, it still tastes overwhelmingly sweet, with subsidiary flavours (and the texture) of vegetable fat and barely a hint of dairy. Is the lack of Dairy Milk a terrible loss? You would be hard-pressed to miss the flavour.”

Off the Sauce

Sales of brown sauce in Britain are falling. Tony Naylor rejoices:

“Created in the late 1800s, brown sauce reads, tastes and smells like the idle creation of some Phileas Fogg-type, just back and hugely, over-excited about his adventures in the British empire. Dates! Molasses! Tamarind! Cloves! Cayenne pepper! It is not so much a recipe as chauvinistic flag-waving, a smug, muscle-flexing case of: ‘Look at the size of our spice cupboard.’ Said exotic ingredients were combined, moreover, with all the sensitivity of the period. Just as in the age of empire we ignored or abused indigenous peoples, so too their ingredients. In brown sauce, they were used to produce an unholy trinity of brutal sweetness, acrid spiciness and vile vinegary twang – one peculiarly British in its lack of culinary sophistication.”

When It Rains It Pours

Hugh Merwin:

“A 50-foot brick wall collapsed this afternoon at a Morton Salt processing plant in West Town, Chicago, leading to a deluge of the company’s signature product flowing into the neighboring car dealership. DNAinfo reporter Paul Biasco tweeted that employees ‘ran when they started seeing bricks fall.’ No one was hurt in the incident, but 11 Acuras, it seems, have been irreparably damaged as a result of their sodium intake.”

Condiments Reconciled

Unilever, which produces Hellmann’s mayonnaise, has ended its lawsuit against the maker of Just Mayo, an eggless mayonnaise product:

“You may recall that the multinational company had argued Just Mayo was doing ‘serious irreparable harm’ by ‘falsely communicating’ the nature of its product, which perhaps convinced meat-eaters to eat vegan stuff. The official FDA definition of what it means to be mayonnaise was invoked, and in general, the ugly specter of a looming legal battle over condiments upset the normally peaceful world of the sandwich-eating public.”