Watch out for aspartame, milk-drinkers!  »

imageMore like aspar-tasty!

Per national food-issues watchdog Parke Wilde at U.S. Food Policy blog, little dairy-consumers could be ingesting fun new chemicals in their federally purchased school-lunch milks!

The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) have petitioned FDA to modify the standard of identity for milk, permitting companies to add a non-calorie sweetener without additional labeling.

The petition proposes to allow dairy companies to add the non-nutritive sweetener aspartame to milk, without being required to label the milk as “low-calorie” or “low-sugar.”  Currently, aspartame is allowed in milk (just as in diet soda), but such milk must be labeled to let the consumer know.

It appears the dairy industry is especially interested in marketing low-calorie flavored milk through child nutrition programs.

Oh boy! What lucky boys and girls, drinking delicious, artificially flavored milk, full of even more artificial sweeteners! And the dairy industry wouldn’t even have to tell them about it! Gosh, you’d think if milk-sellers were so proud of their newest clever way of tricking children into consuming their hell-beverage, they’d announce it in a super-cool ad, not petition the FDA to hide their action. Why, it’s almost as if the dairy industry doesn’t want adults to know what’s inside the new-and-improved, lower-sugar, “better”-for-kids milk products.

The dairy industry lie (by omission) to us? Perish the thought.

[Photo by cinderellasg via Flickr]


Want a quick laugh? Check out the Center for Consumer Freedom’s anti-HSUS ad, which aired during the Oscars on Sunday. The CCF is the same organization that campaigns against tanning bed legislation, teachers unions, all unions, MADD, ACORN, PETA, and HSUS, among many, many others. Against public policy change? Call Rick Berman! He’ll denigrate anyone for money!

Read more about this nonsense at Mother Jones, or check out Berman Exposed.


Wherever you are, your government hates you  »

Not a joke. In England, after slashing health and welfare benefits, the new government is writing policy on “obesity, alcohol, and diet-related disease”; namely, “an overhaul of public health.” To advise them, the government has asked experts in different areas of obesity, alcohol, and diet-related disease, including: Cancer Research U.K.; the Faculty of Public Health; the CEO (Jeremy Beadles) of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association; Diageo; Unilever; Mars; Kellogg’s; PepsiCo; KFC; and McDonald’s. British public health policy: it’s just like ours! Which is to say, the mighty businesses get to strike all the legislation they don’t like, work in sneaky little loopholes so they can continue to sell their demon “food” unfettered by silly regulations, and do it with the approval of the government AND public health advocacy groups! Win-win-win, suckers!

Currently 30 percent of North Korean residents are “substantially undernourished,” but every single country save China and South Korea does not want to donate food because the PRK’s government is all nuked up. AHAHA sorry fellow human beings; your government eats up all your food and hordes money you will never see, makes selling or trading your own food illegal, and refuses to shut down its nuclear program despite 30 percent of you already starving! And not one wealthy country that could give you food or the supplies to grow your own will, because we’re all playing a game of nuclear-chicken with your dictator-leader! I guess you’ll just have to rely on the underfunded U.N. World Food Program.

Those lovely reuseable plastic-composite shopping bags all the grocery and drugstores sell now? Some of them are full of lead. YES. Thanks for the Q.C., government! Glad you’re looking out for us as we try to avoid using terrible animal-murdering never-decomposing plastic bags! Solution: canvas. Just use bags made of recycled canvas and you and the environment and the cotton-harvesters will be all right.

And here are your FDA recalls from last week (Nov. 9 to 13)! As the majority of these are non-vegan, maybe let your meat- and cheese-eating pals know about them. And sleep well at night knowing how much lower your risk of bacterial illness is.

Thanks for strictly enforcing those safety standards, FDA! Man it is great to live in a country whose government cares so much about its citizens’ health and safety.


The Food Network says some vegetarian food is, uh, not  »

"Now, Lisa’s going through this phase where she doesn’t eat any meat, so I usually sneak a little meat juice into her vegetables." —Marge Simpson

SuperVegan brings us some unsettling news today: according to a survey conducted by Food magazine, about 15 percent of chefs report that ” their vegetarian dishes might not be completely vegetarian.” Further, says Food, “Beware if you’re one of those super-picky vegan types: One chef reported seeing a cook pour lamb’s blood into a vegan’s primavera.”

Gross, right? Before the apoplexy blinds us all, let’s use our clever vegan brains to examine this analytically. Food says that they anonymously “surveyed chefs across the country,” but they provide no hard data at all, which renders this “about 15 percent” essentially meaningless. How many chefs are 15 percent? In which cities and states did the surveyed chefs live? Look, if your Vegansaurus surveyed vegans, and 95 percent of respondents agreed that humane treatment of farm animals was a “positive step” toward animal rights, what would you say? Hopefully, you’d ask the same questions—without hard data, surveys don’t mean much.

SuperVegan concludes that this survey answer is “just one more reason to avoid restaurants that have animals on their menus,” but your Vegansaurus respectfully disagrees. We encourage vegans to patronize non-veg restaurants all the time because they offer quality veg dishes. However, if they’re not actually vegan, that’s been a depressing waste of time and money. Don’t restaurants want business? Are they all so financially comfortable that they can afford to play with our food?

Presumably, 15 percent isn’t a huge number—15 if they asked 100 chefs, 30 if they asked 200, etc.—though we can’t know because we don’t have those figures. If chefs put vegetarian and vegan dishes on a menu, it should imply that they understand the terms and want to make food that abides by them. Of course, continue to eat at veg restaurants, we love those places the most! We love all restaurants that serve tasty, cruelty-free food. There are so many better things to lie about—what would putting lamb’s blood in a primavera even accomplish, honestly? If this survey makes you warier of eating at non-veg places, your Vegansaurus recommends asking specific, very polite questions of your server when placing your order.

And remember, always look at surveys as carefully as you do menus and ingredients lists!


Taco Happy Hour oppression!  »

Chances are if you live in San Francisco and are an unemployed bum (“freelancer”), you’ve heard of El Toro's and Pancho Villa's Taco Happy Hours. Between the hours of 3 and 5 p.m., both venerable taquerias offer $1 tacos and $2 beers. While in the past I've had no troubles getting tofu tacos for the $1 advertised price, yesterday when my friend and I hit up the Panch, we were told that the only vegetarian taco eligible for the deal was the plain rice/beans/salsa deal…BUT I could get a meat taco for the happy hour price!

What the shit? The basic meat taco is $3, while the rice/beans/salsa model is $1.50. That means that you get a $2 discount per taco if you eat meat, and a $0.50 discount per taco if you don’t. What’s more is the tofu tacos COST LESS THAN THE PLAIN MEAT TACOS! THEY ARE $2.25!!! WHY, PANCHO VILLA/EL TORO, WHY?

Now, I love me some El Toro and I love me some Pancho Villa (more El Toro, because they have pico de gallo in their salsa bar, and I am like a fiend for that stuff), but I am not so in love with this veg discrimination, so I say let us rise up, vegans, and fight for our $1 tofu tacos! Contact El Toro and Pancho Villa and (politely and pragmatically) let them know that we’re on to them. End veggie discrimination now!


Rocket Dog fundraiser!, cupcakes go boom, more urban chickens, famous writers tell you about food, and we are spoiled produce-cocktail-swillers in the Friday link-o-rama!  »

Rocket Dog Rescue Happy Hour fundraiser at Doc’s Clock! Be there tomorrow, Sept. 5th, from 4 to 8 p.m. at 2575 Mission St. (between 21st and 22nd): 50 percent of the bar and 100 percent of the proceeds from the silent auction (with fantastic prizes!) will benefit Rocket Dog Rescue. Doc’s Clock will also take donations for VetSOS.

Slate says, Watch out, cupcake-bakers, your business is a bubble on the verge of bursting! Author Daniel Gross briefly mentions that Babycakes “offers vegan cupcakes,” failing to note that it is also a “refined-sugar-free, gluten-free, wheat-free, soy-free…kosher” and organic bakery with a varied menu that includes savory baked goods. If Gross wants to conflate an entire specialty bakery with year-or-less-old, single-item stores with utterly generic product, he certainly may, but that is not the strongest way to make a point. At least, not to vegans. Presumably the fine ladies and gentlemen of Sticky Fingers Bakery, Sugar Beat Sweets, Sweet Avenue Bakeshop, Sweet Cakes Bakery, Violet Sweet Shoppe, Fat Bottom Bakery, and other purveyors of fine vegan baked goods would agree.

Ooh fancy, it’s The Nation's 2009 food issue! Possibly pertinent topics include: starting a community garden, farmers’ markets in Mississippi, and Alice Waters on school lunch reform. Those articles, and quite a few more, are presently available in full for free online, so best get to reading while you can, non-subscribers.

Let’s look at restaurant reviews in the Chronicle! This week, Michael Bauer spent $200 on “pancetta-wrapped rabbit” at Oliveto and did not enjoy it. My heart bleeds for you and your “disappointing” meal, Mr. Bauer. Some might say next time, lay off the animals, but you soldier on. This is what I want in a restaurant reviewer: dedication to duty. For the vegans, four sad paragraphs about Golden Era, in which the reviewer turns up her nose at the fake chicken. What kind of joyless soul does not enjoy Supreme Master’s fake chicken?

Pizzaiolo, you have some sick ideas about supper: "Diners will be able to wander over, Barolo in hand, to commune with the creatures that might contribute to their dinner." The "chef-owner" had a RISD-graduate-designed chicken coop built off of his restaurant to house his customers’ future meals/victims. I 100 percent want to vomit. This argument, that it makes you a better meat-eater when you "confront the reality" that your food used to be a thinking, feeling, living creature, it really burns. Yes, the disconnect between "antiseptic" packaged pieces of animals people buy from grocery stores and the actual animals those pieces came from is surreal and problematic; still, picking out the animal you want to have killed so you can eat it? How is that any better? That’s just on the acceptable side of bloodlust, and it’s revolting. If Pizzaiolo’s venture does anything, I hope it dissuades people from eating those chickens, when they’re forced to see the birds (theoretically) enjoying, you know, being alive, An apology to Pizzaiolo, we obviously didn’t read the article correctly! OUR SERIOUS BAD. It’s not vegan, but Pizzaiolo is taking a step to reduce their part in animal cruelty. What do Vegansaurus readers think of the backyard chicken trend?

Ethicurean takes a look at a potential federal bailout of the National Pork Producers Council, a.k.a Big Pork. Surprise: it’s industry-controlled, hypocritical, and a total violation of sensible business/economic practices! Ha ha ha oh meat industries, you rascals,* you.

The Vegan and Vegetarian Foundation created this lovely site called The Safety of Soya, to dispel the ridiculous myths and lies about soy that won’t seem to die—e.g., that “too much soy” will turn little heterosexual boys gay (Assuming they were heterosexual in the first place, that is).

The champion vegetable-eaters behind CSA Delivery blog made a minestrone soup to cure 1) the San Francisco summer blues and 2) a shameful craving for terrible food (in this case, minestrone soup from the Olive Garden, where not even the breadsticks are vegan). It looks like it was quite successful:

You know what Vegansaurus loves? Cocktails, are what we love. Lucky for us we live in one of the nation’s best cities for scrumptious, fancy drinks. Let us be grateful every day for these amazing bartenders who not only have amazing taste and imagination, but are so dedicated to their craft they grow fresh ingredients for the drinks they make you. Imagine that mojitonico with heirloom tomatoes picked that morning from a garden not five miles from the bar you’re sitting at. Now, die of bliss.

Bon Appétit knows its way around a backhanded compliment: Of Jeremy Fox’s wonderful Ubuntu the magazine says “the focus…is not on what is missing (namely, meat) but what is lusciously abundant,” and waxes rhapsodic about the restaurant’s vegetables for over 100 words. Nice to see your priorities are in order there, guys.

*no relation to super-commenter Rascal, Megan.


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