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An email from MNB reader John Rand:

I read with interest your note that the two largest trade associations both spoke approvingly of a new bill passed by the House to apply “common sense” to nutritional labeling.

God, I hope it is so. I wish it were so. But it says more than a little about the shift in culture, both for me personally and for others in general, that the very fact these organizations and their massive lobbying efforts approve of a piece of legislation makes me doubt it is actually about common sense or particularly consumer friendly.

I never used to have such thoughts. But I grew up on sweetened cereals, routine soda consumption, the advent of packaged and boxed meals and all the associated preservatives, dyes, and artificial flavors that food science learned to create.

In the fullness of time I became diabetic. Which changed my POV considerably  and forced me to educate myself. And I became older, so weight became a concern. And I began to wonder why I couldn’t really explain to others in my family, who were not in the FMCG industry, why it was so hard to read labels (my corroding eyesight didn’t help) and get the information it took to truly understand the contents of the food we were eating.

I have watched the lobbying destroy the value of Country of Origin labeling, and seen words like “Natural” turn into empty marketing, learned not to trust that “whole wheat” actually means the same as 100% Whole Wheat, and I still have trouble explain meat grading to my children.

Net result? I simply no longer trust the industry that I have been part of for most of my life. I hate admitting that. I applaud the companies who do not compromise, who have taken a turn for the better. I note that a few have started to resign from the industry groups that still support obfuscation over transparency.

So now in my old age I will go online and research (and enlarge the typeface with a keystroke) . I will support CSPI and its role as an industry gadfly. And I will assume, even before I can read the details of the bill, that the “common sense” legislation is actually all about Common Cents, and not about  being helpful to me.

No wonder “Big Food” has become vulnerable.

I suggested the other day that it might be possible for the British company buying Kroger’s c-store business, once the deal is finalized, to simply flip it and sell the stores to Amazon.

Prompting MNB reader Herb Sorensen to write:

I like your thoughts on "flipping" the C-store business.  Very interesting, but I doubt it.  More like a replay of Tesco's US Fresh & Easy.  But, we'll see.

For the record, I wasn’t actually predicting it. It was more like I was having a bit of fun and causing a bit of trouble. (I was sort of hoping that someone at Amazon, Kroger and the British firm would say, “Did anyone here think of that?”)
Another email about Kroger’s sale of its c-stores:

This sort of makes me sad. One place we lived didn’t have a grocery store nearby but there was a Kwik Shop on the corner just two blocks away. Prices in the store were guaranteed to be the same as our local Kroger grocery store. So in a pinch I could get milk or bread for the same price as if I drove much further to a full size grocery store. It would be nice if that didn’t change.

On another subject, from MNB reader Janis Raye:

I had to dash this off when I read your comment about Graeter’s — that is one really good ice cream (especially salted caramel and mint chocolate chip). Naturally, I love my Ben & Jerry’s, for sentimental value, but Graeter’s is, well, greater! (And ditto to your comments about Halo Top -- ick.)

We got several responses to our story about how there may be an ingredient in McDonald’s fries that, if you rub it on your head, could cure baldness. (They tried it on mice, which grew mouse hair.)

MNB reader Beatrice Orlandini wrote:

Okay, they might be good for curing baldness.

But are they good for YOU?

Well, of course not. Nobody eats McDonald’s fries because they are good for them. They eat them because they’re good.

Listen, I’m not sure I’d rub fries on my head to grow hair. But I’m doing okay in the follicle department, especially for a guy my age. If I were a) younger, and b) losing my hair, I certainly might think about it.

MNB reader Tim Bailey wrote:

Previously thought the thinning of my hair started speeding up when I turned 40.  Also stopped being a McDonald’s regular around that time… 


I think not.

Two other things, if I may.

Thanks to all of the folks who wrote in about Michael Sansolo’s blood donation column. I agree with you all … it was a great column, and a cause we all ought to support.

There is, so you know, a Red Cross blood donor app that you can download to your phone, that will help you find donation sites, make appointments, and track your donations. (I’ve given 60 pints over the years.) It makes things very easy.

And, to all the folks who wrote in about the passing of John Mahoney, I’m totally with you. “Frasier” remains an enduring pleasure that always is good for a laugh. I just wish I’d seen him on stage, where, apparently, he was compelling and in his natural element.
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