Tuesday, January 15th, 2013
Fast food, which is often cited as a major factor in the U.S. childhood obesity epidemic, is now being associated with asthma and eczema, two allergy-based illnesses. More on the study, which was published in the medical journal Thorax, from Yahoo! News:
The researchers found that, out of the 15 food types in the questionnaire, only fast food showed an association with asthma and eczema in both age groups regardless of gender and socio-economic status. Three or more servings a week was linked to a 39 percent increase in severe asthma among teens and a 27 percent increased risk among younger children.
“A consistent pattern for the adolescent group was found for the relationship between symptoms and fast foods,” the researchers wrote in the study. “As adolescents are generally known to be high consumers of fast food, these results that show a significant increased risk of developing each or all three conditions may be a genuine finding.”
Though both eczema and asthma can be triggered by food allergies—and typical fast-food meals are filled with common allergens like gluten, dairy, egg, and soy—Williams told Yahoo! Shine that allergies probably aren’t the main issue here.
“We did not look for gluten, although bread and pasta both have gluten (however gluten free pasta and bread are now widely available so when someone says yes to eating bread 3x per week it may well be that they ate gluten free as this practice is growing in some countries). So we cannot tease this out,” he wrote in an email. “There is no doubt that food allergy plays an important role in some people with severe asthma and eczema, but those people tend to recognize it and avoid those foods.”
“I doubt if our observation of an association between severe allergies and fast foods is mediated much by increased food allergens,” he added.
A 2011 study published in Nutrition Research and Practice suggested that additives in processed foods could also trigger an allergic reaction in some kids, but Williams and his team say that fat intake, not food allergies or additives, is probably the main culprit.
Image: French fries, via Shutterstock
Monday, August 13th, 2012
Apple slices, including those sold at grocery stores and McDonald’s and Burger King fast food restaurants, have been recalled because the food-borne bacteria listeria was found on equipment where the food was processed. The apples were produced by Missa Bay LLC, owned by Ready Pac Foods Inc. of Swedesboro, N.J. According to The Associated Press:
Packaged apple slices distributed to McDonald’s and Burger King in some states are included in the recall as are packaged food containing apples distributed to Wawa convenience store and Wegman’s grocery chains and some “Ready Pac” products.
Recalled products have use-by dates of July 8 through Aug. 20. Missa Bay announced the voluntary recall on Friday, saying the food went to 36 states and the District of Columbia. People may contact Ready Pac at 800-800-7822 or visit www.readypac.com.
Image: Apples, via Shutterstock
Thursday, December 1st, 2011
In the wake of a new law in San Francisco prohibiting fast-food restaurants from giving away toys with meals that don’t meet nutritional guidelines for sodium, calories, and fat, McDonald’s restaurants announced that it will instead allow parents to purchase a Happy Meal toy for 10 cents. The Associated Press reports:
Eric Mar, the San Francisco supervisor who sponsored the ordinance, called the 10-cent charge a “marketing ploy,” but said he doesn’t plan to make any changes in the ordinance to address the tactic.
The goal of the law was not to micromanage fast-food chains but to raise awareness about the nutritional content of the food, he said, pointing to McDonald’s switch to apples and smaller portions of french fries in Happy Meals as an example of the success of the law.
“We feel that our efforts to create healthier options forced the industry to acknowledge their role in childhood obesity,” he said about the law that also goes into effect Thursday.
Scott Rodrick, who owns 10 of the 19 McDonald’s franchises in the city, said the 10-cent charge was intended to adhere to the letter of the law while giving consumers what they want.
All those dimes will go to help build a new Ronald McDonald House to accommodate families of sick children at the new University of California, San Francisco hospital now under construction.
(Image via: http://www.mcdonalds.com/)
Monday, September 19th, 2011
An Arizona child-development professor and mother of four has launched a campaign to get fast-food restaurants to maintain better cleanliness standards in their playground equipment. The New York Times reports that after her own kids exclaimed “Yuck!” in a local McDonald’s PlayPlace, Erin M. Carr-Jordan visited dozens of restaurant play spaces in 11 states, collecting samples from the equipment surfaces to be analyzed in a lab setting:
What the inspections and lab analyses have revealed is the widespread presence of an array of pathogens, from coliform bacteria to staphylococcus, at levels that experts said indicated that restaurants might not be disinfecting their playlands as diligently as they should.
Those same experts pointed out that germs are everywhere and that they are not always dangerous. They add that hand washing is an important safeguard.
“I’m not shocked or blown out of the water, because this is my business,” said Philip M. Tierno Jr., director of clinical microbiology and immunology at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York, who surveyed some of Dr. Carr-Jordan’s results. At the same time, Dr. Tierno said, “There are very high counts, and that means these places are not cleaned properly or not cleaned at all.”
Carr-Jordan has formed a non-profit organization called Kids Play Safe to call attention to the problem and push for legislation mandating more rigorous cleanliness standards for the playgrounds.
(image via: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/)