National Editor Tom Karst
National Editor Tom Karst

5:43 a.m. Checking in on the Fresh Produce Industry Discussion Group this morning, there was a priceless comment by John Pandol on a thread about reaching food bloggers.The gist: are we bloggers self-reporting our true selves, or merely projecting what we think we are expected to be?  Good grief, when you come right down to it, are any of us the "real deal"?

5:49 a.m. Read Bill Marler's take on pink slime and Iowa Governor Terry Branstad. Biting. Have to say I haven't felt like a burger lately, but I'm sure my mood will pass.

5:54 a.m. Checking Google for the latest hot news on fresh produce and supermarkets. Turns out there is coverage in The Washington Post about the industry response, or lack thereof, to the Supreme Court's liberal use of "broccoli" as the stand-in for the individual mandate for health insurance, referenced in an earlier blog post here.

Unlike when President George Bush senior disparaged the vegetable in 1990, the industry has no plans to ship a truckload from Salinas to the Supreme Court steps.From the story:

But the United Fresh Produce Association said that kind of tactic won’t be used on Justice Antonin Scalia, who asked if the federal government requiring everyone to buy health insurance could end in a mandate for people to buy broccoli, sparking seven more references to the vegetable in oral argument.

Ray Gilmer, vice president of communications for the trade group, said it probably wouldn’t be appropriate for the group to organize a similar protest this time around.

“The stakes are a little bit higher now,” Mr. Gilmer told Washington Wire. “It’s a more serious tone.”

6:03 a.m. In another reserach report that stretches credulity, we find that "your supermarket may affect your weight."  From the release:

Your supermarket may affect your weight, according to a report published Apr. 4 in the open access journal PLoS ONE.

The study, conducted in Paris from 2007 to 2008, found that participants who shop at discount supermarkets, in supermarkets in areas with poorly educated consumers, or in supermarkets far from their own neighborhood had higher body mass indices (BMI) and waste circumferences. As Basile Chaix indicates, "shopping at discount supermarkets was more strongly associated with higher body weight and abdominal fat among low educated than among high educated participants."

Supermarket size and produce quality, on the other hand, were not correlated with either BMI or waist circumference.

Previous work of this type has largely focused on general neighborhood characteristics instead of specific personal behavior, but the current study, which included 7,131 participants, revealed that only 11.4% shopped for food primarily in their residential neighborhood. This result emphasizes the importance of evaluating people personal food environments.

The authors, led by Basile Chaix of INSERM in France, conclude that supermarkets may be a useful site for public health interventions to change food purchasing behavior.

TK: Interesting, I suppose, that produce quality is not implicated in the research with BMI or waist circumference. I suppose Oxford-educated professionals who shop at Aldi are in the clear, but the rest of us better pay attention.