Monthly Archives: June 2011

Social responsibility thy name is PepsiCo

PepsiCo  is taking a drubbing from investors and analysts alike.   Critics claim in its effort to broaden itself, Pepsi  lost focus of what really matters, Coke.   Evidently the pundits have PepsiCo’s entire value wrapped into the race for the number two cola spot; number one’s been a lock for Coke for decades.   Investors  have the attention span of a hummingbird responsible for market dips and turns that only Coney Island’s Cyclone can compare.

CEO Indra Noorvi has made smart acquisition choices so far and her expansion outside a beverage with no consumptive value, will prove equally wise as authorities’ and legislators’ response to health concerns begins to affect PepsiCo’s snack and soda revenue.   Coca Cola’s offerings may not fare so well.    I’m not a soda drinker, but will be her customer since she places a value on social responsibility.  Then again, she’s a Mom and we answer to a ‘higher authority’ than those short sighted analysts.   Kudos to Noorvi for bucking the trend serving products with a health value to her customers.

Weigh it forward

Last week, it was reported that diet based illness has now surpassed smoking as the leading cause of mortality.   With all the laws governing smoking, this should sound an alarm over instilling greater dietary responsibility now.  It should also have legislature recognizing that taxes successfully levied on one vice, could be equally effective on another, everything from potato chips to video games.    Further, the report discovered that , while exercise is helpful, diet is the number one factor in weight gain.

Equally significant, was a separate but telling announcement this week, that the term “weight” was added to the list of conditions protected under school Anti-bullying statutes, due to increases  in reported incidences, and the population of obese school age children.   Make no mistake, food is becoming this century’s Achilles heel and it will be regulated, and litigated, unabated and costs escalated, [sorry, my Johnny Cochrane impersonation] if  collectively we fail to execute some responsibility in consumption.

Communicating your childs needs at camp

With school winding down and summer nipping at our heels, be diligent in stating your child’s needs at camp.  Don’t assume the camp directors/owners will trickle down the information to staff.  Speak directly with your child’s counselors, nursing staff, bus counselor and division leader- if this is frowned upon, insist, or find a new camp-while camps employ dedicated staff,  NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOUR CHILD AS MUCH AS YOU!!    Learn about activities scheduled at the camp, are there late nights? who does the cooking then? peanut hunts?  does the clay in ceramics contain gluten? crafts with flour, e.g., paper mache’? How are birthday treats handled?  policy on outside food?  or outside trips?

For you seasoned veterans, this may seem like a no-brainer, but harmful reactions continue to increase.  The most vulnerable group? teens.  This may seem surprising but as they begin jobs of their own, often meal time is “on the go’ or what’s convenient to the work place.    You may be the proud parent of a very accomplished soon-to-be adult, but they need you to have that SAFE EAT conversation despite their insistence they’ve got it covered.   Fortunately, it will be far less embarrassing than the safe sex conversation- if I’ve just given you undeserved credit for a conversation you haven’t had- get to it!




A stylish but toxic kitchen?

Amidst the recent e-coli deaths in Europe traced to a German sprout farm, researchers discussed its decreasing incidence here in the US,

While e-coli has been cut in half over the past 15 years, researchers were puzzled that salmonella did not follow suit. The researchers cited a slight dip in the percentage of 1,000 people who reported, in an on-line survey, washing their hands after handling food but it seems to me a more obvious answer lies at the surface, literally.

As granite, marble, and other porous counter tops have become the rage of new and renovated kitchens, homeowners are swapping style for sanitation. These surfaces cannot be cleaned with bleach, the leading household disinfectant. In shopping for a bathroom sink recently, I was advised by two granite and marble dealers to clean the surface with a solution of 30% liquid hand soap to 70% water to protect the finish. I can’t recall any sign in any restaurant bathroom that advises “All employees must wash their hands with a solution of 30% soap to 70% water” so can’t say I trust this remedy. My Clorox spray bottle sits at the ready of my Corian kitchen counter top, which I selected over 10 years ago, precisely so I could spray at my heart’s content. At the time, my inner germaphobe had not yet developed nor had e-coli, salmonella, listeria monocytogenes or other scary terms entered my vocabulary. I just sought the quickest means to hide what a messy and lousy cook I am. My friend’s complain that their stylish counter tops require a maintenance routine they don’t always perform. A short time ago, a widely publicized study revealed that the kitchen sink contains more germs than a toilet. If that is the case, then it is logical that counter tops can be equally as toxic if not fully disinfected. While no tax payer NIH funding supports this conclusion, I stand by my quasi-scientific theory that the prevalence of these materials, and the failure to diligently disinfect them, has a direct relationship to food preparation, and food borne illness and is an environmental factor that should not be ignored.