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Victims of tainted peanut butter outbreak demand criminal charges

Peanut Corporation of America execs knowingly sent out tainted peanut butter -- that eventually killed people. Will they pay the price? Last Friday, I spoke at the Government Accountability Project Food Integrity Campaign conference. During the lunch break, food safety attorney and advocate Bill Marler hosted a press event with 10 family members of victims of the 2009 salmonella outbreak in peanut butter. Hundreds of companies recalled thousands of products made with peanuts from Peanut Corporation of America (PCA). At least 700 people became ill with salmonella infections after eating those products, and nine died. Earlier that day, Marler and …

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Just how bad is aspartame?

Aspartame in artificially blackened water -- tasty.Photo: William HartzWhen I wrote about diet soda and and its health effects last week, I didn't expect much of a reaction. I guess in the back of my mind, I was thinking, people still drink that stuff? Well, they do -- by the bucketful. Overall, U.S. soda consumption is declining slowly, but Americans still drink more soda than than anyone else on the planet, by a wide margin. According to one reckoning, the average American drinks 736 "eight-ounce servings" each year (though "eight-ounce serving" seems like a quaint notion in the age of …

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Still drinking diet soda? Don’t be a fashion victim!

Skinny Diet Pepsi: the latest fashion faux pas.At the just-launched Fashion Week in Manhattan, supermodels won't just be sashaying down runways in mind-boggling frocks. They'll also be accessorized with a new invention from Pepsi Co. -- the "skinny can," pictured at right, which (according to a press release) will "make its debut" in the cool palms of fashionistas during the twice-a-year blowout at Lincoln Center. What Pepsi is calling its "taller, sassier" new can, a "celebration of beautiful, confident women," amounts to new packaging for a very old and familiar product: Diet Pepsi. And just what is this thing called …

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Lady Gaga’s boyfriend writes binge-drinking health book ‘The Drunk Diet’

You and me could write a bad fromage.Photo: Drunk Diet Beer for breakfast! Lord Gaga (real name: Lüc Carl) lost 40 pounds by binge-drinking -- and his sound weight-loss tips will be featured in forthcoming book The Drunk Diet, reports The New York Observer. His blog has some great previews of health tips: On life choices: "You must choose between the abs and the ice cream, and choose which un-happiness [sic] works best for you." On grocery shopping: "Make sure you're sober when you go to the grocery store or you'll get f*cked in the *ss." On Four Loko: "It …

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Bad food makes kids dumber, study says

Look, ma! No nutrients!Photo: Amanda WestmontA new study says 3-year-olds who mostly eat processed foods have lower IQs five years later. (So Pop-Tarts and Sunny-D are why we're "falling behind" China in math and science?) The study, cited in The Guardian, examined the diets of 14,000 wee Britlets, based on what their parents reported feeding them. Three is the magic number: Your brain grows the fastest from birth to age 3, says The Guardian, and what kids eat at 3 affects intelligence later -- even if the kid's diet improves afterwards. Dumb and dumber: "Every one-point increase in the study's …

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Industry-funded Super Bowl ad rails against the (non-existent) soda tax

Maybe it's just Monday-morning grumpiness, but I hate the media fixation with Super Bowl ads. Corporations and industry lobby groups drop millions on 30-second spots, and then bloggers scramble to come up with something fresh to say about them -- and in the process, amplify their message. Who benefits? The bloggers generate some on-the-cheap page views for their websites, and the corporate sponsors get extra bang for their advertising buck as their messages "go viral" on YouTube. I'm not sure anyone else, including the reading public, wins. Having said all of that ... did y'all see that ad featuring the …