Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Does USDA praise brownies and disparage carrots?

Last weekend, I discussed the USDA-sponsored advertisement disparaging chicken with a friend who works for extension. She asked if I had seen the one about brownies and carrots. I hadn't. Here it is:


I wonder if USDA's attorneys feel any embarrassment claiming this advertisement as government speech. But, to be fair, while most of the $40-$50 million Beef Board budget goes to promotions, some if it goes to product improvement. Like this gem from the product development labs in 2003 -- Cheeseburger Fries.


The accompanying promotional copy says:
It’s a match made in heaven – America’s favorite sandwich in a fun new French fry shape. Last year restaurants served up more than 8 billion hamburgers, making them the most popular sandwich in America. Recognizing this love of hamburgers and an opportunity to introduce new beef appetizers to the menu, the R & D Ranch® created Cheeseburger Fries®. A tasty combination of ground beef, cheese and breading.
If the following press report is correct, Cheeseburger Fries have 48% of calories from fat, or almost 90% of calories from fat for the product sold to school children. I would guess somebody made a typo, but you still get the right impression.
Like most bar snacks, cheeseburger fries pack quite a dietary wallop. Each individual fry has about 75 calories and 4 grams of fat. The fries for schools have less beef per serving but still have about 60 calories and, in fact, more fat - a total of 6 grams - in each fry. And nobody eats just one.

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