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Friday Food News Wrap: April 1

There’s some news this week that we’d like to think is just an April Fool’s prank, but sadly, it’s not. At the top of the list is the vote by an FDA advisory panel that there is no proof that artificial food colorings cause hyperactivity in children, so there’s no need for special warning labels (via the New York Times). The vote comes after the FDA conceded for the first time that the dyes may cause problems for children with existing behavior issues. The ruling is a disappointment, but remember that parents can still exercise their clout at the supermarket by refusing to buy foods with artificial colors.

Ronald McDonald Lives: Next, you may have heard speculation that McDonald’s was retiring spokesclown Ronald McDonald. But no – guess again! He’s back and clown-ier than ever in a new series of ad campaigns urging kids to go online to share pics and videos (via USA Today). Sigh.

Banana Wrap: In one of the most wasteful food packaging efforts we’ve ever seen (and no, this is really not an April Fool’s prank) Fresh Del Monte is now selling single bananas wrapped in plastic packaging (via Shine Yahoo!). So the peel isn’t enough?

Feed Hungry Kids?: Hartford Courant columnist Susan Campbell got an email asking why we continue to “blindly fund” school lunch programs that have “morphed” into school breakfasts and even dinners. Campbell gives a passionate defense of these programs, arguing that the cost to society of kids going hungry is “incalculable.” A good read.

Family Dinner: What’s a simple way to get at the problem of childhood obesity? The Family Dinner’s Laurie David and Eat Dinner’s Grace Freedman write in the Huffington Post about the power of the family dinner: “The ritual of eating meals together as a family, be it one parent at the table or both, has been shown to greatly improve healthy eating habits.”

Tonight at the Jolly Tomato household, we’re going to follow this advice. We’ll gather our family around the table and eat these meatloaf cupcakes together in honor of April Fool’s Day. Then, just because we’re feeling a little crazy on this sunny Friday, maybe we’ll follow it up with grilled cheese sandwich cakes for dessert.

Happy Friday to all!

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