media and politics
Posted by Mark J. Miller on March 26, 2013 02:21 PM
In the aftermath of the massacre of 20 young schoolchildren and six school staffers last December in Connecticut, the word was that this shooting spree was somehow going to be different from all the rest—different from Virginia Tech and Aurora, Colo., and Columbine and Luby’s Cafeteria back in ’91 and, well, all the rest that keep on happening far too regularly. This time, America was going to look at itself in the mirror and change.
So far, though, the Sandy Hook shootings haven’t caused much change. The “national conversation” has dragged on and senators will finally introduce new gun legislation soon. This will be the “first time in years” Congress takes a look at “significant gun control legislation,” NBC reports. But the inaction and relative toothlessness of the legislation has kicked New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg into gear.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on March 1, 2013 04:38 PM
The horse meat scandal is spreading across Europe, Hong Kong, Thailand and the Dominican Republic, seizing media attention and making retailers and consumers squeamish at the thought of what could be in their meat.
Four beef products sold by Bird's Eye, Taco Bell and catering supplier Brakes have been found to contain horse DNA as the Britain’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) conducts a third wave of tests.
An aptly titled article, "Having a cow over chow," asks, “What is it about horses? Over in Europe, everyone is happily munching on frozen lasagnas and shop-bought meals from various supermarkets, knowing it has all kinds of dodgy cuts of beef in it. But when it emerges they contain horse meat, everybody gags…Consumers need to ask themselves: When you buy something cheap, why is it so cheap? The answer is often uncomfortable to swallow.”
The FSA is asking retailers to test beef products for the presence of more than 1 percent of horse meat. Specific products in the headlines include Birds Eye's Traditional Spaghetti Bolognese and Beef Lasagna (removed by the company from store shelves last week), Brakes' Spicy Beef Skewer and Taco Bell's ground beef.
"Once we learned of this issue, we immediately voluntarily tested our product for our three Taco Bell restaurants in the UK,” said a spokesperson for the company, which has posted a response to the horse meat crisis on its UK website. "Based on that testing, we learned ingredients supplied to us from one supplier in Europe tested positive for horse meat."Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 28, 2013 11:27 AM
In what seems like impeccable timing, Nestlé CEO Paul Bulcke delivered a sustainability-focused keynote at the annual City Food Lecture in the U.K., ultimately challenging the accusations made about the company in a damning Oxfam report earlier this week.
The speech, which focused on the escalating perils of water scarcity, outlined that fresh water overuse poses a serious environmental, political and social hazard. Water is an issue near and dear to his heart, as the Swiss company is the world's No. 3 producer of bottled water, and looking to expand in water-constrained markets such as China.
“It is anticipated that there will be up to 30% shortfalls in global cereal production by 2030 due to water scarcity,” he said. “This is a loss equivalent to the entire grain crops of India and the United States combined.” What's more, he added, “We could produce what we produce today with half the water we use.”
In his address, Bulcke cited his company’s reduction of water usage by a third with 1,200 agronomists working with Nestlé to better manage its water use. Bulcke also commented that consumer acceptance of misshapen fruit and vegetables is necessary to cut waste of food products, as well as spoke out against the fuel industry for using food crops to create biofuels.
Bulcke also took the opportunity to further address the horse meat crisis affecting retailers such as IKEA and manufacturers in Europe, a crisis that compelled Nestle to pull some food products off store shelves last week. “Widespread fraud is being committed by a few across Europe. I understand that many consumers and many of you in the industry feel misled, I feel the same. This should not happen, it is unforgivable. We have let our consumers down.”Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on February 21, 2013 10:46 AM
The White House is celebrating the third anniversary of the Let's Move healthy kids challenge with an old friend: Big Bird.
The beloved Sesame Street character became a talking point during the last presidential election debates regarding PBS funding. Now he's been a VIP at the White House to help First Lady Michelle Obama engage kids in her national anti-obesity program with a new PSA above (see another spot here).
Another powerhouse kids entertainment franchise is lending one of its stars to a government effort. Disney is leveraging its Princess power by hiring out Cinderella for a new spot for the Ad Council, promoting safer car seats in a new public awareness campaign you can watch below.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 16, 2013 01:20 PM
Earlier this month, British grocer Tesco happily announced its "strongest sales growth since 2010." But that was before the horse meat showed up.
Now the UK’s largest grocery chain is reeling after Irish government tests revealed horse and pig DNA in the meat products of Tesco, along with other supermarkets. “In Ireland, it is not in our culture to eat horse meat and therefore, we do not expect to find it in a burger,” said the agency's chief, Alan Reilly.
The question is how fast and how completely the company can move to control the damage and address customer skepticism. Its latest marketing efforts — which include a push for its fresh soups and baby-care products — rely deeply on consumer trust. And unfortunately, the soup campaign
goes out of its way to emphasize the farm-to-table concept – something Tesco customers probably don’t want to think too hard about right now.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 11, 2013 11:29 AM
The Dreamliner has a name that makes it sound as if it should be the smoothest-riding and fastest thing on the planet, evoking the grand age of travel with ocean liners by taking them to the sky. Unfortunately, reality has caught up to Boeing's vaunted 787 Dreamliner.
Fourteen months after Boeing revealed the sophisticated jet, Federal Aviation Administration said Friday that it is “undertaking a comprehensive review of the design and manufacture of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner after a series of problems this week,” according to USA Today.
That said, the FAA feels that the still fledgling Dreamliner — for which Boeing increased production in November — is still safe enough for passengers to climb aboard and won’t stop any airline from using the plane. "I believe this plane is safe and I would have absolutely no reservations about boarding one of these planes and taking a flight," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
So what’s the problem?Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 9, 2013 02:12 PM
Yum Brands! may be lowering its 2013 outlook and fighting to keep Chinese customers flocking to KFC following a chicken safety scare, the brand has a secret weapon: the Colonel's other secret recipe.
KFC has brought its secret fried chicken recipe to 115 countries and now it's moving another secret recipe for another classic American food through their franchise stores: chocolate-chip cookies, which the quick-serve chain introduced as a limited time offer in select U.S. markets in late November.
Since KFC has gotten so much PR longevity out of the “vault” that supposedly contains the secret recipe Colonel Sanders used to make the chicken, the chain is keeping the top-secret recipe for the cookies locked up tight in there, too.
And even though it's busy tapping into Super Bowl fever with its couchgating promotion, its chocolate chip cookies are still resonating with fans.Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on January 9, 2013 12:09 PM
Greenpeace has added Uniqlo to its list of global fashion brands and retailers signing its Detox pledge, making "a public commitment to eliminate all releases of hazardous chemicals throughout its entire global supply chain and products by 2020."
The commitment covers all Fast Retailing-owned brands — Uniqlo, Comptoir des Cotonniers, Princesse TamTam, GU and Theory — which together operate more than 2,000 stores. "Uniqlo recognises clean water as a critical global issue, and is proud to join Greenpeace in its campaign to eliminate hazardous chemical use," stated Yukihiro Nitta, Fast Retailing's executive in charge of social responsibility. The company also vowed to disclose discharge data from at least 80% of its global suppliers (including all their facilities) by the end of this year.
As the environmental group blogged, the Uniqlo deal "comes just a month after Zara, Mango, Esprit and Levi's announced similar individual commitments, responding to waves of pressure from activists and consumers around the world. Competitors in the fashion world including GAP, G-Star Raw and Calvin Klein are looking increasingly out of touch now that 12 of the world's top high street fashion brands have committed to Detox." Other Detox signatories include Adidas, C&A, H&M, Nike, Puma and M&S.