Apparently Campbell's has announced that it is moving forward with plans for packaging free of Bisphenol-A, "regardless of [the] U.S. Food and Drug Administration's decision on the chemical, due later this month." At first I was pleased by this announcement -- maybe my kids have actually started to bankrupt them -- but after further thought, I am left wondering if the move is some kind of ploy to avoid having the FDA regulate the use of BPA. If industry regulates itself, so the thinking might go, the FDA might not bother. Or perhaps it is simply a preliminary PR move -- to avoid having to spin the fact that Campbell's, a company that constantly evokes healthiness as part of its marketing, waited until ordered by the government to remove a dangerous chemical from its products.
Campbell’s Soup spokesman Anthony Sanzio indicated to the Milwaukee Sentinel Journal that the company has been working on an alternative for their can linings, and plans to switch to the alternative when “feasible alternatives are available.” He did not, however, provide a date to indicate just when that might be accomplished.
That last line is most telling. We need a date, Campbell's. My distrust of the company may seem paranoid but they've been known to be deliberately misleading about their health claims before. For instance, in a highly publicized move -- remember those commercials featuring a Campbell's factory worker standing in a room full of salt? -- they reduced the sodium in their soups in order to make it healthier and then, after sales were affected, they quietly put it back in.
If you want to let the FDA know you want a ruling prohibiting the use of BPA in food packaging NOW, please go here.
Dear Denise Morrison, President and CEO of Campbell's Foods:
I am writing to warn you of a change in your consumer base that is bound to have grave repercussions for your company.
A recent Harvard study has revealed that concentrations of the chemical bisphenol-A rise around 1000 percent in people who eat one bowl of canned soup per day. Bisphenol-A is often used in the manufacture of plastics but your company and others who put food in cans apparently use it to make the material that lines those cans. I do not know exactly what this amount of bisphenol-A does in the human body and it appears that scientists do not exactly know, either, but they are making a lot of guesses that don't sound at all good. Apparently the chemical is an endocrine disrupter, which means it messes with one's hormones and has therefore been linked to cancerous tumors, birth defects, and other developmental disorders like learning disabilities, ADHD, and cognitive issues, as well as problems with heart disease, obesity and diabetes, and sexual development.
So far I have not noticed any tumors growing on my children but there is still plenty of time. And while I believe they are geniuses, I hate to think that they might have been just that much more intelligent, talented and well-behaved. It is not difficult to conjecture that, if my children had never ingested any canned foods, by now they might be working as highly paid child actors, like Dakota Fanning or Haley Joel Osment. We're talking about the loss of millions of dollars of family income here.
I have become convinced that canned foods are at the root of the disharmony suffered by many families as a result of the poor performance of the children. I do not know what Amy Chua, author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, fed her children but I now suspect she wouldn't have have had to push them so hard to practise their musical instruments if she had completely avoided serving them canned food. Because they probably wouldn't have had to practise so much. I'm guessing that, by now, her children would be supporting her -- and she wouldn't have had to write that embarrassing book in order to put them through college.
Furthermore, although my current goal is to slow my own children's sexual development for as long as possible, there is a slim chance that, once I am dead, they may wish to begin dating.
The Harvard study I reference above and and others like it have have led me to finally make the decision to stop feeding canned goods to my children. This is the event that is bound to have dangerous financial consequences for your company. Currently, my children eat 13 trillion cans of Campbell's Chunky Chicken Noodle soup per week. This is an estimate, of course, but not a very rough one. Let's just say my children eat a lot of that soup. In fact, they do not eat much else – perhaps a bowl of Kraft dinner now and then, or the odd chicken nugget. (And I ask you, what chicken nugget is not odd? What part of the bird do these uniformly pale lumps come from, exactly? But I realize that this is not your area of expertise as your lumps of chicken are pinkish, blotchy and veiny and are not encased in a tidy bread-crumb coating.)
It may surprise you to know that my two small children, aged two and six years respectively, ingest so much of your product and, in fact, you may be doubly shocked when I inform you that the younger child, my daughter, eats only the carrots. My son, however, will deign to eat the broth and the noodles and the other vegetable-like substances you include -- but not of course the weird chicken, we give that to the cat -- so so you could say that between the two (or three) of them, they lick the platter (bowl) clean. Of course, not literally clean. Nothing has been clean in this house since they were born.
As you can probably tell from the fact that your company has not already gone bankrupt, I have not yet completely stopped feeding the children your soup as I anticipate a few possibly unsurmountable problems as a result of this move. First, I am unsure whether my children will ever eat anything else. As an experiment yesterday, I tried to feed my daughter real carrots, boiled to a soft consistency. Although to me they looked and tasted almost exactly like the carrots in your soup, she refused to eat them, perhaps because they did not have that faint undertaste of plastic to which she has become accustomed. I fully understand, though, that this is not your problem. I am also fairly confident that, as their mother, I can somehow manage to meet their nutritional needs in some other way, perhaps through the use of Flintstones vitamins mixed in with a barley-based pablum in order to create the sensation of fullness.
However, I trust that you will share my concern about the imminent collapse of your company, once I stop my weekly purchases of approximately 13 trillion cans. And I am even more deeply concerned about the effect that the collapse of your rather large company will have on the already fragile global economy, which is why I am ccing the President of the United States, the Head of the European Union, and whoever is in charge of that weird hybrid of communism and capitalism in China. (I'll google it.) Because I plan to implement the radical change of no longer feeding Campbell's Chunky Chicken Noodle soup to my children THIS EVENING AROUND 5pm EST, I fully expect the world markets to tumble dramatically tomorrow morning. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the globe is plunged into a bleak economic (and mental) Depression, one to rival that of 1929, by Friday evening.
I am sorry. I realize that the Christmas season is an unfortunate time of year for bad economic news. But I have to bite the bullet here – the health of my children must come first. During the Great Depression, many people raised their own chickens and grew their own vegetables. I plan to do both. I assure you that I am not looking forward to the extra work, especially since I'll probably have to perform many other tasks I have never done before, like darn socks or even knit them from scratch. And I am determined to figure out how to grow noodles as well, so that I can make my children our own version of a Chunky Chicken Noodle Soup. Although it occurs to me as I am writing this, that while I'm making these changes for the sake of my children's health, I might as well attempt to raise slender chickens instead of chunky ones. At any rate, my version of Chunky Chicken Noodle Soup will not contain any Bisphenol-A.
I just wanted to give you a heads-up.
P.S. You could always start using cans that don't contain any Bisphenol-A and save both of us a lot of trouble. Apparently this company does.
My son makes a gesture my mother used to make. The sun
in their eyes.
Fluttering their fingers. As if to disperse it.
He does it again. The sun, like the drifting ashes of a distant
past. The petals
Of some exploded yellow roses.
The miracle of it.
The double helix of it.
The water running uphill of it.
Last night Luke got wind of the asteroid that was going to pass between the earth and the moon and became convinced it was going to smash right into us. He couldn't be talked out of this notion and veered wildly between glee at the thought of it -- and sheer panic. I'm very glad the planet has survived unscathed.
In Chicken Poop for the Soul: A Year in Seach of Food Sovereignty, author Kristeva Dowling writes about her efforts to produce all her own food from scratch. On my library list.
This is baby Danica Camacho, born yesterday, upon whom has been bestowed the symbolic title of the World's 7 Billionth Baby by the UN. She was born in the Philippines, a country that has a high fertility rate and poor access to contraception. To mark this momentous occasion, she was given a cake and a certificate for free shoes. Shoes? Surely they could have mustered up a scholarship or a reality show or at least something a little more dramatic. Unless they are magic shoes.
Here's the latest estimate on how many people have ever lived.
And here you can calculate your numbers: When I was born I was supposedly the 3,590,447,718th person alive on earth at the time and I am the 77,663,903,455th person to have lived since history began.
When astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson "demoted" Pluto from a planet to an icy comet, he got a lot of hate mail from children.
Inspired by a picture book, Kathy Witterick and David Stocker, a couple in Toronto, are keeping secret the gender of their third child, four-month-old Storm. They have two older children, Jazz and Kio, both boys, who've felt pressured to look masculine and behave that way:
“When I was pregnant, it was really this intense time around Jazz having experiences with gender and I was feeling like I needed some good parenting skills to support him through that,” says Witterick.
It began as a offhand remark. “Hey, what if we just didn’t tell?” And then Stocker found a book in his school library called X, A Fabulous Child's Story by Lois Gould. The book, published in 1978, is about raising not a boy or a girl, but X. There’s a happy ending here. Little X — who loved to play football and weave baskets — faces the taunting head on, proving that X is the most well-adjusted child ever examined by “an impartial team of Xperts.”
“It became so compelling it was almost like, How could we not?” says Witterick.
There are days when their decisions are tiring, shackling even. “We spend more time than we should providing explanations for why we do things this way,” says Witterick. “I regret that (Jazz) has to discuss his gender before people ask him meaningful questions about what he does and sees in this world, but I don't think I am responsible for that — the culture that narrowly defines what he should do, wear and look like is.”
I can imagine that'd be exhausting to try to hide the gender of your baby, yes, because it is almost the first question anyone asks. I sympathize with the couple to some extent -- it's true, as a culture we do expect very different things from boys and girls, some of us more than others. And even when you're aware of this and try not to impose silly and arbitrary expectations on your kids, you're still a product of your own social conditioning. You're also, however, a product of your biology. In the 70s, some sociologists believed that gender is completely elastic, totally a result of social conditioning, which led to the tragedy of David Reimer, whose penis was accidentally cut off during his circumcision as an infant. The doctors recommended he be raised as a girl. He was never told he wasn't a girl, he never felt like one, and he committed suicide as an adult. His story is told in As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl. Of course, there are many equally tragic stories of transgendered people who feel as if they're born in the wrong bodies -- and happily, more and more ones of transition.
I've been thinking a lot about gender lately as it's so interesting to see how it unfolds in the kids. I like to think that the Gender Fairy Godmother has bestowed the supposedly feminine gift of sensitivity on Luke and the supposedly masculine gift of an iron will on Sylvie. On a more superficial level, I'm amazed by Sylvie's preoccupation with her brother's dinky cars. He has oodles that he almost never plays with. She has never been given one and she plays with them almost every day. (As I'm typing this she's asking, "Play cars, Mama? Play cars?") In many other ways, they both remain true to stereotype. Luke loves playfighting and has a bit of a preoccupation with conflict and death and Sylvie tends to be more nurturing. She'll leap up in horror crying, "You okay?" when a toy falls off a table, and she loves to wander around holding her dolls, rocking, and feeding them in a way Luke only rarely does.
I found the story of baby Storm via Rona Maynard, on facebook, who remarked the story reads "like the outline of a darkly satirical novel." Yes! Wouldn't it make a great one? And, although there's something that makes me feel deeply uneasy about using one's child to make a political statement, I'm betting little Storm's gender will remain a secret only until (s)he's able to announce it to the world him or herself, which means only another year or two.BlogHer site.