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March 2008

Whole insanity--But wait, there's more!

Kudos to the journalist who exposed the half-truths behind the campaign launched by Whole Foods about the use of 100% recycled paper bags. As this article proves, the company simply wants to get some quick media exposure without having done anything that truly improves the environment.

In fact, plastic bags—the villain among eco-warriors everywhere—are actually less costly and harmful to the environment than the very paper bags Whole Foods wants shoppers to use. Alas, the truth is the first victim in this effort to deceive the public.  Eco poseurs will chant that plastic bags are made from evil petroleum, but paper bags are "natural," and apparently require no energy to produce, and generate no pollution in the process—or something.

Of course, this is nothing new as many cherished beliefs (largely on the leftward side of the aisle) are little more than simplistic nonsense.  Time to get beyond a grammar school level understanding of the issues, folks, and get with the Whole Truth.

Whole propaganda

Bags Whole Foods is at it again. The company wants free publicity for its "brave" stance on using 100% recycled paper bags. In reality, there is nothing new—and nothing revolutionary—about the policy adopted by Whole Foods.

But, fully aware that consumers associate recycling (pertinent details omitted, thank you very much) with good corporate citizenship, Whole Foods has decided to fool the public. We call this an act of blatant "greenwashing," where a brand does nothing but can reap favorable press by posturing.

In fact, plenty of companies have more comprehensive recycling programs than Whole Foods—and none of them seek unfair adulation.

Memo to consumers: you're being exploited!  PT Barnum would be proud.

For all the wonks out there, here are the Federal Trade Commission's Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims.

Hat tip to Melissa Goldberg, Senior Editor and Communications Director of Diet Detective.

Not egregious enough, I guess

I waited a couple of weeks for more reaction before I posted on this topic, BUT--it got lost in coverage of political campaigns and celebrity scandals.  Silly me, I thought this one would be a big deal.

I'm talking about medical malpractice bad enough to cause the biggest patient notification in US history:  At least six cases of hepatitis, traced back to nurse anesthetists at the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas reusing syringes to draw up medicine from single-use vials—for multiple patients.

This is medical practice below what one might imagine in a mobile hospital in a third world civil war, and is one flagrant reason why the US public hates our health care system.

"I find it baffling, frankly, that in this day and age anyone would think it was safe to reuse a syringe," said Michael Bell, associate director for infection control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  It isn't all that "baffling," though when one considers that sick mind of the guy who ran the place, and how he could save maybe $30 a week doing this.

The harder part to understand is how the nurse anesthetists could have gone along with it...

Check out my Health News Digest piece.