Cheese Lobby is Making America Fat on Behalf of the Government

The United States Department of Agriculture is pairing with businesses like Domino's Pizza and Taco Bell to make you fat by loading up already bad food with more cheese. They're doing it through a middle man, Dairy Management, a "marketing creation" of the government, which is responsible for the Domino's Pizza re-branding, including a $12 million campaign. Now Domino's has a "Wisconsin six cheese pizza" and it is teeming with saturated fat, according to a huge article in today's New York Times.

It goes like this and it is quite shady:

But as healthy as this pizza has been for Domino's, one slice contains as much as two-thirds of a day's maximum recommended amount of saturated fat, which has been linked to heart disease and is high in calories.

And Dairy Management, which has made cheese its cause, is not a private business consultant. It is a marketing creation of the United States Department of Agriculture -- the same agency at the center of a federal anti-obesity drive that discourages over-consumption of some of the very foods Dairy Management is vigorously promoting.

And for a fun fact: "Americans now eat an average of 33 pounds of cheese a year, nearly triple the 1970 rate."

And it's Taco Bell, too, so chill out on the fourth meal, guys:

Consider the Taco Bell steak quesadilla, with cheddar, pepper jack, mozzarella and a creamy sauce. "The item used an average of eight times more cheese than other items on their menu," the Agriculture Department said in a report, extolling Dairy Management's work -- without mentioning that the quesadilla has more than three-quarters of the daily recommended level of saturated fat and sodium.

Dairy Managment's CEO, Thomas P. Gallagher, refused to be interviewed for the article, but it's safe to say his company will be watched much more closely moving forward. And with the hypocrisy on display here, the scrutiny seems much deserved.

For example:

"When eaten in moderation and with attention to portion size, cheese can fit into a low-fat, healthy diet," the department said.

In its reports to Congress, however, the Agriculture Department tallies Dairy Management's successes in millions of pounds of cheese served.

While Warning About Fat, U.S. Pushes Cheese Sales [NYT]

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