The Department of Agriculture is speaking out of both sides of its mouth at the same time. One side is promoting the wonders of cheese, and the other side is pushing an anti-obesity drive that warns against the over-consumption of that very cheese, according to a recent New York Times article.
How can this be? Here’s the scoop: Domino’s Pizza was not doing well early last year. Domestic sales had fallen, and a survey of big pizza chain customers left Domino’s tied for the worst tasting pies.
40 Percent More Cheese In Domino’s Pizza
Along came an organization called Dairy Management, which teamed up with Domino’s to develop a new line of pizzas with 40 percent (that’s right – 40 percent) more cheese, and devised and paid for a $12 million marketing campaign.
Guess what? Consumers loved the new pizza, and sales rose by double digits. But here’s the catch: Dairy Management is not a private business, but a marketing creation of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. So while promoting this new heavy-on-cheese pizza, of which one slice contains as much as two-thirds of a day’s maximum recommended amount of saturated fat, the Department of Agriculture is also at the center of an anti-obesity campaign that discourages over-consumption of foods like the new pizza.
Promoting Cheese Consumption?
How can this be? The puzzling question remains: Michelle Obama in September begged restaurateurs to help fight obesity, citing the proliferation of cheeseburgers and mac and cheese: “I want to challenge every restaurant to offer healthy menu options,” she told the annual meeting of the National Restaurant Association.
Or Fighting Obesity?
And yet, it turns out that in both the Bush and the Obama administrations, Dairy Management has worked with restaurants to expand their menus with cheese-laden products.
Domino’s announced the Wisconsin on October 13, the latest pizza that Dairy Management is promoting with the $12 million marketing effort. This new pizza has six cheeses on top and two more in the crust. “This is one way that we can support dairy farms across the country: by selling a pizza featuring an abundance of their products,” a Domino’s spokesman said in a news release. “We think that’s a good thing.”
A Very Unhealthy Pizza
It’s a good thing for making money, and it’s a very, very bad thing for the health of people eating this pizza. One slice of this pizza has 430 calories and 12 grams of saturated fat, more than three-quarters of the recommended daily maximum.
Obviously there is a huge conflict of interest within the Department of Agriculture, but one thing is certain: the American public is being misled by its own taxpayer dollars. And that’s wrong.
(Note: Some of us may remember something else about Domino’s. The company has long been involved in the anti-abortion movement. Last year, the owner of Domino’s Pizza, a giant 500-store franchise operation, donated $50,000 to Operation Rescue, the anti-abortion direct action group which stages massive sit-in protests at abortion clinics, often closing them for hours at a time.)