Did the New York Times Exaggerate the Government’s Involvement in Cheese Promotions?


The New York Times smacked down the USDA this past weekend. In While Warning About Fat, U.S. Pushes Cheese Sales, Michael Moss insinuates that while the Department of Agriculture urges Americans to choose healthier foods, another arm of the department, Dairy Management, pushes consumption of cheese, aka saturated fat, into Americans’ stomachs.

Food news junkies ran with the story, including bar food expert Scott Reitz, on Young & Hungry, declaring he wanted less cheese on his bacon cheeseburger.

But not so fast! (Although, yes, one slice of cheese should be enough for a burger.)

While there is a connection between the USDA and Dairy Management, it may not be as sinister as NYT claims. Bloggers are continually bashed for being uninformed, unscrupulous non-writers, however, there’s been some deep digging on this side of the internet.

Jon Eick (who used to work on Domino’s social media campaigns; Domino’s cheesy pizza is a key player in the story) takes a step back to debunk the media’s outrage.
On Cheese, the USDA and Domino’s Pizza [So Good]

Craig Goodwin actually makes some phone calls to Dairy Management (which he reports NYT did not) and finds out the weak link between the USDA and the dairy promotions organization.
Newsflash: Dairy Industry Wants You to Eat More Dairy – What’s So Controversial About That [Year of Plenty]

Do you have any insight into this cheese controversy? Do you blindly trust the New York Times? Do you brush off bloggers’ stories? Does the US government secretly want us fat? Are diary farmers to blame for the decline of Americans’ health? How gross is Domino’s? Is cheese the most delicious food on earth and so it doesn’t matter how fattening it is? How many more questions can I ask?

Bloggers, New York Times writers and cheese lovers are all welcome to weigh in.

photo: flickr user turtlemom4bacon

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  • Nick (Macheesmo) November 11, 2010  

    Meh… this “hypocrisy” doesn’t really bother me in the grand scheme of things. I feel like this kind of thing happens a lot in the gov and usually to a much larger degree.

  • BS November 11, 2010  

    Interesting…I did get the impression from the article that the USDA was directly funding the campaign for extra-cheese pizza, which it seems may not actually be the case. That said, it did make me rethink the level of my cheese compensation, which on further inspection is rather problematic.

  • erica November 11, 2010  

    first, i really dig the illustration. 2nd, cheese is full of all kinds of junk from the way it’s produced these days (hormones & various ickiness) and i do love it but try to keep my consumption to a bare minimum. 3rd, cheese is america and that’s why america is fat and zitty. that is all.

  • dad gansie November 11, 2010  

    Aren’t some things sacred?? Holly cow was what robin used to say to batman

  • Eick November 11, 2010  

    Since pretty much everyone walked away from that article thinking “The USDA gave Domino’s $12 million dolllars to promote a pizza with 40% more cheese” I think the article clearly did exaggerate, since, you know, that DIDN’T ACTUALLY HAPPEN.

    Erica, cheese has very little to do with why Americans are fat. We eat an average of 33 pounds of cheese a year. Germans eat 45. The French 52. The Greeks 80 pounds! And yes, people in those countries are all much less fat than we are.

  • erica November 15, 2010  

    cheese absolutely has to do with why we are fat, as does meat, sugar, overeating, and poor quality food.

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