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Short takes on the news

Published June 9, 2012 1:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Five Wives welcomed • A week ago in this space, we suggested that the Ogden-based makers of Five Wives Vodka had taken a refreshing approach to the fact that their new spirits had been banned from liquor stores in Idaho. Instead of reflexively reaching for the lawsuit tap, Ogden's Own Distillery was reveling in the nationwide publicity and selling witty T-shirts ("Free the Five Wives"). Finally, though, it took the threat of a lawsuit, as announced by large-caliber Washington, D.C., attorney Jonathan Turley, to get Five Wives on the shelves in Idaho. Turley was one of many lawyers who pushed Odgen's Own to sue on freedom of speech grounds, arguing that Idaho's claim that the silly brand name is offensive to Mormons is not proper grounds for the exclusion. We'll drink to that.

Corporate responsibility 2, Junk food 0 • Two bits of news over the past week suggest that at least some large corporations see that being part of a culture that kills their next generation of customers is not good for business. First, The Walt Disney Co. announced that it would no longer accept ads for junk food on its TV channels, radio stations and websites intended for children. It is the first major media company to do that. Then the McDonald's hamburger chain named two winners in a national contest for children to help create Happy Meals with more healthy choices. One of the winners was Elayna Saley of Salt Lake City. In both cases, two of the corporations that depend the most on marketing to children are hearing the growing demand from parents, and not a few kids, to push better foods.

Antibiotic resistance • Once again, there is evidence that the federal Food and Drug Administration cannot be trusted to keep drugs out of our food. Unless prodded by petitions, lawsuits and, as of Monday, another order from an increasingly exasperated federal judge. Judge Theodore Katz told the FDA that its excuse for not conducting a congressionally mandated scientific review of the practice of loading livestock destined for human consumption with antibiotics — that it would take too long — was ridiculous in view of the fact that the issue has been before the agency for some 30 years. He ordered such a review to take place. It has long been clear that the flood of antibiotics in the environment can only breed germs that are resistant to the very medicines that have saved millions of lives, endangering human lives around the world just to make cows and pigs grow to market weight a little faster. The FDA is blind to that. Judge Katz, at least, is not.