The Halloween Hangover – A News Round Up So Sweet

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Discounted items in orange and black are not the only things that linger after Halloween. The scariest part of Halloween is clearly the candy, and a number of news pieces last week drove that point home.

Sugar is of chief concern when it comes to candy, but it is certainly not the only thing. Conan Milner of Epoch Times reminds us why we should be wary of food dyes. Citing the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s report Food Dyes: A Rainbow of Risk, as well as cautionary principle regulation of dyes in Europe, Milner explains that U.S. safety precautions may not be stringent enough:

Current U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines allow for dyes which have been tested and certified to legally specified limits that ‘will not pose a lifetime risk of greater than one cancer in one million people.’”

Speaking of CSPI, leading up to the sugar explosion in the end of October, their report Sugar Overload: Retail Checkout Promotes Obesity received media attention for their finding that 90 percent of food offerings in checkout aisles is unhealthy. This includes stores that primarily sell food and those that do not! From a Consumer Reports synopsis:

The study. . . concluded that 90 percent of the food options at the front end were the kind of snacks we mindlessly grab when we’re bored, stressed, sad, or just plain hungry: candy, chips, cookies, energy bars, and the like. Sixty percent of beverages were soda and various sugary drinks. Only 19 percent of the drinks were water.”

We also heard some uplifting news about candy, and general trends of sugar consumption, to give us some hope after the week’s sugar crash. Abby Olheiser of the Washington Post reported on an initiative from Food Allergy Research & Education called the Teal Pumpkin Project, which helped identify homes that were giving Halloween offerings for kids with food allergies. Here’s the concept: by placing a teal pumpkin on your doorstep, you signify that you have non-food treats that will be safe for anyone to grab like glow-sticks, kazoos or bubbles.

Alison Aubrey of NPR reports another alternative to the traditional Halloween greet and eat: the Halloween Candy Buyback program. Started by a dentist in Wisconsin, the program encourages dentists to pay kids $1 a pound for candy that they forfeit. Aubrey reports that over 2,500 dentists and orthodontists participated in the program this year. The candy is then given over to Operation Gratitude, a non-profit who sends care packages to U.S. military troops overseas, who has a broad and impressive reach:

Operation Gratitude has shipped more than a million care packages, including items such as DVDs, games and personal grooming products, to troops overseas. Halloween candy is a nice addition, says the group's founder, Carolyn Blashek.”

While we question whether anyone should be eating this stuff, we do recognize the value of getting it out of the hands of our children and the satisfaction that it can bring military folks abroad.

Congratulations, Wellness Warriors! We made it through another Halloween!

PHOTO: via flickr

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