Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Great Greek Yogurt Scam, Poisoning our Kids in Public Schools and the Geopolitics of Yogurt

Yogurt is not an issue that I typically follow. However, I went to the grocery store to buy organic milk and it came with a coupon for a free 4 pack of Yoplait Greek yogurt. What the heck, it's free so I selected the honey vanilla yogurt only to come home and upon reading the label I discovered that the ingredients contained neither honey nor vanilla. The listed ingredients are: Pasteurized Grade A Nonfat Milk, Sugar, Milk Protein Concentrate, Corn Starch, Contains less than 1% of Kosher Gelatin, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Natural Flagor, Yogurt Cultures..."

Oh well, it's just another case of government approved food labeling where false advertising is the norm and the ingredients don't really have to be real. I thought my unpleasant yogurt experience was over - until I caught a Drudge Headline about Michelle Obama and yogurt that linked to a an article from The Hill titled Feds add Greek yogurt to school lunches. Then my email box had an update from the Future of Capitalism that contained another yogurt article, titled The Greek Yogurt Lobby:
The Department of Agriculture is adding Greek yogurt to the subsidized school lunch program after Chobani, a company that makes Greek yogurt, hired lobbyists to make its case for inclusion. The Hill newspaper has the story (which I saw thanks to the astute Walter Olson). The Hill puts the lobbying expenditure at $80,000 so far this year, but that understates the expenditure; Senate lobbying records show Chobani has been paying Cornerstone Government Affairs $40,000 a quarter for four consecutive quarters, for a total of $160,000. The Cornerstone team, in turn, includes former staffers of both the agriculture department and the House and Senate agriculture committees.
A nice little case study of how Washington works.
Now I'm really hooked as yogurt churns itself into a full blown yogurt-gate investigative project. My Google fingers are blazing across the keyboard as I attempt to figure out what the hell is going on with yogurt and specifically Greek yogurt. So I started learning precisely what Greek yogurt is. I really didn't know except that I was aware that Greek yogurt was thicker than American yogurt but you can put American yogurt in cheesecloth, drain it and have thick yogurt, sometimes called yogurt cheese. Is it the same as Greek yogurt? Apparently not.

A fitness club wrote about Greek yogurt in an article titled 5 Reasons to Eat Traditional Greek Yogurt vs. Chobani. Chobani? We'll get back to Chobani later because it's critically important to the story. But here's what the fitness health blog wrote about yogurt.
What most people think of as “Greek” yogurt is actually just strained yogurt. The process of straining yogurt eliminates the excess water, liquid whey and lactose (sugar). This makes the yogurt creamier, less watery, contain more protein and very little sugar. With that said, here are five reasons why you should get actual plain and whole fat Greek strained yogurt and not the imposters like Chobani.

1. It’s Actually Greek (Strained)

Greek Strained yogurt goes through a triple straining process that by definition will not have much sugar in it, pack a protein punch, contain billions of cultured bacteria, and authentic Greek yogurt is actually plain; it is not conveniently added with “Blueberry flavoring” which is just high fructose corn syrup. “Greek Style” yogurts are mostly not strained more than once and contain thickening agents like locust bean gum to give them the appearance of real Greek yogurt.1 Sounds delicious doesn’t it?

2. Beneficial Fat Content

Whole plain Greek strained yogurt contains beneficial saturated fat in the form of butyric acid from the milk and cream, which improves the good gut bacteria in your large intestine for digestive health. This is very important for vitamin and mineral absorption, energy, and to prevent hypoglycemia two hours later. Zero percent fat yogurt cannot help with any of those things.....

Go for the real greek strained yogurt brands that sell whole fat versions like Fage, and Oikos. Zero percent fat yogurt means zero percent benefit for you. Don't even think of getting any yogurts with fruit flavoring; just buy some real fruit and throw it in there.
Apparently much has been written about Greek yogurt as well as the Greek yogurt frauds and imposters. Gawker devoted some cyberspace ink to the issue in a piece titled Most People Are Eating the Wrong Kind of Greek Yogurt that also recommended Fage as real Greek yogurt.

Now let's get back to Chobani, the fraud Greek yogurt maker that has been lobbying heavily in the District of Crime to get the federal government to put Chobani bad/fake/unhealthy yogurt in America's schools and at taxpayer expense of course.

The Rabid Republican Blog really got to the bottom of Yogurt-gate, well almost but it did do a bang of up job in disclosing how America really operates, not that the Republicans are in any way free market advocates. It's just that beating up on the Democrats for their corporatist, fascist and crony capitalists ventures is a very Republican activity.

Here's what the Rabid Republican Blog wrote about Chobani and Yogurt-gate in a piece titled Obama Cartel Pushes ‘Greek’ Yogurt.
The Obama Cartel will use your Tax $$ to make a rich immigrant – richer! They’ll be buying Chobani ‘Greek’ [actually Turkish] yogurt to feed school kids – in four pilot states, AZ, ID, NY, TN, – picked to see how long the yogurt lasts before going bad.

OK, maybe yogurt is good for kids, – healthy, low fat, high protein and all… But where in our Constitution is the Federal Government directed [or allowed] to use taxpayer money to feed certain selected kids?

Wouldn’t that be the job of the states [as last resort],…or their parents?

Chibani is a booming success story. Kurdish/Turkish immigrant Hamdi Ulukaya started the company in a old Kraft plant in 2005 – with funding from his ex-wife. By 2012 he was a Billionaire. [Today she's suing him for her 53%.]
Ulukaya knows his way around politicians. He cuddled up to NY State Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer, and just two weeks ago was meeting with Obama - ‘to advise him on immigration policy’.

POOF! Two weeks later the announcement from SecAG Tom Vilsack; – Billionaire Ulukaya [did he contribute his fair share?] – will add Dept of Agriculture $$ to his revenue stream.

Tom, was there ever even a competitive bid set out…?

Think of the marketing coup! Ulukaya gets to have kids in four (4) states [for now] eat his product every day at school…. “Mommy, Mommy, buy that one, – that’s the one we get in school!”
What the Rabid Republican Blog totally missed is the geopolitics of the deal. The US is trying real hard to get Turkey to support its war on Syria but Turkey has its own enormous problems with non-stop protests against the Turkish Islamist regime that America loves and coddles, here, here and here. Moreover, the Greeks and Turkey tend to hate each other ever since the Greeks managed to excise themselves and Greek real estate from the Muslim Ottoman Empire in a war of liberation that lasted from 1821 to 1832. Things got uglier when the Ottoman Empire sided with Germany during WW I which resulted in the breakup of the Ottoman Empire. During WW II, the anti-Semitic Muslim world allied with Germany and the Nazis invaded Greece and all of this happened before the creation of Israel in 1948 by the United Nations. But history is a story for another day, today is about yogurt.

Incredibly, it's amazing how a seemingly insignificant activity like going to the grocery store to buy organic milk can explode into into something very significant.complete with all the poison ingredients of statism - geopolitics, wars, cronyism etc., if you just do a bit of digging. So I pissed away a half a day on Yogurt-gate. It's not just a story, it's a non-stop never ending story on how America really operates. It's just business as usual in The Empire.

One final warning: Don't eat the slop fictitiously labeled Greek yogurt, don't let your kids eat it, only eat real Greek yogurt if you can find it and learn to make your own yogurt. That's what Google fingers are for!

As for the American taxpayers, they just got screwed again and will be subsidizing Chobani's yogurt empire. So what else is new?

Actually authentic Greek Yogurt is made with sheep grandmother used to make it all the time...