Facebook Food Panics Turn My Stomach


When I pull the plug on my Facebook account for good, it won’t be because they sell my personal information and internet tendencies to advertisers and spammers. It won’t be because of the status updates from people who feel the need to publically humiliate their ex, or the nonstop videos about everything under the sun but somehow always feature a girl with monstrous boobs in the screen capture.

It won’t be the attempted shaming of bullies who say 99% of us “won’t have the guts” to copy and paste their regurgitated meme of supporting the troops or loving their sons or some other pointless pledge of blind loyalty. And it won’t even be the endless parade of vapid photos featuring puppies/babies/beverages/meals/cats/dead ungulates/George Zimmerman. Don’t even get me started on Grumpy Cat.

No, when I quit the Facebook it will be because I can’t take one more shocking revelation that the food I’m eating will kill me.

Thanks to the nonstop tsunami of misinformation and innuendo that flows through the Web, every day brings dozens of breathless reports about some common food or drink that had previously been considered safe, but is suddenly revealed to be an evil instrument of affliction or death.

You know, like hot dogs. We’ve known for a long time that hot dogs are not the healthiest thing you can ingest. The very sodium nitrites that keep your Chicago-style-all-the-way from walloping you with a case of botulism can, in fact, sneak in the back door and give you cancer. Sodium, fat and potent preservatives team up with all the hot dog’s mystery matter such as chicken foreheads, insect scrotums, pork taints, and god knows what else to make these delicious but toxin-laden treats the equivalent of downing a turgid tube of carcinoma.

Taco Rings Can Kill

It’s called a Taco Ring, and it can kill you six different ways. Seven if you add sour cream. (SEE RECIPE BELOW)

That’s not news. But according to the Chicken Little Facebook food warning system, hot dogs are a dolphin-safe glass of cruelty-free kale compared to some of the insidious poison I’ve been eating for decades like (gulp) ramen noodles.

Recently a ramen false alarm resurfaced on Facebook, posted by someone who heard from a “fellow colleague” that the ubiquitous, nine-cent meal-in-a-wrapper that sustained millions of students through their entire college career had a wax coating that transferred to the stomach lining when eaten. The subsequent waxy buildup caused the body to require two full days to digest, said the report. The post went viral (again), sending Top Ramen and Cup O’ Noodles enthusiasts screaming into the streets in a full-on candle-shitting panic.

Snopes.com debunked the apocryphal story, but there was no mention of any criminal prosecution for the use of the phrase “fellow colleague.”

The list of things that are bad for you is packed with juicy and flavorful examples that are fairly unsurprising and obvious. Twinkies. Deep fried Twinkies. Diet soda. Regular soda. Any fruit or vegetable that is not organic and sold at triple the going rate. Anything from McDonald’s.

McDonald’s is an interesting food panic choice. Anybody who’s apathetic enough to eat at McDonald’s isn’t going to be swayed by a video of, say, a wharf rat dogpaddling through a vat of milkshake batter (represented by a thumbnail of a girl with big boobs freaking out). Recently an earth-shattering photo appeared that showed a frozen McRib patty right out of the box. It’s actually (gasp!) a slab of pressed pork-like material stamped into a shape that looks kind of ribby. I’m sorry, but what the hell were you expecting in a three-dollar sandwich? Memphis-style slow-smoked baby back ribs? Get real. It’s McDonald’s. No one’s going to buy a sandwich called the McSawdust.

I steer clear of Mickey D’s and most other fast-food joints, but one food I eat whenever possible is fish. It seems like every day there’s a new discovery that some other kind of fish has been added to the No Fry list.

Bluefin tuna is out. More mercury than a fluorescent light bulb in a thermometer factory. Chilean Sea Bass: also high in mercury, and probably caught illegally. If fish were pot, this would be Colombian Gold. Alaskan King Crab from Russia? Not safe, regardless of your attitude toward crustacean monarchy.

Tilapia seems like it would be a safe choice, being the most widely-eaten fish in the world, having surpassed even beef in total consumption. But even though tilapia (which is actually several species of cichlids) are vegetarian and do not consume smaller, mercury-laden fish, they are frequently raised on animal feces instead of regular feed. That’s right, even though it doesn’t taste shitty, tilapia is shitty.

Deep water swordfish—no good. Sharks? Too full of mercury and license plates. Vietnamese catfish. Russian caviar. Atlantic cod. All either poisoned with mercury and PCBs or overfished to the point of near-extinction.

And then there’s this, The Top Five Reasons You Should Never Eat Shrimp Again. This is a link I will never click.

What the hell are we supposed to eat? Bread? Sorry, it’s made from wheat, which is probably GMO and causes everything from celiac disease to asthma. Experts suggest that we replace bread in our diet with quinoa, buckwheat, millet, and other grains found in a typical bag of bird seed.

Fresh fruits? Forget it. For all the pesticides they absorb, they might have well have come from the exhaust pipe of a crop duster. How about dried fruit? Too much added sugar. Nuts? Loaded with salt.

Even something as seemingly healthy as a serving of Tropicana 100% pure orange juice has as much sugar as two Krispy Kreme donuts. To be fair, though, orange juice is not made with white flour and fried in vegetable oil.

The Facebook campaign of Food Fear will leave no stone unturned. Recent casualties include such traditional childhood staples as Jell-O and boxed macaroni and cheese.

Even if you’re avoiding the cholesterol and animal fat of butter by using margarine, you’re screwed. Witness the 2.5 grams of trans fat in every serving of I Can’t Believe It’s Not Better.

The list goes on, and it gets longer each day. Still, it could be worse. British grocery chain Tesco is reportedly selling live turtles in their Chinese locations. Hey, at least you know your turtle is fresh.

Interested in making the Death Ring…I mean Taco Ring?  Here’s the Recipe.

   Check out all of Bob Wire’s posts in his blog archive.


Have an off-white Christmas with Bob Wire.Think of it as Gonzo meets Hee Haw: Missoula honky tonker Bob Wire holds forth on a unique life filled with music, parenthood, drinking, sports, working, marriage, drinking, and just navigating the twisted wreckage of American culture. Plus occasional grooming tips. Like the best humor, it’s not for everyone. Sometimes silly, sometimes surreal, sometimes savage, Bob Wire demands that you possess a good sense of humor and an open mind.

Bob Wire has written more than 500 humor columns for a regional website over the last five years, and his writing has appeared in the Missoulian, the Missoula Independent, Montana Magazine, and his own Bob Wire Has a Point Blog. He is a prolific songwriter, and has recorded three CDs of original material with his Montana band, the Magnificent Bastards. His previous band, the Fencemenders, was a popular fixture at area clubs. They were voted Best Local Band twice by the Missoula Independent readers poll. Bob was voted the Trail 103.3/Missoulian Entertainer of the Year in 2007.

You can hear his music on his website, or download it at iTunes, Amazon, and other online music providers. Follow @Bob_Wire on Twitter.


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