Group Wants Warning on Whitecaps Burger

31 03 2009

This is just getting funnier.  This burger is getting all sorts of national attention.  That’s the thing I love about Minor League Baseball.  They do wacky things to get noticed and it’s usually the thing you least expect that gets the most attention. 

After national media picked up on the Fifth Third Burger, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine asked the Whitecaps to put a warning label on the burger calling it a “dietary disaster.” 

Who is going to order this burger and think it’s healthy for you?  Seriously.  Do you actually have to label the burger to let people know that it’s an artery clogging disaster? 

Here’s a copy of the letter that was sent to the Whitecaps earlier today.  This is almost funnier than the burger itself.

March 31, 2009

Matt Timon
Director of Food and Sales
West Michigan Whitecaps
P.O. Box 428
Comstock Park, MI 49321-0428

Dear Mr. Timon:

I’m writing to ask you to put a “dietary disaster” warning label on your new 4,800-calorie “monster burger.” Before your customers try to consume this massive mound of meat and cheese, they deserve to know about a new National Cancer Institute study showing that meat-heavy diets increase the risk of cancer, heart disease, and premature death. Men in particular should be warned that chowing down on meaty foods increases the danger of prostate cancer.

Here’s the label we suggest putting on your dietary disaster: “WARNING – Eating meat is associated with increased risk of heart disease, cancer, and death.”

As a dietitian, I can tell you that our nation’s eating habits are already horrifically unhealthy. The average American now eats more than 200 pounds of meat and 30 pounds of cheese a year–and these high-fat, high-cholesterol products take a terrible toll. Two-thirds of the population is either overweight or obese. More than 80 million Americans have one or more forms of cardiovascular disease. Cancer strikes one in two men and one in the three women over the course of their lives.

The danger of meat-heavy diets is clear. In 2007, the American Institute for Cancer Research reported that convincing evidence from dozens of studies supported the association between red and processed meat intake and colorectal cancer risk. On March 23, 2009, researchers with the National Cancer Institute published a study of more than half a million people showing that red and processed meat intake is associated with increased cardiovascular, cancer, and total mortality.

As you may know, most cattle on feedlots in the United States are given synthetic hormones to make them grow larger. I venture to guess that your monster burger harbors more synthetic hormones than most professional baseball players.

Given the overwhelming consensus on the danger of meat, I urge you to reconsider selling this burger. Imagine the lives you could save. If you cannot see yourself removing this high-fat item from your stadium, please post a warning label and refuse to sell such an unhealthy product to people under 18.

Baseball plays a huge role in American life, and the sport must take responsibility for the habits it teaches to young people. Just as no baseball franchise would promote cigarettes, your team should think hard about what this high-fat burger will do to your fans’ health.


Susan Levin, M.S., R.D.

Staff Dietitian

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

5100 Wisconsin Ave., NW, Suite 400

Washington, DC 20016




2 responses

1 04 2009

Reading that letter makes my head hurt. While I agree with Susan on many of her points, I don’t really think a minor league baseball team and its playing field have anything to do with the disastrous health of America. If you are not bright enough to recognize that a 4000+ calorie burger should not be part of your daily diet, that is your problem. And anyway, aren’t they pitching it as something to share?

Perhaps the “Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine” should work on responsible letter writing (tying all cancers to eating meat- a bit of a stretch) and encouraging personal responsibility instead of overreacting to a gimmick.

(sorry, just feeling ranty today)

21 03 2013

“I don’t really think a minor league baseball team and its playing field have anything to do with the disastrous health of America.” — And what if they offered cigarettes, would you feel the same? PCRM is encouraging people to withdraw foods that are patently unhealthy, and that is sensible, not funny.
“…tying all cancers to eating meat- a bit of a stretch…” — No, if you re-read the letter, you’ll see that it says no such thing.

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