Sunday, December 09, 2007


Yes, it's that time again! Soon Time will announce the Whatever of the Year!!

Don't get me wrong: Of course I think You should get it. But face it: You already got it last year! And I know you're not the greedy sort.

So instead I'm nominating Gluten as the Molecule of the Year—and not just because of that celiac thing. Sure, that's a biggie, but there was also that melamine scare, when media warned that millions were endangered by food containing wheat gluten...that is, millions of pets were endangered by pet food wheat gluten that contained the poison melamine.

That message about gluten really got through to the public over the past year. Also making some inroads into public awareness was one of this blog's pet issues: Millions of undiagnosed and misdiagnosed Americans are endangered by food containing wheat gluten. As the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) puts it, "Roughly one out of every 133 Americans has celiac disease, but 97% remain undiagnosed. This means that almost three million Americans have celiac disease and only about 100,000 know they have it."

So Gluten gets my vote for the pet food and the human food angles...and also for its metaphoric value. At present, it stands for the way foods and other products can turn out to contain some hazardous surprises...especially when labeling, quality control, and medical knowledge are lacking.

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