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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Deep-Fried Democracy Leaves a Sour Taste

June 18, 2004

Re "USDA: Frozen Fries Are 'Fresh' Veggies," June 15: Under pressure from the branch of the U.S. obesity industry devoted to the consumption of frozen French fries, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and now a federal judge have agreed that frozen French fries constitute "fresh vegetables." This is an outrageous Alice in Wonderland interpretation of a simple phrase that any 2-year-old can understand.

This country's anxiety to export its vision of democracy to the entire globe makes outcomes like this especially sad. With the USDA in the deep fryer of the frozen potato industry, any country that cares to look will have to wonder about how much of our political and legal system is for sale to the highest bidder.

Paul Bergman

Los Angeles

With its assertion that batter-covered frozen French fries are fresh vegetables, the USDA has joined the Food and Drug Administration, the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Aviation Administration as bureaucracies controlled by the entities they are supposed to be regulating. They should all be classified as lobbyist organizations, and their pronouncements should never be viewed as being beneficial to the people they are supposed to be protecting.

Errol Miller

Chino

During Ronald Reagan's administration, ketchup was deemed to be a vegetable in the federal school lunch program for poor kids, and now, in George W. Bush's administration, batter-coated French fries are classified as a fresh vegetable. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Howard Cohen

North Hills

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