Food Safety

Sustainable Food

Dr. Vandana Shiva: Occupy our food supply!

From seeds, to corporate farms, to giant mega-retailers -- one of the world's preeminent speakers on biodiversity pontificates on the corporatization of our food supply.

Business & Technology

The Economist uses stale right-wing ideas to attack government regulation

The magazine has published a series on "Over-regulated America" that does nothing but contradict itself and repackage false claims about the costs of protective regulation.

Food

‘Antibiotic-free’ pork has the same rate of antibiotic-resistant bacteria

We really do try to Pollan it up and do the whole “eat food, not too much, mostly plants” bit. But “mostly plants” obviously means “sometimes bacon.” And maybe the farmers’ market wasn’t open, so we bought that bacon at the store. Oh, but it was good bacon! “Raised without antibiotics” bacon! That’s something, right? Nope, not really, according to a new study from a group of University of Iowa scientists. This group tested 395 samples of pork from 36 stores in Iowa, Minnesota, and New Jersey. Of those, 6.6 percent had creepy, drug-resistant staph bacteria (shorthand: MRSA) on them. …

Factory Farms

Will the Butterball raid yield any real results?

If turkey were beer, Butterball would have the brand power of Budweiser, Miller, and Coors combined. From six plants, the company produces 1 billion pounds of turkey each year and exports the meat to over 50 countries. Given this dominance, the Butterball brand has been a priceless asset to the company — until Thursday morning. At about 9:00 a.m., officers from the local sheriff’s office raided a Butterball semen collection facility in Shannon, N.C. (Industrially bred Broad-Breasted White turkeys must be artificially inseminated to reproduce.) The raid has not yet produced confirmed arrests, but if the events of the past year …

Factory Farms

Scrooged: FDA gives up on antibiotic restrictions in livestock

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) pulled a Scrooge move just before Christmas. The agency published an entry in the Federal Register declaring that it will end its attempt at mandatory restrictions on the use of antibiotics in animal agriculture. The agency isn’t advertising the shift, though: This news would have remained a secret if not for Maryn McKenna’s Superbug blog over at Wired. McKenna, who specializes in writing about antibiotics and their link to pathogens, caught the Federal Register notice. This is a sorry end to a process that began in 1977 (!), but McKenna created an excellent timeline …

Fast food chains give up ‘pink slime’ meat product

McDonald's, Taco Bell, and Burger King just stopped using a product popularly known as "pink slime" in their burger meat. The "slime" comes from the tiny bits of beef in leftover fatty trimming. Those bits are doused with ammonia in order to kill E. coli and are then made into human food. Or “human” “food.” The resulting "meat" isn't necessarily unsafe — in fact, industry people are bitching about how food activists are making them reduce food safety, to which we say if your meat needs to be doused with ammonia to make it safe to eat then maybe you …

Food

The bad food news of 2011

We continue digesting this year’s food politics coverage below — only this time we take account of the things that didn’t go so well. (Tired of bad news? See the year’s good food news instead.) 1.  Food prices have gone up, and more people need help feeding their families The fact that 46 million people — about a seventh of the U.S. population — now receive food stamps (i.e. help from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)) should be enough to tell us that something is wrong with America’s food system. But thanks to the way public food assistance is …

Your mom was right: Don’t eat raw cookie dough

I know, I know, it's so good. But a study of a 2009 E. coli outbreak, led by CDC researchers and state health officials, has traced the contamination back to prepackaged raw cookie dough. Turns out ready-to-bake is not the same as ready-to-not-bake-and-get-right-to-the-eating. Ugh, god, what are we supposed to scarf when we get dumped then? You'd think CDC researchers and cookie dough manufacturers alike would just be like "you knobs, there are uncooked eggs in there, just don't eat it until it's been baked." I mean, if someone ate raw prepackaged hamburger patties and got sick, nobody would be …

Eating rice raises risk of arsenic exposure

Sometimes it just feels like we should give up eating, particularly if "we" are "pregnant women." A new study links rice consumption with higher levels of arsenic in the bloodstream, which can increase the risks of infant mortality and low birth weight. Most arsenic exposure comes from water, and the study found that 10 percent of its subjects' tap water had levels of arsenic higher than the EPA allows. But rice is also better at absorbing arsenic from water than most other crops are. And while China is on top of this (not surprisingly), the U.S. and the E.U. have …

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