Food

Mercury (Legislation) Rising

Mercury bill clears major hurdle

Great news – we’re one giant step closer to ending needless mercury pollution from chlorine plants in the United States. On Wednesday, the Mercury Pollution Reduction Act (HR 2190) passed a subcommittee vote that allows it to now be considered by the U.S. House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce committee. The majority of bills die, unsung, in subcommittees. Now the act, which would phase out mercury pollution from chlorine plants within two years of its passage, has a very good fighting chance at becoming law. In the process, two amendments that would have seriously crippled this important bill were defeated. …

Pizza party!

How to turn your backyard into the best pizzeria in town

Photo: Whitney BrownWhat is it about the flicker of a flame, the crackle of burning wood, and the wafting clouds of wood smoke that enchant us so? Combine an outdoor fire with a spring breeze dancing on one’s skin and the sound of leaves rustling in the trees, and merriment abounds. The effect is liberating; the appeal is elemental. Add delicious, smoke-kissed food, and you have a wholly sensory experience. All of my favorite food experiences take place outdoor over a hardwood fire: oyster roasts, hickory-smoked barbecue, and wood-fired pizza. I have come to believe that my happiness and well-being …

Are you for real?

Eat real. Eat local. Eat … Hellmann’s Mayo?

The website is abysmal, full of Flash-animated chaos and tabs that bring up one-line slogans. The message is … twisted. For some reason, Hellmann’s Mayonnaise, a U.S.-based subsidiary of European processed-food behemoth Unilever, has seen fit to subject Canada (Canada?) to an eat-local campaign. Analyzing this bizarre development transcends my gifts as a social critic. To properly parse what’s going on here, you’d have to revive Marshall McLuhan, and genetically modify his brain with DNA from Orwell, Machiavelli, and maybe even propaganda king Goebbels. But I can tell you this: our neighbors to the north don’t need lectures on local …

As ‘Food Inc.’ nears open, Eric Schlosser appears on Colbert

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c Eric Schlosser colbertnation.com Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor Keyboard Cat   Steven Cobert is a brilliant comedian. Eric Schlosser may be our best investigative journalist after Seymour Hersh. Together, Colbert and Schlosser create … a typically random and zany Colbert interview. But they do give me a good excuse to announce that the documentary Food, Inc., which Schlosser co-produced, is opening next week in New York City, L.A., San Francisco, and a few other cities. I’ve only seen a few scenes, but it looks downright incendiary. The most interesting review …

Spare Tires

Food industry and longer commutes are making us fat

Recently I wrote about a study that looked across a few decades of data about housing and health. And we have written more than once about the relationship between the environment, location, health and price as it relates to food. Certainly there are systems issues that conspire against us when we try to make the right decision about food including the food industry. Blaming the food industry might be an easy thing to do. But a combination of policies that improve what we eat and encourage alternative transportation is the recipe we need to follow. Dr. Boyd Swinburn comes down …

Flu do they think they are?

Europeans demand investigation of the CAFO/swine flu link

Swine flu continues Maroon lagoon: Take a dip in a hog-waste cesspool? spreading across the globe, killing people–even (gasp) Americans. (Eleven have died in New York City alone.) Ho-hum. As I predicted a few weeks ago, the flu scare has skulked off the front pages and into the realms of historical amnesia, that vast American netherworld. Apparently, it will take mass quarantines, high death rates, and riots at hospitals to keep Americans thinking about the very real threat of flu pandemic for more than a week or two. Meanwhile, no one with authority seems to be investigating obvious possible links …

Treacherous waters

A new tool for navigating around overfishing and mercury taint

Chart by Neil Banas. Here’s a PDF version.   Not long ago, I arrived at a fishmonger (Carrboro, N.C.’s Tom’s Seafood) just before closing time looking for a main course — preferably one that didn’t wouldn’t contribute to stripping the oceans bare or addle my tired brain with lashings of mercury (courtesy of coal-fired power plants). The workers were breaking down the counter and trying to get out of there — but indicated they’d be happy to serve me. “What’s fresh and from around the North Carolina coast?” I asked the woman behind the counter. She didn’t hesitate. “This tilefish …

Anti-CAFO ads running in DC Metro

File this under intriguing. From Ag Professional (via a press release, I think) A new ad campaign is asking area commuters and people visiting Capitol Hill “Who’s hogging our antibiotics?” The series of ads, revealed in D.C. Metro stations and trains this week by the Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming, is part of the project’s national effort to end the misuse of antibiotics in food animal production. The group says up to 70 percent of human antibiotics are being fed to animals on factory farms, promoting the development of deadly strains of drug-resistant bacteria that can spread …

'Recovering from the Green Revolution'

NPR: Organic ag rises in India

Wouldn’t a bit of atrazine liven up this scene?India is a major player on the global stage–hub of the information-technology market, the world’s second most populous nation, and a nuclear power to boot. It would be a global-scale calamity if India’s food security became compromised–and that is exactly what’s happening, as NPR’s Daniel Zwerdling showed in three excellent reports last month.  In May, Zwerdling focused on the decay of industrial agriculture. His latest piece, which aired Monday, he turns to organic ag–which is becoming increasingly popular across the country as farmers grapple with declining soil quality and high costs for …