Notable quotable

Et tu, Al? Franken gulps the ethanol-spiked Kool-Aid

“I’ve looked at this a lot, and it seems to me that ethanol already helps our carbon footprint and it’s only getting more efficient in the way it’s produced. Corn ethanol is a step on the way to cellulosic ethanol, which is also going to benefit Minnesota. I’m in the pro-ethanol camp.”– Sen. (elect) Al Franken, D.-Minn.

Edible media

The WaPo serves up a food-politics column

Ezra KleinLindsay Beyerstein“Edible Media” takes an occasional look at interesting or deplorable food journalism on the web. Welcome to the table, Ezra Klein When I first started writing about food politics in 2005, the topic area was highly stratified–and still a little obscure. There was Eric Schlosser’s groundbreaking Fast Food Nation (2001) illuminating the topic and pointing to new avenues of inquiry; you had Michael Pollan writing big essays in The New York Times Magazine (Omnivore’s Dilemma didn’t appear until 2006); and people like Marion Nestle, Gary Paul Nabhan, and Anna Lappe writing provocative books for relatively small audiences. In …

Weight of the world

No healthcare reform without food-system reform

The AP reports on a new state-level study of obesity rates. And the news is, well, terrifying: Obesity rates among adults rose in 23 states over the past year and didn’t decline anywhere, says a new report from the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation …[W]hile the nation has long been bracing for a surge in Medicare as the boomers start turning 65, the new report makes clear that fat, not just age, will fuel much of those bills. In every state, the rate of obesity is higher among 55- to 64-year-olds – the oldest boomers …

Size does matter

Starbucks brews global green-building plan, renovates Seattle shop

Photo: Sarah van SchagenStroll into the newly renovated Starbucks coffeehouse in Seattle’s University Village and the décor may feel more familiar than you’d expect. The menu boards are made from the chalkboards you may have scribbled on at nearby Garfield High School; the shelving is from old bleachers you may have sat upon; the leather accents near the bar are from your old shoes and car seats; and the ash-wood community table that stretches the length of the store and patio (one-third of it is outside) is salvaged from a tree that fell in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood. It’s part of …

Where's the beef?

Food-safety legislation leaves gaping hole for meat giants

Yesterday’s post about JBS’ massive beef recall got me to thinking about the food-safety legislation creeping through the House: the other Waxman bill, H.R. 2749, or the Food Safety Enhancement Act The bill recently passed the passed through the House Energy and Commerce Committee and awaits consideration on the House floor; no vote is currently scheduled. Because of my recent fixation on the ag aspects of Waxman’s cap-and-trade bill, I haven’t been following his food-safety bill closely. The excellent Food & Water Watch, a group that that watches out for the interests of both consumers and small-scale farmers, has issued …

Heavy on the Ice, Light on the Cream

A review of six non-dairy ice creams

This is part two of a two-part series on organic ice cream; see our previous review of conventional, dairy-based ice creams by Tom Philpott. Cow juice alternative?The Sheppard family has what you might call an ice cream problem. When I was 8 and my brother was 5, we went to Disney World. After a day of themepark excitement, my brother started walking with a pronounced limp. My mother asked him what was wrong. “My leg hurts,” he replied. “I need Mickey Mouse ice cream.” Another time, when I was about 12, my father lurched up from his chair in our …

Meat wagon

E. coli O157 comes back with a vengeance, and other nasty toxins in meat

Tainted burger, coming soon to a plate near you? In Meat Wagon, we round up the latest outrages from the meat and livestock industries. ——————————— (This is the first Meat Wagon column in months. No, the meat industry hasn’t suddenly become socially and ecologically responsible. I’ve just been distracted by other topics.) Where’s the tainted beef?If you regularly eat fast-food burgers or unlabeled supermarket beef, you’ve almost certainly consumed a JBS product in the past month. That’s because Brazil-based JBS is the globe’s largest beef producer–and the third-largest U.S. beef packer. And what a month it’s been for this emerging …

A Can of Worms

California is new front line of BPA fight

The following is a guest post submitted by Elisa Odabashian, Director, West Coast Office and State Campaigns, and Dr. Urvashi Rangan, Director of Technical Policy, Consumers Union. It’s the stuff of a good Hollywood movie-a potentially toxic chemical lurking in the bodies of most unwitting Americans; a decade of mounting but scuttled scientific evidence; government inaction; undue influence and public denials of harm by the powerful chemical industry; congressional inquiries; a crescendo of outcry by consumers demanding that something be done-and still, the battle to ban bisphenol A (also known as BPA) in food and drink containers rages on. Now, …

Irrational Corn Growers Association

Farm lobby: Shoot the climate bill, but keep the Peterson goodies

Give me the loot–then I’ll shoot! I got mugged in Mexico City once. Guy whirled me around and pointed a gun at me. He had a crazed look in his eye–like he might be on familiar terms with a crack pipe or a glue tube. He demanded my wallet with a grunted threat to shoot. I handed it over. We went on our ways, both reasonably satisfied. He got some cash, and I got to live. I’ve been thinking about that relatively straightforward transaction as I ponder the the farm lobby’s stance on the Waxman-Markey vote. Their man Collin Peterson …

Got 2.7 seconds?

We've devised the world's shortest survey to find out what kind of actions our readers are taking. You know you want to.