Food

A renewed call for food reform

Updates on secretary of agriculture appointment

In the five weeks since the election and almost a month since my first post about the secretary of agriculture, a lot has changed. But one thing has become increasingly clear: The people who voted for Barack Obama expect change at the head of USDA. The next person to head the Department of Agriculture needs to be someone willing to step outside the status quo. The idea is gaining traction, with nods from Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times, Chuck Hassebrook in the Des Moines Register, and over 35,000 grassroots individuals at fooddemocracynow.org. The call for change is growing. …

Curt Ellis responds to the ads promoting corn syrup …

I was really happy to see this article. The ads which cast doubt on corn syrup-related health problems are so bad that even Karl Rove must be shaking his head. (Besides, who takes a popsicle — let alone one popsicle for two people — on a picnic?)

Meat Wagon: Midnight riders

The EPA and FDA send last-minute gifts to the meat industry

In Meat Wagon, we round up the latest outrages from the meat and livestock industries. —– Living near confined-animal feedlot operations (CAFOs) is no bowl of cherries. CAFO operators pack thousands of animals into tight spaces, concentrating their waste. The smells they release are intense and foul — and probably dangerous. According to one recent peer-reviewed study, by Wellesley researcher Stacy Sneeringer, living near CAFOs “significantly” raises infant-mortality rates. But you don’t need to live near a CAFO to feel their effects. According to the U.N., CAFOs generate tremendous amounts of greenhouse gas — more even than cars. If this …

That's what he said ...

Foodie lessons from Dwight K. Shrute

A brilliant blogger has assembled a list of food and frugality tips gathered from Dwight K. Shrute, assistant to the regional manager at The Office‘s Dunder Mifflin paper company. Below, a few gems: DWIGHT SAYS: “My grandfather left me a 60-acre working beet farm. I run it with my cousin Mose. We sell beets to the local stores and restaurants. It’s a nice little farm … sometimes teenagers use it for sex.”DWIGHT MEANS: Buy local.Not only does it support neighborhood farmers (who need security to keep randy kids away), but food that’s shipped from nearby tastes better, is better for …

Will the Obama administration be the first to seriously regulate genetically modified food?

  Will Obama buck the trend and regulate GMOs?   On Nov. 11, Austria’s Ministries for Agriculture and Health released the results of a long-term study [PDF] of genetically modified organisms. A widely used strain of GM corn, they found, appears to decrease both birthrates and the size of offspring in mice — and the problems seem to grow with each generation. This is a troubling conclusion. U.S. farmers planted the first commercial GMO crops in 1996. Today, upwards of 90 percent of U.S. soy, and 60 percent of U.S. corn, come from GMO seeds. Those crops suffuse our food …

Does this industrial poison make my ass look fat?

Study: Common pollutant may lead to obesity

Ever heard of tributyltin? Probably not, but odds are you’ve been exposed to it. The chemical is used as a biocide in industrial water systems, breweries (gulp), and in wood preservatives; and as a pesticide on so-called "high-value" food crops (think fruits and vegetables). Its residues are also found in fish and shellfish. And … exposure to it may be contributing to growth in obesity and diabetes rates, according to an article in the December 2008 BioScience, the journal of the American Institute of Biological Sciences. From an AIBS press release: The harmful effects of the chemical on the liver …

Food is different

Food should be controlled by farmers, not corporations

Food is an important part of most Holiday celebrations, not just because we need food to live, but food connects us to our culture, our past, and whether we know it or not, our future. Food Is Different: Why the WTO Should Get Out of Agriculture is a great book by Peter Rosset — one that everyone who cares about food should read. The book is dedicated to Lee Kyung Hae, the Korean farmer who took his life in protest against the World Trade Organization on September 16, 2003, at the WTO protest march in Cancun Mexico. I was there. …

FDA draft report downplays mercury risk from fish

A new draft report from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration downplays the risks to women, infants, and kids from eating mercury-tainted fish, advising people of all ages to consume more fish due to its health benefits and recommending that the government’s current advisory be scrapped in favor of an all-around pro-fish approach, regardless of its mercury content.

<em>NYT</em> pundit demands 'secretary of food'

Pressure rises for a reform-minded USDA pick

The Obama transition team is taking its time mulling candidates to head up USDA. That’s a good thing, considering the generally dismal names that dominate the circulating short-lists. Meanwhile, the temperature is rising around Obama to pick a real reformer, not a business-as-usual politician or outright industry flack. The latest: New York Times op-ed pundit Nicholas Kristof has opined that Obama should rename the USDA the "department of food." Get this: Renaming the department would signal that Mr. Obama seeks to move away from a bankrupt structure of factory farming that squanders energy, exacerbates climate change and makes Americans unhealthy …

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