Big Oil [hearts] biofuels

Update [2009-3-19 12:37:25 by Tom Philpott]:Also on the theme of Big Oil loving biofuels: Valero Energy, the largest U.S. oil refiner, just snapped up seven ethanol plants from bankrupt ethanol maker Verasun for $1 billion. …

Three squares

Following USDA dietary guidelines can be hazardous to your health

Jill Richardson flagged this op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle co-authored by a nutritional biochemist and a doctor. In their commentary, they indicate that current government dietary guidelines might be an eensy bit flawed: Here …

Czange we can believe in

Salmon czar could coordinate better protection, rule over peasant salmon

Because nothing signals a democracy on the mend like a profusion of czars, salmon defenders are now calling for a federal salmon czar. According to Wikipedia my deep and nuanced understanding of Russian history, we …

More farmers, less market

Farmers markets need rules if we want them to help the food system

Daniel Duane in Mother Jones warns you about farmers markets becoming “farmers markets”: In 1994, there were 1,755 farmers markets in the United States; by 2008, there were 4,685. In the big scheme of things, …

New legislation would make the meat industry ‘just say no’ to antibiotic abuse

As debate around food safety regulation heats up — some might say, overheats — sublimely named Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) has introduced a House bill that would significantly affect farming practices in the United States. Called …

Looking for work?

African ethanol producers accepting employment applications

Wanted: Young cane cutters for part time seasonal work. Must be willing to work ten hours a day swinging a machete in tropical sun while wearing gloves, long sleeved shirt, and hat — no retirement …

Did you know Alice Waters invented the slow food movement!?

Success in Brazil

The city that ended hunger did it by going local

What struck me in Frances Moore Lappé’s piece at Yes! on Belo Horizonte, Brazil — the city that ended hunger — was how simple the solution was: [The city] offered local family farmers dozens of …

Big Pig Strikes Back

The National Pork Board tries to spin Nick Kristof's MRSA column

In the wake of Nick Kristof's column on MRSA infections among hog farmers, Obamafoodorama found evidence of Big Pig (the National Pork Board) conspiring with the CDC in prepping its response. And after all that, this is the best they could come up with: "They are making a huge leap attributing MRSA in these people to hogs," says Angela DeMirjyn, science communications manager for the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC). The pork organization has been researching MRSA for some time, says DeMirjyn, and supports the CDC's statement that most community acquired MRSA infections are caused by a different bacteria than is commonly associated with pigs or pig farms. There. Now don't you feel better? They're all over it like flies on, well, you get the point. They have, as that nameless intelligence bureaucrat assured Indiana Jones as regards research into the Ark of the Covenant, "top men working on it right now." Top men, indeed. But wait, there's even more rhetorical emptiness waiting for you: "We also know that MRSA is not just staph bacteria that can be found in pigs, it also can be found in horses, dogs and even marine animals. It is not a problem that is solely related to pigs," DeMirjyn says. MRSA, in fact, can be found anywhere in nature, according to Paul Ebner, a livestock microbiologist at Purdue University. While he says there has been an increase in the number of these infections and that pigs and other animals can be carriers, the vast majority of infections come from skin-to-skin contact with infected humans. File that under "Beside The Point." You know, I think these folks just might be panicked. Funny, Tom Philpott and I (at Ezra Klein's blog) covered the "MRSA in pigs" issue recently - it didn't get quite this reaction. I guess the Gray Lady has life in her yet.