Food

EPA cracks down on the pesticides on your peppers

The U.S. EPA plans to tighten restrictions on five nasty soil fumigants that keep pests away from strawberries, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, and peppers. The proposed mitigation measures include buffer zones, warning signs, air-quality monitoring, management …

As the ground shifts under their feet, food giants experiment with new strategies

When you smile, the food world smiles with you … maybe. Photo: Original by heatkernel For more than a generation, the major corporations that process and sell the vast bulk of our food have had …

Drought grips Iraq, threatening crops and water supplies

On top of Iraq’s myriad other problems, drought has hit the country hard recently, impacting crops and water supplies in many regions. Rainfall this winter was about 40 percent lower than usual in Iraq and …

Simple cooking can produce delicious results — like old-fashioned Austrian pancakes

Get cooking, sonny. Too many people in this country have been sold a bill of goods. They’ve been tricked, flim-flammed, conned, and hustled. They’ve been bamboozled into believing that food comes wrapped in plastic from …

Check out the carbon

Will eco-labeling contribute to consumer shopping confusion?

Ben Tuxworth, communications director at Forum for the Future, writes a monthly column for Gristmill on sustainability in the U.K. and Europe. ----- British supermarket shoppers face increasingly bewildering claims about the ethical qualities of products. In one of retail giant Tesco's stores, shoppers can opt for goods branded with the Soil Association's organic standard, the Fairtrade Foundation's logo, the British Farm standard, or chain-of-custody marks from the Marine Stewardship and Forest Stewardship Councils. They can linger over footprint information from the Carbon Trust or dolphin-based evaluation of the fishing methods used to catch their tuna. On another spectrum altogether, they are offered "Finest" and "Value" brands on Tesco's own goods. And on most products they're also expected to wade through nutritional assessments, guideline daily amounts, glycemic index counts, information on allergies, and of course, brand, quantity, and price. As one weary consumer observed, supermarket shopping has become more like visiting a museum, with plenty to read and a clear educational agenda. Check-Out Carbon, a new report from my organization Forum for the Future, explores attempts to reduce the carbon intensity of the weekly shopping trip, and makes challenging reading for anyone hoping shoppers are taking it all in. After interviewing industry experts, conducting focus groups with consumers, and commissioning a survey of 1,000 U.K. adults, we found a surprising consensus: Despite the race to get ethically branded goods into stores, we're all expecting too much of shopper choice.

USDA pessimistic on hunger outlook

In 2006, the U.S. Department of Agriculture calculated that 849 million people across the globe were “food-insecure” — consuming less than 2,100 calories a day, or, in a word, hungry. But in its 2006 Food …

World Bank responds to Guardian biofuel report

Bank chief Zoelick hints his old boss Bush is full of it on biofuels and food prices

As I reported a few days ago, the Guardian recently uncovered what it called a “secret” World Bank assessment holding U.S. and European biofuel boosterism largely responsible for the recent run-up in global food prices. …

Conservation land in flood zone opened to grazing

Livestock grazing will be allowed on thousands of acres of Midwest land that had been set aside for conservation, Department of Agriculture Secretary Ed Schaeffer announced this week. Under the federal Conservation Reserve Program, landowners …

Salmon lesson

Atlantic Salmon restoration efforts face grim realities

Stocks of wild salmon in the North Pacific are in trouble. That's news. What isn't news is that the spring has passed us by in Massachusetts again without returning more than a handful of wild Atlantic Salmon. The river closest to me, the Connecticut, saw just 132 salmon return, nearly all of which were captured at either of two dams and whisked away by biologists working for the Connecticut River Atlantic Salmon Restoration program. The fish are bred at hatcheries so next spring the young can be released back into the river, hopefully to grow, go to sea, and return (others were tagged and released upstream of the dams to breed naturally this fall). But is it worth the effort?