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Minnesota next up to pass law banning undercover farm videos

If Big Ag has its way, even possessing this undercover image of a factory chicken farm would be illegal.Photo: Humane Society of the United StatesNPR had a report today on the anti-whistleblower laws in Florida and Iowa that would make it illegal to take photos or undercover videos of livestock facilities. (It's always nice to be NPR's assignment editor!) But it doesn't end in those two states -- this "campaign" by Big Ag to shield its production techniques from scrutiny is going national. Writer Will Potter -- author of the book Green Is the New Red about "how animal rights …

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Mimicking Big Tobacco, Big Soda blows smoke in Philadelphia

Big Soda can blow smoke with the best of 'em.Coke image: Andrew AtkinsonFor years now, numerous commentators (myself included) have made comparisons of the food industry with Big Tobacco. The most recent example should become the poster child for how the most egregious tactics of tobacco companies are alive and well. Last month came the announcement that the American Beverage Association (the lobbying arm of soft drink companies) was donating $10 million to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Why Philadelphia? Could a proposal to place a tax on soft drinks have anything to do with it? Here's how the Philadelphia …

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Spelt linked to cancer & other health problems, even as Big Ag muscles in on market [APRIL FOOLS]

Spelt: the silent killer? UPDATE: This is an April Fools' Day article, entirely made up, from the the baldness and gout to the lashed legionnaire. As far as we know, you can eat your spelt in good health and conscience. Phew. Every year, thousands of Americans reject wheat and turn instead to spelt, an ancient grain. Are they making a grave error? First, a bit of context. Domesticated from wild grasses in the Fertile Crescent (present-day Iraq) some 10,000 years ago, spelt eventually, after generations of seed selection by farmers, mutated into wheat. But even as new derivatives spun off, …

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Playing chicken

Study: Organic chicken carries significantly lower salmonella risk

Want it free of drug-resistant salmonella? Make it organic.Photo: sierravalleygirlThis study from the University of Georgia's Center for Food Safety came out in November and has bounced around the internet, but for some reason I'm just now noticing it. It's worth a look. The researchers looked at broilers -- chickens raised for meat -- from "three organic and four conventional broiler farms from the same company in North Carolina," and tested their manure for salmonella. They also tested samples of their feed. Here's what they found: 38.8 percent of the conventional birds were carrying salmonella, versus 5.6 percent for the …

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Journalists eat sugar substitutes so you don’t have to

So maybe Tom Philpott convinced you to wean yourself off aspartame, or maybe you just think chemical-based sweeteners taste oogy. (Okay, ALL sweeteners are chemical-based, but you know what I mean.) Well, the folks at Salon have taken one for the team, eating a lot of gross cookies so you can know which sugar substitute is best. Agave syrup Stacks up to sugar: Barely any point to substituting. It has a low glycemic index -- meaning it won't give you a "sugar crash" -- but requires so much processing that some forms might as well be corn syrup. And it …

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How much should Japan worry about nuclear food?

Japan has discovered potentially harmful levels of radiation in Tokyo tap water, and contamination levels in some foodstuffs have been high enough for the U.S. to halt imports.  Even if you live in Japan, you're unlikely to encounter these potentially dangerous eats -- contaminated food is being kept out of grocery stores. But just in case you're the type who's already taking a Geiger counter to Food Lion, here are the most susceptible edibles. Leafy vegetables Why they're susceptible: The broad leaves of plants like spinach and cabbage have a lot of surface area for radioactive particles to fall on. …

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Meat wagon

Think tainted Chinese pork is scary? Check out the nearest supermarket meat case

Now, what dodgy stuff did Philpott say was on this? In Meat Wagon, we round up the latest outrages from the meat and livestock industries. --------- Over in China, the nation's burgeoning pork industry has been been busted for churning out meat tainted with an illegal and quite dodgy growth-enhancing chemical, The Washington Post reports. The banned chemical, clenbuterol, is said to "reduce a pig's body fat to a very thin layer and makes butchered skin pinker, giving the appearance of fresher meat for a longer time." When people ingest it from eating the resulting pork, they suffer "symptoms such …

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Cereal comedy

Breakfast is not so gr-r-reat when your only option is Frosted Flakes

Breakfast cub: Tony the Tiger says start your kid's day with big bowls of sweetened corn.Photo: Jim BarkerOne in four children goes without breakfast each morning, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a tragedy to be sure -- but are Kellogg's breakfast products the solution? Last week, Kellogg announced its new project called Share Your Breakfast, part of a national advertising campaign. The project asks Americans to upload their breakfast photos to the website shareyourbreakfast.com, and Kellogg Company will donate up to $200,000 -- the equivalent of 1 million school breakfasts to help feed children from food-insecure households. Feeding …