Digest: Eco spin, Philpott KO’s Economist, nonstick Smithfield, much more

New York Times: A funny and fascinating article from Kim Severson about the “greenwashing” of food packaging, or why we’ll soon be seeing Cap’n Crunch “in a hemp jacket, raising money to save the manatees.” With the right visual cues, she writes, consumers don’t care whether a package’s contents are organic or just “organic-ish.”

Grist: Yay! Tom Philpott dismantles last month’s Economist coverage of the sustainable-food movement, point for point, and torpedoes the smug British newsweekly for its lame — and hypocritical — arguments. Better late than never!

Bloomberg.com: A thousand head of cattle have been found dead in a snow-covered Colorado feedlot, and thousands more are suspected to have died in the blizzards. There are not enough helicopters or ATVs to look for them all, thanks to the Iraq war. Beef industry believe the blizzards will have ramifications all the way up the food chain.

The Virginia Pilot: Apparently all the bad press — from Rolling Stone and PBS — hasn’t hurt Smithfield Foods at all, and pundits don’t think it will. Let’s prove them wrong.

Chapel Hill News: Believe it or not, even in North Carolina (home of the Smithfield horrorshow), sustainable hog farming exists. (Although this article doesn’t explain why Niman Ranch pulled its operations out of the state…?)

The Guardian (UK): Ethicist Peter Singer on why Americans care less about animal rights than Europeans — or at least their politicians do.

Press release: Samuel S. Epstein, professor emeritus of environmental medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, has a new book, “What’s in Your Milk?” about the dangers of Monsanto’s genetically engineered (rBGH) milk.

Cleveland Plain Dealer (via AP): An Ohio judge has overturned the state Department of Agriculture’s decision to revoke the milk-producing license of a dairy farmer who sold raw milk via a “cow share” program.

The New York Sun: Want to be healthier? Eat more steak — as long as it’s the “progressive,” grass-fed kind. Unfortunately, this article indicates that grass-fed niche may be falling prey to hucksterism.

AlterNet.org: Q&A with former NY Times technology columnist Denise Caruso, author of the forthcoming “Intervention: Confronting the Real Risks of Genetic Engineering and Life on a Biotech Planet.”

Scripps News: Even U.S. consumers who would willingly eat cloned meat think it should be labeled.

TheSpoof.com: Taco Bell employees will be required to wear mourning uniforms.

Washington Post: Why the D.C. area’s Silver Dollar diner chain has voluntarily rid its kitchens of trans fats.

Seattle P-I: A Massachusetts-based Fair Trade cooperative has opened a retail outlet in rainy Ballard, Seattle, tempting Ethicureans to venture outside for organic coffee, tea, chocolate, and cheap lattes, to see if the company is buzz-worthy. There’s also a strange claim that Seattle is the healthiest U.S. city, beating out Portland. Must be the fresh ocean air.

New York Times*: Starbucks is cutting trans fats from baked goods in half its U.S. stores.

3 Responsesto “Digest: Eco spin, Philpott KO’s Economist, nonstick Smithfield, much more”

  1. Anonymous says:

    “Believe it or not, NC has some sustainable hog farming”? In NC we have the entire mix that you do on the left coast and at the bottom of the country – sustainable agriculture communities and thriving farmer’s markets, SOLE restaurants and food producers, Whole Foods and food co-ops, huge agribusinesses with terrible environmental and worker treatment records, and folks and companies that fall into different categories entirely.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Well, I should’ve said – we do appear to be missing some good local food blogs…..

  3. DairyQueen says:

    Sorry — that was reflexively West Coast snobbish of me…even though I was born in North Carolina. I guess I’m just so outraged by what Smithfield is doing that I assumed none of the good guys could survive in the face of its onslaught.