Digest: Bacteria love, food bill of rights, more hogfarm lawsuits, Glassner revisited

Fiber — like armor for your gut: Thought there was nothing new to say about last year’s E. coli outbreaks? Think again. This op-ed says the best defense against the bad bugs starts with your own stomach: eat more fiber, so your gut’s bacteria can fight off invaders. Recommended are onions, leeks, garlic, chicory and artichokes — no problem! San Francisco Chronicle

Good bacteria: Probiotic foods, with live bacterial cultures, are this decade’s oat bran — a magic bullet to cure constipation, yeast infections, even hair loss. (Gotcha.) Or at least that’s what Dannon, maker of Activia yogurt, and other corporations pushing “functional foods” want us to think. New York Times

The Food Bill: What would a truly consumer-friendly 2007 Farm Bill look like? According to this columnist, it would have more funding for encouraging farmers markets, bringing fresh produce to “food deserts,” and a lot of other good stuff. Houston Chronicle

Piggy polluters sued: Pennsylvania environmental groups are suing hog farmers for waste runoff into the Chesapeake Bay and other waterways, saying that the carrots of government funding dangled by the region’s big eco-watchdog, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, aren’t working. Baltimore Sun

Preaching to no choir: Damn! Looks like we’re going to have to read this book after all. The P-I has a less incendiary, more curiosity-rousing take on “The Gospel of Food: Everything You Think You Know About Food Is Wrong,” the new book by sociologist Barry Glassner, than the Wall Street Journal did the other day. While Glassner may vilify cultural elitism around food — Eric Schlosser receives a swipe — he also takes to task those who characterize foods, such as whole milk, as “bad.” Hmm. Americans do have the world’s screwiest attitudes when it comes to food. Seattle P-I

Banding together for a discount: Organic buying clubs — kind of multi-farm CSAs — are taking off in Florida. Palm Beach Post

Puget Sound has healthy fast food: Organic to Go, Pioneer Organics, and Delicious Planet are all serving a booming market for organic “convenience food” in Seattle. Seattle P-I

Strange bedfellows: Hunters are starting to become active conservationists, recognizing that habitat protection is necessary if they’re gong to keep enjoying their “sport.” Des Moines Register

Don’t know much a’ biology: An interview with Susanne McNally, a professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, who teaches a course called World Food Systems in History that involves sending students to get their hands dirty on organic farms. We’re excited to discover this cool blog for “bibliochefs,” and not just because McNally mentions The Ethicurean as an inspiration. (Keep up the good work, Henking!) Cooking With Ideas

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