Digest: The return of caviar and lobster, California Dairies goes rBST-free, E. coil safety plan

Roe, roe, roe your boats: The United Nations' conservation panel announced it was lifting its export ban on three types of caviar, including beluga, saying Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Iran, and Russia had improved their monitoring of the fisheries. Conservationists are not pleased. Toronto Star

Lobster reversal: Whole Foods doesn't sell live lobsters anymore because of concerns about animal cruelty...except in its new store in Maine. There, the lobsters will be housed in their own underwater condos and killed with the CrusaStun tool before being handed over to customers. Associated Press

Just say no to Monsanto: California Dairies, the largest dairy cooperative in California, is going rBST-free, says Brownfield. Not that there's anything wrong with synthetic hormones that make cows produce so much milk they get mastitis, mind you, but those silly consumers don't like it. Guess Cal Dairies didn't go to this "Truth About Milk" forum, or maybe they're tired of their rBST supplies being stolen (with surveillance photos!).

E. coli plan: California's Department of Food and Agriculture has approved a voluntary inspection program proposed by lettuce and spinach processors. The plan creates a marketing agreement among produce shippers and handlers — the latter agree to buy only from growers who've adopted such preventive measures as building fences to keep stray animals away from crops and routinely testing irrigation water for bacteria. Something doesn't smell right about this type of arrangement to us. Associated Press

Northern madness: Canada has confirmed its 9th case of mad-cow disease, in an Alberta bull born before it became illegal to feed cattle parts to their fellow herbivores. Bloomberg

Could avian flu mean the end of free-range chickens?: Probably not. In fact, some say that wild birds are not even to blame for the outbreak; intensive farming conditions are. Independent (UK)

Conservation, schmonservation: Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said he may allow land retired under a federal conservation program to be put back into production for corn next year, because “there is a need for corn, there is just no doubt about it.” Spoken like a true addict. Des Moines Register

We prefer Hoodia: Coca-Cola Co. and Nestlé say consuming three cans a day of their new product, Enviga, will burn 60 to 100 calories with no other effort on the part of the dupe's consumer's part. San Francisco Chronicle

Fructose fall guy: Why it's not the food giants' fault if you get fat from eating processed foods with hidden amounts of high-fructose corn syrup. Seattle Times

Born-again carnivores: Last week, the BBC Magazine looked at vegetarians who decide to eat meat again because of ethical farming; this week's follow-up is written by a former vegetarian turned pig farmer. BBC Magazine

Nobody told us: About 100 protesters dressed as cows took to the Washington DC streets over the FDA's plans to allow milk and meat from cloned animals into the food chain. Representatives from the National Farmers Union and Ben & Jerry's took part in the moo-in. NBC25

Oil vs. food: Australian farmers are taking on Esso over the rights to underground water supplies in the region, claiming the aquifers they depend on for pasture irrigation are being decimated by the oil industry. Herald Sun (Australia)

Great Lakes locavores: The concept of the 100-Mile Diet is winning converts in Michigan. Lansing City Pulse

Delta disaster: The Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the source of much of California's drinking water, faces economic and environmental collapse in part because of its diversion for agricultural use. San Francisco Chronicle

Biofuels skeptic: Not everyone at UC Berkeley is thrilled with the $500 million oil giant BP is giving the campus to develop renewable fuels. Professor Miguel Altieri writes, "The only way to stop global warming is to promote small-scale organic agriculture and decrease the use of all fuels, which requires major reductions in consumption patterns and development of massive public transportation systems, areas that the University of California should be actively researching and that BP and the other biofuel partners will never invest one penny towards." Berkeley Daily Planet

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