Digest: Wild birds cleared, USDA censured, protection from transgenic corn

Bird-flu CSI: It’s official — comparison between the UK and Hungarian strains of the avian-flu virus reveals the highest genetic match, much more so than the strains found in wild birds. Press release

Dept. of About Time: A federal judge ruled yesterday that the USDA failed to adequately assess possible environmental impacts before approving Monsanto’s genetically engineered alfalfa. The 20-page decision said the agency had not adequately considered whether the gene could contaminate organic or conventional alfalfa or lead to “super weeds.” New York Times

Down-and-dirty corn: Andrew Leonard argues that, with the coming wave of corn that’s been genetically modified to better serve as fuel for ethanol, there need to be 100 times stronger safeguards to ensure it doesn’t get into the food supply. With news items like the one above, we agree. Salon

Oranges are not the only fruit: The California freeze has limited New York’s citrus supply, increasing prices and decreasing fruit quality. New York Times

Kantor spanked: Joseph Mendelson, legal director for the Center for Food Safety, responds to Andrew Kantor’s flip, smug, and seriously annoying Jan. 5 column on cloned meat. To summarize Kantor: People who are afraid of cloned meat are big, anti-technology babies, the same dangerous zealots who’d rather let Indian children starve than eat Golden Rice. Mendelson details why concerns over the safety of cloned meat have plenty of basis in science that the FDA deemed outside its scope. Good for USA Today for running his rebuttal. USA Today

Ticketing trans fats: California’s legislators are cooking up a mess of bills that will change how the state’s residents eat, or at least make them more aware of what they’re eating. Sacramento Bee

Animal database shut down: The nonprofit U.S. Animal Identification Organization has been suspended for lack of interest and financing. That means only for-profit companies will provide the national animal identification system (NAIS) the USDA has been trying to set up to track disease outbreaks, bitterly resisted by small to midsize farmers who are concerned over expense, privacy, and inconvenience. CattleNetwork

Niche pork exploding: Heritage hogs are popping up on menus everywhere. Mercury News

Eschew the right thing: North Carolina barbecue joints and other eateries are turning to local, pastured pork because it tastes better. News Observer (NC)

Say it with flowers — while you still can: “Flower Confidential” author Amy Stewart writes an op-ed elegy for the fast-disappearing tradition of the local florist. New York Times

Mulch.com?: A farmers-only Internet dating site. Don’t they realize they’re the new rock stars? Plenty of Match.com users would welcome a roll in the hay, we bet. Charlotte Observer

IPO to go: Seattle’s healthy fast-food chain Organic to Go went public through a reverse merger. Seattle Times

What the White House families eat: The former chef under both the Clintons and the Bushes tells that Hillary Clinton requested seasonal, healthy dishes; Chelsea was vegetarian; and the current occupant likes a pile of Lay’s with his BLTs. Do people ever choke on their chips? Just wondering. San Francisco Chronicle

Eggcellency: Homemade mayonnaise is easy, and a revelation. San Francisco Chronicle

Just for brew: Beers for people with celiac disease. Washington Post

How green is your goblet?: Suggestions for organic and biodynamic wines. The Green Guide

One Responseto “Digest: Wild birds cleared, USDA censured, protection from transgenic corn”

  1. Dr. Vino says:

    These round-ups are always great! Thanks for reading so I don’t have to!

    Btw, I attended a dinner prepared by Chef Scheib last fall. He said that the two first ladies he served were both more adventurous eaters than their husbands, both of whom thought that improving a dish generally involved melting cheese over it.

    In case anyone’s curious, I also got him to to talk about the White House wine cellar.