Digest: SciAm editors support clone labeling, pork belly future bright, chocolate food for thought

Meat technology: A Scientific American editorial discussing consumer resistance to cloned meat recommends transparency and labeling. One fact it says most meat eaters don't know (and we didn't): "The cattle industry has long employed a process called budding, in which technicians manually separate the undifferentiated cells in a fertilized cow egg that has undergone several divisions. Each of these cells is then grown into an identical individual, in some cases yielding hundreds of artificially induced twins, or 'natural' clones." Scientific American

Time to buy pork bellies: In typical blasé style, the Economist speculates on how global warming fears will make meat prices rise and eventually act as a brake on global economic growth. The Economist

Our favorite nutritionalism poster child: Scientists (funded in part by the Mars candy company) say that the flavanols in chocolate may be beneficial to brain function. But they can't say for sure whether the effect is chemically or psychologically induced, or exactly how it works in concert with other foods. San Francisco Chronicle

California, pay attention: Vermont's Agency of Agriculture may buy a mobile slaughterhouse truck that would travel from farm to farm, processing poultry and possibly hogs, goats, and sheep. Vermont has a severe shortage of slaughterhouses, and they are often booked months in advance to the dismay of small farms. Burlington Free Press

Effects of GM potatoes: After an eight-year court battle with the biotech industry, Greenpeace activists in Wales have successfully obtained a Russian study showing an increased cancer risk linked to eating genetically modified potatoes. We're not sure what to make of this: even Greenpeace admits the study is deeply flawed, but so then why was it suppressed, rather than letting other scientists critique it? Independent (UK) (Via Slashdot and Jack)

Iowa think-tank leader: Q&A with Jerry DeWitt, director of the influential Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University. Des Moines Register

One crop to rule them all: Corn-based, biodegradable products made from corn will fuel Iowa's bio-based plastics industry. Des Moines Register

Adversaries unto death: Japan's premier whaling vessel, the Nisshin Maru, has been crippled by a fire and yet refused help from a nearby Greenpeace ship. Treehugger

US-Duh: The USDA has announced it is changing its meat and poultry inspections to concentrate more on plants that handle the riskiest products and that have the most violations. Associated Press

3 Responsesto “Digest: SciAm editors support clone labeling, pork belly future bright, chocolate food for thought”

  1. brad says:

    Vermont's mobile slaughterhouse idea is so Vermont! When I lived in Putney, the phone company came one day to put in a new line (the old one had been hit by lightning), and they ran the line through the woods with a draft horse...they just attached the line to him and set him off in the right direction. It turns out that same draft horse is used to install phone lines all over Vermont. That story also reminds me of rural Scotland, where there are mobile libraries and even mobile butchers and mobile grocery stores that come once a week to the smaller villages. A mobile abbatoir makes sense to me.

  2. Jack says:

    "Mobile slaughterhouse truck" - desperately needed, methinks, in Northern California - and hence, elsewhere.

  3. Sarah says:

    Several other states- Washington, New York, Kentucky, and others- have mobile processors working on the ground currently. For an example of mobile slaughtering for livestock (beef, lamb etc) check out the Lopez Island processor at http://www.lopezclt.org/sard/mpu.html.

    More information on the Washington poultry mobile processor is available at the Community Agriculture Development Center website (http://www.communityagcenter.org/Poultry%20Unit.htm)