Digest: Organic row brewing, USDA conference shocker, E. coli outbreak’s other victims, chicken recall

Organic — neither better for you nor the environment?: In a study for the U.K. Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Manchester Business School found that some organic an/or locally-grown food may be no better for the environment than conventional produce. We plan to track down and analyze the original report when we have time — how can organically raised chickens use more energy than battery hens? — but expect to see this get tons of play. Telegraph (UK)

One henhouse, for sale to highest-bidding fox: The USDA has announced the speakers for its Agricultural Outlook Forum in March, which will help determine the direction of the 2007 Farm Bill. Tom Philpott is shocked, and all but the most cynical among you will be too. Gristmill

Risky business: The E. coli outbreaks in Taco Bell and Taco John's outlets have more often than not left franchisees on the hook for lost sales as well as lawsuits. New York Times

Sicken strips: The fourth bad-food recall this week — more than 52,000 pounds of Oscar Mayer cooked chicken breast strips may be contaminated with listeria. Forbes.com

Big Ag strikes back: Syngenta reads Salon, and writes Andrew Leonard a letter "correcting" misinformation about genetically modified corn. Salon

Have they tried reverse psychology?: The U.K. government has banned junk-food companies including Coke and McDonald's from advertising in magazines aimed at kids under 16. Observer (UK)

Kiss those Omega-3s goodbye: The farmed fish industry no longer relies entirely on fish meal for feed. They've discovered that carnivorous fish like salmon can also be fattened on cheaper corn and soy. All About Feed

Dolly dad on cloned meat: The Center for Food Safety's Heather Whitehead has an op-ed about why the FDA should reconsider approving cloned meat and milk that has a nice money quote from Ian Wilmut, the lead scientist responsible for creating Dolly the cloned sheep, who has warned that even small imbalances in a clone’s hormone, protein or fat levels could compromise the safety of its milk or meat and says, “If companies start marketing this food and there are problems it will bring the whole technology into disrepute.” E! Magazine

Immigrants quitting slaughterhouse: Hundreds of workers at a North Carolina Smithfield plant have quietly left their jobs or stopped showing up for work, following a crackdown on illegal immigrants employed at the world's largest hog slaughterhouse. Associated Press

California rice growers join together: More than 200 Sacramento Valley rice farmers want to ban experimental plantings of genetically modified rice in the state so as not to jeopardize key export markets. Sacramento Bee

It's not easy being cheesy: A food-phobic man has supposedly eaten nothing but cheddar cheese since he was a toddler. Hunts Post (UK) (Via Slashfood)

Meat market up: A study by the American Meat Institute and the Food Marketing Institute finds more consumers are buying "natural" and organic meat, but not exclusively. Cattle Network

One Responseto “Digest: Organic row brewing, USDA conference shocker, E. coli outbreak’s other victims, chicken recall”

  1. Emily O. says:

    Um, wow. Is it even possible to live on cheddar cheese and nothing else?!