Digest: Iowa’s gamble, Quebec ponders GM labeling, animal IDs are COOL

"Fueling Iowa's Future": An informative new series launched today in preparation of the 2008 Iowa caucuses. A number of articles and graphics highlight the state's opportunities — and the serious challenges — as Iowa attempts to become an alternative energy leader for the nation. Des Moines Register

Quebec to label GM food?: A new study commissioned by Quebec's Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food reveals that mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods would cost much less than the food industry has claimed — just $28 million annually for Quebec's food industry, not $200 million. Activists are pushing to restart the labeling process. The Gazette

Making animal IDs COOL: House Agriculture Committee Collin Peterson (D-MN) wants to accelerate implementation of country of origin labeling (COOL) by tying it to the National Animal ID System (NAIS). In general, large meat packers oppose COOL, but support NAIS; livestock producers support COOL, but oppose NAIS (especially small producers). And what about the public? No one seems to care: there is no mention of a role for the public in the negotiation. Des Moines Register

Don't mess with another ecosystem: An editorial warns against the likely environmental consequences of the Commerce Department's proposal to authorize and regulate fish farming in federal waters. Boston Globe

States need slaughterhouses: Feeding demand for locally produced meat is going to be tough unless more small slaughterhouses open around the nation, as one just did in Vermont. Forty years ago, there were 18 commercial slaughterhouses in the state; now there are eight. Burlington Free Press

Maybe we should just feed them plants: Scientists are still unsure whether feeding sheep remains to cattle caused the mutation known as mad-cow disease, or BSE, or whether it was feeding remains of older cattle that had a similar disease. New Scientist

The terroir of human labor: Peach farmer David Mas Masumoto (author of Epitaph for a Peach and other books about farming) connects delicious peaches with immigration reform. It takes many hands to grow an heirloom peach and pick it at the perfect moment. Many of the tasks require great skill and experience, something a simple guest worker program cannot provide. And if we design our agriculture around machines, fruit varieties need to be bred for harvestability, not flavor. Contra Costa Times

Don't eat what?: A researcher from the Food Safety Network at Kansas State University talks about good food safety practices, his institute's plan to study consumer behavior, and their new marketing slogan "Don't eat poop" (complete with a website and T-shirts). We hope their food safety advice is better than their marketing. Wichita Eagle

Let the gold rush begin: Sixth generation cotton and tobacco farmer moves to begin planting corn and soybeans on his North Carolina farm. Rocky Mount Telegram

Bee friendly: How you can help increase the honeybee population in your area. First, think before you spray. Washington Post

Is Evan Kleiman auditioning?: The March 10 episode of KCRW's Good Food (hosted by LA restaurateur Evan Kleiman) is chock full of Ethicurean-related topics: the honeybee crisis, an interview with Denise Caruso about cloned meat, the history of vegetarianism, San Francisco's La Cocina Community Kitchen, and a talk with the Fruit Detective (David Karp) about tangerines. KCRW's Good Food

Life is meals: Writer James Salter and his wife Kay have written a part memoir, part cookbook, with dashes of gastronomic and literary history called Life Is Meals: A Food Lover’s Book of Days. It's all about celebrating eating with friends, and the article about it does just that, too. New York Times Magazine

Regional bliss: New restaurant in sweet San Anselmo (California) dedicated to serving locally grown food — to create a true sense of place — opens to applause. San Francisco Chronicle

Nature's labs located in the north: The longtime answer to the question of whether more species develop in warm, tropical climates or cooler, temperate area — the tropics — may be wrong. New research suggests that cooler regions have a higher turnover rate, with more species developing but also more becoming extinct. Tucson Citizen

One Responseto “Digest: Iowa’s gamble, Quebec ponders GM labeling, animal IDs are COOL”

  1. On "States need slaughterhouses" one big thing the states could do is to allow, naye, encourage on-farm slaughter and even butchering. There are hundreds of state inspected, and not, small butchers doing game meat which is a highly seasonal project for them. They could also do farm meat, custom slaughter and butchering, if it were allowed for sale. Here in Vermont we are banned from selling a whole live animal and then allowing it to be slaughtered on farm.

    The fear mongering done by the government is that it is unsanitary. Yet on-farm slaughter is good enough for the farmers, their families, workers and unpaid guests according to the law. It is good enough for homesteaders raising their own animals. The reality is on-farm slaughter is safe, clean and healthy.

    The advantages of on-farm slaughter include less stress for the animals, less stress for the farmer, fewer miles traveled for your food, less concentration of wastes, the slaughter wastes can be composted right there on the farm and return to the soil where they below. By the way, many studies show that lower the stress for the animals improves the quality of the meat - that's a very good reason to go with on-farm slaughter.

    We need on-farm slaughter to be allowed, encouraged and facilitated to help with the growing buy local and slow food movements. It will make that 10% difference the Vermont Department of Agriculture likes to talk about.