Digest: Poisoned pet food, E. coli CSI fails, Puck the trend

Possible pet food culprit: Rat poison has been found in the tainted pet food that killed several animals and sparked a nationwide recall. Frankly, we’re surprised they were bothering to poison the rats, instead of grinding them up into pet food. USA Today Whoops, breaking news has it that the rodenticide — which is not approved for use in the U.S. — was on wheat from China used in the food.

Shit happens: After a six-month probe, U.S. and state officials still have not concluded how spinach became infected with toxic E. coli bacteria. Reuters Ah, but Fox News chooses to spin the news differently. And a UC Davis researcher has an unusual hypothesis about the outbreak, involving composted winery waste.

Smells like desperation: The Center for Consumer Freedom accuses Wolfgang Puck of drinking the “animal rights Kool-Aid” for his ban on using foie gras, battery eggs, and caged veal in his restaurant chain. “It’s mind-boggling that Wolfgang Puck would take advice about veal, pork, and eggs from animal rights activists who refuse to eat it themselves,” said Center for Consumer Freedom Director of Research David Martosko. (Who is he and what does he research? We’re so glad you asked.) Wake up, dude: Plenty of people care about animal cruelty yet don’t consider themselves activists — and we eat humanely raised veal, chicken, and eggs. And all consumers are still, ahem, FREE to eat anywhere they want, including KFC. Press release

KonnichiwA-CHOO!: Japan has been historically very resistant to genetically modified food — but biotech proponents hope a new strain of rice modified to alleviate hay-fever allergies might win them over. Reuters

Moove away from the list: Japan requested that the USDA remove a Tyson Foods meatpacking plant from the approved supplier list because of incomplete documentation about the animals’ ages (cattle must be slaughtered at less than 20 months to enter Japan). Reuters

Let’s be frankenfood: As much as 70% of processed foods contain an ingredient that has been genetically engineered. Forbes (Healthy Day News feed)

Pork barrel politics: Despite a 1997 legal moratorium to arrest growth of the hog industry in North Carolina, new hog farms have continued to be built in the state, adding a capacity of more than 500,000 swine. News Observer

Bad mojo for Monsanto: Why investors should be wary of buying stock in genetically modifying giant Monsanto. Motley Fool

One crop to rue them all: Pork and beef producers are getting riled up about prices rises in corn because ethanol production. The president-elect of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association says “This ethanol binge is insane.” Environmentalists warn about ecosystem damage from corn growing. Libertarians warn about out of control subsidy programs. But the boom goes on: 78 plants are under construction. BusinessWeek (at MSNBC)

You city folks just don’t understand: A farmer refutes the Environmental Defense Fund’s recommendation that more growers should go organic. We are not persuaded — the phrases “old dog” and “new tricks” keep coming to mind. Southwest Farm Press

Prince of darkness: A truly jaw-droppingly fulsome profile of Dennis Albaugh, CEO of Albaugh Inc., titled the “Pesticide Prince” and chronicling his rags to riches tale of an empire built on sales of chemical poison. Forbes*

Waters under the bridge: Alice Waters isn’t thrilled with her authorized biography, but she’s not dwelling on it. USA Today

Yet another reason manure spills should be under Superfund: Nebraska Pork Partners will likely face some small penalties for failing to report in a timely manner a manure leak that killed fish in a nearby creek. The Daily Nonpareil (Iowa)

A commentary suggests that treated sewage water is to blame for the E. coli outbreak (Cal. Progress Report)

Whole Foods partners with non-profit to help local farmers through loan program (Chicago Tribune)

Editorial says that Congress’s bill to set an exit deadline for Iraq should not also contain pork for dairy farmers and spinach growers (Washington Post) Oops, it passed anyway, reports Brownfield

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