Digest: Foolish fuel, no “organic” cloned progeny, toxic fertilizer
Fuel for the fire: Tom Philpott flames corn-based ethanol boosterism for what it is — an agribusiness boondoggle and an economic and environmental disaster in the making. (Gristmill) Related headline: Farmers to plant largest amount of corn since ’44
And now for some good news: The National Organic Standards Board has banned cloned progeny from being labeled organic. Chews Wise
New pet poisoning suspect: The FDA says it has linked the chemical melamine, used as a fertilizer in Asia, to the kidney failures of pets who ate Menu Foods products. New York's inspectors still think rat poison is the culprit. New York Times
When all else fails, privatize it: A federal judge ruled that the USDA must allow meatpackers like petitioner Creekstone Farms premium Beef to conduct their own tests for mad-cow disease if they want. The USDA, which currently tests fewer than 1% of U.S. beef, had argued that widespread testing could lead to a false positive that would harm the meat industry. ABC News (AP)
Trix are for kids: The largest study ever done on TV ads aimed at kids finds children of all ages are being besieged by commercials for candy, snacks and sugary cereals. Another report found that more than $10 billion a year is spent to market foods and beverages to children, mostly for products not considered nutritious. USA Today
More scary food news: University of Aberdeen researchers found high levels of arsenic in rice grown in the U.S., mostly likely from contaminated soil. Daily Express The study was published in Environmental Science & Technology (subscription required) and oddly, no U.S. news outlets seem to be discussing it. Rice from California has less on average (and organic has the least); rice from the south central U.S. — Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and Missouri — has the most.
Where are they going to put the peanuts?: Op-ed writer Thomas Schatz smacks Congress for including a lot of pork in the Iraq emergency spending bill. The "extras" listed on the downloadable PDF include $74 million earmarked for peanut storage in Georgia and $100 million for citrus assistance in California. New York Times
It's the ecosystem, stupid: Study finds shark overfishing may lower scallop population. New York Times
Woolly bully: "Killer of Sheep," a cinematic classic shot in L.A. in the mid-'70s by a black filmmaker, will finally get a theatrical release. Its main character works in a slaughterhouse. Salon.com
Greening the concrete jungle: Profiles of two cool urban sustainable agriculture programs in or near Boston. Gristmill
How far is too far?: New York's Fresh Meats group of carnivores will bring a live animal to your place for dinner, and kill it in your bathtub. Thrillist
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