Digest – News: Save our schoolkids (from their lunches), another E. coli outbreak, mass fish slaughter

Basic nutrition 101: The Washington Post reports that Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) has introduced a bill that would have the government set new nutritional standards for the foods and drinks that schools sell to students outside cafeterias. But just what those standards should be is the issue — should "sports drinks" and "enhanced" waters get the boot, too? If they do, it may derail a major attempt to cut back the sale of junk food from school vending machines and snack bars. Over at Grist, Tom Philpott explains why the sugar-water battle is just a distraction and says that "The time has come to reinvest in public-school lunches -- to bring them up to the level now expected at the nation's tony private schools."

Attack of the Shitburgers, Episode 3,497: 21 people in eight states may have fallen ill after eating hamburgers possibly contaminated with E. coli bacteria. Topps Meat Company has recalled 331,582 pounds of frozen beef patties and 21 products. (Ap)

We are speechless: The residents of the high Sierra town of Portola are so desperate to get rid of pike in nearby Lake Davis, predators ruining their trout-fishing industry, that they are willing to poison the once and future source of their drinking water and kill virtually every living thing in it. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Udderly amazing: Organic Pastures Dairy Co., the nation’s largest raw milk dairy, is negotiating with private investors for a major cash investment. BusinessWeek reporter David Gumpert has the scoop on his blog. (The Complete Patient)

And ye shall know the converts by their gray teeth: Meanwhile, in North Carolina — which is opposite California in more ways than geographic — the Board of Agriculture now requires that gray dye be added to all unpasteurized milk sold in the state, because it's supposed to be for pet milk. (Independent Weekly)

Publix challenges Whole Foods: One of the largest conventional grocery retailers in the southeast is opening its first GreenWise store, in Florida, which will carry a majority of organic and healthier foods. (AP)

Really green vines: Winemakers in Napa and elsewhere are bottling sunshine in more ways than one this year, turning to solar power to reduce their bills — and their carbon footprint. (AP)

"Science-based" does not end the discussion: More about China's ban on pork produced with growth enhancers, including the ractopamine used in the U.S.. (Bloomberg.com)

Just what the world needs: There's new energy drink with organic ingredients that uses agave syrup instead of HFCS. (KETV Omaha)

Senate farm bill may not include House's compromised language for Country of Origin Labeling (Brownfield Network)

House backs limits on "popcorn lung" additive (Reuters)

Massachusetts town's zoning board amends laws to allow up to four chickens (AP)

6 Responsesto “Digest – News: Save our schoolkids (from their lunches), another E. coli outbreak, mass fish slaughter”

  1. Janet says:

    Holy guacamole, Bonnie! I can hard digest all the digests you cranked out today. Thanks for the hard work!

  2. Ed Bruske says:

    Note to Tom Philpott: You should see some of the junk that gets eaten at those tony private schools...

  3. Although it is true that the trout fishing interests at Lake Davis made the poisoning palatable to the locals, the pike in Lake Davis story is about much more than sport fishing and tourism dollars. The SF Chronicle article linked above:

    The biggest fear among Fish and Game officials is that the pike will escape from the dam and imperil the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. The marauders could destroy the already fragile salmon and steelhead populations in California's river system, according to Fish and Game officials.

    Salmon runs in Alaska have been destroyed by introduced pike, Pert said.

    "They will take over a system and change the ecology," he said.

  4. Anastasia Bodnar says:

    I too was surprised when I heard about the pike story on NPR. It's terrible that they have to poison them (isn't rotonone a pretty nasty one?) but it sounds like it's their last option :( I just hope the poison doesn't kill all the wildlife that they are trying to save.

    I can't believe that the US allows something that China (of all places) bans. It's baffling.

    And - yay Publix! I miss shopping there, though the local HyVee isn't too bad.

  5. Stephanie says:

    In my state of Colorado, nonpasteurized milk has to be dyed blue when sold, since it is also supposed to be only fit for animal consumption. Some small producers get around this by having their customers, for a penny along with the purchase, buy a share in the goat. That circumvents the law by making the consumer part "owner" of the animal, and the owner can eat the raw milk or raw cheese, but cannot sell it. These laws are infuriating. Cheese that is dyed blue ends up looking sort of like teal astroturf, which I can't imagine anyone would want to eat.

  6. Bonnie P. says:

    Stephanie - That is wack! I had no idea. Maybe Colorado needs to take a stand on its right to make naturally blue cheese.