Digest – News: USDA loophole allows E. coli-positive beef to be sold, lots more news

starShit happens…to be legally sellable for consumption: "One federal inspector calls it the ‘E. coli loophole.’ Another says, ‘Nobody would buy it if they knew.’" What are these officials talking about? A little-known fact that the USDA allows companies to sell meat that has tested positive for E. coli, as long as they put it in a special category — "cook only." USDA officials say they do not track how much meat is sold this way, but in this smoking gun of a story, Stephen Hedges suggests it is a significant amount, and notes that some of it goes to schools. What will it take before consumers start boycotting state-sanctioned, shit-covered factory beef? (Chicago Tribune; and here’s a link to e-mail the story to friends and family)

Still time to bug your senators about Dorgan-Grassley payment cap: …because they farted around and bickered all week and still haven’t finished, or really even barely started, the Food and Farm Bill debate. It continues Tuesday. (Brownfield Network)

Corporate welfare OK, taxes aren’t: Republicans say they will uphold a Bush veto of the Farm Bill if a tax increase is included to pay for new programs. (Des Moines Register)

But billions to not grow rice, now that’s how we prefer our taxes spent: Inside the Farm Bill are obscure programs to fund handmade cheese, repairs to historic barns and help for stressed-out farmers. Republicans no likey. "I’m not sure many Americans would agree that stress assistance programs for farmers or artisan cheese centers are a good use of their hard-earned dollars," said a senator. How about we show them "King Corn" and ask them what to fund? (New York Times

Banned aid: One of Australia’s largest food companies, Goodman Fielder, has joined more than 200 businesses and 15,000 people opposed to lifting the country’s ban on genetically modified crops, which the Victorian Government is considering. (The Age)

Consolidation cometh: Hain, Dean, and Nestle are among the large food companies currently shopping for organic and all-natural beef companies to add to their holdings. (Financial Times)

Pollination sting averted: The incidence of colony collapse disorder in bees didn’t cause crops to fail as feared, but farmers and beekeepers aren’t out of danger yet — there’s no buffer. (Christian Science Monitor) Related: A Pennsylvania beekeeper tests his hypothesis that transgenic crops are to blame for CCD, by establishing colonies near a farm vs. a non-farm region. The bees near cropland fell short in honey production. We do wish he’d had a third control group — non-GMO but conventional pesticide-laced croplands — and maybe a fourth, organic monoculture. (SF Chronicle)

Kids who drink organic milk scratch less The UK’s Soil Association trumpets a newly published scientific study showing that the incidence of eczema in infants fed on organic dairy products, and whose mothers also consumed organic dairy products, is 36% lower than in children who consume conventional dairy products. (Press release)

Some subsidies we can support: British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is considering a plan to pay Afghani farmers who are not growing opium a subsidy so that their apple or wheat crop will be as profitable as opium. The U.S. supports a policy of massive herbicide spraying from airplanes to kill the opium poppies (and whatever other crops are growing, while also hurting the local population). (Guardian Unlimited, via AmericaBlog)

No more Rahodeb, but please blog again, Mackey: Whole Foods has updated its Code of Conduct to ban executives from participating in non-Company-sponsored online message boards. (Motley Fool)

The rush to palm oil and biofuels from Indonesia’s peatlands risks climate catastrophe (The Guardian)

Village in India’s Pune experiments with organic farming (Express India)

Chipotle to eliminate cheese made with rBGH milk (Capital Times)

S.D. man fined for selling cattle laced with antibiotics
(La Crosse Tribune)

150,000 farmed fish killed in Ohio barn blaze (Metro.co.uk)

Truck tips in Indiana, dumps 2,500 pounds of CAFO hog manure (The Star Press)

Almost everyone has bisphenol A in their body, but children have the highest concentration (ES&T News; subscription required)

One Responseto “Digest – News: USDA loophole allows E. coli-positive beef to be sold, lots more news”

  1. Sara says:

    I have to wonder whether the recent results re; organic milk’s role in eczema and higher CLA content have more to do with factors other than the specific standards of the organic designation. The eczema study, as many others have, differentiated based on lifestyle characterized by the amount of organic food in the diet, not on similar lifestyles that differed only in organic vs. conventional production of food. I suspect that these benefits come more from 1)a lifestyle of more fresh, whole foods and less prepared, boxed and myriad-ingredient food and 2)a more grass-based diet in the cattle-which may not apply to all organic-labeled milk. I have my doubts that “big-box” organic milk vs. traditional milk would make much difference.