Digest – News: Seattle market bans HFCS, fertilizing Malawi, FDA bashes self

The Ethicurean's Digestion system is still not back to normal. Tonight we accidentally marked 5,487 RSS headlines as "read" when they weren't, so despite backtracking we probably missed lots of good stuff. Feel free to add your supplemental pointers in the comments.

Saying no to the devil's candy: PCC Natural Markets, Seattle's 8-store natural-foods chain, has banned all products with high-fructose corn syrup. "Part of what we try to do is push back to the manufacturer what consumers are saying they want, saying, 'This is what people are concerned about, and this is what they would like to see," explained a spokeswoman. (Seattle P-I)

starDon't bank on it: Instead of being plagued by famine, Malawi has pulled a 180-degree turnaround and is feeding its neighbors. The secret? Heavy subsidies for fertilizer, which the World Bank had opposed for years, and rain. We hope composting education gets in there, too — synthetic fertilizer doesn't grow on trees. (New York Times) Related: Agrarian novelist Jane Smiley has a bulging-veined commentary on this story over at the Huffington Post.

FDA is failing us: A yearlong review by the FDA's own Science Board has concluded that the FDA has been starved of funding to the point that American lives are at risk from contaminated food and incompletely tested drugs. (New York Times)

The big get bigger and the small get crushed: The more commodity payments farmers receive, the more likely the farms are to increase in size and the more likely they are to survive, says a new report from the USDA’s Economic Research Service covering data since 1982. (Brownfield Network)

(Not so) total recall: For the 73 meat recalls this year and last, recovery rates per recall averaged 44%. Which means most of the contaminated food got eaten. (USA Today)

Psst! Wanna buy some alfalfa?: State agriculture experts are warning hay farmers and buyers alike to watch for scams amid a shortage of hay and other feed, resulting in temptingly high prices. (Seattle P-I)

"Last week we got Doritos and flour": America's food banks are in crisis, the Times reports, with more people to feed and less food to go around, thanks to better inventory controls by stores and reliance on discounters. Shouldn't the government step up? EWG's Ken Cook thinks so.

Faux farmers: Minnesota is gearing up to examine the issue of agricultural tax breaks, to determine whether rural landowners who do little or no farming are taking advantage of a system designed to help farmers. (Star Tribune)

Caged heat: With the Humane Society mustering signatures for a California ballot measure to ban battery chicken operations, industrial poultry farmers are mobilizing, inviting in reporters to argue that while a caged life may not give a hen everything she wants, she's likely to be cleaner and healthier than her average cage-free counterpart. (Contra Costa Times)

4 Responsesto “Digest – News: Seattle market bans HFCS, fertilizing Malawi, FDA bashes self”

  1. valereee says:

    Caged or cage-free -- it's all the same factory farming. At the farmers' markets around Cincinnati for $3 I can buy eggs from pastured chickens living like chickens are supposed to live and know that every penny went directly to the farmer. Are sustainably-raised eggs really that much more expensive other places?

  2. Bonnie P. says:

    Valereee, you're lucky. We pay $5 to $8 at the farmers markets around San Francisco for pastured eggs!

  3. Robin says:

    Cage free takes the birds out of small cages and puts them into one large cage. They're still not outdoors, still not scratching the soil for seeds and insects, still having their beaks trimmed - still not living naturally. Sometimes better still isn't good enough.

    I charge $2.50 for eggs. The chickens, ducks and turkeys are closed in at night because of predators. As soon as the sun comes up they're outside unless the weather is too rough, such as the storm that gave us 20" of snow overnight. It's winter and there isn't soil for the birds to scratch in but they're still going out daily.

  4. Sam says:

    In DC, we pay around 3.50-4.50 for pasture-raised eggs at the farmers' market, including organic varieties (having to do with the feed they eat aside from pasture). Eight dollars sounds like price-gouging to me.