Digest – Features: China’s toxic scale, food trends forecast

starAnother way China is poisoning itself — fish: The latest installment in the NYT's "Choking on Growth" series paints yet another bleak portrait of the world's most populous country. China produces about 70 percent of the farmed fish in the world (and consumes most of it, for now), via thousands of giant factory-style farms extending along the entire eastern seaboard of the country. The waters of these fish CAFOs are a toxic sludge to begin with, which the aquafarmers deal with by mixing illegal veterinary drugs and pesticides into fish feed. (New York Times)

Riding the Dietgeist: Phil Lempert, aka the Supermarket Guru, forecasts the future of food. Among the trends he sees is an even greater focus on where food comes from; he also advises retailers to stop racing each other to the bottom in price and quality. (MSNBC.com)

Is that a rustler in your hedgerow?: An article about how cattle theft (mostly calves) is on the rise in California has a fascinating aside about "freemartin" cattle. A female bovine that was a twin with a male, freemartins have non-functioning ovaries, having been sterilized in utero by hormones from the male twin. (San Francisco Chronicle)

What would Jesus drink?: A new bottled-water brand called Spiritual Water — tap water blessed by a rent-a-priest and plastered with a Virgin Mary label — is getting pushback from a surprising quarter. Other religious believers, including a band of nuns. (Newsweek)

The milk mafia: Interesting perspective of a small Pennsylvania dairy farmer who's long used recombinant bovine somatotropin and is now being not so gently told by his distributor that he can't. While consumers pay an average of 25% more for rBST-free milk, this distributor is only passing on a premium of about 6.7 cents per gallon — far less than 25%. (Post_Gazette)

starMetz-ing with our heads: In an effort of what we can only imagine is a advertiser-pandering attempt at "balance," the Food, Nutrition, & Science Newsletter runs a "Farm Bill Update" (sponsored by Monsanto!) that juxtaposes answers from sustainable ag journalist and 3-acre farmer Tom Philpott with scary, Big Ag textbook defense b.s. from Bob Metz, former president of the American Soybean Association and a South Dakota soy and corn farmer.

The bottle habit: The milkman, er, milkperson, appears to be making a comeback, with home dairy deliveries on the rise. No mention whether any of the local milk being delivered is rBST-free or organic. (New York Times)

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