Digest – Features: Why NAIS is a bad idea, BBC goes nuts for sustainable, Obama feints

star starWho’s been naughty — NAIS: David Gumpert (reporter, raw-milk detective, and The Complete Patient blogger) co-writes the definitive look to date at what’s wrong with the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) and why it’s sparked the "most severe political backlash rural America has seen in decades." Reason one: "By introducing NAIS as regulatory changes, the USDA has short-circuited the democratic processes designed to protect the public from government overreaching."  (The Nation) Related: The USDA has just released its draft of a "business plan for advancing animal disease traceability," which supports the "48-hour traceback long-term goal of the NAIS." (USDA press release) Given that the USDA can’t even force a recall of E. coli-contaminated meat, and allows such meat to be sold to consumers as long as it’s cooked, we seriously doubt they’re doing this to protect consumers. Just exports — and Big Meat profits.

BBC’s sustainability package: All week BBC News is exploring the environmental impact of the global food-supply chain. Among the standout features: A peek in the fridges of people in India and elsewhere; why the 17,000-mile return trip of langoustines from the UK to Thailand for hand shelling and back is no worse for the environment than the old machine-processing in the UK; and Japan’s food crisis, in pictures. (Thanks for the tip, Cascadia Girl!)

How ’bout stopping them?: Barack Obama, who missed the final Farm Bill vote because he was campaigning in Iowa (but did vote for Dorgan-Grassley), said that "Once again the lobbyists stepped in to make sure that big agribusinesses got the multimillion-dollar giveaways that they’ve come to count on." (Associated Press)

You had us at fleischgeist: San Francisco’s pioneering Meatpaper magazine (see our take in March) makes the Times’ Dining section. "I don’t know why, but our version of back-to-the-land is culinary,” says coeditor Amy Standen.

starWeenie Royale, not with cheese: In America’s World War II Japanese internment camps, some food traditions disintegrated and others, like making sake from rice, endured. At one in northern California, the prisoners had chickens, a hog slaughterhouse, and 3,800 acres of crops with which to grow food for themselves and other camps across California and the West. (NPR’s Kitchen Sisters)

Premium unleaded organic, please: Jamal Lewis, a 250-pound running back for the Cleveland Browns, eats only organic food. "The way I look at it, my body is a machine. I want to put good fuel in it." (Yahoo! Sports; thanks Tana!)

Take that, Jamón Ibérico!: Media darling and Iowan artisan pork processor La Quercia has begun curing meat from 49 of probably the first acorn-fed, pasture-raised commercial hogs in the United States. La Quercia’s owners, the Eckhouses, found 48 partners, mostly from coastal restaurants willing to oink up $3,000 per hog to share the Acorn Project’s risk. (Des Moines Register)

star"The most sustainable community ever built": In parts I and II of a series about the proposed Ameya Preserve development near Livingston, Montana — you know, the one in which Alice Waters will "supervise" dinner for you if you buy a $2.3 million lot through Neiman Marcus — writer David Nolt takes a careful, thorough, and impressively neutral look at developer Wade Dokken, his claims, and the project’s opponents. (New West)

No goat sex for Texas: A woman was ticketed after her goats were caught mating. There’s really not much more to this story except the immortal quote from the owner, "I kind of thought if anyone was caught having sex in public, it could have been me." (NBC5i.com; via BoingBoing)


Edinburgh’s latest tourist attraction: a mechanical cow that farts on the hour (BBC NEWS)

3 Responsesto “Digest – Features: Why NAIS is a bad idea, BBC goes nuts for sustainable, Obama feints”

  1. valereee says:

    So the langoutines are frozen for their trip to Thailand, thawed there to be handshelled, refrozen for the trip back, thawed to be breaded, then refrozen to be shipped to the grocery stores? Bleah. I’m wondering what all that freezing-and-thawing-and-freezing again does to the texture and taste.

    There’s more than just a single reason to avoid having food travel. It’s not just about carbon emissions. It’s also about the way the food tastes.

  2. Bonnie P. says:

    Val—I know, doesn’t that sound gross?

  3. Emily says:

    I have a hard time believing this actually takes less energy. I wonder if they’re calculating the resources that go into building the shrimp-shelling machines or something.

    And think about the workers – I know it’s a job, but how miserable to have to spend 8-10 hours a day peeling shrimp by hand!