Digest – News: Chickens hatching drug-resistant E. coli, clone-tracking proposal, food shortages

starAdd this one to the list of "our decrepit food factories": This month's issue of Environmental Health Perspectives says that antibiotic use in poultry processing has put workers at risk of contracting drug-resistant E. coli — and spreading it in communities.  (Newsday.com)

Tag that clone: Obviously we were celebrating too early. The Washington Post's Rick Weiss reports that livestock-cloning companies — hoping to sidestep consumers who don't want to eat food from cloned animals, as well as to persuade the FDA to approve the technique before the Farm Bill versions must get reconciled — have come up with a voluntary system to track the animals as they move through farms and slaughterhouses. And funnily enough, it sounds kind of NAIS.

Everybody must learn to grow: Not only are ethanol and Third World growth driving food prices up, but the world food supply is dwindling rapidly, according to the top food and agriculture official of the United Nations. And it's going to get worse. (International Herald Tribune)

Better start building some chicken houses: NPR's Marketplace trumpets that the Compass Group, supposedly "the world's largest food service provider" (encompassing a bunch of brands in 64 countries we've never heard of), is now requiring that all eggs come from cage-free hens. No word on how, as the Times reported in August, this will work when there aren't nearly enough such eggs to meet demand as it is.

What's next — Newsom's Own Organics?: After banning plastic bags from chain grocery stores and bottled water from City Hall, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is cooking up a plan to charge big soda retailers a high-fructose corn syrup tax. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Faith-based science strikes again: The UK government's chief scientist and transgenic food cheerleader, David King, is stepping down after claiming that crop trials around Lake Victoria in Kenya proved that genetically engineered agriculture is critical to feeding Africa. The problem? The research in Kenya did not involve the use of GMOs at all. Whoops! (The Daily Mail)

Food labels have jumped the shark: Tyson Foods, which hit a snag with the USDA after it introduced a marketing campaign to promote its “raised without antibiotics” chicken, has come up with a new label that has satisfied federal regulators — “Chicken Raised Without Antibiotics that impact antibiotic resistance in humans.” (New York Times)

Karma can be a real bitch: Contained within yet another story on how food prices are rising and everyone's playing the blame game, is a jaw-dropping quote from Jay Truitt, spokesman for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association in which he bemoans the ethanol boom that's taking cheap corn and soy out of the mouths of countless feedlot cows: “You can’t get anyone to consider that there is a consequence to these actions … We think there will be a day when people ask, ‘Why in the world did we do this?’” You mean, why in the world did we confine ruminants in manure-filled prisons and feed them grains their stomachs can't digest without making them sick, Jay? Do tell. (New York Times)

Just saying "Non!" to GMO: French radical farmer Jose Bove, who became a worldwide celebrity for his fight against junk food, will go on a hunger strike starting January 3 to win a one-year ban on genetically modified (GMO) crops. (Reuters)

What a ham: Celebrity cook and pork spokesmodel Paula Deen met with approximately 250 plant workers at the Smithfield processing facility in Plant City, FL, to thank them for making her signature honey-glazed, misery-drenched pork product. (Meatpoultry.com; free registration required)

Food-safety on a larger scale: China's four-month food safety campaign managed to hit its targets early, its government said. Among the victories: inspectors shut 192,400 unlicensed food producers. (Reuters)

starThese recall notices are sooo helpful: The USDA wants consumers to look out for ground beef products sold at West Coast Safeways between Sept. 19 and Nov. 5 because they might have salmonella. (USDA.gov)

star5,500 pounds of Mexico-grown basil recalled for salmonella (AP)

FDA to get only slight increase in food-safety funding (USA Today)

Grassley persists in pushing for payment limits (Brownfield Network)

Whole Foods says it will no longer use plastic bags (KEYEtv.com)

Safeway plans to offer "O Organics" line not only in its stores, but in Asia and South America as well (Motley Fool)

China drafts "humane" standards for animal slaughter (Reuters)

Senate slips chicken into country-of-origin labeling Farm Bill provision
(Cattle Network)

South Carolina monks to get out of battery-hen egg business after PETA campaign (AP)

Canada discovers 11th case of mad-cow disease (National Post)

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