Digest – Features: Raw-milk wars, young beekeeper, transgenic pigs

starPlease, wouldja stop saving us from ourselves?: David Gumpert details the jawdropping harassment tactics that New York and California state officials are using on small raw-milk dairies, including pouring bleach on their products. This despite the fact that a FOIA request from the US Centers for Disease Control reveals that from 1973 to 2005, an average of just 59 people become ill annually from raw milk each year, compared with the 14 million sickened by food-borne illnesses. (The Nation)

Honey child: A disabled son's obsession with bees spawns a thriving family business in Lawrence, Kansas. (Fortune Small Business)

star"Should biotech piggy go to market?": A pretty balanced look at the transgenic animals in the pipeline behind clones, such as pigs that carry a gene from an "innocuous strain of E. coli" spliced with a protein from a mouse. These magic pigs can produce the enzyme phytase in their saliva, thus solving one of the major environmental problems associated with industrial pig CAFOs — phosphorous buildup. Oh, how industry loves these industrial solutions to industrial problems. (Salon)

"I was born into it": The last dairy in Loudoun County, a distant outpost of D.C. in Northern Virginia, has so far resisted developers' mating moos. The county is now filled with subdivisions named after the farms they've replaced — about 450 since 1950. (Washington Post; hat tip The Food Times)

Decline and fall of "Western" civilization, Part I: Eating pigs' feet is being touted as the newest anti-aging miracle for skin. Whatever happened to eating for pleasure, or at least hunger? (Telegraph U.K.; thanks, Sarah Y!)

Umami and everyone you know: Umami, the supposed fifth taste, is the flavor of glutamic acid — an amino acid naturally present in many savory foods, from seaweed to soppressata. And MSG, the "cheap, synthetic route" to glutamate flavor, is found in many more foods than scaredy-cat Americans realize. (New York Times)

FSIS SOS: The Hallmark/Westland recall showed two big weaknesses of the current food inspection system — funding and staff size. Between 1981 and 2007, the amount of money appropriated to the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service relative to the amount of meat inspected has dropped by almost 40%. The ratio of employees to the quantity of meat inspected has fallen by 54%. (OMB Watch)

Milk hormones 101: If you've been wondering what all the fuss is over milk labeling in your state, and why Monsanto's trying to "save" consumers from paying higher prices for milk that's "no different" from the kind produced by metabolically enhanced superbovines, this article's for you. (AlterNet)

“Go Green East Harlem Cookbook" emphasizes cooking from scratch (NYT)

The scourge of plastic bags, in photos (Guardian UK)

 

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