Digest: Pass the potatoes, hold the pesticides, and Bittman takes a bite (of sardines)

Salmon dieu!: On Wednesday, the National Organic Standards Board will rule on whether any fish can be labeled organic. Under the guidelines as proposed, wild salmon will not make the grade but farm-raised salmon could, even if they eat fish meal, which is feed spiked with ground-up wild fish. (Chicago Tribune)

Amen, Brother: Mark Bittman lays down the law on farmed fish and the future of our seafood supply. His conclusion: “I’d rather eat wild cod once a month and sardines once a week than farm-raised salmon, ever.” (International Herald Tribune)

Snouts of approval: Philip Brasher reports on how even if the FDA approves biotech animals like the new “Enviropigs,” which have been genetically engineered to be able to digest phosphorus, it’s unclear whether farmers and processors will consider commercializing them. “We more often hear the cries for something that is closer back to nature,” said a Cargill Meat Solutions R&D rep. (Des Moines Register)

One solution to population control: A long-term feeding trial commissioned by the Austrian government has found that mice fed genetically modified corn had fewer offspring and lower birth rates than those fed a closely related but non-GM strain. (Daily Mail)

Enviro-pesterer wins pesticide decision: Britain’s high court ruled that the UK Pesticides Campaign has produced “solid evidence” that people exposed to chemicals used to spray crops had suffered harm, and Britain’s environment department, Defra, must reassess its policy and investigate the risks to people who are exposed. (Guardian UK)

Trees are amazing, part 10,129: Chicken CAFOs can be sources of large amount of dust, odor and ammonia. Researchers have found that by planting several rows of trees at the outlet of the ventilation fan (a “vegetative environmental buffer”), dust emissions can be reduced by as much as 56%, ammonia by up to 53%, and odor by up to 18%. (Environmental Health Perspectives)

Spuds as savior?: As grain prices spiral upward, putting millions at risk for hunger, international agencies are taking a new look at the potato: They have excellent nutritional value, require less water than wheat, and take only 3 months from seed to harvest. Since potatoes can’t be shipped long distances, an emphasis on potatoes could help improve local food systems. (By the way, 2008 is the International Year of the Potato) (New York Times)

A bottle of green: Tara Duggan takes a look at green claims on wine labels, third party certification, and other issues around sustainable wine. The article includes a handy glossary of terms. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Michael Pollan talks about his open letter to the presidential candidates (Fresh Air from NPR)

One Responseto “Digest: Pass the potatoes, hold the pesticides, and Bittman takes a bite (of sardines)”

  1. Plus we can grow them, potatoes that is. Rice is much harder to grow around here in northern Vermont.