Stinks to high heaven: A large California fertilizer supplier has been selling organic fertilizer, brewed from fish and chicken feathers, that it was secretly spiking with ammonium sulfate, a synthetic fertilizer banned from organic farms. The state knew and did nothing. (Sacramento Bee) Why? Maybe because, as nutritionist and super-pundit Marion Nestle says over at HuffPo, "Cheating is the Achilles' heel of organics. The entire organic certification system is based on trust. If trust goes, the organic industry collapses like a house of cards."
E tu, Soil Association?: The UK's organic farmers have asked for permission to take a “holiday” from strict organic standards (including organic feed) for economic reasons. Since when did anyone ask for a vacation from ethics? (Times Online)
Obama Clause: Kim Severson tells the sad story of how, "from the moment it was clear that Barack Obama was going to be president, people who have dedicated their lives to changing how America eats thought they had found their St. Nicholas." People like Iowa activist Dave Murphy and pig farmer and porkpreneur Paul Willis (right), who gathered 50,000 signatures begging for a reform-minded Secretary of Agriculture only to get a lump of coal former Iowa gov Tom Vilsack instead. Because sustainable ag dreams aside, there's nothing indicating that Obama really wants to remake how food is grown and sold. (New York Times) (Boston Globe has a similar piece)
A billion begging bellies: Despite the second record harvest in a row, a billion people will go hungry worldwide next year, according to the United Nations, because people are becoming too destitute to buy what's produced. (The Independent)
Mexico COOLs imports: Mexico last week suspended meat imports from 30 large processing plants in 14 U.S. states in what some thought was retaliation for U.S. country-of-origin labeling (COOL) laws. (Associated Press) As of today the ban had been lifted on roughly half. (Dow Jones)
FDA is for report card: Weeks after its own advisory board accused the FDA of failing to consider research about the dangers of bisphenol-A, found in many plastic food containers, the agency has agreed to reconsider the issue. (New York Times)
Bay of pigs: Administrators in charge of an almost $6 billion cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay covered up for years that their effort was failing in order to preserve the flow of federal and state money to the project. The cleanup, which had its 25th anniversary this month, seems doomed to miss its second official deadline for achieving major reductions in pollution by 2010. Shameful. (Washington Post via Slow Cook)
Antibiotics for breakfast: The FDA has obtained an injunction against a Missouri animal feed mill to stop producing medicated animal feed. Not because it's illegal to routinely include drugs to prevent disease in food-producing animals, oh no, but because the company was lax about its drug handling practices. (FDA.gov)