Digest – News: The California conundrum, Monsanto at large, and tuna testing (not to be tried at home)

A new growth export market – the revolving door: U.S. government agencies are imploring foreign countries to bring their food safety regulations up to the (arguably pretty low) U.S. par, but the buck doesn’t stop there: countries like India are being pushed to develop regulations on GM crops, industrial livestock, and other issues that mirror those of the industry-friendly U.S., while executives from Monsanto et al. are taking a seat at India’s policymaking table. (New Delhi Business-Standard)

Flesh-eating bacteria, part II: Nick Kristof follows up on Thursday’s article with an op-ed on why we should ban the use of nontherapeutic antibiotics in livestock production. Luckily for us all (assuming passage – which is far from guaranteed), a bipartisan group of federal policymakers is set to introduce legislation on the subject. (Out on the left coast, California Senator Florez is pushing an even stronger bill.) (New York Times)

The great divide: With state Senator Dean Florez at the helm of California’s newly revamped food and agriculture committee, which promises to shift the traditional big-ag focus of the committee to sustainable ag, consumer issues, and Prop 2 implementation, some ag interests in the state are calling for secession. One group, led by a former member of the state assembly, is working off a map dividing coastal communities from “the real California” – cause urbanites “just don’t know what it takes to get food on their table.” (New York Times)

‘Tis the season (of gut-wrenching illness): April will usher in “E. coli season,” when warmer weather boosts the rate of meat contamination. The FDA responds by doubling testing at the nation’s largest plants, sampling four times a month rather than two, but critics say that’s a drop in the proverbial bucket considering that some plants produce a million pounds of ground beef per day. (ABC News)

Taking investigative journalism a bit too far: A reporter tests mercury in canned tuna by eating a can a day for 20 days and watches as her blood mercury levels quadruple, leading her doctor to demand she call off the experiment. (CBS 5)

A growth industry?: Both cows and humans produce a growth hormone called IGF-1, and scientists know that cows treated with rBGH produce more IGF-1. When humans drink rBGH-treated milk, the extra IGF-1 can be absorbed – and high levels of IGF-1 are linked to cancer in humans. Staying away from rBGH milk seemed to be the answer, but new research suggests that rBGH-free milk contains varying levels of other hormones, as well, raising questions about what milk consumption by adults means for cancer risk. (Science News)

Crap crackdown: The EPA announces that it will, for the first time, enforce regulations governing the discharge of poultry manure into waters along Maryland’s eastern shore. Poultry growers worry for their bottom lines, but environmentalists say it’s high time that dealing with their toxic sludge became a cost of doing business. (Baltimore Sun)

All dried up: One Chilean town’s experience with the privatization of water resources raises concerns over what it means to buy and sell a resource required for human life. (New York Times)

USDA Secretary Vilsack finalizes the prohibition on slaughtering downer cows for the food supply (USDA press release)

Vilsack defends subsidy cap and outlines plan for rural revitalization (Grand Forks Herald)

House leaders introduce bill to ban BPA in food and beverage containers (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

Anatomy of an outbreak: following the trail of Salmonella from hospital bed to peanut processor’s floor (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

2 Responsesto “Digest – News: The California conundrum, Monsanto at large, and tuna testing (not to be tried at home)”

  1. Its good to see the ban on nontherapeutic / sub-therapeutic antibiotic use getting some traction. We need this sort of ban in the livestock industry and in humans. There is too much over use of anti-biotics.

  2. Dr M. Sullivan says:

    In late 2006, Dr. David Allie, a cardiovascular surgeon from Lafayette, Louisiana, learned that his 18-year-old son had been afflicted with flesh-eating bacteria in his upper neck and torso (40% mortality rate) and was not responding to the onslaught of antibiotics that were being administered.  Having successfully used the Microcyn Technology (www.oculusis.com/us/technology) to treat a broad range of infections (including MRSA and others) in diabetic foot ulcer and stasis ulcer patients, Dr. Allie decided to have his son treated with Microcyn as well.  Within 24 hours of treatment with Microcyn, the infection retreated and within a week his son was out of the ICU and on his way home.   Dr. Allie’s experience with his son is detailed in a video at YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3b0gp2C8R5E