Fighting the Averyian Flu: Researchers at Johns Hopkins University look a little deeper at the NYT pork op-ed and find that the study mentioned was funded by the National Pork Board, which represents conventional producers, and that the Trichinosis “positive” pigs tested seropositive, meaning they have the antibodies but may not have the actual disease. (A seropositive test could be a sign that the immune systems of pastured hogs are strong enough to fight it off.) (Livable Future Blog) Rebecca of Honest Meat also hacks apart the op-ed, challenging the assumption that all free-range pork eaters are looking for is “natural” taste (Honest Meat), while Paula Crossfield asks how the good food movement can wrest the printing press back from Big Pork shills. (Huffington Post) Update: Parke Wilde over at US Food Policy has posted an interesting email exchange he had with the op-ed’s author, James McWilliams, about why he chose not to disclose the source of the study.
Testing, testing: Nutritionist Marion Nestle tells us what she’d put on the to-do list for Margaret Hamburg, nominated as the next Food and Drug administrator: increase inspections, give the FDA power to mandate a recall of contaminated food, and convince Congress the FDA should require that all foods be produced using science-based food safety procedures. But ideally, food safety oversight should be under one agency, she says. (SF Chronicle)
Have your cake and trade it, too: Industrial ag is a major source of carbon emissions, between the energy required to synthesize fertilizer and pesticides, run tractors, and pump water and the emissions generated by animals. But in a carbon market-regulated world, ag can also be a source of carbon credits, since vegetated land is a sequestration machine. Tom Philpott scratches his head at the ag industry’s desire to profit off a carbon trading program while it fights any sort of carbon cap. (Grist)
No soup for you: At least not if it’s made of a long list of unintelligible ingredients, says FoE Kat, who takes Julia Louis-Dreyfus to task for her new series of ads as spokeswoman for ConAgra’s Healthy Choice line. Why did a self-professed local/organic food lover jump on the nutritionism soapbox? (Eating Liberally)
Precipitating catastrophe: Elizabeth Kolbert tracks science showing that the fall of many great civilizations was brought about by droughts that threw food production into chaos and reduced drinking water supplies. And, uh, that’s looking rather likely for modern civilization, too, where changes in water availability – AKA floods and droughts – will become more and more common. (National Geographic)
Offally good: Frank Bruni visits the restaurant Feast, which “doesn’t just slip in a little tongue here, a little liver there” but is “a full-on, extended ode to offal,” founded by St. John’s alums in the improbable town of Houston, no less. (New York Times)
Reading between the vines: Powell’s Books is starting a new experiment – selling books at one of Portland, OR’s many farmers markets. The selections will be seasonal, starting with books about seed gardening and composting and ending the year with books on harvesting and preserving. (Shelf Awareness)
New potatoes: There are lots of gardening books out there, but not too many that are written for pre-novice gardeners with the desire to grow food but no clue where to start. To fill the void, Sylvie gives a handy primer that starts with instructions for scouting the best spot and even tells you which parts of the plant to harvest and eat. (The Rappahannock Cook & Kitchen Gardener)