Currently Browsing: Big Ag

There are much scarier food safety bills than HR 875 in Congress

If you care about food and farming and you use the Internet, you've probably received this particular e-mail. The title is something like, "BILL WOULD OUTLAW ORGANIC FARMING!!!!" or "MONSANTO'S DREAM BILL!!!!" It appears, inevitably, in all caps. I have upwards of 30 versions in my inbox. Normally, it would...

Digest – News: Anti-biotics, working for the (corporate) man, and the price of obesity

More squealing from the porkers: The National Pork Producers Council objects to federal legislation introduced Tuesday by Rep. Louise Slaughter (no pun intended, really), the only microbiologist in the U.S. Congress, that would restrict the use of medically-important antibiotics in livestock production....

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...

Rooted in discomfort: Dispatch from the MOSES organic farming conference

Lately I’ve realized that in the midst of distracting sights and sounds, I forget to notice the smells around me. So last weekend at the Organic Farming Conference in La Crosse, Wisconsin, I made an effort to pay attention. Surrounded by friends new and old, I smelled hay, dirt, manure, beer, sweat and...

All steriled up: Produce safety guidelines throw sustainability out, keep toxic bathwater

Readers may remember back in November when I announced the first installment of a two-part post on produce safety. It's taken me a few months to get around to it, but here we are: part 2! Photo of a "sterile farm" courtesy of the Wild Farm Alliance. Part 1 of this post found me sitting awkwardly at an FDA...

Digest – News & Features: Grass-fed emits more CO2 than grain-, wheat threatened, Grandin creates certification

Have you read (or written) something savory lately? Send your Digest tips to dig...@ethicurean.com. Grass-fed meat still linked to climate change: Grass-fed cattle have a higher carbon footprint than grain-fed, says Nathan Pelletier of Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia. Yes, you read that right. He says...

Digest – News: Dairy cows on the moove, Big Corn throwdown, a locavore loses it

Industry pail-out: California's dairy industry announces a plan to cull 300,000 dairy cows, or roughly 1/6th of the state's herd, in an attempt to raise market prices for milk from the $0.97/gallon producers have received recently. Mass sell-offs have happened before, but often the cows were bought by other...

Buzzkill: Can native bees do the job?

With the health of honey bee colonies in dramatic decline, can farmers rely on native bees to pollinate their crops? On the right kind of farm — one with nearby natural habitat and organic management — the answer is yes, according to UC Berkeley professor Clare Kremen, an expert on native bees. Kremen...

Beer me: Trolling for craft brews in an ocean of Bud

Out of fairness, I should begin this post by admitting that I do not actually like beer. Never a big drinker, when the urge hits, my tastes veer toward wine and, OK, a nip of whiskey. But just as I appreciate (and, in fact, spend my professional life studying) livestock production despite being a...

Playing ketchup: Tomato industry concentration

Tomato season is over for most of the United States, so it's time to start shifting our tomato thoughts to canned, dried, and jarred tomatoes. Although tomatoes can be grown in all 50 states of the union, odds are 10-to-1 that a tomato found in a can, jar, or processed product was grown in California. An...

Dispatch from APHA: Searching for the silver lining

Day two of the American Public Health Association meeting found me carting my breakfast (a poorly-executed bagel) to a hyper-air conditioned room to learn about bacteria on meat. Not the most ambient setting for food consumption, but I didn't mind: The panel promised to cover CAFOs and would be led off by...

Canada’s current food-safety crisis

Canada is gearing up for a shift in its food system. Two things have happened to spur this possible upcoming shift in Canadians' buying and eating habits. First, Maple Leaf Foods, Canada's largest food processor, has announced that some of their products contain a strain of listeria bacteria. There have...

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