Currently Browsing: CAFOs

Straight to the superbug supersource: Q&A with Maryn McKenna about MRSA in people — and pigs

Everyone's up in arms about historian James McWilliams' New York Times op-ed last week, misleadingly headlined "Free-Range Trichinosis," about how a study found more pathogens in pastured pigs than factory ones. Many bloggers have taken McWilliams to task for omitting the industry funding source for the...

Digest – News: Perilous pork, the First Lettuce, food safety plateaus

Free-range throwdown: A New York Times op-ed turns the food-fear spotlight on pastured pork, covering a study that finds that "free-range pork can be more likely than caged pork to carry dangerous bacteria and parasites" including potentially-deadly Trichinosis. The author gets in a few more digs with the...

Digest – Features and blogs: Free-range response, literary seasonality, the Hamburg wish list

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...

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....

No comment, no say: lend your voice to shaping four big food & ag policies

Photo from Iowa, courtesy of factoryfarm.org. It's easy to get cynical about our ability to influence policy or policymakers - especially when we don't have lots of money or a well-dressed K St. lobby firm to throw around. But I'd venture to say that with all the change-making, democracy-taking action...

Digest – News: Flesh-eating bacteria, wallet-eating food companies, and eating, righteously

Makes your skin crawl: As previously reported here, a flesh-eating, antibiotic resistant bacteria is killing 18,000 Americans a year and is carried by 45% of farmers and 49% of pigs in Iowa. Nicholas Kristof's piece concludes that we may be getting more than we bargained for in creating a food system that...

Digest – Features and blogs: No flies on me, tomato realities, Osterholm revolves

The 'fix' is in: Sources say that the Obama Administration will nominate Michael Osterholm to head the USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service on Monday, in clear violation of its own anti-revolving-door policy. Osterholm is a longtime supporter of food irradiation, but that's not all - if you have any...

Digest – features and opinion: Bisphenol A back-room dealings, CAFOs on land and sea

The FDA's ass is GRAS: Great investigative piece about the controversy over bisphenol A, the chemical used to line baby bottles and canned food, among hundreds of other uses. Is it a scientific dispute? Not really, it's mainly "a battle to protect a multibillion-dollar market from regulation. In the United...

Dope shit: Who to thank, and why, for antibiotics in your veggies

Manure, my favorite topic of conversation (particularly at parties), is pretty awesome. It has been a staple crop fertilizer virtually since humankind began cultivating its own food. It's everything synthetic fertilizer wishes it could be: Chock full of nutrients, it is — assuming you raise animals —...

Digest – News: The Vilsack reaction, ammonia-rama, and hungry holidays

Eaters unite: A fairly universal 'harumph' erupted from the sustainable-food community after the announcement of Tom Vilsack, former governor of Iowa, as Obama's USDA pick. As usual, Michael Pollan articulates why the community is pretty cynical but still holding out just a little bit of hope. (NPR) Food...

Digest – News: More midnight rollbacks, valuing fast food, and Irish pork CSI

Heavy metal blowout: The FDA has recommended that the Bush Administration revise its consumer guidance on fish, changes that would encourage women and children to eat more fish despite growing concerns about mercury contamination (not to mention, um, the absolute unsustainability of our current...

Stirring up some shit: New report on federal funding for factory farms’ waste and other programs

Agriculture policy in this country has been geared for 30-odd years toward one goal: the production of ever-cheaper food. But as is by now painfully obvious, cheap food has foisted its real costs onto the environment, public health, workers and animals. Taxpayers bear that burden indirectly in the form of...

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