Food

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Did factory farms spread deadly disease to West Coast salmon?

For the first time ever, scientists have uncovered the presence of infectious salmon anemia, a deadly virus that has devastated farmed fish in Chile, in wild salmon populations on the West Coast. This news arrived at a time when the Obama administration is fast-tracking the approval of genetically engineered Atlantic salmon, promoting environmental destructive corporate […]

October 20th

The trouble with Monsanto and GMO – Dr David Suzuki spells it out

In honor of World Food Day, I thought it was important to take a look at the issue of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO). I’ve been asked why we’re writing so much about Monsanto and GMO.
I’m not a geneticist. If I say “We don’t know enough about this,” I’m just one guy. So I’ll let a geneticist answer those questions. But David Suzuki is one of the top geneticists in the world, and he says,
“Because we aren’t certain about the effects of GMOs, we must consider one of the guiding principles in science, the precautionary principle. Under this principle, if a policy or action could harm human health or the environment, we must not proceed until we know for sure what the impact will be. And it is up to those proposing the action or policy to prove that it is NOT harmful.”

October 16th

Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

Today, to be patriotic, I bought my wife some red, white and blue carnations. I asked the clerk who was trimming and wrapping the flowers where they came from, and he said, “Columbia.” I would rather have purchased them from a domestic grower, but I couldn’t…. And it’s hard to find domestic fruits and vegetables, too. What happened?

July 2nd

It’s official: Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide causes birth defects

A new report by some top scientists has nailed it down, and Monsanto isn’t going to be happy. The Agri-giant has built its entire business model, including genetically modified (GMO) crops that dominate the US market, around its Roundup brand herbicide.

They last thing they want to admit is that it causes birth defects.

But that’s just what a group of scientists from a diverse group – including Cambridge University, the King’s College London School of Medicine, and the Institute of Biology, UNICAMP, São Paulo, Brazil – have found.

June 8th

California votes to label (but not ban) GMO frankenfish

With the USDA expected to approve genetically modified (GMO) salmon in the near future – without any serious safety research – it may devolve on the states to try to minimize the potential negative impact.

The California Assembly Health Committee in Sacramento on May 3 approved a bill requiring that all GMO salmon sold in California contain clear and prominent labeling.

May 4th

Jamie Oliver wants to know why pink slime is part of your child’s healthy school lunch

Why on earth does the USDA allow “pink slime” – a homogenized mix of the nastiest dregs and runoff of the meat processing industry – to be added into school lunches for America’s children?

That’s the question celebrity chef Jamie Oliver is asking on his show Food Revolution (Tuesday nights from 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET), and hopefully his voice will actually inspire somebody to listen.

April 13th

Farm Subsidies Don’t Make Us Fat

Last week Dr. Robert Paarlberg published an article in GOOD titled “The Inconvenient Truth About Cheap Food and Obesity: It’s Not Farm Subsidies.”  In the article he debunks the assertion by Michael Pollan in Omnivore’s Dilemma that farm subsidies make unhealthy foods artificially cheap.  He points out that (for different reasons) libertarian-leaning groups like the […]

April 11th

Bad publicity from animal cruelty? Ban publicity…

In two states, bills are making their way through the legislature that will deal with bad publicity affecting factory farms in a novel way.

It turns out that folks don’t like to buy meat if they hear about the horrible, inhumane way in which it’s been raised. But rather than clean up their act, big ag has decided the problem isn’t disgusting business practices – it’s videos of disgusting business practices. So they’ll make THOSE illegal.

March 29th

Is Europe’s ban on Monsanto’s GMO crops illegal?

Monsanto got a big boost in Europe yesterday when a European Union official ruled that the Union’s constituent countries couldn’t independently ban genetically modified crops (GMOs) on their turf. France and five other EU countries have put a blanket ban on GMOs, citing safety concerns.

March 23rd

A New Look At The American “Food Dollar”

Patrick Canning of  the Economic Research Service of the USDA just released a new report on food prices.  My friend, John, sent it to me knowing that I can never resist a new set of interesting data.  I made some graphs to try to unpack the story here.  The title of the report is “A […]

March 15th

Yet Another Organic Fertilizer Fraud: Should You Care?

The short answer is “no.”  Here is the longer answer: Last Thursday the president of Port Organic Products Ltd was indicted on 28 counts of mail fraud for marketing an “Organic” fertilizer that was spiked with aqueous ammonia – a “synthetic” source of nitrogen which is not allowed under the Organic rules.  Nelson had represented […]

March 12th

Global Food Prices Continue to Rise

Each month the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) releases an update on the global prices for food in trade channels. The chart above is based on this data and it shows that we are continuing into a price spike much like the one in 2008. This does not tell you what food […]

March 4th

GMOs: Devaluing the definition of “Organic”

You must have seen this one coming. When the USDA approved Monsanto’s gene-modified (GMO) alfalfa back in January, the Big Ag party line was that Organic producers had nothing to worry about. There was just not that much risk of contamination. Now, barely two months later, stories like this one are being seeded in the […]

March 2nd

Monsanto’s risky Roundup – Reuters runs with the report

We reported last week that a top scientist had expressed serious doubts about the safety of Monsanto’s gene-modified (GMO) plants and its Roundup weedkiller: Dr. Don M. Huber, who coordinates the Emergent Diseases and Pathogens committee of the American Phytopathological Society, as part of the USDA National Plant Disease Recovery System, warned Agriculture Secretary Tom […]

February 25th