Food

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Zombie Food Safety Act Resurrected by Senate

Industry must really want the Food Safety Modernization Act (S 510). It was dead, dead, dead – the clock had run out, and considering the gridlock in Washington, the fact that Jim DeMint (R-SC) had promised he would block most everything the Democrats brought up, and Tom Colburn (R-OK) had promised he would personally fillibuster […]

December 20th

Food Safety Modernization Act, the Bill that Wouldn’t Die, is Dead

UPDATE: We spoke too soon! In one of the most uncharacteristic moves of this entire Congressional session, Republican opposition melted away on Sunday, the bill was dropped back onto the Senate calendar and minutes later passed by unanimous vote. See our coverage, “Zombie Food Safety Act Resurrected by Senate“ This time it looks like it’s […]

December 17th

Is the Food Safety Bill a Blessing or a Corporatist Curse?

For a few days it looked like the controversial Food Safety Modernization Act (S 510) was dead in the water. Technical issues meant it was unlikely to make it through both houses in the last, crazy days of the current Congress. But it now appears that it WILL make it through – it’s been attached […]

December 9th

Senator Jon Tester of Montana Insults US Farmers

Senator Tester (D, Montana) has been pushing an amendment to the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010 exempting small farms from the bill’s provisions.  The wisdom of this legislation and the amendment are subjects of legitimate debate, but the Senator reveals his actual agenda in this quote: “Small producers are not raising a commodity, […]

November 23rd

An Inconvenient Truth About Composting Revisited

Although composting has a very strong “green” reputation, it isn’t without its environmental issues.  Compost is an important source of fertilizer for Organic crops, and is widely promoted as a “green” alternative to synthetic nitrogen.  The inconvenient truth is that, as a nitrogen fertilizer, compost has a carbon footprint more than 10 times as large as […]

November 21st

Right And Left Agree: OK To Risk Starvation Of The Poor

The anti-climate-science politicians from the Right and the anti-technology activists from the Left are independently, but quite successfully, increasing the risk of malnutrition and/or starvation for the poorest people of the world.  This may not be their intended agenda, but it is the likely outcome from what they are doing. Another food price spike looming […]

November 15th

We Also Need To “Restore Sanity” In Food Politics

[social_buttons] Yesterday I drove 28 miles to attend the San Diego version of the “Rally to Restore Sanity.”  I’m glad I did.  Even in this Southern California bastion of political conservatism, there were at least 200 people meeting at Dick’s Last Resort to watch the DC event and to encourage each other that we are […]

October 31st

Creating Satans: Collective Myth Building About Monsanto, Obama etc

[social_buttons] I noticed an interesting phenomenon this week  while watching the links coming in to one of Jeremy Bloom’s recent posts on RGB.  A great deal of traffic was coming in from two referring sites that are Christianity-related. Both had previously posted links to an incendiary Pravda “article” that misinterpreted an already sensationalized statement in a […]

October 24th

How To Make Fresh Produce More Sustainable? Actually Eat It!

There are lots of well intended efforts underway to increase the “sustainability” of fresh fruit and vegetable production.  This includes a recent announcement from Wal-Mart saying that they want to use their influence in the market to drive positive change. All these efforts focus on how efficiently farmers use land, fertilizer, fuel, electricity, water and […]

October 20th

Remembering A Time Of Less Polarized Environmental Politics

As we approach this hyper-partisan 2010 election, the “environment” has become just one more point of polarization, particularly around the question of Global Climate Change.  All but one Republican Senate candidate candidate today passively or actively opposes the idea that human activity is responsible for greenhouse gas effects on climate.  It is hard to find […]

October 18th

When Fear Wins: Fallout From the “Dirty Dozen” List

[social_buttons] Experts in Nutrition and Public Health agree that a healthy diet should include lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.  These foods have multiple health benefits because they provide dietary fiber, trace minerals, vitamins, anti-oxidants, and a wide variety of compounds that enhance vein health, reduce cancer risk, and bind dangerous toxins (just to name […]

October 12th

An Unlikely Pair: “Heavy Metal” and “Organic Produce”

I don’t know, but I’m guessing that there is not a big overlap between the people who are fans of “heavy metal” music and the people who buy a lot of Organic food.  But that is not the “unlikely pair” I’m talking about. I’m guessing that most people who buy Organic produce wouldn’t like the […]

September 27th

Some New Hope For The Future of Chocolate

Most of us take something like chocolate for granted.  In fact there are lots of issues with the current situation for the farmers who produce it, and with the future supply for the rest of us. Fortunately, talented people have already been working hard on this issue. Today Mars, the USDA and IBM announced the […]

September 15th

Do Non-Farmers Have A Key Role In Sustainable Agriculture?

Indeed!  Some people who will never farm could have a pivotal role in advancing the sustainability of farming.  I’m not talking about urban farming or consumer choices (“Sustainable”, “Organic”, “local”…).  I’m talking about land ownership and rental contracts. Some Background: In spite of what you hear, “family farms” are still the overwhelming way that US […]

September 8th

A Sad Day For Wine. A Sad Day for Science

As a grape grower and as a scientist who has spent years studying grape diseases,  I was saddened to read that an experimental planting of biotech grapes was ripped out of the ground yesterday by anti-GMO activists.  It was a government-funded site in the quaint town of Colmar, in far Eastern France  (I’ve been to […]

August 17th