Top News from the Food Front: Salmonella Spice Rack, Soda Ban, OMG BSE
This week’s food news will make you cringe and rejoice. New obesity research offers both hope and Western chagrin. Animal ag’s dark footprint puts salmonella on the spice rack, as well on sandwiches. According to the CDC, we’ve got a bit of a mad cow problem around here — though obviously it’s actually a human problem; more specifically, it’s a wildly dysfunctional food-system problem that we could fix if we chose to do so. Don’t miss the yum or ignore the yuck: read on, for the week’s top news in food!
All Together Now: ‘Thanks, Animal Ag!’
1. Nine Salmonella Illnesses Linked to North Carolina Restaurant — Food sold through the Proper Restaurant in Boone, NC seems to be at the center of the most recent in a long line of salmonella outbreaks. Quick reminder: salmonella generally comes from animal feces. Industrial animal ag affects everyone downstream, whether or not we buy their products — pass it on (…because THEY certainly do)!
2. Comprehensive List: Recalled Chia Powder Brands and Related Salmonella Cases — Salmonella in chia powder?! NOT OK.
3. Costco Black Pepper Recalled for Possible Salmonella Contamination — Oh for goodness’ sake! Does anyone begin to suspect that we need to reconsider our food safety regulations around here?
4. CDC confirms 4th U.S. case of mad cow disease after Texas man dies — Mad cow disease, a.k.a. bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) is a progressive, transmissible, fatal neurological disease that we optionally allow industrial animal ag producers to expose society to, when they grind up the spinal cords of cows and feed them to other cows and then feed those infected cows to people. I propose that we could simply choose, as a society, to knock this **** smooth off.
More Food Industry Foolishness
5. Guess who funded the contradictory fructose study? — Hint: they make their living from selling fructose. Color me shocked!
6. Walmart Squeezes Organics — By driving prices down, Walmart makes organics more accessible; but is that shift hurting organic growers? Can small organic producers survive being Walmartized? The jury’s still out, but some folks in the organic community worry that the answer may too often be ‘no.’
7. Animal welfare group says “Ag-Gag” bill could be back — Because if they take that spoiled milk out of the fridge often enough, and pour it in our legal glass over and over and over, eventually we’ll give in and drink it! Right? (NOPE.)
8. USDA’s Wildlife Services killed 4 million animals in 2013; seen as an overstep by some — You think?! THAT IS A FREAKING LOT OF ANIMALS KILLED, for no better reason than protecting the profit margins of meat producers so that Americans can cheaply eat too much of what’s killing them.
Like salmonella and other food safety problems related to animal poop in our food, this article highlights the harm done by industrial animal producers — even if you don’t buy what they’re selling. Is this the best we can do? Really? I submit for consideration that it is simply not.
9. Jack in the Box workers in Oregon claim fast-food chain underpaid them, seek $45 million — Plaintiffs claim the company required off-clock work, and received kickbacks from a shoe company where employees were required to shop.
10. USDA To Georgia: You Can’t Drug-Test Food Stamp Recipients — Seriously, Georgia: get it together. When *the USDA* chides you for ridiculously unscrupulous behavior, you have well and truly crossed some lines!
Obesity in the News
11. Food stamp soda ban can save 141,000 children from obesity — Newly published research suggests that simply removing soda from food assistance program coverage could significantly reduce childhood obesity risks among poor families.
12. Most of the world’s obese people live in developing countries — Dear rest of world: do not, I repeat DO NOT, follow in our food-culture footsteps! We have clearly stepped in something, and once it’s on your cultural shoes it’s hard to scrape off.
13. Behind the school lunch fight — The School Nutrition Association started out supporting Michelle Obama’s efforts to improve the nutritional caliber of public school lunches; now they’ve changed sides, and are working with the GOP to help schools keep the old less-healthy standards. What gives?
15. Big Food Still Plans to Sue Vermont Over New GMO Labeling Law — Of course they do: informed consumerism is their nemesis! Boo for that business model, each and every time it pops up.
16. Summer Nutrition Programs increase in numbers — For too many children in low-income families, losing school lunch during the summer means losing a substantial percentage of each day’s nutrition. National summer nutrition programs seem to be reaching more at-risk kids, which is good news indeed!
17. Good Restaurants Join the Fight to End AIDS — Through June 10th, you can help a great cause just by going to a restaurant. What a lovely confluence of circumstance!
18. Zero Packaging Grocery Store is Germany’s First — Zero food-packaging waste?! Oh yes please — here’s hoping the idea catches on!
19. Remember that Sriracha shortage? Here’s an update! Crisis (but narrowly) averted! Whew, that was a close one…
20. Longmont student creates nutrition bars for the homeless from family recipe — Every now and then, against my better judgment, I do feel cautious optimism about humanity’s potential to do good in the world instead of harm.
Don’t worry — I’ll just go lie down with an ice pack on my head until it passes (but it’s a nice feeling, until then)!
Food News Junkies, Stay Tuned!
Image credit: photo via Shutterstock.