Great news: Perdue has stopped its use of antibiotics in chicken hatcheries — the end of a 12-year project to eliminate the use of unnecessary antibiotics.
DO NOT eat hummus or walnuts before reading about these ongoing food recalls — also avoid the ground beef. I know, I know, I always say that — but this time (in addition to many other good reasons!) it’s an e. coli contamination thing. The week’s food safety issues aren’t just bothering 2-legged diners: if you have canine friends, beware the toxic jerky! So, yes, the week’s news does feature some ickiness. But don’t be scared — there’s also some nifty GMO news, plus research on Paleo diets, cheap food, and obesity. Holy guacamole, but there’s much to report this week!
A group of animal welfare advocates, journalists and others recently filed suit against the state of Utah, in which plaintiffs claim the state’s year-old ag-gag law violates the U.S. Constitution. Though many states have joined the ag-gag craze, Utah was the first to attempt a (failed) prosecution under such a statute — and now boasts the first lawsuit to challenge the constitutionality of these anti-whistleblower anti-transparency pro-animal-cruelty laws.
On Tuesday Michelle Obama addressed an enthusiastic audience about health concerns facing Hispanic families in the U.S. The First Lady spoke eloquently about the importance of healthy choices in fighting debilitating lifestyle diseases, now distressingly prevalent even among our children — especially among Hispanic (and other minority) children. But framing childhood obesity as a choice-driven issue sells parents and kids way short, especially within economically marginalized communities. If we fail to address the underlying problems, we can’t begin to hope for actual progress.
Food waste a hidden issue in the United States. Get the facts on how a country with a lot of surplus is really dealing with the excess.
Kansas farmer Ernest Barnes filed suit against Monsanto this week, seeking damages related to unapproved GMO wheat. Monsanto’s genetically modified wheat never gained USDA approval, but was recently found growing on an Oregon farm. That discovery prompted Japan and other countries to drop some US wheat exports like hot potatoes. In this suit, Barnes claims Monsanto’s carelessness with unapproved test crops have led to irreparable harm to US farmers. This suit marks the first action filed against Monsanto over GMO wheat — but it probably won’t be the last.
Thanks to WikiLeaks and Food and Water Watch, we know more than ever about the stranglehold Monsanto has on our alleged democracy. A new report reveals U.S. government officials routinely acted as PR reps for Monsanto, to ‘twist the arms’ of small countries in order to sell biotechnology products around the world.
Following an outpouring of opposition from thousands of citizens, religious leaders, defenders of free speech and people working against animal cruelty, TN governor Bill Haslam just vetoed HB1191/SB1248 — aka ag-gag bill, aka anti-whistleblower bill, aka total BS legislation. Well done, Governor!
GMO labeling bill H. 112 passed the VT House last week, and heads for the Senate in January 2014. The bill’s early strong performance is (yet another) indicator of the overwhelming shift in public consciousness — and public policy — towards more responsible labeling of foods containing GMOs. Congratulations democracy, and congratulations Vermont! Now: KEEP IT UP!
Yesterday Vermont’s House Judiciary committee approved H. 112, which would require labeling of foods containing genetically modified ingredients. The VT House of Representatives will vote on the bill later this week. H. 112’s early strong performance is (yet another) indicator of the overwhelming shift in public consciousness — and public policy — towards more responsible labeling of foods containing GMOs.
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Ca.) and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D. Ore.) introduced legislation yesterday that would require labeling of all foods containing GMO ingredients. Unlike California’s Prop 37, which attempted to tackle the issue last November, The Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act would require labeling for beef, dairy, chicken, and turkey products as well as other GMO-containing foods — the proposed requirement would apply to all foods regulated by both the FDA and USDA.
Matt Dominguez (HSUS) and Cheryl Leahy (Compassion Over Killing) joined me recently for a discussion exploring ag-gag legislation. These anti-whistleblower laws aim to mandate consumer ignorance, promote animal cruelty, threaten food safety, and undercut the right of citizens to have legislators serving the will of ‘We the People’ (vs. They the Food Industry Megacorporations). Industry relies on public ignorance about these destructive bills — don’t let ’em have it. Listen, share, resist!
Legislators in several states this month consider laws to criminalize reporting of cruelty or other criminal acts at animal facilities, to protect factory farming interests from the consequences of their own behavior. If you value food industry transparency — and DON’T value protecting criminal animal abusers from any and all legal culpability — get involved! Factory farming interests absolutely depend on your ignorance and apathy, to pass these laws: give them neither.