Top News From the Food Front: 16 Must-See Stories from This Week’s Food-O-Sphere

Sad-face toast, happy-face toast

Water woes, GM no’s, carcinogenic colas, and some brand new food research that will make you wow out loud. Read on, for the week’s top news in food!

Hot Off the EDB Press

1. West Virginia Water Issues Continue — Authorities tell folks it’s all right to drink the water now, but pregnant women still shouldn’t drink it — and oh yeah, people are still being admitted to the hospital for chemical poisoning after ingesting it. Um, yeeeaaaahhhh…. that sounds perfectly safe to me! Make a note: coal industry interests (like all for-profit corporate ‘people’) will never ever ever self-regulate to prevent this kind of avoidable public harm. Clean water isn’t optional for human life! Pass it on.

2. Cheerios and Grape-Nuts Go GMO-Free, Sort Of (And Not Really) — Cheerios blazed the trail, and now Grape-Nuts is toodling down the path behind them. What’s the catch? Glad you asked. Read the article! There’s a catch — it’s not quite the progress you were hoping to see.

3. New Documentary ‘Fed Up’ Indicts Food Industry for Obesity Crisis — Big-time journalistic names like Katie Couric, Laurie David (Inconvenient Truth producer), and Stephanie Soechtig (Tapped director) delve into the food industry’s role in creating and capitalizing on America’s obesity crisis. It debuted Sunday at the Sundance film festival, and looks like a must-see for conscious eaters!

4. Coca-Cola Matches $1 Million In WWF Polar Bear Protection — Aye aye aye, those food marketing guys never quit! For the record, I’m not gonna go buy Coke (with it’s unlovely GMO’d-up high fructose corn syrup and total dearth of any nutritional anything) just because of this marketing stunt. And oh-my-goodness-yes there’s some irony happening here, since the fossil fuel inputs needed to create, market, and distribute this nutritionally inane product directly contributes to the climate change currently threatening polar bears! But maybe it’s a sign of the times — environmental stewardship as the hot new brand?! Sigh. Ok, well, maybe it will help somehow. I feel like if polar bears’ survival as a species depends on this kind of ‘help,’ though, they’re in worse trouble than we thought.

Speaking of Foolishness

5. Potential Carcinogen In Colas Has FDA Reviewing Data — While we’re talking about cola, let’s talk about what’s in there where (if they were made of food) you’d find nutrition: the answer may be ‘carcinogens.’ But hey, I think we can all agree that as long as they dye the drinks that lovely caramel brown color, and help cola manufacturers make billions of dollars, it’s all worth it! Or… wait, no, scratch that last bit. Glad the FDA is paying belated attention, and at least reviewing data. It would be even more helpful if they’d regulate food additives BEFORE food companies add dangerous stuff to the recipe! But I know: I’m a dreamer.

6. USDA issues more warnings to state health agency — North Carolina can’t seem to get it’s act together enough to administer food stamps. The USDA isn’t buying their story that the problems are related to the Affordable Care Act; as the failure drags on, with at-risk families denied benefits for no good reason over a period of several months, it’s starting to smell stinkier than simple incompetence.

7. New Hampshire House kills GMO labeling bill — With largely GOP agitation to kneel on its windpipe, and largely Democrats standing up for it, New Hampshire’s bill to require labeling of GMOs died a quiet 185-162 House vote death on Thursday. Citizens overwhelmingly support GMO labeling, in NH and elsewhere; biotech industry players don’t. Deepest pockets wins, right?! ‘Cause, you know: democracy.

8. Junk Food Lobby Brings Its Bag of Dirty Tricks to New Hampshire to Fight GMO Labeling — Oh well, I’m sure food industry lobbyists know better than New Hampshire citizens what’s good for them, right?! (No.)

9. Honeybees Threatened by Mutating ‘Jumping’ Plant Virus — NOT GOOD, you guys: this is not good. Honeybees are already struggling, and without pollinators our food supply is nixed.

10. Fight Over Salmonella and Adulterants Spills into the Chicken Coop — How funky is your chicken? You don’t want to know — or at least, chicken-sellers don’t want you to know. Some contaminated and disease-ridden meat gets recalled, but most doesn’t. Ever wonder why? (Spoiler: it’s for some pretty ridiculous reasons.)

Calming Breaths!

11. What’s Convincing 50 Million Chinese People to Go Vegetarian? — Whatever it is, it’s happening and it’s good news!

12. Fat, calories, sugar: Nutrition labels getting a makeover — When I see the FDA even considering participation in actually improving or regulating food industry business, I get a giddy little tingle. Of course, if you’re eating apples and beans and kale and tomatoes you don’t need a lot of detailed nutrition labeling! But since the current guidelines debuted about 20 years ago, it seems like maybe someone should have a look and see if they need updating.

13. Florida Bill Would Require Genetically Engineered Food Labeling — Senator Jeremy Ring (D-Broward County) recently introduced S.B.558, a bill to require labeling of foods containing genetically engineered ingredients. C’mon, Florida! You can do it: we’re rooting for you!

14. Mo. denies horse slaughter application — As we discussed last week, the new federal budget was a win for horses (and those who don’t see them as food animals) since it denied funding for USDA inspection of horse slaughter plants. This week Missouri denied Rains Natural Meats’ horse slaughter permit application, based on that budget’s guidelines. It’s kind of weird: in this one case, and in this one way, Congress accidentally did something right! Don’t tell ’em, though — it would only go to their heads.

Food and Health, Knowledge and Power

15. Pregnant mother’s fatty diet ‘may alter baby’s brain’ — Obesity is a complex issue, and not one for which one clear-cut solution is likely to emerge. But a recently-published Yale study found that ‘A high-fat diet during pregnancy has the potential to alter a baby’s developing brain and increase its chances of obesity later in life,’ at least among mice.

16. Food addicts: New study measures out-of-control eating — The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published new research this week on food addiction among 134,000 middle-aged and older women, based on data compiled from the massive Nurses’ Health Study. Researchers found about 3-8% of women show signs of addictive behavior with food, in demographic and behavioral patterns that parallel other addictions.

See You Next Week!

Stay current on all the hot food-news happenings: subscribe to the EDB newsletter, find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and meet me back here every Saturday for a look at the week’s top news for conscious eaters!

Image credit: toast photo via Shutterstock.

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