Top News from the Food Front: Vegetarian ‘Controversy,’ Food Industry Chicanery

Top News from the Food Front

Ag-gag, organic standards, and GMO labeling debates rage through this week’s food news cycle. Meanwhile Tyson recalls contaminated chicken nuggets (mmm, plastic!), and the media erupts with glee over an Australian study they say indicts vegetarianism: does it really? Don’t miss the drama — find the week’s hottest food news here!

‘I do not think it means what you think it means.’ — Inigo Montoya

1. Study: Vegetarians Less Healthy, Lower Quality of Life than Meat Eaters — Hm, how interesting! That’s pretty much the opposite of results from a meta-analysis of all existing medical research by insurance giant Kaiser Permanente, after which Kaiser physicians were advised to recommend plant-based eating to all their patients. It also reports results that conflict sharply with a study published by JAMA Internal Medicine last year linking vegetarianism with better health and increased longevity. It ALSO also conflicts with results from the years-long Loma Linda Adventist Health Studies research project linking vegan and vegetarian diets to reduced risk for cancer, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

Curious! Very curious indeed.

2. Are Vegetarians Less Healthy than Meat-Eaters? — Oh wait. NOPE! EDB contributor Ginny Messina, a.k.a. The Vegan R.D., slices through the hooey. This study was based on self-report only, as to both diet and health, with no other data gathered. It’s also a snapshot of one moment, rather than a study of outcomes, with no data gathered on participants’ medical history or health changes over time.

Do you know any ‘vegetarians’ who eat fish? Or folks who eat bacon and burgers at every meal who who ‘don’t really eat much meat’? Ever met someone who went vegetarian ‘for health reasons,’ because they already had high blood pressure or diabetes?

Yeah, me too. ‘Nough said.


3. California GMO Food-Labeling Bill Clears Committee — ‘Cause people want to know what they’re eating!

4.Koch ally to introduce Monsanto-backed bill to bar state GMO labeling laws — ‘Cause if folks are allowed to know, they won’t buy what Monsanto’s selling.

5. ‘Historic Wins’ for Organic Industry in New Farm Bill — Lovely! That sounds like good news, right?

6. Corporate Clout Chips Away at Organic Standards — Maybe not… I should’ve known that was too good to be true!

7. Challenges to ag-gag bills on the dockets in Idaho and Utah — As public opinion swells in favor of GMO labeling, so it surges against the monstrous anti-transparency pro-cruelty legislation that has so captured the imagination of the animal-ag industry in recent years. Resistance mounts! Watch these cases, folks: if these toxic ag-gag laws stand, we’ll undoubtedly many more of them pushed by factory farming interests in the short term future.

8. Kentucky Legislature Tightens Its Own Ag-Gag Measure — Kentucky was apparently afraid their ag-gag plan wasn’t quite hideous enough. Nice job, guys: glad you fixed that! Also, NO. Any EDB readers living in The Bluegrass State?! Your legislators may need a phone call.


9. After Poverty tour, Ryan proposes cutting food stamps — Of course he does! Actually, I think I like this article better: Ryan Budget to ‘Retool’ Food Stamps, Welfare … probably because it incorporates the word ‘tool.’

10. Humane Slaughter for Chickens Far From Reality, Allege Animal Welfare Groups — Oh c’mon, what could be more ‘humane’ than ‘[dropping] hundreds of thousands of chickens… into scalding tanks while alive every year, despite humane slaughter rules’ — whatever ‘humane slaughter would even mean, surely you don’t expect the poultry factories to bother complying with any anti-cruelty regulation at all? What do you want, anyway — for Tyson and Purdue to FOLLOW RULES, or treat chickens like they’re living things or something?!


11. USDA: Tyson recalls nuggets contaminated with small pieces of plastic — Mmmm, plastic! Wait, no, I was thinking of something else.

12. Is Sugar Killing You? — According to new JAMA-published research the answer may be yes, via a heaping spoonful of coronary artery disease.

Progress, Please!

13. Curing doctors’ dangerous lack of nutrition education — If we could cure that particular malady, many others would become easier for their patients to manage.

14. Solutions sought to reduce food waste in schools — It’s a huge problem, so I’m glad someone’s at least looking for solutions! Generally you get better results when you try than when you don’t try.

15. New ‘Cesar Chavez’ film spurs campaign for food safety certification — Power to the (food safety) people!

Stay Tuned…

Keep up with current events in agribusiness, food marketing, organics, and all the other news that conscious eaters need to see: subscribe to the EDB newsletter, find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and meet me back here every Saturday for the best and worst news from the world of food!

Image credit: photo via Shutterstock.

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