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!
1. 7 Ton Hummus Recall from Trader Joe’s, Target — Listeria is NOT good with pita bread. Boo!
2. Ground beef recall: USDA releases list of stores — E. coli: it could be what’s for dinner!
3. E. coli outbreak linked to sprouts; hummus, dips, walnuts recalled — Good gravy, is anyone else starting to speculate that our food safety system may need an overhaul?! In related news, both e. coli and listeria come from animal poop. Trace the supply line back, in almost any foodborne illness outbreak, and you find industrial animal agriculture spreading feces around the place.
Then that industry’s ownership of the USDA precludes meaningful regulation of things like line speeds or fecal contamination within slaughterhouses and packing facilities: what do we expect from this setup, if not massive incidence of contaminated food?
This issue needs scrutiny and discussion, it seems to me, anytime massive food recalls are underway — preferably before such circumstances arise, but better late than never.
Wrong Way Street
4. Report: Cheap food makes us fat — Is it time to talk about revamping our subsidy system yet?
How ’bout now? …because as long as we spend a bazillion taxpayer bucks to subsidize production of high fructose corn syrup for ‘cheap’ processed ‘food,’ and the American overconsumption of animal products, we’ll all pay the costs in medical treatment for complications related to obesity, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer — and nothing on that list is cheap.
5. FDA approves a new artificial sweetener — Mmmm, a phenylalanine makeover! The Hot New Property in artificial sweeteners goes by the name Advantame, kissing cousins with aspartame but much much sweeter — as in about 20,000 times sweeter than sugar. That’s just exactly what we need, right? Because the problem with our food system, and with American food culture, is that we’re just not eating enough artificial ingredients or tickling our sweet tooth quiiiiiiite enough!
6. Organic Progress! Oregon Voters Ban GMOs in 2 Counties — Despite massive spending by biotech companies attempting to defeat these initiatives, voters in Oregon’s Jackson and Josephine counties overwhelmingly passed measures to ban cultivation of GMOs.
7. Anti-GMO Group Needs 4K More Signatures to Get on Maui Ballot — Maui would like to follow suit, please and thank you! If you live in the aloha state, get involved here.
This Week in Nope
8. Paleolithic diet ‘does not suppress hunger,’ study suggests — Like most fad diets, this one can’t take the heat of scientific scrutiny: evidence accumulates that if you’re looking for the best way to feed a human being, this isn’t it.
9. Toxic Jerky Treats Responsible For More Than 1,000 Dog Deaths, FDA Says — China-sourced pet treats: AVOID THEM! Dog treats are pretty easy to make at home — then you know exactly what’s in there, and can just skip the step where deadly toxins become ‘ingredients.’
10. California’s Drought Isn’t Making Food Cost More. Here’s Why — Our food system is complex, and in the short term there are some insulating factors to protect against cost increases… the key phrase here is ‘in the short term.’
Well There Ya Go!
You are now officially all caught up on the week’s top food news! If you’ve found something here that inspired you, made you angry, or raised questions you’d like to debate or explore – or if you’d like to add a news story to the roundup, that you caught but I missed — I hope you’ll comment below.
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Have a tasty and well-informed week of eating and drinking… better!