Crashing bee populations garner much-needed national focus, icky food gets recalled (boo for salmonella!), and ag-gag enthusiasts brace for battle with a whole new (pro-transparency, anti-foolishness) dragon. What other shenanigans transpired this week, in the food world? Glad you asked! Here’s the scoop.
The (Vanishing) Bees’ Knees
1. President Obama initiates a Pollinator Health Task Force — Food news aficionados know how serious the bee problem has become, over the last few years. Will presidential focus help? Maybe; at least, it’s hard to see how it could hurt.
2. USDA Provides $8 Million to Help Boost Declining Honey Bee Population — The question remains as to whether it will help; but generally you get better results when you try than when you don’t try, so this move sounds like good news to me.
3. Pesticide and GMO companies spend big to influence politics in Hawaii — As the biological people in HI agitate against pesticide oversaturation and genetic contamination of natural areas by GM crops, the corporate ‘people’ do their usual thing. Quick reminder: representative democracy was never intended to represent the needs of biotech companies. Corporations aren’t citizens, no matter what they spend! Make a note.
4. State may bring in outside help to defend GMO labeling law — Good! … because Monsanto et al have more money than some small countries’ GNP, and (in their desperation to defeat VT’s groundbreaking labeling law) will undoubtedly throw massive amounts of it at the emergent transparency ‘problem’. Go, VT, go! Bring those big guns right on in!
Of Food and Ick
5. Kraft Recalls Velveeta — What’s worse than edible foodlike substances? SPOILED edible foodlike substances, that’s what.
6. 14 Confirmed Salmonella Cases Linked to Alabama Restaurant — Each time this problem crops up, we need to talk about feces. Salmonella isn’t just a ‘safe food handling’ issue: it’s a ‘poop contamination of food’ issue, and we should address it as such. When we emasculate our regulatory agencies and allow animal producers to self-regulate, we set the stage for this s**t to happen. Literally.
7. Chia Recall Update: More Products — Yep: salmonella, animal ag, poop from farmed animals contaminating things left and right… otherwise known as The Usual. Sigh.
Fight Ag Gag Laws with… Drones?
8. This Journalist is Launching Drones to Expose Factory Farm Abuse (Video) — This video is the best thing in food news this week, according to me! Also, Will Potter rocks; that is all.