Top News from the Food Front: Safety Fails, GMO Nopes, Vegan Wins


Check your kitchen! Multiple food recalls attempt to keep mad cow disease and salmonella off your plate (and out of your smoothies). Industry behemoths sue Vermont over their groundbreaking GMO labeling law, as the USSC comes down on the side of accountability in cola labeling. Meanwhile Harvard researchers link red meat consumption to breast cancer (anyone see a trend, here?) as vegan wins multiply like happy prolific little spring bunnies. Read on, food news junkies — feed your brain, with all the best stories from around the Food-O-Sphere!

This Week in Ew

1. 4,000 pounds of beef, some at Whole Foods, recalled over fears of mad cow disease — Quick reminder: this problem is caused by completely optional ‘standard practices’ in modern animal agriculture, including grinding up the spinal cords of diseased cows to feed to other cows, then macerating the flesh of thousands of cows together to process into burgers so there’s no way to isolate contaminated flesh when problems inevitably ensue.

Wanna avoid contaminated meat? NO PROBLEM: it’s easy, actually. There’s so much else in the world to eat!

2. Chia Recall: 50+ People Sick from Chia Powder — Unfortunately, the animal industry can still make you sick even if you don’t buy what they’re selling. Salmonella is a foodborne pathogen transmitted by animal poop; it’s not the chia seeds that are the core problem here — it’s animal poop. That knowledge doesn’t help anyone sickened by salmonella-tainted chia; but I think it’s worth mentioning. Also, check your pantry for recalled items! Sigh.

Speaking of Animal Ag…

3. Using Drones to Soar Above ‘Ag-Gag’ Laws — Ah, Will Potter! I totally heart you. What are the odds: someone finally found an appropriate use for drones!


4. Superbug Found in Squid Has ‘Troubling’ Implications — If you’re dealing with antibiotic-resistant bacteria, carbapenemases scare you: this class of enzymes enable bacteria to break down and thereby thwart carbapenem-class antibiotics. Bonus yuck: if bacteria are resistant to this class of antibiotics, they’re usually resistant to others as well. For the first time, a food source (squid) from a Canadian grocery store has been found to contain these antibiotic-resistance-promoting enzymes.

“This is the first time that any carbapenemase has been identified in a food source,” [researcher Dr. Joseph Rubin] told Food Safety News.’

When the topic is antibiotic resistant bacteria, silver linings are hard to find: this is just 100% NOT GOOD.

Another Brief from the ‘Meat and Cancer’ Files

5. Study: Red meat possibly linked to breast cancer — Yet another study offers yet another reason to ditch the animal junk. Harvard researchers found that in a study population of 88,000 women between ages 26 and 45, more red meat meant more breast cancer. It’s not particularly shocking, given previous studies linking meat consumption to stroke, heart disease, cancer, stroke, and early mortality from all causes; but it’s the first to look at breast cancer specifically (and find the usual results).

Vegan Wins Galore!

6. Jennifer Lopez goes vegan: I feel great on my plant-based diet — Team Vegan just keeps racking up celeb spokespeople, each time making it that much less ‘weird’ and more accessible to the mainstream masses. And you know what? I like it!

7. Pink credits mostly vegan diet and yoga workouts for 60-lb weight loss — Yep yep yep: our world takeover is proceeding apace, mwahahahahaaa!

9. A bountiful crop of summertime vegan festivals — Wanna join the V revolution? Find fun starting points here!

10. Vegan Food to Get its Own U.S. Supermarket — Not only is it becoming ever-more widespread and popular: vegan eating is getting easier and easier, as food sellers scramble to meet the growing demand. Yes, please!

Food Industry, Forced Transparency, & Related Shenanigans

11. POM Wonderful Wins A Round In Food Fight With Coca-Cola — The USSC ruled unanimously that POM can proceed with a law suit against the soda giant. Core issues of this case involve false advertising in the food industry, which sorely needs curtailing; slowly but surely perhaps the Big Food megacorps can be exposed to some rudimentary accountability regarding food and beverage labeling. I think that’d be nice!

12. Stevia Cola Hits Store Shelves — As demand rises for products with less added sugar and more natural ingredients, producers try to keep up.

13. ‘Food Babe’ wins battle with King of Beers — In other food industry accountability news this week, makers of Budweiser, Coors, and Miller beers caved to pressure from ‘Food Babe’ blogger Vani Hari and agreed to disclose their products’ ingredients. Sometimes the key to getting what we want from the food industry… is to simply demand it!

(Edit: not sometimes; always.)

14. Oregon Hopes to Be First State to Map GMO Fields — Two Oregon counties recently banned cultivation of genetically modified crops. This mapping plan offers another strategy for minimizing genetic contamination of crops surrounding GM fields, which can make non-GMO food crops un-exportable.

15. Trade groups sue VT over GMO labeling law — As expected, the biotech industry doesn’t give a flip what farmers or consumers want: they know they can’t compete in an open market, and that their can’t withstand transparency labeling transparency. So they’ll fight it to the bloody end; I think they’ll lose.

We’ll see. Go, VT, go!

‘Til Next Time!

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Image credit: photo via Shutterstock.

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