January 28, 2015

Kroger, Safeway Pledge No Genetically Engineered Salmon

GE-Salmon

Kroger and Safeway, two of the nation's largest grocery store chains, have joined the growing list of companies pledging not to carry genetically engineered (GE) salmon if it receives approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), according to consumer group Friends of the Earth.  Kroger, with almost 2,500 stores nationwide, and Safeway, which operates almost 1,500 stores, push the total number of grocery stores saying no to GE salmon to 9,000. “By making commitments to not sell genetically engineered salmon, Kroger and Safeway have joined the large number of grocery chains, from Trader Joe’s to Target, that have wisely chosen to listen to the majority of consumers who do not want to eat genetically engineered fish,” said Dana Perls, food and technology policy campaigner … [Read more...]

Survey Says: One in Three Farms Have GMO Contamination

GMOCorn

Food and Water Watch has conducted a survey with the Organic Farmers' Agency for Relationship Marketing that shows contamination from GMO (GE) crops is happening and affecting organic produce. The survey asked farmers in 17 states, primarily the Midwest, about contamination of organic and non-GMO farm fields with GMO crops. The survey found that "the risks and effects of GMO contamination have unfairly burdened organic and non-GMO farmers with extra work, longer hours, and financial insecurity, which has led to a general skepticism of coexistence amongst the organic community. Some even expressed the feeling that their chosen method of production is being seriously threatened." GMO growers and producers aren't require to mitigate the risk of contamination. USDA Advisory Committee on … [Read more...]

Legislators Angry About Increased Poultry Line Speeds

Chickencarcass

According to Food and Water Watch, congressional leaders and poultry workers have asked the Obama administration to stop the USDA from letting poultry plants increase line speeds. The new regulations, which were announced two years ago, will increase line speeds from 140 birds per minute to 175, despite a lot of evidence that this speed is a primary contributor to worker injuries. OSHA does not regulate line speeds or enforce safety rules for poultry plants; the USDA is the only federal agency involved in this area. The coalition, which includes Center for Effective Government and Center for Progressive Reform, is also stating that this increase will make workers less able to identify and remove tainted chicken. Hilary O. Shelton, director of the NAACP Washington Bureau said in a … [Read more...]

Ag Gag Bill Signed into Law in Idaho

Cowbluesky

This week, Idaho Governor C. L. Otter signed the latest ag-gag bill into law. The law was created, promoted, and passed in retaliation to undercover videos that exposed animal abuse at Idaho's Bettencourt Dairy farm in 2012.  That video showed workers caning, beating, and sexually abusing cows. Employees were fired and prosecuted as a result of the exposure. [Warning: the video is very disturbing.] Matt Rice, the director of investigations at Mercy for Animals, said in a statement, "Governor Otter has decided to keep corrupt factory farming practices from the public. He's created a safe haven for animal abuse. These facilities that supply food to the entire country. No other industry has that kind of immunity. Not only will this ag-gag law perpetuate animal abuse, it endangers workers' … [Read more...]

Report Links Climate Change and Food Insecurity

Drought

A new report released by Center for Food Safety's Cool Foods Campaign states that food security is jeopardized by climate change. The report is called Food and Climate: Connecting the Dots, Choosing the Way Forward. Climate change creates extremes in weather, from temperatures that are much hotter and cooler than normal, and rain and snow amounts that are much lower or greater than normal. In 2012, for instance, droughts and heat waves affected 80% of agricultural land, causing $30 billion in damages. California is now experiencing its worst drought in its 153 year history. That state produces almost half of the country's fruits and vegetables. Food prices are expected to rise significantly this year as a result of this climate catastrophe. Climate change is also causing earlier … [Read more...]

E. coli in Apple Cider Yields Lifelong Health Issues, Felony Conviction

apple-cider-E.-coli-lawsuit

A Michigan farmer who was repeatedly told to stop making apple cider because he was not meeting food safety standards is headed to jail after an E.coli outbreak linked to the cider hospitalized four people including two small children. Some of those sickened will likely have lifelong health problems stemming from their E.coli O157:H7 infections. James Ruster, the owner of Mitchell Hill Farm in Ellsworth, is the first person to be convicted of a felony under Michigan’s Food Law. Ruster pled guilty to willful misbranding and adulteration of food products and was sentenced on February 18, 2014 to 14 to 48 months in prison, plus fines and court costs. “It’s paramount that we maintain the safety of Michigan’s food and agriculture products. Mr. Ruster showed a blatant neglect for not only … [Read more...]

CDC Says Childhood Obesity Rates Declining

Child-eating

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has sent out a press release stating that obesity prevalence for children aged 2 to 5 years has declined from 14% in 2003-2004 to just over 8% in 2011-2012. That is a decline of 43% based on the National health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data. Dr. Tom Frieden, CDC Director, said in a statement, "we continue to see signs that, for some children in this country, the scales are tipping. This report comes on the heels of previous CDC data that found a significant decline in obesity prevalence among low-income children aged 2 to 4 years participating in federal nutrition programs." The reasons for the decline aren't clear, although child care centers are trying to improve their nutrition and physical activity standards. … [Read more...]

Amid Criminal Allegations, Rancho Owner Speaks Out For Ranchers

cattle

Jesse Amaral, the owner of  Rancho Feeding Corp., a Petaluma, Calif. slaughterhouse under criminal investigation for processing diseased cows, says none of the cattle from local custom ranches were diseased. Rancho allegedly slaughtered dairy cows with eye cancer and sold the meat, according to a report published in the San Francisco Chronicle. Unnamed sources in the story said Rancho removed the heads of the cows before slaughter to prevent U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspectors from detecting the disease. Rancho, which recalled 8.7 million pounds of beef on February 8, has voluntarily closed while it is being investigated. The closure and criminal investigation of Rancho, the only beef processing plant in the Bay Area, has had an impact on local ranchers and retailers … [Read more...]

FDA Proposes Changes to Nutrition Labels

The FDA is changing nutrition labels put on all food packages. The box is going to have new design and new content. Michael Landa, director of FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition said, "Obesity, hearty disease and other chronic diseases are leading public health problems. The proposed new label is intended to bring attention to calories and serving sizes, which are important in addressing these problems. Further, we are now proposing to require the listing of added sugars." One of the changes is larger and bolder type on calories. The number of servings per package is going to be more prominent. Too often, small packages seem like they only contain one serving. Consumers have to look more closely to see how many servings actually deliver the calories on the label. … [Read more...]

Research Suggests Grilled Meat Tied to Higher Risk of Disease

Grill

New research published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has found that grilled meats, which are high in compounds called advanced glycation end products (AGEs), may be a risk factor for developing Alzheimer's and diabetes. When meats and other protein and fat-rich foods are cooked at high temperatures, these compounds form. AGEs contribute to oxidant stress and inflammation in the body. The scientists at the Icahn School of Medicine in New York studied AGE levels in humans over the age of 60. Over a nine month time frame, those with a high AGE blood level developed signs of insulin resistance, sirtuin suppression, and cognitive decline. Sirtuin is a compound that is a natural defense against both Alzheimer's disease and metabolic syndrome, which is a … [Read more...]

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