Think what you like about genetically modified crops; farmers love them. How else to explain the latest data from USDA? GM soybeans are leveling off a bit – at close to 90%–and corn at close to 60%. The public doesn’t like GM much. They aren’t labeled. What’s in this for farmers?
Thanks to Herman Lelieveldt for sending this link to a group of papers prepared by his students at the Roosevelt Academy in Middleburg, The Netherlands: The Politics of Food and Fat. It’s always interesting to look at these issues from another perspective, in this case European.
Consumer Federation of America (CFA) has a new Alcohol Facts chart out that compares the calorie content of alcoholic beer, wine, and hard liquor. CFA produced it to fill the regulatory gap in labeling of alcoholic beverages–they are regulated by an arm of the Treasury Department (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms) and viewed as revenue generators, not something that might affect health. It’s amusing to see where the calories are…
The epidemic of illness caused by the unusual saintpaul type of Salmonella has now affected more than 800 people, and federal agencies seem more than perplexed about its source. The FDA says tomatoes, and called for their removal from the market, an action with devastating consequences for the tomato industry. But cases are still turning up. Perhaps that is why the CDC thinks maybe something else might be the cause. Salsa? Guacamole? The produce industry is understandably interested and two websites are excellent sources of day-to-day information: the straight-news Packer, and the tell-it-like-it-is Perishable Pundit. Go to the FDA website for updates on the ongoing investigation and also provides lists of tomatoes safe to eat. Part of the difficulty in following this story is that two federal agencies are involved: the FDA and the CDC. The CDC has its own version of events (with useful maps of where the cases are in the U.S.). The USDA , which only deals with animal foods, doesn’t seem to be part of this one. It should be. The ultimate source of this outbreak has to be animal waste. This tomato (?) outbreak is precisely why we need a single food agency to oversee food safety. When, oh when?
Update, July 1: The Wall Street Journal reviews the outbreak and explains why the produce and restaurant industries are so angry.
Update, July 2: The Wall Street Journal quotes the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Mike Leavitt , saying that because multiple countries and multiple agencies are involved in the investigation, “it shows the need for better cooperation.” No. It shows the need for a single food agency!
Update, July 3: I’ve just discovered USA Today’s nifty time line of the tomato saga.
I subscribe to Advertising Age because its writers are right on top of food trends, the latest of which appears to be encouraging people to eat more often. Fast food chains, it seems, are pushing “Linner,” the eating occasion between lunch and dinner. Take a look at what the suggestions are and take a guess at the calories. This must derive from Taco Bell’s Fourth Meal idea of a year or so ago. You know the rule: the more times a day you eat, the more calories you eat. Actually, the kicker on this one is the link with alcohol–the more times a day you eat, the more beer (or whatever) you drink. Enjoy!
Center for Science in the Public Interest has posted a collection of photos of New York City menu boards with calorie labeling. Take a look and see what you think of how this requirement is working.
Thanks to Mark Douglas of Culinate.com for sending me his site’s new interactive map of farmers’ markets in the United States. I have no idea how his group acquired this information but you can type in your community and up pops a list of local markets with maps to find them. I tried Ithaca, New York, and up popped the terrific local institution right there on the Cayuga inlet.