Friday, July 18


Because fewer farms are raising animals, the 350 million tons of manure they produce each year is being spread over smaller tracts of land, causing more of it to wind up in lakes, streams and rivers, according to a new study by the Agriculture Department. What's their solution? "Farmers need more land to spread manure," USDA study says. Of course. That's what precious land should be devoted to. Excess manure. To be paid for, once again, with your tax dollars: "Farmers are applying to the government for conservation money to help cover the costs of changing their manure management plans and operations."

And a California appeals court ruled Tuesday that California farms, which are a major source of air pollution in the state's Central Valley, should no longer be exempt from certain federal air quality rules. What's that? You didn't know they were exempt? Silly. This is America.
UPDATE 7/21: Big farms cause big stink Janet Kauffman of Lenawee County (Michigan) has found bacteria, such as E. coli, 20-30 times the state's limit in waterways. That's just one example from this contemplative piece.

Thursday, July 17


So says a new study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Women most at risk of breast cancer obtained, on average, 23 percent of calories from animal fat, versus 12 percent in the lowest-risk group, reports Reuters. Vegetable fats such as olive oil did not affect a woman's risk. "We found that it was not total fat but certain types of fat that was related to breast cancer risk," the study director said. In other words, "There was a higher risk of breast cancer among women who ate foods rich in animal fat such as red meat, cheese, ice cream and butter."
UPDATE 7/18: Yet another study, this one by Britain's Medical Research Council, published in The Lancet confirms: Evidence Mounts of Animal Fat, Breast Cancer Link

Wednesday, July 16


Don't think the meat industry has undue power over US lawmaking? OK, Reality check: The House voted this week "to exempt meat products from the country-of-origin labels ordered last year for a wide variety of foods, including fish, fruits and vegetables." This from the industry that's creating international incidents over where livestock did or did not originate. Priceless The Price is Right!

The joke is that this is clearly out of step with the mood of the populace: "Consumers are asking more questions now," says Marget Wittenberg. "They really want to get connected to their food and are looking for the answer." Even the fast-food industry is responding to calls for more social concern - perhaps with an eye to the bottom line, as the number of American teenagers not eating meat doubled last year, according to the BBC. Meanwhile, the government slumbers on, on a mattress stuffed with money.

Tuesday, July 15


Once again turning the tables on customers who are attacking the industry with lawsuits and bad restaurant reviews, the Burger Barons have stepped up retaliation: One customer at Arby's found fresh blood all over his roast beef sandwich (a warning, perhaps?) while a couple of McDonald's customers bit into broken glass on their burgers. And a fast food chain even killed a 7-year-old boy in Argentina, apparently, with the usual suspect, E.coli. So far no word whether it was McDonald's or Burger King, so the country shut down both of 'em. Wild times, man.

Monday, July 14


Here's one from last week that I almost missed: The World Health Organization and the Food and Agricultural Organization in Rome CUT BY HALF the recommended intake limits for expectant mothers of methylmercury, a toxic chemical found especially in predator fish such as shark and swordfish. So however much you thought you could get away with, halve it.