Friday, July 21


Here's an interesting development: The Center for Science in the Public Interest has put out a book and Web site, Six Arguments for a Greener Diet, and although I'm sure there are disclaimers and/or qualifications in the full book, the overall impression one gets from the site is that "Eating Green" is "Eating Vegan." The key arguments don't just target meat but dairy and eggs as well, and they don't meander into esoterica like the exploitation of banana pickers in other countries - what they do is absolutely slam animal products and prescribe plant-based alternatives.

Take a look at this "Eating Green Calculator," allowing you to calculate the impact of your diet. For vegans the answers to all the "how much" questions are "zero," because the bad foods are all animal products. Or this "Tour of the Food Supply" that provides a visual interface as well as damning factoids on how animal agriculture is related to illness and environmental degradation. Also, CSPI's definition of "green" factors in animal-welfare issues as a key element. And the project is putting out new data from their own calculations, such as "the saturated fat and cholesterol in animal products are responsible for about 65,000 fatal heart attacks every year." This is a big step forward for an organization that has leaned toward vegan solutions but always very loudly maintained a fig leaf of "low-fat dairy products" or "fish, a couple times a week" to show they weren't in league with us wild-eyed extremists. I'll have to see the book to find out if they go the next step of actually using the word "vegan."

Thursday, July 20


Here's a head-scratcher that either shows how dim consumers are or how entrenched our meat-protecting agriculture agency is - or maybe both: The story is that at least 29 people have fallen ill "after eating frozen chicken entrees that weren't cooked long enough to kill salmonella bacteria." Minnesota officials are urging consumers not to just microwave the chicken products, as specified on their packaging, but to bake them in the oven until they're at least 165 degrees. Um, aren't these "convenience" foods? Anyway, the kicker is that these products have already been recalled - "The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a limited recall in March 2006 after the salmonella outbreak was identified. However, epidemiologists have found that new cases of illness continue to occur" - so consumers are being told, "don't eat that, throw it out. But if and when you disregard that and eat it, be sure to cook it in the oven." Meat-eaters are funny that way.

Tuesday, July 18


Since I'm always alerting you to meat recalls you may not have heard about, in the interest of equal time it's worth noting that certain batches of "Vegan Parmesan Flavor Grated Soy Topping" are being recalled. So you see, it's not true that only animal products have this problem of inherent danger. Vegan products can too.

The Vegan Parmesan is being recalled "because the product may contain traces of undeclared milk ingredients."