Saturday and I've got to work the 20th Annual Santa Barbara Wine Festival version.
Congressmen ask Safeway about carbon monoxide-treated meat
Safeway received a letter June 26 from Rep. John D. Dingell, D-Michigan, chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Michigan, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations "demanding that Safeway Stores and three major meat packaging companies respond to concerns about the public health risks posed by meat treated with carbon monoxide," according to a press release issued by Dingell and Stupak - EastBay BizJournal
Bee deaths may cause $75 billion in losses
A mysterious disorder that has killed millions of bees could cause $75 billion in economic losses in the U.S., Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said.
The malady, known as Colony Collapse Disorder, already threatens $14.6 billion in pollinated crops in the U.S., Johanns said today in a speech at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's main office in Washington.- ChiTownTribune
F.D.A. Curbs Sale of 5 Seafoods Farmed in China
In the latest move against Chinese imports, the Food and Drug Administration yesterday effectively blocked the sale of five types of farm-raised seafood from China because of repeated instances of contamination from unapproved animal drugs and food additives.
The F.D.A. said it decided to take the action after years of warnings (YEARS?????) and even a visit to Chinese fish ponds that resulted in no signs of improvement. - NYTimes
Dems: Investigate Cheney for role in salmon die-off
West Coast Democrats called for a hearing Wednesday into the role Vice President Dick Cheney may have played in the 2002 die-off of about 70,000 salmon near the California-Oregon border.
An article in The Washington Post on Wednesday said Cheney played a crucial role in developing a 10-year water plan for the Klamath River that courts later called arbitrary and in violation of the Endangered Species Act. Democrats charged that Cheney's action resulted in the largest adult salmon kill in the history of the West. - Seattle Times
Kentucky facing a shortage of vets to treat large animals
Kentucky has 47,000 farms spread through 120 counties, but 25 counties don't have a large-animal veterinarian, according to the numbers from the vet associations.
A recent Kentucky Farm Bureau meeting attracted farmers, vets and state legislators who attempted to address the shortage.
Marshall Coyle, the farm bureau's president, said healthier animals also contribute to safer food sources for humans.
"When you talk about animal health, you can't do that without thinking about food safety," Coyle said. - Kentucky.com
Red State Welfare (Renegade Lunch Lady posts the NYTimes "Select" editorial)
The farm bill sets the rules for the American food system and helps to subsidize obesity. It rewards growers of big commodity crops like corn, soybeans and wheat — the foundation of our junk food nation. So, a bag of highly processed orange puff balls with no nutritional value is cheaper than a tomato or a peach. Wonder why.
The reformists, by and large, are not trying to get in on the gravy train. They want to revitalize rural America, to encourage farmers’ markets, contribute to environmental health and to make it easier for poor people to buy fresh fruits and vegetables.
In Congress, Jeff Flake, a maverick Republican from Arizona who angered party leaders by taking on earmarks, and Ron Kind, a Democrat who represents dairy country in Wisconsin, are leading the charge. There is likely to be a huge fight later this summer, because the old guard who protect the farm lobby are embedded deep in the early-stage committees.
Consumers have until Tuesday to weigh in on a federal proposal to change or eliminate labeling of irradiated food.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has proposed that the food industry could substitute different words for "irradiation" on packaging, including, in some instances, the word "pasteurized." The agency also is considering eliminating the "radura" symbol now required on irradiated food packaging.
Though its use is limited, irradiation has been embraced by industry and a number of health organizations as a means of killing harmful bacteria such as E. coli. Irradiation does not make food radioactive. - The Oregonian
Congrats to Sandy and Rossie Fisher!
Sandy and Rossie Fisher of Brookview Farm in Manakin-Sabot, Virginia, have received AFT’s 2007 Steward of the Land Award for their leadership in farmland protection and environmental stewardship.
AFT’s Steward of the Land Award is given annually in memory of AFT founder Peggy McGrath Rockefeller. The award honors an American farmer or farm family who demonstrates great leadership in conserving farmland and caring for the environment. The Fishers received an award check of $10,000 that they intend to put toward conservation causes.- American Farmland Trust
Farm-to-Cafeteria programs in the works in Kansas
Hoping to teach youngsters to eat healthy while putting more dollars into the pockets of local farmers, groups across the country have been promoting so-called Farm-to-Cafeteria programs.
More than 1,000 schools in more than 30 states are active in the movement and Kansas is taking early, tentative steps to try to emulate the successes of programs such as one in Oklahoma, which is drawing attention nationwide.
"When I was a kid, my grandparents had a huge garden...but a lot of kids today their parents or grandparents don't garden so they don't have that connection with what a honeydew melon really tastes like. They don't know that a honeydew melon is not supposed to taste like a cucumber," said Chris Kirby, who runs the Oklahoma Farm to School Program at the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture. - Arkcity.net
Yet another dietary mantra is gaining traction across Vermont -- "eat local" -- as more and more people are expanding their vegetable gardens, buying directly from farmers, and trying to relearn food preservation techniques that most Vermonters have long since forgotten.
All of which raises obvious questions:
-- Could Vermont really feed itself? - Burlington Free Press
Listening to peaches: LA Times food columnist Russ Parsons joins Terry Gross to talk about the history of cherries and apples, ripeness versus maturity, and other produce-related topics. (Fresh Air from NPR)
Montana farmer explains his reasons for organic farming
The reasons for organic farming are as multiple as the crops one can grow.
...Organic farming is not a "silver bullet" for all your problems. However, the risks associated to organic production are ones I feel I can manage and control. The Prarie Star
Rewarding fertilizer pollution with crop subsidies
U.S. taxpayers are, in effect, subsidizing the Gulf of Mexico’s dead zone, an area of coastal waters where dissolved-oxygen concentrations fall to less than 2 parts per million every summer, according to a paper published today on ES&T’s website (DOI: 10.1021/es070179e). These findings don’t bode well for the Gulf, as more and more acres of land are planted with corn to meet the growing U.S. demand for alternative fuels. - ES&T
Rocky Takes On A New Opponent: Water Bottles
Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson is taking his fight against water bottles at city meetings to a national mayors conference.
Anderson is cosponsoring a resolution being presented today at the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Los Angeles. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak are joining Anderson in calling for a study of the impact of bottled water on cities' budgets and waste-disposal systems.- KUTV.com
The right to know: irradiated food labels.
For more than 40 years, a small part of the food supply in the U.S. has been treated with powerful radiation. Currently it is labeled. But the FDA is proposing to relax labeling requirements. Living On Earth.
Texas bats prevent millions in crop damage.
Scientists gathered at the cave about 100 miles northwest of Austin are heralding the Mexican free-tailed bats as nature's pesticide. Fort Worth Star-Telegram