{weekend reading} National Edition

To be honest, there isn’t much “good” food news to report. Between the food safety bill S.510 at its final stages of life, the Humane Society’s report of Smithfield’s pork facilities, the overwhelming use of antibiotics in factory farmed meats and the absolutely absurd attacks on the Healthy, Hungry-Free Kids Act and First Lady Michelle Obama, there is not much to be jolly about. Of course I have dug around to find nice stories, so it won’t be all doom & gloom…promise. That said, there is too much news to report so there is no “recipe” section this week… I’ll try to put together a holiday food recipe link-love early this week. -Christina


Let’s start off with the worst news first. The Humane Society came out with a report and undercover video footage of a SMITHFIELD pork plant, in Virginia, that is (unfortunately not surprising) causing terrible pain and suffering, outright abuse, to gestating pigs and their young. No matter how enlightened I am about the horrors of factory farming, I still cried all the way through the video. It is VERY hard to stomach, on the Humane Society link you can scroll down to the written report.

There have been lots of articles written on the video/report, so I will give a brief listing of best-of articles to read. First, Mark Bittman is amazing. As for my daily blog readings, Bittman broke the story to me. I hadn’t seen it anywhere else before his brief but oh-so-simple-and-compassionate-and-logical post hit the blogosphere. From his post: “Any industry (and Smithfield is hardly alone, though it does seem to be performing most egregiously) that operates with such infuriating disregard for the welfare of their animals deserves all the trouble we can muster.” Go Mark Go! I already banned factory farmed meat in the house so for my teeny–tiny contribution to the ongoing issue, I “liked” Smithfield’s Spokesperson, Paula Deen, so I could post a plea to STOP associating and getting a paycheck from Smithfield immediately. Looks like she (really her publicity agency) is getting an ear-full on her Facebook page. Join the fun!

Other Smithfield abuse coverage on The Atlantic. Grub Street Grist San Francisco Chronicle The Nation A wonderful post by David Kirby on The Huffington Post and finally, Des Moines Register has an article with Smithfield’s response.

In second place for bad food (and safety) news is S.510 impending death... Looks like Tea Party and other anti-government members will have their way and the bill will die at the feet of the Senate since their Constitutional snafu a few weeks ago. Two information-packets posts that overview the current issues are at Food Safety News and at Bill Marler’a blog. UPDATE 12/19/10: 8:55pm, Senate passed the bill in a surprise Sunday night vote. The Hill reports.

The next big food story of the week is the FDA released the numbers for antibiotic use in factory farm land for 2009. They have never demanded producers for the numbers before, so there isn’t any baseline but the number is 29 million pounds. Here’s the FDA Antibiotics Report 12/08/10 Of course, here’s some articles on it- Grist Food Safety News and Dr. Marin Nestle

I will only post one story on the actions taken by the Tea Party to slander First Lady’s hard work to get the Healthy Hungry-Free Kids Act passed. It’s to Obama Foodorama, where there is a play-by-play, and video, of all the nasty stuff going around the internet. Makes me sick.

Another story in the How-Bad-Can-It-Get-Catagory (fasinating story- must read), a Beakeeper released an EPA internal memo, dated November 2, 2010 stating that “Colony Collaspse Disorder” is caused by a pesicide made by the Bayer CropScience’s clothianidin. The initial story here on Alternet. GardenRant with a wonderful follow-up.

In local not-such-great-news. The Pioneer, Troy Community Food Co-op is in financial trouble. Layoffs have occurred and an emergency meeting with owners happened this past week. The leaked email sent from the Co-op’s Board to its members was really bad in my opinion- way to alienate people, NOT the way to bring people together for a cause. Read all about it in multiple articles. Times Union’s Business Section. TU Blog and finally, All Over Albany.

Another bit of local news, Emma Willard received Fair Trade Status- nice job students!!!

CDC came out with new estimates on how many people get food bourne illnesses… 1 in 6 people. YIKES! Read about it on a bunch of different sites. Let’s start with New York Times. Bill Marler on Huffington Post. Baltimore Sun. Finally, the best article on this topic goes to….Dr. Marion Nestle’s account & analysis. Its a must read.

One last Dr. Marion Nestle article for the week, kuddos to her for bringing this great article in the NYTimes about food corporations buying silence in the form of donations to non-profits to my attention and giving her own take on the situation.

The “End Times” have arrived…. big brands are using the borough (my borough) as a marketing “Brand”. The end times are indeed here….barf. NY Times reports… and have a barf bag handy when reading.

Finally, on the doom & gloom side of things, Tom Philpott at Grist has a great story about smashing the perception that cheap food does not equal a better quality of life.

Okay. Onto happier or at least “lighter” stories….

The Science of Cooking Guru, Harold McGee is interviewed for Wall Street Journal…facinating man. He has a new book out, Keys to Good Cooking. Can’t wait to get my hands on it.

For a little holiday humor & design, take a visual journey through “Let It Dough” by Illustrator, Christoph Niemann.

Will Write for Food Author and speaker and blogger, Dianna Jacob, poses the question “Are Food Blogs too Much Work?”

A story that warms my heart. An Orange County Jail (California) inmate claims Seinfeld’s fictious holiday “Festivus” to get better meals at chow time. Perfection. LA Times reports.

A story of a single rental kitchen in Queens which many start-up food businesses use. In the face of being laid off, people created food businesses, inspiring.

Top 10 Food Trends for 2011 is out… Cannning, Local, Preserving, Local, Local, Local, Local… read up!

Famed chef Nate Appleman is now working for Chipotle to take the brand to the next level; fresher ingredients & cooking techniques.. NICE!

Another must read, is this facinating story of an accidental citrus farmer in New Orleans. Truly amazing.

In “WOW” news, a farmer is trying his hand at GROWING coffee beans in California- ahh yeah!

The Table of Promise has a wonderful “Dear Tylenol” post for its overuse in food dyes.

Marissa at Food In Jars has a GREAT post on how creative one can be with canning recipes while being safe.

Food Curated has a short film on why & how to keep small local commercial fisherman is important.



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Categories: Food Policy News, Food Politics, Weekend Reading

Author:Christina

Finding her true calling, connecting people to their local foodshed, Christina is the Editor & Founder of From Scratch Club and a proud CSA Member & Market Crew member of Kilpatrick Family Farm. At the homestead, she is the Chef de Cuisine, Master Baker & Head Food Preservationist to her husband Charles and their 2 year old son, Miles Jae. Although always a supporter of local, sustainable, humane and whole foods, Chris is now on a serious mission to bring those principles into her kitchen due to Miles Jae’s multiple food allergy diagnosis, asthma and the rare disease, EE. All of her recipes are dairy, soy, tree nuts, peanuts, gluten/wheat, pea, corn & sesame free.

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5 Comments on “{weekend reading} National Edition”

  1. Anne
    December 20, 2010 at 3:46 pm #

    While I admit that I’m not very well-read on the subject, my understanding was that the S.510 would have made life very hard for non-commercial/large-scale farmers with some incredulous regulations. Since I’m all for small farms and local agriculture, I can’t say I’m too disappointed with the death of the bill. I know we need more regulations regarding food safety, but our main problem is how our government is in bed with all the big food companies. We need to get rid of a lot of this corruption before we can pass an effective bill.

    Just my two cents. Thanks for the post keeping me up to date.

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