These cattle are eating more than grain -- antibiotics are routinely part of their feed.Photo: CistalAnimals in factory farms get daily doses of antibiotics, both to keep them alive in their stressful, unsanitary conditions and to make them grow faster. What's the annual volume of antibiotic use on factory farms? The question is a critical one, because the practice has given rise to a novel strain of antibiotic-resistant staph (MRSA), known as ST398, that's widely present in our vast hog and chicken factories.
Well, federal regulators have for years ignored the question and refused to release estimates of just how much antibiotics the livestock industry burns through. But that ended yesterday, when the FDA released its first-ever report on the topic. The answer: 29 million pounds in 2009. According to ace public-health reporter Maryn McKenna, that's a shitload. (I'm paraphrasing her.)
This week, California, which has among the most rigorous pesticide regulations in the nation, approved methyl iodide for use. This came despite the unanimous findings of its own scientific panel against approval of the chemical. California Watch quoted a member of this panel.
"It is my personal opinion that this decision will result in serious harm to California citizens, and most especially to children," wrote panel member Theodore Slotkin, a professor of pharmacology and cancer biology at Duke University.
An analysis of census data from the USDA by Food & Water Watch has found that such farms grew by 20 percent in the years between 2002 and 2007 (2007 had the most current census data available). That's faster than either of the two preceding five-year periods.
Today Federal District Judge Jeffrey S. White issued a preliminary injunction ordering the immediate destruction of hundreds of acres of genetically engineered (GE) sugar beet seedlings planted in September after finding the seedlings had been planted in violation of federal law. The ruling comes in a lawsuit filed by Earthjustice and Center for Food Safety on behalf of a coalition of farmers, consumers, and conservation groups. The lawsuit was filed on September 9, shortly after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) revealed it had allowed the seedlings to be planted.
They aren’t here for their beauty or as a cash crop — they are a key pest control strategy down on the organic farm.
Research here on wild sunflowers, he says, shows they are home to lady beetles and parasitic wasps, which are good bugs that kill bad bugs.
“The sunflowers help us provide a bed-and-breakfast for beneficial insects and keep them going year round,” he said. “And native sunflowers are a lot better at it than domestic. There’s a lot more insect biodiversity in wild sunflowers.”
Grass-based organic dairy farming promotes cow health, enhances milk quality, and lightens the environmental footprint of dairy farming. Reproductive health problems on high-production, grain-based dairies lead to fewer and longer lactations, increasing costs and cutting lifelong production and revenue,
Organic systems promote cow health and longevity by placing less stress on cows and feeding them healthier forage-based diets, while also improving the nutritional quality of milk, according to a new report released today by The Organic Center, Bolder, Colo.
The Senate made substantial progress on the pending Food Safety Bill Wednesday. To move the sweeping food bill forward, the upper chamber voted 74-25 to limit debate, circumventing Sen. Tom Coburn's (R-OK) objection. And key stakeholders resolved the two controversial issues that have plagued the bill: bisphenol A and small farm exemptions.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein's (D-CA) amendment--which originally aimed to ban the chemical bisphenol A, or BPA, in all food containers, but had since been scaled back to only containers meant for infants and small children--officially kicked the can.
The Tester-Hagan Amendment, on the other hand, remains a real possibility. The amendment, introduced by Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) and supported by Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC), would exempt farms and food producers that either fit the FDA's definition of "very small business," sell most of their products directly to consumers, restaurants, or retailers within state lines or within 400 miles that have annual sales of less than half a million dollars.
But there's a particular type of fast food that goes back just a half-century, dating to the post-war rise of car-centered cities and suburbs. It relies on regimentation, weird additives, flavor "engineering," super-cheap (but highly subsidized) ingredients, and super-expensive marketing. I won't bore you with why I think this type of fast food sucks; wouldn't want to be labeled a food snob!
But let's talk about that marketing. Yale's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity has just put out an extraordinary report [PDF] on fast-food industry marketing.
Here's the report's headline number: $4.2 billion, which is how much the industry spent marketing its wares in 2010.
Sandy Lerner has starred in a second and a third.
After being fired from the Silicon Valley computer networking company in 1990, six years after she helped start it, Lerner created a line of punk cosmetics she later sold for a hefty profit.
Now 55, the no-nonsense entrepreneur, self-described cattleman and onetime socialist is deep into her third career.
She runs Ayrshire Farms near Middleburg. The $7 million-a-year business includes 3,000 certified organic, certified humane, heritage-breed turkeys now giving their lives for next week's Thanksgiving holiday.
The USDA said its EA has been drafted in response to a request from KWS SAAT AG and Monsanto – currently the only supplier of GM sugar beets – for administrative action to allow continued cultivation of Roundup Ready sugar beets under certain conditions.
Deputy administrator for the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service APHIS biotechnology regulatory services Michael Gregoire said in a statement: “APHIS takes its role in protecting plant health very seriously and is well aware of the importance of this decision for sugar beet growers and processors. We are issuing this environmental assessment to share our decision-making process as transparently as possible and allow for public comment.”