February 22, 2013

The CLF Week in Links: Fish, Beef, Pork—Whom To Trust?

Robert Lawrence, MD

Robert Lawrence, MD

Director

Center for a Livable Future

Bhutan, going organic

First, the good news. Bhutan, the country that brought us the Gross National Happiness Index, plans to become the first country to turn its agriculture completely organic, banning the sales of pesticides and herbicides and relying on its own animals and farm waste for fertilizers. We look forward to new lessons in integrated pest management and ecologic agriculture from Bhutan.

Fraudulent fish. The nonprofit group Oceana has released findings from a study showing that about one third of fish sold in the U.S. is mislabeled. For example, in the tested samples labeled “red snapper,” 28 different species of fish were found. The study couldn’t determine where in the food chain the mislabeling arose, or whether it was deliberate. You may follow @Oceana on Twitter.

Funky fish. There’s a good chance that yellow perch in three Maryland rivers are being affected by toxic pollution. These rivers are tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay, which is very much challenged by hazardous chemicals released as a result of development, suburbanization, and the continual spread of asphalt pavement, which releases toxic hydrocarbons into surface waters with each storm event. You may follow stories like this on Twitter @BaltSunGreen.

Reduce meat consumption. A UN Environment Programme (UNEP) study urges people in the rich world to halve their meat consumption, and become “demitarians.” The UNEP study gives a clear picture of how farming practices are destroying the natural world. Here’s a CLF blogpost about another option, “flexitarianism.” And of course, Meatless Monday is a great way to ease into halving meat consumption.

Superbugs on Chinese pig farms. Chinese researchers and colleagues from Michigan State University analyzed manure from three commercial pig farms in China, where antibiotic use is “unchecked,” and found 149 “unique” antibiotic-resistant genes in the commercial farm manure, three times more than in the control samples.

Pork, be inspired? In an article that sounded as if might have been published in The Onion, read about the pork industry’s new pork social network. So far, it seems to be mostly an offering of recipes, coupons, and contests. If you’re curious, follow on Twitter @allaboutpork. We might all want to send them some links of our own.

Horse meat, continued. It’s with pain and pleasure that I watch the meat industry twist over this scandal. Read this article for what is perhaps the funniest—and distinctly British—headline. If you’d like to see how Americans make fun of the shameful business, watch The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart here.

The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food. Here’s a fascinating article that takes us inside the corporate battle for “stomach share.” It’s adapted from Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us, which will be published by Random House this month, written by Michael Moss, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 2010 for his reporting on the meat industry.

Fish on PAPs. The European Union will once again allow fish feed to be made from ground-up pigs or chickens, aka processed animal proteins (PAPs). Their use was banned in 1997 during the mad cow epidemic. This seems a slippery slope; there’s talk of re-introducing the use of pig PAPs in chicken feed and chicken PAPs in pig feed.

Food chain worker justice. Saru Jayaraman, author of Behind the Kitchen Door, was recently interviewed by Soledad O’Brien on CNN. The book puts the issue of restaurant wages squarely in the middle of the industrial food system. Watch the interview here, and follow @rocunited on Twitter.

Kale for sale. In the spirit of closing with good news, I’m very excited to announce that we’ll be selling the vegetables—mainly salad greens and kale—that we’ve grown in our Aquaponics Project. They’ll be sold on March 1 at the Waverly Farmers’ Market in Baltimore.

Photo: Douglas J. McLaughlin, Wikimedia Commons

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