July 3, 2014
Big Pharma says it’s fully cooperating with FDA’s Guidance 213.
Voluntary reduction of antibiotic use? The FDA has announced triumphantly that all 26 of the animal drug manufacturers that fall under the agency’s policy for phasing out the use of medically important antibiotics to promote growth in livestock have committed to moving forward with the government’s approach outlined in voluntary Guidance #213. As we’ve noted before, Guidance #213 does not require that sales data be made public, so in essence the American public has no way of knowing if the problem of antibiotic misuse in food animals is getting better. What we need is a formal mechanism for evaluating Read More >
June 25, 2014
Good Food Gathering, June 2014
While 22.9% of Baltimore City’s population is food insecure, excess crops can be found rotting on farms throughout Baltimore County. The need is clearly demonstrated, and so is the waste, but there are plenty of people and groups trying to help. Some of these people met at the Franciscan Center on June 12 to discuss how to supply nutritious foods to those in need.
This Good Food Gathering was the third in a series of four conducted by the Baltimore Food and Faith Project. The first two meetings Read More >
June 20, 2014
Bacteria in squid. In response to this Washington Post article about antibiotic-resistant bacteria found in squid, CLF-Lerner Fellow Patrick Baron and I published a letter to the editor. The original article should have done a better job explaining that the bacteria found is pretty dire stuff: a common foodborne bacteria was found to be resistant to carbapenem antibiotics, which are a “last resort” drug for antibiotic resistant infections in human medicine—and to be carrying new resistance genes not seen before in the U.S. food system. If those genes start spreading around the food system and associated communities of bacteria, we could quickly start seeing a much higher prevalence of carbapenem-resistant human pathogens, including E. coli strains causing UTIs that suddenly cannot be treated by even our most powerful and critical antibiotics. Read More >
June 16, 2014
To understand what’s at stake with a forthcoming trade treaty, we can take a look at a tale from Down Under. The story of Philip Morris Asia Limited v. The Commonwealth of Australia begins in 1993, when the governments of Australia and Hong Kong signed a trade agreement. Fast forward to 2011, when Australia passed the Tobacco Plain Packaging Act, a groundbreaking public health measure that requires all cigarettes to be sold in dull, brown packages, with no company logos. It was the world’s first legislation to remove branding from cigarette boxes. Philip Morris’s response was to calculate the law’s impact on profits and sue for damages. The arbitration with Philip Morris is ongoing. Read More >
June 10, 2014
I finally made it out to see Fed Up this weekend. Slightly after the media hype has passed, but still pretty early for me since I rarely make it out to the movies. I followed a lot of the initial discussions about Fed Up on Twitter and they were already raising a lot of red flags for me. Unfortunately, the movie pretty much lived up to my concerns.
The movie obviously has a lot of positives, the most important in my opinion being the focus on advertising. I completely agree that Read More >
June 6, 2014
Do these labels contribute to food waste?
Food fight. This Politico story provides an excellent review of the school lunch standards fight going on right now. I wrote about this two weeks ago, but the struggle is ongoing. The School Nutrition Association (SNA) has made an enemy of First Lady Michelle Obama by supporting Republicans in their attempt to relax federal school lunch standards. From Politico: “SNA’s decision to aggressively lobby for a controversial rider in a House agriculture appropriations bill that would force the USDA to give schools waivers from the nutrition standards next school year has Read More >
June 2, 2014
Mosquito fish dart beneath the plants at the Aquaponics Project / L. GENELLO
The greenhouse enclosing the CLF Aquaponics Project affords us many advantages over farming in a field, including season-defying winter growing potential. However, even inside a greenhouse, a farmer’s control over nature is only an illusion. This is most evident when it comes to pest control. Despite our plastic roof, or perhaps because of it, we attract swarms of insect visitors year-round.
While there are many different greenhouse designs, including some that feature bug screening and double-entry doors for biosecurity, our greenhouse is far simpler. It has roll up sides Read More >
May 29, 2014
Protesters find Ronald McDonald guilty of providing low wages and poor working conditions in a “trial” outside a McDonald’s in Seoul, South Korea. / FastFoodGlobal.org
The fast-food workers’ uprising that began 18 months ago has expanded to become a global salvo against inequality, with workers striking in 33 countries on May 15. Fast-food CEOs are paid 1,200 times as much as workers in that industry. That’s more than four times the amount of CEO-to-worker inequality in the U.S. economy as a whole, which already has an outrageous level of pay disparity.
It is easy to see pay disparity as an issue of economic fairness, but less intuitive to see it as a health issue. But, countries that have more economic inequality have been shown to have worse health outcomes and Read More >
May 23, 2014
Making cane syrup, 1981 / State Archives of Florida
Is junk food the new tobacco? And is sugar the new crack cocaine? The World Health Assembly convenes in Geneva this week and next, and two organizations, Consumers International and the World Obesity Foundation, are calling on the international community to tackle diet-related diseases using the same strategies that have been used to target tobacco. They’ve issued a 19-page report with recommendations such as improving nutrition labeling and imposing stricter regulations on food marketing. This is from the report’s introduction: “Ten years after the launch of the WHO Global Strategy on Diet Physical Activity and Health, no country has succeeded in significantly reversing the rising tide of obesity or diabetes. Read More >
May 21, 2014
This is the third post in a series about food waste.
In the time it takes you to read this sentence, 16,872 pounds of food have been wasted in the U.S. A large portion of food grown in America is wasted every year because it is too expensive for farmers to harvest their excess yield.
In an activity known as “gleaning,” community members harvest excess produce. And the harvesters get to keep the food at no cost. Read More >