Posts Tagged "USDA"

Good riddance, pig McCrates

Posted by on Feb 14, 2012 | 0 comments

Good riddance, pig McCrates

McDonald’s just announced that they’re asking all suppliers to plan to phase out gestation crates, starting in June. Now, let’s face it, despite the popular (and somewhat disturbing) McRib, which seems to come and go from the restaurant’s menus in line with commodity pig prices, McD’s is not known for its pork products the way it’s known for its beef burgers and chicken-like McNuggets. It goes through a lot of bacon and sausage in it ┬ábreakfast products, however (as much as one percent of the U.S. pork supply), and its main supplier, Smithfield Farms (not...

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Small farmers, Monsanto, and recent trends in transgenic crops

Posted by on Feb 10, 2012 | 1 comment

Small farmers, Monsanto, and recent trends in transgenic crops

Manhattan seems an odd place for a protest by North America’s small farmers. But they were up in arms earlier this week, silently protesting in Foley Square that they’re unable to keep genetically modified, or “transgenic,” crops from their fields. The big issue is pollen drift from other farms. Wind carries pollen from crops like alfalfa, corn, and grass into neighboring fields, where it fertilizes the next generation of seed with the modified genes. Organic farmers and small farmers who don’t trust transgenic seed (which has been linked to herbicide resistance...

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Sugar cravings

Posted by on Feb 4, 2012 | 0 comments

Sugar cravings

On Thursday, the journal Nature published a brief comment about sugar by three faculty from UC San Francisco, who argue that sugar should be regulated by governments worldwide and severely limited in the foods we eat. They’re not crazy. There’s increasing evidence linking sugar consumption to diseases that we always thought were related to fat consumption–diabetes, hypertension, lipid problems, cardiovascular disease, and fatty liver disease, all components of what we now call “metabolic syndrome.” We’ve recently begun to understand that sugar may be even...

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High fructose corn syrup (HFCS)

Posted by on Feb 4, 2012 | 0 comments

High fructose corn syrup (HFCS)

Disclaimer: I lifted all this straight from Wikipedia. I thought it was actually a really great scientific summary of what the heck we’ve been eating all these years, and I expect my scientist brother to tell me if any of it is wrong. I especially appreciate how much effort we put into turning the syrup into fructose, considering how harmful we now know that it is… HFCS was first introduced by Richard O. Marshall and Earl R. Kooi in 1957. They were, however, unsuccessful in making it viable for mass production.┬áThe industrial production process and creation was made by Dr. Y....

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Why certify?

Posted by on Dec 14, 2011 | 0 comments

Why certify?

Yesterday I gave a talk at NYU about sustainability certification–organic, fair trade, and others. Some of the questions students had were really solid and thoughtful, which made me think it might be useful to post some responses and thoughts on the subject. Any stamp on a label is put there to tell you, the customer, something about the product. The price tag tells you how much someone wants you to pay. The ingredients list tells you what’s inside. The name “Chianti” tells you that the wine came from a certain part of Italy and contains certain grapes. “Fair...

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Milk 101

Posted by on Sep 2, 2011 | 0 comments

Milk 101

Am I the only one, or does anyone else find the task of choosing your milk from the infinite number of products out there these days–all boasting different qualities and health benefits–to be a daunting task? Sometimes I would catch myself standing in front of the dairy case motionless, for minutes at a time, contemplating whether or not it is more environmentally correct to buy the organic milk from California or the local generic milk, whether is healthier to buy the skim or the whole milk. Do I want my milk fortified with vitamins and fiber? What product is actually the most...

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No regulation for biotech grass

Posted by on Jul 6, 2011 | 0 comments

No regulation for biotech grass

In policy news: the Department of Agriculture decided this week that it doesn’t need to regulate a new, genetically modified Kentucky bluegrass. The grass is resistant to glyphosphate, so it will be a boon to homeowners who will be able to spray their yards with Round-Up to get rid of pesky dandelions. USDA didn’t say that this grass poses no risks–it only said that this isn’t under their jurisdiction. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) only regulates GM crops with genetic code from microbes or potential pests. What does this mean for...

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