Federal Agencies & Regulators

Krypton 81 helps track ancient water source of Nubian Aquifer, shared by Egypt, Libya, Chad and Sudan; technique could track brine in NM, where radioactive waste is stored

By Felicity Barringer

The New York Times 2011-11-21

EPA to probe fracking sites in PA, CO, LA, ND, TX to measure impact of drilling on entire water lifecycle, from taking water from rivers to sequestering tainted wastewater

By Dina Cappiello

The Associated Press; St. Louis Post-Dispatch 2011-11-03

Labeling genetically modified foods would scare consumers away from buying them, State Department says; virtually any U.S. food containing corn or soy would have to be labeled

By Philip Brasher

The Des Moines Register 2011-10-12

Processed food industry group says draft voluntary guidelines for advertising its items to children would cause loss of 74,000 jobs annually, billions in lost sales

By Marian Burros

Politco 2011-10-12

In Big Fix report on food system, researcher argues for folding good ideas into conventional system if they increase supply, reduce environmental damage, improve food security

By Justin Gillis

The New York Times 2011-10-12

High food prices mean feds providing less food to soup kitchens and food pantries even as need grows; USDA program props up prices for otherwise unsubsidized produce

By Philip Brasher

The Des Moines Register 2011-10-08

FDA will support sale of genetically engineered fish for human consumption, source says; environmental groups, some in Congress, oppose farming and sale of such fish

By Jim Kozubek

Talking Points Memo 2011-10-10

25 states, House GOPs, industry want delay of mercury, acid-gas emission rules for coal-fired power plants; less air, water pollution will reduce mercury in fish

By Timothy Gardnery

Reuters 2011-10-10

In mouse study, early exposure to ultrafine particulates of air pollution similar to those in U.S. cities led to accumulation of abdominal fat, insulin resistance with normal diet

By Amy Westervelt

Forbes 2011-10-10

As industry, Congress look to delay air pollution rules, research grows on pollution's link to obesity, diabetes; annually, obesity costs U.S. $270 billion; diabetes costs $174 billion

By Amy Westervelt

Forbes 2011-10-10

Opinion: As daily exposure to endocrine-disrupting toxins grows, academic scientists, clinicians need a place at regulatory table with EPA, FDA and industry scientists

By Patricia Hunt

Scientific American 2011-10-11

MyPlate, the federally recommended diet with abundance of fruits, vegetables, grains, doesn't jibe with federal pay to farmers who grow food for animals that become meat

By Arthur Allen

The Washington Post 2011-10-03

Hunger in U.S. cost $167.5 billion in 2010; figure includes lost productivity, poor education, added healthcare costs and food donations; expanding SNAP would cost less

By Rudy Ruitenberg

Bloomberg 2011-10-06

Enrolling overweight, prediabetic adults ages 60-64 in community-based weight-loss programs could save Medicare billions; diabetes costs U.S. $170 billion yearly

By Misty Williams

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution 2011-10-05

EPA proposal to cut mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants unites religious environmentalists, abortion foes; mercury in fish can cause prenatal brain, neurological damage

By Elizabeth Dias

Time magazine 2011-09-23

"ResistanceMap" tracks spread of antibiotic-resistant superbugs around the world online

By Rob Stein

The Washington Post 2011-09-21

As airline mergers reduce flights, Chiquita considers relocating from Cincinnati; airport's once-global access had lured P&G, Kroger to situate there, too

By Mike Ramsey

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2011-09-28

Opinion: To address medical costs, improve health, we must focus on policies in agriculture, transportation, energy, education that shape world beyond doctor's office

By Aaron Wernham

Roll Call 2011-09-26

70 percent of households that relied on food stamps last year had no earned income, though many received other government benefits; 47 percent were children

By Sara Murray

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2011-09-26

Opinion: Convenience, addiction-like responses to hyperprocessed items have drowned out home cooking; we can counter by educating children and tearing down the food carnival

By Mark Bittman

The New York Times 2011-09-24

U.S. spending billions of dollars to subsidize producers and others in business of corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, corn starch, soy oils - junk food ingredients

By P.J. Huffstutter

Los Angeles Times 2011-09-22

Number of Americans living below poverty line rose to record 46 million in 2010; those with no health insurance hovered at 49.9 million

By David Morgan

Reuters 2011-09-13

Opinion: Reviving home ec, and its premises - that producing good, nutritious food is profoundly important, that it takes study and practice - could fight diet-related disease

By Helen Zoe Veit

The New York Times 2011-09-05

Government inspectors continue to find unsanitary conditions and inadequate protections against salmonella on Iowa's egg farms - a year after 1,900 sickened from bacteria

By Clark Kauffman

The Des Moines Register 2011-08-28

Opinion: New school nutrition law meant to improve food, but final rules aren't due until December 2013, and House is looking to cut funding of extra 6 cents per meal

By Marion Nestle

San Francisco Chronicle 2011-09-04

After intense lobbying campaign by industry, administration abandons plan to cut ozone limits; toxin contributes to heart problems, asthma, other lung disorders

By John M. Broder

The New York Times 2011-09-02

Researchers find Monsanto's Roundup chemical, glyphosate, in water, air; study follows others that probe rise of super weeds, other effects of toxin on soil, animals

By Carey Gillam

Reuters 2011-08-31

Without investment, water supply crises will become increasingly common, UN says; recycling, new dams, desalination plants, water policy reforms needed

The Associated Press; The New York Times 2011-08-26

Half of U.S. residents will be obese by 2030, report says; governments, other groups urged to monitor, prevent, control obesogenic environment that undermines willpower

By Jennifer Huget

The Washington Post 2011-08-25

Water limits are close to being reached or being breached in areas of northern China, India's Punjab and western U.S., says report that urges farming overhaul

Reuters; BusinessWorld (Manila, Philippines) 2011-08-24

Concurrent national outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg, discovery of clone of Salmonella Kentucky, underline rising danger of drug-resistant organisms in food supply

By Maryn McKenna

Wired 2011-08-03

Affordable "MyPlate" would be filled with lentils, cabbage, eggs and carrots, followed by oranges, apples, bananas, says researcher studying poverty-diet link

By Eliza Barclay

National Public Radio 2011-08-04

Policy makers underestimate economic impacts of GHG emissions - not $21 per ton, but closer to $900 per ton - costing nation up to $5.3 trillion annually, reports suggest

By Douglas Fischer

Daily Climate 2011-07-13

Bush-era EPA mischaracterized science on sensitivity of various age groups to perchlorate, a rocket fuel component tainting soil and drinking water, report says

By Bettina Boxall

Los Angeles Times 2011-07-12

Biggest food makers, fast-food chains, media companies and Chamber of Commerce lobby to derail voluntary nutrition standards on salt, sugar, fat in kid-targeted products

By Lyndsey Layton and Dan Eggen

The Washington Post 2011-07-09

Feds could begin battling obesity with financial policies that make healthy foods cost less, by changing agricultural subsidies, and by restricting marketing, says expert

By Melissa Healy

Los Angeles Times 2011-07-07

Obesity rate climbs in all states, disproportionately affecting those with poor education and income, and minorities; report emphasizes need for affordable healthy foods

By Melissa Healy

Los Angeles Times 2011-07-07

EPA head left with only science, loyal lieutenants as she sets rules on smog, mercury, carbon dioxide, mining waste and vehicle emissions that will affect all corners of economy

By John M. Broder

The New York Times 2011-07-05

Floods layer sediment on floor of Mississippi River, slowing traffic and adding costs to imports, exports of corn, soybeans, coffee, oil and coal, but dredging funds are dry

By Cameron McWhirter

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2011-07-05

Growth in food stamp program continues, with 27 states providing SNAP benefits to at least 1 in 7 people; in MS, NM, OR, rate is 1 in 5

By Phil Izzo

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2011-07-01

Opinion: To advocate for better food, vote with your fork, vote with your vote, and take on school lunches and the farm bill

By Marion Nestle

San Francisco Chronicle 2011-07-03

Opinion: Paul Ryan's draconian budget plan might not be best way to tackle federal deficit, but approach could help solve nation's obesity crisis

By Hank Cardello

The Atlantic magazine 2011-07-01

Opinion: Global security challenges - food, water, energy - are inextricably linked, so need for systemic thinking and action is inescapable

By John Elkington

The Guardian (UK) 2011-06-29

Philadelphia School District closes kitchens at 26 elementary and middle schools to help bridge a $629 million budget gap, affecting 16,681 children, mostly in poorest areas

By Kristen A. Graham

The Philadelphia Inquirer 2011-06-30

Increasing demand for biofuels made from grains, sugar, vegetable oil, cassava means that tightness in one crop market translates to tightness in others, driving food prices up

By Tim Searchinger

Scientific American 2011-06-16

Graphic footage shows workers tossing piglets, smashing their skulls on concrete at nation's fourth-largest pork producer, but it may qualify as "standard practice"

By Alexandra Silver

Time magazine 2011-06-29

Year-in, year-out price tag of our increasingly volatile weather is $485 billion per year in the U.S. alone, up to 3.4 percent of our GDP

By Tara Thean

Time magazine 2011-06-27

Opinion: Fracking for natural gas from shale has potential to transform U.S. energy production if risks to water supply, environment and human health are managed

The editors

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2011-06-25

Radioactive tritium has leaked from at least 48 of all 65 U.S. nuclear power stations, raising fears of water tainting; regulators, industry loosen standards to keep plants operating

By Jeff Donn

The Associated Press; MSNBC.com 2011-06-21

Opinion: As commodity prices show, it will be economic impact of climate change and resource limits that will motivate sweeping changes necessary to avert catastrophe

By Paul Gilding

CNN 2011-06-21

Diners' sticker shock pushes chain restaurants into reworking recipes to cut back on fat, calories, carbohydrates

By Sharon Bernstein

Los Angeles Times 2011-06-22

New proposed rule would criminalize water dumping - practice of discarding contents of beverages bought with food stamps to collect cash from water tank deposits

By Monica Eng

Chicago Tribune 2011-06-17

Obama administration's new health strategy emphasizes prevention, asks country to think of health care as including cleaner water, easier access to good food

By Juliana Schatz and Don Sapatkin

The Philadelphia Inquirer 2011-06-17

Acorn-loving feral pig population growing in California county; feds consider hunting and trapping them, citing threat to deer, turkey, other bird populations and to oak habitats

By Tony Perry

Los Angeles Times 2011-06-05

Opinion: USDA's plate-plus message works better than anything presented before, so now it's time for Congress to fix agricultural policies so they support the recommendations

By Marion Nestle

San Francisco Chronicle 2011-06-05

Farmers, wise to reports of dead or quarantined livestock, anguish over possible effects of fracking to their livelihood while EPA claims no jurisdiction over food production matters

By Barry Estabrook

Gilt Taste 2011-05-14

Sales of "functional foods," also called "credence goods" totaled $37.3 billion in U.S. in 2009, up from $28.2 billion in 2005; critics say shoppers are being bamboozled by ads

By Natasha Singer

The New York Times 2011-05-14

EPA orders ambitious cleanup of Chicago River, urban waterway treated as little more than industrialized sewage canal for 100+ years

By Michael Hawthorne

Chicago Tribune 2011-05-12

Opinion: We need to support sweeping regulatory change to our main chemical safety law, and make chemical companies demonstrate their products are safe before sale to us

By Dominique Browning

The New York Times 2011-05-09

Opinion: We need legal action, not voluntary guidelines that request compliance from a blame-the-victim industry that pushes ultra-processed, unhealthful junk food-like products

By Mark Bittman

The New York Times 2011-05-03

Opinion: U.S. food production system depends upon widespread ignorance, but poor and working people most need new food system; they are sold unhealthiest foods and can least afford resulting medical problems

By Eric Schlosser

The Washington Post 2011-04-29

Opinion: Nutrition professor says she now supports soda ban for $68 billion SNAP program and is impressed with WIC, which allows purchase of only restricted number of nutrient-rich foods

By Marion Nestle

San Francisco Chronicle 2011-05-01

Feds go to court to stop Amish farm in PA from selling unpasteurized milk; devotees say heat process kills good bacteria, but FDA says it protects public from salmonella, E. coli, listeria

By Stephen Dinan

The Washington Times 2011-04-28

Opinion: Beyonce's former gig as soda saleswoman, and now her work with Let's Move campaign shows why celebs with hopes of influencing kids shouldn't hawk junk food

By Melanie Warner

BNET 2011-04-13

Opinion: New Clean Water Act guidelines are first step in restoring safeguards to wetlands, streams threatened by development, pollution; EPA should convert them to rule

By the editors

The New York Times 2011-04-28

Administration to ask food firms to eliminate much of today's child-targeted advertising for unhealthy foods on TV, magazines, stores, internet

By Mary Clare Jalonick

The Associated Press; ABC News 2011-04-28

Opinion: If you're raising and killing 10 billion animals every year, animal abuse is guaranteed, especially with standard inhumane factory-farming practices, lack of actual laws

By Mark Bittman

The New York Times 2011-04-26

New food safety law needs funding but GOP looks to cut FDA budget; agency inspects only 1 percent of 10 million products, yet imports account for 60 percent of fresh fruits, vegetables and 80 percent of seafood

By Steven Gray

Time magazine 2011-04-24

School food providers have come under scrutiny over the last year for big rebates from processed food companies; in D.C., Chartwells-Thompson made at last $1 million

By Monica Eng

Chicago Tribune 2011-04-21

TVA to close 18 of its coal-burning generators, spend $3 billion to $5 billion on pollution controls on remaining units; emissions implicated in respiratory illness, acid rain, climate change

By Felicity Barringer

The New York Times 2011-04-14

Children exposed to high levels of organophosphates -pesticides sprayed on food crops - while in womb have lower I.Q. scores than their peers by school age, studies show

By Tara Parker-Pope

The New York Times 2011-04-21

Opinion: To avoid fiscal catastrophe and millions of premature deaths, prevent disease rather than treat it; build food distribution system that favors real food, and market it

By Mark Bittman

The New York Times 2011-04-12

Risks to humans, environment from glyphosate, key ingredient in Monsanto's top-selling weed killer worldwide, to be re-evaluated by U.S., Canadian regulators; results due in 2015

By Carey Gillam

Reuters 2010-04-08

Opinion: With bats saving U.S. farmers $22.9 billion a year in pesticides, it's crucial to fund research into cause, prevention of disease fatal to them - it will save a fortune later

The editors

The New York Times 2011-04-04

Letter to USDA head intensifies fight between those who see biotech as only way to feed rising population and those who fear that it produces food that is nutritionally lacking, environmentally dangerous

By P.J. Huffstutter

Los Angeles Times 2011-04-02

FDA panel rejects need for warnings on food coloring; use of the cheaper dyes, once made from coal tar but now derived from petroleum, has increased 50 percent since 1990

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2011-03-31

Levels of bisphenol A detected in human urine dropped by 66 per cent in just three days after subjects eliminated their exposure to canned and plastic packaging, research shows

By Rory Harrington

Food Production Daily 2011-03-31

To growing cadre of eaters who care how their food is produced, agriculture wars under way are operatic, pitting technology against tradition in a struggle underscored by politics, profits

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2011-03-23

Opinion: FDA panel to review research on behavioral effects of artificial dyes; those colorings often found in items fueling obesity epidemic that costs U.S. $270 billion yearly

By David W. Schab and Michael F. Jacobson

The Washington Post 2011-03-25

After drawing criticism for use of term "core inflation," Fed chair explains that higher food, energy prices add to inflation only if they cause sustained increases in other consumer prices

By Sudeep Reddy and Michael S. Derby

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2011-03-13

In case of deja vu, Erin Brockovich battles re-emergence of chromium in drinking water; utility is sending residents bottled water and expresses interest in buying affected homes

By Noaki Schwartz

The Associated Press; Los Angeles Times 2011-03-09

Long abandoned mercury mine that for decades has tainted fish and polluted creek that feeds into San Francisco Bay belongs on list of worst polluted places, feds say

By Jason Dearen

The Associated Press; Los Angeles Times 2011-03-11

As part of preventive health strategy, Surgeon General urges increased access to healthy foods, eliminating food deserts, establishing nutritional guidelines in schools and elsewhere

By Charles Fiegl

amednews.com 2011-03-07

EPA head vows to order testing for radioactivity at water treatment plants that receive fracking drilling wastewater as well as intake sites for drinking water downstream

By John Collins Rdolf

The New York Times 2011-03-03

Years of efforts by some lawmakers and regulators to force feds to better police natural gas industry thwarted; now lobbyists point to fuel independence, fewer emissions

By Ian Urbina

The New York Times 2011-03-04

U.S., Mexico unveil deal on dispute over cross-border trucking; requirements for Mexican trucks are tougher than those established in NAFTA and those for American truckers

By Elizabeth Williamson

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2011-03-04

As food, oil prices rise and ethanol plants return to use, debate intensifies on whether corn ethanol is good for planet, taxpayers, global food supply - even car engines

By P.J. Huffstutter

Los Angeles Times 2011-03-02

Opinion: Start cutting government fat by combining 15 federal agencies dealing with food safety - the same ones cited 10 years ago in report to Congress

The editors

Mercury News (San Jose, CA) 2011-03-01

Opinion: Might not a government aware of links between poor diets, obesity and diabetes yet stubbornly beholden to beef, sugar lobbies be accused of obfuscation, corruption?

By Jocelyn C. Zuckerman

The Atlantic magazine 2011-02-25

Lawmakers launch investigation into health risks of drilling for natural gas on public lands; critics of practice cite potential for drinking-water pollution, environmental damage

By Andrew Restuccia

The Hill 2011-02-28

Click on this link to vote on whether genetically modified foods, or foods containing those ingredients, should require labels

MSNBC 2011-02-25

With new varieties, researchers, agricultural agents hope to snatch portion of West Coast's $1 billion broccoli business; shoppers on East Coast would get fresher, cheaper vegetable

By Steve Szkotak

The Associated Press; Bloomberg 2011-02-21

Despite dangers of hydrofracking to health and environment, including radioactive contamination of drinking water sources for 6,800,000 people, EPA has not intervened

By Ian Urbina

The New York Times 2011-02-26

In Texas border town, Homeland Security Department fence slices through crop lands, citrus groves, pastures, even roads, trapping tens of thousands of acres in no man's land

By Richard Marosi

Los Angeles Times 2011-02-28

Food security fears, rising prices for corn, budget cuts by Congress among obstacles to growth of U.S. ethanol; nation leads world in production with 204 bio-refineries in 29 states

By Carey Gillam

Reuters 2011-02-21

Return of fast-food outlets is latest sign of changes made by U.S. Gen. David Petraeus, who took over command of U.S., coalition forces from Gen. Stanley McChrystal

By Matthew Rosenberg

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2011-02-21

Opinion: The students at Chicago Public Schools are right - in healthier lunches, they get cardboardy crusts, chalky macaroni salad, formaldehyde-scented lettuce, canned pears that taste like wet toilet paper

By Monica Eng

Chicago Tribune 2011-02-20

USDA releases atlas of rural and small-town America, concentrating on people, jobs and agriculture

United States Department of Agriculture 2011-02-18

Opinion: Possibility of taint from genetically modified alfalfa is low; farmers often cut hay before it flowers, and even if a cow producing organic milk ate GM alfalfa, impact would be benign

By James E. McWilliams

The Atlantic 2011-02-16

Opinion: With Monsanto's Roundup Ready Alfalfa, new kind of pollution is forced on us; it now affects majority of food produced in U.S., without our consent. We've said "No," but is anybody listening?

By Barbara Damrosch

The Washington Post 2011-02-16

Opinion: Government's unwillingness to label genetically modified foods and products that contain them is demeaning, undemocratic; without labeling, we have no say

By Mark Bittman

The New York Times 2011-02-17

Citing decades-long concealment of mining-related pollution to drinking water and environment, neighbors of abandoned copper mine file class-action suit against BP America, Atlantic Richfield Co.

The Associated Press; The New York Times 2011-02-15

As lower Mississippi fills with silt from upstream, Louisiana lawmakers press for more federal dredging funds; 60 percent of agricultural products exported go through river's mouth

By Cameron McWhirter

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2011-02-12

Opinion: In bipartisan move, lawmakers celebrate removal from House cafeteria of compostable flatware that bent under pressure like a pocket watch in a Salvador Dali painting

By Charlotte Allen

Los Angeles Times 2011-02-13

Opinion: Demand for biofuels is almost doubling challenge of producing more food, but economic studies imply that food prices should come down if we can limit biofuel growth

By Tim Searchinger

The Washington Post 2011-02-11

USDA resorts to imported wasps in attempt to control wildly thirsty invasive weed that has drained habitats, pushed species of fish to extinction and is taking over Rio Grande Valley

By Saul Elbein

The Texas Observer 2011-01-25

EPA may step up regulation of sewage discharge, urban pesticide runoff, selenium in farm drainage contributing to Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta's ecological collapse

By Bettina Boxall

Los Angeles Times 2011-02-10

USDA OKs ethanol-only biotech corn; food industry giants warn of crumbly corn chips, soggy cereal, soupy-centered bread if it enters food chain but Syngenta touts water, energy, chemical savings

By Andrew Pollack

The New York Times 2011-02-11

In study, children who ate school lunches were 29 percent more likely to be obese than those who brought lunch from home; soda consumption was also predictive of obesity

By Meredith Melnick

Time magazine 2011-02-07

Military buys Gulf fish, shrimp, oysters, crab cakes, and packaged Cajun dishes after region was hammered by last year's BP oil leak; consumers had feared bounty had been tainted

By Mary Foster

The Associated Press; The Washington Post 2011-02-06

As use of ethanol expands, nation's supply of corn at lowest in 15 years; escalating price of food has led to widespread protests in several nations

By Sam Nelson

Reuters 2011-02-07

43.6 million in U.S. used food stamps in November as high unemployment, muted wage growth crimped budgets; click for state-by-state numbers

By Sara Murray

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2011-02-02

Opinion: Lawsuits against biotech alfalfa, sugar beets seek to award organic farmers a civil right not to have their high-end, ad-created market segment disturbed by industrial progress

By Holman W. Jenkins Jr.

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2011-02-02

With 60-day aging rule for raw milk cheeses widely viewed as simplistic, cheesemakers worry that new FDA proposal may require them to switch to less flavorful pasteurized milk

By William Neuman

The New York Times 2011-02-04

Defying court ban, USDA to allow commercial planting of Roundup Ready biotech beets days after OK of Monsanto alfalfa; critics cite herbicide resistant weeds, tainting of other crops

By Carey Gillam and Chuck Abbott

Reuters 2011-02-04

EPA moves to control perchlorate, 16 other toxins in drinking water; rocket testing ingredient thought to stunt normal growth of fetuses, infants, children

By John M. Broder

The New York Times 2011-02-03

Opinion: Food and everything surrounding it is a crucial matter of personal and public health, of national and global security; at stake is health of humans and that of earth

By Mark Bittman

The New York Times 2011-02-01

Enjoy food, but eat less; fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables, switch to fat-free or low-fat milk, choose low-salt foods, drink water instead of sugary drinks, new USDA Dietary Guidelines say

By Monica Eng

Chicago Tribune 2011-01-31

After biotech, farm groups object, USDA changes course, OKs GMO alfalfa, pulling back from proposal that would have restricted its growth to protect conventional plants from cross-pollination

By Andrew Pollack

The New York Times 2011-01-27

2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans to be released on Monday, Jan. 31 at 10 a.m. EST; to watch the live webcast, visit www.usda.gov/live, and to read them, visit www.DietaryGuidelines.gov

By Marion Nestle

marionnestle.com 2011-01-27

Demand for corn, fewer farmers, fuel prices, commodity speculators, and using corn for ethanol contribute to rising food prices at supermarkets

By Tim Parker

Investopedia; San Francisco Chronicle 2011-01-26

Republicans call for return to large-scale workplace immigration raids like those at meatpacking plants; critics say such sweeps cost upward of $10 million and are needlessly traumatic

By Brian Bennett

Los Angeles Times 2011-01-26

CDC says 26 million Americans have type 2 diabetes, up from 23.6 million in 2008; about 79 million US adults now have "pre-diabetes," with blood sugar levels higher than normal

By Rob Stein

The Washington Post 2011-01-26

FDA loophole allows popular Girl Scout cookies - Samoas, Tagalongs, Thin Mints - to carry "0 grams trans fat" label though partially hydrogenated oils are high on ingredient list

By Monica Eng

Chicago Tribune 2011-01-25

FDA, dairy industry fight over testing for antibiotics in milk from farms that had repeatedly sold for slaughter cows tainted by drug residue; antibiotics overuse a question

By William Neuman

The New York Times 2011-01-26

Expect budget cuts in conservation rather than cuts in commodity subsidies, says expert; high commodity prices also push some to switch from conservation into corn production

By Katie Nickas

AgriNews 2011-01-24

About $13 million in federal grants awarded to more than 2,400 farmers in 43 states to help pay for low-tech tunnels that add weeks, months to growing seasons

By Steve Karnowski

Los Angeles Times 2011-01-17

Opinion: Regulatory system requires balance; we won't shy away from new safety rules for infant formula, or treat saccharin like dangerous chemical if FDA considers it safe to eat

By Barack Obama

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2011-01-18

Opinion: Over 10 years, ending farm subsidies would save nearly $290 billion; ending subsidies to ethanol and unproven energy technology saves $170 billion, Cato Institute says

By By Dick Armey and Matt Kibbe

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2010-01-19

Public funding of campaigns, single food safety agency, breaking culture of corporate growth every quarter among nutrition professor Marion Nestle's wishes for food system

By Marion Nestle

The Atlantic 2011-01-18

In New Orleans, educational venture and commercial urban farm flourishes in wrecked neighborhood; students grow $2,500 of produce weekly which they sell at farmers' market, restaurants

By Charles Wilson

The New York Times 2011-01-15

Opinion: Extra 6 cents won't help school districts deliver better food for lunch; feds can't burden schools with making up the difference or allow them to wiggle out of restrictions

The editors

San Francisco Chronicle 2011-01-15

New school lunch rules would cut sodium, limit starchy vegetables, ban most trans fats, require lowfat milk, increase whole grains, add more fruits, vegetables, limit calories

By Tim Carman

The Washington Post 2010-01-13

Citing Clean Water Act, EPA revokes largest mountaintop removal mining permit in West Virginia history; selenium pollution, stream burial, fish death, watershed degradation noted

By Bryan Walsh

Time 2011-01-13

Bluefin tuna, one of most majestic and prized fish in sea is subject of a scientific fight that shows difficulty of gauging environmental fallout of biggest offshore oil spill in U.S. history

By Jeffrey Ball

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2011-01-13

Farm Bureau sues over feds' Chesapeake anti-pollution plan, saying that states, not EPA, have jurisdiction under Clean Water Act; citizens' group calls suit shortsighted, foolhardy

By Mark Scolforo

The Associated Press; Los Angeles Times 2011-01-10

Opinion: Obesity epidemic requires common sense - return P.E. to schools, offer better food in school cafeterias, end some subsidies, reward wellness in employer health plans, and eat more homemade dinners with our families

By David Gratzer, M.D.

The Washington Times 2011-01-07

Farm groups, biotechnology industry skeptical of USDA head's "co-existence" proposal to allow Monsanto's biotech alfalfa near conventional plants; biotech sugar beet case in court

By Charles Abbott

Reuters 2011-01-10

Top nutritional scientists say cutting carbs is key to reversing obesity, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and hypertension; amount of carbs in diet appears to be potent contributor to fat in blood

By Marni Jameson

Los Angeles Times 2010-12-20

FDA sets hearing on whether petroleum-based food dyes can adversely affect human health; European Parliament requires warning labels on products containing synthetic dyes

By Julie Deardorff

Chicago Tribune 2011-01-01

Opinion: Future of food in America hinges on our ability to listen to what the earth and scientists and farmers are telling us and to practice moderation in consumption, agriculture

By Mario Batali

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2010-11-20

Opinion: Stripping Texas of authority to issue air permits required for large power and industrial projects punishes state for not obeying Clean Air Act rules that aren't finalized

The editors

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2011-01-03

Opinion: With annual cost of treating obesity, diet-related ills at $168 billion, adults are obliged to teach children how to live; Sarah Palin should make distinctions among policies worth opposing

The editors

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2010-12-27

Texas senator says that EPA's emissions standards for power plants, refineries will hurt farmers, consumers; she predicts they will see higher costs passed on to them as new tax

By Andrew Restuccia

The Hill 2010-12-29

Coal-fired power plant operating in Texas for nearly 30 years mostly without SO2 filters thought to have laid waste to former pecan groves; situation repeated across nation

By Ramit Plushnick-Masti

The Associated Press; Star Tribune 2010-12-28

Opinion: President Obama must support EPA efforts in reducing emissions so we can breathe cleaner air and fish in our waterways will contain less mercury

The editors

The New York Times 2010-12-25

Lawmaker with a say in FDA budget says "we don't have the funding" for $1 billion over five years for food safety bill, but grocery lobby says what of $6 billion a year for corn ethanol subsidies?

By Philip Brasher

The Des Moines Register 2010-12-22

One of seven Americans now on food stamps - about 43 million; highest spikes were Idaho, at 39 percent over last year; Nevada, at 29 percent; and New Jersey, at 27 percent

By Aaron Smith

CNN Money 2010-12-21

In effort to clean air, EPA proposes earlier deadlines for limiting amount of CO2 a power plant or refinery can emit; efforts will harm Texas agriculture, energy producers, governor says

By Ana Campoy and Stephen Power

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2010-12-23

Decade after bill to revive Everglades, water still doesn't flow correctly and isn't clean enough; price tag for the restoration is up to $13.5 billion

By Michael Grunwald

Time 2010-12-11

EPA head vows to review hexavalent chromium by summer and to consider ordering cities to start testing for toxic metal in tap water; industry has fought limits for years

By Michael Hawthorne

Chicago Tribune 2010-12-21

Opinion: It would be easier for parents to supervise their children's diet if they didn't have to push back against relentless tide of marketing aimed at children

The editors

The New York Times 2010-12-20

Opinion: Emerging cultural divide tearing at military; in 2008, 634 military personnel were discharged for "don't ask, don't tell" violations, 4,555 were discharged for obesity and overweight

By David Frum

CNN.com 2010-12-06

Opinion: Life-saving strategy brings green revolution to Navy, Marines; armed forces using biofuels - minus corn-based ethanol or any fuels that compete with food

By Thomas L. Friedman

The New York Times 2010-12-19

Shale gas production linked to tainted drinking water; in Texas, EPA warns of risk of explosion, and in Pennsylvania, firm will pay residents $4.1 million and install water-treatment systems

By Ana Campoy and Daniel Gilbert

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2010-12-17

With vow to eat school meal each day, blogging teacher brings attention to lunch reform and along the way realizes that "food is personal, food is life, food is health"

By Rebecca Dube

Todayshow.com 2010-12-16

USDA mulls OK for biotech alfalfa that would allow crop to be grown with rules aimed at protecting non-GMO crops; alfalfa is pollinated by honeybees, which makes it tough to isolate

By Carey Gillam

Reuters 2010-12-16

Taxes on soft drinks, sports drinks, fruit drinks would generate about $1.5 billion to $2.5 billion in annual tax revenue and result in small weight loss for consumers, study shows

By Nanci Hellmich

USA Today 2010-12-14

After change in method and data analysis, CDC cuts estimates of yearly food-borne illness, death; agency says sicknesses hit 48 million people, not 76 million, and more than 3,000 die, not 5,000

By William Neuman

The New York Times 2010-12-15

Government's failure to act linked to recent egg woes; resistance to regulating business, fractured oversight between 15 agencies and 71 interagency accords weakens food safety efforts

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2010-12-11

5 myths about hunger in U.S.: No one goes hungry in America, ending malnourishment is merely a humanitarian concern, children are only ones who go hungry, the food that America wastes could feed everybody, hunger is about food

By Robert Egger

The Washington Post 2010-11-21

Opinion: Contrary to implication of NYT story, USDA funds to support Dairy Management are for opening foreign markets to U.S. dairy, not for domestic marketing of cheese surplus

By James E. McWilliams

The Atlantic 2010-11-17

Opinion: Dems, GOP can find common ground by making budget cuts at USDA, which has spent millions persuading Americans to eat more cheese after subsidies yielded too much milk

The editors

The Fresno Bee 2010-11-12

288,000 eggs from Ohio farm recalled over salmonella fears in latest high-profile woe for nation's food-safety system

By P.J. Huffstutter

Los Angeles Times 2010-11-09

Spurred by diabetes epidemic, fewer transplants, better cardiac care, dialysis becomes lifeline for many, but treatment often compromised by sanitation woes, inadequate staffing

By Robin Fields

Propublica 2010-11-09

As U.S. mulls paying drug makers to develop antibiotics, critics urge conserving effectiveness of existing antibiotics by banning their unnecessary use in livestock, people

By Andrew Pollack

The New York Times 2010-11-05

Urged on by feds' warnings about saturated fat, Americans have been moving toward low-fat milk for decades, yet USDA program pushes extra cheese in fast food

By Michael Moss

The New York Times 2010-11-06

After elections, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan in line to succeed Blanche Lincoln as Senate Ag chairman; Oklahoma Republican Frank Lucas expected to be new chair in House

By Philip Brasher

The Des Moines Register 2010-11-02

Citing obesity epidemic, prominent physicians take out ad in The New York Times asking why Congress subsidizes corn starch but not cauliflower

By Mike Lillis

The Hill 2010-10-26

Nutritional education system so politically influenced that it is ineffective, critics charge as government prepares to unveil its new Dietary Guidelines for Americans

By Jane Black

The Washington Post 2010-10-02

Despite problem of herbicide-resistant weeds in crop fields, there are no plans to restrict farmers' use of biotech crops linked to problem

By Philip Brasher

The Des Moines Register 2010-10-09

$150 million proposed to aid farmers in Chesapeake Bay watershed in effort to restore oysters, crab population; state's $70 billion farm, forestry industry critical of EPA plans

The Associated Press; The Wall Street Journal. (subscription may be required) 2010-09-30

Administration keeps election-year vow to embattled senator Blanche Lincoln, distributes $630 million in aid for farmers from USDA fund often used to supplement nutrition programs

By Mary Clare Jalonick

The Associated Press; The Washington Post 2010-09-15

Opinion: Process surrounding AquaBounty GE salmon illustrates FDA's perverted process; study flaws include small sample size, non-random samples, setting detection limits too high

By Tom Laskawy

Grist 2010-09-14

Food industry withholds information, forces agencies to withdraw or modify policy or action designed to increase food safety, survey shows

By Christopher Doering

Reuters 2013-09-13

Increasing fears over obesity links to high-fructose corn syrup drive sales down; manufacturers respond by petitioning to change name of product to corn sugar

By Emily Fredrix

The Associated Press; The Washington Post 2010-09-15

Opinion: Public trust in packaged food industry is low; it's time for government intervention to partner with industry efforts to reduce marketing to children

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

nutraingredients.com/Decision News Media 2010-09-13

EPA asks Halliburton Co., others, to disclose lists of chemicals they use in fracking for natural gas for study on potential threats to drinking water

By Jim Efstathiou Jr.

Bloomberg.com 2010-09-09

Opinion: Current system of food safety is wasteful, ineffecient; one agency should oversee food safety; advertising US agriculture should fall under another agency altogether

The editors

Los Angeles Times 2010-09-11

With 2010 on track to be deadliest year yet for illegal immigrants dying from thirst in Arizona desert, Samaritans leaving jugs of water and retrieving empties face arrests for littering

By Adam Cohen

Time magazine 2010-09-08

After years of winks at employees working off books or with false documents, immigration enforcement sends fear through $550-billion restaurant industry; employers feel forced into detective role

By Sarah Kershaw

The New York Times 2010-09-07

School meals have begun transformation, but all involved agree that turning this battleship requires commitment, money, will to make it happen

By Jane Dornbusch

The Boston Globe 2010-09-01

Adding fuel to meat safety debate, public health officials link ground beef to illnesses from a rare strain of E. coli; likely source was Cargill, which recalled 8,500 pounds of hamburger

By William Neuman

The New York Times 2010-09-02

Number of Americans receiving food stamps rose to record 41.3 million in June as jobless rate hovered near 27-year high

By Alan Bjerga

Bloomberg.com 2010-09-02

Washington wheat growers, fearful that Japan won't buy Monsanto's GM wheat, may start new petition drive seeking labeling of any GM foods sold in US

By Dan Wheat

Capital Press 2010-08-26

Federal investigators find manure piles, live mice, pigeons, other birds inside Iowa hen houses at egg farms suspected in salmonella outbreak; farms had never been inspected

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2010-08-31

Opinion: With US slaughterhouses poised to kill more than 10 billion animals in 2011, concern grows over health, environmental woes of handling the inedible 60 percent of each cow

By James E. McWilliams

The Atlantic 2010-08-11

Opinion: Biotech salmon is just starter protein in GM food revolution, but before using Frankenfish label, note that there are few aspects of food industry that remain "natural"

By Robin McKie

The Guardian (UK) 2010-08-27

$1 million in grants to go to high-poverty schools for starting community gardens that teach about gardening, nutrition and provide produce for school meals, students' families

By Nanci Hellmich

USA Today 2010-08-25

Government shifting payments from farm subsidies to nutrition programs, conservation, broadband; Republican lawmaker decries influence of environmentalists, "foodies"

By Alan Bjerga

Bloomberg.com 2010-08-26

FDA to begin what could be 18-month approval process for genetically modified salmon - first engineered animal destined for consumption by humans

By Barb Kiser

Nature.com 2010-08-26

Absence of mandatory salmonella vaccine for hens - which has virtually eliminated illness in Britain and would cost less than a penny per dozen eggs - weakens FDA safety rules, experts say

By William Neuman

The New York Times 2010-08-24

USDA allows two-month sugar imports increase after sugar users lobby over predicted shortage; it's sugar users vs farmers in long-running battle over federal sugar supports

By Carolyn Cui and Bill Tomson

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2010-08-21

New EPA strategy for Clean Water Act focuses on agriculture, stormwater runoff, habitat, hydrology and landscape modifications, municipal wastewater

By Ben Geman

The Hill 2010-08-20

FDA head says agency hasn't had authority to help prevent outbreaks like the 1,000-plus cases of salmonella poisoning linked to eggs from two Iowa farms

By Mary Clare Jalonick

The Associated Press; The Boston Globe 2010-08-24

Farm behind about a thousand salmonella cases, recall of more than half a billion eggs fell short on safety, FDA says

By Don Lemon, Sandra Endo and Matt Smith

CNN 2010-08-22

Equalizing food pricing, food access, stress reduction and better food choices at workplace said critical in obesity fight; IBM spends double on medical claims for obese

By Natasha Singer

The New York Times 2010-08-22

Hope Mobile tractor-trailer to provide fresh food, cooking classes, food stamp outreach to New Jersey's poorest areas of four-county area; state's SNAP participation low

By Jessica Driscoll

The Gloucester County Times (NJ) 2010-07-31

After EPA tells eight Iowa cattle operations to apply for federal regulatory permits and cease discharges into streams, agriculture reporter asks about financial burden

By Ken Anderson

Brownfield 2010-08-16

Judge revokes USDA's OK of GE sugar beets, citing inadequate assessment of consequences of transferring traits to other sugar beets, related Swiss chard, table beets

By Andrew Pollack

The New York Times 2010-08-13

Two types of transgenic canola found growing freely and have bred in North Dakota; scientists say discovery highlights lack of proper monitoring, control of GM crops

By Natasha Gilbert

Nature News 2010-08-06

Opinion: Impact of public health felt most clearly in absence of negative consequences - good quality of food, water, for example- which reduces awareness of its vital functions

By David Tuller

California Magazine 2010-07-01

Mountain-top mining more damaging than urbanization on local water quality, stream composition, researchers learn

By Natasha Gilbert

Nature News 2010-08-09

Methyl iodide, subbing for ozone-depleting methyl bromide as strawberry pesticide, may risk workers' health, California lawmaker says in asking EPA to reconsider 2007 approval

By Carolyn Lochhead

San Francisco Chronicle 2010-08-04

Pig farmers, accustomed to administering antibiotics for fast growth, disease prevention, battle proposed reduction in use; at issue is growing antibiotic resistance in humans

By Philip Brasher

The Des Moines Register 2010-08-01

Land O'Lakes commends lawmakers who support deregulation of Monsanto's GM alfalfa

landolakesinc.com 2010-07-25

Spread of superweeds, legacy of herbicide-resistant genetically modified seeds, shows need to regulate biotech, and to protect farming environment, House panel told

By Philip Brasher

The Des Moines Register 2010-07-28

Health experts say soda and low-nutrient, high-calorie junk foods have no place in taxpayer-funded food stamp market basket

By Meg Haskell

Bangor Daily News 2010-07-27

Review: "Four Fish" is marvelous exploration of contradiction that fishermen feel about saving or killing fish; a necessary book for anyone truly interested in what, how, why

By Sam Sifton

The New York Times 2010-08-01

Gulf of Mexico, like no other American body of water, bears environmental consequences of country's economic pursuits and appetites, including oil, corn

By Campbell Robertson

The New York Times 2010-07-30

Perdue, Tyson, Pilgrim's Pride fight over whether injections of salt, water maintain "natural" label on chickens; USDA promises new proposed rules

By Juliana Barbassa

The Associated Press; kaaltv.com 2010-07-30

Regulators still discovering veins of pollution in groundwater, soil at abandoned chemical factory above Potomac Aquifer, a drinking water source for Delaware

By Jeff Montgomery

The News Journal (DE) 2010-07-25

Tainted groundwater, legacy of Delaware's petrochemical complexes, reaches Potomac Aquifer, which supplies drinking water for those in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey

By Jeff Montgomery

The News Journal 2010-07-25

As fight against obesity ramps up, funds for anti-smoking programs diverted; 1 in 5 smokes, but 1 in 3 obese

By Duff Wilson

The New York Times 2010-07-27

Opinion: Lacking in diet-related disease talk is time-focus model, where public, stakeholders engage along with policy makers every few years to renew, reform programs

By Marc Ambinder

The Atlantic 2010-07-23

Regulators, guns drawn, raid organic grocer, seize raw milk in latest salvo against consumers who eschew industrialized food sector with its legacy of food-borne illnesses

By P.J. Huffstutter

Los Angeles Times 2010-07-25

In Pennsylvania, epicenter of battle over fracking for natural gas, EPA hears stories of yellowed and foul-smelling well water, deformed livestock, poisoned fish, itchy skin

By Tom Zeller Jr.

The New York Times 2010-07-23

Sugar-heavy cereals continues to rule kids' TV as industry opposes effort to limit ads targeting children and regulators disagree on approach

By William Neuman

The New York Times 2010-07-23

Firing of USDA official under review; case highlights political problems involving race at agency with history of discrimination against minority farmers

By Karen Tumulty and Krissah Thompson

The Washington Post 2010-07-20

Opinion: Nation's 8 million acres of public rangeland should be regulated according to intensive grazing principles to turn grasslands verdant and to increase soil health

By Sara Rubin

The Atlantic 2010-06-22

Opinion: Food security comes through revitalized food economy, but Wal-Mart, with its low wages and food desert strategy, is more about free public money

By Eric Holt Gimenez

The Huffington Post 2010-07-14

More, but smaller, farms generated greater national net income in times of drastically less government support, USDA data show

By Emmeline Zhao

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2010-07-13

Lawmaker asks FDA to answer questions about BP oil spill and how it could infiltrate marine ecosystem with arsenic and affect our food chain

By Matt Viser

The Boston Globe 2010-07-13

Shifting from high-profile raids, feds now scour firms' books for illegals; government has levied $3 million in fines so far this year on businesses that hired illegals

By Julia Preston

The New York Times 2010-07-09

"This should scare the pants off employers," says researcher, warning of obesity trends, resulting rise in diet-related disease, health care costs in future work force

By John Richardson

The Portland Press Herald 2010-07-09

EPA nears completion of test wells where Wyoming residents suspect chemicals used in fracking for natural gas have contaminated drinking water

By Mead Gruver

The Associated Press; The Washington Post 2010-07-06

Sugar, salt, livestock lobbies complain about new dietary guidelines, saying ideology, not science, is behind urgings to eat "only moderate" servings

By Philip Brasher

The Des Moines Register 2010-07-09

Soda tax would cut obesity rates because small decrease in calorie intake would reclassify many slightly overweight or obese people, USDA says

By Jane Black

The Washington Post 2010-07-08

Despite hopes of local-food advocates, administration continues to cycle vast public funds to conventional growers, which then go to big seed and chemical firms, and on to agribusiness as cheap grain

By Heather Rogers

The American Prospect 2010-07-06

As Supreme Court ruling on GE alfalfa seeds shows, war on genetically modified crops will be a long one; next up: sugar beets modified to resist Monsanto's Roundup herbicide

By Bryan Walsh

Time magazine 2010-06-21

Water taint, environmental woes, human health problems trail natural gas fracking, which takes 3-8 million gallons of water per well and is used in 90 percent of wells

By Christopher Bateman

Vanity Fair 2010-06-21

Russia's ban of chicken imports over chlorine wash used by US processors creates surplus of dark meat leg quarters; USDA buys some for school meals, food banks

By Roberta Rampton

Reuters 2010-06-15

Citing untenable delay, environmental group sues FDA to force ban on controversial chemical BPA in food and beverage packaging

By Elana Schor

Greenwire/The New York Times 2010-06-29

USDA's proposed new rules for meatpacking horrify big meat, poultry lobbies, which say low prices are result of economy of scale, not unfair practices

The Economist 2010-06-24

Government makes $250 million available for preventive health care programs, including those targeting behavior, obesity, fitness

UPI 2010-06-23

FDA mulls OK of first GE animal that people would eat - salmon that can grow at twice the normal rate; labeling debate grows

By Andrew Pollack

The New York Times 2010-06-25

Eat more vegetables, whole grains, less fatty meats, salt and sugar, says dietary panel

By Eliza Gray

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2010-06-16

FDA urges farmers to use less antibiotics in livestock to preserve their effectiveness in humans

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2010-06-29

Amish farmers' practices endanger Chesapeake with manure runoff, EPA says

By Sindya N. Bhanoo

The New York Times 2010-06-08

Despite challenges of poor funding and inadequate equipment, D.C.'s top chefs adopt schools to improve food served to children

By Jane Black

The Washington Post 2010-06-04

EPA proposes that about 35,000 large-scale pesticide applicators be required to file for permits to protect water

By Leslie Kaufman

The New York Times 2010-06-03

Clause in Clean Water Act could open BP to civil fines of up to $4,300 for every barrel leaked into Gulf, experts say

By Rebekah Kebede

Reuters 2010-05-26

Child labor - picking strawberries at ages 7, 8 in Florida, blueberries at age 7 in Michigan, picking peas in Virginia at age 8 - though often legal, draws scrutiny

Human Rights Watch 2010-05-05

As FDA mulls antibiotic rules, ethanol industry frets over residue left in distillers grains, a lucrative byproduct of industry and major source of feed for beef, dairy cattle

By Philip Brasher

The Des Moines Register 2010-05-30

Immigration advocates question visa denial to couple who have paid all their taxes, own their restaurant and a rental house and have only mortgage

By Katharine Q. Seelye

The New York Times 2010-05-28

BP request for tax records poses problem for many involved in off-the-books Gulf harvesting of shrimp, crabs, oysters and fish

By Louis Sahagun

Los Angeles Times 2010-05-30

Processed food industry using "delay and divert" strategy to defend salt, its low-cost way to create tastes, textures that work with fat and sugar to achieve flavors that grip consumers and do not let go

By Michael Moss

The New York Times 2010-05-30

Opinion: As dispersants and oil mix in Gulf, shrimp, zooplankton, phytoplankton are first to experience internal bleeding - and toxins intensify as they move up the food chain

By Susan D. Shaw

The New York Times 2010-05-30

Latest e. coli outbreak - from less famous, yet virulent strain comprising "big six" - spurs reassessment of food safety law

By William Neuman

The New York Times 2010-05-26

Though cheap food is pillar of economy, it is increasingly contested by groups citing its costs to society, environment, public health, animal welfare and gastronomy

By Michael Pollan

The New York Review of Books 2010-06-10

Loop current may pick up BP oil, tainting coastal waters up to Cape Hatteras, N.C.; officials close more of gulf to fishing

By Jeffrey Ball and Corey Dade

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2010-05-19

Researchers find link between ADHD, organophosphate pesticides used on commercially grown fruits, vegetables; researcher recommends buying organic

By Sarah Klein

health.com/CNN 2010-05-17

USDA raises ground beef standards for school meals to that of fast-food eateries

By Elizabeth Weise

USA Today 2010-05-15

Citing water safety, EPA issues rules for toxin-laden coal ash but hasn't decided whether byproduct of coal-fired power plants is hazardous waste or household garbage

By Shaila Dewan

The New York Times 2010-05-04

Confirming suspicions, in-house watchdog finds significant weakness in FDA's domestic inspections program of food plants

By Barry Shlachter

Star-Telegram (Fort Worth, TX) 2010-05-01

Processed carbohydrates, not fat, more likely to cause diet-related disease, analysis of studies shows, but will Dietary Guidelines reflect new data?

By Melinda Wenner Moyer

Scientific American 2010-05-01

Opinion: Sugar lobby to blame for overly sweet school meals and snacks; children will eat healthier foods when served them

By Marion Nestle

San Francisco Chronicle 2010-05-02

Feds probe whether major meatpackers illegally or unfairly driving down cattle prices; sweeping antitrust rules expected this spring

By Nate Jenkins

The Associated Press; Los Angeles Times 2010-05-03

Opinion: Atrazine, common corn weedkiller, under attack from activists with ideas of making farming more expensive so land is retired to "nature"

The editors

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2010-05-03

Hundreds of fishermen - Cajun, Italian, Vietnamese, Cambodian - crowd Louisiana gym in hopes of training as new oil spill experts

By Richard Fausset

Los Angeles Times 2010-04-30

As BP's oil disaster threatens $2.4 billion Gulf fishing industry, catchy slogan, "Drill, baby, drill" becomes "Spill, baby, spill"

By Bryan Walsh

Time magazine 2010-04-30

Former residents of Illinois town develop serious illnesses in middle age, suspect link to illegal toxic dump used by Kraft Foods, Mobil Oil, others in '70s

By Joel Hood

Chicago Tribune 2010-04-25

Revolution Foods finds growing business - and challenge - in offering fresh meals, not refined processed items, at school cafeteria prices

By Douglas McGray

Time magazine 2010-04-26

Opinion: Beyond accord that requires U.S. to pay $147.3 million in subsidies to Brazilian cotton growers, negotiators also agree to ease restrictions on Brazilian beef

By Michael Grunwald

Time magazine 2010-04-09

Rotting corn, alfalfa, almond shells - cow feed - not manure or cow emissions, may be to blame for high ozone levels in largest dairy production region in U.S., study indicates

By Tracie Cone

The Associated Press; Chicago Tribune 2010-04-22

Government does more to promote global acceptance of biotech crops and companion glyphosate weedkiller than to protect public from possible harmful consequences, experts say

By Carey Gillam

Reuters 2010-04-13

Citing report that finds most Americans consume dangerous levels of sodium, lawmakers urge speed in setting limits for processed food industry

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2010-04-21

USDA's small shift toward organic and local farming could have big repercussions; conventional farmers dismayed

By Carolyn Lochhead

San Francisco Chronicle 2010-04-15

Seafood harvesters, eaters pay price for fertilizer/agricultural pollution flowing out of Midwest into Gulf of Mexico's "dead zone"

By Krista Hozyash

Rodale Institute 2009-11-18

Opinion: Administration's schizophrenic agricultural policy on display with installation of Islam Siddiqui as agricultural negotiator during recess and despite objections of 90,000

By Barry Estabrook

The Atlantic 2010-04-01

Plastics chemicals increasingly scrutinized for links to disease; EPA has required testing for only about 200 of the 83,000 in inventory and restricted only five

By Bryan Walsh

Time magazine 2010-04-01

FDA says studies on triclosan, in dishwashing liquid, other soaps, raise concerns on it as endocrine disruptor or catalyst in creation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2010-04-08

FDA inspections of food plants, enforcement down; agency blames inadequate staffing, resources

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2010-04-07

Opinion: With food and beverage marketers spending $2 billion a year to reach children, we need FTC as cop on beat of wayward marketers

By Katrina vanden Heuvel

The Washington Post 2010-04-06

Opinion: Evidence of industry's attempt to induce addictive behavior with continuous access to enticing junk food bait - and resulting obesity ills of Americans - requires broad-based shift in attitudes

The editors

USA Today 2010-03-31

Electric utilities lobby furiously against new EPA rules on coal ash, which is spread on crop fields and leaks cancer-causing toxins into drinking water

By Jeff Goodell

Rolling Stone 2010-03-17

Opinion: Limp regulations on toxins, corporate secrecy on internal safety data leave consumers closer to Wild West than nanny state

By David Leonhardt

The New York Times 2010-03-30

As emphasis grows on food sourcing, FDA faces more pressure to combat fraud

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2010-03-30

EPA designates BPA, an endocrine disruptor found in linings of most food and beverage cans, as "chemical of concern"

By Meg Kissinger

Journal Sentinel (Milwaukee, WI) 2010-03-30

Government curious why milk prices are low for producers when price in stores is holding steady, farmers told

By Carolyn Thompson

The Associated Press; Chicago Tribune 2010-03-29

Nanotech's promise - and addition to food products - comes with little federal regulation, no labeling despite growing number of studies expressing safety concerns

By Andrew Schneider

AOL News 2010-03-24

As Jamie Oliver's "Food Revolution" shows, subject is political - from soda taxes to corn subsidies, it's about health care costs, environmentalism, education, agriculture, class, culture

By James Poniewozik

Time magazine 2010-04-05

EPA to tighten rules on chemicals in drinking water, ability to police contaminants

By Charles Duhigg

The New York Times 2010-03-23

See also 

EPA will study effect of "fracking" for natural gas on drinking-water supplies; technique requires millions of gallons of water, leaves some tainted

By Juliet Eilperin

The Washington Post 2010-03-19

Essay: Nation's economic drivers - farmers, entrepreneurs, scientists, venture capitalists - know how monopolistic power is used against them, and what freedoms they require to hire fellow Americans

By Barry C. Lynn and Phillip Longman

Washington Monthly 2010-03-04

Opinion: It's time to abolish sugar protectionism which is a wasteful government policy, a burden on consumers and a job-killer

The editors

The Washington Post 2010-03-21

After major gaps in oversight discovered, USDA says it will begin enforcing rules requiring the spot testing of organic foods for pesticide traces

By William Neuman

The New York Times 2010-03-20

American innovations in food, transportation, technology are global fat-making machine, at great cost to our health, nation's economy

By Claudia Kalb

Newsweek magazine 2010-03-14

For young, educated and poor, food stamps help fund purchases of fresh produce, raw honey, rabbit, wild-caught fish, organic asparagus, triple-crème cheese

By Jennifer Bleyer

Salon 2010-03-15

Stung by record gap between U.S. and global sugar prices, processors, confectioners urge hike in import limits meant to support American farmers

By Carolyn Cui

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2010-03-15

USDA, Justice Department say aim of hearings is survival of rural America, of developing policies to limit big firms' sway over food, crop prices

By Christopher Leonard

The Associated Press; Chicago Tribune 2010-03-12

At first public meeting to probe links between food sector consolidation, food prices, feds vow to push for more transparency in business practices

By P.J. Huffstutter

Los Angeles Times 2010-03-12

FDA wants herb, spice producers to safeguard products with irradiation, steam heating or fumigation with pesticide

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2010-03-13

Rising food prices may start with consolidation in seed industries, with farmers offered fewer choices for more money

By P.J. Huffstutter

Los Angeles Times 2010-03-12

Justice department offers farmers, activists, competitors opportunity to cite problems they see with Monsanto, subject of formal antitrust investigation

By Scott Kilman

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2010-03-11

Basic Food Flavors, which has recalled millions of pounds of hydrolized vegetable protein, knew plant held salmonella, FDA says

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2010-03-10

USDA encouragement of small-scale producers worries production agriculture proponents

By Philip Brasher

The Des Moines Register 2010-03-07

As TVA coal ash spill cleanup drags on in Tennessee, other states find tainted water seeping from landfills holding dumped residue

By Bill Poovey

The Associated Press; The New York Times 2010-03-05

Opinion: As Congress weighs options for child nutrition, it must guarantee implementation of Institute of Medicine school food guidelines

By Ann Cooper

The Washington Post 2010-03-05

New definition of poverty notes that food is smaller share of poor families' costs and includes food subsidies

By Amy Goldstein

The Washington Post 2010-03-03

With diet-related disease as backdrop, FDA warns 17 companies about misleading labels

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2010-03-04

US pays $152 billion yearly for food-borne illness; cost includes medical services, deaths, lost work, disability

By Elizabeth Weise

USA Today 2010-03-03

USDA allowed suspect slaughterhouse operations to continue despite public health risks, vet says

By Peter Eisler

USA Today 2010-03-04

Farmers in quandary about turning methane-belching manure to power because "dairy digester" adds to smog problem

By P.J. Huffstutter

Los Angeles Times 2010-03-01

Ambiguity hobbles Clean Water Act; drinking water of 117 million vulnerable to exclusion from enforcement

By Charles Duhigg and Janet Roberts

The New York Times 2010-03-01

EPA signals tighter rules on traditionally lax approach to megafarms' manure, which smothers waterways, taints air

By David A. Fahrenthold

The Washington Post 2010-03-01

New sterilization technique that extends shelf life while preserving food quality intrigues military

By Rory Harrington

nutraingredients.com/Decision News Media 2010-02-23

Pentagon-backed researchers create device that uses bacteria to first filter tainted water, and to eat sludge, a byproduct of waste treatment

By Katie Drummond

Wired magazine 2010-02-10

USDA's new rules say organic dairy cows must graze on pasture for full length of local grazing season

By William Neuman

The New York Times 2010-02-12

Opinion: In biofuels computations, EPA wisely includes calculations of land-clearing for food crops elsewhere when fuel crops displace those for food in U.S.

The editors

The New York Times 2010-02-10

Review extended on inspection rules for imported catfish as concern grows over trade war with Vietnam

By Kimberly Kindy

The Washington Post 2010-02-17

USDA updates its "safe and suitable ingredients used in the production of meat and poultry products"

USDA 2010-02-04

Drug-resistant infections in humans are emerging crisis linked to antibiotics overuse in factory farm livestock, scientists say

By Katie Couric

CBS News 2010-02-09

Opinion: Fortifying meals with omega-3s would aid soldiers' stress resilience, enhance battlefield performance, speed healing

By Mike Stones

nutraingredients.com/Decision News Media 2010-02-08

High-powered childhood obesity task force to review every program, policy relating to child nutrition, physical activity

By Jane Black

The Washington Post 2010-02-09

Feds launch online atlas that assembles food environment stats, diet-related disease rates, overviews of county-level access to healthy foods

Economic Research Service 2010-02-08

New U.S. climate service will provide information to farmers on when to increase irrigation, others affected by warming planet

By Juliet Eilperin

The Washington Post 2010-02-09

New federal cafeteria contracts will encourage healthier food, organic and locally procured food, advanced recycling and waste management programs

By Jane Black

The Washington Post 2010-02-09

FDA considers bringing serving sizes for processed items into line with how Americans really eat; corresponding nutrition information may cause alarm

By William Neuman

The New York Times 2010-02-05

Farm-state lawmakers upset that EPA, when calculating ethanol rule, didn't disregard land clearing abroad for croplands that compensate for using U.S. grains for fuel

By Ben German

The Hill 2010-02-03

In face of resistance from farmers, ranchers, USDA to drop livestock tracing program created after 2003 discovery of mad cow case

By William Neuman

The New York Times 2010-02-05

USDA announces new school meal safety measures, including tightening requirements on ground beef companies, more frequent testing, better communications within agency

By Blake Morrison and Peter Eisler

USA Today 2010-02-04

Analysis: How 25-plus federal government agencies - beyond USDA, FDA - can support a healthier, more sustainable food system

By Maggie Gosselin

Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy 2010-02-01

Analysis: For better school meals, ensure that reimbursements don't fund competitive foods; raise meal prices to equal reimbursement for free meals

By By Zoë Neuberger and Tina Fritz Namian

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities 2010-01-29

A year after peanut-based salmonella outbreak, Georgia law enforcement has dropped probe, feds say no comment and food safety gaps remain

By Craig Schneider and Bob Keefe


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution 2010-01-31

Review: Flaming tap water, fracking and other dirty water, air tales from natural-gas drilling in "GasLand," a new documentary

By Robert Koehler

Variety 2010-01-25

Blog: 19,000-cow dairy lobbies to change pending grazing requirements for organic milk certification

By Barry Estabrook

Politics of the Plate 2010-01-27

Pioneer in sustainable fishing becomes his own distributor, starts community-sponsored fishery

By Christine Muhlke

The New York Times 2010-01-31

Feds plan bold vertical garden with vegetated fins, eye rainwater, gray water as irrigation possibilities

By William Yardley

The New York Times 2010-01-30

As Asian carp breach Great Lakes, expense of eliminating invasive species is weighed against mounting liability - now $120 billion annually - of leaving them be

By Juliet Eilperin

The Washington Post 2010-01-31

EPA actions on Appalachian mountaintop coal mining to protect water supply criticized as contradictory

By David A. Fahrenthold

The Washington Post 2010-01-28

Public companies should warn investors of serious risks - storms, emissions, rising seas, legislation - that global warming might pose to businesses, SEC says

By John Broder

The New York Times 2010-01-27

Farm subsidies likely unaffected by proposed spending freeze, but conservation, nutrition programs, rural development vulnerable, says politician

By Chuck Haga

Grand Forks Herald/Agweek 2010-01-26

EPA to investigate cluster of birth defects in farm worker community near toxic dump

By Louis Sahagun

Los Angeles Times 2010-01-27

More federal action urged on growing hunger in U.S.; activist hopes public nutrition programs exempted from domestic spending freeze

By Charles Abbott

Reuters 2010-01-26

USDA opens door for pig skin imports for pork rinds, but critics fear disease; pork scraps often fed to hogs

By Lauren Etter

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2010-01-23

Opinion: EPA's coal ash dispute should be resolved publicly, in favor of environment, clean water, public safety

The editors

The New York Times 2010-01-19

Imported goods bring rising number of invasive, destructive plants and insects

By Kris Maher

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2010-01-15

Calls grow louder for Obama to fill crucial slaughterhouse/processing plant oversight position at USDA

By Elizabeth Weise

USA Today 2010-01-18

BPA, used in food can linings, bottles, of "some concern" for children, infants, FDA now says

By Jennifer Corbett Dooren and Alicia Mundy

Dow Jones Newswire/The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2010-01-15

For one in 50, food stamps are sole income

By Jason DeParle and Robert M. Gebeloff

The New York Times 2010-01-03

Conservation groups, citing extinction danger, ask U.S. to regulate shipping of bumblebees

By Adrian Higgins

The Washington Post 2010-01-13

U.S. military food contracts in Middle East worth billions, but private security is sticking point

By Walter Pincus

The Washington Post 2010-01-11

Opinion: Ammonia-injected meat mess shows need for better communication, higher priorities than price, vigilance on food safety

The editors

The New York Times 2010-01-10

Scientists stand against mountaintop mining, citing tainted water, contaminated fish, "obliterated" stream ecosystems

By David A. Fahrenthold

The Washington Post 2010-01-08

EPA seeks tighter smog rules; pollution linked to heart, breathing ills and stunted trees, crops

By Juliet Eilperin

The Washington Post 2010-01-06

Films: Bluefin tuna, extinction and "The End of the Line'

Films: Bluefin tuna, extinction and

By Nathan Lee

The New York Times 2009-06-19

Chemical trade group blasts feds' action plan on controversial compounds

By Rory Harrington

nutraingredients.com/Decision News Media 2010-01-06

Secrecy law exploited by chemical makers, leaving public, feds in dark, critics say

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2010-01-04

Schism in USDA allowed sale of ammonia-treated ground beef after pathogen discovery

By Michael Moss

The New York Times 2009-12-31

USDA stamp pre-empts California's Proposition 65, which requires labels on meats containing harmful chemicals, judge says

By Kathy Woods

Legal Newsline 2009-12-29

NY high-schoolers using DNA analysis learn that labels of 11 of 66 food products tested misrepresented contents

Science Daily 2009-12-28

E. coli-tainted beef products, possibly mechanically tenderized, sicken 21 people

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2009-12-30

After public's mad-cow fears, Taiwan moves to re-instate partial U.S. beef ban

By Chuang Pichi, Roberta Rampton and Charles Abbott

Reuters 2009-12-29

School lunch system must require higher standards on foods, move faster on problems, experts say

By Elizabeth Weise and Peter Eisler

USA Today 2009-12-29

Wholesalers say new bomb-searching rule will create bottleneck of spoiling food at airports

By Thomas Frank

USA Today 2009-12-02

Feds urge farmers to spread coal waste on fields though it contains mercury, arsenic, lead

By Rick Callahan

The Associated Press; Deseret News 2009-12-21

Four groups want USDA to address alleged bias in farm loans

By Kari Lydersen

The Washington Post 2009-12-21

Cities grow, sewers fill, rain falls and waste poisons waterways

By Charles Duhigg

The New York Times 2009-11-22

USDA eyes hoop houses as key to longer produce availability, nationwide

By Charles Abbott

Reuters 2009-12-16

26,500 school cafeterias in U.S. don't get required inspections

By Peter Eisler and Blake Morrison

USA Today 2009-12-15

U.S. tests tap water for only 91 contaminants though hundreds linked to illness with long exposure

By Charles Duhigg

The New York Times 2006-12-16

'American dream' upended as jobless seek food stamps, other food aid

By Michael Luo and Megan Thee-Brenan

The New York Times 2009-12-15

Millions in bonuses questioned after Missouri finds food stamp tally error

By David A. Lieb

The Associated Press; Chicago Tribune 2009-12-14

Child hunger interwoven in other problems of poverty

By Amy Goldstein

The Washington Post 2009-12-12

Looking to rehab school lunch image, USDA sets tasting for Congress

By Jane Black

The Washington Post 2009-12-11

Fast-food meat standards above those for school lunch program

By Peter Eisler, Blake Morrison and Anthony DeBarros

USA Today 2009-12-08

Tainted water flows from taps of 49 million, records show

In last five years, water for more than 49 million people has contained illegal concentrations of chemicals - arsenic, uranium, sewage bacteria - with majority of violations at smaller water systems. As many as 19 million Americans may become ill each year due to parasites, viruses and bacteria in drinking water; research links certain cancers - breast, prostate - to pollutants like those found in drinking water. Though EPA is expected to announce new policy on policing nation's 54,700 water systems, regulators say they are skeptical that any change will occur, since management remains the same. And: The Toxic Waters series (click 'See also').

By Charles Duhigg

The New York Times 2009-12-08

See also 

EPA finalizes CO2 endangerment finding

EPA finalizes finding that greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, pose threat to human health, welfare. Finding, a signal that U.S. is prepared to contribute to climate treaty, is useful tool during Copenhagen summit. And: EPA said it would impose new rules only on large factories, refineries, power plants and other facilities emitting more than 25,000 tons a year of carbon dioxide; greenhouse gases come from millions of auto tailpipes, airplanes, ships, home furnaces, even digestive tracts of cattle (click 'See also').

By Bryan Walsh

Time magazine 2009-12-07

See also 

Food stamps become safety net's safety net in tough times

Food stamps now help feed one in eight Americans and one in four children and average around $130 a month for each person in household. Path was cleared in better times when Bush administration led campaign to erase program's stigma, made it easier to apply (click 'See also' for information). Program now expanding at about 20,000 people a day. Food stamps reach about two-thirds of those eligible; benefits brought Ohio about $2.2 billion last year. It feeds half the people in stretches of white Appalachia, in Yupik-speaking region of Alaska and on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Across 10 core counties of Mississippi Delta, 45 percent of black residents receive aid.

By Jason DeParle and Robert Gebeloff

The New York Times 2009-11-28

See also 

Greening of VA helps war veterans find peace in life back home

War veterans learn about themselves, find measure of peace in New Jersey VA center's vegetable gardens; one vet begins landscaping business as result. Medical center gardens grew out of link to nonprofit Planetree organization; veterans removed lawn to till 20-by-50-foot plots and this summer harvested more than 1,000 pounds of produce, which was given to other patients and also used at house cafe.

By Peter Applebome

The New York TImes 2009-11-29

Diabetes rates likely to double, may exceed all projected Medicare costs

Diabetes cases projected to nearly double in U.S. in next 25 years, nearly tripling care costs; Medicare spending on diabetes expected to jump from $45 billion to $171 billion and could exceed projections for all Medicare costs, study shows. Researchers' estimates based on stable obesity rates. Greatest growth in obesity has been among obese diabetics who are getting heavier, but focusing solely on overall obesity rates minimizes the magnitude of a massive public health problem, says researcher.

By Deborah L. Shelton

Chicago Tribune 2009-11-27

Food-borne toxins can cause lifelong ills, researchers say

Food-borne pathogens disproportionately affect youngest of us and have effects beyond painful stomach cramps and bloody diarrhea, researchers say. Campylobacter, e.coli, listeria, salmonella seen most in children under 4; half the reported cases of food-borne illness affect children younger than 15. Lingering effects can include premature death, paralysis, kidney failure, lifetime of seizures or mental disability. To reduce infection: Cook meat thoroughly, clean work surfaces, wash produce, buy only pasteurized milk & juice products, report any food-borne illness to local health department.

By Melissa Healy

Los Angeles Times 2009-11-12

E.coli traced to producer that doesn't test for deadly bacteria

E. coli outbreak that has killed two people, sickened 500 others traced to ground beef producer that stopped testing ingredients years ago under pressure from beef suppliers. USDA has banned e.coli 0157.H7 but doesn't require meat companies to test for it; trimmings used to make ground beef are more susceptible to contamination because pathogen thrives in cattle feces that can get smeared on surfaces of whole cuts of meat. Grinders typically use trimmings from multiple suppliers; only ingredient testing, when it uncovers E. coli, enables grinders to identify slaughterhouse that shipped contaminated trim. Slaughterhouses have resisted independent testing by grinders for fear of recalls.

By Michael Moss

The New York Times 2009-11-13

Study links can-lining chemical BPA to male sexual dysfunction

High exposure to BPA, a synthetic estrogen commonly used in linings of food, beverage cans, appears to cause erectile dysfunction, other sexual problems in men, study shows. Findings raise questions about whether exposure at lesser levels can affect sexual function, researcher says. FDA has maintained chemical is safe, but research links BPA in lab animals to infertility, weight gain, behavioral changes, early-onset puberty, cancer, diabetes. And: 2 billion pounds of BPA manufactured each year, and endocrine disruptor is in 92 percent of us (click 'See also').

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2009-11-11

See also 

EPA sends CO2 danger finding to White House

EPA sends to White House its final proposal on whether carbon dioxide, other greenhouse gas emissions pose danger to human health and welfare, agency head says. And: Step could trigger regulation of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases as pollutants under the Clean Air Act; environmentalists embrace move in advance of Copenhagen climate talks while manufacturers worry (click 'See also').

By Tom Doggett

Reuters 2009-11-09

See also 

FDA plan to kill oyster bacteria roils Gulf Coast

Last month, FDA stunned oyster industry with plans to require that Gulf of Mexico oysters harvested between April and October undergo process to kill vibrio vulnificus, which can be fatal to those with chronic conditions. Of 30 cases of infection traced to Gulf Coast oysters annually, half the victims die, CDC says. When California banned untreated oysters from Gulf during warm months, fatalities dropped to zero. Industry says processing will ruin taste of raw oysters, triple their cost and place undue burdens on business. Louisiana officials talk about defying feds. Gulf Coast supplies 67 percent of oysters eaten nationwide. And: Evidence of problem, solution unambiguous, says FDA official (click 'See also').

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2009-11-10

See also 

Lawmaker questions school meals' safeguards against e.coli

Lawmaker wants Congress to see whether there are adequate protections from e.coli for school meals. He also asked investigators to compare safety, quality of ground beef available to schools with that available to restaurants, other commercial buyers. Probe earlier found that USDA didn't always make sure states and schools were notified promptly about recalled food distributed through the federal school lunch and breakfast programs, which serve 30 million students.

By Libby Quaid

The Associated Press; The Washington Post 2009-11-09

Jobless rate now 10.2 percent, under-employed reaches 17.5 percent

Nation's jobless rate rises to 10.2 percent in October, highest since April 1983. Feds' broader measure of unemployment rose to 17.5 percent. That gauge of labor under-use, known as 'U-6' for its Labor Department classification, accounts for people who have stopped looking for work or who can't find full-time jobs. And: To be eligible for food stamps, household income must be below 130 percent of official poverty line - annual take-home pay of $22,000 for a family of four - with assets under $2,000 (click 'See also').

By Sudeep Reddy and Phil Izzo

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2009-11-06

See also 

Farm groups, atrazine maker protest safety review of weedkiller

Farm groups, manufacturer of atrazine protest decision to review Syngenta weedkiller's safety, saying EPA bowed to environmentalists. Agency said it wants to examine studies of chemical's cancer-causing potential in farm workers. Atrazine is used on about 60 percent of Iowa's corn acreage. And: Atrazine is one of most common contaminants in drinking water; new studies suggest that taint is associated with birth defects, low birth weights and reproductive problems among humans (click 'See also'). Other studies show that atrazine interferes with development and hormone systems of some animals.

By Philip Brasher

The Des Moines Register 2009-11-04

See also 

Pupils' free breakfast choices often sugary processed items

Nutrition experts warn that sugary processed foods Chicago Public Schools provides to children eating free breakfast make them sleepy and relaxed, and because such foods are digested quickly, children feel hungry well before lunchtime, making concentration difficult. Visits to schools show students pairing doughnuts with Frosted Flakes, syrupy French toast and juice. Health advocates say that's what happens when adults allow children as young as 5 to choose between oatmeal or Kellogg's Froot Loops. Chartwells-Thompson, city schools main caterer, defended brand promotion. And: Cut calories, add vegetables to school lunches, panel says (click 'See also')

By Monica Eng

Chicago Tribune 2009-11-05

See also 

Environmental sleuths take to air on hunt for chicken litter

Network of volunteer pilots, sleuths on aerial hunt for chicken litter around Chesapeake Bay as EPA steps up enforcement, targets concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). Livestock operations generate about 500 million tons of manure annually. Waste can contaminate water, depleting oxygen, killing fish, and sometimes harbors e.coli. And: In trial against poultry industry, state of Oklahoma says since companies own birds from hatching to slaughterhouse, they also own their manure; Tyson, Cargill, other companies argue waste is responsibility of contract growers (click 'See also').

By Lauren Etter

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2009-11-03

See also 

Opinion: Nominee's pesticides position, experience don't match Obama's agriculture interest

Opinion: Nominee's pesticides position, experience don't match Obama's agriculture interest

Resume of Islam Siddiqui, nominated for chief agricultural negotiator, doesn't seem to square with administration's professed interest in more sustainable, less chemically dependent approaches to agriculture. His current job representing coalition of major pesticide players is to increase exports of agricultural chemicals; resume also includes Clinton-era draft of organic standards notoriously loose about allowing genetically engineered crops and use of sewage-sludge fertilizers to be labeled as 'organic.' And: Candidate worked previously for California Department of Food and Agriculture (click 'See also').

The editors

The New York Times 2009-11-04

See also 

BPA found in green beans, tuna and other canned foods

In analysis, bisphenol A, a plastic hardener, found in range of canned foods - among them Del Monte Fresh Cut Blue Lake Green Beans and 'BPA-free' cans of tuna sold by Vital Choice, advocacy group reports. Findings bolster case for banning BPA from materials that come in contact with food and beverages - can linings, baby bottles and sippy cups- group said in letter to FDA. Some studies link chemical to reproductive abnormalities, higher risk of cancer, diabetes. And: Canned juice is of particular concern, since small children may drink a lot of it, says Consumer Reports (click 'See also').

By Andrew Zajac

Los Angeles Times 2009-11-02

See also 

E.coli kills two, sickens at least 28, CDC says

Two die, 16 hospitalized, with total of 28 sickened in outbreak of e.coli that may be linked to ground beef distributed on East Coast, CDC says. Hamburger was produced by Ashville, N.Y.-based Fairbank Farms (click 'See also'), which recalled more than 545,000 pounds of its product on Oct. 31. Ground beef was distributed in Northeast, mid-Atlantic and sold at ACME, BJ's, Ford Brothers, Giant Food Stores, Price Chopper, Shaw's and Trader Joe's, company says. It's the third recall for Fairbank Farms.

By Elizabeth Weise

USA Today 2009-11-02

See also 

E.coli kills two, sickens at least 44, CDC says

Two die, 16 hospitalized and 28 have been sickened in outbreak of e.coli that may be linked to ground beef distributed on East Coast, CDC says. Hamburger was produced by Ashville, N.Y.-based Fairbank Farms (click 'See also'), which recalled more than 545,000 pounds of its product on Oct. 31. Ground beef was distributed in Northeast, mid-Atlantic and sold at ACME, BJ's, Ford Brothers, Giant Food Stores, Price Chopper, Shaw's and Trader Joe's, company says. It's the third recall for Fairbank Farms.

By Elizabeth Weise

USA Today 2009-11-02

See also 

At FDA, Team Tomato pits germ vs germ in battle against food pathogens

Building on 1917 discovery of bacteriophages - viruses that live within bacteria and can kill other bacteria - FDA scientists have found what they believe are powerful, naturally occurring 'good' bacteria that can slaughter 'bad' bacteria on fresh fruits, vegetables. In experiments, microorganisms kill salmonella, listeria, e.coli O15:H7 on tomato surfaces; only vibrio, found in warm seawater that can contaminate oysters and other seafood, has stood its ground.

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2009-10-31

School meals may face more pork if USDA buys surplus

Feds undecided on whether to buy $50 million of pork to support industry; producers ask that it go for food assistance programs. And: Nation's schoolchildren are fed, in large part, by over-produced agricultural commodities that are promised a market by Farm Bill (click 'See also'). USDA buys hundreds of millions of pounds of excess beef, pork, milk and other meat and dairy products to bolster or normalize dropping prices, then dumps raw commodities into National School Lunch Program. Nearly half of U.S. children forecast to be overweight or obese by 2010.

By Charles Abbott

Reuters 2009-10-22

See also 

Smart Choices labeling program halted after FDA warning

Industry-funded Smart Choices food labeling program halted days after FDA announces investigation into whether nutrition claims on fronts of packages were misleading. Agency also said it was developing proposed regulation to define criteria for front-of-package claims. And: Smart Choices, which includes nine major companies such as Kellogg, Kraft, General Mills, has been harshly criticized for giving its green seal to items such as Froot Loops, Cracker Jack (click 'See also').

By Lisa Richwine

Reuters 2009-10-23

See also 

Opinion: Time for hard look at behavior of dominant seed businesses

Agriculture is at frontier of technological progress; its innovations will largely determine whether and at what cost world will feed its growing population. No company should dominate such an essential business. Good place to probe potentially anticompetitive behavior is Monsanto, which is trying to block DuPont from adding its own genetic traits to Monsanto's Roundup Ready technology to produce soybeans that would be resistant to multiple pesticides. Monsanto genes, which resist Roundup weedkiller, present in 97 percent of soybean crops, 79 percent of corn.

The editors

The New York Times 2009-10-22

Cut calories, add vegetables, whole grains to school lunches

Panel calls for calorie, sodium limits in USDA school lunch program, plus weekly amounts for dark green and orange vegetables, grains, and animal protein/dairy for each age group. Fruits, vegetables are not interchangeable, it said. It also calls for replacement of refined grains with whole grains, and for low-fat or skim milk. Recommendations reflect 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans; standards for school meals haven't been updated since 1995. Institute of Medicine panel says feds must increase reimbursement to fund changes.

By Mary MacVean

Los Angeles Times 2009-10-20

Opinion: Feds must fill safety gaps in beef, other food production

Eating a hamburger should not be a death-defying experience. Too often it is (click 'See also'). Ground beef is major part of American diet. Government needs to quickly fill safety gaps in food production. Congress, USDA should make it illegal to discourage additional testing for pathogens, must give USDA more authority to recall foods or to shut down plants that keep sending out contaminated products. Administration should nominate strong undersecretary for food safety. That vacancy leaves a huge gap.

The editors

The New York Times 2009-10-10

See also 

Slow recall alerts cited in students' salmonella-related ills

Some of the 226 students who got diarrhea and other salmonella-related symptoms after peanut product recall 'may have consumed the (tainted) products in school,' USDA school lunch recall audit shows. Recall notifications were delayed - sometimes more than a week, report says. Delay also cited on largest beef recall in U.S. history, which involved abuse of sick and injured cattle at California's Westland/Hallmark Meat Co. (click 'See also'). School meals program serves 30 million students.

By Peter Eisler and Blake Morrison

USA Today 2009-09-22

See also 

Toxins at Cold War-era missile sites threaten water supplies

Cleanup continues at dozens of former nuclear missile sites tainted with trichloroethylene, or TCE. In Colorado, one site is near Poudre River, where planned reservoir would partly submerge site and could contaminate river, municipal water supplies. In '90s, chemical was discovered in Cheyenne city wells, which are within eight-mile-long plume of TCE within Ogallala Aquifer. Cleanup is part of work at 9,000-plus sites projected to cost $17.8 billion. And: Pentagon, nation's biggest polluter, has about 25,000 contaminated properties across U.S. (click 'See also').

By Mead Gruver

The Associated Press; The Washington Post 2009-10-11

See also 

Lawmakers want pork bailout; dietitician says school children pay with their health

Lawmakers ask USDA to buy $100 million more pork - beyond the $30 million already announced - to protect industry from its economic troubles. Lawmakers say purchase could go for federal food assistance programs. And: Feds should be improving food served to children, not loading school meals with more pork and its saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium, writes dietitian and nutrition director of activist group (click 'See also'). 'We've got to stop using school lunches as a dumping ground for high-fat meat products,' she says.

By Barbara Barrett

The News & Observer (NC) 2009-10-09

See also 

School lunch provider turns out low-budget fresh meals

School lunch provider turns out low-budget fresh meals

Though providing a tasty school meal can increase attendance, boost student focus and improve lifelong eating habits, federal deficit makes school lunch reform funding unlikely. But Revolution Foods turns out thousands of made-from-scratch meals that meet USDA standards for about $3 each (feds pay $2.68). Company shuns high-fructose corn syrup, serves only hormone- and antibiotic-free meat; it cuts deals with purveyors, offers payment plans for schools. Skeptic says that charter schools understand link between nutrition and education, but worries that taking on public school bureaucracies will be difficult. And: Businesses help close school meal funding gap (click 'See also').

By Jane Black

The Washington Post 2009-09-30

See also 

Alfalfa, sugar beet rulings signal new U.S. view of GM crops

Farmers who shun genetically modified crops find hope in recent alfalfa and sugar beet rulings (click 'See also') criticizing regulators who ignored potential economic impact of GM crop cross-pollination on organic, other farmers. Lawsuits have prompted first environmental impact statement ever for a GM crop, due in 2009. Though U.S. has passed no legislation on GM crops, 95 percent of U.S. sugar beet crop, which supplies about half the nation's sugar, now engineered. Eighty-five percent of corn crop genetically modified, and, as high-fructose corn syrup, is throughout food system. Some 90 percent of soy, cotton crops include genes from Monsanto Co., Dow Chemical, DuPont.

By Paul Voosen

Greenwire/The New York Times 2009-10-08

See also 

Accord allows Costco to test Tyson beef for e.coli

Costco will begin buying beef trimmings for making hamburger from Tyson, one of the largest beef producers, after agreement reached that allows Costco to test Tyson trimmings for e.coli before being mixed with those from other suppliers. Some of largest slaughterhouses have resisted added scrutiny for fear that one grinder's discovery of E. coli will lead to expanded recalls of beef, The New York Times reported Sunday (click 'See also'). Critics in Congress say USDA has irreconcilable conflict between protecting public health and at same time promoting agricultural products.

By Michael Moss

The New York Times 2009-10-08

See also 

In some school cafeterias, chefs cook against all odds

Many advocates for better, healthier school food call for return to cooking real, fresh food, but barely half of New York's 1,385 school kitchens have enough cooking and fire-suppression equipment to allow it. Plus, staff isn't trained to do much more than steam frozen vegetables, dig ravioli out of a six-pound can or heat frozen chicken patties. In one school, parents declared victory when they persuaded cooks to boil water and cook pasta. One bonus is that children are happier at lunch, principal notes.

By Kim Severson

The New York Times 2009-09-30

Leafy greens top risk list for foods overseen by FDA

Ten riskiest foods overseen by FDA, which regulates 80 percent of food supply, are leafy greens, eggs, tuna, oysters, potatoes, cheese, ice cream, tomatoes, sprouts and berries, consumer watchdog study shows (click 'See also' for report). Meats, poultry, some egg products not considered because they're regulated by USDA. Tainted foods contained bacteria, from E.coli O157:H7 in spinach to scombrotoxin in tuna; victims suffered range of illnesses, from mild stomach cramps to death. One in four Americans sickened by foodborne illnesses and 5,000 die each year, says CDC.

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2009-10-06

See also 

Flawed safety system makes eating ground beef a gamble

Tens of thousands of people sickened annually by e. coli O157:H7, mostly through hamburger. Ground beef blamed for 16 outbreaks in last three years, including one from Cargill that left 22-year-old children's dance teacher paralyzed from waist down. Hamburger patty her mother grilled for her was mix of slaughterhouse trimmings plus scraps from Nebraska, Texas, Uruguay and from company that processes fatty trimmings and adds ammonia to kill bacteria. In weeks before teacher's patty was made, records show Cargill was violating its own ground beef handling procedures. Cargill, which supplies beef for school lunches, has revenue of $116.6 billion last year and is country's largest company.

By Michael Moss

The New York Times 2009-10-04

Jobless rate reaches 9.8 percent; at school, algebra suffers

More than 15 million people in U.S. now unemployed, and more are working part-time jobs for less pay, or have given up looking for work. New Jersey resident, a year after losing job, has $800 left in savings account, six more weeks of $379 unemployment checks. She's paring expenses - she tries to eat less. And: Teachers note that impoverished students are distracted from learning; 'It's hard to focus on algebra when you're hungry,' says advocate (click 'See also').

By Jack Healy

The New York Times 2009-10-02

See also 

Farm groups endorse Monsanto phosphorous mine

Idaho's Farm Bureau Federation, Grain Producers Association, Sugarbeet Growers Association endorse Monsanto's proposed Blackfoot Bridge mine to replace its existing mine, which is leaking selenium, heavy metals into Blackfoot River tributaries. Other mines in region blamed for killing livestock poisoned by selenium. New mine would allow for continued domestic production of agribusiness giant's Roundup, a weed killer that generates more than $1 billion in gross profits annually (click 'See also).

Idaho Statesman 2009-09-19

See also 

Humane Society, senators, livestock emissions and Clean Air Act

Humane Society petitions EPA to list concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) under Clean Air Act. Animal feeding operations produce 500 million tons of manure every year. And: Other senators join John Thune, Chuck Schumer in co-sponsoring S. 527, legislation that would permanently prohibit Clean Air Act permit system for emissions - including carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, water vapor, or methane - associated with biological processes of livestock production.

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition 2009-09-28

See also 

Buried dump beneath closed park leaches toxins into water

As Connecticut city proposes $2 million for running waterlines to residences near former park atop a buried and leaking landfill, neighbors worry about health effects of drinking tainted well water. 'I'm no tree hugger, but this just ain't right,' says one, whose wife has psoriasis and whose preschooler has hair loss. Landfill, unlined and permeable, is bordered by wetlands to north. Toxins also threaten city's aquifer and North Stamford Reservoir. Full-scale cleanup unlikely; EPA says city is providing appropriate response.

By Magdalene Perez

The Advocate (Stamford, CT) 2009-09-27

EPA lacks oversight on safety of school water

In last 10 years, toxins found in drinking water of public and private schools in all 50 states, but problem has gone largely unmonitored by feds. EPA lacks authority to require testing for all schools; it does not specifically monitor incoming state data on school water quality. Tainting most apparent at schools with wells. Schools with unsafe water represent small percentage of nation's 132,500 schools; EPA says violations spiked because of stricter standards for arsenic, disinfectants, other toxins. And: It's time to ban arsenic from chicken feed (click 'See also').

By Garance Burke

The Associated Press; The Washington Post 2009-09-25

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Some schools embrace buy-local movement but others left behind

Some schools embrace buy-local movement but others left behind

youtube

Click 'See also' for video of students pleading for better school food.

Buy-local trend, which has popularized farmers' markets, farm harvest subscriptions reaches some school lunch programs. Farm to school initiative started at a few schools in California, Florida, North Carolina in late 1990s; USDA says 2,000-plus such programs are active in about 40 states. Programs bring fresh produce into schools, gives local small-farm owners chance to break into new market, and lets students meet farmers who visit schools and explain their work. And: San Francisco students make video pleading for better school food (click 'See also').

By Jenna Johnson

The Washington Post 2009-09-24

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Pesticides, pollution in food supply linked to obesity epidemic

Environmental chemicals may well account for good part of obesity epidemic, especially in those under 50, and may cause spike in infant obesity rates. Certain hormone-mimicking pollutants throughout food chain act on genes in developing fetus, newborns to reprogram precursor cells into lifelong fat cells, and they may alter metabolic rate, turning body into physiological Scrooge, research shows. Other research reports that the more pesticides children were exposed to as fetuses, the greater their risk of being overweight as toddlers; children exposed to higher levels of PCBs and DDT-related chemical before birth were fatter than others.

By Sharon Begley

Newsweek magazine 2009-09-21

Farm runoff taints tap water, rivers, streams

Agricultural runoff is single largest source of water pollution in nation's rivers and streams; 19.5 million Americans fall ill each year from waterborne parasites, viruses, bacteria. In Wisconsin county, agriculture and dairy bring in $3 billion a year but dairies together produce up to 1 million gallons of manure daily. Regulators say excessive manure, slaughterhouse waste, treated sewage spread on fields there tainted tap water. Clean Water Act largely regulates only contaminants moving through pipes or ditches. EPA has rules for biggest farms, but thousands of animal feedlots don't file paperwork. Powerful farm lobby has blocked previous environmental efforts on Capitol Hill, and in states. And: Other stories in Toxic Water series (click 'See also').

By Charles Duhigg

The New York Times 2009-09-18

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Make obesity prevention national priority, researchers urge

With more than 92 percent of Americans at risk for heart disease, potential exists to reverse ominous trends if obesity prevention becomes national priority and is folded into schools, workplaces, researchers write. Looming problems are blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, all time bombs, since 32 percent of U.S. children are now overweight or obese. Once they reach adulthood, their heart-disease risk could cause national numbers to explode. Authors call for physicians to be reimbursed for prevention measures, including weight-loss plans. And: Real source of obesity epidemic is federal corn subsidies (click 'See also').

By Jeffrey Kluger

Time magazine 2009-09-14

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Opinion: Waiting for substance from USDA on sustainability

USDA's new farm-to-community initiative is mostly symbol. Backbone of program is a new website for agency's existing 20-odd local-food support programs, plus extra $50 million to get more local produce into school cafeterias, as well as relaxing of rules on shipping meat, poultry across state lines. But most programs were made law in 2008 Farm Bill, which will dole out $35 billion in subsidies to agribusinesses for corn, wheat, soybeans. Until that changes, this is just talk.

By Barry Estabrook

Gourmet.com/Politics of the Plate 2009-09-17

Satellite imaging changing face of water management

As water conflicts for agriculture grow intense, tool that mines data from government satellite images (some of which are on Google Earth) is changing face of water management. Data (click 'See also') have helped settle century-long fight between Colorado and Kansas over Arkansas River, dispute between Idaho irrigation districts, and have eased fears in California that water transfers to L.A., San Diego would increase salinity of Imperial Valley farmland. Data also are crucial to feds' programs that maintain water in streams where steelhead trout, salmon spawn. Project, called METRIC, has been in jeopardy because NASA wasn't planning to include required $100 million thermal infared sensor in next satellite launch, but Western politicians pressured the agency, and it appears that sensor will be included.

By Kari Lydersen

The Washington Post 2009-09-14

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FDA OKs nutrient-rich baobab fruit as ingredient

FDA OKs nutrient-rich baobab fruit as ingredient

Beverly Joubert/National Geographic

Baobab fruit - with tart flavor between grapefruit, pear and vanilla; and rich vitamin, mineral, antioxidant content - OK'd by FDA as ingredient. Adansonia digitata, or 'upside-down' tree, grows primarily in Africa, is touted as natural, sustainable, fair trade option. And: In Africa, tree leaves are eaten as a vegetable, and the seeds can be eaten raw or roasted, or ground to make an edible oil and thickener for soups and stews (click 'See also'). Fruit can be peeled, sliced and cooked, or roasted, mashed or pureed.

By Rod Addy

nutraingredients.com/Decision News Media 2009-09-11

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Violations of Clean Water Act rampant across nation

One in 10 Americans exposed to drinking water tainted with dangerous chemicals or that fails federal standards. Clean Water Act has been violated more than 506,000 times since 2004 by 23,000-plus firms, facilities. Fewer than 3 percent of violations resulted in fines or other significant punishments. Enforcement lapses were particularly bad under George W. Bush, EPA employees said. Farm pollution, livestock runoff largely unregulated. Best solution is for Congress to hold EPA, states accountable, lawmakers, activists say; others say public outrage is required. And: Interactive database of hundreds of thousands of water pollution records from every state and EPA (click 'See also').

By Charles Duhigg

The New York TImes 2009-09-13

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USDA requires 2 inspections yearly for school cafeterias

Schools participating in USDA National School Lunch Program, breakfast program now required to undergo two safety inspections each school year, rather than one. Schools are required to post most recent inspection report in visible location and to release copy of report to public upon request.

Federal Register 2009-09-02

Proponent of agribusiness now leads senate Agriculture Committee

Proponent of agribusiness now leads senate Agriculture Committee

After death of Ted Kennedy, Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) takes chairmanship of Agriculture Committee as Tom Harkin (D-IA) moves to chair Health, Education, Labor and Pensions panel, which is responsible for major food-safety bill pending in Congress. And: Lincoln is proponent for large farms, livestock interests - Tyson Foods is based in Arkansas (click 'See also'). Pair her with panel's senior Republican, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, and it's one-two punch for southern perspective on agricultural policy.

By Paul Kane and Ben Pershing

The Washington Post 2009-09-09

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Regulators struggle to keep up with supplements industry

Nearly two-thirds of American adults take dietary supplements, mostly multivitamins, calcium, omega-3, says trade group. Supplements aren't regulated as drugs; study showed 9 percent of 300 drug-induced liver injuries potentially were linked to supplements. Senate subcommittee plans hearing on safety. Since last December, FDA has warned about 70-plus weight-loss supplements; agency urges consumer vigilance.

By Anna Wilde Mathews

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2009-09-07

Food safety lapses leave families bereft, lawmakers scrambling

Linda Rivera, once teachers' aide and always in motion, now in a mute state; 4-year-old girl partially paralyzed are among 80 people sickened by eating e.coli-tainted raw cookie dough, feds believe. As recalls cause public to lose confidence in food safety, lawmakers scramble; Nestlé resumes supplying chilled dough to supermarkets. And: Cargill slaughterhouse that just recalled 826,000 pounds of beef was slapped with animal handling citations last year after review of processors that supply USDA National School Lunch Program (click 'See also').

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2009-09-01

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Food stamp participation reaches record as unemployment climbs

More than 35 million Americans received food stamps in June, up 22 percent from June 2008. Food stamp program, with average benefit of $133.12 per person, aids one in nine Americans and has grown with nation's unemployment rate. And: Labor Department says unemployment reached 9.7 percent in August, but other indicators show 16.8 percent (click 'See also').

By Roberta Rampton and Chuck Abbott

Reuters 2009-09-03

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Processed food makers advertise their products as 'smart choices'

Sugar-laden cereals, heavily salted packaged meals among hundreds of processed items now advertised as 'Smart Choice' by nation's largest food manufacturers and overseen by Tufts University dean. Campaign prompts letter of potential concern from FDA. 'You could start out with some sawdust, add calcium or Vitamin A and meet the criteria,' says critic. 'Horrible choices,' says another. And: Heart association recommends sugar limits (click 'See also').

By William Neuman

The New York Times 2009-09-05

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Opinion: Toward a smarter, sustainable food supply

Radical changes in the way we grow food (click 'See also') will increase our grocery bills, and that doesn't make sense in recession. But shoppers, farmers, ranchers, policymakers could help create a more sustainable agricultural system by examining impact of potential farm on water supply, soil resources and manure disposal; supporting experiments that explore smart use of water; choosing locally grown produce and products, and meats raised on less corn and without antibiotics. Feds should look for opportunities to buy produce from local farmers who use techniques that don't damage soils or environment.

The editors

The Dallas Morning News 2009-08-28

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Dairy, pork firms struggle but sugar farmers see record high prices

Thirty-eight percent drop in farm profits predicted; slower increase in food costs likely. Food and agriculture account for about 13 percent of GNP. Global sugar prices hit 28-year record. Restaurants cut orders for pork; pork exports in June were 36 percent lower than same time last year. Farmers, many of whom already receive federal subsidies, seek more help. Last month, administration agreed to temporarily raise price it pays for dairy products, adding $243 million to existing supports. Midwest governors hawk pork for government nutrition programs. And: Monsanto to hike cost of genetically modified corn, soybeans up to 42 percent (click 'See also').

By Scott Kilman and Lauren Etter

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2009-08-28

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WIC food aid packages aligned to 2005 Dietary Guidelines

Food packages for WIC (Women, Infants and Children), revised for first time since early '90s, now aligned with 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (click 'See also'). New packages will contain checks for fruits, vegetables; participants will be encouraged to use whole grains, brown rice. Allotments will provide less saturated fat and cholesterol, more fiber.

By Nancy Hicks

Lincoln Journal Star (NE) 2009-08-23

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Nonprofit groups link local produce supply with local demand

New nonprofits that aggregate and deliver local produce are popping up across U.S., could be missing link between supply of and demand for products grown nearby. Farmers appreciate delivery consolidation, ease of building relationships with bigger buyers. Among customers are elementary schools, independent grocers, restaurants. In Charlottesville, VA, negotiations are under way to sell to University of Virginia dining services, run by Aramark.

By Jane Black

The Washington Post 2009-08-26

Opinion: Solving myriad problems requires integrated solutions

Speed at which humans have improved technology has obscured our hard-wired abilities to make natural connections - that plants clean the air and water, that termites initiated mounds in which palm trees now grow in Botswana, to sense meanings in the sand, breeze and thickness of air. To solve array of integrated problems - climate change, energy, water scarcity, biodiversity loss, poverty reduction, feeding a hungry, growing population - we must deal with them in integrated way, the way they occur on the ground, says Glenn Prickett, conservation expert.

By Thomas L. Friedman

The New York Times 2009-08-23

Spiking weedkiller in drinking water OK, says EPA; critics disagree

EPA says Americans aren't exposed to unsafe levels of atrazine, a weedkiller used on cornfields, gardens, lawns, golf courses that washes into drinking water, particularly in summer. Others say EPA rules are insufficient, that local water systems must monitor atrazine more often, issue alerts of spikes. 43 water systems sue Syngenta, other chemical companies to force them to pay for removing poison from water. Studies suggest link of small amounts of atrazine to birth defects, premature births, menstrual woes. Home filtration system can avoid exposure. And: Atrazine linked to frog decline, egg production in male fish, and found in Washington, D.C.'s Potomac River (click 'See also').

By Charles Duhigg

The New York Times 2009-08-22

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National stream survey finds mercury in every fish

In nationwide stream survey, mercury found in every fish tested, with some higher concentrations found in mining areas of West. In about a quarter of the fish, levels exceeded federal standards for people who eat an average amount of fish. In study, largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass had greatest average mercury concentrations; brown trout, rainbow-cutthroat trout, channel catfish had the lowest. And: How mercury becomes toxic in environment (click 'See also').

By Bettina Boxall

Los Angeles Times 2009-08-19

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Program offers stop-gap measure for food stamps

Trial program in Chicago aims to get food stamps to those who qualify as quickly as possible, dishing out a card with about a month's worth of stamps on the spot. Express Stamps benefits are good for only about two to six weeks; if recipient wants renewed benefits, a full application process is required. In 10 sites, program has OK'd about 2,300 people for temporary benefits; 68 percent then applied for full food-stamp benefits.

By Ben Meyerson

Chicago Tribune 2009-08-20

Analysis: Improving Energy Star ratings for appliance efficiency

Energy Star/Energy Guide program for rating energy efficiency of appliances is inaccurate, unreliable and oversimplified, with manufacturers' claims left unverified. More helpful is EU version. A dishwasher there, for example, is rated on total energy and water consumption, cleaning performance, drying performance, size and noise. At a glance, shopper gets sense of how this dishwasher stacks up against others. And: Energy Star loopholes create skewed ratings (click 'See also').

By Harry Sawyers

Popular Mechanics 2009-08-13

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Rising joblessness means record crowds for school meals

At least 18.5 million low-income students expected for school lunches and 8.5 million-plus expected for breakfast. If rising family homelessness, steady growth in food stamp program are indications, however, enrollment in school meals could swell well beyond expectations. And: New York senator proposes expansion of free school meals to all children living under 185 percent of federal poverty line in certain high-cost areas, or $40,792 for a family of four (click 'See also').

By Tony Pugh

Sacramento Bee 2009-08-15

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Pollution history shouldn't stop more mining, Monsanto says

Monsanto's history of polluting Idaho shouldn't stop more mining for Roundup ingredient, company says. Three of firm's previous mines in region now under federal Superfund authority; a fourth is now violating federal clean water laws (click 'See also'). Two fertilizer makers J.R. Simplot, Agrium also linked to pollution there. Roundup will generate $1 billion-plus in gross profits annually; in one county in mining region where 7,000 people live, Monsanto pays more than $29 million in wages, benefits.

By John Miller

The Associated Press; The Spokesman-Review 2009-08-09

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Mountaintop removal battle tests Obama's clean energy vow

Battle over mountaintop removal coal mining will test Barack Obama, who vowed clean energy economy but in May oversaw EPA's OK of 42 permits for mining method that devastates landscapes, uproots hundreds of communities. Peak shearing of up to 1,000 feet buries streams, damages water systems. It deposits selenium, which can cause reproductive ills in humans and is deforming fish, downstream from mine fill sites. Meanwhile, Senate takes up bill (click 'See also') to prohibit mining companies from dumping debris in streams. Almost half of America's electricity is coal-powered.

By Suzanne Goldenberg

The Guardian (UK) 2009-08-04

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Investors say BPA risks food firms' value; feds mum on chemical's use

Investors representing $26 billion tell FDA that continued use of bisphenol A (BPA) in food and beverage can linings could threaten companies' value. Group says FDA assessment of safety, lack of federal regulation discourage search for alternatives. And: Consultants use Big Tobacco tactics to protect BPA market from regulation; EPA has no real program to regulate industrial chemicals, says environmental health specialist at Pew Charitable Trusts (click 'See also').

By Rory Harrington

nutraingredients.com/ Decision News Media 2009-06-24

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Avoid BPA, Massachusetts tells parents, pregnant and nursing women

Massachusetts warns parents, caregivers to avoid storing infant formula, breast milk in plastic bottles containing bisphenol A, urges pregnant or breast-feeding women to avoid chemical in other food and drink containers. And: Almost all canned foods sold in U.S. have BPA-based epoxy liner that leaches BPA, an endocrine disruptor, into food (click 'See also').

By Beth Daley

The Boston Globe 2009-08-04

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Some fish saved from brink; others may face extinction

With good management, many fish populations can recover from brink, new study shows. But there are more collapsed fish populations than ever known; many individual species - cod, for example - threatened; two-thirds of all stocks need to be rebuilt, half of those still overfished. And: Compass Group, world's largest contract caterer, bans 69 species of fish from menus at thousands of restaurants across UK, Ireland in a move hailed by campaigners fighting to protect threatened stocks (click 'See also').

By Brandon Keim

Wired 2009-07-30

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House, USDA, FDA move toward improved food safey

House OKs food safety bill; opposition had centered on lesser provisions that critics said would add burdensome bureaucracy for farmers. Legislation applies only to FDA, will not cover meat or poultry products, USDA territory. And: USDA to begin regular testing of meat trimmings used to make ground beef; FDA issues voluntary guidelines for growing, processing tomatoes, leafy greens, melons (click 'See also').

By William Neuman

The New York Times 2009-07-30

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Opinion: Growing, eating less meat benefits us, planet

Breaking meat addiction is important for our survival as individuals, and for our planet. Reduce the excess meat in your diet and you'll reduce your risk of developing certain cancers. Producing one kilogram of beef produces 15-25kg of greenhouse gas emissions. If a steak became a treat and not every pot had a chicken in it every night, the food system could produce less and farmers still receive fair returns.

By Jess Halliday

nutraingredients.com/Decision News Media 2009-07-27

For ranchers, mobile slaughterhouse cuts out feedlots

Shoppers' soaring interest in meat from free-roaming cattle, plus government grants helped give ranchers in remote California area momentum to get mobile slaughterhouse on the road. 'Mobile harvest unit,' a tractor-trailer outfitted with knives, meat hooks and a freezer based on similar unit in Washington state, employs three butchers and shares USDA inspector with nearby meat-packaging shop.

By Jacob Adelman

The Associated Press; The Washington Post 2009-07-20

Food dye blocks inflammation in injured rats, scientists learn

Food dye blocks inflammation in injured rats, scientists learn

Commonly used blue food dye found to block nerve inflammation, aid recovery from some spinal cord injuries in rat study, researchers learn. FD&C blue dye No. 1, found in Gatorade, Jell-O, M&Ms, and OK'd by FDA in 1928, crosses blood-brain barrier. 'We eat 100 million pounds a year in the U.S., so we already know that there's no toxicity,' says scientist.

By Hadley Leggett

Wired magazine 2009-07-27

Opinion: EPA's endocrine-disruptor testing old, incomplete

EPA's endocrine-disruption tests for assessing pesticide safety use old information. EPA's testing program addresses only segment of organs, tissues, systems, and won't detect chemicals that can alter development, function of pancreas, and its hormone, insulin, which could lead to diabetes, obesity. Nor will it detect chemicals that alter intelligence, behavior. And: Glyphosate, atrazine included in list of pesticides for Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program (click 'See also,' then scroll to page 17583 of Federal Register).

By Theo Colborn

Scientific American; Environmental Health News 2009-04-27

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Nanoetech spurs dreams of food scientists, concerns of environmentalists

Interest grows in food nanotechnology - manipulating matter at a scale one-1,000th the width of a human hair. Grocery trade group says likely first applications for food ingredients will be technologies that add nutrients, antioxidants, or even flavors. But others want more environmental health, safety studies. And: Nanoparticles could risk water, soil ecosystems, studies show (click 'See also').

By Carolyn Y. Johnson

Boston Globe 2009-07-27

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Feds send different signals on GM alfalfa, sugar beets

Judge bans Monsanto's genetically modified Roundup Ready alfalfa until scientific assessment can show that new crop doesn't harm environment, but Obama administration has said it intends to continue Bush-era policies on GM sugar beets despite similar suit against them. Monsanto charges ahead on GM wheat, buying WestBred, a wheat genetics company. And: Sugar from genetically modified beets - like all other GM foods - isn't labeled; during approval process, EPA OK'd increase of glyphosate residues allowed on sugar beets by 5,000 percent. (click 'See also').

By Barry Estabrook

Gourmet.com/Politics of the Plate 2009-07-24

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Opinion: Regulate mercury now to protect human health

EPA should issue tough rule to control mercury spewed from coal-fired power plants, knowing that it is essential to protect human health - toxin is found in increasingly high concentrations in fish. Another reason: GAO, found that, in some cases, mercury emissions were reduced up to 90 percent at average cost of $3.6 million, or pennies a month on consumers' electric bills. And: Mercury-contaminated fish advisories, state by state (click 'See also').

The editors

The New York TImes 2009-07-25

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Finding parallels in strategy of food industry, Big Tobacco

As diet-related disease epidemic continues, food industry strategy following page from Big Tobacco's playbook: Focus on personal responsibility as cause of nation's unhealthy diet, raise fears that government action usurps personal freedom, vilify critics with totalitarian language, criticize studies that hurt industry as 'junk science,' emphasize physical activity over diet, say there are no good or bad foods, and plant doubt when concerns are raised about industry.

By Kelly D. Brownell and Kenneth E. Warner

Milbank Quarterly 2009-03-01

Monsanto, Dow win ruling for biotech corn

EPA, Canadian Food Inspection Agency OK genetically modified SmartStax corn seed for sale. The seed, a result of partnership between agribusiness giant Monsanto and Dow Chemical, includes eight biotech genes that shield it from weedkiller applications and also kill insects in multiple ways (click 'See also'). Regulators also agreed to reduce 'refuge area' - a percentage of acreage required to be planted in conventional corn seed to guard against developing pesticide tolerance in bugs.

By Jeffrey Tomich

St. Louis Post-Dispatch 2009-07-21

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Cargill cuts plant's production of hydrogenated oil

Cargill ends production of hydrogenated oil at Kansas plant. Demand has declined by 75 percent over last five years. Oil has been linked to artery clogging, heart disease; in 2006, FDA began requiring its presence listed on nutrition labels. Artificially created trans fats have been banned in New York City, Philadelphia and in California. And: FDA rules that allow up to 0.49g of trans fat per serving to be rounded to zero dupes shoppers (click 'See also').

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

nutraingredients.com/Decision News Media 2009-07-21

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Milk price crisis prompts call for probe into Dean Foods

Concerns about U.S. farmers' ability to sell milk at fair prices prompts senator to request Justice Department probe into Dallas-based Dean Foods, corporate concentration in dairy market. Company blames USDA, which typically sets prices, and supply/demand for low milk prices. And: Dairy cows sold as hamburger meat as milk prices fall, ending family tradition in California's nation's top milk producing state (click 'See also').

Dallas Business Journal/Denver Business Journal 2009-07-20

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Opinion: Goods from China earning reputation for shoddiness

Chinese drywall scandal just the latest in long string of contaminated products, including honey adulterated with antibiotics in 2002, cough syrup tainted with solvent in 2006, melamine-laden milk products in 2008. Consumers don't take well to being poisoned. Chinese goods are earning a reputation for shoddiness that will be hard to shake.

The editors

Chicago Tribune 2009-07-16

BPA-free canned beans, but tomatoes lagging at Eden Foods

Michigan-based Eden Foods made costly switch to bisphenol-A-free can linings for its beans in 1999. The Ball Corporation uses enamel made from vegetable resins. 'I didn't want BPA in food I was serving to my kids, my grandkids or my customers,' says Mike Potter, founder and president. Eden's tomato products still packaged in BPA-containing cans.

By Nena Baker

Environmental Working Group/enviroblog 2009-07-14

Opinion: Factory safety lapses - fatal or not - no joking matter

Instead of pointless puns in bad taste, those writing about death of 29-year-old temporary worker in New Jersey chocolate factory (click 'See also') should have used their influence to highlight risks of injury in food factories and how they can be minimized. Helping to prevent even just one fatality would be magnificent achievement. Fifty-one deaths in food manufacturing were reported last year.

By Mike Stones

nutraingredients.com/Decision News Media 2009-07-13

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More inspections could have prevented latest big beef recall

The 41,280-pound JBS Swift beef recall for e.coli, linked to 18 illnesses, could have been prevented if USDA plan to inspect more beef had been implemented. USDA is proposing to consider primal cuts - the large chunks of beef usually made into steaks, roasts - adulterated if e. coli is detected, and also to begin testing leftover parts of primals often turned into ground beef.

By Bill Tomson

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2009-07-10

Opinion: Recession tosses poor to fraying safety net of friends, family

Friends, family form safety net for growing number of newly poor - until poverty depletes entire social networks. One couple moved in with the wife's mother while awaiting Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (still called welfare) and after their 7-year-old's response of school assignment - what she would wish of genie - was deemed too disturbing to be displayed: Her wish was for her mother to find a job because there was nothing to eat in the house.

By Barbara Ehrenreich

The New York TImes 2009-07-11

Whole Foods will test private label foods for genetic modifications

Whole Foods says it plans to test its private label products for genetically engineered organisms and begin labeling before end of year. Nonprofit Non-GMO Project is designed to test whether a product has met defined standards for presence of genetically engineered or modified organisms. FDA says as much as 75 percent of processed food in U.S. may contain components from GM crops. And: GMO sugar beet farmer uses solar power to aid in lifting 210-pound kegs of Monsanto's weedkiller, Roundup (click 'See also').

Pacific Business News (bizjournals) 2009-07-07

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With food stamps stimulus, children taste cucumbers, farmers get paid

Increase in food stamp benefits ($80 a month for family of four) creates chain reaction. For every $5 of food-stamp spending, there is $9.20 of total economic activity, as grocers and farmers pay employees and suppliers, who in turn shop and pay their bills. With food-stamp boost, economic stimulus is almost immediate, with 80 percent of the benefits being redeemed within two weeks of receipt and 97 percent within a month, the USDA says. Nationwide, enrollment in program is up more than five million from March 2008.

By Roger Thurow and Timothy W. Martin

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2009-07-07

Opinion: Changing the food system, one meal at a time

Solutions to myriad problems with industrial food system aren't simple, and they may mean paying more for what we eat. But that could mean costs savings for fewer cases of diabetes, other diet-related diseases. We have power, the film, 'Food, Inc.' points out: 'You can vote to change the system three times a day.'

By Nicholas D. Kristof

The New York Times 2009-06-20

USDA organic certification erodes as market share grows

USDA organic certification erodes as market share grows

USDA

As processed, packaged food makers increase market share of organics - now a $23 billion annual business - USDA bows to lobbying pressure, relaxes stringent standards to allow non-organic ingredients, additives, processing agents. National Organic Program, by not issuing growing, treatment, production standards, has created haphazard system that leaves private certifiers to set organic standards. And: USDA seeking replacement for Barbara Robinson, program's acting director (click 'See also').

By Kimberly Kindy and Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2009-07-03

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E.coli found in Nestlé cookie dough

E. coli found in Nestlé refrigerated Toll House cookie dough from Virginia plant, federal investigators say. Interviews with patients - most of whom are teenage and preteen girls - showed high percentage of them ate raw Nestlé's cookie dough before becoming sick, CDC says. Refrigerated dough has rarely been associated with any food-borne illness outbreaks; at least 69 illnesses have been linked to pathogen.

By Jane Zhang

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2009-06-29

Physicians, others ask Obama for anti-obesity commission

Group of physicians, health organizations, nutrition experts ask Obama to create presidential commission to fight obesity. Commission would stimulate, coordinate agencies involved in food and health policy. Obesity costs $95 billion annually in medical expenditures, half of which are paid through Medicare and Medicaid; obesity rates have increased by 50 percent in 20 years. And: Previous corn-based public health crisis was not obesity but alcoholism, in early 19th century (click 'See also').

Center for Science in the Public Interest 2009-06-24

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'Inert' ingredient in herbicide kills human cells, researchers say

Monsanto's weedkiller Roundup, commonly used on food crops, contains ingredient listed as inert but is potentially toxic, says French research group. The chemical, POEA, helps main ingredient, glyphosate, penetrate cells. In tests, PEOA killed human cells. Monsanto questions methods. Product, derived from animal fat, is allowed in certified organic products. And: EPA decision due in fall on petition of 250-plus environmental, health, labor organizations to change rules for identifying pesticides' inert ingredients (click 'See also').

By Crystal Gammon

Environmental Health News 2009-06-22

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Opinion: A strategy to reduce overfishing in world's oceans

Well-managed oceans policy, with strategies to reduce overfishing, would be example for others. Rather than annual catch limits, administration advocates 'catch shares,' which gives individuals or groups fixed percentage of annual catch, then allows them to set rules, supposing that shareholders will have vested interest in growing resource. And: New system would protect marine ecosystem, increase revenues, ensure dinnertime feasts of native fish (click 'See also').

The editors

The New York Times 2009-06-21

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BPA causes reproductive ills in rats at 'harmless' exposure, study shows

Exposure to levels of BPA, a chemical found in baby bottles, food can linings, that U.S. deems harmless over course of lifetime triggers reproductive problems in female rats, study shows. Chemical trade group says study is irrelevant because chemical was injected, not swallowed. And: EPA hearing will examine whether BPA should be added to California's Proposition 65 list of chemicals known to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity (click 'See also').

By Rory Harrington,

nutraingredients.com/ Decision News Media 2009-06-19

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Difficulty of diet changes hinders prevention as reform goal

Despite broad consensus that it's cheaper to keep people healthy than to treat them for disease, rewards often fail to match costs of widespread testing and monitoring people with chronic diseases. Obstacles: Much of money spent on disease prevention goes for healthy people, and taking up regular exercise or eating healthier food is difficult, expert says.

By Janet Adamy

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2009-06-12

Review: Serving up a horror film for the dinner table

Review: Serving up a horror film for the dinner table

Food, Inc.

Needy family skips high-priced fruits, vegetables, choosing cheap fast food so dad can afford diabetes medicine.

"Food, Inc.," a mind-boggling, heart-rending, stomach-churning expose on food industry, makes case with methodical, relentless urgency of muckrakers trying to radicalize - or rouse - a dozing populace. And: Film shows we're living in a simulacrum, fed by machines run by larger machines with names like Monsanto, Perdue, Tyson that make everything (click 'See also'). We humans can win, but we should hurry, before Monsanto makes a time machine and sends back a Terminator to get rid of Eric Schlosser, Michael Pollan.

By Amy Biancolli

San Francisco Chronicle 2009-06-12

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Tracking food-borne illnesses leads CDC to virus, chicken, poor sanitation

Leading cause of food-borne illnesses is a virus, mostly from restaurant workers who fail to wash hands, CDC finds. Salmonella bacteria was second. Among 17 individual food types, poultry was most common source of illness. Dairy products accounted for 3 percent of outbreaks, most from unpasteurized milk. And: In 2008, chicken sales increased 6.7 percent - three times overall growth rate for retail, food service meat (click 'See also').

By Gardiner Harris

The New York Times 2009-06-11

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Industrial farming growing, dispersing drug-resistant pathogens

Industrial farming growing, dispersing drug-resistant pathogens

Kellogg Schwab/

Sampling the air for pathogens in a poultry house.

Adding antibiotics to farm animal feed is fostering, dispersing drug-resistant bacteria that imperil public health, researchers are learning. Chicken, cow, pig manure - 335 million tons annually - distributes pathogens through fertilizer and manure lagoons, where infectious microbes infiltrate air, soil, water, and are transported by houseflies, farm trucks, farm workers. Government requires no disclosure on microbial use in agriculture. In his 1945 Nobel Prize address, Alexander Fleming, who discovered penicillin, had warned of ease in making microbes resistant; Pork Board spokesperson isn't convinced.

By Dale Keiger

Johns Hopkins Magazine 2009-06-01

Three die in ConAgra Slim Jim plant explosion

Three die, 38 injured, four critically, in explosion at North Carolina ConAgra Slim Jim factory. 300 of the 900 employed were in plant when blast occurred. And: There was no evacuation plan at Savannah-area Imperial Sugar refinery when it blew up last year, killing 14 and injuring scores, witness testifies, nor was there a working fire alarm (click 'See also').

From staff and wire reports

The News & Observer (NC) 2009-06-10

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Across nation, food stamp use rises with unemployment

One in nine Americans using food stamps, USDA says. In 20 states, rate rises to one in eight; average monthly benefit: $113.87 per person. Congress allocated $54 billion for food stamps this fiscal year, up from $39 billion last year. In new fiscal year beginning October 1, costs are estimated at $60 billion. And: Unemployment reaches 9.4 percent, highest level in 26 years (click 'See also').

By Charles Abbott

Reuters 2009-06-03

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Farm worker rule suspended for much of growing season

Labor Department suspends for nine months last-minute Bush administration rule that had changed calculation method for farm workers, eased oversight of efforts to recruit U.S. workers first. Democrats, farm worker advocates had argued against rule, which they said led to lower wages for farm employees and didn't protect American laborers (click 'See also').

By Sara Murray

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2009-05-30

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River-polluting Iowa farms need most federal aid, group says

River-polluting Iowa farms need most federal aid, group says

iastate.edu

Mississippi River Basin and major tributaries

Advocacy group urges targeted investment of conservation funds in Iowa farms that pollute Mississippi River. But USDA, state officials say formula accounts for 'impaired waters' (click 'See also'). Program subsidizes manure collection system setup, reducing tillage, building terraces; $7 million of this year's fund reserved for specific projects - beginning organic operations, beginning or low-income farmers.

By Philip Brasher

The Des Moines Register 2009-05-29

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USDA cries foul over city's child feeding program

USDA official complains that it 'isn't fair' that Philadelphia has only program allowing more than 120,000 students in poor schools to eat free meals without having to fill out paper applications, so agency plans to kill program. Tom Vilsack, now USDA head, had praised program as senator and recommended expanding it. New paperwork could cost district $800,000 yearly. And: Food stamp costs likely will rise by 14 percent in fiscal 2010 and could top $60 billion (click 'See also').

By Alfred Lubrano

The Philadelphia Inquirer 2009-05-24

See also 

USDA head defends livestock industry practices

With flu epidemic focusing attention on pork production practices of crowded conditions, routine antibiotic use, USDA head defends industry against lawmaker's probing. Antibiotics are given to hogs to prevent disease and for weight gain. In recent study, nearly half the hogs and half the farmers tested were carrying antibiotic-resistant MRSA bacteria. And: Risks of industrial-scale animal production unacceptable, study says (click 'See also').

By Philip Brasher

The Des Moines Register 2009-05-14

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Aftermath of immigration raid at Iowa slaughterhouse

After massive raid on kosher meatpacking plant in northeast Iowa, what was a center of commerce teeters toward collapse as plant sputters in bankruptcy, managers face prison time and shrinking town fights to stay solvent. Other ripples: Midwest livestock farmers who supplied the plant set back; nation's kosher meat supply was ruptured, federal immigration policy evolving to target employers, not employees.

By Antonio Olivo

Chicago Tribune 2009-05-12

Health claims put Cheerios in drug category, FDA declares

Health claims on Cheerios box put breakfast cereal in drug category, FDA tells General Mills. Product label says cereal can lower cholesterol by 4 percent; FDA said naming a percentage requires approved new drug application. Company-sponsored website also cited for health claims regarding whole grains.

By Jennifer Corbett Dooren

Dow Jones Newswires 2009-05-12

Agency takes step toward banning songbird-killing pesticide

EPA bans carbofuran and will remove it from market because pesticide does not meet food safety standards. Meanwhile, it still can be used on field corn, potatoes, pumpkins, sunflowers, spinach grown for seed, pine seedlings. In 2006, agency identified significant dietary, ecological and worker risks from use of carbofuran. And: Our appetite for year-'round vegetables, grains is killing our songbirds with pesticides (click 'See also').

By Richard Keigwin

EPA 2009-05-11

See also 

Opinion: It's past time for food safety reform

Recent recalls, contaminations, plus industry calls have combined to allow for meaningful, united reform that could keep Americans confident of food on their plates. Obama would do well to use his influence to ensure food safety reform occurs. And: FDA searches Westco Fruit & Nut Co., of Irvington, NJ, after firm refuses to issue voluntary recall of products containing peanuts from shuttered Georgia plant (click 'See also').

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

nutraingredients.com/ Decision News Media 2009-05-04

See also 

Food safety lapses worrisome, point to developing problems

Though most public health experts believe nation's food supply safer than in past, recalls, outbreaks worrisome; some incidents point to new problems. Safety advocates say woes show inadequacy of FDA, which regulates 80 percent of food supply. Interconnectedness of food system illustrated by peanut product recall from small Georgia plant that supplied several hundred customers - 3,913 products have been recalled.

By Andrew Martin and Gardiner Harris

The New York TImes 2009-05-11

Opinion: Reform health care by preventing diet-related chronic disease

Treating diet-related chronic disease accounts for 75 cents of every health care dollar, or $1.65 trillion in 2007, and 83 percent of Medicaid, 96 percent of Medicare. Nearly half of Americans have one or more chronic diseases; productivity loss is $1 trillion-plus per year. Though programs that reduce childhood obesity will cost money today, they will prevent heart disease 30 years later; feds must expand current 10-year time frame to determine true impact of healthier choices.

By Tommy G. Thompson

Politico 2009-04-30

EPA to limit power plants' fish-tainting sludge discharge

EPA moves to limit power plants' discharge of selenium-tainted sludge into waterways. Toxin once was spewed into air, but air-pollution controls now capture it as coal ash or sludge. As with mercury, poison builds rapidly in animals' bodies. Birds that eat tainted fish may have deformed beaks, jaws and problems producing viable eggs; humans who eat fish can suffer neurological damage, hair, nail loss. And: Study links deformed fish to selenium-tainted water near mountain-removal coal mining sites (click 'See also').

By Juliet Eilperin

The Washington Post 2009-05-03

See also 

Opinion: EPA must rescind OK of fungicide label touting

EPA must reverse its OK of supplemental label on soy, corn fungicide that suggests product improves 'plant health' in face of climate change stresses. Agency should demand proof of claims before approving any label, or programs to help farmers use fewer pesticides will be sabotaged. Label also will encourage massive applications of potent chemical on land where it isn't needed. And it opens floodgates for manufacturers of similar products.

By James E. McWilliams

Slate 2009-04-21

Opinion: Ban all junk food at schools

Despite progress in providing more healthful foods in schools through federal meals program, junk foods abound outside the program. New legislation to give USDA authority over all food sold at schools should be supported to help stem epidemic of childhood obesity, diet-related diseases. And: Take this quiz to see if you know junk food (click 'See also').

The editors

The New York TImes 2009-04-26

See also 

For scientists, hunt is on for Pig Zero and A(H1N1) flu origin

Swine flu virus, a blend of genes from Americas pigs, Eurasia pigs, doesn't yet show genetic proof that those pigs ever met. Shipping pigs between Canada, U.S., Mexico for fattening, slaughter is routine; legal movement of pigs across oceans is rare. Western hemisphere part of virus has carried an avian segment for at least 10 years, human segment since 1993. And: Virus gets new name - influenza A(H1N1) - after pork industry complains (click 'See also').

By Donald G. McNeil Jr.

The New York Times 2009-05-01

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Opinion: Obama's pick for HHS should veto milk disclaimer bill

As Obama's pick for Health, Human Services which oversees FDA, Governor Kathleen Sibelius should veto biotech milk disclaimer bill as 29 groups have requested. Kansas bill would require that milk labeled hormone-free include disclaimer saying that FDA sees no 'significant difference' between milk products with or without it. Bill will become law unless she vetoes it by Thursday.

By Barry Estabrook

Gourmet.com/Politics of the Plate 2009-04-21

Endocrine disruptor linked to childhood obesity

Phthalates, an endocrine disruptor used in cosmetics and to soften plastic pacifiers, toys, linked to obesity, study of 400 9- to 11-year-old girls in East Harlem shows. Such chemicals affect glands, hormones that regulate bodily functions. Researcher compares endocrine disruptors' effect on childhood obesity to that of lead on a child's IQ. And: EPA regulates phthalates as water, air pollutants (click 'See also').

By Jennifer 8. Lee

The New York Times 2009-04-17

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'Endangerment finding' for CO2, methane at EPA

Emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride are health hazards, EPA says. Experts say decision will transform feds' role in regulating commercial operations, motor vehicles, power plants. And: Waxman-Markey bill plausible framework to begin urgently needed discussion, action in Congress, say editors (click 'See also').

By Juliet Eilperin

The Washington Post 2009-04-17

See also 

Health hazards in 'Poisoned Waters'

Health hazards in 'Poisoned Waters'

PBS/Frontline

Toxins from industry, agriculture, massive suburban development and from face creams, deodorants, prescription medicines and household cleaners now found in drinking water, threatening fish, wildlife and, potentially, human health, Hedrick Smith reports in PBS Frontline program (watch at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/poisonedwaters/view/). And: Study shows pesticide's insidious effect on food chain (click 'See also').

By Diane Buxton

WGBH/Frontline 2009-04-14

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Opinion: Clearing muddle around clean water

Congress, White House must ensure that Clean Water Restoration Act, which protects all waters, becomes law. Original 1972 Clean Water Act was written to protect all waters, wetlands, but Supreme Court narrowed scope, weakened safeguards, confused enforcers, so 20 million acres of wetlands, 60 percent of small streams have been unprotected from developers. And: Fresh water shortage among most daunting challenges, author says (click 'See also').

The editors

The New York Times 2009-04-17

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Pesticide makers must test for endocrine disruption, EPA says

EPA will require pesticide manufacturers to test 67 chemicals in products to determine whether they disrupt endocrine system, which regulates growth, metabolism, reproduction. Researchers cite male fish in Potomac River bearing eggs. Tests eventually will encompass all pesticide chemicals. And: Cornfield weedkiller linked to frog deaths (click 'See also').

By Juliet Eilperin

The Washington Post 2009-04-16

See also 

Opinion: Time to consider one agency for food safety

Newest salmonella-linked food recall shows it's time to think seriously about establishing one federal agency to coordinate, enforce food-safety regulations. Consumers need, deserve food safety. And: Food safety system no longer improving, study shows (click 'See also). Created when most foods were grown, prepared and consumed locally, it needs overhaul to regulate increasingly global food industry.

The editors

The New York Times 2009-04-15

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Soda lobbyist looks to block rules on school vending items

President of $110 billion-a-year beverage industry lobbies to block more rules on what schools can put in vending machines as Congress begins revision of Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act. And: Soda, sports drink intake linked to increased body weight, poor nutrition, displacement of more healthful beverages; added intake raises risk of obesity, diabetes - $79 billion spent annually for overweight and obesity alone (click 'See also').

By Philip Brasher

The Des Moines Register 2009-04-11

See also 

Opinion: Food marketing a slow-motion tragedy for our children

Obama and Congress should, with urgency second only to oncoming regulation of tobacco, enact emergency federal rules to ban trash-food marketing that is consuming our children. Federal nutrition programs are feeble whisper against trash food marketing; 44 top food/beverage companies in 2006 spent $1.6 billion in marketing mostly soda, fast food, and cereals to youths. Voluntary marketing limits are the wink of wolves.

By Derrick Z. Jackson

Boston Globe 2009-04-11

Opinion: Revamp school lunches to reflect diet-health link

As politicians debate bonuses and bailouts, surely we can agree that improving children's health is best investment for nation's future. Congress should ensure that USDA selects foods for school lunches based on current scientific evidence about role of diet in health. And: Federal nutrition programs are feeble whisper against howling scream of trash food marketing, writes columnist (click 'See also').

By Kathryn Strong

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine/The Miami Herald 2009-04-09

See also 

Perchlorate found in baby formula, CDC reports

Fifteen of 15 powdered infant formulas contain perchlorate, a component of rocket fuel linked to thyroid disease, says CDC study, but scientists haven't named brands tested. Legislator calls on EPA to set safe drinking water standard for perchlorate, water testing. And: Pasadena begins construction of perchlorate-removing water treatment plant near Superfund site. Wells nearby have been shut down (click 'See also').

By Liz Szabo

USA Today 2009-04-02

See also 

Peanuts, pistachios recalls fuel calls for food safety reform

As salmonella-pistachio recall expands only weeks after peanut products recall began, food safety reform calls grow. Among suggestions: mandatory recall authority for FDA, more inspections, product tracking. Also: splitting FDA and establishing Food Safety Administration. But Kathleen Sebelius, nominee for Health and Human Services secretary, says that first FDA should be restored as 'world-class regulatory agency.'

By Mary MacVean

Los Angeles Times 2009-04-03

Repeated salmonella outbreaks haven't altered FDA inspections

Despite 15-year history of nut-related salmonella outbreaks, FDA hasn't changed safety requirements at companies nor required inspectors to test for bacteria. Follow-up work after latest peanut recalls led agency to 20 previously unknown peanut product makers. FDA inspects some peanut processing facilities and contracts with states to perform inspections. And: Concerned about demand, farmers cutting back on peanut planting (click 'See also').

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2009-04-03

See also 

FDA website includes pistachio recall page alongside peanut version

FDA creates information site for salmonella-linked recall of Setton Pistachios; it joins the Peanut Corporation of America products version on federal agency's home page. Because pistachios were used as ingredients in a variety of foods, recall of about 1 million pounds of nuts likely will involve many products; probe at company is continuing as well. And: Ongoing list of recalled products containing pistachios (click 'See also').

FDA 2009-04-02

See also 

Health begins with good diets for families at home, nutritious school meals

For healthier America, help families follow healthy diets and feed children only nutritious foods in schools, says Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report. Other goals: Fully fund federal supplemental nutrition programs, and design them to meet needs with nutritious foods; create public-private partnerships to open grocery stores in urban, rural 'food deserts;' ensure early childhood education for all; give children K-12 half-hour recess.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 2009-04-02

Pistachio recall expanded in salmonella case

Kraft expands its recall to include Planters, Back to Nature products that contain pistachios. Setton International Foods suspects that roasted pistachios it sold to Kraft may have become mixed with raw nuts that could have contained traces of the bacteria (click 'See also'). Suspect nuts were shipped to 36 wholesalers, Norway, Mexico.

The Associated Press 2009-03-31

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Tight credit could push food prices up, says UN

Tighter credit markets could push prices for corn, rice, other grains up by making it harder for farmers to expand production, warns UN food chief. And: $30 billion needed to help developing countries combat hunger by boosting farm production, says Jacques Diouf (click 'See also').

By Patrick Barta

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2009-03-30

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Mapping plant hardiness as climate warms

Mapping plant hardiness as climate warms

USDA

An updated version of this 1990 version of the plant hardiness map is expected from the USDA sometime in 2009.

New gardening zone map expected from USDA this year; new map likely will extend plants' northern ranges, show continent's warming. It draws on 30 years of data, including local temperatures, altitude and presence of water bodies. USDA commissioned map after American Horticultural Society released draft update that showed significant warming over 1990 version, with many parts of nation shifted to warmer climate zones.

By Jennifer Weeks

The Daily Climate/Environmental Health Sciences 2009-03-23

Nanoparticles could risk water, soil ecosystems, studies show

Nanoparticles in hundreds of consumer products can damage beneficial microbes, which may threaten soil, water, aquatic life, ecosystems, efficiency of sewage treatment, studies show. Microbes remove ammonia from sewage, reduce phosphorus in lakes. And: FDA requires manufacturers to provide tests showing that food goods using nanoparticles aren't harmful, but two unknowns are whether nanoparticles in packaging can leach into edibles and the impact of that consumption on human health (click 'See also').

By Matthew Cimitile and Environmental Health News

Scientific American 2009-03-24

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Water concerns prompt EPA scrutiny of mountaintop removal permits

Water concerns prompt EPA scrutiny of mountaintop removal permits

umaine.edu

Citing serious concerns about water quality, streams and fragile habitats, EPA plans review of permit requests for mountaintop removal coal mining. Form of strip mining blasts tops off mountains, dumps rock in valleys, burying streams. Industry group says action jeopardizes thousands of jobs. And: Faith-based groups cast opposition to mountaintop removal as 'creation care' and find political support (click 'See also').

By Mireya Navarro

The New York Times 2009-03-24

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States urge schools to use stimulus for farm-to-school equipment

As interest grows in farm-to-school programs, Michigan, Wisconsin educators pounce on stimulus grants as chance to buy equipment to prep fresh fruits, vegetables. Both states will alert schools; Wisconsin will post list of types of equipment to consider, set up review panel that includes advocates experienced in farm-to-school programs and experts in fresh-food service equipment. And: Improving meal quality to meet dietary guidelines among goals of stimulus (click 'See aso').

By Diane Conners

Great Lakes Bulletin News Service 2009-03-19

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Global warming dangerous to people, EPA says

Global warming endangers public health, welfare, EPA tells White House Finding was in response to Supreme Court ordering agency to consider whether CO2, other greenhouse gases should be limited under Clean Air Act. EPA had found move would cost utilities, automakers, others billions while benefits to others. And: Companies discover they can lower costs, go green at same time (click 'See also').

By Juliet Eilperin

The Washington Post 2009-03-23

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Activists seek food/agriculture policy reform - beyond Obama garden

As Americans flock to farmers' markets and buy local at Wal-Mart, sustainable-food activists, who see cheap, processed, subsidized food as profiting agribusiness, causing (and deferring costs of) diet-related disease, ruined environment, seek fundamental change. Chef/gardener Alice Waters urges tripling of budget for school lunches (with costs shared by Department of Education - click 'See also'); author Michael Pollan wants diversified, regional food networks. But he worries about movement's lack of infrastructure.

By Andrew Martin

The New York Times 2009-03-21

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Opinion: ID chips for livestock would cripple local food movement

National Animal Identification System, with high-tech ID chips, would reward factory farms and their use of antibiotics, confinement and unnatural feeding practices by requiring one tag per herd of poultry or swine, while crippling small farms (which supply local food movement) by requiring one tag per animal. Other beneficiaries: Meat exporters, manufacturers of animal tracking systems. Better plan: Limit industrial agriculture, stimulate growth of small farms, backyard food production. And: Mad cow scare of 2003 sped development of NAIS (click 'See also').

By Shannon Hayes

The New York Times 2009-03-11

See also 

Opinion: One cost of cheap bacon may be fiery saucer-sized lesions in people

Doctor in tiny town sees link to hog farms and fiery, saucer-sized lesions of MRSA (superbugs, or flesh-eating bacteria) in too many patients. Infections likely came from routine overuse of antibiotics in feed. Our model of agriculture produces cheap bacon but evidence is building that shows it risks our health. And: Factory-farm pigs are infused with huge range of antibiotics and vaccines and doused with insecticides so they can survive in confined spaces; they are in state of dying until they're slaughtered (click 'See also').

By Nicholas D. Kristof

The New York Times 2009-03-12

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As ranks of jobless increase, number of food stamp recipients rises

Unemployment rates in Michigan, South Carolina, Rhode Island, California exceed 10 percent; job losses over last six months surpass 3.3 million. Nation's unemployment rate in February was 8.1 percent. And: One-percentage-point increase in unemployment rate leads to 700,000 more food stamp recipients in first year; in longer run, this increase leads to 1.3 million more food stamp recipients, 2002 USDA research shows (click 'See also').

By Julianne Pepitone

CNN Money 2009-03-11

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Unregulated private audits miss food-safety lapses

Feds' job of monitoring food safety delegated mostly to private firms that sell auditing, but in recent food-borne illness outbreaks, auditors have missed problems. Rigor, cost of audits and inspector knowledge vary. FDA spends $8,000 for inspection, but some firms charge $1,000. Auditors often inspect only plants, not suppliers or food products and sometimes are paid by inspected firms. At Peanut Corporation of America, auditor was paid by insurance giant AIG, which then sold recall insurance to PCA. FDA proposes expanding role of private auditors to inspect 200,000 foreign food manufacturers that import to U.S.

By Michael Moss and Andrew Martin

The New York Times 2009-03-06

Focus on 'certified organic' after salmonella outbreak

As peanut-linked salmonella outbreak continues, questions arise about pricey USDA certified organic goods. Label requires adherence to rules, but doesn't guarantee food safety. Agency overseeing certification process underfunded, understaffed. Hope placed in Kathleen Merrigan, new USDA deputy nominee. And: Food safety among reasons cited for buying kosher foods, but demise of Peanut Corporation of America indicates kosher certification doesn't guarantee it (click 'See also').

By Kim Severson and Andrew Martin

The New York Times 2009-03-04

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Norovirus sickens 106 passengers aboard cruise ship

Holland American ship Oosterdam drops off 106 passengers in San Diego who fell ill with norovirus during seven-day cruise to Mexico. And: Norovirus transmitted by poor hand-washing of sick food handlers, by touching tainted surfaces then eating before washing hands, or by sharing foods or utensils with victim (click 'See also').

NBCSanDiego.com 2009-03-01

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Obama urges $1 billion more for child nutrition

Obama proposes $1 billion a year increase for child nutrition programs including school lunches. Plan includes better program access, better nutritional quality of school meals, expanding nutrition research, better oversight. About 32 million children eat lunch daily through National School Lunch Program; 8 million eat school breakfast. And: Nutrition bill up for renewal (click 'See also').

By Charles Abbott

Reuters 2009-02-26

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'Farm bloc' breached by urban senator for rich, food-savvy voters

'Farm bloc' breached by urban senator for rich, food-savvy voters

Kirsten Gillibrand signs onto Agricultural Committee, historically fortress for rural-state farmers, farm economy. Junior senator from New York represents one of world's largest, most food-savvy and economically influential urban markets. They say soybeans, she says farmers' markets, 'buy local' and farmland preservation.

By Sam Hurst

Gourmet/Politics of the Plate 2009-02-25

USDA head favors single food safety agency

Time is right to modernize food safety system into single agency, says Tom Vilsack, USDA head. He cites risk of jurisdiction questions, communication problems, possible gaps with current system which uses 12 agencies (click 'See also') and 35 laws. Frozen pizzas with meat and their manufacturing plants are inspected by USDA. Those with cheese are overseen by FDA.

By Brian Naylor

National Public Radio/All Things Considered 2009-02-25

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Higher produce prices forecast as drought idles farmland

Drought, now in third year, dries irrigation system and is likely to idle at least 60,000 workers and up to 1 million acres, lower remaining yields in heartland of California. Central Valley grows more than half of nation's fruit, vegetables and nuts. Zero water allocation was last set in 1992, but later that year was eased to 25 percent of regular amount.

By Steve Gorman

Reuters 2009-02-20

Opinion: Splitting the check for fresh school lunches

Opinion: Splitting the check for fresh school lunches

ANP

Click 'See also' for youtube video.

New, fresh school lunch program should funded by Department of Education, USDA. It would bring long-term savings, benefits to society in areas of hunger, children's health and dietary habits, food safety, environmental preservation and energy conservation. And: Lobbyists outnumber scientists at recent Institute of Medicine school lunch meeting (click 'See also').

By Alice Waters

The New York Times 2009-02-19

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On a pig farm, it's dung to dollars with biogas

In gleeful straw-to-gold move, Nebraska farmer funnels methane emissions from pig manure to generator, and power company writes him checks. But biogas energy has high start-up costs, and needs federal incentives. Other emissions-lowering practices: improving grassland diversity, spreading fertilizer more precisely and tweaking animal food. And: EPA's methane capture program for farms (click 'See also').

By Scott Canon

The Kansas City Star 2009-02-07

See also 

Opinion: Beyond salmonella crisis to safer food system

Enhancing quality, safety of industrially produced food means building on success of existing programs; developing rapid detection methods for pathogens; eliminating unnecessary antibiotics; improving food preparation practices in all settings; strengthening capacities of health departments; and irradiating high-risk foods. CDC says irradiation could prevent up to 1 million cases of food-borne disease annually.

By Dennis G. Maki, M.D.

The New England Journal of Medicine 2009-02-11

Recalls grow; salmonella-linked peanut company files for bankruptcy

Salmonella-linked Peanut Corporation of America files for bankruptcy. Its Texas plant must recall all products produced there. Company's Virginia plant a concern for scientist. And: Poll finds that many consumers mistakenly believe that major brands of peanut butter have been recalled and also finds low levels of public confidence in groups involved in food production, inspection. (click 'See also').

By Kathy Lohr

National Public Radio/All Things Considered 2009-02-13

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Army group can issue Clean Water Act permits, court rules

In victory for coal industry, court overturns ruling that required more extensive environmental reviews of mountaintop removal, which blasts peaks away, dumps debris into valley streams. And: Environmental groups say practice taints water and harms residents, urge Obama to follow up on campaign statements (click 'See also'). The Army Corps of Engineers, responsible for preventing actions that could harm nation's water, had issued original mining permits.

The Associated Press; The Washington Post 2009-02-14

See also 

Feds probe labor practices at turkey processor

Investigators probe practices of Iowa meat processor after evacuating disabled workers from 'deplorable' town-owned living quarters. Since late 1970s, Henry's Turkey Service has shipped mentally impaired men from Texas to Iowa to pull guts, pluck feathers at turkey processing plant. Company acted as employer, landlord, caregiver, leaving men with as little as $65 per month in salary. All of them expected to lose their jobs in the next few weeks.

By Clark Kauffman

The Des Moines Register 2009-02-08

Clean water, air rules to boost mercury control component

With stricter state-based rules on water, air quality, and federal mandates poised to follow, demand is created for powdered activated carbon, which helps control mercury levels. Data suggest demand could surge from current levels of 50 million pounds a year to between 500 million and 750 million pounds, says head of Calgon, which offers purification applications for drinking water, air, food and drugs.

By Jennifer Hoyt

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2009-02-11

Second peanut butter plant closed; executives decline to testify

A second peanut processing plant owned by company at heart of nationwide outbreak of salmonella illness shut down after Texas authorities discovered possible salmonella bacteria there. Company also has plant in Suffolk, Va. Taint linked to eight deaths, 600 illnesses, 1,800-plus separate recalls of peanut butter, cookies, crackers and other foods. And: Company executives refuse to testify before House committee (click 'See also').

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2009-02-10

See also 

Chronic wasting disease found in elk; some meat recalled

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) case quarantines elk herd in Minnesota; last case was found in 2006. Finding disturbs wildlife officials, who fear spread to wild deer. And: Seventeen pounds elk meat recalled over CWD concern; animal-to-human transmission of such diseases, such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, or mad cow), has raised theoretical concern (click 'See also'). Consumers directed to consult EPA on disposal.

By Doug Smith

Star-Tribune (MN) (may require registration) 2009-01-27

See also 

Opinion: Consolidate FDA, USDA food-safety work?

Single food-safety agency debated as salmonella outbreak continues. Overhaul old laws in current system, says David Kessler, ex-head of FDA. Decentralize, revamp FDA and staff with real regulators, says James McWilliams, history professor. Single agency would develop transparent standards, coordinate response, says Jaydee Hanson, food policy analyst. Reinvent food system, with children's, planetary health first, says Ann Cooper, chef. Require more reporting, view food as homeland security, says Bill Marler, lawyer. Rename USDA to reflect priority of food, says Caroline Smith DeWaal, Center for Science in the Public Interest.

The editors

The New York Times 2009-02-08

Feds twitter, blog about tainted peanuts, recalls

Feds twitter, blog about tainted peanuts, recalls

CDC

Government turns to social networking sites (cdc.gov/socialmedia) to spread word about salmonella outbreak and tainted products linked to Peanut Corporation of America. Heart of outreach effort is FDA database listing all recalled peanut products (click 'See also').

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2009-02-02

See also 

Some Arctic waters off-limits to commercial fishing

Rapid climate changes cited in new ban of commercial fishing in parts of Arctic waters. Restrictions endorsed by fishermen/processing trade group. Concerns include unregulated fishing, warming, effect of commercial fishing on region's resources, subsistence fishing, ecosystem.

By Juliet Eilperin

The Washington Post 2009-02-05

USDA school lunches again victim of food safety lapse

USDA bought 32 truckloads of roasted peanuts and peanut butter for its school lunch program as internal tests on product at Peanut Corporation of America showed salmonella taint. Scandal exposes an array of failures in government's systems. And: In early 2008, Hallmark/Westland beef recall was flashpoint in debate over meat safety and quality of USDA school lunches (click 'See also').

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2009-02-06

See also 

New USDA head backs school gardens, food policy councils - and all eaters

Tom Vilsack, new USDA head, says agency constituency extends past commercial farming to those who eat. He backs creation of school, urban community gardens, which link what children eat to knowing where it comes from; creating state food policy councils; and in nurturing market for organic and whole foods. First challenge: Improve Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, up for renewal.

By Jane Black

The Washington Post 2009-02-05

A grilling on food safety by Senate panel

In wake of salmonella outbreak, senate panel questions FDA on food safety; one senator says that 'patchwork' gives system too much credit, and another wants creation of data bank on outbreaks. Nation has 76 million cases of food-borne illness annually, with 5,000 deaths, 335,000 hospitalizations. Current system for investigating outbreaks is like 'looking in the rear view mirror, says CDC researcher.

By Annie Johnson

CQ Politics 2009-02-05

A wish list for delivery to Obama

Activists, chefs, farmers in Illinois, full of hope with Obama administration, name a few changes they would like to see: Truth in labeling, better food safety, local food infrastructure support, encouragement of new farmers, commitment to urban agriculture and adequately funding school food programs.

By Monica Eng

Chicago Tribune 2009-02-04

Two candidates in lead for food safety position

Two candidates in lead for food safety position

Two veterans of food safety community are top candidates to lead USDA Food Safety Inspection Service: Caroline Smith DeWaal at Center for Science in the Public Interest, and former FSIS administrator Barbara J. Masters. And: Fixing FDA's laissez-faire approach to food safety requires new commissioner position, more inspectors and penalties for problems, says DeWaal (click 'See also').

By Ed O'Keefe

The Washington Post 2009-01-27

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Obama vows stricter food safety oversight

In wake of salmonella outbreak linked to eight deaths, 500 illnesses, White House vows stricter oversight of food safety. New FDA head, more officials due in days; 'stricter regulatory structure' will prevent breakdowns in food-safety inspections, says Obama spokesman. Recent revelations about poor oversight - in federal regulatory system and peanut company - alarming, he says.

By Ben Fuller

The Associated Press; Los Angeles Times 2009-01-30

Peanut product recall expanded to cover two years' production

Discard every product made in last two years with peanuts processed by salmonella-tainted plant in Georgia, FDA says. Already, more than 400 products have been recalled; now, contamination's impact will reach even more processed food items. One legislator calls for criminal investigation; another introduces bill to increase FDA funding, authority. Outbreak now linked to eight deaths, about 500 illnesses. And: FDA peanut butter product recalls (click 'See also').

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2009-01-29

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Tainted peanut products knowingly shipped, feds say

Peanut product plant retested some positive salmonella results but sold products anyway, sometimes after negative finding from different lab, feds say. Disclosure of internal tests not required. FDA delegated inspection to Georgia; in fiscal 2008, FDA inspected 5,930 of country's 65,520 domestic food production facilities. State inspectors test 4,500 samples yearly and have 16,000 food-processing, food-sales stores in state. And: Most of about 50 workers laid off, production shut down at troubled plant (click 'See also').

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2009-01-28

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Past lead levels in D.C. tap water may risk children's health

Elevated lead levels in tap water from 2001-2003 could jeopardize health of about 42,000 Washington, D.C. children who then were younger than 2 or in utero, study shows. Parents outraged, Council wants probe to see whether public was misled during water crisis (click 'See also'). Blood lead levels and number of potentially affected children both considerably higher than initially reported by city, federal officials.

By Carol D. Leonnig

The Washington Post 2009-01-27

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Probe widens over use of synthetics in organic fertilizers

Concern over use of synthetic chemicals in organic fertilizer grows as federal agents search site of Port Organic Products, a major producer. Earthbound Farm, others tighten scrutiny after report of California probe that caught another maker spiking its product (click 'See also'). State suspected Port Organic of using synthetic nitrogen back in October 2007. Nearly 60 percent of nation's harvest of organic produce comes from California.

By Jim Downing

The Sacramento Bee 2009-01-24

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Sanitation lapses recorded at Georgia peanut butter plant

Peanut factory was repeatedly cited for sanitation lapses, reports show. Seven deaths, about 500 illnesses linked to salmonella outbreak; 125 peanut-containing products recalled.

By Roni Caryn Rabin

The New York Times 2009-01-27

USDA, FDA test Alabama livestock for chemical taint

EPA discovers record amounts of nonstick chemical - perfluorooctanoic acid - in sludge near Decatur, Ala., and issues drinking water advisory. Now, USDA, FDA test livestock that grazed on grass fertilized with the sludge for contamination (click 'See also). EPA seeks information from 14 companies with Alabama operations, including 3M, Japan-based chemical manufacturer Daikin, Toray Flurofibers, as well as privately held Alabama waste company.

By John Sepulvado

Georgia Public Broadcasting News 2009-01-22

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Recalled peanut products stretch across industrial food system

Volume, wide distribution, complicated supply chain and long shelf life complicate recall efforts on peanut butter, peanut paste, and processed food products made with them. Consider: peanut paste to peanut butter cup to peanut butter cup ice cream to private-label sales. More salmonella cases expected; military has instructed personnel to inspect care packages. Recalls list includes 130 products.

By Kim Severson

The New York Times 2009-01-23

Food safety review too slow, say boy's parents

Food-borne illness review too slow, say parents of seven-year-old boy who was hospitalized in November and treated for salmonella. The parents, who have sued Peanut Corporation of America (click 'See also), want CDC, FDA, state health departments to streamline, speed review process. Vermont began reviewing cases in early December, but didn't issue warnings until mid-January.

WPTZ-TV 2009-01-22

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Good, affordable foods a priority, says USDA head

Obama administration will make 'very significant push' to increase U.S. intake of affordable but good quality foods, and will heed critics who link crop subsides, obesity, says Tom Vilsack, USDA head. Former Iowa governor had vowed at confirmation hearing to increase U.S. production, consumption of fruits, vegetables.

By Philip Brasher

The Des Moines Register 2009-01-22

Food safety gets short shrift, risks nation, says FDA candidate

Food safety gets short shrift, risks nation, says FDA candidate

Noting nation's vulnerability, need for more food inspections, Steven Nissen, physician-activist and possible FDA pick, says agency is underfunded, understaffed and overworked. It is continually hit by sweeping food scares that sicken scores, sometimes resulting in death, but job of approving medicines, medical devices swamps resources.

By Delthia Ricks

Newsday 2009-01-22

Salmonella sleuthing recalls 125 peanut products

Peanut product recalls list grows - and grows - spanning peanut butter crackers to dog biscuits, frozen cookie dough to pre-assembled dinner kits (click 'See also'). Salmonella outbreak has sickened hundreds and may have killed six.

By Mary MacVean

Los Angeles Times 2009-01-22

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Contaminated beef may have prompted EPA guideline

New EPA limits of nonstick chemical in drinking water appears linked to discovery of contaminated beef from cattle that grazed in Alabama pasture fertilized with chemical (PFOA)-laden sewage sludge. But EPA doesn't require water treatment plants to test for perfluorochemicals. And: If sludge applied to grazing lands over 12 years did taint meat, possible sources are wastewater from nearby manufacturing plant, consumer products (click 'See also').

By Michael Hawthorne

Chicago Tribune 2009-01-16

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Bad food at army base, but who's to blame?

No food, bad food, bug-infested food, inconsistent food safety standards listed as complaints at Fort McCoy military base in 2005, 2006. Army blames Wisconsin for mismanaging multi-million-dollar food service contract; state blames military's facilities. And: Wisconsin appeals $225,000 in damages due blind manager who lost job when Army canceled dining contract (click 'See also').

The Associated Press; MSNBC 2009-01-19

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Malicious software captured data on diners' credit, debit cards

Breach at one of the nation's largest payment processing companies - whose restaurant customers make up about 40 percent of its monthly transactions - may have exposed data from tens of millions of credit, debit card transactions. Investigators found software that was recording names, card numbers, expiration dates as it was being sent to Heartland Payment Systems. Probe began after fraudulent activity reports were received in October.

By Brian Krebs

The Washington Post 2009-01-21

Salmonella-tainted peanut products linked to six deaths, 485 illnesses

With six dead, nearly 500 ill from suspected salmonella outbreak, U.S. says to avoid cookies, cakes, ice cream, crackers made with peanut butter or peanut paste. Major-label peanut butter not included in recall. Food makers call for robust food inspection program to reduce outbreaks, restore consumer confidence. And: Ongoing list of recalled products (click 'See also').

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2009-01-21

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Setting limits of nonstick chemical in drinking water

EPA sets short-term allowances for nonstick chemicals toxins in drinking water at 10 times amount New Jersey set in 2007 for chronic exposure. Perfluorooctanoic acid - PFOA - linked to cancer, animal birth defects, now detected in blood of nearly all Americans, in sea life, polar bears. Eight U.S. firms plan to cut emissions of chemical 95 percent by next year. And: EPA doesn't require water treatment plants to test for PFOA; advisory appears to be linked to recent discovery of contaminated beef from cattle that grazed in Alabama pasture fertilized with sewage sludge. (click 'See also').

By Juliet Eilperin

The Washington Post 2009-01-17

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Science-based decisions vowed by EPA nominee

Lisa Jackson, Obama's EPA nominee, tells Senate panel she would consider regulating coal ash waste from power plants in aftermath of recent spills (click 'See also'). Her conscience, she says, is Americans suffering from 'environmental negligence' - effects from untended Superfund sites, government's botched response to Hurricane Katrina.

By Juliet Eilperin

The Washington Post 2009-01-14

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USDA nominee vows hunger fight, backing for fruits, vegetables

Fighting child hunger, promoting fresh fruits and vegetables for children, supporting those who supply produce, and facilitating purchase of locally grown products among goals listed by USDA nominee Tom Vilsack at Senate panel hearing. Tom Harkin, agriculture chairman, says USDA should use Institute of Medicine guidelines to set standards for junk food sold in schools.

By Aliya Sternstein

CQ Politics 2009-01-14

Seeking a solid food safey system via Obama

Patchwork food safety system needs reform, say advocates, who look to Obama for solution. Among ideas: merging FDA, USDA systems into single food agency; replacing voluntary industry guidelines with rules; recall authority for FDA and USDA; more inspections of food processing plants, which means more staff.

By Andrew Martin

The New York Times 2009-01-10

Opinion: Cooperating for health of land, eaters, economy

Obama's secretaries of agriculture, health and human services share simple link: Health of America's eaters depends on health of food/agriculture system. The two must create science-based policies that build and protect healthy soil, make fruits and vegetables the easiest and most affordable choice, and promote local food production as community asset to strengthen economy.

By Angie Tagtow

The Des Moines Register 2008-12-18

Chesapeake Bay coalition sues EPA over cleanup failure

Coalition sues EPA over 25-year failure to deliver on Chesapeake Bay cleanup promises. Lawsuit is attempt to force Obama administration to treat bay as priority. It asks for cuts in pollution from sewage plants, power plants and storm sewers and for better farm cleanup programs.

By David A. Fahrenthold

The Washington Post 2009-01-06

Coal ash dumps unregulated despite threat to water supply, human health

Vast coal ash pond that ruptured in Tennessee is one of 1,300-plus in 46 states. All contain heavy metals - arsenic, lead, mercury, selenium - that threaten water supplies, human health, yet aren't federally regulated or monitored. Instead, coal ash used for construction fill, mine reclamation, on golf course (where it spoiled groundwater), even on croplands. Dumps growing mostly because pollution controls capture contaminants that once spewed through smokestacks. Leaching toxins near dumps can decimate wildlife.

By Shaila Dewan

The New York Times 2009-01-07

Coal ash spill toxins, sediment, threaten fish, mussels

Already laden with PCB, lead, arsenic and other contaminants, aquatic life - including spot fin chub, ashy darter, newly introduced lake sturgeon - in Emory River and larger Tennessee River system now face more toxic chemicals, possible suffocation from massive coal ash spill. Sediment, water samples near spill show high amounts of arsenic, with one sample containing more than 149 times the maximum safe level.

By Andy Johns

The Chattanooga Times Free Press 2008-01-03

Opinion: Stability, dignity at confluence of labor, immigration

Obama's nominees for homeland security, labor and commerce posts are on right track to reverse Bush administration's immigration tactics, which attacked problem upside down, backward. Two share well-informed disdain for foolish, inadequate schemes like the border fence; the third is staunch defender of immigrants and workers, like those found working at hellish slaughterhouse in Iowa (for update click 'See also').

The editors

The New York Times 2008-12-26

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Opinion: Tennesee spill shows myth of 'clean coal'

Coal ash spill 50 times larger than that of Exxon-Valdez - now covering 400 acres with toxic sludge oozing toward drinking water for some in Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama - calls out 'clean coal' myth. Human nature is to take cheap way today and leave mess for future, but that mess is now. And: High levels of arsenic detected in water near spill; EPA, TVA advise avoiding activities that could stir up drying dust - children playing outside, pets outdoors (click 'See also').

The editors

The Anniston Star 2008-12-30

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Targeting nation's linked problems of hunger, obesity

Public health advocates, pointing to diet-related disease epidemic and record levels of food stamp use, look to skirt paternalism but to link food assistance, school meals to good nutrition. Program that doubles value of food stamps and fruit and vegetable vouchers of low-income mothers, seniors at farmers' markets in San Diego is instant hit - sales soared by more than 200 percent.

By Jane Black

The Washington Post 2008-12-24

More research needed on BPA, says FDA

After report criticizes FDA conclusion that leaching chemical used for food cans, baby bottles is safe (click 'See also'), agency plans 'large research effort' to gauge bisphenol A's effects. Critics call plan redundant, waste of taxpayer dollars.

By Will Dunham

Reuters 2008-12-15

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Soft drink makers roll out stevia-sweetened beverages

With FDA OK of herb stevia as a zero-calorie sweetener, Coca-Cola introduces Sprite Green and Pepsi launches three flavors of a zero-calorie SoBe Lifewater, plans March launch of Trop50, an orange-juice drink. And: Such sweeteners are key in reversing sales decline of carbonated soft drinks, says Pepsi head (click 'See also').

By Betsy McKay

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2008-12-18

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Using school lunch tray to frame longterm health

Improving school meals, which provide more than half a student's food, nutrient intake during school day, could slow childhood obesity epidemic, says report for USDA. Students ages 5-18 eat 50 percent or less of vegetables recommended; those 9-18 eat 50 percent of fruit recommended. And: Limiting competitive foods in cafeterias to fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nonfat or low-fat milk, dairy products would aid effort (click 'See also').

By Christopher Doering

Reuters 2008-12-17

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EPA excuses factory farms from emissions reporting

Concentrated animal feeding operations - factory farms - exempted from reporting hazardous emissions from manure. EPA says requirements created unnecessary burden, weren't acted upon. Factory farms produce more waste than Philadelphia annually. And: Livestock producers whose emissions meet or exceed specific thresholds are subject to Clean Air Act requirements, GAO says (click 'See also').

By Stephen Power

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2008-12-12

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Food system unspoken in Obama's USDA pick

Tom Vilsack's selection as Obama's USDA secretary may be 'agribusiness as usual,' since words 'food' or 'eaters' unspoken in news conference, says Michael Pollan, author. Food system responsible for one-third greenhouse gases, 'catastrophic' diet that causes chronic disease in half the U.S. population and drives up health care costs (click 'See also'). Food must be included in plan to address climate change, energy independence, health care.

By Renee Montagne

National Public Radio/Morning Edition 2008-12-18

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Flow of water to California cities, farmers cut to protect fish

Water flow to California cities, San Joaquin farmers further reduced to protect endangered delta smelt, avert ecological collapse of water crossroads. Contamination, invasive species, power plant operations, climate all damaging Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, says water director. Agriculture interests want new reservoirs, homeowners urged to conserve.

By Bettina Boxall

Los Angeles Times 2008-12-15

Analysis: Obama's USDA pick hails from top corn, hog, ethanol state

Analysis: Obama's USDA pick hails from top corn, hog, ethanol state

msnbc

If Tom Vilsack confirmed as USDA secretary, Iowa (No. 1 in corn, hogs, ethanol) will have one of its own heading agency that dispenses federal crop subsidies, controls nearly two million acres of Iowa land, regulates state's many slaughterhouses. He's sympathetic to agribusiness giants, supports biofuels, agricultural biotechnology. And: Former governor will oversee $95 billion budget, with bulk going to nutrition - food stamps, school lunches (click 'See also').

By Philip Brasher

The Des Moines Register 2008-12-16

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Nanotechnology oversight lacking, says report

As use of nanotechnology grows and researchers plan for use of tiny particles as food additives, in medical treatments and in electronics, report lists serious gaps in federal plan for determining risks and calls for ensuring safety of workers, consumers, environment. And: Studies are lagging behind technology (click 'See also'). One nanometer equals a billionth of a meter.

By Julie Steenhuysen

Reuters 2008-12-10

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University links public health, agriculture on new site

New website offers access to information about public health, agriculture, and connects the two fields. Johns Hopkins University site, a project of its Center for a Livable Future (click 'See also') links communities, organizations, individuals. Site allows search of databases, vetted collection of reports, journal articles.

By Karla Cook

The Food Times 2008-12-14

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Opinion: Clean Water Act says save fish before money

Millions of fish, other animals harmed annually in power plant cooling water intake. Supreme Court should side with literal interpretation of Clean Water Act (click 'See also'). Technology choices should minimize negative environmental impact before costs.

The editors

The Washington Post 2008-12-03

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Opinion: Reframe, reform USDA with secretary of food

Obama needs secretary of food, not USDA - to address health care, climate change, energy independence. 'Department of Food' would give primacy to America's 300 million eaters, cut influence of industrial farm lobby, which inflicts unhealthy food on children through school lunches and exacerbates crisis of obesity, diabetes. And: Petition lists terrific reformist candidates (click 'See also').

By Nicholas D. Kristof

The New York Times 2008-12-11

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FDA revokes ban of powerful drugs for cows, pigs, poultry

FDA reverses itself, continuing to allow use of cephalosporin drugs - powerful antibiotics- in food animals after calling the practice a public-health risk in July. Worry is that excessive use of antibiotics - including in animals - can promote resistance, produce life-threatening bacteria in humans.

By Alicia Mundy and Jared Favole

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2008-12-09

Obama administration gets green to-do list

One president-elect, 30 environmental groups, 391 pages of recommendations. Transition to Green (click 'See also') farming proposals include renewing conservation contracts for 18 million acres, better enforcing erosion control rules, ending crop subsidies for newly broken native prairie. Most need neither Congressional approval nor new spending authority.

By Philip Brasher

The Des Moines Register 2008-12-07

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Opinion/blogs: How Obama can fix the broken food system

Reports (click 'See also') show agriculture today - heavily subsidized industry supported by commodity groups, paid scientists, friends in Washington - is fault of Democratic and Republican administrations. Obama should choose agriculture secretary unafraid of change, create National Food Policy Council and food czar, move nutrition programs out of USDA.

By Bruce Friedrich

The Huffington Post 2008-12-07

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Opinion: Halting advance of health crisis from cheap food

With cheap food looming as crisis-in-the-making, Obama should consider a Cabinet-level agency over all food safety, enforcement and research. With low price as king, conglomerates trade foods from all over, and corners are cut. In U.S., 12 agencies administer 35 different food safety laws. Consumers must seek out sustainably produced foods - and vote with their pocketbooks.

By Aleda Roth

San Francisco Chronicle 2008-11-29

New USDA head must ensure safe, nutritious food and rural reform

New agriculture secretary faces daunting agenda: improved food safety; expanded food stamp benefits; healthier, fresher foods for school meals; tighter limits on farm subsidies; more agricultural research; and rural economic development. Opinion: Secretary must make good on Obama's campaign vows of policing meat packers' pricing practices; protecting land and water and investing in local foods and sustainable agriculture (click 'See also').

By Charles Abbott

Reuters 2008-11-25

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Restoring priorities of clean water, air in January

Radical transformation expected at EPA, which holds sway over water, air pollution, and Department of Interior, which administers Endangered Species Act, federal land holdings. Interior will cope with climate change already happening - droughts, wildfires; EPA will lead regulatory response. And: Leading candidates for environmental jobs (click 'See also').

By Juliet Eilperin

The Washington Post 2008-11-28

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Opinion: Blocking pollution for public, planetary health

Bush-Cheney plan to measure emissions of coal-burning power plants hourly instead of annually could mean more pollution - and enormous cost to public health, planet. And: Fish from Catskills waterways unsafe to eat; they and their predators - bald eagles - contaminated with methylmercury, a power-plant toxin. (click 'See also') .

The editors

The New York Times 2008-11-28

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Joblessness, high food prices, push food stamp use up

Number of Americans on food stamps nears record; visits to food pantries in D.C. area up 20 to 100 percent. Rising unemployment, rising food prices among causes - food-stamp benefit fell below cost of USDA's thriftiest diet for a family of four. In U.S., 11.9 million people went hungry at some point last year, including 700,000 children.

By Jane Black

The Washington Post 2008-11-25

Rich farmers still receiving crop subsidies, report says

Payments to rich farmers in 2003-'06 totaled $49 million and expose USDA problems, GAO says, but agency says it lacks authority to check payments against tax returns. Payments favor wheat, corn, rice, cotton growers; produce growers don't receive direct subsidies. And: Obama says unwarranted payments are prime example of waste he intends to end (click 'See also').

By Michael Doyle

McClatchy Newspapers 2008-11-25

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Changes to Endangered Species Act could affect salmon

In move that could impede investigation of snowpack loss and its impact on salmon, proposed changes to Endangered Species Act would exclude climate change from triggers for review of federal projects. Bush administration argues language eliminates 'back door to climate-change policy' (click 'See also').

By Juliet Eilperin

The Washington Post 2008-11-21

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First 'organic' fish standards set, pleasing producers

Panel OKs criteria for 'organic' label for farmed fish, pleasing producers but angering environment, consumer advocates. They question rule allowing up to 25 percent of wild fish as feed (organic meats require 100 percent organic food) and note that open-net pens allow fish waste, disease to pollute ocean. And: One-third of world's fish catch - mostly anchovies, menhaden, sardines - is fed to animals but should feed people, scientists say (click 'See also').

By Juliet Eilperin and Jane Black

The Washington Post 2008-11-20

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FDA adds on-site inspection certification office in China

FDA opens China office to certify inspections of U.S.-bound products. Food safety problems, plus China's growing role as food, drug supplier to U.S. - $320 billion in products were imported to U.S. last year - prompted strategy change. Food science expert in China doubts effectiveness of move, citing dozens of pesticides available and a thousand different poisonous possibilities.

By Maureen Fan

The Washington Post 2008-11-19

Opinion: Melamine links industrial waste to U.S. food production

Melamine has pervaded U.S. food system. It's added to fertilizer and accumulates in the farm fields. Last year, millions ate chicken that had been fed tainted gluten from China; Tyson Foods butchered hogs that had eaten tainted feed too. Meat was not recalled. China melamine scandal is opportunity for U.S. to pass fertilizer standards and to test for chemical.

By James E. McWilliams

The New York Times 2008-11-17

As deadline looms, EPA asked to rethink rule on water toxin

With rocket fuel component in drinking water of 35 states and its documented toxicity to humans, scientists argue that EPA decision not to regulate perchlorate needs 'compelling scientific basis.' Rule was based on industry-funded computer model; critics say CDC studies ignored. Opinion: Congress should require EPA to explain disregard of toxin that reduces thyroid function, creates risk of lifelong lower IQ for babies (click 'See also').

By Juliet Eilperin

The Washington Post 2008-11-14

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FDA blocks China-made sweets on melamine fear

China-made sweets made with milk stopped for testing at U.S. border in effort to keep melamine-tainted goods from reaching stores. FDA, taking cue from other countries, increases scrutiny of goods on shelves. Agency should have acted earlier; problems with melamine are deeper than FDA acknowledges, says House member. And: Retracing path of toxin from greedy chemical companies to poor farmers in China (click 'See also').

By Annys Shin

The Washington Post 2008-11-14

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Food safety update begins as consumers worry

FDA begins updating 1986 standards for processing, packaging, storage of food. USDA inspects meat plants daily; FDA has no such requirement for food processing plants. Poll shows consumers want labels identifying: country of origin of processed and packaged foods; products from cloned or genetically engineered animals; meat treated with carbon monoxide to maintain red color; irradiated items.

By Jane Byrne

nutraingredients.com 2008-11-13

Layoffs accelerate, reducing priorities to food, shelter

Food, shelter, doctor visits are only priorities in consumer pocketbook lockdown as layoffs accelerate, so other industries suffer. And: One-percentage-point increase in unemployment rate leads to 700,000 more food stamp recipients in first year and eventually, 1.3 million more food stamp recipients, says 2002 USDA report (click 'See also').

By Aaron Smith

CNN Money 2008-11-07

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Speculation over USDA, EPA appointments

Analysts, lobbyists speculate on USDA appointment: Tom Buis from National Farmers Union; Tom Vilsack, former Iowa governor; Charles Stenholm, veteran Congressman who helped shape 1990, 2002 farm laws; Marshall Matz, lawyer with interest in school nutrition; Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius; South Dakota Representative and biofuels activist Stephanie Sandlin; Roger Johnson, North Dakota agriculture commissioner; Rod Nilsestuen, Wisconsin agriculture secretary; Senator John Tester, organic farmer from Montana. And: Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Kathleen McGinty named as EPA contenders (click 'See also').

By Charles Abbott

Reuters 2008-11-05

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Opinion: Fighting terrible legacy with hope, competence

Barack Obama won the presidential election with promise to address things beyond the power of individuals: ensuring food safety, clean air, regulating economy fairly, ensuring access to health care and educating children. He will now need the support of all Americans.

The editors

The New York Times 2008-11-05

A last push to lower drinking water, air standards

In waning days of power, Bush administration works to relax drinking-water standards, ease controls on carbon dioxide emissions of pollutants from power plants and other factories, remove environmental impact statement requirement for some commercial ocean fishing interests, and lift restriction of mountaintop-removal coal mining in Appalachians.

By R. Jeffrey Smith

The Washington Post 2008-10-31

Risk study on baby bottle chemical too flawed, panel says

Panel, in highly critical report, recommends that FDA redo its risk assessment of BPA, the leaching chemical in food can linings, hard plastic baby bottles. Favorable draft report used flawed methods and ignored evidence linking bisphenol A to cancer, diabetes, possibly brain development in infants, advisory board said.

By Annys Shin

The Washington Post 2008-10-28

Opinion: EPA water protection would be welcome in coal-mining region

Government's dash to effectively repeal key water protections during mountaintop removal coal mining likely a response to presidential candidates' opposition to environmentally ruinous practice. In 2002, EPA rewrote rules that had prohibited use of mining waste as 'fill' in streams, wetlands. And: Rubble from mountaintop removal fouls drinking water, kills fish (click 'See also').

The editors

The New York Times 2008-10-21

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Artificial food colors under review at FDA

FDA reviews petition for ban on eight artificial food colors and request for warning labels on foods that contain them. Group cites studies linking hyperactivity to consumption of dyes, some made from petrochemicals and coal tar. In UK, Kellogg switched to beetroot red, annatto and paprika extract to color strawberry Nutri-Grain Cereal Bars; in U.S., they're tinted with Red 40, Yellow 6 and Blue 1.

By Melinda Fulmer

Los Angeles Times 2008-10-13

Critic of regulation gives $5 million to FDA official's center before BPA ruling

Anti-regulation activist who says bisphenol A is 'perfectly safe' gave $5 million to research center of FDA panel head due to rule on chemical's safety. FDA draft, which says products made with BPA are safe for food, relied on industry-funded studies. And: Scientists urge 'aggressive action' to limit exposure after study notes that higher levels of BPA in body correspond with higher rates of heart disease, diabetes and liver abnormalities (click 'See also').

By Susanne Rust and Meg Kissinger

Journal Sentinel (Milwaukee, WI) 2008-10-11

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Immigration raids at chicken plant

About 300 chicken slaughterhouse workers arrested in South Carolina immigration raid. Raid follows 10-month probe into hiring practices; seven supervisors at plant have pleaded guilty to falsifying documents. Manager charged with felony immigration fraud. And: Workers linked to other Columbia Farms plants wonder if they're next (click 'See also').

By Eric Connor and Paul Alongi

The Greenville News 2008-10-07

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Opinion: Biotech animals need ample oversight

Congress must ensure that FDA has budget for transparent assessments of genetically engineered animal products. New standards, which require producers to show that inserted genes do not harm animal's health and that any food from genetically engineered animal is safe to eat, are far more rigorous than agency's current oversight of biotech crops and cloned animals.

The editors

The New York Times 2008-10-03

EPA says rocket fuel chemical OK in water at 15 times higher than first said

After White House officials remove scientific data from reports highlighting some risks associated with rocket-fuel chemical, EPA refuses to set drinking-water safety standard, assumes that maximum safe level is 15 times higher than suggested in 2002. Perchlorate linked to thyroid problems in pregnant women, newborns and young children and has been found in water in 35 states.

By Juliet Eilperin

The Washington Post 2008-10-04

FDA sets melamine amount that poses no serious risk

FDA says a bit of melamine in food - equivalent to two or three grains in a million grains of sand - poses no serious risk, drawing ire of House member who questions whether agency is condoning intentional contamination of foods. Four babies have died, 54,000 ill from drinking tainted milk. Some China-made products found in U.S. are contaminated.

By Marc Kaufman

The Washington Post 2008-10-04

World's largest pump gets big EPA veto

70-year-old Yazoo Pump Project earns EPA veto, to chagrin of locals and two senators. $220 million U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project would have moved six million gallons water per minute to benefit flood-prone Mississippi Delta farms. And: 'Epitome of pork' would have yielded 14 cents on the dollar (click 'See also').

By Chris Talbott

The Associated Press; The Washington Post 2008-09-03

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Public relations campaign backfires on FDA

Facing declining image after food safety scares, FDA decides to hire public relations firm for $300,000. Agency avoided competition for work by hiring special minority set-aside contractor which agreed to subcontract to firm with ties to FDA official, records show. Contract has been suspended; Congressional FDA oversight committee plans probe. And: Outrage at tale of taint (click 'See also').

By Robert O'Harrow Jr.

The Washington Post 2008-10-02

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USDA goes pig-catching in New Jersey pinelands

USDA aims to catch herd of 50-100 wild pigs in New Jersey pinelands. Feral hogs compete with native ground-nesting birds - turkey, quail - by eating their eggs. Traps feature saloon-style doors that first are wired open to allow free access to corn bait, but later will be set to swing shut with prey inside. Three hogs, one 250 pounds, have been trapped.

By Peter Mucha

The Philadelphia Inquirer 2008-08-23

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Opinion: Capitalism plus regulatory vacuum tempts scandals

American food supply is flawed but China's present is our past. Tainted milk scandal mirrors New York's in the mid 19th century, when up to 8,000 babies died each year. Large-scale adulteration requires fast-growing get-rich-quick economy coupled with regulatory vacuum. Scandals are symptomatic of a deep failure of politics.

By Bee Wilson

The New York Times 2008-09-30

Staff shortages, counter-terrorism efforts erode FDA

FDA lacks staff to protect food supply, particularly fresh produce, and is distracted by counterterrorism efforts and investigating outbreaks of food-borne illness, government report says. Only 1 percent of produce imported into U.S. is inspected by FDA; 60 percent of fresh produce is imported annually. One in four Americans becomes sick from tainted food each year - 76 million people. And: New e.coli cases reported (click 'See also').

By Amanda Gardner

HealthDay; The Washington Post 2008-09-26

See also 

FDA steps up tests of products that could contain melamine

In response to melamine contamination of milk and milk products in China, FDA broadens sampling, testing of domestic and imported milk-derived ingredients and products containing milk, such as candies, desserts, beverages that could contain China products. Milk-derived ingredients include whole milk powder, non-fat milk powder, whey powder, lactose powder, and casein.

By Stephanie Kwisnek

FDA 2008-09-26

Limit can-lining chemical exposure, scientists say

Scientists urge 'aggressive action' to limit human exposure to can-lining chemical after study notes that higher levels of bisphenol A in body correspond with higher rates of heart disease, diabetes and liver abnormalities. Skeptic notes that drinking lots of high-sugar canned drinks raises risk of diet-related disease and exposure to BPA. And: Chemical, also found in hard plastic water and baby bottles, inhibits brain links (click 'See also').

By Sarah Boseley

The Guardian (UK) 2008-09-16

See also 

More information due on labels for meat, some produce

Country-of-origin labels due on meats, some produce, nuts. Ground beef labels may be long, because some processors mix meats of many countries. Critics complain about exemptions, including vegetables imported in bulk and then mixed by U.S. company. Label for cattle imported to U.S. for immediate slaughter can list origin country and U.S.; some fear that slaughterers won't bother with specifics. Then, there's scale: How do you verify origins of thousands of cattle slaughtered each day?

By Stephen J. Hedges

Chicago Tribune 2008-09-13

Plastics chemical inhibits brain links

EPA's current 'safe daily limit' for consumption of bisphenol-A (BPA), a leaching chemical used in hard plastic water and baby bottles and food and beverage can linings (click 'See also'), could cause memory/learning impairments and depression, research on primates shows. Scientist says EPA 'may wish to consider' lowering limit.

By Karen N. Peart

Yale University 2008-09-03

See also 

Clone-derived products meeting resistance

As products from cloned animals and their offspring begin to trickle into food stores, consumer and animal-welfare groups report sending FDA 150,000 letters opposing label-free decision. Government panel says organic and cloned are mutually exclusive, but USDA hasn't yet agreed. Ben & Jerry's has pledged not to knowingly use such products.

By Jane Zhang and Julie Jargon

The Wall Street Journal. (may require subscription) 2008-09-02

FDA OKs bacteria-killing radiation for lettuce, spinach

FDA approves irradiation of iceberg lettuce, fresh spinach in effort to reduce incidence of e.coli, salmonella and listeria and to lengthen shelf life without nutrient compromise. Dole Foods is considering process. Consumer safety group wants growers to document manure use and ensure safety of irrigation water, which is suspect in summer salmonella outbreak.

By Lauran Neergaard

The Associated Press; Newsweek 2008-08-21

Six months after nation's biggest beef recall

Reasons behind nation's largest beef recall still mysterious, since officials say health risk was 'vanishingly small.' USDA is auditing nation's slaughterhouses to determine whether abuse, slaughter of downer cows was isolated; it also is considering criminal charges. It has filed claim against Westland/Hallmark president for $67.2 million, the estimated price of recall.

By Ben Goad

The Press-Enterprise (CA) 2008-08-16

Dead zones multiplying with agricultural pollution

Ocean's dead zones, where fish can't survive because of nitrogen- and phosphorous-laden fertilizer runoff and burning of fossil fuels, now cluster along eastern coastal U.S., endangering ecosystem, new study finds. One such zone in 1976 cost region's fisheries $500 million-plus. And: Dead zones are paradox of American agriculture: richness on fields, death in the water.

By David Biello

Scientific American 2008-08-15

See also 

USDA, Congress bicker over farm size threshold for payouts

Farm/food bill architects in Congress say that proposed USDA rule would cut out payments to small-acreage farmers by ignoring 'statement of intent' that accompanied law. But USDA says Congress debated provision that would have aggregated acreage to qualify for payments but removed it to save $34 million over five years.

By Aliya Sternstein

CQ 2008-08-13

Slaughterhouse has contentious history with USDA

Nebraska Beef, an Omaha meatpacker recalling 1.2 million pounds of beef - including some from Whole Foods - has history of food-safety and other violations and has fought USDA over plant shutdowns. Last month, it recalled more than 5 million pounds of beef. And: For recall, click 'See also.'

By Annys Shin and Ylan Q. Mui

The Washington Post 2008-08-08

See also 

USDA food-related marketing grants, state by state

Agency awards $1.3 million in farm-to-market grants, including these with direct connections to food: Alaska: assess markets for processed shelf-stable red meat products, and to determine best structure for livestock producers; Colorado: improve quality of draught beer nationwide; Delaware: Assess consumer willingness to pay for locally grown, organic and natural produce in 5-state region; Florida: establish new tomato variety as alternative crop; Georgia: explore changes to peanut grading system; Kansas: explore issues relating to distillers' grains; Kentucky: identify new opportunities to sell sheep and goat products to Hispanics; Maryland: to increase use of locally produced foods in hospitals; Massachusetts: to train immigrant farmers; Nebraska: determine optimum strategies for marketing source-verified beef in high-end restaurants; Oregon: expand opportunities for agricultural producers and processors by developing products for Oregon school food programs; Rhode Island: introduce farmers to GAP food safety certification; South Carolina: improve geo-coded food marketing information; Utah: assess market for sheep meat in western U.S.; Vermont: develop an integrated culinary tourism program; Washington state: educate asparagus growers and handlers about food safety, create a food safety crisis management plan, and education effort on dry peas, lentils and chickpeas; Wyoming: to facilitate rural producers and processors' use of existing state and county kitchens to develop value-added food products.

By Joan Shaffer

USDA 2008-08-01

Food costs push school lunch to 'point of crisis'

As 75 percent of school districts prepare to raise lunch prices to offset rising costs of milk, bread, vegetables, nutrition directors worry that students won't have money to eat and that cafeterias will return to serving cheaper processed fare. Congress asked to to increase assistance and to make meals free for all students.

By James Vaznis

The Boston Globe 2008-07-16

Iowa slaughterhouse raid netted under-age workers

Teens found working at kosher slaughterhouse during immigration raid; afterward, they described labor violations that could result in criminal charges, lawyers say. And: Demonstrators expected in Iowa to protest immigrant treatment at Agriprocessors; Jewish groups debate buying their meat, labeled Aaron's Best and Aaron's Choice. (click 'See also').

By Julia Preston

The New York Times 2008-07-27

See also 

EPA sees possible water shortages, more food-, water-borne disease

Climate change may bring water shortages in West and increased spread of diseases contracted through food and water, as well as heat waves, hurricanes and increased death rates in inner city, EPA says. And: Oil industry arguments helped block regulations on greenhouse gases (click 'See also').

By David A. Fahrenthold and Juliet Eilperin

The Washington Post 2008-07-18

See also 

Opinion: Terror for undocumented slaughterhouse workers

Aftermath of immigration raid at Iowa kosher meat processing house shows abuse of undocumented immigrants. Slaughterhouse workers were charged as serious criminals and shackled at the wrists, waist and ankles; most sentenced to five months in prison, sending their families deeper into poverty. And: essay from eyewitness (click 'See also').

The editors

The New York Times 2008-07-13

See also 

USDA to list stores that receive some recalled meat, poultry

USDA will in August begin listing retail stores receiving meat and poultry products recalled for serious concerns to public health at www.fsis.usda.gov. Retail stores include supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, meat markets, wholesale clubs and supercenters. Agency won't identify distribution centers, institutions or restaurants.

USDA 2008-07-11

In letter, FDA calls high-frucose corn syrup 'natural'

In reversal, FDA declares high-fructose corn syrup 'natural' after reviewing documents provided by manufacturer. Sugar lobby disagrees; consumer group points out that chemical bonds are broken and rearranged to create the corn-based sweetener and complains that FDA stance was announced via letter, informally. To read letter, click 'See also.'

By Laura Crowley

Food Navigator 2008-07-08

See also 

Loophole may hide true levels of e.coli in slaughterhouses

Loophole allows meat companies to move e.coli-contaminated meat found during processing into the 'cook only' category without telling USDA. Some inspectors say practice conceals higher levels of bacteria in packing plants than the companies admit. School lunch program bought 2.8 million pounds of cooked beef in 2006.

By Stephen J. Hedges

Chicago Tribune; The Seattle Times 2007-11-11

Opinion: Not feeding the hungry is a moral issue

From our efficient, automated food stamp program, we have learned that current benefits run out the third week of every month. Price tag of hunger to American society is about $90 billion a year; ending hunger in U.S. would cost $10-12 billion a year. What added moral hazard could a full month of eating create?

By Michael Gerson

The Washington Post 2008-07-09

Floods sharpen debate on food prices, conservation, ethanol

Politician urges release of farmers from land conservation/wildlife habitat contracts. Midwest floods have washed out four million acres of farmland, crimping this year's harvest. Critic suggests placing the flooded acreage into conservation programs. And: farmers in flooded areas allowed to graze livestock on conserved land (click 'See also').

By David Streitfeld

The New York Times 2008-06-21

See also 

Food safety system stretched too thin, leader says

Current salmonella-tomato problems point to chronic lack of money and manpower at FDA. Agency reacts, rather than prevents, events. But, say advocates, agency staff has strong sense of mission and sacrifice. Staffers have been known to use their own credit cards to buy suspect products; interrupting vacations or working all night is common.

By John Carey

Business Week 2008-06-13

Tyson told to remove antibiotic-free labels

Tyson Foods directed to remove antibiotic-free claim from its chickens by June 18. USDA had approved label in December, but later was told that the company routinely used the antibiotic Gentamicin to prevent illness and death in chicks.

USDA 2008-06-02

Downer cattle banned from slaughter

Downer cattle will be banned from slaughter, USDA head says. Change will increase humane handling from producers, transporters and slaughterhouses, he says, since there will no longer be any market for cattle that are unable to rise or walk on their own. Decision comes after video resulted in nation's largest beef recall.

By Ed Schafer

USDA 2008-05-20

Biotech in the snack food aisle

Packaged, processed food products likely to contain genetic modifications if they contain soybean oil or corn syrup, experts say. About three-fourths of the corn, and about 90 percent of the soybeans planted in U.S. are genetically modified. In poll, 87 percent of us want biotech ingredients labeled, as in Europe, Japan and Australia.

The Associated Press; CBS4 2008-05-11

New Humane Society video, more downer cows

New Humane Society video, more downer cows

Humane Society

More downer cows videotaped at auction sites and stockyards in Maryland, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Texas. 'Every place that we looked, we found downed animals," says Humane Society head, who says the ailing animals were left for hours. 'No one is taking responsibility for these animals.' Non-ambulatory cows are prohibited from food chain.

By Natasha T. Metzler

The Associated Press; WTOP 2008-05-07

See also 

School lunch costs

School lunch program, an already low-budget effort of mostly processed foods, struggles anew with increases in dairy and refined carbohydrate prices and relies on USDA's surplus meat and cheese. Reformers want Congress to provide more than $2.47 per lunch, and to make produce as cheap and easy to buy as tater tots.

By Greg Toppo

USA Today 2007-05-01

Studying the BPA studies

In approving plastics additive, FDA ignored 100-plus studies that raised health concerns and relied on two industry-funded studies. Bisphenol A (BPA), used in baby bottles, plastic food containers, bottles, tableware and the plastic linings of canned foods, can mimic estrogen and is linked to cancer, behavioral disorders and reproductive ills in animals.

By Lyndsey Layton

The Washington Post 2008-04-27

See also 

Matching aid to nutritional needs

In fall of 2009, the 8 million-plus WIC participants permitted to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and soy-based products. Amounts of cheese, eggs and fruit juice will be limited. Change is first in 35-year history and is more consistent with the government's dietary guidelines. Also planned: fruit and vegetable cash-value vouchers for grocery stores and farmers markets.

By Susan Bowerman

Los Angeles Times 2008-04-28

Meat recall hearing

Nation's largest beef recall was aberration, USDA doesn't need any more meat inspectors and videotaping at slaughterhouses costs too much and is difficult to implement, official tells lawmakers at hearing. He also says that agency increased monitoring efforts for mistreatment. But food inspectors' union spokesperson says inspectors are swamped.

By Jonathan D. Rockoff

The Baltimore Sun 2008-04-18

More violations in slaughterhouses

Violations found in three of 18 slaughterhouses audited after nation's biggest beef recall, with one plant suspended from operations, Senate panel learns. One plant was insufficiently stunning animals, which failed to make them insensible to pain before killing them. Government doesn't identify any of the plants.

By Frederic J. Frommer

The Associated Press 2008-04-08

Meeting on meat

Citing desire to prevent, not merely respond to e.coli-related recalls and illnesses, USDA schedules two-day public meeting in Washington, D.C., to discuss challenges, proposed solutions. One topic: whether large cuts of raw beef (loin or chuck, for example) contaminated with e.coli should be defined as 'adulterated,' which means they could be recalled or processed to eliminate the pathogen, says Laura Reiser, spokesperson.

USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service 2008-03-27

See also 

Lax testing for mad cow?

Mad cow policy in U.S. is 'don't look, don't find,' critics say. In U.S., testing is voluntary; U.S. tests 0.1 percent. Japan tests all cows 20 months and older; UK tests all cows 30 months and older. Loopholes here allow cow food to contain cow blood (blood can carry BSE); chicken manure and feathers (chicken feed can contain beef and ground bone); and restaurant garbage (could include cow bones and meat). For graphic, click 'See also.'

By Douglas Quan

The Press-Enterprise (CA); Grist 2008-03-13

See also 

Pushing ozone limits

Though lower ozone levels protect crop yields, forests and wildlife, Bush administration overrules EPA and law to set higher limits. EPA officials had already raised limits above its scientists' recommendations. Change forced officials to rewrite regulations to avoid a conflict with past EPA statements on harm caused by ozone, which is created when industrial and vehicle pollution reacts with sunlight.

By Juliet Eilperin

The Washington Post 2008-03-14

See also 

FDA safety lapses

After finding food safety violations at nearly half of the 67 spinach packaging operations it inspected, FDA failed to enforce corrections, Congressional report finds. Sites required annual inspection, but span between inspections was nearly two and a half years. One operation says that some of report data are wrong.

By Christopher Lee

The Washington Post 2008-03-13

'Downer' cows killed, Congress learns

Sick cows were killed illegally at Hallmark/Westland slaughterhouse, company executive tells Congress after he views the Humane Society video that filmed workers forcing 'downer' cows onto their feet for killing. Video led to nation's largest meat recall. A portion was sent to schools as part of the USDA's National School Lunch Program.

By Erica Werner

The Associated Press; The Herald (CA) 2008-03-12

Beef recall and USDA secrecy

Despite two-year push to make public the lists of retailers that receive recalled products, USDA has not yet sent rule change to White House budget office for OK. The agency won't name the 10,000 food distributors, processors, grocers and restaurants that received Hallmark/Westland beef. Lawmaker says information is not confidential: 'If we have stores that are selling bad products, we should know about it.'

By Jane Zhang

The Wall Street Journal (may require subscription) 2008-03-07

School lunch safety questions

Delays on tainted beef recall updates kept school lunch workers in the dark for days, and has led to questions on whether the federal government's alert system is adequate to keep unsafe food off cafeteria lines. In Texas, one school district waited 12 days for complete recall information.

By Greg Toppo

USA Today 2008-03-04

USDA's secret beef recall list

Lawmakers demand list of restaurants and retailers that received tainted beef; USDA says it's against the rules, but will check with the lawyers. Though USDA plans to make recall lists public later this year, that information still is considered confidential, with retailers provided the choice on whether to disclose details.

By Christopher Doering

Reuters 2008-03-06

Where's tainted beef, USDA wonders

USDA can't say how many schools are affected by Hallmark/Westland beef recall and can't account for about 10 percent of total. More than half of suspect meat became meatballs, patties and other items, or was mixed with other products and classified by type, not manufacturer. Recall, which has affected 45 states and D.C. schools, adds to perception that school meals are inferior, lunch lady says. Meanwhile, parents worry.

By Jane Zhang

The Wall Street Journal (may require subscription) 2008-03-05

Opinion: One food-safety agency

Public safety must come before the needs of business; secrecy and delays are inexcusable. We need one food agency responsible for consumer safety; it must be adequately funded. The agency must have the power to recall dangerous food. All of us have the right to know where recalled food products were sold.

The editors

Los Angeles Times 2008-03-04

History of school lunch problems

Contradicting USDA's assurances that Hallmark/Westland recall was 'isolated incident,' documents show problems with food safety in children's school lunches since at least 2003. School-lunch administrators and inspectors cited for weak food-safety standards, poor safeguards against e.coli and salmonella, and choosing vendors with food-safety violations (Hallmark/Westland has string of citations going back at least 10 years).

By Elizabeth Williamson

The Wall Street Journal 2008-03-03

Meat inspectors suspended

USDA suspends at least one food inspector and at least one supervisor in wake of Hallmark/Westland beef recall. Five inspectors were assigned to the meatpacking plant. Agency says evidence shows workers killed cows that couldn't walk or stand without consulting government veterinarian.

By David Kesmodel and Jane Zhang

The Wall Street Journal 2008-03-01

USDA vows improvements

At testy hearing before Congress, USDA promises to strengthen efforts to ensure humane treatment of animals at slaughterhouses. Senators ask why USDA failed to detect animal abuse of ailing cows, and say that safety of meat from Hallmark/Westland, which supplied school lunches and retailers, is an unknown.

By Andrew Martin

The New York Times 2008-02-29

See also 

U.S. sued over 'downer cows'

Humane Society sues federal government, saying that rule change in 2007 (click 'See also) created loophole that allows sick or crippled cows to be killed and to enter the human food supply. In 2004, law was strengthened to prohibit slaughter of 'downer cows,' since inability to walk can indicate illness, including mad cow disease.

By Gillian Flaccus

The Associated Press; Forbes 2008-02-27

See also 

Beef recall grows

Westland/Hallmark Meat Co., recall widens to soups, sauces, burritos and bouillon cubes as USDA instructs companies to pull products commingled with even tiny amounts of suspect beef. Critics decry massive waste of food and call government action 'overkill,' considering remote chance that meat was infected with mad cow disease.

By Julie Schmit

USA Today 2008-02-24

Tracking bulk beef

USDA's bulk buys of ground beef and other meats from lowest bidders leave school lunch directors with no choice but to trust. But in a 1996 study on E. coli, researchers found that a single lot of beef at a large-scale commercial meat packer came from up to 11 sources in four states; in another case, meat possibly tied to a large, 1993 E. coli outbreak came from up to 443 animals from six states through five slaughterhouses.

By Victoria Kim and Janet Wilson

Los Angeles Times 2008-02-24

Information deficit

New rule that would reveal names of stores that have sold recalled beef or other tainted products seems mired somewhere between USDA and the Office of Management and Budget, which must OK publication. All meat recalls are voluntary; USDA can only threaten to withhold an inspection or keep a packer's meat out of the supply chain. Industry groups had opposed the rule.

By Paul Wenske

The Kansas City Star 2008-02-24

Recalling information

Days before nation's largest beef recall, food safety groups pressed for immediate policy change that would identify retail outlets where recalled meat and poultry products had been sold. USDA had previously considered that information confidential, but has since concluded that it has the power to release the names, and expects a rule change this year.

By Aliya Sternstein

CQ Politics 2008-02-20

Cigars, too

In the U.S. government's 2005 29-page list of commodities eligible for shipping to Cuba, fruits, vegetables, nuts, mushrooms or truffles, cereal grains, coffee, spices, meat and seafood, wines and liquor - and, item No. 0210.91, salted, brined, dried or smoked meat and edible offal of primates.

USDA; www.poynter.org (Al's Morning Meeting 02-21-08) 2005-05-16

'Inhumane and dangerous' conditions

Lawmakers promise hearings on poultry worker safety after The Charlotte (NC) Observer documents problems at House of Raeford Farms. Employees say company ignored, intimidated or fired mostly illegal immigrant workers hurt on the job. Company failed to record injuries; federal safety inspections at U.S. poultry plants have dropped to lowest point in 15 years.

By Peter St. Onge, Kerry Hall, Ames Alexander and Franco Ordoñez

The Charlotte Observer (NC) 2008-02-17

See also 

Pre-slaughter cruelty

Manager at slaughterhouse that supplied school lunch program faces felony charges of cruelty to animals after video shows torture of ailing cows. 'Downer' cows are prohibited from human food chain since failure to stand can be symptom of mad cow disease; schools nationwide pulled beef from lunch menus. USDA has launched investigation, but some members of Congress call for school food safety probe as well.

By Victoria Kim

Los Angeles Times 2008-02-15

School lunch safety

Citing video showing workers abusing sick cows at slaughterhouse that supplied school lunch program, lawmakers question whether government can protect students from dangerous foods. They call for independent investigation, saying that USDA has repeatedly failed to deliver timely information about food safety issues to schools and to parents.

By Victoria Kim

Los Angeles Times 2008-02-14

Waiting for authority

With imported foods comprising 13 percent of our diet, a litany of contaminants, food-borne illnesses and safety violations plague FDA. Agency presented its Food Protection Plan, calling for laws that provide agency broader powers, more funding and links to producers, importers and other governments, but Congress has not yet acted.

By E.J. Mundell

HealthDay; USA Today 2008-02-08

Slaughterhouse lapses

After release of video depicting abuse of sick cows to force them to slaughter, food safety experts question reliability of federal inspections. Eight USDA inspectors were on site at Hallmark Meat Packing, but they failed to correct problems before animal rights group went public with film. The company was a major supplier of meat for school lunches.

By Victoria Kim

Los Angeles Times 2008-02-07

FDA and 2009 budget

Administration proposes raising budget for food programs at FDA to $543 million, up from about $510 million last year. The FDA oversees 80 percent of our food supply, mostly fruits, vegetables and processed foods, and has been criticized repeatedly as tainted products, imported and domestic, have emerged.

By Christopher Doering

Reuters 2008-02-05

Shifting responsibilities

FDA wants to open office in China to speed response to troubles, but also as model outpost that eventually would shift much of the burden for safe imports to producer countries instead of relying on inspections at home. Congress must fund it and the Chinese government must OK it.

Reuters 2008-02-05

Suspending violators

USDA says it suspended 12 establishments out of 6,200 for 'egregious humane handling violations' and documented 650 other inhumane practices during inspection of slaughterhouses in 2007. It will probe whether cow-torturing video was shot during attempts to move animals to slaughter or to move them out of slaughter line because they couldn't walk.

United States Department of Agriculture 2008-01-31

Opinion: 'State of crisis'

FDA, our main defense against tainted food, drugs and other products, desperately needs an infusion of money and talent. As imports pour in, agency battles high turnover in scientists, a decrepit computer system, a weak organizational structure, and a inspection force so sparse that it would require 1,900 years to inspect every foreign food plant.

The editors

The New York Times 2008-02-03

Harvesting cash

The Washington Post in 2006 reports investigation into $15 billion of waste for federal agriculture subsidies that: pay farmers to protect against low prices even when crops are sold at higher prices; pay for crops that fail even as they provide subsidized insurance in case of failure; and pay people for merely owning land that was once farmed.

By Dan Morgan, Gilbert M. Gaul and Sarah Cohen

The Washington Post 2006-07-02

See also 

Clones OK'd

As expected, FDA says that meat and milk from cloned cattle, pigs and goats are as safe to eat as that from non-cloned versions. Authors of 968-page report say, too, that their job is science, not weighing moral, religious and ethical concerns. Cloned products are years away from our markets; what we will see is products from progeny of replicas but we won't know, since there's no labeling required.

By Rick Weiss

The Washington Post 2008-01-15

See also 

Food watch

Though most agree that our food supply is safe, sticking points include an outdated and imbalanced food surveillance system; industrialized food, which generally has problems in scale to its size; and the appearance of contaminants in foods previously not associated with poisoning. Then there's our appetite for raw fruits and vegetables.

By Amanda Gardner

HealthDay News; U.S. News & World Report 2008-01-14

Risky business

Our food supply is at risk because the FDA is poorly organized and desperately short of money, though its responsibilities have soared, advisers say. Reports are hand-written. Its computer systems are aging and can't tell the difference between table salt and road salt and they're prone to breakdowns, most recently during an e.coli investigation.

By Gardiner Harris

The New York Times 2007-12-01

Lurking sodium

Public health specialists pressure government for help in forcing processed food makers to cut sodium, a prime culprit in high blood pressure, stroke and heart attacks. In the meantime, we can avoid hidden salt by cooking from scratch.

By Lauran Neergaard

The Associated Press 2007-11-20

Gassing meat

House committee contemplates safety and labeling of meats and fish shot with carbon monoxide during packaging to maintain the look of freshness. Tyson Foods, Safeway, Giant Food and Stop & Shop have agreed not to sell such products; Target wants a label, and Hormel and Cargill say they would label gassed products, if necessary.

Thomson Financial; Forbes 2007-11-13

Safer imports?

Bush administration wants to grant the FDA and Consumer Product Safety Commission power to mandate recalls on tainted food and products, require safety testing, oversee safety standards of producers and importers, ban imports if necessary and penalize violators. But critics say success depends on Congress, and plan doesn't go far enough.

By Jane Zhang, John D. McKinnon and Christopher Conkey

Wall Street Journal 2007-11-06

Who's in charge?

Who's in charge?

When the oversight of a pizza with cheese and pepperoni falls under the jurisdiction of the FDA and the USDA, there are too many fingers in the pie, say critics of the current food safety system. This overlapping authority causes alarming lapses and inconsistent responses, they say.

By Josh Funk

The Associated Press 2007-11-05

See also 

Agriculture choice

Bush picks Edward Schafer, a former governor of North Dakota and fan of smaller government, as new secretary of agriculture. If Senate confirms appointment, Schafer will have input on $288 billion farm/food bill and oversight of $90 billion a year in spending on programs including crop supports, food stamps and nutrition.

By David Stout

The New York Times 2007-10-31

Future food

Since the '80s, Cynthia Rosenzweig, NASA scientist, has been studying food supply and the warming planet. Though the subject is complicated, it's the human factor that makes her optimistic: People are learning how to consume less energy, send less heat-trapping gas into the air and, possibly, how to create a world where people everywhere can get enough to eat.

By Dan Charles

National Public Radio 2007-10-30

Iraq rip-off?

Federal investigators suspect large American food companies, including Sara Lee and ConAgra, may have overcharged for supplies to troops in Iraq. The investigation also questions whether Agility Logistics, the firm that distributes the food, took improper payments from food companies.

By Eric Schmitt, Andrew Martin

International Herald Tribune 2007-10-18

Emergency food

As wildfires continue in California's San Diego County, Bush administration approves one-month allotment of disaster food stamps for those who spent money protecting, repairing or evacuating their homes or if they lost food or money because of the fires, USDA's Chuck Conner says.

Reuters 2007-10-25

Opinion: Food costs

Scramble to keep food prices artificially low in Russia and other countries with subsidies, quotas, price controls and export taxes distorts the market, and once cheap food prices are in place, it's politically impossible to withdraw, editors say.

The editors

Financial Times (London) 2007-10-24

Water shortage

As "exceptional drought" deepens its hold on the Southeastern United States, Atlanta's water reserves shrink to only 90 days and no solution is apparent; farmers harvest parched crops and sell off cattle they can't afford to feed.

By Greg Bluestein

The Associated Press; Tribune News Services 2007-10-20

Opinion: Subsidized mess

If New Zealand can quit subsidies cold turkey, surely farmers in the U.S. can accept reforms within farm bill now before Congress; hoping for low prices at harvest time is fundamentally perverse, but that's what happens when subsidies are linked to commodities prices.

By Dean Kleckner

The New York Times 2007-10-15

Doing the math

Nutrition labels, with information in percentages, and physicians' recommendations, in milligrams, means we don't obtain enough calcium, and possibly other nutrients, studies show; FDA, on website, instructs us to add a 0 to the percentage daily value to translate to milligrams.

Science Daily; University of Wisconsin 2007-10-05

Opinion: Label it

Bill requiring labels for cloned meats and milk is a small step in the right direction; FDA's movement toward no-label approval based on part, from biotech company data, is a slippery slope toward other questionable biotech products including human genes.

By Osagie K. Obasogie and Pete Shanks

San Francisco Chronicle 2007-10-05

Slow recall

As cases of Topps-related e.coli climb, USDA examines reasons why it waited 18 days to announce recall of 21.7 million pounds of New Jersey company's frozen hamburger patties; New York recall went out after first case was confirmed.

By Stephen J. Hedges

Chicago Tribune 2007-10-04

Word play

As concerns grow over the origins and safety of what we eat, manufacturers and grocers respond with a positive yet puzzling new vocabulary, and consumers are left wondering about the differences between "organic" and "natural."

By Andrea Weigl

The News & Observer (NC) 2007-10-03

See also 

Corn conundrum

Praying to the god of corn has its price: nitrogen waste in the waterways, taxpayer money feeding the industry, low-nutrition meat from animals that eat it, but it provides a fertile field of medical research, and in Mexico, growing corn is the only way one farmer ensures his wife's tortillas have the authentic taste.

By Hugh Dellios

Chicago Tribune 2007-09-09

Opinion: Food fear

Addressing every ingredient or additive fear in this writer's pantry or refrigerator would require him dedicating his life to organic chemistry, so he's decided to have another glass of chardonnay and turn his attention away from the nutrition label.

By Eduardo Porter

The New York Times 2007-09-25

Not so safe:

With imports flooding the borders and FDA food safety staff winnowed away over the last decade, agents can sometimes only provide a cursory inspection of a listed import; they inspect less than one percent of actual products.

By Stephen J. Hedges

Chicago Tribune 0000-00-00

Organic parameters:

After farm advocacy group files two complaints against Aurora Dairy and USDA threatens to revoke its organic certification, company agrees to remove organic label from some milk and to add pasture for cows.

By Andrew Martin

The New York Times (may require subscription) 2007-08-30

What's organic?

Keeping the organic label pure may be tough to do as Wal-Mart and other behemoths are ramping up; already the industry is split between true ideals (localism and sustainability, in addition to no pesticides) and those willing to sacrifice for growth.

By Jake Whitney

San Francisco Chronicle 2007-01-28

Busted:

Immigration officers, with help from sheriff's office, raid 500-employee Koch chicken processing company near Cincinnati and its headquarters in Chicago; many U.S. meat industry workers are immigrants, mainly Hispanics.

By Andrea Hopkins, with additional reporting by Bob Burgdorfer

Reuters 2007-08-28

Weights increasing:

Weights increasing:

Obesity rates climb in 31 states, with no state showing decline in 2006; Mississippi, West Virginia and Alabama showed largest gains, and more children in Washington, D.C., are obese than anywhere else, according to CDC data analysis.

By Kevin Freking

The Associated Press; The Seattle Times 2007-08-26

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Dead zone:

Dead zone:

Ethanol craze looms dangerously large for fish and crabs in Chesapeake, since larger acreage planted in nitrogen-needy corn means more fertilizer runoff into water, which spawns growth of oxygen-depriving algae, study reports.

The Associated Press; Business Week 2007-08-27

Opinion: Mountaintop mining

Bush administration's proposed legalization of high-altitude strip mining, with follow-up poisoning of Appalachian drinking water and fish habitats with dumped leftovers, will add converts to reaffirmation of Clean Water Act protections.

The editors

The New York Times (may require subscription) 2007-08-27

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Opinion: Water problem

Mountaintop removal coal mining, with toxic leftovers shoved into streams, foul residents' water and kill the fish; study traces mining pollution to children's nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and shortness of breath; long-term effects unknown.

By Eric Reece

Orion Magazine 2006-01-01

Price of coal:

In 2000 in Kentucky, a torrent of coal-mining sludge was released when an earthen dam collapsed after a previous leak; the goo, 20 times the volume of the Exxon Valdez's crude oil spill in Alaska, covered vegetable gardens and suffocated fish as it fouled 100 miles of streams and rivers before dispersing at the Ohio River.

By Peter T. Kilborn

The New York Times 2000-12-25

Knowing more:

After years of delays, country-of-origin labels for beef, lamb, pork, perishable agricultural products, peanuts and other items, will soon be required, but politics plays favorites and many processed foods are exempt.

By Diedtra Henderson

The Boston Globe 2007-08-24

Too late?

Though banned for sale in March, Monsanto's GMO alfalfa seed was already widely planted in Michigan; public interest group sues, citing concerns for human and animal health as well as possible contamination of conventional alfalfa plants through pollination by bees.

By Jeff Kart

The Bay City Times 2007-08-24

Modified sugar:

Genetically modified sugar beet seed designed to resist Monsanto herbicide is gaining popularity among growers and processors, including American Crystal Sugar Co.; Wyoming Sugar Co., and Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative; farmers must pay $60 premium per acre, and GMO sugar won't carry special label.

Associated Press; CNN 2007-08-22

Grain base

Amber waves of wheat, once vital to Vermont's economy (and even part of the state seal), may return to the state fields, as bakers and locavores seek nearby sources and crops specialist uses USDA grant to grow three heirloom varieties - Surprise, Champlain and Defiance.

By Mel Huff

The Times Argus (VT) 2007-08-13

Barren future?

Banana farm workers sue Dole, alleging that work in the 1970s alongside pesticide called DBCP made them sterile; suit also names Dow Chemical Co., saying that it "actively suppressed information about DBCP's reproductive toxicity."

By Noaki Schwartz

Associated Press; Forbes.com 2007-08-14

Immigration fears:

Growers, now hiring thousands of seasonal workers for peak harvest months, cry foul over crackdown on illegal immigrants, declaring it's an effort of government to look good at the expense of the people with the hardest and lowest paid jobs.

By Juliana Barbassa

Associated Press; Forbes.com 2007-08-16

Deer problem:

Program that last year brought 35,000 pounds of hunter-donated venison to low-income clients of southern Wisconsin food pantry endangered by budget cuts; testing the deer for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) reduced by 60 percent; experts predict explosion in deer population.

By Christina Beam

Reedsburg Times Press (WI) 0000-00-00

Seeking shelter:

Bumper crop of corn leaves farmers struggling for storage; existing facilities have more business than they can handle, and manufacturers of silos and storage equipment are stepping up production; some farmers may resort to old schoolhouses, airport hangars, caves, or even tarp-covered piles on the ground.

By Shelly Banjo

Wall Street Journal; Pantagraph.com (IL) 2007-08-18

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Orphan organics?

Though customers spend more than $14 billion a year on organics and depend on USDA label even for imports, USDA infrastructure, with nine staffers and a $1.5 million budget, languishes; other departments spend about $28 million a year on organic research, data collection and farmer assistance, but the department spent $37 million subsidizing farmers who grew dry peas, an $83 million crop, in 2005.

By Andrew Martin

The New York Times (may require subscription) 0000-00-00

Opinion: Illegals

Bush administration deserves credit for pushing immigration reform, but enforcement-only plan for handling illegal immigrants could create potentially devastating consequences for farmers at harvest season.

The editors

Denver Post 2007-08-14

Harvest worries:

Bush administration's plan for fines, sanctions against growers whose workers have improper documentation could be devastating to the coming fall harvest, and could encourage an underground economy, California farmers say.

By Ashley Gebb

Appeal-Democrat (CA) 2007-08-14

One bug or two?

One bug or two?

Seeking sales, food processors add crushed insects to yogurt and grapefruit juice, titanium dioxide to Betty Crocker's white frosting, and dye to fish and chicken feed, but FDA rules are lax on ingredients disclosure, so labels might read 'artificial color.'

By Pallavi Gogoi

Business Week Online 2006-10-01

Fast-food kids?

With growing rates of obesity in mind, FTC issues 44 subpoenas to food and beverage companies to learn how they advertise their wares to children; similar studies undertaken in the past with alcohol and tobacco companies.

By Mary Jane Credeur and Chris Burritt

bloomberg.com 2007-08-11

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OPINION

New interactive map allows users to tract proliferation of factory farms by state and county - even number of animals - and it raises questions of whether we pursue the logic of industrialism to its limits, and how badly will it harm the landscape, the people who live in it and democracy itself?

The editors

The New York Times (may require subscription)

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Matchless:

Find hemp seed, hemp oil, hemp butter, hemp bread, and hemp bars at the natural foods store, but it's all imported; hemp farming is banned in the U.S. because the plant is a version of the cannabis plant and contains low levels of the active ingredient in marijuana.

By Ann Woolner

Bloomberg News

Food/Farm bill:

It's a $70 billion annual bill, and before, only agribusiness cared, but a tsunami of activists now believes that its subsidies for corn and soy encourage diet-related disease and climate change; instead, they advocate money for sustainable and organic food production, agricultural conservation and for a priority on fresh, local fruits and vegetables.

By Carol Ness

San Francisco Chronicle

Opinion: Proud of rBST:

Despite activists' efforts to bamboozle public, price-conscious customers appear happy buying milk containing synthetic hormone, and squeezing more milk from cows via drugs saves natural resources, reduces corn prices, greenhouse gas emissions and manure production; in a more rational world, customers would choose milk so labeled.

By Henry I. Miller

The New York Times (may require subscription) 2007-06-29