The world could function perfectly well without us, thank you, and healthy ecosystems provide a huge range of “services” that we mostly ignore. As we make more of an impact on the environment and throw delicately balanced ecosystems out of whack, we will get fewer of those free services. As an example, well-managed agroecosystems not only provide food, fiber and animal products, they also generate services such as flood mitigation, groundwater recharge, erosion control and habitats for plants, birds, fish and other animals.
Read more: Ecosystem Services: The World Provides Them For Free
It is illegal to “adulterate” food products. The Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938 set up civil and criminal liability for those who do. So why aren’t we seeing the courts and prisons filling up with the guilty parties in the recent outbreaks of food borne illnesses?
Read more: Where is “Law and Order” when we need it?
The E. coli outbreak reported yesterday (August 8) linked to Oregon-grown strawberries shows how food safety is a becoming a problem for local growers. It has been reported that as many as 16 people have been sickened by eating the strawberries grown on a 35-acre farm, Jaquith Strawberry Farm in rural northwest Oregon, and 1 person has died.
Read more: Tainted Strawberries Spread E. Coli
This time last year we were reeling from the recall of 550,000,000 eggs and 2000 people got sick. This week 36,000,000 pounds of ground turkey made 76 people sick and killed one. What is our industrial food system doing to us?
Read more: Millions and Millions Recalled – Our Food Is Making Us Sick
This week First Lady Michelle Obama made her second appearance with executives from Walmart as she announced that Walmart and other retailers plan over the next five years to open or expand 1,500 stores in areas without easy access to fresh fruit, vegetables and other healthy foods.
Read more: Walmart’s Food Strategy – Redux
OK folks, it’s war! The bad guys – junk food industry, including soda makers – are winning the war. That is, they’re doing their level best to continue to market and sell their products and prevent any constraint of their trade by government agencies or even “advisory committees.”
Read more: Junk Food Industry Battles Attempts to Reduce Consumption
Shellfish production is a $100 million business in Washington, and Samish Bay contains many thousands of acres of shellfish farms. Nonpoint pollution, most often caused by agricultural runoff, has closed the shellfish beds repeatedly over the last several years. Now both Skagit County and the state of Washington are focusing on the problem.
Read more: Breakup of Farms into 5-acre Farmettes Puts Shellfish at Risk
The Humane Society of the United States and the United Egg Producers — bitter rivals on animal welfare issues — took the food and agriculture community by surprise on Thursday, July 7. The two groups joined forces to announce a new, unprecedented agreement to push for federal legislation to mandate animal welfare standards on egg farms.
Read more: Unlikely Partners in Landmark Deal: Egg Industry and Humane Society
Eco-labels, as these are generally called, are a form of “transparency by proxy.” As we look to know and understand more and more about where and how the food we eat comes from and is prepared, we are depending on third party agencies to ensure that someone knows that the products have been grown, harvested, prepared, and delivered in ways that match certain performance criteria or standards.
Read more: Eco-Label Quiz: How Many Do You Recognize?