2011: The Issues – A Lot of Head-Shaking Going On!

Another year passed; 2011 was a quite the year in the food world! Here are a handful of “hot button” topics that sent us to our keyboards with heads shaking. What ARE we doing to our food, our families, and our future?

US Farmers and Ranchers Alliance – Exactly WHO Are They?

Face it, this is another peremptory move by Big Ag and Big Food – full of the usual propaganda – to win over consumers as they move to prevent new regulations and restrictions ranging from tighter rules on pesticide applications to a potential ban of routine, preventative use of animal antibiotics. I admit, if they really could repair the environment that they have despoiled, or restore the public health which they have damaged, or even think about sharing the wealth with the workers who they’ve cheated, I might jump over to their side. Don’t hold your breath!

Cantaloupe-Importer Del Monte Fights Back

Cantaloupes are one of summer’s favorite fruits and, with the eternal summer of the global food system, consumers can eat them pretty much year ’round. The problem with cantaloupe is that they seem to be prone to collecting some pretty nasty pathogens including Listeria and Salmonella. In fact, there have been 16 recalls of cantaloupe for contamination over the last 10 years.

Where is “Law and Order” when we need it?

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?

Tainted Strawberries Spread E. Coli

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.

How I Edited An Agricultural Paper by Mark Twain

We’re in the middle of the 2012 Farm Bill legislation negotiation, most of it conducted by city slickers who have no idea what small integrated family farms are up against. And, just this week, it was reported that the Washington Post had eliminated its food safety beat and the Des Moines Register had eliminated its Washington bureau, letting go long time ag correspondent Phil Brasher. I expect our news coverage of food and agriculture issues will soon begin to sound like this.