food | Food & Water Watch - Part 40
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Blog Posts: Food

September 21st, 2010

Is the USDA Trading Food Safety for a Diplomacy Fix?

Food & Water Watch has been trying for months to get Brazilian meat products removed from American shelves due to systemic problems with their food safety system. On September 13, they found yet another reason to try again: USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced another recall of Brazilian meat products. A meatpacking plant that had been cited for excessive animal drug residues —three recalls to be exact — shipped 258,000 pounds of beef to the U.S. This plant was supposed to be blacklisted by our import inspectors, but its beef reached our food system anyway.

Brazil’s meat products should be removed from American shelves due to systemic problems with their food safety system. Beef from meatpacking plants that should be blacklisted by our import inspectors could be finding its way to our food system anyway.

Read the full article…

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September 7th, 2010

NCBA: Always on the Wrong Side of Consumer Issues

In various beef trade publications, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) has recently decided to launch an attack on the mission of Food & Water Watch. We find this to be a curious development and we decided to figure out why. Read the full article…

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August 31st, 2010

Consumer Rights Not Included

Occasionally, someone makes a PR gaffe so blatantly off-target that it would be downright funny—if it weren’t such an important consumer right-to- know issue.

AquaBounty Technologies—a name that conjures up images of fresh, wholesome seafood swimming straight to your plate—is the company behind AquaAdvantage genetically engineered (GE) salmon, coming soon to an FDA approval process near you. We call them FrankenFish or Arnold Schwarzensalmon. Included in their very own website is a statement that breaks one of the most important rules of sensible business practice: make the customer feel important. Read the full article…

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August 27th, 2010

Ranchers Drive Cattle While Meatpackers Drive Up Prices

500 independent ranchers, farmers, meatpacking workers, consumers, urban farmers and food justice activists gather at a public forum in Colorado on the eve of the DOJ and USDA joint hearing on fair competition in the meat industry.

The American Meat Institute (AMI) thinks that everything is just fine in the meat industry. They represent the biggest meat packers and processors—the ones who have consolidated the meatpacking industry into a market dominated by four firms that exercise tremendous leverage over independent cattle producers. The few companies in control of the market insist that there is nothing wrong.

But, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder were in Fort Collins, Colorado last week, listening to the testimonies of independent ranchers who have been struggling to get fair prices for their cattle from the meat packer monopolies. If nothing is wrong in the meat industry, why would these top U.S. officials travel to the Mountain State to listen to the concerns of ranchers and small farmers at a joint hearing about restoring competition? And why would the groups like the Western Organization of Resource Councils (WORC) and Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund (R-CALF), who represent independent cattle producers, rally thousands of people to attend the hearings? Read the full article…

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August 23rd, 2010

CNN Goes Consolidated Egg Shopping

CNN's Brian Todd interviews our own Patty Lovera, food director, about how food contamination—like the Wright Egg salmonella outbreak—can spread so quickly. None of the eggs in the background were affected by the recall.

The Wright County Egg recall has continued to raise interesting questions about food safety issues across our industrial food system. Various news stations have been contacting our offices for the past week to ask how food contamination can spread so quickly across the country. CNN’s Brian Todd asked our food director, Patty Lovera, to meet him at a grocery store just outside of downtown Washington, D.C., to discuss the recall (we’ll provide the link as soon as the story airs), so I tagged along. Read the full article…

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August 19th, 2010

A Bad Egg for Every American?

Investigations into a multi-state outbreak of salmonella have triggered a major recall of eggs involving 17 states and 380 million eggs—that's one bad egg per person in the United States.

By now, many of us have developed an unnatural but necessary fear of French toast, cake, omelets, egg salad sandwiches and more. Investigations into a multi-state outbreak of salmonella have triggered a major recall of eggs involving 17 states and 380 million eggs (one egg per person in the United States, plus several omelets), and those numbers could continue to grow. The affected eggs were packaged as far back as mid-May—an entire season ago. Read the full article…

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August 16th, 2010

Fair Food or Bust!

We’ve finally reached the end of the road, and it’s been a blast! But before we sign off, there are a few more updates to give—starting with the Iowa State Fair last Thursday. With a herd of cow-suited groupies in tow I bought a $10 ticket for “Non-Stop Fun” (the appropriately-chosen theme of the Iowa State Fair this year). Although The Iowa State Fair is not the largest in the U.S. (that honor goes to Texas or Minnesota depending on whether you are talking about over all attendance or daily attendance, respectively) it is the largest state fair I have ever been to. It was also the hottest day of my life. We received a lot of support when we stopped by the milking barn where the dairy cows reside. The people there were very supportive and listened intently about the Department of Justice hearings. These hearings could really improve the way dairy farmers are able to do business. It’s so important to demonstrate public support for fair markets for farmers, so thanks to everyone who has signed our petition along the way. Read the full article…

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A Cheese Sandwich to Save the Heartland, But Not the Heart

This week, we learned of the latest chain restaurant contrivance to challenge waistband technology: Denny’s has created a mammoth morsel of a cholesterol-rocketing, fat-flapping mistake of a meal. Ladies and gentlemen, Denny’s Fried Cheese Melt Sandwich is not the answer, regardless of the question. Read the full article…

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August 13th, 2010

The Not-So-Green Ocean Vacuum Machines

A series of innovations in the realm of ocean fish farming are being promoted as “eco-friendly,” but existing technology can’t prevent pollution, escapes of farmed fish into the wild and other serious health and safety concerns associated with factory fish farms.

One new item is a fish farming cage called the AquaGrid, introduced by a Malaysian tilapia company who claims their net pen can reduce escapes of confined fish and limit predation of these fish by nearby marine wildlife. Their design features an innovative “new LiftUP® Mortality Retrieval System”—a euphemistic title that tries to hide that what they’ve really invented is a dead fish vacuum under the pen. Read the full article…

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August 12th, 2010

Corn Contemplation in Iowa

Food & Water Watch asking for directions to the milking demonstration in Wisconsin.

Our day started off with an early interview at WORT radio in Madison. WORT is a community-sponsored radio station—the perfect venue to share our story with those listening in Madison about what we’ve been seeing and doing along our trip. Even more importantly, it was an opportunity to educate listeners in the area about the Department of Justice and USDA hearings that are happening this summer, for which we’ve been collecting petition signatures. If you haven’t yet, be sure to sign our petition! Read the full article…

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