food | Food & Water Watch - Part 40
Victory! Cleveland passes resolution against antibiotic misuse on factory farms. more wins »
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Blog Posts: Food

August 4th, 2010

Pittsburgh is Sprouting!

Hello from da Burgh—Pittsburgh that is! (How yinz doin’?) We hit the road bright and early yesterday so we could get to the city of three rivers in good time. (Fun fact: Pittsburgh has more bridges than any other city in America, and second only to Venice in the world.) On our way to our first cooking demonstration of the trip, we stopped off at the East End Food Co-op for supplies. This is Pittsburgh’s only member-owned natural and organic food market. I saw the most incredible selection of local honeys and something new to me: sprouted lentils.

Chef Rocky Barnette prepares a meal for the Braddock Youth Project in Pittsburgh using produce from their garden.

Read the full article…

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August 3rd, 2010

Choice Cuts of Meat—But is the Choice Ours or Theirs?

On August 27, USDA and the Department of Justice will jointly host a workshop about concentration in the livestock market, one of the working parts of our food system and a critical segment of the work we are doing on the Farm Bill.

When you walk into a supermarket to buy steaks, pork chops, or ground beef, you may not realize that a lot of choices have already been made for you. Before you’ve had a chance to weigh in, industry giants control where the meat you buy comes from, including the type and size of the farms that raise the livestock.

The livestock sector needs change and USDA’s proposed rule—which is only the first step in the right direction—is at a critical juncture in the legislative process.

Most of us don’t follow the rules and regulations that dictate how livestock producers and processors get their products to our tables, but much of this process seems to favor factory farms over small farms. Some farmers and producers raise their livestock using sound and sensible practices that yield safe, healthful food with little to no environmental impact. But others, like industrial-scale factory farms, pump their animals with hormones, ignore food safety practices and pollute groundwater in the process. If we want to have better choices at a more reasonable cost, protecting fair competition in the marketplace is critical. Read the full article…

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August 2nd, 2010

Rocky Road Trippin’

Chef Rocky Barnette and some of our staff from the outreach team will be hitting the road for 11 days of food philosophy.

One of the best traditions of summertime is the road trip. At Food & Water Watch, our version is called the Chef Rocky Road Trip! Tomorrow, Chef Rocky Barnette and some of our staff from the outreach team will be hitting the road for 11 days of food philosophy. They are driving across the country to explore the current state of our food system by visiting a few farms and food festivals, cooking up some delectable recipes from sustainable ingredients, and talking to people about the policies and practices that affect our food choices—namely, the Farm Bill. Read the full article…

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July 30th, 2010

Dubious Health Claims and Toys: How the Industry Sells Junk

Food companies relentlessly target children—and their parents—with faux nutrition labels and shiny plastic toys.

Kellogg’s, Kraft Foods, ConAgra Foods, Unilever, General Mills, PepsiCo and Tyson Foods all have a great understanding of nutrition—if they do say so, themselves. They have a select group of “healthy” products that they promote through the front-of-the-package Smart Choices labeling program. Under the program, healthy food for kids includes Fruit Loops, which Smart Choices Board President Eileen T. Kennedy tells us is healthier than a donut.

Do we want food companies teaching our kids about nutrition? Read the full article…

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July 2nd, 2010

And the Race is On!

If you were willing to try your luck in the office World Cup pool, here’s a little contest that might be equally exciting.  See if you can pick which genetically engineered food will enter the marketplace first: Frankenswine or Arnold Schwartzensalmon.  We have some other great names for a similar and unfortunate creation.  Currently, the competitors are neck and neck.  Both “food products” are in the queue at the Food and Drug Administration – after a ten year haul – waiting to be approved for our tables.

Read the full article…

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July 1st, 2010

Keeping Score: Big Ag 1, Democracy 0

Last November, agribusiness scored a victory that goes beyond a simple electoral win: Issue 2 in Ohio passed, which not only created a livestock care standards board to counteract a groundswell of support to overhaul factory farming, but did so by amending the state constitution. This board, packed with members that would make Cargill, Smithfield, and Tyson proud, now has free reign to dictate how livestock are raised in Ohio, with state regulators enforcing whatever rules they establish. Read the full article…

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June 25th, 2010

Milk is a Battlefield

Not all battles are fought on a battlefield. In fact, in our line of work, we often have to attend workshops and hearings, which comes across as much less glamorous for some reason. This time we head to the halls of the University of Wisconsin – Madison on June 25 to take a stand against factory farms and corporate consolidation in the dairy industry. Read the full article…

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June 3rd, 2010

Poultry growers deserve fair contracts

Poultry growers from across the south had a lot on their minds when they convened in Normal, AL for a hearing hosted by the USDA and the Department of Justice on the subject of competition in agriculture. Considering this is the first time USDA and DOJ have hosted workshops to discuss competition (or lack of competition) in poultry markets, one of the most common thoughts among the growers must have been, “It’s about time!” Read the full article…

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April 26th, 2010

Postcard from New Mexico: Dueling with the Mega-Dairies

I’d never been to New Mexico before, but I pretty much knew what to expect. Majestic, still-snowy mountains. Low adobe buildings and scrub brush. An eclectic mix of indigenous, cowboy, and rugged outdoorsy cultures. Intense dryness.

Oh, and 340,000 dairy cows.

You’re forgiven if you didn’t know that New Mexico is our nation’s ninth-largest dairy producing state: It wasn’t even on the dairy map until about ten years ago. Today, though, New Mexico cows produce 4 million tons of milk each year. They also generate nearly 9 million tons of manure, enough to fill nine Olympic-size swimming pools every day.

Dairies in New Mexico are larger than what is typical in other places, averaging nearly 2,000 cows per operation. Like other factory farms, they generally don’t treat their waste. Instead, they store it in massive manure lagoons until the waste can be pumped out and sprayed on cropland.  When the manure seeps through the ground, it can contaminate the groundwater underneath. Read the full article…

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Reforming Wall Street to Fight Global Hunger?

Believe it or not, Wall Street reform has a lot to do with the price of food.  When the housing and stock markets started to unravel in 2007, Wall Street investors poured money into farm commodities through unregulated and obscure financial products known as derivatives.  And just like reckless speculation in housing drove the meltdown of the economy, a wave of unregulated, supercharged speculation in farm commodities like corn, wheat, and soybeans created a global hunger crisis. Read the full article…

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