food | Food & Water Watch - Part 40
Victory! Farm Bureau case challenging EPA’s right to share factory farm data dismissed. more wins »
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Blog Posts: Food

April 6th, 2011

Food & Water Watch Ranks Remarkably

Food & Water Watch was ranked #4 in Ecosalon.com's list of remarkable nonprofits.

We are as humbled as we are excited to share the news that Ecosalon.com has included Food & Water Watch in their list of 10 Remarkable Nonprofits You’ve Never Heard Of. We are fortunate enough to have an amazing and creative group of volunteers, organizers, researchers and policy experts that work hard to ensure that food and water issues remain prominent in the minds of consumers. Thanks to all of our supporters for their hard work, and thank you to Ecosalon.com for bringing attention to our organization and to important issues across the globe.

March 31st, 2011

No Quick Subsidies Fix for Food System

We need a Farm Bill that is as good for farmers and the land as it is for eaters.

[Originally posted on Civil Eats]

Over the last decade, the sustainable food movement has brought much needed attention to U.S. agricultural policy and how it influences which foods Americans grow, buy, and consume. From chefs and policy wonks to teachers and bloggers, everyone interested in food has an opinion on subsidies and how to craft the 2012 Farm Bill. One of the most common focuses is moving subsidies away from commodities like corn and soy, which are used to make junk food and factory farmed meat, to fruit and vegetable production. This simple fix misses the bigger picture—the consolidation and the inability of diversified farms to compete in our industrialized food system. Read the full article…

March 23rd, 2011

Is Washington Gambling on Food and Water Safety?

[Originally posted on Care2.com]

If you and your family were hit with tough economic times, what do you think you would do to adjust? If your family is like most, you might reassess your financial priorities, ensuring that you can continue to meet critical needs. Among those needs, you would probably place things associated with health, food and safety toward the top of your list and go out of your way to make sure you could continue to meet needs in this area.

While we should expect the same strategy from our government, it seems that some overzealous budget hackers on Capitol Hill are trying to cut funds that support critical food and water safety protections, which could seriously threaten public health. Read the full article…

March 15th, 2011

Either Pigs Can Fly or We’re Too Far Removed From Our Food

Quick, point to the part of the pig that gives us the wing.

March Madness is in the air, and you know what that means: lot of exciting basketball games to watch and fun foods to eat. Mmmm… there’s nothing like spicy fried pig wings and beer to accompany viewings of the Big Dance. What’s that you say? You’ve not heard of pig wings? Wings made from pork? Really? But the British consider them a delicacy!

According to The Telegraph, a survey conducted in conjunction with National Butcher’s Week revealed that many British consumers believe pig wings are an actual pork product. Lest we judge, it’s probably not any better here in the U.S. This is obviously telling for many reasons, not the least of which is that consumers are now so far removed from the actual process of meat slaughter that we’re no longer familiar with common cuts, let alone from where our food is sourced. Read the full article…

March 9th, 2011

Food Safety Can’t Improve With Less Funding

How can the FDA and the USDA improve food safety standards to meet the needs of increased food production with less funding?

Ever since we caught a glimpse of the Obama administration’s proposed budget for 2012, we’ve had some strong opinions. Some of the proposed cuts could directly threaten the health and safety of American consumers, particularly relating to our food and water. Read the full article…

March 3rd, 2011

USDA Can’t Afford a Budget Shortfall

USDA Inspector General Phyllis Fong announced that the testing program for E. coli in meat is insufficient.

If you just so happen to be in a position of power to influence the 2012 national budget, here’s a little piece of advice: don’t cut any funding for the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). They already have enough trouble.

Food & Water Watch Food Lobbyist Tony Corbo and Former Food & Water staffer Felicia Nestor have been relentless on keeping up with USDA’s food safety guidelines. In particular, they have been closely following sampling techniques that the FSIS uses to determine the existing levels of E. coli in beef trim used for beef products. Let’s be thankful that Tony and Felicia are paying attention. Read the full article…

March 2nd, 2011

It’s In Your Hands to Sow the Seeds

Organize a Sowing the Seeds for a Fair Farm Bill Event

On April 16, communities across the country will show support for a better food system. Will you join them?

We know that good, healthy, and sustainably-produced food is possible, and that it’s going to start with you and communities like yours.

This April 16, join communities across the country coming together to show support for:

February 18th, 2011

For Fair Food, Even the Big Guys Need to Play by the Rules

Rural America calls on Obama to make markets fair for independent producers.

On Valentines Day, while most people fretted about dinner reservations or flowers, a coalition of livestock producers, agriculture groups, and consumers took time out to show a little love for fair food by participating in a national call-in day. Over 2,000 confirmed calls were placed throughout the country to the White House to ask the Obama administration to finalize and implement fair livestock marketing rules.

In St. Paul, Minnesota, an activist named Cathy took the day off from her job, set up an information table in her local co-op and asked 75 people to call the White House on behalf of fair food. She has seen family and friends who were farmers suffer because of bad federal agricultural policy.

In Chicago, Floriole Café & Bakery and The Dill Pickle Food Co-op hosted call-in events with members of the local food community. They placed approximately 80 phone calls to the White House.

In Vermont, students at Vermont Law School in South Royalston — many of whom are members of the Food & Agriculture Law Society — organized a four-hour call-in at the student union. They want to change the Farm Bill to better support local farmers and local food networks.

Fair food advocates placed calls from Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Georgia, North Carolina, Michigan, Minnesota, Colorado, California, Oregon and New York.

But it wasn’t just consumers and activists calling for action. The National Farmers Union sent out alerts to their chapters, and other allies, including Food & Water Watch, Western Organization of Resources Councils, R-CALF, The Land Stewardship Project in Minnesota, Missouri Rural Crisis Center, RAFI-USA, National Family Farm Coalition, the Center for Rural Affairs, Food Democracy Now and others are all working together to urge President Obama to implement Fair Farm Rules.

But what exactly are these rules and why are they so important? Read the full article…

Why We Need Whistleblowers to Keep Our Food Safe

Great news for consumers: the Food Safety Modernization Act establishes whistleblower protections for the food industry, which can help make our entire food chain safer.

In the food safety world, sometimes it seems like there isn’t much good news, but a conference last week shined an encouraging spotlight on one thing that could avert a lot of foodborne illness before it hits consumers. On Friday, Feb. 11, Food & Water Watch’s Senior Lobbyist Tony Corbo and I participated in the Employee Rights and the Food Safety Modernization Act Conference sponsored by the Government Accountability Project’s Food Integrity Campaign and co-hosted by American University Washington College of Law.

This conference was particularly well-timed since the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that President Obama signed into law in January establishes for the first time private sector whistleblower protections specifically for the food industry. This is great news for consumers – giving food industry whistleblowers legal protection to speak out against potential problems can help make our entire food chain safer. Read the full article…

February 16th, 2011

Grading Obama’s Budget Proposal for Food, Water and Fish

President Obama’s 2012 budget proposal is nothing short of disappointing for food and water advocates.

As you all know, it’s budget time in Washington, D.C. As far as the issues that we work on here at Food & Water Watch, the President’s proposed budget for 2012 is nothing short of disappointing and frustrating. The Obama administration has determined that providing the nation with funds for public services that were once considered vital to our population is no longer a priority for the government. Let’s break it down…

Food Safety

The proposed 2012 budget allocates $1.02 billion for USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), $9 million less than 2011. But, according to FSIS’s own report, there will be a need for more inspectors to keep up with increases in food processing in 2012 — the total volume of meat and poultry slaughter will each increase by over 250 million pounds. Even egg production will increase from 4,066 million to 4,074 million pounds. Remember the egg recall last summer? Instead of offering increased funds to FSIS for food safety, the Obama administration decided to offer an increased risk of food contamination by not increasing the number of inspectors in egg processing facilities.

USDA is also responsible for catfish inspections, for which the proposed budget also reduces funding. In 2008, negotiations over the Farm Bill included the creation of a new catfish inspection program, a mandate given to the USDA. The FDA, which only inspects about 2 percent of all imports, was previously responsible for inspection of fish, including catfish. Last year, U.S. catfish farmers united to ask Congress to implement the regulation of catfish at the USDA and demanded tougher inspections. The implementation of this program is now 14 months overdue and, thanks to Obama’s proposed budget, the funding for it has been significantly reduced. Read the full article…

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