Feeding the World: WaPo Summit Has it Wrong with Biotech ‘Solution’

brazil_cottonA week after its "Future of Food: Food Security in the 21st Century" summit (focused on the issue of feeding the world's ever-growing population) the Washington Post published a special food section yesterday with highlights from the event and other relevant articles. And, at the center of it, was the all-too-familiar solution to world hunger and malnourishment repeated by Big Ag and biotechnology behemoths like Monsanto, which is the reliance on "technological innovation" (a.k.a. genetically engineered food) to increase production 70 percent by 2050.

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Pesticides in Produce, Baby Food, & Tap Water, Oh My!

applesJust like with Pink Slime or Meat Glue, you may not realize what you're putting in your body when you eat produce. The Environmental Working Group's annual report on pesticide residue – an unlabeled ingredient in food commodities – may help consumers make more informed decisions when purchasing fruits and vegetables.

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DeCoster Egg Farm Knew About Widespread Contamination Before Salmonella Outbreak

petri_dishes_salmonellaFIC blogged a couple weeks ago about the criminal probe against egg tycoon Jack DeCoster regarding the 2010 Salmonella outbreak. A lawsuit filed by NuCal Foods – which purchased millions of eggs from DeCoster's Iowa farm that it later had to recall – alleged that DeCoster and his companies knowingly sold tainted product and kept information from the public.

Well, it turns out he knew a lot, according to newly released evidence from an Iowa State University facility hired by DeCoster to test for contamination.

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FDA Appeals Court Order to Ban Antibiotics in Animal Feed

fdaFIC reported great news back in March when a federal court ordered FDA to finally follow up on its 35-year-old proposal to ban non-therapeutic use of common drugs – penicillin and two types of tetracycline – in animal feed, due to their potential contribution to antibiotic resistance.

Well, Food Safety News announced today that FDA has filed an appeal to overturn the March decision. We shouldn't be too surprised, given FDA's tendency over the years to ignore evidence suggesting the need to better monitor drug use in large-scale animal agriculture.

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Egg Tycoon DeCoster Back in Limelight Over Ongoing Salmonella Investigation

eggsDid you think we'd heard the last of Austin "Jack" DeCoster and his egg empire problems? They haven't seemed to escape him since his Iowa farm's products were tied to the 2010 Salmonella outbreak that sickened at least 1900 people.

The Associated Press reports that there has been an ongoing investigation since that summer into whether fraud or other crimes were committed in egg production and testing:

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Court Upholds Order to Reinstate Fired Farmworker

raspberryA new California law that strengthens farmworkers' right to unionize is facing its first test case, and so far officials appear to be on the side of the farmworker – a novelty in an industry where intimidation against migrant workers is a common occurrence.

Dutra Farms, one of the state's prominent raspberry growers, allegedly fired Dalia Santiago in February for union organizing. She had worked on the farm for eight years. After investigating, the Agricultural Labor Relations Board – thanks to new provisions that went into effect January 1 – concluded Dutra was engaging in unfair labor practices, and won a court order requiring that Santiago be hired back immediately.

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Farm Workers Don't Report Sexual Assault for Fear of Reprisal: Protecting Them is a Win-Win

A new report from Human Rights Watch titled Cultivating Fear:The Vulnerability of Immigrant Farmworkers in the US to Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment,

. . . describes rape, stalking, unwanted touching, exhibitionism, or vulgar and obscene language by supervisors, employers, and others in positions of power.

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