TCHO: Changing Chocolate

TCHO (pronounced “choh”—the “t” is silent), a phonetic spelling for the first syllable of chocolate, masterly mixes alchemy and artistry to produce award-winning organic, beyond fair trade chocolate from its Pier 17 headquarters along the San Francisco bay. Read more

Clean Plates Cleans Up

Clean Plates—a healthier eating Web site, published guides, free app to restaurants in New York City and Los Angeles, and now, a cookbook—is the brainchild of Jared Koch, a nutritionist, health coach, and food critic. Clean Plates focuses on choosing real food; eating more plants; if you eat meat, knowing its source, and reducing toxins—all concepts familiar and cherished by Civil Eats readers. Starting with this post, we’re excited to begin sharing some of Clean Plates’ content, including this recent post about the freaky facts about conventional orange juice. Read more

Reclaiming the Kitchen: In Conversation with Michael Pollan

In his latest book, Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation, author and journalist Michael Pollan investigates the lost art of cooking, apprenticing himself to bread bakers, fermentos, pitt masters, and others to learn how to take back the kitchen. We sat down to chat with Pollan about why cooking is empowering, how to feed your superorganism, and to get his thoughts on the current state of the food movement. Read more

New Report Puts Michelle Obama’s Anti-Obesity Campaign On the Scale

In the latest investigation by the Food & Environment Reporting Network (FERN), reporter Bridget Huber examines first lady Michelle Obama’s anti-obesity campaign and the political realities of taking on the multibillion-dollar food industry. The story, “Michelle’s Moves,” appears online at The Nation and FERN.

Huber details how, starting in March 2010, Mrs. Obama—the enormously popular mother in chief, who had surprised and impressed many when she chose to make the contentious issue of childhood obesity a focus of her White House tenure—leveled a challenge at the food industry’s biggest players, asking them to “step up,” a month after she launched the Let’s Move campaign, the Obama administration’s flagship anti-obesity program, aimed at reversing the childhood obesity epidemic by 2030.

“But three and a half years since the ground was broken on the White House garden, many of those who’d had high hopes say the first lady has logged only modest successes,” Huber reports. “Experts credit Mrs. Obama for her instrumental role in reforming school lunches, limiting TV watching and increasing healthy food at childcare centers—and, perhaps most important, using her bully pulpit to bring issues of food and nutrition to national attention. But, they say, reversing the childhood obesity epidemic in a generation requires more of the bold action that Mrs. Obama hinted at.” Read more

Record-breaking One Million Americans Tell FDA: We Have a Right to Know What’s in Our Food

The Just Label It (JLI) Campaign announced today that a record-breaking one million Americans of all political persuasions have called on the FDA to label genetically engineered (GE) foods. Today, March 27, is the date that the FDA is required to respond to the petition. It took JLI and its more than 500 partner organizations less than 180 days to accumulate an historic number of public comments—a testament to the power of collective voices to demand our right to know what’s in our food. (I’ve written about the campaign before here, here, and here.) Read more

New Report: Nitrate Contamination Threatens California’s Drinking Water

Today, the Food & Environment Reporting Network–the first and only independent, non-profit, non-partisan news organization that produces investigative reporting on food, agriculture, and environmental health in partnership with local and national media outlets–published its third report, “Farming Communities Facing Crisis Over Nitrate Pollution, Study Says,” on msnbc.com. Reporter Stett Holbrook takes a deep dive into a new study by UC Davis that reveals that nitrate contamination is severe and getting worse for hundreds of thousands of people in California’s farming communities.

The most comprehensive assessment so far to date, the report also reveals that agriculture is the main source of 96 percent of nitrate pollution. The five counties in the study area–among the top 10 agricultural producing counties in the United States–include about 40 percent of California’s irrigated cropland and more than half of its dairy herds, representing a $13.7 billion slice of the state’s economy, Holbrook reports. Read more

GE Foods at a Glance: Just Label It’s New Infographic

We know we’ve struck a chord with the Just Label It campaign, as Americans are responding in record-breaking numbers. As of today, more than 900,000 people have submitted comments to the FDA in favor of labeling genetically engineered (GE) foods. (I’ve written about the campaign before here and here.) But this campaign has always been about more than just the numbers. It’s about spreading the word about our right to have GE foods labeled.

We’re excited to now introduce this new infographic, which visually explains why the FDA should Just Label It. Designed to clearly show the need for labeling of GE foods, this educational tool includes a link to the Just Label It website where consumers can submit a comment to the FDA. Convenient for sharing on-line and via social media, the infographic is being distributed nationally by Just Label It’s 500 diverse partner organizations. Read more

New “Labels Matters” Video by Food, Inc. Director Robert Kenner

The Just Label It campaign today launched a new video by Food, Inc. filmmaker Robert Kenner that empowers consumers to fight for their right to know what is in their food. The video, “Labels Matter,” is the result of collaboration between the Just Label It campaign and Kenner’s new project, FixFood, a social media platform that aims to empower Americans to take immediate action to create a more sustainable and democratic food system. Read more

Just Label It: We Have a Right to Know What’s In Our Food

Today, a broadbased coalition of nearly 400 businesses and organizations dedicated to food safety and consumer rights called on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods, to give consumers the right to know what is in our food. The Just Label It – We Have a Right to Know campaign submitted a petition on behalf of millions of consumers to the FDA calling for the mandatory labeling of GE foods, also referred to as genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. These are foods that are altered at the molecular level in ways that could not happen naturally. Read more