David Gumpert is an advocate and a journalist who writes almost exclusively about raw milk, private food buying clubs, and the conflict around various government attempts to regulate the two. In his new book, Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Food Rights, Gumpert delves deeply into an array of legal cases brought against small producers selling their food outside the commercial realm and raises the question: “Is there such a thing as private food?” Read more
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The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) made two moves in recent days that seemingly address consumer concerns on some hot button issues. First, it banned the use of bisphenol A (BPA) based epoxy resins in coatings for baby formula packaging. Second, it proposed a limit on how much arsenic is allowed in apple juice. Looking more closely at these decisions, however, it seems that FDA is really more interested in appeasing industry, than doing its duty to protect the public. Read more
Tonight, like many Americans, I might decide to buy my favorite seafood filet from my local fishmonger to cook for a delicious dinner. But first I wonder where this fish came from. How was it caught? When was it caught? Can I be absolutely sure this fish is actually what it says it is on the label? Read more
As factory farms take over more and more of the nation’s livestock production, a major environmental threat has emerged: Pollution from the waste produced by the immense crush of animals. Read more
While industrial livestock production involves a remarkably wide array of bad practices, a few manage to extend beyond mere imprudence into the realm of Total Insanity. For instance, the reckless abuse of antibiotics for growth promotion. Or the construction of uncovered multimillion-gallon cesspools for storing livestock manure in residential areas. Or, of course, feeding arsenic to animals raised for food. Read more
The independent product testing organization Consumer Reports, which regularly tests and rates a raft of consumer products—from lawnmowers, to washing machines, to baby monitors, to cars—recently focused its meticulous consumer product testing methods on America’s turkey burgers, releasing the results of their new study of ground turkey samples from around the United States. The findings were simultaneously unappetizing and encouraging. Read more
Anyone who has struggled to protect a community from the damage caused by an industrial livestock operation can attest that the task is exceptionally difficult, requiring courage, fortitude, and substantial investment of time, money, energy and effort. It’s an uphill battle, a lopsided fight in which all odds are stacked in favor of industrial livestock proponents who enjoy the tremendous financial backing of agribusiness, political support from legislators bought by industry campaign contributions, lax oversight from industry-friendly regulatory agencies and in some cases, public support from individuals swayed by false promises of economic development. Read more
You’ve heard of pink slime. You know trans fats are cardiovascular atrocities. You’re well aware that store-bought orange juice is essentially a scam. But no matter how great of a processed-food sleuth you are, chances are you’ve never set food inside a processing plant to see how many of these products are actually made.
Writer Melanie Warner, whose new expose-on-the-world-of-processed-foods book, Pandora’s Lunchbox, is out this week, spent the past year and a half doing exactly that. In her quest to explore the murky and convoluted world of soybean oil, milk protein concentrates (a key ingredient in processed cheese), and petroleum-based artificial dyes, she spoke to food scientists, uncovered disturbing regulatory loopholes in food law, and learned just how little we know about many of the food products on supermarket shelves.
After reading Pandora’s Lunchbox, I sent Melanie some burning questions via e-mail. Read more
This week, food labor advocate Saru Jayaraman is releasing her new book, Behind the Kitchen Door, which relates heartbreaking stories of just some of the 10 million restaurant workers in the U.S. In a chapter called, Serving While Sick, she tells the disturbing tale of a fast-food worker who had no choice but to come to work with a bad cold since she couldn’t afford to go unpaid. When this worker tried to explain to her manager how perhaps handling food while coughing and sneezing was not such a good idea, she was laughed at. She later wondered how many customers she got sick that day because she couldn’t leave the counter every time she needed to wipe her nose. Read more