When you open a pizza or donut box, you know a guilty food pleasure awaits. But along with the extra calories, you may be getting a dose of chemicals known as perfluorinated compounds (PFCs). These chemicals are used to make the grease-proof coating on paper and cardboard food packaging–things like take-out boxes and containers and the paper used to wrap pastries. They have also been used to make nonstick cookware, waterproof rain gear, and stain-resistant coatings for fabrics. What makes these chemicals so good at repelling grease, water, and stains also makes them environmentally persistent and potentially toxic.
Berkeley voters overwhelmingly passed a “soda tax” yesterday despite a well-funded campaign battle by the soda industry. Hailed as an historic event, the approval of Measure D is being called a win for parents, public health organizations, and community food activists concerned with the link between rising Type-2 diabetes in Americans born between 2000-2011 and the consumption of sugary drinks. Dozens of communities, including New York, have tried (and failed) to take on the soda industry, but Measure D is the first of its kind in the nation to win.
Republicans took control of both chambers of Congress last night. And a handful of races focused on specific agriculture issues and legislation or have implications on future food and farm policy decisions. Civil Eats updates you on what’s at play with the major politicos who will impact agriculture after the midterms.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 – 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Whether you like it or not, there are ten times more bacterial cells in your body than human cells. Come learn about the unseen yet indispensable world of microorganisms as we trace them from soil to food to gut. What role do these tiny creatures play in your health, and in soil health? How are gut microbes affected by what you eat? Why have fermented foods long been important to traditional cultures?
Monsanto is pouring money into rural Hawaii politics. A campaign spending report released last week revealed that the agrochemical company has spent over $5 million fighting a grassroots campaign to regulate Maui County’s growing biotech industry. Dow AgroScience and the Council for Biotechnology Information contributed another few million to the fight, for a total of $7.9 million.
Forget about exploding airbags. America’s exploding waistlines have us on a collision course, literally, with food-induced fatalities. Our crash test dummies just gained 106 pounds overnight, after studies found that most cars’ safety features don’t properly fit larger Americans, putting them at much greater risk of dying in car crashes.
Happy Halloween! Don’t be scared–it’s this week’s news in food.
1. Oregon Anti-GMO-Labeling Brings in $2.37 Million in New Donations (The Oregonian)
On a recent Friday outside San Diego, California, 26 farmers and eight food distributors set up tables at a local ranch. Representatives from dozens of area school districts (plus a few folks from universities, hospitals, restaurants, grocers, senior centers, and preschools) shuffled from booth to booth, tasting growers’ products, shaking hands, and hashing out potential business deals. When asked how he’d done at the end of the day, Colin Bruce, salesman for the award-winning hydroponic farm Go Green Agriculture, pulled a wallet-sized stack of business cards from his pocket and fanned them out. “This is a unique event,” he said.
Every morning, just after breakfast, Joe Morris heads out to check the water for his herd of 130 pasture-raised cattle. This year, thanks to California’s extreme drought, the creeks on his property have run dry.
“A herd of cattle without water is not a pretty sight,” says Morris, a rancher who has practiced holistic management of the water and soil on his family’s San Juan Bautista ranch since 1991.