Monday, February 27, 2012

Big Soft Drink Meets Big Dairy

I’m actually kind of torn by this article. It’s a press release that lauds the effort of Pepsi and the largest dairy in Germany to open a yogurt making facility in New York. On the one hand, I’m happy that new jobs are being created in the United States—we need more manufacturing here. For another thing, yogurt—especially the Greek yogurt that is going to be produced at the new facility—is one of the healthier things you can produce from milk.

But I just can’t get behind this. For starters, the alliance between the world’s second largest soft drink supplier and the dairy industry is not one we should be happy about. We know that Pepsi does not have our health at the top of its list of priorities. That is a pretty obvious reason to view this partnership in a negative light.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Taxpayer Money to Fund Potato Chip Manufacturer

Last week we blogged about the USDA school lunch guidelines, and their attempt to tell you what your children can and can’t eat at school. A few weeks ago, we discussed how the USDA has teamed up with Big Dairy to mandate the inclusion of low-fat milk in school lunch lines.

Now comes news that the USDA is in the potato chip business. Through their taxpayer funded grant program, a potato chip manufacturer in New York received almost $50,000 to help market their potato chips.

Seriously, the same bureaucratic geniuses that created the food pyramid (which is now a circle although the website mypyramid.gov is redirected here) and sees fit to determine what’s healthy for your kids, is doling out your money to a potato chip manufacturer?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Take Two Carrots and Call Me in the Morning

I couldn’t help but smile, when I read this article about the Harris County Hospital District and Veggie Pals teaming up to bring inexpensive, fresh produce to the hospital’s patients via subsidized farmers markets. Kudos to them! If more doctors and medical establishments in our country would catch a glimpse of this vision, I believe it could radically alter the health of our nation and drastically reduce the out-of-control health care costs at the same time. We’ve all heard the statistics, but in case you’ve forgotten, heart disease is still the number one leading cause of death in the U.S. and cancer is very close 2nd, while diabetes is in the top 10 at number seven, claiming approximately 68,000 lives each year. With statistics like these, common sense tells us that doctors could do a world of good simply by educating and empowering their patients to eat healthier.

Friday, February 17, 2012

You Gotta Fight, For Your Right, To . . . Have Chickens?

How awesome is this guy? On ¼ acre of land, he manages to raise, by his estimation, 2,000 pounds of fresh fruit and vegetables a year. Now, he’s fighting local ordinances that prevent him from having egg-laying hens.

As the article points out, there is plenty of precedence in neighboring towns, and it is likely that he will win his fight. He has support from the mayor and the local environment commission—this is simply a case of outdated laws needing to be changed, which we all know doesn’t happen quickly when government is involved.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Carbonation Inflation? 64% of Americans Oppose Soft Drink Tax

In what should come as a surprise to absolutely nobody, those who drink sugary soft drinks oppose additional taxation on their favorite beverages.

What may surprise you is that I agree with them—for totally different reasons. For starters, I don’t believe the government that is doing the taxing has our best interest in mind. While they say that they are doing it for health reasons, the reality is that they are doing it to overcome budget crunches in local and state governments. We’ve known about the obesity epidemic for years. If the government really had our best interest in mind, they would have proposed these “health measures” years ago. It’s telling that the government is only taking action when the answer (taxation) comes at a time of their biggest need (budget shortfalls).

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Government Fail. School Fail. Parent Fail.

I try to stay optimistic, but then I read an article like this one. A young girl was sent to school with her lunch packed. Upon getting to school, her lunch was inspected and deemed unhealthy. So they replaced it. With chicken nuggets. Because that’s what the USDA says needs to happen. And also, her lunch was NOT deemed unhealthy because of the potato chips her parents packed for her.

You know what? I’m going to rely on you, the readers, to react to this for me. Please post your comments and let everyone know how you feel about this. I’m pretty sure you don’t need me to tell you how crazy this is.

Government Wins Case Against Amish Raw Milk Farmer

Let’s do a rundown. The FDA will silence its own internal critics when Big Pharma needs them to. They will ignore concerns over excess arsenic in fruit juices. Even the USDA has gotten into the act, mandating unhealthy products for your kids.

Now comes the disturbing news that the FDA has shut down an Amish farm that was selling raw milk.

New Study Measures Environmental Impact of Dairy Cattle Breeds

I’ve heard this argument before, but it’s nice to see that it’s been verified in a study.
 
The argument goes that there are breeds of dairy cattle—in this case, Jerseys—that have less environmental impact on the planet. The thinking that was confirmed in the study was that because Jerseys are a smaller breed, they require less inputs, i.e., food and water, and produce less greenhouse gas emissions, all while producing nutrient-dense milk. The net effect is a great product made while using less of the earth’s resources and contributing less in the way of unwanted outputs. It’s a win-win-win situation.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

After France Fights Back, Big GMO Conquers China

We’ve written in this space before about the uprising over genetically modified organisms (GMO) and how they were given the boot in France and all over Europe. Now comes news that Big GMO didn’t wait very long to shift their attention to an even bigger market.

China is set to approve the first commercial use of GMO corn in the country. While the approval process has spanned three years, it represents a boon to Big GMO, as China is the second-largest corn consumer in the world. Over the last decade, China has become increasingly reliant on importing GMO corn from the United States. Most of the corn is used for animal feed and the ominously named “industrial use.”

Monday, February 6, 2012

Guess How Much Vaccine Conventional Cows Receive?

We don’t vaccinate the Beyond Organic cattle. We don’t give them growth hormones or antibiotics. Instead, we rely on holistic, humane raising of the animals, feeding them their natural diet, and allowing them to freely roam instead of penning them shoulder-to-shoulder. For conventionally raised cattle, the massive amount of drugs they are shot up with is done so because they live in horribly confined conditions where disease passes quickly, or because the animals are not being fed a diet that is natural to them.

Now we come to find out that some ranchers aren’t even dosing properly.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Super Bowl of Chili (Special Guest Blog)

My passion for chili is, frankly, ridiculous. Love is not a strong enough word. Passion isn’t even strong enough. Addiction may be closer. Nowhere is that addiction on greater display than the weekend of the big game. Football and Chili will forever be linked in my mind. The beginning of football season ALWAYS coincides with my first batch of chili after a spring/summer hiatus. The end of football season marks for me the end of “chili season.” The fact that I have a personally defined “chili season” should be a (disturbing) window into my soul.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Protests Over Monsanto FDA Conflict of Interest Goes Viral

Earlier this week, the Washington Post featured a story on the rise in online protests over the appointment of former Monsanto executive Michael Taylor as President Obama’s senior adviser to the FDA.

The article points out that Michael Taylor currently holds the position of deputy commissioner for foods at the FDA. This position is responsible for overseeing food labels and ensuring they contain clear and accurate information, as well as the development of strategies for food safety and planning new food safety legislation. This is the first time anyone has held this position at the FDA.