Tag Archives | Food

Nicholas Kristof’s ‘Mass Meat’ Scandal Story

Lots of meatNicholas Kristof, New York Times columnist, has discovered something that many of us have known for years: Tyson Foods and other agribusiness giants are doing some very, very bad things involving animal husbandry and meat production:

Where does our food come from? Often the answer is Tyson Foods, America’s meat factory.

Tyson, one of the nation’s 100 biggest companiesslaughters 135,000 head of cattle a week, along with 391,000 hogs and an astonishing 41 million chickens. Nearly all Americans regularly eat Tyson meat — at home, at McDonalds, at a cafeteria, at a nursing home.

“Even if Tyson did not produce a given piece of meat, the consumer is really only picking between different versions of the same commoditized beef, chicken, and pork that is produced through a system Tyson pioneered,” says Christopher Leonard, a longtime agribusiness journalist, in his new book about Tyson called “The Meat Racket.”…

…This industrial agriculture system also has imposed enormous costs of three kinds.

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#EatCelebrityMeat (Made from Jennifer Lawrence, Kanye West, James Franco and Ellen DeGeneres)

Salami akaAssuming it’s not an elaborate hoax, would you eat a salami made from lab-grown meat grown from tissue from the likes of Jennifer Lawrence, Kanye West, James Franco and Ellen DeGeneres? Apparently there are people clamoring for this dubious sounding product from BiteLabs, which says of itself:

BiteLabs produces fine artisanal salami from meat that has been lab-grown from celebrity tissue samples.

In 1931, Winston Churchill predicted a future in which all the world’s meat would be grown in labs; what, he asked, was the sense in raising a whole chicken merely for the sake of its wings or breast meat?

Today, In-Vitro meat production is close to becoming a reality, offering highly controllable meat production without the animal cruelty, waste, and environmental impacts of industrial farming. But this process can offer so much more than replicas of beef and pork.

Imagine meat like never before.

The process begins with myosatellite cells, which are obtained via biopsy.

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Restaurant In Nigeria Shut Down For Serving Roasted Human Heads

meatCan you truly call yourself an adventurous international foodie tourist if you haven’t dined at this establishment? Via the International Business Times:

A restaurant in the Nigerian state of Anambra has been shut down after the authorities reportedly found it has been selling dishes made of human meat.

The police recovered at least two fresh human heads when they arrested 11 people from the restaurant including the owner, six women and four men, following a tip-off. The blood-soaked heads were found wrapped in cellophane sheets.

“Each time I came to market, because the hotel is very close to the market, I always noticed funny movements in and out of the hotel; ‘dirty characters’ always come into the hotel,” a local resident told the Osun Defender.

Reports of cannibalism sometimes emerge in Nigeria, but this is the first time a restaurant has been booked for selling human meat dishes.

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Why Ordinary Food Will be the Future of Medicine

Pic: GardenKitty (CC)

Pic: GardenKitty (CC)

T. Colin Campbell, one the featured scientists/doctors in the breakout documentary Planeat, writes at CounterPunch:

The Problem

Few issues have become so intensely debated and politically charged as the need to reform the health care system. This debate has resulted in the ObamaCare program (The Affordable Care Act), which aims to expand and improve health care, thereby reducing health care costs.

Presently, US health care costs constitute 18% of GDP, up from about 5% around 1970 (1). These costs are burdensome and many sectors of our society are paying the price. School programs are being scaled back because of the escalating costs of retiree health care benefit programs, as illustrated in Michigan where they are “laying off teachers, scrapping programs and mothballing extracurricular activities…[because of]…health care bills of retirees.“(2). About 60% of personal bankruptcies are now attributed to medical care costs (3) and these rising costs are eroding family incomes (4), among many other devastating outcomes.

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GMO Purple Tomatoes To Be Sold In Stores

tomatoIs the public ready for genetically modified, nutrient-packed super-foods in unnatural colors? Via the BBC:

The prospect of genetically modified purple tomatoes reaching the shelves has come a step closer. Developed in Britain, large-scale production is now under way in Canada with the first 1,200 litres of purple tomato juice ready for shipping.

Their dark pigment is intended to give tomatoes the same potential health benefits as fruit such as blueberries. The pigment, known as anthocyanin, is an antioxidant which studies on animals show could help fight cancer. The purple pigment is the result of the transfer of a gene from a snapdragon plant.

Scientists say the new tomatoes could improve the nutritional value of everything from ketchup to pizza topping. The tomatoes are part of a new generation of GM plants designed to appeal to consumers – the first types were aimed specifically at farmers as new tools in agriculture.

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Monsanto Goes Organic

Yes, you read that right, Monsanto is concocting a line of trademarked organic vegetables. Let’s hope it takes off and they decide to give up on their favorite genetically modified varietals. Report from Wired:

…Changing the agricultural game is what Monsanto does. The company whose name is synonymous with Big Ag has revolutionized the way we grow food—for better or worse. Activists revile it for such mustache-twirling practices as suing farmers who regrow licensed seeds or filling the world with Roundup-resistant super­weeds. Then there’s Monsanto’s reputation—scorned by some, celebrated by others—as the foremost purveyor of genetically modified commodity crops like corn and soybeans with DNA edited in from elsewhere, designed to have qualities nature didn’t quite think of.

seminisSo it’s not particularly surprising that the company is introducing novel strains of familiar food crops, invented at Monsanto and endowed by their creators with powers and abilities far beyond what you usually see in the produce section.

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Is the USDA Really Dumb Enough To Approve Agent Orange Corn?

500px-Dow_Chemical_logo.svgJohn Robbins writes at Common Dreams:

The Obama administration announced last week that it expects to approve corn and soybeans that have been genetically engineered by Dow Chemical company to tolerate the toxic herbicide — 2,4-D. They are planning this approval despite the fact that use of this herbicide is associated with increased rates of deadly immune system cancers, Parkinson’s disease, endocrine disruption, birth defects, and many other serious kinds of illness and reproductive problems.

Weed ecologists are unanimous in warning that approval of these crops will lead to vast increases in the use of this poisonous chemical. Researchers at Penn State say that in soybeans alone, planting of crops resistant to 2,4-D would increase the amount of 2,4-D sprayed on American fields to 100 million pounds per year — four times the current level. The researchers predict a cascade of negative environmental impacts, and add that the increasing use of the herbicide would actually worsen the epidemic of superweeds it is intended to address, by causing weeds to become resistant to multiple herbicides.

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Hershey Developing 3D ‘Printable Foods’

HersheyCoContinuing with the meme that any technology Gene Roddenberry and the writers of Star Trek dream up eventually makes its way into our lives, Hershey and 3D Systems Corp. have announced plans for 3D printable foods, reports MarketWatch:

Hershey Co. and 3D Systems Corp. reached a multiyear joint development agreement to explore and develop ways to use 3-D printing technology to produce edible foods, including confectionary treats.

“We believe that innovation is key to delivering relevant, compelling consumer experiences with our iconic brands,” said William Papa, Hershey’s vice president and chief research and development officer. “Whether it’s creating a whole new form of candy or developing a new way to produce it, we embrace new technologies such as 3-D printing as a way to keep moving our timeless confectionery treats into the future.”

Financial terms of the deal weren’t provided.

In a widely seen report, research firm Gartner Inc. last year said the number of consumer 3-D printers globally was set to double and that combined end-user spending on the devices was expected to rise 49% during 2013.

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Junk Food Linked To Memory Loss

processed foods

Australia’s ABC News 24 reports that fast food is trying to kill your brain:

A team of researchers from the University of New South Wales has uncovered a link between junk food and memory loss. The team placed rats on a diet high in sugar and fat and compared their performance with rodents on a healthy diet.

Lead researcher Margaret Morris says the rats on the poor diet developed an impaired memory after just six days. “Poor diet was associated with a cognitive decline that happened very quickly,” she told AM.

Professor Morris says the memory issues became apparent well before the animals showed any physical symptoms. “The animals of course weren’t obese after just six days on the diet. So the changes in cognition, the loss of memory, happened well before there was any weight change,” she said.

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Blueberry Trees: GMO or Hybrid?

Single BlueberrySome interesting ideas on just what genetically modified means are discussed by Michael Byrne in the context of hybrid blueberry trees, at Motherboard:

Blueberries grow on bushes. Whatever. I don’t care if they grow on bushes or on trees or underground or are skimmed from the surface of fetid water, but bushes are what most of us would consider natural or “as intended” by the naturalness of evolution, which is the mostnatural thing. That’s the ideological pole of the post-science green movement, an appeal to naturalness uber alles or naturalness as crippled “other” to technology’s absolute disruption of a greater Way Things Should Be. And so we have blueberry bushes because … evolution made them that way. So: natural.

Lost on most of the ideological green movement (the one that loathes/fears radiation and biotechnology more than mountaintop removal or forest clear-cutting) is the basic property of evolution as being based on failure and slight success.

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