Monday, March 18, 2013

Meatless Monday: 3.18.13 Food News Roundup

Today I am taking a break from my recent run of recipe posts to give you a brief rundown on some of the recent food stories I have been following. Recipes will be back soon, I promise.

GMO Labeling is a very hot topic.
  • Whole Foods recently announced that by 2018 all products in their U.S. and Canadian stores must be labeled to indicate whether they contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). 
  • Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Jerry Greenfield paid a visit to Hartford, CT’s state capital, on Friday, March 15. According to GMO Free CTJerry was one of 200 supporters to offer testimony in support of CT HB 6519, a bill to require the labeling of genetically modified food sold in the state. 
  • Ben & Jerry’s recently committed to sourcing non-GMO ingredients for all their products by the end of 2013. Ben & Jerry’s is a strong advocate for the consumers' right to know what is in their food and was one of the early supporters of labeling of rBGH in dairy products. It is interesting to note that Ben & Jerry’s is owned by Unilever, one of the corporate giants who funneled money into the campaign to defeat California Proposition 37
  • California Proposition 37 was narrowly defeated in November, but other states are continuing the fight for the consumer’s right to know what is in their food. States with proposed GMO labeling legislation in their current sessions include: Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.

Dead Pigs, Contaminated Water in China
  • On March 13 the BBC reported that according to a statement issued by the Chinese government, the number of pig carcasses found floating in the Huangpu River totals nearly 6,000. The government also claims that the water quality of the river “meets government-set standards.”  The source of the dead pigs remains a mystery. According to information from the NGO Pacific Environment, “Nearly 1/4 of Chinese [people] lack access to clean drinking water, over 70 percent of lakes and rivers are polluted, and pollution accidents happen on a near daily basis.” In today’s South China Morning Post there is a story reporting that residents of the village of Changshou in Hunan province have long refused to drink tap water they have been told is “safe.” You might want to think twice before purchasing frozen produce from China.

Girl Scout Cookies
  • After news service UPI reported in February that more than 13,000 boxes of unsold Girl Scout cookies were thrown away in Riverside, CA, the story went viral. A reporter for a CBS affiliate in Los Angeles shared a video of a tractor smashing the cookies before they headed to the landfill. You can watch it here. Apparently this practice has been going on for years. While one can debate whether or not Girl Scout Cookies are actually food, one cannot dispute that farmers grew the wheat and chickens laid the eggs, etc. This story helped make food waste in the US front page news.

Protected Waters in New England

  • The Pew Charitable Trust just released a call for action to oppose the reopening of nearly 5,000 square miles of protected New England waters to commercial fishing. The short video “Cod: The Fish that Made New England” features a number of “old salts” reminiscing about how different fishing was just decades ago. Their compelling tales emphasize the importance of this issue. You can take action here

In closing, here is a quick request for your vote from my chapter of Slow Food: 
  • Slow Food Shoreline in CT is a finalist in the Health Justice Challenge - a $10K grant to support Slow Cooking Education. Their entry is a proposal to teach busy families how to cook healthy food using a slow cooker. Watch the video here and show your support. Hurry! You are allowed to vote once a day which means you can vote once today, and once tomorrow. Voting ends on March 19 at 11:59 pm EST.

Have a great week.       

I often blog on food or food issues on Monday in support of Meatless Monday, one of several programs developed in the Healthy Monday project, founded in 2003 in association with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communications. Meatless Monday’s goal is “to help reduce meat consumption 15% in order to improve personal health and the health of our planet.”

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