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October 12, 2013
We’re fundamentally outraged that the USDA is not requiring a recall. This isn’t regular Salmonella. It’s resistant to multiple antibiotics.
Michael Hansen, senior scientist at Consumer Reports • Expressing outrage, in his own words, at the USDA for not forcing Foster Farms to issue a recall on its chicken products linked to an outbreak of Salmonella (predominantly in California, but spanning 20 states, as well as Puerto Rico). The strain he refers to is Salmonella Heidelberg, which the CDC described as “resistant to several commonly prescribed antibiotics” in an update on their website yesterday — incidentally, the CDC began managing this outbreak shorthanded, thanks to shutdown furloughs, but have since been reconstituted to address the public health crisis. source
21:47 // 1 year ago
October 1, 2013
It’s not just Twitter accounts. Entire websites are shutting down. This is insane. (ht @antderosa)

It’s not just Twitter accounts. Entire websites are shutting down. This is insane. (ht @antderosa)

0:22 // 1 year ago
April 24, 2012

US officials confirm 4th domestic case of mad-cow disease

The diseased animal “at no time presented a risk to the food supply or human health,” the USDA says. Officials discovered the animal at a rendering facility in central California, which they have not chosen to name. During a briefing in Washington, USDA chief veterinarian John Clifford assured reporters that the meat did not enter the food chain and the carcass will be destroyed safely. The first mad cow case in 2003, a cow from Canada shipped to the U.S., caused an extreme dip in beef exports — and some nations to restrict American beef to this day. (hat tip to Breaking News)  source

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15:45 // 2 years ago
January 26, 2012
It seems the department still considers the potato a second-class vegetable.
A spokesman for the National Potato Council, irked that — despite a failed USDA attempt to limit potato use in new school lunch guidelines — potatoes are still passed over in favor of greener, leafier vegetables. (via bencrair)

Wait wait wait wait wait: Potatoes are second-class vegetables? Obviously, this guy is right — just think how easy it is to get fresh chard in your Happy Meals.
11:27 // 2 years ago
November 29, 2011
20:40 // 2 years ago
November 16, 2011
USDA’s healthy school lunches turn into starchy, tomato-ey mess
Pizza can continue to be the meal of choice: In a bit of a setback for the Obama administration, the USDA’s efforts to push for schools to provide healthier lunches ran into a wall of starchy special interests after members of Congress, in coordination with the food industry, added an unhealthy amendment to a spending bill. The amendment limits how much the government can regulate starchy vegetables like potatoes, as well as tomato paste (the fundamental ingredient of pizza), in school lunches. Why? Congress says it’ll be more expensive, due in part to vegetable prices. If the spending bill passes, we can blame kids’ unhealthy lunches on Congress. We love pizza too, but really now. (photo via USDA’s Flickr page) source
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Pizza can continue to be the meal of choice: In a bit of a setback for the Obama administration, the USDA’s efforts to push for schools to provide healthier lunches ran into a wall of starchy special interests after members of Congress, in coordination with the food industry, added an unhealthy amendment to a spending bill. The amendment limits how much the government can regulate starchy vegetables like potatoes, as well as tomato paste (the fundamental ingredient of pizza), in school lunches. Why? Congress says it’ll be more expensive, due in part to vegetable prices. If the spending bill passes, we can blame kids’ unhealthy lunches on Congress. We love pizza too, but really now. (photo via USDA’s Flickr page) source

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1:37 // 2 years ago
June 21, 2011
Are your fruits and veggies laden with tons of pesticides?
Remember when that confusing food pyramid went away, and a plate replaced it? That incredibly informative plate tells you that half your diet at least should consist of fruits and veggies — but a new study might make you think otherwise. The Environmental Working Group has compiled a list called the “Dirty Dozen” that includes the twelve fruits and vegetables laden with the most pesticides. While the report suggest eating anything from the “Dirty Dozen” might be harmful, other experts say the pesticide levels on those fruits aren’t dangerous. “So far, there’s not a lot of research to support these claims,” said Holly Herrington, a dietitian at Northwestern University. And we’re pretty sure an apple is healthier than a candy bar any day, too. source
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Remember when that confusing food pyramid went away, and a plate replaced it? That incredibly informative plate tells you that half your diet at least should consist of fruits and veggies — but a new study might make you think otherwise. The Environmental Working Group has compiled a list called the “Dirty Dozen” that includes the twelve fruits and vegetables laden with the most pesticides. While the report suggest eating anything from the “Dirty Dozen” might be harmful, other experts say the pesticide levels on those fruits aren’t dangerous. “So far, there’s not a lot of research to support these claims,” said Holly Herrington, a dietitian at Northwestern University. And we’re pretty sure an apple is healthier than a candy bar any day, too. source

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14:33 // 3 years ago
May 29, 2011
Screw the Food Pyramid; let’s switch to the Food Plate instead!
Meet the worst graphic ever created. You may have heard about this thing. It’s called the MyPyramid. There’s some random dude running up it to remind people to exercise, which it’s honestly never done for us. But there aren’t any numbers, no good explanation, and few details to explain what people should eat. It’s one of the greatest travesties the USDA has ever created. It’s as terrible as the 2012 Olympics logo, except worse, because it’s meant actually teach people how to eat healthier; that hasn’t happened. And it might finally get replaced by a completely different shape. Finally. About time. A little history:
pyramid In 1992, the USDA introduced the Food Pyramid as a way to explain to people how much food they should be eating. It wasn’t considered a success.
pyramid In 2005, USDA officals replaced the pyramid with “MyPyramid,” a vertically-oriented chart derided for being even more confusing than the original version.
plate? Perhaps hearing the cries of those who want to see a simpler food graphic, the USDA plans to launch a version of the graphic that revolves around a simple plate. source
» Why this is a good idea: Simply put, the basic idea behind this graphic needs to be as simple as possible, and while the original graphic wasn’t terrible, its replacement was. What we’d like to see is a shape that looks like a cafeteria tray, with compartments for each piece. However, the independently-produced Power Plate (which notably doesn’t include meat products at all) is also a worthy option, too. Let’s hope they don’t screw it up.
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Meet the worst graphic ever created. You may have heard about this thing. It’s called the MyPyramid. There’s some random dude running up it to remind people to exercise, which it’s honestly never done for us. But there aren’t any numbers, no good explanation, and few details to explain what people should eat. It’s one of the greatest travesties the USDA has ever created. It’s as terrible as the 2012 Olympics logo, except worse, because it’s meant actually teach people how to eat healthier; that hasn’t happened. And it might finally get replaced by a completely different shape. Finally. About time. A little history:

  • pyramid In 1992, the USDA introduced the Food Pyramid as a way to explain to people how much food they should be eating. It wasn’t considered a success.
  • pyramid In 2005, USDA officals replaced the pyramid with “MyPyramid,” a vertically-oriented chart derided for being even more confusing than the original version.
  • plate? Perhaps hearing the cries of those who want to see a simpler food graphic, the USDA plans to launch a version of the graphic that revolves around a simple plate. source

» Why this is a good idea: Simply put, the basic idea behind this graphic needs to be as simple as possible, and while the original graphic wasn’t terrible, its replacement was. What we’d like to see is a shape that looks like a cafeteria tray, with compartments for each piece. However, the independently-produced Power Plate (which notably doesn’t include meat products at all) is also a worthy option, too. Let’s hope they don’t screw it up.

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14:48 // 3 years ago
February 14, 2011

Shirley Sherrod makes good on her promise to Andrew Breitbart

  • YES Shirley Sherrod has filed suit against Andrew Breitbart source

» Bad day for scurillous-ness: The former USDA official was famously the target of a heavily cut video clip that seemed to present her as a racist who withheld help to a white farmer. The aftermath saw a gross and shocking leap to conclusion by the USDA under Tom Vilsack, which forced her resignation, before some helpful skeptics examined the full video which showed she was making a point AGAINST racism. I’ll admit, this case does have relevant, personal importance for bloggers, as the man charged is in that sense “one of our own,” even ones that wouldn’t be caught dead at a Breitbart event. But notwithstanding, whether the charge of defamation is well-earned or not, some of Mr. Breitbart’s antics have been grossly deceptive and unscrupulous.

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13:18 // 3 years ago