Food Safety

Research Project to Examine Spread of Tobacco Industry Strategies

The National Cancer Institute has awarded a five-year, $2.7 million grant to Northeastern University Law School to research how the tobacco, fast food and sweetened beverage industries use and exploit the concepts of "personal responsibility" and "choice" to avoid liability and litigation for diseases that result from use of their products.

Food Marketers Try "Local-washing"

"The ingenuity of the food manufacturers and marketers never ceases to amaze me," remarked author Michael Pollan. "They can turn any critique into a new way to sell food." Marketers are appropriating language from the "eat local" or "locavore" movement, which encourages support for small farms, sustainable practices and better treatment of animals.

Mixed Reports on FDA Efficacy

The number of warning letters sent by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to corporations has dropped by 50% in the last decade. In 2002, the regulatory agency decided that all warning letters should go through the office of its chief counsel, a move "designed to strengthen the letters and make them legally consistent and credible." But the change may have just succeeded in slowing the process to a crawl.

More Than You Bargained for in Your Chicken

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has found that Tyson Foods routinely gave antibiotics to chicken it raised to sell as meat, and labeled it as antibiotic free.

Mad Cows Coming Home to Roost

The global increase in grain prices may make the meat supply less safe. The European Union is considering a relaxation of feed bans that prohibit animal by-products being used as feed for other animals in the human food chain.

Industry Encourages More Regulation, USDA Declines

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has been criticized for not totally banning "downer" cows -- animals "too sick or hurt to stand for slaughter" -- from the food supply. So "when a coalition of major industry groups reversed their position and joined animal advocates and several lawmakers in calling for an absolute ban," why wouldn't the USDA agree?

Monsanto-Funded Front Group Fights Milk Labeling

A new "grassroots" farmers' group with close ties to Monsanto has been formed to outlaw labels that would notify consumers they are buying milk from cows not treated with recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH). Monsanto genetically engineers rBGH, called Posilac, which is injected into cows, forcing them to produce more milk.

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