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News for May 19, 2010

Raw milk advocates rally in support of Wisconsin licensing bill

After the fast progress of SB 434, "The Raw Milk Bill," through the state Legislature this spring, it's hit a stumbling block. Governor Jim Doyle, who had initially indicated he was in favor of signing the bill into law, in the last week has begun to express reservations.

Today supporters of the raw milk bill, which will allow the licensing of farmers to sell raw milk directly to interested consumers, rallied on the State Street steps of the State Capitol to urge Governor Doyle to sign the bill into law.

READ MORE (Isthmus) ]

Raw milk advocates say they were squeezed out of meeting

They say there's no use crying over spilled milk. But raw milk advocates are crying foul after people at a recent milk regulations hearing were relegated to a nearby overflow room.

In a complaint filed with the Massachusetts Attorney General's office, the national Organic Consumers Association alleges a recent hearing held by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources violated the state's Open Meeting Law. "Despite the peaceful nature of the public hearing, scores were kept from attending the proceedings and were not provided with any alternative means to hear, see or participate in them," according to an OCA news release. The overflow room was unequipped with an audio or video feed, the association's Political Director Alexis Baden-Mayer wrote in the complaint, and essentially functioned like the area behind a nightclub's velvet rope.

READ MORE (South Coast Today) ]

Education by the plateful: College course uses food to teach basic skills

As part of her end-of-semester project, Washington College freshman Billie Ricketts spent time carefully plucking the hairs from a boiled pig's head. Then she and her classmates dug out the meat, fat, brains and skin, all to be used for making headcheese.

"I am so passionate about offal," she said.

READ MORE (Washington Post) ]

Wild fishing industry hooks on to local food craze

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has raised worries about that region's shrimp harvest and underscores the perilous nature of seasonal fishing industries, perennially at the mercy of disasters natural or manmade, as well as the fickle appetite of the American diner.

Ask any fisherman: It is not an easy way to make a living.

READ MORE (Associated Press) ]

Songbirds don't prefer organic food

Increasingly each year, humans foraging in American supermarkets select organically grown food. Not so with wild songbirds searching for sustenance in the gardens of England.

Given a choice between organically and conventionally grown wheat, they opt for the conventional stuff - which is higher in protein - 55 to 60% of the time, a study has found.

READ MORE (Los Angeles Times) ]

Everyday Exposure to Dangerous Levels of Toxic Chemical BPA Unavoidable for U.S. Families

Senator Dianne Feinstein stood with environmental health advocates today on Capitol Hill to release a new report that demonstrates alarming levels of bisphenol A (BPA) in common canned foods. BPA is a synthetic sex hormone and exposure to low doses has been linked to abnormal behavior, diabetes, heart disease, infertility, developmental and reproductive harm, and obesity, which raises the risk of early puberty, a known risk factor for breast cancer.

Senator Feinstein has introduced legislation that would ban BPA in cans, in addition to other food and beverage containers. The Senator is hopeful that the Food Safety Act will include language that protects consumers from BPA exposure.

READ MORE (eNews Park Forest) ]

Portland pig cook-off followed by brawl over the provenance of pork

A prestigious pig cook-off at the Governor Hotel Sunday night was followed by at least two head buttings and a fist-fight outside an Old Town strip joint. Portland police were called to break up the rumble, which sent a renowned chef and the event's organizer to jail after one had been pepper-sprayed and the other shot with a taser.

And it was all over a pig.

READ MORE (The Oregonian) ]

Green Energy Live Reports on Increased Demand for Manure-to-Clean-Energy Solutions for America's Farmers

Green Energy Live Inc., a growing clean energy company, is engaged in developing sustainable, on-site biomass-to-energy conversion solutions to enable America's livestock operators to generate electricity from manure. Green Energy Live is seeing increases in demand for manure management solutions within the agriculture sector. On May 3rd the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a new interagency agreement with funding to advance the implementation of biogas recovery systems for livestock facilities, with the goals of increasing farm-based renewable energy generation, protecting air, land and water resources, and enhancing rural economic growth.

The EPA and USDA's enhanced collaboration will provide up to $3.9 million over the next five years to help farms recover and use biogas from manure. The collaboration will expand technical assistance efforts, improve technical standards and guidance for the construction and evaluation of biogas recovery systems, and expand outreach to livestock producers and assist them with pre-feasibility studies. The USDA provides grants, loans, and loan guarantees to eligible recipients for renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvements and technical support to farmers on resource conservation and protection.

READ MORE (MarketWire) ]

Home Cooks May Need More Food Safety Advice

This week, SN's Fresh Market section includes two unrelated stories involving tough new food safety requirements for processors of meat and poultry. The U.S. Department of Agriculture last week announced that it will be lowering the acceptable level of "positive" tests for Salmonella and Campylobacter on raw chicken and turkey in processing facilities.

And, separately, Wal-Mart has informed its beef suppliers that it expects them to achieve a scientifically validated 100,000-fold reduction of pathogens found on beef in their slaughterhouses within the next two years.

READ MORE (Supermarket News) ]

Safe Food Handling: ShopSmart Rewrites the Rules of Food Safety

It may be time to rethink the way we handle our food. Millions of Americans are sickened each year by food born illnesses and many of those cases could be avoided if people cooked or washed their food more thoroughly. Sue Perry, Deputy Editor of ShopSmart tells us how they've rewritten the rules of food safety.

It's easy to cross-contaminate foods. So, keep raw foods separate from cooked and prepackaged foods. It could be especially dangerous if bacteria from raw food touches ready-to-eat foods.

READ MORE (CBS) ]

Melamine, Pet Food and Our Food Safety

In September 2008, the world was shocked at the sight of little babies in China attached to dialysis machines as they fight for their lives. Yet, the news of contaminated milk formula did not gain much attention until it was realized that the melamine problem is not only restricted to China only but has actually spread globally. However, no ill effects of melamine has been reported outside China and its territories.

Melamine is an organic compound with the official IUPAC name of 1,3,5-triazine-2,4,6-triamine and the chemical formula of C3H6N6. It is a solid white-colored base, and is odorless. It is slightly soluble in water, stable, and not easily biodegradable.

READ MORE (Business Vn) ]

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