“In the past year, the mainstream media featured more than a few stories critiquing America’s local and organic foods movement. The New York Times and others swallowed the findings of a Stanford study debating the value of organic foods hook, line and sinker; Time and Dr. Oz declared, “Organic food is great, it’s just not very democratic”; and NPR recently reported that growing local food doesn’t pay. Continue reading
Tag Archives: NPR
Below we have an excerpt from a piece written recently by National Public Radio’s ombudsman, in response to listener feedback. Listeners wondered why reporters and commentators on a publicly funded radio network would express opinions that cast doubt the wisdom of government policy and seemed to ignore what they viewed as established consensus among the public health community. An interesting question indeed:
“When it comes to raw milk, even a simple story can turn sour on some listeners. There’s an ongoing controversy over raw milk’s safety. Proponents hail its taste and nutrients. Adversaries worry about deadly food-borne diseases. Government regulators are caught in between, accused of being too lax, too stiff or too in bed with Big Dairy. Continue reading
“In this age of the Internet, it’s amazing how quickly certain statistics can catch on.
Take the statistic I came up with in my Feb. 11 post, after having assessed data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control–that there have been on average 39 illnesses from raw milk cheese between 2000 and 2008. It’s the first time I’m aware of that anyone has presented the data that way.
Within days, National Public Radio had a story about the controversy over raw milk cheese, and included this statement, “On average, about 40 people report getting sick from raw milk cheese a year nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” The idea was to suggest that raw milk cheese doesn’t seem to present a huge public health problem. Continue reading
“If you bite into a tomato between the months of October and June, chances are that tomato came from Florida. The Sunshine State accounts for one-third of all fresh tomatoes produced in the United States — and virtually all of the tomatoes raised during the fall and winter seasons.
But the tomatoes grown in Florida differ dramatically from the red garden varieties you might grow in your backyard. They’re bred to be perfectly formed — so that they can make their way across the U.S. and onto your dinner table without cracking or breaking.
“It continues to amaze me how controversial and provocative a topic raw milk is. Every few weeks, it seems, more media outlets are writing and broadcasting about it. In media lingo, raw milk “has legs.”
Most recently, a Washington, DC, NPR station promoted a debate between Sally Fallon of the Weston A. Price Foundation, and Bill Marler, the product liability lawyer. The two debaters threw brickbats at each other, including not a few exaggerations and half-truths.
For instance, they traded jabs about the illness outbreak affecting six children attributed to Organic Pastures Dairy Co. five years ago, in 2006. Fallon continued to say, as she has on a number of occasions, that the two children who became most seriously ill had eaten spinach (the outbreak occurred in the midst of an outbreak of illness from raw spinach) even though the genetic imprint of the E.coli 0157:H7 isolated from several of the children was different from that of the spinach oubreak. I’m not sure why she dwells on that particular inaccuracy, which upsets the families involved no end. Continue reading
“Imagine picking up a nice juicy burger and taking a bite, only to find out that the meaty burger you’re biting into didn’t come from an animal — it was grown in a lab.
Sound far-fetched? The reality of test-tube burgers in supermarkets may be close to becoming a reality. Scientists at laboratories around the world are currently working to make meat in labs that will eventually look and taste like the real thing, without any animal parts.
Science writer Michael Specter recently traveled to laboratories in the Netherlands and North Carolina to examine the progress scientists have made in developing in vitro meat. Hewrites about his trip, and the arguments in favor of lab-made steaks, in the May 23 issue of The New Yorker. Continue reading
Here’s an excerpt from that interview, from the Marler Blog:
“Bill Marler is a Seattle-based lawyer who specializes in cases of food-borne illness. He’s also the founder of a nonprofit consulting firm that teaches food companies how to make their food safer. He doesn’t blame raw foodists for wanting natural foods, but he disagrees that they’re safer.
The bugs that exist today aren’t the same as they were 50 years ago, he says. “It’s a different world, and you have to pay attention, especially for young children.” Continue reading