Tag Archives: The Atlantic

GMO crops and their “superweeds”

From The Atlantic:

Infographic via The Atlantic

“After a decade of intensive genetically modified plant cultivation, weeds have emerged that are resistant to the most popular herbicide.

I was a member of the FDA Food Advisory Committee when the agency approved production of genetically modified foods in the early 1990s.

At the time, critics repeatedly warned that widespread planting of GM crops modified to resist Monsanto’s weed-killer, Roundup, were highly likely to select for “superweeds” that could withstand treatment with Roundup. Continue reading

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How vegetable oil came to replace animal fats in the American diet

An excerpt from the book “The Happiness Diet”, via The Atlantic:

“Before highways and before railroads, America conducted her commerce via steamship over water through a system of rivers, canals, and lakes. In the 1800s, Cincinnati was the heart of the developed United States. At the time it was known to the world as Porkopolis. That’s because not so long ago, the most widely consumed meat in this nation was swine.

This was before refrigeration. The biggest enemy of 19th-century butchers was spoilage. Eating cows didn’t make a whole lot of sense: Distributing the meat of a freshly killed 1,500-pound animal before it went bad was difficult without roads and temperature-controlled trains. But pigs are fatty, which makes them excellent for salt curing because they don’t lose flavor. Continue reading

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From beekeepers in France to the sweet corn at Walmart — GMO news roundup

There have been lots of good stories relating to GMO foods crossing the Bovine newsdesk in recent days, so we decided to compile a bunch of the more interesting ones in one post for your enjoyment. Here they are:

From the Biodynamics blog:

“More than half a million people have already signed a petition to the FDA asking for labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods. Now, continuing that momentum, a new video by the director of Food, Inc. encourages consumers to fight for the right to know what is in their food. The video is a collaboration between filmmaker Robert Kenner and the Just Label It campaign.”

More on the Biodynamics blog.

How to Identify GMO food at the Supermarket, even if it’s not labeled, via Federal Jack.com:

Continue reading

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It’s burghers eating burgers in America

From Jane Black, writing in The Atlantic:

“For years the conventional wisdom has been that fast food is poor people’s food; that, thanks to government subsidies that ensure cheap calories, the drive-through is where people who can’t afford the “good” stuff — organic, grass-fed, etc. — go to feed their families on a budget. Why else would anyone eat that stuff?

But a new study to be published in the Journal for Population Health Management reveals the dirty little secret of the American middle class: It’s not cash-strapped Americans who are devouring the most Big Macs and Whoppers, it’s us! According to the study, a household earning $60,000 a year eats the most fast food, and one bringing in $80,000 is actually more likely to have it their way than one with $30,000. Suddenly, last year’s news from the Centers for Disease Control makes sense: Nearly half of obese adults in this country are not poor but middle-class, earning at least $77,000 for a family of four. Continue reading

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Four days of cheese at Slow Food event

“Like everyone who traveled to get to the event in Bra, Italy, I came with an empty bag, which was stuffed with heavy blocks of cheese when I left.”

Good people, good cheese... Slow Food in Italy. Photo via The Atlantic

From Corby Kummer at The Atlantic, via 3 Wheeled Cheese blog:

“Last week, while the rest of the food world was speculating over who should replace the great Sam Sifton as he ascends inexorably to editor-ship of the New York Times, the trajectory I’ve long considered appropriate for former food critics (I’ve got my own favorite for his successor, but I’m hoping, not telling), I was on a semi-annual gig teaching writing at Slow Food’s University of Gastronomic Science’s master’s program. I also got to stay on for two days to sample the endless varieties of cheese at Slow Food’s event called, simply,Cheese, which for four days every two years turns the center of its founding city, Bra, into a day-and-night festival that brings back not just former university students but the world’s big-cheese cheeses (surely I’m the first to think of that). If you’re anywhere near Turin, Italy, today, head over! The revelry went on past midnight during the two days I got to be there. Writing and cheese, naturally, were on my mind — and in my bags coming home. Continue reading

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Paleo diet — early man goes out to eat

From Alesh Houdek, in The Atlantic:

Image: Lord Jim/flickr via The Atlantic. I'd say that looks like a photo of street art by Banksy.

“The idea of the Paleo diet has been around for decades, but it’s really taken off over the last couple of years, with a slew of booksblogs, and a prominent podcast espousing its virtues.

And no wonder—it has a compelling sales pitch. It’s based on the idea that while humans have been eating for approximately 200,000 years, we’ve been farming for only about the last 10,000 or so. Continue reading

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The Atlantic joins a pilgrimage to Joel Salatin’s mecca of sustainable farming

From Andrea Gabor, in The Atlantic:

“Two weeks ago, I joined about 1,700 farmers, foodies, and families from across the U.S. for a pilgrimage to Joel Salatin’s Polyface Farm, home of his iconic model of local, sustainable agriculture.

Salatin, the high priest of “grass-farming,” as he defines his work, hosts a field day every three years on his 550-acre spread in Swope, Virginia, in the hills of the Shenandoah Valley. Visitors have come from as far away as Florida and Iowa to trudge through the thick, soft pastures and see how Salatin raises cows, chickens, pigs, rabbits, and poultry. It is a brilliant sunny day, warm already at 8 a.m. on a Saturday.

Walking up a gentle slope, we come upon a herd of cows “mobbed” under a shady canopy, nibbling grass and depositing patties of natural fertilizer in the acre-or-so where they have been herded for the day. Tomorrow the white plastic electric fence—so thin it is hard to see in the brilliant sunlight—will be moved, the cows transferred to a new paddock so they can feast on a fresh “salad bar.” Nearby, the chickens, in their big, floorless, corrugated tin-and-mesh mobile playpens are pecking at the cow patties left by the previous day’s mob, picking out the fly larvae, aiding the composting process. Like so much on the farm, it is a virtuous cycle, the cows and chickens working together to create the rich soil, grass, and insect ecosystem.  Continue reading

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