It’s Getting Hot in the Farm Bill Kitchen
Sep 17, 2013
Just in case the farm bill didn't have enough issues to overcome, now it has one more--it might violate WTO rules against trade-distorting subsidies. Reuters reports that if the matter isn’t fixed, Brazil, China and Argentina could make some noise. Although the farm bill is getting a lot of press, ranking member on the House Ag Committee Collin Peterson says no one from across the aisle has called him about the farm bill. He said the last two electrons saw winners from non-farm areas and many want to "get rid of farm programs."
Peterson also said he was told Obama would veto an extension. That means the permanent law from 1949 would take hold. Two former senators from both sides of the aisle wrote an op-ed in the LA Times this week telling Congress to stop playing politics with hunger.
Politico calls the debate "The Hunger Games."
TakePart.com looks at the farm bill in a new light, saying the food stamp side of the legislation is a result of few living wage jobs. A growing economy, the site says, will not stem hunger unless the growing inequality of wages is addressed.
The two sides at odds on this issue are in disparate need of a play date. The sand is running through the hour glass at a rapid pace.
Antibiotic Resistance: Blame the Hospital
In the news today is the CDC’s report on antibiotic resistance. NPR’s The Salt takes the bold step (bold for NPR) and reports the deadliest resistance comes from hospitals, not farms. CBS says about 23,000 die from resistant infections each year, and says up to 50 percent of antibiotics are prescribed incorrectly or to people who do not need them. These stories are a refreshing turn about after animal agriculture has taken the blame for years.
However, not everyone is buying into the CDC’s opinion. The Center for Science in the Public Interest is quick to highlight foodborne hazards and the "overuse of antibiotics in the animal sector ..." Obviously, the science for the public interest group is the divine expert over the CDC.
CNN has a warning for you today – Beware of the steak scam – courtesy of food "connoisseur" Josh Ozersky. First we’ve heard of this guy Ozersky, but it sounds like he’s developed a nice gig for himself – traveling around eating at fancy steakhouses.
He offers several criticisms of high-end steakhouses here, some we might argue with and others we’re not familiar enough to make an argument. (Like the argument about the cheap wine served with steaks – which, for some of us, we’d as soon drink that nasty red cough syrup with a steak as any wine on the menu. A few of us around here prefer a good beer anytime!)
So, we would challenge a few generalizations Ozersky makes, but our chief complaint is with CNN. The headline on the story is "7 deadly steakhouse sins." That’s an attention grabber, for sure, but there is nothing deadly about which Ozersky writes. Indeed, he’s offering a critique of that small portion of beef foodservice outlets where only the "one-percenters" can afford to dine. There’s nothing deadly described here – except the chilling effect CNN’s headline writers have on beef’s image.
Fine Dining Chickens
If you haven’t dined at one of Manhattan’s most elegant restaurants, too bad. But there’s a chance – albeit a slim one--the chicken you eat has enjoyed some tasty treats from one of the Big Apple’s finest. The New York Times says it’s a pilot project bringing together elite chefs who want to rediscover "what a chicken should taste like" by feeding the feathered friends a gourmet diet.
John Dillard stops in for the 411 on Consumer Ag Connection with the FYI on COOL. If you’re a little fuzzy on the subject, Dillard breaks down the requirements, without too many acronyms.
Other News Bites ...
Bloomberg reports on a study that a healthy lifestyle can modify cell aging. It encourages exercise, stress management and lots of fruits and vegetables. However, the article does not promote vegetarianism or veganism. Sounds like a good plan – steamed veggies, a salad and potato go really well with a steak.