USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service says in 2018 there have been dozens of recalls involving millions of pounds of sausage, calzones and chicken whatnots contaminated with metal, plastic and other foreign non-food bits of dangerous materials.
Costco sells its rotisserie chicken at the back of its stores at a loss to lure customers into the story to buy other things. Up until now those chickens by and large have come from Big Ag poultry producers like Tyson, Pilgrims Pride, and Perdue. But Costco is now bringing chicken production in house.
I’ve watched with interest the twists and turns of the U.S.-China trade war. Reportedly, the two nations have made significant progress in sketching out a series of memorandums of understanding on forced technology transfer and cyber theft, intellectual property rights, services, currency, agriculture and non-tariff barriers to trade. At the core all these issues have one thing in common – money. In a nutshell: How will the China U.S. trade pie and associated issues be financially sliced and diced? That’s fine as far as it goes, but making U.S. trade with China about the Benjamins is a massively lost opportunity to deal with the nuclear threat that is North Korea.
I think tofu (curdled soy milk) is delicious. Tofu is a foodies’ blank canvas, a vehicle for other ingredients and bold flavors, that create healthy, creative meals. And it can serve as a tremendous meat substitute.
And that’s where Missouri is drawing a line in the sand. Missouri has become the first state in the nation to make it a crime for food manufacturers to label their products as “meat” if “not derived from harvested production livestock or poultry.” Violators face fines up to $1,000 and a year in state slammer.
I remember when I took my first college news writing class back in the 1980s one of the first things the professor drilled into us was that news stories must have balance … full stop. For example, if one wrote a story about how humans contribute to climate change it was imperative that the reporter find people representing all sides of the issue … including “experts” who think human action has no impact on climate change … and maybe for good measure folk believing that climate change was a hoax. Balance. Well … having watched and reported on the climate change issue for decades I’ve come to some interesting conclusions. Most importantly for years Big Oil played journalists as suckers, weaponizing balance to spew and spin oil industry views.
Anyone who has followed California agricultural politics in recent years knows residents have a soft spot in their humane hearts for animals raised for production or slaughter. That’s baby cows, fowls, and sows y’all. California fired its first shot for humane treatment of farm animals way back in 2008 with the Humane Society led ballot initiative Proposition 2. California voters overwhelming passed Prop 2 63-to-36 percent banning confinement of egg-laying hens, calves raised for veal, and pregnant pigs. The initiative did not provide specific square-foot guidelines as to what constitutes confinement but rather required that animals needed to turn freely, lie down, stand up, and fully extend their limbs.
One hardly knows where to begin commenting on USDA’s $12 billion farm aid package designed to help farmers and ranchers financially blindsided by the POTUS’s trade war with China. The Market Facilitation Program is complicated but here are the highlights:
MFP includes $4.77 billion in direct payments to farmers. Soybean farmers get the lion share – $3.6 billion. On the other hand, the total allotted to corn farmers is $95 million. Pork producers fair little better at just over $290 million. Beef producers get zero. Soybean farmers will receive $1.65 a bushel, wheat producers 14-cents a bushel and corn farmers 1-cent a bushel on half of their production. Hog farmers get $8 a pig. For row crops, the money will not be paid till after harvest. And oh yeah, it’s capped at a maximum of $125,000 a farmer.
Ironically I was on some R-and-R in St. Louis, headquarters to Monsanto, when a California jury dropped the mother of all H-bombs on Bayer’s newest acquisition: Monsanto’s flagship weed killer Roundup contributed to high school groundsman Dewayne Johnson’s non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Put bluntly the jury ruled Roundup causes cancer and it awarded terminally-ill Johnson $39 million in compensatory and $250 million in punitive damages. Yup $289 million total. Bayer, which purchased Monsanto just two months ago, has taken a massive financial hit, losing more than 10 percent of share value. So how did Monsanto and Bayer lose?