I beg your pardon, Washington Post! OK, I have not read the Harvard study, but that is the most simplistic and erroneous bit of info re the noble spud I can imagine. The piece published yesterday goes on to gush over yogurt, as in "...perhaps the biggest surprise was yogurt, every serving of which kept off nearly a pound over four years."
A serving of your average fruit-laced, high fructose corn syrup-filled commercial yogurt? Or a serving of full fat, plain organic Straus Family Creamery yogurt from happy cows?
So now America's dairy farmers are gloating, and the spud growers are mashing their own heads, and something complex is once more made simplistic, and misleading. And America's diet-crazed women are scooping cartons of Dannon into their carts.
Here's the beginning of a piece just noted today from SeattlePI:
"Pity the poor potato.
First, the anti-carb folks shun it. Now a Harvard study attacks it.
The study published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine says the spud is making us fat.
To which Chris Voigt says nuts.
"If eating potatoes was so bad for you...I'd be dead by now."
That's not hyperbole. Voigt, executive director of the Washington State Potato Commission, went on a potato-only diet for 60 days last fall to counter the negative publicity against spuds.
It made him briefly famous. It also made him skinny.
He dropped 20 pounds. His cholesterol, triglycerides and blood glucose were all down. His cholesterol, for example, went from 214 to 147.
"Every health indicator," Voigt said, "was better or the same."
We of The Potato Museum have other stories like this. We continue to think that eating "good" foods like the potato, and a wide range of other foods, in moderation, is still key. ( We have irritated and annoyed the potato industry by stating here and there that French Fries made fresh should be an occasional delicious treat, not a daily staple, and yet fries consumption is on the rise all over, particularly in China, because the commercial industry is all about processed potatoes. So much for our proselytizing...)
But I should read the actual report. Yes.
Having written here myself about the Prince of Wales' admirable Home Farm, I am delighted to find this take, from a woman who seems to know her eggs from her offal. Rachel Laudan's blog is dubbed A Historian's Take on Food and Food Politics.
"Prince Charles inherited 135,000 acres, much of it excellent land in the south and west of England. His manager farms the Home Farm, the organic bit, 1000 acres where he in time-honored tradition raises rare breeds.
His tenants are not required to farm organically, without doubt use as much of the latest agricultural technology as they can afford, and accept farm subsidies. His estate agent Smiths Gore I presume collect the rents and handle the accounts.
Like corporate agribusiness, Prince Charles has integrated vertically by producing a line of food products, Duchy Products. These he sells not in farmers’ markets but through the large grocery chain, Waitrose. (True, they pay some royalties into his charity, but that is in trouble at the moment, having to bail out some land investments made by the Prince). He advertises these industrially-produced foodstuffs by appeal to tradition (a technique pioneered by big wine in late nineteenth-century France).
In 2008, rents from tenant farmers (and presumably from sources such as The Oval cricket ground and holiday rentals in the Scilly Isles) provided him and his family with an income of $26.4 million.
So when I read rave reviews of Prince Charles at the Future of Food conferencegoing on in Washington, D.C., I have to wonder.
Is Prince Charles’ decision to farm 1/135th of his land organically really so compelling? How can his admirers, most of whom I suspect, distrust agribusiness (and by any standards, Charles’ landholdings have more in common with large corporate landholdings than small family farms), overlook the scale of his operation?
Because of a sneaking deference to royalty? Because he claims as his own, standard British agricultural practice, such as dung spreading?
Whatever the reason, I find the deference amazing. Prince Charles is, in my view, agribusiness personified."
The Army Corps of Engineers blew out part of a levee on Monday in order to save Cairo, Illinois, from drowning. But the effect on a massive area of farmland and farmers is huge. A group of them are suing.
"After the detonation of part of the Birds Point levee Monday night to ease pressure from the swelling Mississippi River, aerial photographs showed farmhouses, barns and outbuildings in the middle of fields with water rising around them."
From the St Louis Post-Dispatch: "Bob Byrne, 59, farms 550 acres below the Missouri levee.
"It's a sickening feeling," he said. "They're talking about not getting the water off until late July or early August. That knocks out a whole season."
In the 1980s, when the floodway plan was under review, Bennett said, officials estimated that activating the floodway would cost residents and the county $300 million. Today, he said, losses probably will total close to $1 billion.
U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Cape Girardeau, said Monday that U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack had assured her that farmers in the floodway who had crop insurance would be compensated as if this man-made flood were a natural disaster. "I know that helps a lot of people, but not everybody," she said."
Push a cart down a supermarket aisle, and you’ll pass a kaleidoscope of color. The use of artificial dyes by foodmakers is up by half since 1990, and it’s not limited to candy. The list of foods made pretty by chemicals now includes pickles, bagels and port wine cheese balls.
Many years ago, on a visit to Hawaii, our 4 year-old was given a blue shaved ice treat, one of the favorites of the people in that region. Minutes later, from the backseat, he erupted in wild crying and agitation, and we tossed the blue monstrosity out, and gave him water, and possibly ginger ale. When he was older, after another odd incident I cannot recall, it was determined by some doc that he was “allergic” to red dyes.
Maybe everyone is allergic to chemical food additives!
Shave ice was a Japanese notion dating back centuries, and at first was a specialty only for those wealthy enough to have access to snow/ice, etc. When Japanese immigrants arrived to work the big sugar plantations of Hawaii, they brought the shave ice concept with them. Hawaii Shaved Ice has the full story.
(Photo is from Matsumoto Shave Ice, a 60 year-old business in Haleiwa, on Oahu's north shore. A food heritage site, for sure. It’s likely that esoteric shave(d) ice joints are using naturally colored flavorings today, but back in the 1980’s, not so much.)
"In an essay published last November in Canada's Maisonneuve journal, physician Kevin Patterson described his experiences working as an internist-intensivist at the Canadian Combat Surgical Hospital in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
One detail he noticed: The Afghan soldiers, police and civilians he treated in Kandahar had radically different bodies from those of the Canadians he took care of back home.
"Typical Afghan civilians and soldiers would have been 140 pounds or so as adults. And when we operated on them, what we were aware of was the absence of any fat or any adipose tissue underneath the skin," Patterson says. "Of course, when we operated on Canadians or Americans or Europeans, what was normal was to have most of the organs encased in fat. It had a visceral potency to it when you could see it directly there."
( Patterson, pictured in the Canadian Arctic, is also a novelist. More on him and his work at the National Review of Medicine website.)
Listen to Terry Gross interview Dr. Patterson on Fresh Air here:
The "new" NYTimes food commentator, Mark Bittman, asks "Why Aren't G. M. O. Foods Labeled?" The short answer is obvious. Because of profits to be made, come what may. ( Lobbyists, too, are involved.) These products are labeled in Europe, but not in the US and Canada, although some U.S. companies and natural food chains have been labeling their products as Non GMO since at least 2005.
In the forefront of opposition to GE alfalfa, which the government recently approved for planting in the US, is one of my favorite yogurt producers, Straus Family Creamery. Albert Straus described his company's opposition to GE foods in a recent Food Democracy Now! post. He wrote:
The decision to deregulate GM alfalfa hurts both organic and conventional farmers who choose not to use genetically modified organism technologies. Alfalfa’s anchor at the base of the dairy supply chain puts the entire organic food chain in peril: Contaminated alfalfa leads to contaminated milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, as well as any other products containing dairy ingredients.
Straus Creamery is the first and only Non-GMO Verified dairy brand in the US.
For the consumer, it's a minefield. The Institute for Responsible Technology has taken on the GE topic on bigtime, and worked to create a free iPhone App named ShopNoGMO as a guide to shoppers.
The app came out just about one year ago, which leads me to this point: it's really up to us as consumers to aks questions of growers, producers, stores, to become as informed as possible even if we have little knowledge of the science involved. Commercial farmers and supermarkets always have said, "it's what the consumer wants," while actually laboring to create in the mind of the hapless American consumer that she/he wants perfectly-shaped, obscenely sweet apples, for example. Or only two varieties of sweet potato, both incorrectly labeled yams.
( A neighbor in New Mexico bought a house with a backyard group of a pear, apple and peach tree. The family never picks or eats the fruit, saying, when I asked about it, "We buy everything at the supermarket.")
Back in September 2010, a piece in the WaPo about labeling GMO salmon ( or not) underscored the notion that business wants to keep consumers "barefoot and pregnant," as that hideous old saw goes.
"The biotechnology industry is opposed to mandatory labeling, saying it will only bewilder a public that is not well informed about genetic engineering.
"Extra labeling only confuses the consumer," said David Edwards, director of animal biotechnology at the Biotechnology Industry Organization. "It differentiates products that are not different."
Opposition to incursions on our food chains from Monsanto and others have been vigorously opposed by groups, companies, institutions and individuals, across the country. But not in large enough numbers.
We Americans have been distracted, of course, in recent months, losing jobs, homes, medical coverage, two wars, and so on. We have not yet massed in protest to any number of worthy issues, including the proposed $107 billion in tax-payer $$ slated to slide into the slippery pockets of the corrupt Karzai government in Afghanistan.
But I digress. Resources on this tough food topic exist. Here are a few:
----Many states have organic organizations. The country's largest and oldest is MOFGA in Maine.
----Consumers, get with the program! The Organic Consumers Association, established in 1998 in Minnesota, is loaded with materials.
----Veritable Vegetable, based in California, says it is the nation's oldest distributor of organic produce. Many links re sustainable agriculture on its website.
----Multiple links from ecobusinesslinks.
Thanks to alert organic farmer, Sonya Theriault, for this:
"The average American ingests approximately fourteen pounds of chemicals per year in the form of food additives (such as colorings, artificial flavorings, preservatives and emulsifiers), pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics, hormones and heavy metals." - Shannon Hayes, Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity From a Consumer Culture
Today is World Food Day. As reported by Reuters Africa, "The world's leading crusaders against hunger voiced frustration on World Food Day on Thursday that the global financial crisis had overshadowed a food crisis tipping millions towards starvation.
The World Bank predicts that high food and fuel prices will increase the number of malnourished people in the world by 44 million this year to reach a total of 967 million."
Ellen Parry Tyler writes for Food First that, "The U.S. food system allows one in six children to go hungry for at least part of each month. Hungry children are not healthy and don’t learn as well as well-fed children. Poor families across our nation have been told to wait as global leaders analyze the causes and solutions to our current food crisis. Food banks face food shortages while the number of Americans showing up at their door is rapidly increasing. In the wake of the $700 billion dollar Wall Street bailout, one wonders what our country could accomplish if $700 billion were instead spent on Main Street."
Today is also our thankfully well-nourished son's birthday. We cherish him, as parents the world over cherish their children. No parent anywhere should have to suffer a child's hunger.
You've all no doubt noted the current salmonella- tainted tomato debacle we're in, although apparently Florida's crop being harvested now has been approved for sale. Food safety is my number one Homeland Security issue, because I don't think Al Qaeda operatives are going to turn up in rubber dinghies on the Rio Grande or along Tampa Bay anytime soon. It's tough to maintain healthy food standards with on-going government cutbacks of budgets, inspectors and the lot.
Local supermarkets have posted notices about what tomatoes are presumed safe, though none are as pampered as my own bin-grown babies on my patio. But--in this Washington Post article, the Center for Science in the Public Interest does praise the FDA for acting swiftly to alert consumers and vendors of the 'mater problem. Still, the source of the contamination is unknown.
As the tomato is right up there with the potato as America's favorite veggie ( fries with ketchup?) I trust this latest saga will be ended soon. For regularly updated tomato reports click on the FDA page.
UPDATE: Dana Milbank of the WaPost has an amusing take today on tomato-related hearings in the House Commerce subcommittee. I have enjoyed his political riffs during the Dem Primary and personally find humor in most subjects, especially pomposity and hypocrisy among our elected reps. But---- food safety is not a(n )hilarious topic, because if we can't fuel ourselves safely, then what? ( We can always turn to white pizza...)
" First we eat, then we do everything else."
(That's the little Heinz tomato guy pictured above. http://www.heinz.com/Promotion.aspx)
Grateful that I do not have 150 feet of intestines tucked inside, as do manatees, I see that the current crop of free healthy product magazines are recommending a huge roster of "cleansing" items this winter, none of which would be needed if the magazines' audience were eating as advised in the first place, right?
But I digress---a slaughterhouse video from Hallmark Meat Packing in Chino, CA, has prompted Los Angeles schools to withhold meat products from a company called Westland that buys meat from Hallmark, on the grounds that the "downer" cattle unable to walk towards their deaths were being dragged or pushed in, and thus might be suffering from diseases that could render their meat iffy for human consumption. Westland provides ground beef to the USDA's National School Lunch Program. Many school systems around the US have chosen to reject meat from Westland, including some in Oregon and Florida.
( Meanwhile, rival groups in Kenya have been killing one another not only machetes, but also with bows and arrows. )
Japanese whalers, despite concentrated efforts to stop them, continue to slaughter whales with impunity, though Australian authorities now claim the video evidence they have will bolster their case against the spurious legal claim of the Japanese that they are taking whales for "research purposes."
Apparently The Teapot Museum of Sparta, NC, was the recipient of a $500,000 grant from the Federal Transportation office back in 2006, a fact now revealed to all and sundry with great derision. This report from 2007 says the planned new museum idea has been scrapped. Now as one who applauds any museum effort directed however tangentially at the subject of food, the stuff that sustains us, rather than at yet another monument to war and destruction, I must say that chunk of change would have been a fine first step towards the creation of the National Museum of Food & Farm on the Mall in Washington, DC. Read more about The FOOD Museum's proposal here.
Yesterday I treked through Costo with a membership-holding friend, the first time I had been there in over a year. In the olden days before Trader Joe's arrived in town, I might have picked up maple syrup, smoked salmon, Cabot cheddar cheese in big blocks, giant bags of salad, maybe some red snapper, but this time, I walked out with kitchen trash bags and a large box of organic chicken doggie treats-"No wheat, no corn, no by-products!"--from Castor & Pollux, Lincoln, Nebraska. ( The dawg approved.)
Later that night I read an excerpt in The Week from a piece by Steven Rinella in Outside magazine about his quest to eat dog, in Hanoi. He eats grilled strips of sesame crusted dog, dog feet ( I blogged once about the dog feet platter that whipped past those of us at the vegetarian table at a banquet in China), even plain old boiled dog leg. And he is not happy, though he knows much of the world does eat dog. ( Apparently native people of the Americas once were hound chow hounds, if you will. )
On his final day of eating dog---you can read the entire story here---he reports:
"I'm trying to will myself into a nonchalant attitude—just a guy in a restaurant eating his meal. I can't do it. I'm forcing it down, and it is not enjoyable. At this point, I've answered for myself the question I wanted answered: If your culture and your culinary curiosities go head to head, culture's going to win. It'll win even if you're rooting against it."
So---Even extreme eaters like Rinella cannot easily block memories of furry family pets while trying to reconsider them as food.
And then there are feathered pets---I first gave up eating chicken when our zany, alert pet hen, Harold, wandered into my kitchen in Belgium one evening. Chicken breasts about to go in the oven for dinner were on the table. I picked her up for a cuddle, in the manner she liked, and realized ( duh!) that her scrawny little chest was an unsettling reminder of the breasts I had just dredged in flour.
Since that time over 30 years ago, I have indeed eaten some occasional chicken--the rosemary-infused organic roast chicken perfected by my pal on the Hudson River, for example--and the inadvertent hen that I try to skirt in one dish at my local Thai buffet, and, of course, I feed chicken to my pet.
If you get to know most any animal at all well--a dog, a pig, a lamb, a hen--then it's so...
"I did not become a vegetarian for my health, I did it for the health of the chickens." Issac Bashevis Singer
( Dog pictured was the recipient of the organic chicken cookies, not a meal.)
Catching up on dumpster-diving news this weekend, I read this piece about "freegans" in the LATimes, Sept. 11. It's about New Yorkers who hit the best supermarket dumpster areas right after the garbage is put out--out back of D'Agostino's or Whole Foods they apparently find some real gems, enough to create lovely meals, stock the freezer and so on.
It seems to me the prime drawback other than possible intestinal distress and the odd rat turd, is that you cannot plan a meal. It's like shopping for clothes at Goodwill--you may go there hoping for a short black blazer but end up instead with a t-shirt from the Hard Rock Cafe in Prague.
But I digress---the freegan mission is explained this way at freegan.info:
"Freeganism is a total boycott of an economic system where the profit motive has eclipsed ethical considerations and where massively complex systems of productions ensure that all the products we buy will have detrimental impacts most of which we may never even consider. Thus, instead of avoiding the purchase of products from one bad company only to support another, we avoid buying anything to the greatest degree we are able. "
Or, as former Barnes & Noble bigwig Madeline Nelson puts it in the LA Times piece,
""We're doing something that is really socially unacceptable," Nelson said. "Not everyone is going to do it, but we hope it leads people to push their own limits and quit spending."
So now we have "eating locally," the Joan Gussow, Barbara Kingsolver, Michael Pollan, etc etc etc concept, we have No Impact Man, a New Yorker seeking ways to live off the grid, without plastic, t.paper, et al, and the family that stopped buying anything from China for an entire year--A Year Without "Made in China,": One Family's True Life Adventure in the Global Economy, AND the freegans, who are truly pushing the envelope of how to get one's food.
New York City throws away 50 million pounds of food a year--of that about 20 million pounds go to charitable groups. Much more about massive edibles tossed away is chronicled at Jonathan Bloom's blog, Wasted Food.
To delve further into the freegan world you can follow up on these tips from the LATimes article.
"In recent years, Internet sites like Meetup.com have posted announcements for trash tours in Seattle, Houston and Los Angeles and throughout England. Some teach people how to dumpster-dive for food, increasing the movement's popularity. At least 14,000 have taken the trash tour for groceries over the last two years in New York. Another site, Freegankitchen.com, offers lessons for cooking meals from food found in dumpsters, such as spaghetti squash salad."
The late John Niederhauser, PhD, our friend and founding board member of The Potato Museum, said in his acceptance speech for the World Food Prize that feeding the world's people was the most critical challenge facing those who want peace in the world.
Younger persons around the world seem to be staking out eco-appropriate positions, pursuing "off the grid" projects--(I hope they are not all just out to write catchy, trendy books...) but where are the peaceniks? OR-- Is this the 21st century path to peace?
Apparently a statue of Christ on the cross made from 200 pounds of chocolate is mightily annoying the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.
According to today's AP story, "This is one of the worst assaults on Christian sensibilities ever,” said Bill Donohue, head of the Catholic League, a watchdog group. “It’s not just the ugliness of the portrayal, but the timing — to choose Holy Week is astounding.”
Dubbed " My Sweet Lord," the piece is the work of Cosimo Cavallaro and is to be put on display this Monday at the Lab Gallery of Manhattan's Roger Smith Hotel. ( You can view the statue well on the artist's website. )
Again, according to AP, " Cavallaro, who was raised in Canada and Italy, is best known for his quirky work with food as art: Past efforts include repainting a Manhattan hotel room in melted mozzarella, spraying 5 tons of pepper jack cheese on a Wyoming home and festooning a four-poster bed with 312 pounds of processed ham."
Since the hotel has been besieged by angry phone calls, it's possible the gallery may not go ahead with plans to display the 6 foot tall, anatomically correct chocolate Christ.
Can't help but wonder what will happen to all that chocolate....
A pork chop is a pork chop, a chicken wing a wing, a burger a burger.....BUT--Fish eaters can no longer feel secure that they know what they are eating. The US is doing DNA tests on fish entering the country because apparently fish fraud is a real issue. This has been covered recently in the Washington Post--but we were in Florida a few days ago, living this dilemma.
We had no doubts that what we were buying at the Star Market in Cortez, Florida was the real thing--Pomano, Snapper, Grouper and so on. Why? Well for one, because it was an actual fish market. And for another, we could see the fish carcases being cut up on a long table behind the sales case, scales flying, the egrets , heron and pelicans awaiting the fish market's detritus under the dock's pilings.
But when we passed through Sarasota, when we inquired what fish was being used for the fish sandwich at a joint perched over the marina, the waitress said Basa, a fish flown in from Asia, frozen. "It's the new, new thing in fish," she said. ( Buyer beware-not all basa is basa....)
We visited friends on their houseboat berthed near Orlando at Sanford, Florida on the St John's River. The local greasy spoon at the end of the pier featured a fish called "snook," a local Florida specialty. Or so we thought. The fish market guys back in Cortez had told us snook in a restaurant was not legal. Only the person who caught it could eat it and it could not be sold commercially. Hmmm. The weary waitress at the spoony place said their snook came in from Lake Victoria in Africa, from their distributor.
We noticed a Sysco sticker on the cash register.
Was snook in actuality Nile Perch?
Was the grouper we had eaten out in Bradenton really grouper, or was it a version of Asian catfish, well disguised under the blackening seasonings we chose? Or maybe farm-raised white fish something from Missouri?
( Grouper ???? from groups.msn.com)
Potatoes developed by the German company BASF to have resistance to blight will be grown in trials in Britain next year.The GMO spuds will not be grown for human or animal consumption but rather for industrial use. ( The potato's starch is used in degradable plastics, cosmetics, medicines and more.)
Those in favor of GMO altered foods point out that modifying the potato in this manner may well be preferable to the heavy spraying of chemical fungicides necessary to combat "late blight." The fungus-like pathogen that wiped out potato harvests in Ireland in the mid 1800's continues to exist today in potato-growing areas around the world.
Many in Britain are opposed to the growing of any GMO food plants for any purpose.
According to today's Reuter's piece, " Britain's largest organic certification body, the Soil Asssociation, said, however, it was dismayed by the decision, adding there would be no market for GMO potatoes in Britain.
"The government is ignoring what consumers want to eat and their health and safety...The chances of anyone in the UK willingly buying GM potato crisps or chips are zero. This trial is a monumental waste of time and money," Soil Association policy director Peter Melchett said."
For an overview of GM, take a look at this report from NewScientist.com.
When an art student in Tennessee unfurled his latest project at the Customs House Museum in Clarksville, the museum's director, Ned Crouch, had a hissy fit and nixed it within 18 hours.
According to a report on CNN, "The exhibit featured three U.S. flags imprinted with phrases such as "Poor people are obese because they eat poorly" and more than 40 smaller flags fried in peanut oil, egg batter, flour and black pepper."
"Art student William Gentry said his piece, "The Fat Is in the Fire," was a commentary on obesity in America. "I deep-fried the flag because I'm concerned about America and about America's health," Gentry said."
So, uh, William, what was in the egg batter?
( Left: An American flag worth eating from http://www.southernconnoisseur.com/desserts.html)
OK, let's see...In today's news, $160 million is being spent in the U.S. on "attack ads," leading up to the November 7 midterm elections. What a marvelous use of what some would consider a good deal of money.
Meanwhile, the NYTimes reports on the growing issue of child labor in Africa and elsewhere, many of them working in agricultural or food-related businesses.
The article is built around a hungry, 6 year-old new conscript , forced to work in a fishing village in Ghana.
"...the children are indentured servants, leased by their parents to Mr. Takyi for as little as $20 a year.
"Until their servitude ends in three or four years, they are as trapped as the fish in their nets, forced to work up to 14 hours a day, seven days a week, in a trade that even adult fishermen here call punishing and, at times, dangerous."
"A 2002 study supervised by the labor organization estimated that nearly 12,000 trafficked children toiled in the cocoa fields of Ivory Coast alone. The children, who had no relatives in the area, cleared fields with machetes, applied pesticides and sliced open cocoa pods for beans."
"The International Labor Organization, a United Nations agency, estimates that 1.2 million ( children) are sold into servitude every year in an illicit trade that generates as much as $10 billion annually. "
Back in the US, an article by two academics from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, posits that an extra one billion gallons of gasoline is used up each year because cars are transporting "fatter Americans."
And KFC, ( Kentucky Fried Chicken,) is phasing out trans fats by the end of April in most of its US outlets. According to this report in The Guardian,
"KFC previously resisted change - in June, the chain said it had been using the same type of oil for 50 years and did not want to tamper with Colonel Sanders's "finger lickin' good" recipe. But it was hit with a lawsuit from the non-profit Centre for Science in the Public Interest, which maintains that trans fats contribute to 50,000 deaths annually in the US. The class action was in the name of Arthur Hoyte, a retired doctor who said he had eaten KFC's chicken without being warned of the health risks.
The Centre yesterday dropped the case and its executive director, Michael Jacobson, praised KFC: "What are McDonald's and Burger King waiting for now? If KFC, which deep-fries almost everything, can get the artificial trans fat out of its frying oil, anyone can. Colonel Sanders deserves a bucket full of praise."
The number of hungry people in the world is increasing by 4 million per year
U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization
(Rome, October 30, 2006) Ten years after the 1996 World Food Summit (WFS) in Rome, which promised to reduce the number of undernourished people by half by 2015, there are more hungry people in the developing countries today – 820 million – than there were in 1996, according to a U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization report released today Noting that promises are no substitute for food, FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf today called on world leaders to honor a 10-year-old pledge to halve the number of hungry in the world by 2015.
From the World Hunger Education Service.
(AP photo of KFC employee devouring newly healthified fried foods.)
Today the NYTimes regales us with the latest in marketing to the soft, squishy, affluent carnivore. It appears that Whole Foods Markets and other vendors are labeling some of their products "animal compassionate," indicating that the pigs or chickens they sell have had comfy lives right up to their premature, well-fattened demises. And there is a growing market for eggs purloined from free range hens, as well.
Reporter Andrew Martin says this in his second sentence, "But in the end, they will still be headed for the dinner plate."
Surely it is better that the animals people eat "enjoy" their lives, however brief they may be. But that pesky question of "humane slaughter" keeps coming up.
The Brits have an organization called the Humane Slaughter Association that says this on its website:
The majority of the population eats meat and, despite changing attitudes, this is likely to continue. Whilst animals go on being farmed for food, the HSA takes a responsible, objective attitude to what most people prefer to ignore: how their meat reaches the table."
Recently some of HSA's members visited Denmark to learn about " the latest carbon dioxide stunning and killing technology." There appears to be no way to learn about what humane slaughter is without buying one of this group's publications: Electrical Stunning of Red Meat Animals or Gas Killing of Chicks in Hatcheries, for example.