EJToday: Top Headlines
EJToday is SEJ's selection of new and outstanding stories on environmental topics in print and on the air, updated every weekday. SEJ also offers a free e-mailed digest of the day's EJToday postings, called SEJ-beat. SEJ members are subscribed automatically, but may opt out here. Non-members may subscribe here. EJToday is also available via RSS feed. Please see Editorial Guidelines for EJToday content.
"German brewers have warned Chancellor Angela Merkel's government that any law allowing the controversial drilling technique known as fracking could damage the country's cherished beer industry."
"Updated federal advice on mercury levels in fish appears to have stalled within the U.S. department of health, frustrating scientists and advocacy groups who argue that exposure to mercury may be dangerous at lower levels than previously thought."
"RALEIGH — Fish in one of North Carolina’s largest watersheds are more polluted by an industrial contaminant than previously reported, and state health officials have failed to expand warnings against eating PCB-contaminated fish, according to a new study."
"Researchers at Johns Hopkins University said they found levels of arsenic in chicken that exceeded amounts that occur naturally, and warned that they could lead to a small increase in the risk of cancer for consumers over a lifetime."
"NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — Inside a warehouse near the Canadian border, boneless hams bound for Philadelphia are coming off a tractor-trailer from Toronto under the gaze of a federal food inspector. Each week, about 20 of the 150 food trucks from Canada are rejected because of paperwork problems or contaminated meat."
Until recently the American food revolution seemed to have bypassed the Rustbelt region which rims the Great Lakes from Buffalo to Detroit. But an "interdependent web of chefs, butchers, farmers, millers, bakers and brewers" there are "cooking sustainably, supporting agriculture and raising families — all while making world-class food with a strong sense of place."
The Agriculture Department is poised to approve an increase in line speeds at poultry processing plants. That is likely to mean increased use of toxic, bacteria-killing chemicals which have harmed some workers.
"New efforts to force labeling of foods made with genetically modified crops, including a bill introduced by U.S. lawmakers Wednesday, have struck a nerve with biotech crop developers who say they are rushing to roll out a broad strategy to combat consumer concerns about their products."
"More than half of samples of ground turkey, pork chops and ground beef collected from supermarkets for testing by the federal government contained a bacteria resistant to antibiotics, according to a new report highlighting the findings."
"Another black eye for the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)—which is failing its own strict standards for awarding its coveted 'sustainable' label. This according to a group of researchers, whose analysis published in Biological Conservation found that 'the MSC’s principles for sustainable fishing are too lenient and discretionary, and allow for overly generous interpretation by third-party certifiers and adjudicators, which means that the MSC label may be misleading both consumers and conservation funders.'"
"The politics of genetically modified food has created a rift in a policy-setting committee of the influential Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that demonstrates the difficulty in finding anyone — anywhere — who doesn’t already have an opinion on the issue."
"Both fruits are vulnerable to a nasty disease called fire blight that can devastate orchards. So organic labeling standards allow for antibiotics to be used on apple and pear trees. That exemption is set to end in 2014 -- but growers say they need a little more time."
"Analysis of commercially available rice imported into the US has revealed it contains levels of lead far higher than regulations suggest are safe."
"British chef and food activist Jamie Oliver ignited a firestorm in January 2011 when he mentioned on the Late Show with David Letterman that castoreum, a substance used to augment some strawberry and vanilla flavorings, comes from what he described as 'rendered beaver anal gland.' The next year, vegans were outraged to learn that Starbucks used cochineal extract, a color additive derived from insect shells, to dye their strawberry Frappuccino® drinks (eventually, the company decided to transition to lycopene, a pigment found in tomatoes)."
"Listeria in cantaloupes. Salmonella in peanuts. E. coli in spinach. Hepatitis A in green onions. In the past decade a rash of tainted food has resulted in thousands of hospitalizations and hundreds of deaths. It has also prompted the most sweeping reform of U.S. food safety laws in more than 70 years."