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.
"Sarah Kavanagh isn't your ordinary 15-year-old. Sure, the Hattiesburg High School sophomore rides the bus to school and participates in all the typical activities -- everything from Spirit Girls to forensics club. But this Mississippi teen also is behind an online petition to remove a potentially toxic chemical from sodas and sports drinks that are popular with her friends and family."
As one city in Japan's radiation-stricken Fukushima prefecture starts serving local rice in school lunches, the long debate over the safety of Fukushima rice seems to be as much a matter of marketing as of science.
"PARIS -- The French parliament voted Thursday to ban the use of bisphenol A, a chemical thought to have a toxic effect on the brain and nervous system, in baby food packaging next year and all food containers in 2015."
Brominated vegetable oil, an ingredient in many commercial drinks, may have harmful health effects. But a loophole in the law allows its health effects to go unevaluated, grandfathering it and many other ingredients in as "generally recognized as safe."
"Fish is frequently misidentified on menus and grocery store counters in New York City, even at expensive restaurants and specialty shops, DNA testing for a new study found. National supermarket chains had the best record for accuracy in seafood labeling, the researchers reported."
"The Kansas City Star, in a yearlong investigation, found that the beef industry is increasingly relying on a mechanical process to tenderize meat, exposing Americans to higher risk of E. coli poisoning. The industry then resists labeling such products, leaving consumers in the dark. The result: Beef in America is plentiful and affordable, spun out in enormous quantities at high speeds, but it's a bonanza with hidden dangers. Industry officials contend beef is safer than it's ever been."
Did the White House Office of Management and Budget put public health at risk to make President Obama's reelection a safer bet? Working in deep secrecy for the past year, OMB blew off legal deadlines to hold up new Congressionally passed food safety rules that even the food industry supported. Now the Food and Drug Administratiion is seeking to dismiss a lawsuit by consumer advocates over the delay.
"The Food and Drug Administration halted operations of the country's largest organic peanut butter processor Monday, cracking down on salmonella poisoning for the first time with new enforcement authority the agency gained in a 2011 food safety law."
"After months of uncertainty over the future of the program, the Agricultural Marketing Service's Microbiological Data Program, which tests produce for disease-causing pathogens like E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella, and Listeria, has officially gone into shutdown mode, a U.S. Department of Agriculture official confirmed Tuesday."
"An election that saw great strides for women, gay men and lesbians and even pot smokers left the nascent food movement scratching its collective head. We’re going to see marijuana legalized before we see a simple change in food labeling that’s favored by more than 90 percent of Americans? Or a tax on soda, a likely contributor to the obesity problem?"
"A measure that would require most foods made with genetically engineered ingredients to be labeled in California was significantly behind early Wednesday."
"Despite sweeping reform of food safety laws intended to make what we eat less dangerous, the number of Americans falling ill or dying from contaminated food has increased 44% since last year, according to a report released Wednesday."