Beef Products Inc. filed suit for defamation over stories about its 'finely textured beef' product, known to headline writers as 'pink slime.' Legal experts say the company will have a hard time winning the case, which harkens back to the famous hamburger libel case of the late 1990s, in which Oprah Winfrey won the right to dislike beef in public.
- SEJ Publication Types:Visibility:
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals had planned to display a video showing animals being slaughtered and instances of abuse. The fair board said that PETA could only show the video within its booth and out of public view, so that people would have to make a deliberate decision to see it.Region:
A new report by Sabrina Tavernise in the New York Times points out that basic data about the routine use of antibiotics in farm animals (which consume some 80 percent of the nation's antibiotics) is largely missing and that a ferocious germ resistant to many types of antibiotics had increased tenfold on chicken breasts.
The Food and Drug Administration is so far refusing to name a Southwestern Indiana farm that voluntarily recalled its cantaloupes after a Salmonella outbreak last month that killed two people and sickened some 150.Region:
EPA says it could instead compile a database partly from information collected by some states. But that information is often spotty and inconsistent — which will make it hard for EPA to compile it and even harder to make useful conclusions from it. And the withdrawal may make it harder to get the information disclosed.Region:
Under FOIA, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility requested FDA documents justifying its use of categorical exclusions to avoid assessing the environmental impact of not regulating livestock antibiotics. After FDA failed to provide any, PEER filed a lawsuit in federal district court.
One starting point to covering agriculture — and the health implications of land and water use — is to follow the money using Environmental Working Group's major database tool. Any reporter covering the ag-environment link should know about it.Topics on the Beat:
That left journalists and the taxpayers — for now — at least partly in the dark about where tax dollars subsidizing agriculture are really going. But disclosure advocates think they may get another opportunity when the House takes up its own version of the Farm Bill.
Here are some recent reports by the Congressional Research Service related to the environment/energy beat. Congress does not release them to the public. We again thank the Federation of American Scientists' Government Secrecy Project for doing so.Topics on the Beat:
Reporter Michael Booth's story resurrected the old issue of whether the public has a right to know the identity and source of foods in commerce that government agencies actually know may be causing fatal illness. The FDA refused to comment on the story.