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Antibiotics in Meat – How Does Your Favorite Restaurant Score?

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Touch the Soil News #496 (feature photo courtesy of Center for Food Safety) Social protest in the food chain is not only growing, but it is becoming organized. Recently, a number of high-profile non-profits joined forces to produce a report card that grades major restaurant chains on efforts to move to antibiotic free meat in their restaurant chains. The cooperating organizations include the Natural Resources Defense Council, Consumers Union, Friends of the Earth, Center for Food Safety, Food Animal Concerns Trust and Keep Antibiotics Working. You can download the full report here: http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/reports/4471/chain-reaction-2016-how-top-restaurants-rate-on-reducing-use-of-antibiotics-in-their-meat-supply In a nutshell, here are the grades for America’s 25 largest fast food and fast casual restaurant…

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Woody Chicken Breasts?

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Touch the Soil News #475 We’ve all heard the horror stories of chickens fed antibiotics as a way to accelerate weight gain. Then there are the stories of how breeding has created chickens so fat that they have problems just walking. Bloomberg News reported recently that U.S. chickens raised for meat today weigh 6.24 pounds – almost doubling since 1955 and more than tripling since 1925. Large broiler producers are finding that there is a correlation between fat chickens and what is called “woody breast.” Woody breast is a condition that describes the hard texture that is now frequently being found in factory raised (fat chickens) chicken breasts. Modern broiler…

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News Round-up

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Touch the Soil News #271   Are You A Climatarian Eater? New terms are emerging that identify what kind of eater you are. A climatarian is one who eats with climate change in mind. This generally includes eating locally, choosing pork and poultry over beef and lamb to limit gas emission and using every part of ingredients (apple cores, cheese rinds) to limit food waste.   The Expansion of Food Banking We recently reported on the trend to locate food pantries on college campuses as polls reveal over 35 percent of freshman are food-insecure. On a new front, the Iowa Food Bank has started a new program to quash hunger…

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The Battle to Control What We Think About Food

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Touch the Soil News #219 We’ve all heard the expression putting a “Spin” on information or truth. The “spin” essentially means that by turning and twisting information, you can drop the truth and add false ingredients. We were particularly interested in a report that just came out called “Spinning Food.” The upshot of the report is that Industrial food companies create “Front Groups” that look like legitimate enterprises, but are used to put a “Spin” on the story of food. The authors of the report include Kari Hamerschlag, Anna Lappe and Stacy Malkan with support from Friends of the Earth. Cover of the special Spinning Food report (courtesy of Friends…

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News Roundup

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Touch the Soil News #214 Beer Breweries Illustrate Public Demand for Diversity The demand for a more diverse supply of agricultural products is not just in food, but drink as well. The Brewers Association recently announced that the U.S. now has over 4,000 breweries. That last time this was so was in 1873. California Leads in Curtailing Antibiotics in Farm Animals According to Reuters, California Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill that sets the strictest government standards in the United States for the use of antibiotics in livestock production. The bill, which goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2018, will restrict the regular use of antibiotics for disease prevention…

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Was the Farmer Right in the First Place – Battle of the Animal Drugs

photo courtesy of FDA

Touch the Soil News #207 A number of years ago, as an agricultural credit officer for one of the nation’s largest agricultural banks; I opened my mouth and got told off by a dairy farmer. As part of my duties, I spent time visiting farming enterprises that had “promise” in becoming a customer of the bank. This time I was visiting with a dairy farmer who banked with another bank. He was successful and had a 2,500-cow dairy close to a large population center. At the time, I had a burning question about why the heavy use of antibiotics in dairy and meat animals. For a little background, many dairies…

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Rising Consumer Consciousness – We Can Make Changes

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Touch the Soil News #196 At the recent “Women in Agribusiness Summit” in Minneapolis (9/28/2015) a number of women provided insights as to the direction of food and farming. Dr. Elizabeth Sloan (of Sloan Trends, Inc.) said we are in a new age of agriculture (source WattAgNet) . From her presentation, several key points stood out: The marketplace is moving to “fresh” when it comes to food. Chemicals are the No. 1 safety issue for consumers who are also avoiding artificial ingredients and preservatives. Some 29 percent of adults now buy organic foods in order to avoid genetically modified foods. Forty seven percent of supermarket shoppers say they support companies…

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