Removing Antibiotics from Meat Production: The Market is Leading the Way

A week ago, I spent two days outside Washington, D.C. at the sprawling campus of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The occasion was the first public meeting in three years of a government effort known as NARMS, the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System, a multi-agency project that keeps track of antibiotic resistance in livestock, retail meat and people.  (more…)

Could Robot Bees Help Save Our Crops?

RoboBees are swarming, responding to a problem so alarming that President Barak Obama created an action plan for no less than the Departments of Defense, Transportation, and Interior. If RoboBees sound like they are more likely to be “vs. Godzilla” than a great friend to the good food movement, read on.

Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), the phenomenon of a dramatic worldwide reduction in honeybees, threatens crops that depend on pollination by bees going about their business collecting nectar to make honey. That’s about a third of the food we farm. No bees, no pollination, no food. (more…)

How iPads Change Your Palate

And you thought the iPad was just a tool to cook and eat the things you’ve always liked.

Now studies show the power of the tablet to change palates by expanding what people are willing to try. When eaters use technology with food, we are simply more likely to eat new things. (more…)

Eat Like a Pirate

Don’t let your babies grow up to be pirates.

Historically, pirate life—forget gorgeous swashbuckling Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean—has been brutal, nasty, and short.  Even in the so-called Golden Age of Pirates—a brief slice of time in the late 1600s and early 1700s when such piratical superstars as Blackbeard and Captain Kidd roamed the seas—most pirates lived in cramped miserable quarters and suffered from debilitating disease. The majority of them probably didn’t survive to see thirty and a good number of them ended their careers abruptly on the gallows. It’s a disappointingly unromantic, un-Jack-Sparrow-like picture. And on top of all that, pirates ate terrible food.

Is Better Food the Prescription for a Healthier America?

This above question is the subtitle of the James Beard Foundation’s (JBF) upcoming annual food conference October 27 and 28, and although military generals, studies, and common sense answer yes, the inquiry merits further discussion.

The JBF is the country’s preeminent food organization, at the center of the US culinary community. Although I expected to be surrounded by only my fellow gastronomic devotees at last year’s conference on The Paradox of Appetite, representatives from decidedly non-healthful food corporations had a presence, in the form of their public relations professionals. I appreciated their attendance. (more…)

Food Czars and Food Policy Councils

Food people can be a funny bunch—eating, the most democratic of subjects, is sometimes treated with aristocratic separatism.

An architect friend made the food separatism point when grilling me this weekend about Food Policy Councils (FPC), the mainly 21st-century creation of government advisory panels that centralize coordination of food laws. (more…)

What’s the Matter with Blue Chicken?

In 1975 the late George Carlin appeared on Saturday Night Live with his famous rant about blue food.

Why is there no blue food? I can’t find blue food—I can’t find the flavor of blue! I mean, green is lime; yellow is lemon; orange is orange; red is cherry; what’s blue? There’s no blue! Oh, they say “Blueberries.” Uh-uh; blue on the vine, purple on the plate. There’s no blue food! Where is the blue food? We want the blue food! Probably bestows immortality! They’re keeping it from us! (more…)

What is a Food Lawyer?

Once upon a time, people went to law school because they had many interests and law was a true liberal arts profession that allowed the expression of those many interests.

The law touches everything so lawyering was an opportunity to be involved in a variety of subjects, to enjoy a curiosity-satiating career while making the world a better place. I believe it’s why so many students continue to flock to law schools despite erosion of the longstanding six-figure-job-first-year-out-of-school mill. (more…)

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