- Cargill, one of the largest meatpackers in the country, issued a recall for 36 million pounds of ground turkey after the CDC determined their meat to be the source of a recent salmonella outbreak. Cases of the strain of salmonella found in the turkey have been drawing attention since March. 76 people have been seriously sick across 20 states, and one person died in California. The affected turkey was packaged under several different brands, but were all processed by Cargill.
- Oxfam has released an interactive global map to visualize food price volatility across the world. When you click on a highlighted area, the map details the political, social, or environmental turmoil that resulted in food insecurity in that country. You can also look at statistics for many countries' percentage of undernourished people, and the countries' dependency on imported food. The map is an excellent synthesis of agricultural and political factors that impact food prices and quality of life.
- About 30,000 college students have been pushed out of Michigan's food stamp program. The state was one of few in the country to allow college students to receive SNAP benefits, and removing the students from the program saves the cash-strapped state about $75 million. State officials are encouraging students to work rather than depend on the government. Low-income students refute that high tuition costs and low employment rates in the state make it difficult to eke out a living, and that SNAP is the only way for them to feed themselves and even their families.
- The USDA reports that more than 1,000 new farmers' markets have opened in the last year. In 2010, there were 6,132 markets; this year, 7,175 markets are listed in the National Farmers Market Directory. These numbers were reported just in time for National Farmers Market Week, which lasts until August 13th. Alaska has had the largest percentage of growth in the last year, with 35 new markets (a 46% increase). California unsurprisingly leads the nation in number of markets, with a whopping 729 across the state. There has also been a national increase in the number of markets that accept SNAP and WIC benefits.
- A study by the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity concluded that food manufacturers are finding new ways to advertise junk foods to children. In light of recent attacks on direct marketing to youth aged 2 to 17, companies are now switching to product placement as a "sneaky" way to access this captive audience. According to the study, children ages 2 to 11 are exposed to 281 product placements during prime time, and adolescents ages 12 to 17 are exposed to 444 product placements. The industry refutes that a very small percentage of prime time audience is young children, thereby minimizing the impact of product placement on that demographic.
About the Author: A student in Providence, Rhode Island, Leah Douglas loves learning about, talking about, reading about, and consuming food. Her work is also featured in Rhode Island Monthly magazine.