In Food Policy This Week: 5 News Bites
- Just weeks after issuing one of the largest meat recalls in history, the same Cargill turkey processing plant is recalling another 200,000 pounds of its ground turkey meat due to Salmonella contamination. After the August recall, the plant was shut down, thoroughly sanitized, and Cargill began the "most aggressive Salmonella monitoring and testing program in the poultry industry." The recurrence of the bacterial presence suggests that underlying problems, beyond sanitation of the processing facilities, may be the source of contamination.
- Sugar refiners and high-fructose corn syrup manufacturers are facing off in a legal battle that went to federal court this week. The lawsuit takes aim at HFCS's recent rebranding to "corn sugar," and the accompanying message that the human body processes sugar and HFCS in the same way. Corn syrup manufacturers launched the rebranding when faced with diminishing popular support of the widely-used product. Sugar growers contend that there are many differences between the two sweeteners. Experts are split on the nutritional composition and health impacts of the two.
- First Lady Michelle Obama took her Let's Move! campaign to chain restaurants this week, when she announced that the Darden's restaurant group would provide healthier options on children's menus. The group runs Olive Garden, Red Lobster, The Capital Grille, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, and Seasons 52 restaurants. The changes include making 1% milk the default beverage for children's menu items, adding a default vegetable or fruit side dish, and displaying healthier menu items more prominently.
- Recent reports from California indicate that laws meant to protect farmworkers from heat stroke and dehydration are not being implemented on many of the state's 35,000 farms. The current legislation requires that farms provide a quart of water per worker each hour, and a certain amount of shady area where workers can rest and escape the sun. The California Occupational Safety and Health Association attempts to check up on workplace standards for the workers, but cannot adequately supervise every farm. For some time California has been hailed as the most progressive and friendly state for immigrant agricultural laborers.
- Walmart recently donated $1 million to Milwaukee-based sustainable farming organization Growing Power. The donation was controversial in some food spheres, with critics questioning why the farming group would take money from a company with less-than-stellar sustainability records. The group's director Will Allen defended the partnership by citing Walmart's increasing efforts to serve food deserts and the need to diversify funding options available to the Good Food Revolution.
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.