In Food Policy This Week: 5 News Bites
- The Aquaculture Stewardship Council, a nonprofit seafood monitoring group based in the Netherlands, has released a comprehensive set of standards for a "farmed responsibly" certification for salmon. The "A.S.C. Certified" standards address salmon feed and antibiotics, cage conditions, and dozens of other factors. Creating an international third-party certification could encourage salmon producers to adopt better farming practices. The standards were a collaborative effort between environmental groups and the salmon industry.
- The House of Representatives released its version of the 2012 Farm Bill, called the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act. The House reports that this version of the Bill saves $35 billion for taxpayers. Among provisions of the Bill are combining some conservation programs; eliminating direct payments; a significant cut to the SNAP program; and streamlining commodity payment programs.
- The Chinese women's Olympic volleyball team made headlines this week by suffering unexpected losses during a preliminary tournament. The team's coach attributes their failure to the fact that the team has had to eliminate meat from their diets during the remainder of their training. Many animals in China are fed with an additive called clenbuterol, which the Olympics committee considers to be a performance-enhancing drug. The issue raises concerns about the safety of Chinese meat, as well as the importance of meat in the diet of an Olympic athlete.
- It has been a very hot and dry summer across much of the country, and the Midwest agricultural region is feeling the impact. Corn and soybean plants are suffering without enough water, and what was expected to be the biggest harvest in years is now teetering on collapse. The coming weeks are crucial in corn development, as plants begin to set kernels and develop silks. American farmers planted over 96 million acres of corn this year, a 5% increase over last year.
- Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-NY) released a report this week on antibiotic prevalence in meat served in restaurant chains around the country. Some chains, such as Whole Foods, Chipotle, and Panera Bread, report that their meat is treated with only necessary antibiotics. But according to the report, the majority of retailers serve animals that were consistently given a low dose of unnecessary antibiotics. The full report can be found here.
About the Author: A student in Providence, Rhode Island, Leah Douglas loves learning about, talking about, reading about, and consuming food. Her work has also been featured in Rhode Island Monthly Magazine.