Food Safety

The Beef Against Taco Bell

cow_anatomyTaco Bell is facing a class-action lawsuit that charges the fast food chain wrongly advertises that its products contain "beef." The suit claims Taco Bell uses too little beef and too many fillers, binders and extenders in the meat mixture they use in their tacos and burritos, and that the mixture fails to meet the requirements set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to be called "beef." Taco Bell denied the accusation and in response is running full-page print ads in big newspapers like USAToday, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and online in which the chain's president says "Plain ground beef tastes boring."

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Taxpayers Fund Pro-Pesticide PR Campaign

Mixing Lasso, a Monsanto herbicideA California group that represents large produce growers, marketers and the suppliers who sell them pesticides and fertilizer, is getting $180,000 in federal funds for a PR campaign to combat critics of the pesticide industry.

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San Francisco's Free "Organic Biosolids Compost" is Toxic Sludge, and Not Good For You!

Independent testing commissioned by the Food Rights Network found toxic contaminants in San Francisco's sewage sludge "compost." In the sludge product given away free to gardeners from 2007 to March 4, 2010, are contaminants with endocrine-disruptive properties including PBDE flame retardants, nonylphenol detergent breakdown products, and the antibacterial agent triclosan. The independent tests were conducted for the Food Rights Network by Dr. Robert C. Hale of the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences.

Watch a CBS 5 KPIX August 10, 2010 report providing a startling story of how San Francisco is violating its own precautionary principle law by dumping toxic sludge on city gardens.

Gavin Newsom Hopes to Leave His Sludge in San Francisco

Last month, I wrote Chez Sludge, the first inside report on the sewage sludge scandal unfolding in San Francisco, based on internal documents obtained by the Food Rights Network and now online in the Toxic Sludge wiki on SourceWatch.

San Francisco, under its "green mayor" Gavin Newsom, has since 2007 perpetrated a greenwashing scam upon city gardeners. The city, known for its environmentally sound practices and commitment to a precautionary principle approach to dealing with environmental hazards, has deceptively and fraudulently been giving away free "organic Biosolids compost," that is actually nothing but toxic sewage sludge from San Francisco and eight other counties, "composted" by the giant waste handler Synagro.

Gulf Seafood Chemically Tested for Oil, But Not Dispersant

Gulf coast seafoodReporter Miriam Wang of the ProPublica blog points out that although seafood from the Gulf has been tested for oil content, testers at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) neglected to test whether the chemical dispersant applied to the oil in the Gulf could be found in the seafood.

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Can You Be on the Pork Industry's Payroll and Stay Unbiased?

pigApparently not. Shauna Ahern of the famous Gluten-Free Girl blog is paid to write a blog for the National Pork Board. She just wrote a piece about a factory hog farm she visited and how wonderful it was. Here's an excerpt:

The entire place felt warm. Even though there were something like 2,500 pigs there, taken from birth to the market (farrow to finish, in pork production terms), the whole place felt calm and well-kept. It felt like a home.

I've been to a factory hog farm, too, and it was also a "family farm." But that didn't change the fact that there were 4,000 pigs crammed into one building eating unhealthy diets and unable to engage in natural hog behaviors, like rooting. If it felt like a home, it was a home sitting on top of half a year's worth of hog manure.

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