Interesting and important Food News from around the web for seeders, feeders & eaters.
News for SEEDERS
Biting the Hands Who Feed Us: Farmworker Abuse in the U.S. [FoodTank] – Farmworker Justice, a non-profit organization, analyzed 8 years of US Department of Labor enforcement data and produced a report on the “persistent and widespread violations of the limited protections afforded to farmworkers under federal law.” Many farmworkers are living in far from acceptable conditions and are paid salaries well below the poverty line.
Your Food, Your Legislature: Hanging in the Balance [Good Stuff NW] – Kathleen Bauer of Good Stuff NW has done an amazing job of keeping us in the loop of what’s going on in the Oregon Capitol while the legislature is in session. There are a number of agricultural bills in consideration that directly affect Seeders, Feeders and Eaters. From antibiotic use to the liability of agritourism, read her most recent update on which bills have passed and the ones that still need help and attention.
On Technology in Agriculture, Pope Francis’s Concerns are for Corporate Power, Not G.M.O. Risk [NY Times] – Last month’s encyclical from Pope Francis’ focused on humanity and the environment, which inevitably touches on agriculture. This article highlights a passage on industrial-scale agriculture and genetically modified crops.
Bird Flu Sends Egg Prices Up, but Slowing Demand Prevents Shortages [NY Times] – The bird flu (H5N2) is sweeping chicken and turkey farms in the midwest and is now heading east, leading to a loss in about 10% of the nation’s egg-laying chickens. The resulting price hikes have mostly affected the wholesale egg market, with per dozen prices almost doubling, but grocery store prices have also seen an increase.
News for FEEDERS
Trying to conserve water? Here’s how to pre-rinse dishes with air [LA Times] – A brilliant innovation from a California chef taking his own initiative in saving water: using an air-compressor in the dish station of the restaurant to “pre-rinse” the dishes. Chef John Cox of Sierra Mar at the Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur is using 2/3 of the water he was previously since using the air system. He is now working with 2 engineers to create a model for distribution and is about to launch a Kickstarter campaign.
Kitchen fires: The open debate Canadian chefs are finally having about sexism and harassment [Globe and Mail] – Some news from North of the border, which clearly also applies to our own US restaurant kitchens: sexual harassment. A Toronto pastry chef has recently filed a harassment case with Ontario’s Human Rights Tribunal against three of her male superiors and co-chefs. It is sparking some serious conversation and reflection for chefs and restauranteurs nation-wide.
Judge Halts Sysco’s Proposed Merger With US Foods [NY Times] – Could Sysco or US Foods possibly get bigger and have a great monopoly? If they joined forces, they sure could. However a federal judge put the brakes on the merger earlier this week, saying that it would result in higher prices and poorer service for customers like restaurants and schools. Combining the two food service giants would have resulted in a company with over $65 billion in annual revenue.
News for EATERS
The Oregonian’s Restaurant of the Year is stirring up some local controversy [The Oregonian & Willamette Weekly] – Last week The Oregonian announced their annual restaurant guide “Diner 2015” and food writer and critic Michael Russell named Renata “Restaurant of the Year.” However the fact that Renata had only been officially open to the public for the 2 weeks is causing quite the controversy. Willamette Weekly has been having a hey day on social media and through this snarky “First Taste” review of Renata, questioning Michael Russell’s credibility and even his journalistic ethics.
McDonald’s to Shrink in US, 1st Time in Decades [Associated Press] – For the first time in 40 years, McDonald’s is planning to close more restaurants than they will open this year. There are no exact numbers available and their spokesperson says it will be “minimal”, but this is definitely a sign of the times. Executives have admitted that an “overly complicated menu led to inaccurate orders and longer wait times, and that they failed to keep pace with changing tastes.”
“They might be slightly healthier, but they’ll still be junk foods”: Expert comments on trans-fat ban [Stanford Medicine Scope] – The FDA recently announced a ban on trans fats in all food products, which will be phased out in the next three years. This is “expected to reduce coronary heart disease and prevent thousands of fatal heart attacks every year.” However one Stanford doctor points out that the food industry will likely just find a comparable substitute for trans-fats, whose source may have an even greater environmental impact. The Healthgist lists 25 of your “favorite shelf-stable products” that will never taste the same once the ban is in place.