Americans, unsurprisingly, are not hitting the major dietary milestones of the recommended diet—and they haven’t been for quite some time. But the ways in which they’re doing that has changed quite a bit in the last few decades.
This morning, the USDA and the Department of Health and Human services finally issued a new set of American dietary guidelines. Just a few hours later, the first lawsuit over those same dietary recommendations was announced.
The USDA’s economic research group put together a look at how an American food budget that actually follows dietary guidelines would break down—and then they put together one using the actual data on how Americans spend their food budget. Unsurprisingly, the two match up not at all.
Honestly that is not nearly as bad as what I expected. Not saying it is not bad, but considering how many people (college kids, graduate students and poor poor young researchers) I know seem to survive sole on frozen meals, I did expect something like junk food taking 50%+.
People may wax rhapsodic about the virtues of the small-scale farm, but that is not the direction farming is heading in: Farms are getting fewer in number and larger in size across the board, and that’s only going to continue—and there’s one reason why.
it’s all about economies of scale and the spread and dilution of risk.
This is pretty basic economics that even I, as a total non-economist, understand. The agricultural sector, even with all the immigrant farm labor, employs a tiny number of people. Automation technology is only going to winnow those few remaining people away.
From what I know of farming in my local area – you don’t have a farm to make money. The majority rely heavily on subsidy. It’s a buyer’s market if you want to sell the farm, either to someone who will continue to farm or to a real estate developer. Having grown up on a hobby farm, it was not cheaper to have chickens than it would have been to buy eggs at the store.
Switching to organic apples because they top the “Dirty Dozen” list of produce with the most pesticides? You may want to reconsider. It turns out the “Dirty” foods are fairly clean, and organic foods aren’t free of pesticides anyway.
The “Dirty Dozen” list, which aims to rank the fruits with the most pesticide residue, comes from the Environmental Working Group, and they publish their methodology on the report’s website. They basically download the test results from the USDA’s Pesticide Data Program, which samples produce for pesticide residues, and come up with a ranking score for each fruit or vegetable based on six criteria relating to the number of different pesticide residues seen on produce of that type, the percentage of samples with pesticide residues, and the total amount of pesticide detected.
The Agriculture Department on Friday approved the first genetically modified apple for sale in the U.S., reigniting debate over the safety of modified foods and whether the products should carry mandatory labels.
If it doesn’t brown, then what indicator do we have for how long it’s been exposed to air? Browning is rather innocuous – I’d have rather seen a GMO approval for something that demonstrated value, rather than a proof of concept.
In what has been called one of the largest fraud investigations in the history of the organic industry, The Cornucopia Institute, a Wisconsin-based farm policy research group, announced filing formal legal complaints against 14 industrial livestock operations producing milk, meat and eggs being marketed, allegedly illegally, as organic.
In the U.S., climate change is likely to increase average daily temperatures and the frequency of heat waves. Dairy cows are particularly sensitive to heat stress and, according to a new USDA study, by 2030, milk production will have lowered to the point that additional economic costs will exceed $100 million per year.