March 16, 2012
Like the troubled individuals they often serve, the Good Samaritans doling out free sandwiches to the homeless along Philadelphia's signature boulevard may need a little tough love. That describes Mayor Nutter's smart decision to ban food handouts in city parks, which includes the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. After several years of trying to persuade community and church-based volunteer groups to move indoors willingly with their feedings of hundreds of people, Nutter needed to kick it up a notch.
March 7, 2012 |
On Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry will convene its third hearing in the nation's capital on the federal 2012 Farm Bill. Should you care? Born in 1916, the Farm Bill comes up for reauthorization about every five years. The current version expires in September. It's a real behemoth, with tentacles that affect industrial and small-scale farming, land and energy use, agricultural research, and food safety. But overall, the Farm Bill has more to do with food than with farming.
February 20, 2012 |
Ninety percent of the corn, canola, soybeans, and sugar beets grown in the United States today have been fiddled with. Genes have been inserted that will help the crops grow better, resist the onslaughts of insects, or not be harmed by slatherings of herbicide intended to kill weeds. These genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, are the way farming can provide for the future of the planet, the industry tells us. Since GMOs are now in much of the food we eat, some people want to see that information on a label.
February 18, 2012
Proposed Health Department regulations on outdoor food handouts in Philadelphia should be the catalyst for more community and church-based volunteer groups to move indoors with their laudable efforts to aid the homeless. The new rules would require permits and kitchen inspections for any group feeding more than a few people in an outdoor setting, such as at the weekly feedings along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Center City. The city's top health official, Deputy Mayor Donald F. Schwarz, insists that his main objective is food safety - and not coming up with just another fee to fatten the city's treasury.
September 15, 2011 |
WASHINGTON - Visitors patrolling the aisles of the National Archives' best-attended show in years last week may have felt curiously at home, though the images on display - warnings about toxic candy, putrid tins of Chicago-packed meats, and ketchup bottles blowing their tops - were hardly soothing. This was the Archives' first "scented exhibit," said staffer Miriam Kleiman; subliminal notes of fresh-baked apple pie perfumed the air. The project is called "What's Cooking, Uncle Sam?"
June 19, 2011 |
WASHINGTON - Here is how Philadelphia-area members of Congress voted on major issues last week: House 2012 farm, food budget. Voting 217-203, the House passed a bill (HR 2112) to appropriate $17.3 billion in discretionary spending for the Department of Agriculture and related agencies in fiscal 2012. The bill would cut spending by nearly 14 percent below 2011 levels to meet targets in the Republicans' 2012 budget plan. The bill would provide $2.2 billion for the Food and Drug Administration, down $284 million from 2011 levels, and $171 million for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, down $32 million.
May 22, 2011 |
BEIJING - Toxic bean sprouts, filthy cooking oil, drug-tainted pork: The relentless headlines in Chinese media have churned up queasy feelings for months about the dangers lurking in the nation's dinner bowls. The stories are grim reading but they show that China's usually strict censors are allowing the media more latitude to help it monitor a food industry long riddled with problems. The central government has been cautiously encouraging a sudden burst in food safety muckraking.
May 1, 2011 |
Spring for Caleb and Patricia Torrice heralds an annual rush of harried baking and packing as they ready nut rolls, apple cakes, and sticky buns for sale at farmers' markets. This year, though, the Chalfont couple - owners of Tabora Farm & Orchard - are preparing for the weekly market circuit with a few more items on their checklists. You might say they're bringing everything and the kitchen sink. A Pennsylvania law that went into effect in January places new restrictions on farmers' market vendors, mandating licenses and inspections, detailed package labeling, and cleaning equipment including, in some cases, portable sinks.
February 24, 2011 |
The practice of eating well locally can pay off for the economy as well as for individuals. That's why the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission sought ways to secure the food system within a 100-mile radius of Philadelphia. The commission put together a team of stakeholders two years ago, bringing together farmers, antihunger advocates, preservationists, and small business owners to articulate the project's core values. And this month, the commission announced grants totaling $480,000 (funded from the William Penn Foundation)
January 9, 2011 |
The incredible, edible egg - or at least those coming from two rodent-infested Iowa egg farms - caused 1,937 traceable illnesses from Salmonella enteritidis last year, which means the contaminated eggs probably sickened nearly 60,000 people nationwide. Thankfully, there's no evidence anyone died from the outbreak - unlike other recent outbreaks linked to peanuts and packaged celery, blamed in at least 14 deaths. But there was also no evidence that one of the farms, Wright County Egg, had ever been inspected by the Food and Drug Administration.