January 10, 2013
The Food and Drug Administration has proposed the most sweeping changes in food-safety rules in decades. The changes being made under the Food Safety Modernization Act, which became law in 2011, are long overdue and should be implemented as soon as possible. If adopted, the new rules would require farmers to take common-sense precautions against food contamination by making sure workers wash their hands, irrigation water is clean, and animals are kept out of fruit and vegetable fields.
November 29, 2012 |
PORTALES, N.M. - Farmers in a revered peanut-growing region along the New Mexico-Texas border should be celebrating one of the best harvests in recent memory. Instead, millions of pounds of their prized sweet Valencia peanuts sit in barns at a peanut butter plant shuttered for two months amid a salmonella outbreak that sickened 41 people in 20 states. Farmers are worried about getting paid for their peanuts, nearly one-third of the plant's 150 workers have been laid off, and residents wonder what toll an increasingly contentious showdown between the nation's largest organic peanut butter plant and federal regulators could ultimately have on the region's economy.
August 30, 2012 |
Just because some businesses are labeled "small" doesn't mean they aren't trying to solve some big problems. Consider Radnor-based Novira Therapeutics Inc. , which is developing antiviral drugs to treat chronic hepatitis B and HIV infections. Both are serious conditions. There were about 34.2 million people worldwide living with HIV infection in 2011, including about 1.2 million in the United States. Hepatitis B infection, which is rare in the United States thanks to infant vaccinations, attacks the liver and is a major health problem in Asia, particularly China.
June 26, 2012 |
The economic turmoil in much of the industrialized world has affected the drug industry, but regulatory leaders from the United States, Canada, and Europe said Monday that safety and science must not be compromised for the sake of jobs that might be created if rules were relaxed. "We all live in a world where there are important politics that pound at the door," said Margaret Hamburg, commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. "Science must be the critical tool that guides us in our decision making.
April 19, 2012 |
Food is a science, as well as an art, thus the topic gets attention during this year's Philadelphia Science Festival, starting Friday through April 29. Among the highlights is a rare public appearance by legendary local chef Shola Olunloyo, wh*o will do a chemistry lab-meets-kitchen demo/discussion, "Extraction: Food and Flavor," 7 p.m. Tuesday at World Cafe Live in West Philly ($25). "All Things Fermented: The Science of Beer and Cheese" is the topic for a tasting and discussion, 3:30 p.m. April 28 at Triumph Brewing in Old City ($50, 21-plus)
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?"