When did chicken, pound for pound, become cheaper than bread? Find out by watching the story of two chickens, one raised on a FACTORY FARM, the other PASTURE RAISED.
By illuminating the vocabulary of sustainable agriculture, and with it, the conversation about America’s rapidly evolving food culture, the Lexicon project will educate, engage and activate people to pay closer attention to how they eat, what they buy, and where their responsibility begins for creating a healthier, safer food system in America. Learn more at https://www.lexiconoffood.com/
Texas Farm Bureau and the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance is hosting the Food Dialogues: Austin Sept. 18. We will have two, 90-minute panels and will accept questions from the live audience and social media.
The first panel, “Animal welfare: Beyond the hype” is set for 10:30 a.m.-noon.
The ways we raise cattle in the Lone Star State are as diverse as Texas itself. Grass-fed, grain-fed, cow-calf, stocker, purebred operations—all play a unique role in providing a safe, nutritious product for niche and mainstream consumer markets. A priority shared by Texas cattlemen is providing proper care to raise livestock efficiently and healthy. How we get there—animal handling methods, antibiotics, beta-agonists, growth-promoting implants—can be controversial. Should consumers be concerned? A panel of cattle experts will discuss the variations on animal husbandry techniques and technologies used in the Texas beef business.
The second panel, “Farming methods. Consumer interpretation.” is set for 1:30-3:00 p.m.
Texas consumers have bountiful opportunities when it comes to the food they eat. But are they making wise choices? How do they distinguish between information and misinformation in the daily bombardment of food messages. Organic, conventional, local and natural–consumers read these labels, but do they understand their meaning? Their decisions shape food supplies, and in turn, farming practices. A panel of experts—representing all aspects of food production in Texas—will address health and safety concerns related to the foods we eat and the technology used to grow them.
We would love to have you, and some friends, attend.
For more information about the panelists and event logistics or to RSVP, visit http://www.fooddialogues.com/events/fd-austin.
If you have any questions, I’d be more than happy to answer them. A formal invitation will be emailed soon. If you are interested in attending, please let me know and we will have an invitation emailed to you.
Texas Farm Bureau Assistant Editor
Yesterday the World Health Organization issued a landmark 256 page assessment of the antibiotic resistant bacteria that now roam the globe. The upshot, according to Dr Keiji Fukuda, WHO’s Assistant Director-General for Health Security:
Without urgent, coordinated action by many stakeholders, the world is headed for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries which have been treatable for decades can once again kill
As the report notes, “…these drugs have been extensively misused in both humans and food-producing animals in ways that favor the selection and spread of resistant bacteria.”
We don’t know for sure, but this sort of antibiotic misuse may be an underlying cause of the antibiotic resistance we’re seeing in the Salmonella outbreak linked to Foster Farms — an outbreak that is still afflicting chicken eaters here in the US. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly two-thirds of the Salmonella sampled from afflicted patients tested resistant to one or more antibiotics. CDC’s update on April 9 indicates that the outbreak is still going more than a year after its official start date in March 2013.
Here’s a recent infographic summarizing the situation (yes, NRDC officially gives you permission to share, link or re-post as you like. Click on it for a larger version). Get more facts about the Foster Farms outbreak here.
This is creating superbugs on the farm and humans are exposed in a number of ways, including when we handle or eat undercooked meat. Our life-saving drugs are becoming less effective when we really need them. Unfortunately, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has refused to take meaningful action to restrict the use of unnecessary antibiotics in livestock production.
The “natural” label has nothing to do with how an animal was raised. The USDA requires only that no coloring or artificial ingredients are added to the final meat or poultry product and that it be “minimally processed” (although salt water can be added).
“Natural” meat or poultry products can definitely be given antibiotics in their feed or water while being raised—and can also be raised in confined spaces with thousands of other animals, given hormones and other drugs, fed animal by-products and subjected to many other unnatural practices.
Consumers should beware of several labels that are unapproved by the USDA, such as “antibiotic-free” and “no antibiotic residues”, that could mislead them to think a product was raised without any antibiotics, when in fact that may not be the case. –Consumer’s Union
If you choose to eat meat, please be a conscientious consumer. The best sources of clean, healthy animal products are generally those that are organic, grass-fed, often sold at farmers’ markets or CSA-style meat-shares (visit Eatwild, LocalHarvest or Real Time Farms to find resources in your area).