Chow Food News
posted by May 10 at 17:17 PMon
1) This frightens me.
As my friends and coworkers know, I’m a little freaked about avian flu. “Obsessed” wouldn’t be too strong a word for it. At the moment, bird flu isn’t directly transmissible from person to person—most of the confirmed cases are in people who came into close contact with infected poultry. (If and when bird flu becomes easy to transmit between humans, it will likely become pandemic, because it would be an entirely new virus to which people have no immunity.) However, one way you can get avian flu is by eating improperly cooked poultry or undercooked eggs from infected birds, or by improperly handling dead birds that have been infected.
Which brings us to today’s news: The US Department of Agriculture wants to allow poultry imports from China. This is incredibly alarming on several fronts. First, there’s the avian flu issue outlined above. But then there’s also the more immediate problem of Chinese poultry farming practices: flooding produce with unapproved pesticides, pumping birds full of antibiotics that are banned in other countries, using human feces as fertilizer, and suspending chicken cages over fish ponds, using the chickens’ excrement as food for the fish.
The scariest part: Livestock does not have to be labeled by its country of origin. That means that unless you know where your chicken is coming from, it might be drugged, poisoned with pesticides, diseased, or worse.*
*Not that chicken farming practices in the US are much better, obviously. Organic chickens and chickens from small, known producers are the safest choice.
2) Chefs from across the nation are lobbying Congress to save wild Pacific Northwest salmon, which are threatened by dams along Northwest rivers. About 200 chefs from 33 states are asking Congress to pass laws to restore river habitats and tear down massive hydroelectric dams on the Lower Klamath and Snake Rivers that have blocked natural salmon migration and diverted as much as 95 percent of the summer flow of rivers. The proposal is controversial because the Pacific Northwest gets most of its electricity from hydroelectric plants on the dams.