The Friday Five: Worth the Read

My Generation

Azodicarbonamide? Pacelle? Dr. Oz? Cartoon? Five links (maybe six!) that will catch you up on what's been happening this week in food and agriculture.

Published on: February 14, 2014

It's been one of those weeks where I've seen a lot of good stuff float across the Internet. Granted, a lot was in response to bad stuff on the Internet, but alas, that is the way of agriculture these days. So if you have a few minutes to spare, these are worth the read.

1. Dr. Oz's GMO Global Conspiracy…Debunked:  Point-by-point, Katie Pratt offers up the facts that Dr. Oz (surprisingly missed during his show this week on "Stealth GMOs," designed to leave consumers quaking in their boots over what may or may not be in their food. That Dr. Oz has missed the food boat (again) is not surprising but dang: can you just imagine if someone like that would talk to someone like Katie Pratt? I suspect he has his own biases, given his wife's ties to GM labeling groups in California but a girl can dream.

This editorial cartoon appeared in newspapers across the country this week, including the Champaign News-Gazette. Read a Texas farmers response, via his Letter to the Editor.
This editorial cartoon appeared in newspapers across the country this week, including the Champaign News-Gazette. Read a Texas farmer's response, via his Letter to the Editor.

2. Dear Wayne Pacelle: Carrie Mess, of Dairy Carrie, penned a response to HSUS head Wayne Pacelle's open letter to ag journalists, picking out errors in his own arguments, much like Katie did with Dr. Oz. Well-written and concise, it's a good piece to share if someone wonders what's up with HSUS.

3. Organic Schmorganic: This piece from the online Slate magazine appeared a couple weeks ago, but it offers up some good common sense for those who may buy in to the fear-based marketing that says organic is the only way to safely feed your child. The author writes, "Does giving my son organic food really makes a difference to his health, considering that he’s been known to lick the bottom of his shoes?" She went on to carefully say she supports the tenets of organic farming, as do I: if a farmer has a market for organic crops and they fit well into their operation, then by all means, grow organic. There is room in agriculture for all types of production. But parents shouldn't become so afraid of non-organic produce that they buy snack crackers for their children instead of bananas. That's the problem.

4. Farm Bill Cartoon a Slap at Farmers: Central Illinois farmer David Mies emailed me a photo of this editorial cartoon, which ran in the Champaign News-Gazette, and apparently in papers all over the country. This link takes you to the Letter to the Editor, penned by a Texas farmer. Good stuff.

5. Chipotle Unnecessarily Tears Down Agriculture to Build Brand: Truth About Trade dissects the motive behind Chipotle's newest series of food politics satire. Hint: it has less to do with food safety and more to do with selling burritos.

And a bonus! Because it's been a big week.

6. The Food Babe and Sudden Change in our Food System: Heard anything about Subway and something called azodicarbonamide this week? The short story is that someone called "The Food Babe" launched a campaign to pressure the sandwich shop into dropping this chemical from their bread production. Here, an actual food scientists talks through the actual and facts of the story.