Posted on Friday, May 25th, 2012 by Megan

News from the Hub – Week of May 21, 2012

Fresh Picks – Top 5 Stories Worth Reading

Waitress’s Wages Leave Little to Take Home
A waitress in a family-style restaurant in Detroit says it’s a struggle to make ends meet. Most servers are women and they are subject to a sub-minimum wage that hasn’t been raised since 1991. Family members often provide a crucial safety net.

Poultry scientists working on “chicken translator”
Any experienced chicken farmer will tell you, the relative contentment of the birds can be gauged by the sounds they’re making. While this has generally been accepted as anecdotal folk wisdom, a team of scientists from the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of Georgia are now trying to scientifically verify it.

More Americans now eating whole grains, fresh produce
Los Angeles Times
A vast majority of Americans say they eat more whole grains and fresh produce than they did five years ago, but many believe the federal government needs to do more to ensure greater access to locally produced fresh food, according to a new survey.

Battle Brewing Over Labeling of Genetically Modified Food
For more than a decade, almost all processed foods in the US have contained ingredients from plants whose DNA was manipulated in a laboratory. Regulators and many scientists say these pose no danger. Labeling bills have been proposed in more than a dozen states over the last year, the most closely watched labeling effort is a proposed ballot initiative in California that cleared a crucial hurdle this month.

LA makes history with ban on plastic bags at stores
Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles became the largest city in the nation to approve a ban on plastic bags at supermarket checkout lines, handing a hard-fought victory to environmentalists and promising to change the way Angelenos do their grocery shopping.

News from the Region

USDA Highlights Efforts to Boost Rural Job Creation During National Small Business Week
A top USDA Rural Development official this week met with local leaders and business owners in the Midwest to highlight rural small business accomplishments and observe ” National Small Business Week”. Nationally, from 2009 through 2011, the department’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service provided 12,214 guaranteed loans, direct loans and grants.

Food stamp fraud raising concerns in gov’t offices
Seattle Post Intelligencer
Food stamp recipients are ripping off the government for millions of dollars by illegally selling their benefit cards for cash — sometimes even in the open, on eBay or Craigslist — and then asking the government for replacement cards.

New food bank CEO seeks to end hunger
Nicole Suydam is working to eliminate hunger in Orange County in California and spreading some hope along the way. The Aliso Viejo resident recently took over as CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank, which distributes more than 16 million pounds of food through local nonprofits every year.

Alaska Grown Produce is a Hot Commodity for Local Restaurants
KTVA CBS 11 News Alaska
“Alaska Grown” is a logo that many of us are familiar with, and pretty soon you may see it popping up in more places. Restaurant menus could be the next to sport an Alaskan Grown logo now that a new program is making it easier for local chefs to purchase local produce, and offering rebates to those who do.

Portland chefs and artisans tout Oregon’s bounty in New York at ‘Oregon Food Assault’
Bon Appetit magazine Editor-in-Chief Adam Rapoport  left his Manhattan offices Monday afternoon and quickly found himself staring down the barrel of a guacamole and confit oxtail torta from Southeast Portland’s Bunk Sandwiches. Unlike other nationally known Portland food brands such as Stumptown Coffee and Pok Pok, Bunk hasn’t opened a New York location.

Possible fee hike alarms grower
Capital Press
Some Idaho processed market spud growers worry a proposed 2.5 cents /cwt increase in the Idaho Potato Commission assessment could come at a difficult time. Fresh packers and processors share a percentage of the IPC fee with growers. A steeper IPC fee could also make Idaho potatoes less competitive with Washington and Oregon spuds.

Restaurants pan Pasadena’s “Zero Waste” trash plan
Pasadena Star-News
Even as Pasadena takes aim at organic trash in an effort to meet state goals for 2020, city leaders have concerns. By 2020, 75 percent of all trash generated in California must be diverted from landfills – in other words reused or recycled. And while figures indicate the state is close to that goal, with 63 percent of the trash diverted from landfills, there’s still a long way to go.

Force-feeding for foie gras comes to merciful end
San Francisco Chronicle
Seven-and-a-half years is a long time, but for some birds in California, it has been an eternity. That is how long ago California enacted a law that gave the foie gras industry until July 2012 to find an alternative to the inhumane practice of force-feeding ducks.

News from the Nation

Meat industry braces for ‘meat glue’ attack
Capital Press
The cattle and meat industries are expecting another “pink slime” type attack, one which has been brewing for a few weeks now.  Dubbed “meat glue” by many media sources and bloggers, transglutaminase are enzymes used in the food service industry to bind meat and other food products together. For example, they can be used to attach bacon around a filet mignon or to help bind two large beef tenderloins together.

Maryland set to ban arsenic-containing drug in chicken feed
Washington Post
Parasites called coccidia threaten to eat through many chickens’ guts, one veterinarian said, “like that thing in the ‘Aliens’ movie.” To fight the bug, Richardson was one of many growers who relied on a controversial remedy, Roxarsone, a drug containing arsenic. “We haven’t used it for a while now,” Richardson said recently, because Perdue Farms, which pays him to grow chickens, decided they should be arsenic-free.

For NY farmers, fracking means salvation or ruin
When Dan Fitzsimmons looks across the Susquehanna River and sees the flares of Pennsylvania gas wells, he thinks bitterly of the riches beneath his own land locked up by the heated debate that has kept hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, out of New York.

Does Organic Food Turn You into a Jerk?
And a new study shows that organic foodies’ humane regard for the well-being of animals makes some people rather snobbish. The report, published last week in the Journal of Social Psychological & Personality Science, notes that exposure to organic foods can “harshen moral judgments.”

Family farms account for about 88 % of production
Three key features of U.S. agriculture highlight the importance of family farms. First, small family farms (those with less than $250,000 in annual sales) make up 88 % of all U.S. farms. Second, large-scale family farms—about 10 % of all farms—account for a disproportionately large, 72%  share of the value of production.

Restaurants to Add 450000 Summer Jobs, According to National Restaurant Association Predictions
MarketWatch (press release)
Restaurants are expected to add 450000 jobs this summer season, a 4.6 percent increase over the March 2012 employment level, according to National Restaurant Association projections released today. This year shows the highest summer employment numbers since 1993.

Fast Food Nation: Homelessness Creates Obesity
Huffington Post
Where do the over-priced, extremely healthy boutique grocery stores, like Whole Foods Market, build their stores? In the more expensive neighborhoods in town. And who shops at these stores? Skinny people with fat wallets. Sure, there are overweight Americans with similarly overweight bank accounts, but for more and more people obesity is becoming a common factor for impoverished Americans.

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