USDA wants to reinstate organic welfare standards; could benefit food safety

Celebrating the USDA’s move on Aug. 5 to reinstate organic animal welfare standards, organic advocates are hailing this as a “resounding victory” for organic farmers, their livestock, and organic consumers.

As such, it reverses the withdrawal by the Trump Administration in 2018 of the 2017 Organic Livestock and Poultry rule.

The 2017 rule, which took 10 years to develop, governed the living conditions, transport and slaughter of organic livestock.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) proposes to amend the organic livestock and poultry production requirements by adding new provisions for livestock handling and transport for slaughter and avian living conditions; and expanding and clarifying existing requirements covering livestock care and production practices and mammalian living conditions.

“USDA has again confirmed our stance that ‘organic’ does mean consistently protecting animal welfare,” said Amy van Saun, senior attorney with the Center for Food Safety.

She also said that … Read more

The Ephemeral Appeal of Indie Food Zines

An interior spread of Chicken + Bread. | Chicken + Bread

Why zines are food media’s experimental cutting edge

I sometimes attribute my growing zine obsession to being — on paper — a book historian. I like the heft of folded paper, sometimes hugged by a cardstock cover, sometimes by a staple pinning sheets together; sometimes, it’s just printer paper folded to create a booklet, inked by hand. As much as zines are beautiful as objects, their production runs, varying between a dozen to several hundred, select their audience. In some ways, it would be easy to link zines to artist’s books, which are similarly rare, experimental, and play with printing techniques. But mostly, a zine is categorized as a zine because its maker sat long and hard, then got up and talked to people about it, read a few zines, and decided their project was a zine. Sometimes, … Read more

Virginia Tech researchers testing potential vaccine for norovirus

Virginia Tech researchers are testing a potential live oral vaccine for norovirus. The vaccine that the team is testing is in development by Indiana University researchers and uses the Rotarix rotavirus vaccine as a platform.

Norovirus is a contagious virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, each year, on average in the United States, norovirus causes 900 deaths, 109,000 hospitalizations, 465,000 emergency department visits and 19 to 21 million cases of vomiting and diarrhea illnesses.

“You hear about norovirus outbreaks on the news all the time in hospitals, nursing homes, and cruise ships and how it’s closing down restaurants, so it’s got a lot of economic implications,” said Lijuan Yuan, professor of virology and immunology at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech, who is leading the testing of the vaccine.

Yuan’s lab plans to evaluate the replication capacity, immunogenicity, … Read more

A Summer Berry Streusel Cake Recipe Inspired by an Ice Cream Icon

Celeste Noche/Eater

Just like Jeni’s Brambleberry Crisp, this cake boasts the perfect ratio of jammy fruit to crunchy oat streusel

Having grown up in Columbus, Ohio, Graeter’s and Jeni’s were always my go-to spots for grabbing a cold, creamy treat on summer nights. While my friends tended to gravitate toward Jeni’s ’gram-ready vibes and unexpected flavors (goat cheese with red cherries, anyone?), my dad has always been an outspoken Graeter’s devotee, preferring their old-school, no-frills setup and simple, classic options (their cookies and cream can’t be beat, in my opinion). Though I’m constantly vacillating between the two (I’m currently in a Graeter’s phase), I remember falling in love with Jeni’s iconic Brambleberry Crisp flavor the first time I had it years ago: Each pie-like scoop is swirled with the perfect ratio of brambleberry jam and chunks of brown sugar oat streusel.

This month’s cake is directly inspired by my favorite … Read more

FSN contributor honored for reporting

Writer Cookson Beecher has won two first place awards in the National Federation of Press Women (NFPW)’s annual contest for articles published by Food Safety News.

To win the first-place awards on the national level, she had to win first-place awards in the organization’s  At-Large division, which included about 20 different states.

One of the articles, “Agrivoltaics Scores Impressive Triple Win, but Some Food Safety Concerns Remain” deals with using solar panels to generate power for houses, barns or even farm equipment but also to grow crops.

The other article, “Super Bugs Bedevil Food” deals with antibiotic resistance, which some human and animal health experts are referring to as a “slow moving pandemic.”

The judge of the first piece about solar power complimented Beecher for writing a well-thought-out and executed article. “The difference between a good writer and a great writer is the ability to take a complicated topic, … Read more