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Jail Time for Farm Photos










If Big Agriculture has its way, you could get a year in prison for any one of these pictures.

Agribusiness lobbies in farm states are pushing bills that would make it a criminal offense to take photographs, video, or audio recordings on any farm without the owners’ consent. Stop at the side of the road to snap a photo of frolicking lambs during a Sunday drive in the country, and you could be looking at serious jail time. It would even be a crime to possess or distribute unauthorized farm images, making them the legal equivalent of child pornography.
Big Agriculture really doesn’t want us to know what’s going on with our food.

The so-called Ag-Gag bills are aimed at keeping the secrets of industrial farming secret.
Legislation has so far been introduced, though not successfully, in Florida, New York, and Minnesota, and is pending in Iowa. On the heels of some of the worst animal welfare abuses in U.S. history, including the violations that led to last year’s historic 500-million egg recall, the farming industry has chosen to target the whistle-blowers, rather than the violators.

We have a long and storied tradition of food safety and animal welfare whistle-blowing, from Upton Sinclair to people like Kit Foshee, the former corporate quality assurance manager at Beef Products, Inc. who opened our eyes to the execrable path of factory-raised beef, from slaughterhouse to supermarket. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration Food Safety Modernization Act, which President Obama signed into law earlier this year, created a set of powerful legal protections and remedies for food safety whistle-blowers. We need to know more about what goes on behind the barn doors, not less.

Take that sense of Ag-Gag outrage, and do something.

Sign the Slow Food USA petition (43,000+ already have) protesting the lobby’s actions, that will be forwarded to Iowa’s senate.

Take your camera along the next time you visit a farm. Hundred of Farmarazzi (the paparazzi of the farm world) have taken photos—showcasing both good and bad practices—and posted them to the Farmarazzi Facebook page.

Follow the Food Warriors. The Real Time Farms Blog has sent out a small army of interns to document our nation’s food system. The Real Time blog will be sharing their posts, video, and photographs as the interns visit farms, markets, and food artisans in every region of the country.

Read Gigabiting’s Food Safety: No such thing as TMI.


Posted in food policy, food safety | Tagged , | 5 Comments

No, It is Not Iced Coffee Season

I do love my iced coffee.
A tall glass, lots of ice, and just a splash of cream. When properly made, the coffee is rich and smooth with very low acid, notes of chocolate and caramel, and barely a hint of bitterness. Sugar is superfluous.
Why would anyone want to wait for summertime to enjoy it?

Finally, the rest of you are catching on and catching up.
According to an independent survey commissioned by Dunkin’ Donuts, iced coffee is now seasonless.

More than a fourth of the yearly, billion cups of coffee served by Dunkin’ Donuts are now iced, and 56% of their iced coffee drinkers prefer iced coffee to hot coffee, even during the winter months. 42% said that what they like best is the energy jolt they get from iced coffee—in fact Dunkin’ Donuts uses a double portion of ground coffee in its double-brew method, although melting ice dilutes the double dose of caffeine. 21% said they like that they can gulp it down, while hot coffee requires careful sipping; 18% claimed that their favorite thing about iced coffee is the straw.

It’s never too cold for iced coffee.
Look at ice cream. Alaska leads the nation in per capita consumption, with the chilly states of New England close behind.

Iced coffee is expected to rack up another summer of double-digit sales increases, causing food and beverage businesses to trip over each other with new product launches. There are ready-to-drink, canned and bottled versions coming from Wolfgang Puck, the classic Italian espresso brand, Illy, and Pom Wonderful (better known for its line of pomegranate drinks). Starbucks is pushing its one-ounce-shy-of-a-quart Trenta cup, a new Via instant iced coffee packet designed to be mixed into a standard water bottle, and created a page for its iced frappuccino drinks that became Facebook’s third-largest product fan page in less than a week.

For the record, Dunkin’ Donuts is still the nation’s largest retailer of hot coffee and iced coffee. Let’s also note that 91% of their iced coffee drinkers order it sugared-up with added flavorings (mocha and French vanilla are the favorites). You know my position on sweeteners. But I’ve tasted Dunkin’ Donuts iced coffee and am willing to cut them some slack.

For the summertime purist who believes (however misguidedly) that iced coffee goes in and out of season, there is a pointless but nifty website called Is It Iced Coffee Weather? Plug in your zip code and you’ll get the definitive answer.



Posted in coffee, food trends | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Does Sarah Palin Drink Chardonnay?

image courtesy of Behance Network

Hand over that wine list, buster!

Women wine drinkers have overtaken men. Women buy more, spend more, drink more. And it’s not the proverbial glass of Chardonnay– red wine is favored by a wide margin.

Women and wine are a natural match. […]

Posted in beer + wine + spirits, food business | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Are You a Food Geek?

image courtesy of Consumer Eroski

In the world of geeky niches, Food Geeks are a little more socially-acceptable than Gamers and Gadget Nerds but not as cool as Music or Movie Geeks. At least according to Gizmodo’s Socially-Acceptable Geek Subgenre Scale Gallery. Food Geeks have a middling rank between top-of-the-heap Finance Geeks (Math Nerds turned cool… who’s getting a wedgie after calculus class now,  jocks?) and the bottom-dwelling human/animal fantasy-hybridists known as Furries.

Food Geeks should not be confused with Foodies

Foodies talk about past and future meals while eating the current one. They know the pedigree of the eggs they eat and […]

Posted in cooking, recipes | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

The Candy We Love to Hate

      image courtesy of Pammy Shep

In a candy land of sugary, fruity, creamy, chocolatey, there’s black licorice: herbal, salty, medicinal, and barely sweetened.

Defiantly unapologetic, licorice has become a confectionary whipping boy. […]

Posted in candy | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

FOOD2: Not your mother’s Food Network


For the generation that is more Epicurious than Joy of Cooking, the Food Network has launched an online alternative to the traditional cooking channel. Targeting the young and tech-savvy, Food2 blends traditional editorial formats, such as how-to video, with user-generated content. […]

Posted in Entertainment | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment
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