Choose chicken over beef – cut your dietary carbon footprint in half!

❝ Replacing the carbon-heavy beef on your plate with carbon-light chicken will cut your dietary carbon footprint a shocking amount: in half. That’s according to a first-ever national study of U.S. eating habits and their carbon footprints.

❝ To find out what Americans are actually eating, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey asked more than 16,000 participants to recall all the foods they had consumed in the previous 24 hours…The study then calculated the carbon emissions of what people said they ate. If a meal involved beef, such as broiled beef steak, researchers estimated what the carbon footprint would be had they chosen to eat broiled chicken instead.

❝ The study shows that one simple substitution can result in a big reduction in a person’s dietary carbon footprint—the amount of carbon dioxide emissions that result from energy, fertilizer, and land use involved in growing food, Rose said. It also shows you don’t have to give up animal products to improve your carbon footprint. Food production accounts for about a quarter of total carbon emissions globally.

At a minimum – in our household – chicken provides well over half the animal protein in our diet. And, um, the rest is pork and fish. Which probably would come in with a lower carbon footprint than beef, as well.

“It tastes like chicken” — only grown in a lab

❝ If you find yourself torn between cravings and ethical concerns every time you tuck into a chicken nugget, there might soon be a way you can have your meat and eat it too. Memphis Meats has just served up chicken and duck meat cultivated in a lab from poultry cells, meaning no animals were harmed in the making of the meal.

❝ Along with the ethical issues of animal cruelty that surround a carnivorous diet, feeding, breeding and keeping livestock for food has an enormous environmental impact. The animals burp more greenhouse gases into the air than all modes of human transport, and require large swathes of land to be cleared, not to mention all the food, water, and care they need. Studies show that growing meat in a lab setting could go a long way towards solving those problems.

❝ …On the menu from Memphis Meats is southern fried chicken and duck a l’orange, which the company says is the first time poultry has been cultivated in the lab. Rather than raise and slaughter animals, the company simply takes muscle cells from animals without harming them and grows them in vats, in a process Memphis likens to brewing beer.

❝ “It is thrilling to introduce the first chicken and duck that didn’t require raising animals,” says Uma Valeti, CEO of Memphis Meats. “This is a historic moment for the clean meat movement. Chicken and duck are at the center of the table in so many cultures around the world, but the way conventional poultry is raised creates huge problems for the environment, animal welfare, and human health. It is also inefficient. We aim to produce meat in a better way, so that it is delicious, affordable and sustainable.”

❝ Again, the meal was probably prohibitively expensive, but reducing the cost of production is one of Memphis Meats’ main priorities, along with improving the taste, texture and nutritional value of the meat. If all goes to plan, the company has set a target of 2021 to finally serve up this clean meat to consumers.

Yes, I would wait in line to try this. Albeit a short line. I hate lines.

I love chicken.

Ready-to-eat chicken recalled for possible bacteria — another gift from America’s industrial food

❝ National Steak and Poultry is recalling nearly 2 million pounds of ready-to-eat chicken products because they may have been undercooked, resulting in possible bacterial contamination, the USDA said.

The recall includes a variety of ready-to-eat chicken products that were produced on various dates from August 20, 2016 through November 30, 2016…

❝ This is an expanded recall which began on Nov. 23. The original problem was discovered by a call from a food service customer, complaining that the products appeared to be undercooked…

What? You thought the producer might actually have decent quality assurance in place?

❝ The label says fully cooked, but it’s possible the meat was undercooked, which means it could be contaminated with bacteria.

“Get it out the door, slaves. We can’t make any money with our chicken sitting here in an industrial pressure cooker!”

New e.coli test shows results in under 24 hours


Click to enlarge

The standard methods of detecting the presence of E. coli O157 in meat products use cultures and microbiological assays and can take 48 hours or more to get a result. Meanwhile, the clock is ticking on a given product’s shelf life…

Researcher Yadira Tejeda, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, has reportedly developed a method of more quickly detecting E. coli O157 contamination in meat products.

The process is similar to a pregnancy test, where one line indicates a negative result and two lines indicates a positive one. She is now working with a small business to validate the method and test its feasibility.

“I work with E. coli O157 because it has caused many epidemics, and has contaminated both raw and ready-to-cook meats; for example, burgers, sausages, beef and pork. In these circumstances, the products had to be removed from the market,” Tejeda says.

In related news – “humane brand” Niman Ranch brands has been purchased by Perdue Farms.

KFC going to court to prove it hasn’t bred an eight-legged GMO chicken.

Lorck, The Basilisc chicken

The company that owns KFC is trying to dispel rumors that it genetically modified its meat and manufactured an eight-legged, six-winged chicken to serve to customers.

Yum Brands, which owns China’s largest fried-chicken chain, said in a statement Monday that it has sued three companies there that have been spreading false rumors on social media — among them that the restaurant delivered maggot-infested food and created a deformed chicken. It wants $242,000 and an apology from all three defendants…

KFC, which has more than 4,600 restaurants in China, has been fighting for its reputation for years. In 2012, Chinese media outlets reported that a KFC supplier had been using growth hormones and antibiotics to grow larger chickens…The accusations spurred fears about the country’s food safety. Then last year, KFC, along with McDonald’s and Pizza Hut, had to apologize to customers after a supplier was caught on video violating safety regulations — picking up meat from the factory floor and tossing it into mixers and touching meat on the assembly line with bare hands. There were also complaints that the meat was expired.

“When I saw that, I said, ‘Uh-oh, here’s six to nine months of problems,’” Yum chief executive David Novak told investors at the time…

KFC’s China CEO Qu Cuirong said in a statement that it is difficult for companies to guard against falsehoods, because it’s hard to get evidence, the Associated Press reported. “But the stepped-up efforts by the government in recent years to purify the online environment, as well as some judicial interpretations, have offered us confidence and weapons,” she said.

Even though physical, scientific evidence is easy to produce – especially when accusers have nothing to offer other than “what-ifs” and “maybes” – you still run the risk of know-nothings simply picking up and running with the headlines from low-lifes pretending to be investigative journalists.

We all know a few folks who will believe those headlines because it fits their view of the world around them.

Foster Farms poultry plants — source for salmonella outbreak — remain open despite pleas to shut them down

Three poultry plants in California that were the source of a Salmonella outbreak that has sickened hundreds of people in 20 states will continue to operate despite demands by lawmakers and consumer advocate groups that they be shut down.

Foster Farms’ plants in Fresno and Livingston will remain open after the poultry company implemented new “food safety controls over the last two months,” Ron Foster, president and CEO…said in a statement.

The U.S. Agriculture Department’s Food Safety and Inspection Service said it reviewed the company’s safety plans on Thursday and federal inspectors will remain at the plants.

A total of 317 people across the United States were infected by the Salmonella Heidelberg outbreak, with 42 percent of those needing hospitalization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday.

There have been no deaths, the CDC said.

So far.

Salmonella, a common bacterial foodborne illness, can cause diarrhea, nausea, fever and cramping, and can be fatal to infants and the elderly.

The decision to keep the plants open was “a disgrace” by USDA, U.S. Rep. Louise Slaughter, Democrat of New York, said in a statement on Friday. She said USDA should have moved to shut down the poultry plants.

The USDA’s toothless decisions endangers public health today, and encourages bad actors in the food industry to continue to break the law tomorrow,” Slaughter said.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest said the company should recall chicken from store shelves, a move Foster Farms resisted…

Foster Farms spokesman Michael Fineman declined to provide Reuters with details of the “new safety measures” the company has put into place.

Profits are so much more important than people’s health and safety – in the land of the free.

We don’t buy crap chicken from Foster, anyway; but, this seems like an appropriate time to recommend that folks get all thoughtful and stringent about a boycott.

No one in government ever felt we should track antibiotics in the meat we eat – WTF?

The numbers released quietly by the federal government this year were alarming. A ferocious germ resistant to many types of antibiotics had increased tenfold on chicken breasts, the most commonly eaten meat on the nation’s dinner tables.

But instead of a learning from a broad national inquiry into a troubling trend, scientists said they were stymied by a lack of the most basic element of research: solid data.

Eighty percent of the antibiotics sold in the United States goes to chicken, pigs, cows and other animals that people eat, yet producers of meat and poultry are not required to report how they use the drugs — which ones, on what types of animal, and in what quantities…

Advocates contend that there is already overwhelming epidemiological evidence linking the two, something that even the Food and Drug Administration has acknowledged, and that further study, while useful for science, is not essential for decision making. “At some point the available science can be used in making policy decisions,” said Gail Hansen, an epidemiologist who works for Pew Charitable Trusts…

But scientists say the blank spots in data collection are a serious handicap in taking on powerful producers of poultry and meat who claim the link does not exist.

The Food and Drug Administration has tried in fits and starts to regulate the use of antibiotics in animals sold for food. Most recently it restricted the use of cephalosporins in animals — the most common antibiotics prescribed to treat pneumonia, strep throat and urinary tract infections in people.

But advocates say the agency is afraid to use its authority. In 1977, the F.D.A. announced that it would begin banning some agricultural uses of antibiotics. The House and Senate appropriations committees — dominated by agricultural interests — passed resolutions against any such bans, and the agency retreated…

Regulators say it is difficult even to check for compliance with existing rules. They have to look for the residue of misused or banned drugs in samples of meat from slaughterhouses and grocery stores, rather than directly monitoring use of antibiotics on farms. “We have all these producers saying, ‘Yes, of course we are following the law,’ but we have no way to verify that,” said Dr. Hansen…

All the “heroes” of both parties have walked away from any responsibility to get this sorted.

RTFA. More details – leading to the conclusions you must expect. Congress represents moneyed interests, corporate producers, before they ever consider the American families that voted them into office. Corruption has always been endemic. Nothing has been done or is being done to press the regulatory agencies into doing their job – or mandating cooperation from the corporations making their profits from protein that walks around.

One more of those issues we may see dealt with if and when we have sufficient leverage in Congress and the White House to get it done. If you believe. If you live long enough.

Garlic fights common food poisoning bacteria

Scientists have found a compound in garlic is 100 times more effective at fighting a common type of bacteria that causes food poisoning, called Campylobacter, than two types of antibiotic.

Campylobacter is commonly found both on the surface of poultry and inside the flesh. Cases of related food poisoning have been rising in recent years, due partly to an increasing fondness for serving ‘pink’ chicken liver pâté.

Now researchers at Washington State University in the US have found that a compound derived from garlic, called diallyl sulphide, is particularly effective at penetrating the slimy film that protects colonies of Campylobacter.

They found that, in a laboratory setting, it was 100 times more effective than the antibiotics erythromycin and ciprofloxacin, and would often work in “a fraction of the time”.

Barbara Rasco, associate professor of food science, said: “Diallyl sulphide could make many foods safer to eat. It can be used to clean food preparation surfaces and as a preservative in packaged foods like potato and pasta salads, coleslaw and deli meats…”

…Bob Martin, head of foodborne disease strategy at the Food Standards Agency (FSA), said: “Levels of Campylobacter in most raw chicken are high so it’s really important that chefs cook livers thoroughly to kill any bacteria, even if recipes call for them to be seared and left pink in the middle.

“The only way of ensuring the pâté or parfait will be safe to serve to your guests or customers is by cooking the livers the whole way through.”

Of course – if food processors were courageous enough to rely on Science 101 – they could just use a simple zap of gamma rays. They leave no trace and will kill any bacteria in their path.

Although “40 garlic cloves-chicken” is one of my favorite recipes.

RFID chips will enable study of chicken angst — WTF?


Is this chicken really crying on the inside?

The coolest thing about RFID chips — those ultra-cheap, ultra-tiny devices allow remote tracking, even without batteries — is that these qualities make them suitable for types of research that would otherwise be impossible. Or at least challenging.

…Implantable RFID chips smaller than a grain of rice are opening up even further horizons. Like the disposition of chickens.

Researchers at the University of New England in Australia are “taking a closer look at how chickens’ moods are connected to their desire to spend time outdoors…”

…Most behavioral studies involve long hours of scoring either live behavior or videotapes of interactions. But using RFID chips allows researchers to automate the process of determining when chickens who are offered access to the outdoors take advantage of their “free range” status.

“We set up a situation where birds have to make a choice and see if they make an optimistic or pessimistic choice,” says Geoff Hinch, the professor at UNE heading up the study.

Access to the outdoors turns out to be a good litmus test for chicken mood, because chickens who are feeling good will make the “optimistic” choice to go outside, says Hinch. The point isn’t to determine which hens should be put in chicken therapy, whatever that is. Rather, Hinch aims to understand which factors stress chickens, in hopes of figuring out how to make their well being compatible with high productivity.

Presuming that high productivity in and of itself doesn’t mess up the chicken psyche.

Finnish bunny rabbit thinks he’s a chicken — WTF?

Otto would make the perfect chicken, except for a few hiccups. Hatching eggs, scratching around the coop and roosting on a beam with the rest of the hens are great habits for chickens, but rather unusual for an eight month old male rabbit.

The confused bunny came as a free gift to Ville Kuusinen’s home, when he bought nine Silkie hens and a rooster from a farm.

The Kuusinens and their three children live on a small island in Velkua some 210 km (130 miles) northwest of Helsinki.

“When I went to the hen house, I noticed he was sitting on the eggs. Later I watched through the window how he jumped on the beam, failed, tried again and with a lot of practice eventually he stayed up there,” Kuusinen told Reuters.

Otto does not like to sit on laps or eat carrots like most pet rabbits. The rabbit, who has lived with chickens all his life prefers chicken feed and runs with the chickens outdoors and sometimes plays with them by jumping over them.

For the chickens he is one of them. He often sits on the beam between the hens and under their wings’,” Kuusinen said.

But he said Otto’s rabbity instincts still take over when a visitor steps into the hen house. He runs away and hides, but can be lured out with raisin buns.

Actually, I respond pretty well to raisin buns, too.