Tuesday, September 15, 2015

"Fantastic" Food Chains Serve Healthy Meat

Burger King, Wendy’s, Olive Garden, KFC, Chili’s, Sonic, Denny’s, Domino’s, Starbucks, Papa John’s Pizza, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Applebee’s, Jack in the Box, Arby’s, Dairy Queen, IHOP, Outback Steakhouse and Little Caesars are among the American food chains you can be sure are providing you meat that came from healthy animals, according to a new report released by Friends of the Earth, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Food Animal Concerns Trust, Keep Antibiotics Working, the Center for Food Safety and Consumers Union.

Of course, that's not how those, uh, "food" organizations are billing the findings in their report, which is critical of fast-food and casual restaurants that sell meat from animals that received antibiotics. Those groups, which oppose modern food-animal production, blame the use of antibiotics in cows, pigs and chickens for a rise in illnesses that are resistant to antibiotics.

The problem is there's no scientific evidence that animal agriculture is to blame for the increase in resistance. The environmental and anti-agriculture organizations, however, cite dubious "studies," including one from 1971, to back their claims. They did mention a CDC study on antibiotic resistance, but that 112-page report devoted just two pages to antibiotic use in animals and included this rather revealing nugget: "up to half of the antibiotic use in humans ... is unnecessary or inappropriate."

Farmers and their veterinarians use antibiotics strategically to keep their animals healthy and to produce safe food. They follow industry guidelines and FDA-approved label directions in administering animal health products.

But groups such as Friends of the Earth and the Natural Resources Defense Council don't let facts get in the way. In their report, they gave restaurants letter grades based on their commitments to go "antibiotic free." The ones listed at the top of this post received Fs. 

No doubt that stands for "Fantastic"!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

My Dream Columnist Label

In his new book, A Bone to Pick, and in an October 2012 column in the New York Times, columnist Mark Bittman called for a traffic light-type label for foods. HOTH proposes a similar label for columnists.

Red would be for conservative columnists, blue for liberal writers and yellow, of course, would be for columnists who use sensationalism and distortion.

This would allow readers “to make truly enlightened decisions” about the columns they read, letting them know how much stock to put in a column written by, for example, a “yellow” journalist who touts organic produce as somehow safer than conventionally grown produce or who believes the welfare of pigs raised outdoors and exposed to the elements and diseases is better than the ones raised in clean, climate-controlled barns.

HOTH realizes such columnist labels, like Bittman’s food labels, might affect jobs and people’s lives, but let’s not quibble about such trivialities. Readers have a right to know.