The USDA Organic aquaculture standards are grinding slowly through government agency approvals, and are currently in review at the Office of Management and Budget, as reported by the Global Aquaculture Alliance. Read more at their website.
Until the U.S. sorts out organic aquaculture standards and labeling, consumers must rely on third-party labels. One such group, GLOBAL GAP, just released a new consumer label for certified farmed seafood. Read more at The Fish Site. Read More >
An astounding 23 million farmed Atlantic salmon have died in Chile due to an algal bloom. About nine percent of salmon farms in southern Chile were affected, at a cost of about $800 million U.S. Chile is a major salmon exporter to the U.S. El Niño conditions have led to unusually warmer ocean waters that allow algae to multiply. Read more at Reuters.
In the past few months we have posted several stories about net-pen aquaculture in the Great Lakes. Recently, three Michigan state agencies have publicly stated opposition to net-pen farms in Lake Michigan because of environmental risks, and potential adverse effects on tourism and recreational fishing. Read more at the Detroit Free Press. Read More >
Aquaculture and Fisheries Policy
This month NOAA released a draft proposal for new seafood traceability requirements for 13 species to stem imports of illegal, unreported, and unregulated fish. While the plan is a good first step, our colleague Beth Lowell of Oceana would like to see the plan go further by adding three components in the final rule: “1) it needs to apply to all seafood; 2) products need to be traced throughout the entire supply chain to final point of sale; and 3) if there is a phase-in implementation process, there must be a concrete timeline to expand the rule to all species and extend traceability from boat to plate in the final rule.” Read more: The Hill and Food Safety News.
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I am one of many who called Sid Mintz a friend. After reading volumes of tributes and accolades since his death, it’s clear to me that this is not an exclusive club. In my naiveté, I didn’t realize the depths of his contributions to the world until he died, so I won’t pretend that I have anything to offer about Sid’s scholarship that has not already been said.
I tried to be a good student. I read what he told me to read but not much beyond that. I met Sid 10 years ago because of my position at the Center for a Livable Future (Thanks, Polly, Bob and Shawn). I became Sid’s friend because we enjoyed hanging out. For whatever mysterious reasons, Sid chose me (and the three fabulous males I live with) to share dinners, laughs and emails.
I had the foresight to save many of the emails we exchanged over the years. Here are a few that reflect what I consider Quintessential Sid. Read More >
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) 2015 – 2020 were released last week and many public health and sustainable food system experts were dismayed over the exclusion of sustainability considerations. It appears politics played a large role in deciding not to include sustainability–which was in the report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, which the DGA is based on. The specific guidelines for seafood look very similar to past dietary guidelines; Americans are advised to eat two servings per week, which would double current average consumption. Read the seafood related guidelines at the DGA website, CLF’s reaction to the DGA on our blog, and our public comment with suggestions on what to include in the DGA’s seafood recommendations, which we submitted in May while the guidelines were under development.
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The food journalism and advocacy reform community lost an important member on January 8 when Ralph F. Loglisci succumbed to injuries sustained in October 2014. He was hit by a car while crossing the street in San Francisco, where he was attending a board meeting of the Food and Environment Reporting Network (FERN). At the time, Ralph was the Director of Digital Engagement and Outreach for FERN.
I first met Ralph when I was recruiting staff for the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production that was just getting off the ground in late 2004. The Commission, Read More >
Bob Lawrence at the helm on the Chesapeake Bay, June 2014.
As the year winds down, so does my tenure at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. It’s been an amazing 19 years for me, and I look forward to watching my successor, Anthony So, lead the Center even further in its mission over the next 19 years. We have an extraordinary staff who are deeply knowledgeable about the food system and passionate in their efforts to make our food system healthier, more sustainable, and more just. I am honored to have worked with all of them and step down from my post with gratitude and affection for a marvelous team.
It’s been a busy year—here are some highlights from the intersection of public health and food system thinking.
The Baltimore uprising and reflections on food environments. Perhaps the most profound event in Baltimore this year was the uprising that took place this spring Read More >
GE salmon is the same as non-GE salmon? When genetically engineered (GE) Atlantic salmon was approved for human consumption by the FDA, consumer groups responded by clamoring for a new process that would review GE food animals and require the products be labeled as GE. But FDA has decided that GE salmon is equivalent to non-GE farmed Atlantic salmon. Read the article at the New York Times and FDA’s response to Read More >
Are corner stores carrying healthier food?
Calorie counts on menus. This week I’m pleased to report that our CLF-Lerner Fellows are making us look good. Julia Wolfson is one of the authors on a study that appeared this week in Health Affairs and was cited in a CNN report about the law going into effect in December 2016, requiring national chain restaurants to list calorie counts on their menus. There are a few studies examining whether calorie counts on menus inspire customers to eat less or more healthily, but this is still an open question. It will be interesting to see what we learn once the law goes into effect.
Corner stores and healthy food. Another CLF-Lerner Fellow, Laura Cobb, co-authored a paper in this week’s Health Affairs Read More >