Tag Archives: USDA

Can “milk” be used on plant-based foods?

MilksUnder pressure from the dairy industry, the government is trying make it so that plant-based alternatives to dairy can’t use the terms “milk”, “butter” or “cheese” on their product labels. The excuse is that the consumer can’t tell the difference between dairy milk and soy milk, and so may be confused. It doesn’t take a PhD to know that almonds, coconuts, rice and cashews don’t come from a cow! Read more

Feds say Veg Diets Most Sustainable

Manure pileThe Feds have finally admitted that veg diets are better for the environment. The USDA Advisory Committee tried to slip it into their 571 page recommendation: “The major findings regarding sustainable diets were that a diet higher in plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts,and seeds, and lower in calories and animal-based foods is more health-promoting and is associated with less environmental impact than is the current U.S. diet.”

This sounds like real progress to us, but don’t look for this statement to make it into the final recommendations. Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack won’t allow it and the meat industry, described as livid, vowed to block it in Congress. Still, just the fact that it was recommended in the first place is real progress.

While it’s a start, the world needs much more progress on this issue. Consider that raising the 60 billion livestock we now have on the planet earth uses, directly for themselves and indirectly to grow their feed, one third of all the arable land on the planet.  It is also one of the leading causes of water pollution, the number one cause of tropical rainforest destruction, soil erosion, and, according to researchers from the World Bank, the number one cause of global warming.

Caving In to the Cattle Industry

Recently, the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) made a recommendation in its regular newsletter to its employees, to consider participating in the Meatless Mondays initiative, which advocates going vegetarian one day a week, citing the health and environmental benefits. The advisory explained that the USDA cafeterias now contain plenty of meatless options to enjoy.  The recommendation concluded, “So you can really help yourself and the environment while having a good vegetarian meal!”

But within just a couple of days, the USDA had caved into pressure from the cattle and meat industry, and had retracted the message, claiming that it had been made without proper clearance.  It was promptly removed from both the newsletter and their website. Read more

Antibiotics Under Threat

It’s scary and it can be deadly when antibiotics stop working against bacteria. This is known as antibiotic resistance. Patients suffer and can die from antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Unfortunately, this is happening more and more these days. Many doctors warn that we may soon have no effective antibiotics – a medical catastrophe. In fact, the problem has become so widespread and serious that the World Health Organization calls antibiotic resistance one of the three greatest threats to human health. As with so many threats besetting humanity, the problem is linked to meat. Read more