This year’s Earth Day fell on a Sunday, and thousands of families across the United States celebrated the planet by participating in local festivals or visiting state parks. 2018’s Earth Day theme was End Plastic Pollution and highlighted the current plastic crisis in the world’s oceans. Numerous events fell in line with this year’s theme, ranging from horrific to hopeful. Weeks before Earth Day, a sperm whale washed up on a beach in Spain. The whale died from ingesting over 64 pounds of ocean plastic. Then, closer to Earth Day, scientists stumbled across a strain of bacteria that attacks and ingests a type of plastic used in most plastic consumer items, a bacteria that The Guardian has called a hopeful “ally against plastic.” This year’s Earth Day was overall a success and hopefully jump-started local campaigns across the country to end plastic waste. Continue reading “Earth Day, Lettuce Shortages, and Future Food Crises”
In 2017, a plant-based diet became tremendously popular. The growing demand for alternative proteins motivated grocery stores and food companies to offer more alternatives to meat proteins, which has been reflected in consumer behavior patterns. However, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, production in the U.S. beef, pork, and broiler industries is expected to increase in 2018. For the record, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has estimated that 2018 will hold the highest per capita consumption of meat since the U.S. record set back in 2004. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that the average consumer is projected to eat 222.8 pounds of red meat and poultry in 2018.
Continue reading “Will Changes in Meat Consumption Redefine the U.S. Food System?”
In 2013, Dutch scientists announced that they had produced a lab-grown hamburger. Scientists generated the muscle cells comprising the burger—no animals were killed as part of the process. Many are hopeful that this “cultured meat” is the solution to many societal problems. Earlier this year, author Paul Shapiro and director of The Humane Society released a book called Clean Meat: How Growing Meat Without Animals will Revolutionize Dinner and The World. The book provides a history of the development of meat produced in labs and discusses the moral benefits of a future that includes meat produced in this way.
Continue reading “Lab-Grown Meat: A Moral Revolution?”
The idea of meat grown in a laboratory is not a new one. Winston Churchill even shared this vision as far back as 1931, saying “Fifty years hence, we shall escape the absurdity of growing a whole chicken in order to eat the breast or the wing, by growing these parts separately in a suitable medium.” As Churchill predicted, in recent years this once far-fetched vision has turned into an imminent reality. Lab-grown meat is created through the process of collecting cells from a live or recently killed animal and replicating the cells in a scientific setting. The current technology is similar to “cutting off a salamander’s tail and letting it grow back.”
Continue reading “Lab-Grown Meat: Is it Kosher?”
As the human population increases exponentially, a new pressure has fallen on traditional sources of food. Growing demand in the United States and the rest of the world has brought the issue of meat production into new prominence–especially as antibiotic use among livestock and poultry reaches an all time high. While antibiotics keep herds healthy–and thereby fiscally beneficial–they come with risk: the possibility of antibiotic resistance.
Continue reading “Resistance to Antibiotics in Meat Production”