Department of Agriculture

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Mueller Investigation Sinks a Trump Nominee

Sam Clovis, a climate change skeptic, pulls name from consideration for science post

(Newser) - A former Trump campaign official linked to the Russia investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller has withdrawn his nomination for an agriculture post. Sam Clovis, a former Trump campaign national co-chairman and chief policy adviser, wrote in a letter to President Trump dated Thursday that he does "not want... More »

Florida Has a Beef With Creamery's 'Skim Milk'

Court rules skim milk is still skim milk without added vitamins

(Newser) - A small, all-natural dairy isn't being deceptive when it calls its skim milk "skim milk," a federal appeals court ruled Monday in a victory for the creamery that's fighting the state's demand to label the product "imitation" because vitamins aren't added to it,... More »

The 10 'Dirtiest' Fruits and Veggies

Strawberries top EWG's controversial list

(Newser) - The Environmental Working Group is out with its annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and veggies it says have the highest amounts of pesticide residues. But take note: Protecting Your Pocket reports that the list, based on US Department of Agriculture data, has been called misleading since 99% of... More »

Your Ground Beef May Now Include Heart

Feds change guidelines

(Newser) - Ground beef heart might sound a little less appetizing than ground beef—but it might also be what you're actually eating, reports Consumerist . A 1981 policy under the Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (page 24 here ) decrees that meat from a cow's heart,... More »

GMO Spuds Could Fend Off Another Irish Potato Famine

USDA OKs JR Simplot varieties that include resistance to late blight

(Newser) - Two potato varieties genetically engineered to withstand the bacteria that caused the Irish potato famine could soon be heading to dinner tables. The Department of Agriculture has approved planting of JR Simplot's Ranger Russet and Atlantic varieties of Innate potatoes, reports the AP . The potatoes—which have only potato... More »

Uncle Sam Has a Plan for 11M Pounds of Excess Cheese

USDA to spend $20M to scoop up surplus, distribute to food banks and pantries

(Newser) - "Get rid of the gouda" isn't something you'd expect from a government directive, but that's the gist of what the Department of Agriculture is doing to ease the country's cheese crisis. By "crisis," we mean there's more cheese stockpiled and languishing in... More »

Petco Drops Small-Animal Supplier After PETA Video

PETA went undercover, documented what it says is evidence of awful conditions

(Newser) - Petco, one of the biggest pet retailers in the country, severed its relationship with a Pennsylvania small-animal dealer amid a federal investigation into conditions at the facility where it keeps thousands of hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, and other species. Petco said in a statement Tuesday that Holmes Chinchilla Ranch and... More »

Report: Raising Today's Child Tops $245K

Agriculture Dept: Costs are up 1.8% over previous year

(Newser) - A child born in 2013 will cost a middle-income American family an average of $245,340 until he or she becomes an adult, with families living in the Northeast taking on a greater burden, according to a report out today. Those costs—food, housing, childcare, and education—rose 1.8%... More »

This Year's Craziest Restaurant Meal: 3.5K Calories

Watchdog group lists diet-annihilating dishes from US chains

(Newser) - Nearly 3,550 calories for a burger, fries, and shake sounds about right—if it's one of the meals called out on a watchdog group's annual list of fatty, sugary, calorie-heavy foods served at US chain restaurants. The Center for Science in the Public Interest pored over nutritional... More »

More Birds Will Be Boiled Alive After USDA Change

Factories to be able to process 175 a minute, up from 140

(Newser) - An Agriculture Department plan to speed up poultry processing will result in more chickens and turkeys dying painful deaths, experts warn. Almost a million birds are already boiled alive every year when they are improperly shackled to the processing line, meaning they elude the automatic blade and are still alive... More »

Fecal Matter on Meat at Plants Using New USDA System

3 of 5 pork plants in pilot program have terrible safety records

(Newser) - A disturbing, extensive Washington Post piece today reveals that the USDA hopes to implement a program nationwide that allows pork plants to process meat in less time while using fewer USDA safety inspectors—despite the fact that three of the five plants that have used the new meat inspection approach... More »

Feds Demand Magician Submit Rabbit 'Disaster Plan'

USDA backtracks on rule after case publicized

(Newser) - Marty the Magician is no stranger to red tape—the Department of Agriculture has long required him to have a license for the rabbit he uses in his act—but even he was surprised when the government ordered him to pull a rabbit disaster plan out of his hat. Under... More »

Outlaw Raisin Farmer Defies Uncle Sam

For 11 years, Marvin Horne has refused to turn over crop to 'raisin reserve'

(Newser) - Get ready to read the weirdest fact you're likely to encounter all month: There exists in our country a national raisin reserve. And a 68-year-old California raisin farmer has spent the last 11 years fighting it. The Washington Post reports the very unusual and very fascinating story of Marvin... More »

Feds to Beef Up Horse-Meat Testing

USDA says move is response to recent events, consumer concerns

(Newser) - With horse meat having turned up in foods all across Europe , the USDA said yesterday it will step up its "species testing" on meat imports, reports NBC News . In the past, such testing only occurred when there was a reason to doubt the purity of a shipment. Though the... More »

USDA: Time for 'Sea Change' in Fighting Pests

Officials release list of top 15 threats

(Newser) - Pests are causing billions of dollars of agricultural damage—the Asian citrus psyllid alone has cost Florida growers $4.5 billion—and it's time for a "sea change" in how we deal with them. Today, the USDA is releasing its list of the top 15 pest threats, USA ... More »

How the USDA Hacked the Sequester

Tom Vilsack got $55M in new money for meat inspectors

(Newser) - There's no way to get out of the sequester's mandatory budget cuts, right? Wrong—at least for the USDA. Just three weeks after the sequester hit, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack found a way around it, snagging $55 million in new money for meat inspectors—just about the same... More »

Forget Europe: US May OK Horse Meat Plant

It hasn't been processed here in 6 years

(Newser) - What timing: With Europe trying to rein in a horse meat scandal , the US may give the green light to a horse slaughtering plant in New Mexico. The facility, which would produce horse meat that's safe to eat, could get Agriculture Department approval within the next two months, the... More »

Sorry, USDA Employees: No More Deep-Fried Lunch

Cafeterias will adhere more closely to USDA's dietary guidelines

(Newser) - For years, the USDA has been giving Americans dietary guidelines—and now USDA workers will have to start living by those guidelines, at least during lunchtime. The cafeterias at the Agriculture Department's DC headquarters have gotten a makeover, and the most headline-worthy change is that the deep fryers have... More »

Lawmakers Agree to Avert Milk Cliff—If They Have Time

But don't worry, slow USDA might make it a moot point

(Newser) - In a desperate bid to avoid the dreaded " milk cliff ," House and Senate Agriculture Committee leaders have agreed to just extend the 2008 farm bill for another year—assuming they can get around to doing so. Given the drama surrounding that other cliff, House Republican leaders tell CBS... More »

Why Milk Could Hit $8 a Gallon

Old law could be reinstated if Congress can't reach compromise

(Newser) - If Congress doesn't get its act together soon, old laws will cost all of America dearly—we're speaking, of course, of the Milk Cliff. If legislators don't take a break from fiscal cliff negotiations/posturing and pass a new farm bill by Jan. 1, the government will be... More »

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