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A ‘grass-fed’ popsicle please, with a side of bean sprouts

A ‘grass-fed’ popsicle please, with a side of bean sprouts

By Mike Barnett

I wandered the Cedar Park Farmers Market in Austin recently and found every kind of agriculture product under the sun.

Of course there were the standard “fresh” tomatoes and other “local” food.

But a young couple was making good money selling “sustainable” bean sprouts and micro-greens. Another was selling “organic” fresh meat—everything from duck to rabbit to beef and pork—cut up, packaged and ready to cook.

There was even a lady selling “grass-fed” pops, a popsicle made with milk from dairy cows that apparently were not fed grain. Each to their own.

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Farm Broadcasters: Their airwaves can be ‘town hall’ on food issues

Farm Broadcasters: Their airwaves can be ‘town hall’ on food issues

By Gene Hall

My evening with the elite of the National Association of Farm Broadcasters (NAFB) at their Harvest Dinner a few days ago was eye opening.

Reporting life and work on America’s farms and ranches, we can bridge the gulf between farmers and their customers. Some of those customers are now four generations removed from the “farm years” in all our family trees:

  • It’s the lady being interviewed on a Texas major market television station about biotechnology. “These products have not been tested.”
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Hamburger is safe with extra attention for food safety

Hamburger is safe with extra attention for food safety

By Gene Hall

Based on some of the questions I received and the comments made on my blog earlier in the week—Rachael Ray’s assumptions on burgers are trendy and wrongit’s evident that I need to clarify.

Ray, a popular TV food star, said hamburger that is organic or grass-fed could be cooked less and, therefore, served safely “pink in the middle.” This is not true. So much of this debate is pure political correctness, but I’m talking biology.

At the time of processing, bacteria begin to come in contact with the surface of the meat. Most of it is harmless, but some, like E. coli, could be dangerous.

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Rachael Ray’s assumptions on burgers are trendy and wrong

Rachael Ray’s assumptions on burgers are trendy and wrong

By Gene Hall

The recent comment of celebrity food star Rachael Ray that “organic or grass-fed” burgers do not have to be thoroughly cooked is the latest half-baked and ill-conceived theory from the oven of pop culture.

Agriculture never knows from where the next damaging bit of misinformation will come. We are a celebrity-driven people, and we participate in a feeding frenzy of popular ideas.

I’m a fan of Rachael, but she is wrong here. She may just be innocently repeating some pop culture nonsense. So let’s be clear.

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Let’s get real about ‘Real Food’

Let’s get real about ‘Real Food’

By Mike Barnett

I read and hear a lot about “real food,” and I’m always puzzled when someone or some group uses that phrase.

It’s usually in the context of local food or processed food, and the implication is if the food is not “whole,” or is grown by some other means, it’s inferior. Taken to the extreme, “real food” addresses social justice and, to buy it or eat it, it helps if you are politically correct.

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