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Food
Organic circle. Dan / Flickr

USDA Plans to Side With 'Fake Organic' Egg Producers, Ditch Animal Welfare Rule

By Katherine Paul and Alexis Baden-Mayer

If nutritional quality and animal welfare issues factor into your egg-buying decisions, get ready for more bad news out of the Trump administration's U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The USDA plans to ditch rules, finalized under the Obama administration, that would have required organic egg producers to provide hens with more space and more outdoor access.

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Hold the Plum Pudding: U.S. Food Sampling Shows Troubling Pesticide Residues

By Carey Gillam

Sometimes the truth about our food is not very appetizing.

As many gather this holiday season for shared family meals, it is likely that they'll be serving up small doses of pesticides with each plate passed, including a prevalent type shown to be harmful to children and reproductive health.

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Animals

USDA Gives in to Big 'Organic' Poultry, Moves to Withdraw New Animal Welfare Rules

Monday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) formally proposed withdrawing a set of rules finalized at the end of the Obama administration that establish stronger, more enforceable animal welfare requirements for certified organic producers.

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Food
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USDA Makes School Meals More Flexible, Translation: Less Nutritious

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced its revised school meal rules, in words that would make George Orwell proud:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture today [Nov. 29] provided local food service professionals the flexibility they need to serve wholesome, nutritious, and tasty meals in schools across the nation. The new School Meal Flexibility Rule ... reflects USDA's commitment, made in a May proclamation to work with program operators, school nutrition professionals, industry, and other stakeholders to develop forward-thinking strategies to ensure school nutrition standards are both healthful and practical ... This action reflects a key initiative of USDA's Regulatory Reform Agenda, developed in response to the President's Executive Order to alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens.

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Food
Sarsmis / Shutterstock

Only 9% of U.S. Adults Eat Enough Vegetables

By Dan Nosowitz

On the heels of our country's very own secular harvest festival, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) released new data indicating just how few people are actually regularly eating the fruits of the harvest.

The CDC regularly publishes data on the health of the country, and, appropriately for the season, last week's ominous-sounding Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report includes information on fruit and vegetable consumption.

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USDA Cites Breeders for Abuse, Then Gives Them a Ton of Business

By Michelle Kretzer

If you were charged with enforcing the federal Animal Welfare Act and found egregious violations of it at an exotic "pet" breeding facility, would you think, "We should probably give it a lot of government business and taxpayer money?" That's seemingly what's happening at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The agency has reportedly ordered an animal breeder in Iowa numerous times to change the appalling conditions in which it houses animals—right before giving it tens of thousands of dollars in business.

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Animals
The turkey ranch in Sonora is where Diestel keeps its pasture-raised birds. Jeanne Cooper

Popular Diestel Turkey Sold at Whole Foods Tests Positive for FDA-Prohibited Drugs

By Katherine Paul

Diestel Turkey, sold by Whole Foods and other retailers at premium prices, says on its website that its "animals are never given hormones, antibiotics or growth stimulants."

But Diestel Turkey samples tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggest otherwise, leading consumers to wonder: Can these companies be trusted?

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The Arctic Fuji Apple. Okanagan Specialty Fruits

GMO Apples Arriving on U.S. Shelves for First Time

The first commercial harvest of Arctic apples—genetically modified (GMO) apples that don't brown when exposed to air—will arrive in 400 Midwestern grocery stores this month, Bloomberg reported.

The product will be sold as 10-ounce bags of sliced Golden Delicious apples. The bags will not have a clear label saying it is a GMO product. Rather, a customer will only know that the fruit is genetically modified by scanning the bag's QR code with a smartphone, a feature that opponents have shunned.

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Trump Watch
Sam Clovis with Donald Trump in 2015. Jerry Mennenga / ZUMA

The Non-Scientist Trump Chose for USDA Chief Scientist Is Now a 'Cooperative Witness' in Russia Probe

UPDATE: The White House announced Thursday that Sam Clovis has withdrawn himself from consideration for the position of USDA chief scientist amid reports of his role in the Trump campaign's communications with Russian officials.

"We respect Mr. Clovis' decision to withdraw his nomination," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said.

Clovis wrote a letter to the president dated on Tuesday that stated, "I do not want to be a distraction or negative influence, particularly with so much important work left to do for the American people."

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