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Friday, July 8, 2011

Big Reforms in the Egg Industry, Big Scandal in the Competitive Eating World

Posted By on Fri, Jul 8, 2011 at 8:49 AM


Today's notes on national stories, local trends, random tastes, and other bycatch dredged up from the food media.

1. Good news for egg lovers. After almost a decade of activism, the Humane Society of the United States, an animal-welfare group that is not connected to local animal shelters, has forged an agreement with the United Egg Producers (which represents the commercial egg industry) to try to get U.S. Congress to pass a law doing away with battery cages for laying hens. I wrote about the two groups in 2005, back when the HSUS was lobbying Trader Joe's to switch to "free-range" eggs and the UEP was claiming battery cages prevented the spread of avian flu, then perceived as a real threat. In 2005, the HSUS was asking commercial egg farmers to switch from battery cages to the "enriched" cages they're now talking about installing. (After researching battery cages for the article, I haven't bought conventionally produced eggs since.) If the federal legislation is passed, it would represent a big win for advocates of factory farming reform.

2. Scandal! Instead of competing directly in the Nathan's Famous hot dog competition on Coney Island this year, superstar competitive eater Kobayashi simulcast his own contest, claiming that he set a world record. But careful examination of the video evidence proves his record was a hoax. OMG! Will the sport of force-feeding be forever tarnished? Personally, I'm a little traumatized by his hair.

3. Your ____ is making you fat. The latest contestant in the worldwide armchair sport of explaining why we are all overweight is the U.K.'s Daily Mail, which doesn't blame the government, or individual willpower, food processors, or genetics. It's our kitchens! They're too big, they're too comfortable, they put us in close contact with our food. Perhaps we should return to cooking everything in a pit hearth in the backyard. I can see the diet book now.

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Follow me at @JonKauffman.

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