It’s a Friday…and a wrap. On the menu, in no particular order.


Antibiotic use in meat production.

Many scientists and public health groups have grown concerned “that the livestock industry’s excessive use of antibiotics will raise the risk that bacteria will become resistant to these drugs”…which could have significant implications for human health. In response to pressure from consumers, some major meat producers have pledged to reduce the use of antibiotics. Despite promises, antibiotic use on farms is up, according to figures released by the Food and Drug Administration. Alarming? “…sales of antibiotics important in human medicine went up three percent from 2013 to 2014, the FDA found.” Dan Charles reports for NPR.

And there’s more. A new superbug resistant to all antibiotics has been linked to imported meat. Dr. Judy Stone, an infectious diseases physician and author, shares more information about what’s happening in Forbes. The antibiotic is colistin, considered a drug of last resort. At issue? Colistin is widely used in China’s agricultural industry. Dr. Stone offers this caution: “Agricultural use of antibiotics is by far the greatest threat to us, promoting drug resistance on a grander scale than hospital use. We must get all countries to agree to eliminate colistin and carbapenem antibiotics, in particular, from animal use. They are our last ditch antibiotics at a time when there is little drug development. This, and limiting some types of food imports, will slow the tide of this latest superbug threatening us.”


We have no bananas today. Roberto Ferdman has penned an important piece about bananas that also highlights the risks of monoculture. He references a study published in PLOS Pathogens. Be sure to read the first section of the study, which discusses the origins of bananas and their global rollout. Ferdman is one of our favorite writers and this is a must read piece with some great history lessons. It appears in the Washington Post.


Report. Working Below the Line: How the Subminimum Wage for Tipped Restaurant Workers Violates International Human Rights Standards. Laurel Fletcher, Saru Jayaraman, and Allison Davenport have authored a report on behalf of UC Berkeley’s Food Labor Research Center; UC Berkeley’s School of Law; Restaurant Opportunities Center United; and UC Berkeley Food Institute. The authors point to “significant human rights deprivations.” They call for new laws and policies for low-wage tipped workers in the U.S. restaurant industry. A notable quote: “The subminimum wage structure violates the human rights to an adequate standard of living and to just and favorable remuneration of tipped restaurant workers.” Related: Saru Jayaraman’s op-ed in the New York Times: Why tipping is wrong.


Preserving family recipes. Food is a tie that binds us; family food culture is history. Holiday gatherings provide an important and wonderful opportunity to learn more about family food culture…and to preserve it. We enjoyed reading Jenna Mason’s review of Valerie J. Frey’s book, Preserving Family Recipes: How to Save and Celebrate Your Food Traditions. The review appears on the Southern Foodways Alliance website. Mason’s review inspired us to snag our own copy. Frey’s book provides instructions “for how to collect, update, organize, and share endangered family recipes.”


Have a great weekend.