U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

3:12pm

Tue June 11, 2013
The Salt

Tender Beef, Without The Pathogens: USDA Proposes Labeling Rules

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 4:27 pm

Meat tenderized the old-fashioned way. The industrial method is a mechanized process involving needles.
iStockphoto.com

In order to make tough cuts of beef more tender, the industry uses a mechanical tenderizing process that involves piercing the meat with needles.

This is effective in breaking up the tough muscle fibers, but there's a downside, too: a higher risk of surface bacteria making their way into the cut of meat, which can set the stage for food poisoning. That's a particular concern when it comes to the center of meat cuts, which don't get heated to the same temperatures as the exterior.

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2:22pm

Mon June 10, 2013
The Salt

A Senate Catfight Over Catfish

Originally published on Mon June 10, 2013 4:15 pm

These funny mustachioed fish are at the center of a farm bill fight in the House and Senate.
Sasha Radosavljevic iStockphoto.com

The farm bill is expected to pass in the Senate on Monday night. And to the dismay of some, it likely won't include an amendment that would have eliminated a controversial program to keep a closer eye on a food product you probably weren't even worried about: catfish.

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3:57am

Fri May 31, 2013
Business

Japan Suspends Wheat Imports From Pacific Northwest States

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 6:34 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news begins with Japan's wheat ban.

Japan has suspended wheat imports from the Pacific Northwest states. This comes after the U.S. Agricultural Department found genetically modified wheat growing on an Oregon farm - as we reported on this program yesterday. GMO wheat has not been approved for U.S. farming, and it's not clear how the wheat found its way onto the farm.

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1:20am

Fri May 31, 2013
The Salt

Michigan Tracks Cattle From Birth To Plate

Originally published on Tue June 4, 2013 8:54 am

Whenever a steer or cow leaves a farm in Michigan or goes to a slaughterhouse, it passes by a tag reader, and its ID number goes to a central computer that keeps track of every animal's location.
Dan Charles NPR

When you pick up a cut of beef at the store, would you like to know that animal's life history? The technology to do this does exist — at least in Michigan, where the state requires all cattle to carry electronic ear tags. It's the only state that requires such tags.

Michigan's cattle-tracking system was forced on farmers because of a crisis. Fifteen years ago, cattle in part of the state started catching tuberculosis from wild deer.

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4:40pm

Thu May 30, 2013
The Salt

Congress Poised To Make Crop Insurance Subsidies More Generous

An Illinois corn and soybean farmer walks to his tractor while cultivating his field.
Seth Perlman AP

For decades, farmers have been getting checks from the federal government as part of a safety net to help protect against, for instance, the financial ruin of drought or floods.

So last year when a big drought hit the Midwest, who paid for it? You did.

As my colleague Dan Charles has reported, payouts from crop insurance policies added up to about $16 billion, and much of it was paid by taxpayers.

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