B12 Solipsism

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Archive for the ‘factory_farm’ tag

California Farmers Short of Labor, and Patience

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We Are workers not criminals
We Are workers not criminals

Another big fault line in the Republican Party: the Tea Party wing is rabidly anti-immigration, and they seem to be setting policy. The Agribusiness wing just wants to harvest their crops like they always have, with sketchily documented migrant workers.

California is home to an estimated 2.5 million illegal immigrants, more than in any other state. Perhaps nowhere else captures the contradictions and complications of immigration policy better than California’s Central Valley, where nearly all farmworkers are immigrants, roughly half of them living here illegally, according to estimates from agricultural economists at the University of California, Davis.

 That reality is shaping the views of agriculture business owners here, like Mr. Herrin, who cannot recall ever voting for a Democrat. In dozens of interviews, farmers and owners of related businesses said that even the current system of tacitly using illegal labor was failing to sustain them. A work force that arrived in the 1990s is aging out of heavy labor, Americans do not want the jobs, and tightened security at the border is discouraging new immigrants from arriving, they say, leaving them to struggle amid the paralysis on immigration policy. No other region may be as eager to keep immigration legislation alive.

The tension is so high that the powerful Western Growers Association, a group based in Irvine, Calif., that represents hundreds of farmers in California and Arizona, says many of its members may withhold contributions from Republicans in congressional races because of the party’s stance against a comprehensive immigration overhaul.

“We’ve had secure borders with Mexico for the last decade; we don’t have that argument at this point,” Mr. Nassif said. “Now we want people to see the real damage of not doing anything, which is a declining work force, and it means losing production to foreign countries.”

After the 2012 presidential election, as Republicans spoke enthusiastically about the need to court Latinos, Mr. Nassif was optimistic that immigration would become a top priority. But exasperation has replaced his confidence in recent months, and he said his group could withhold hundreds of thousands of dollars in congressional races in which it has usually supported Republicans.

“I can tell you if the Republicans don’t put something forward on immigration, there is going to be a very loud hue and cry from us in agriculture,” Mr. Nassif said. “We are a tremendously important part of the party, and they should not want to lose us.”

(click here to continue reading California Farmers Short of Labor, and Patience – NYTimes.com.)

Of course, if the Agribusiness wing of the GOP paid higher wages, they might be able to get some Americans to work picking crops, maybe. It is back-breaking labor, much harder than flipping burgers at the local fast food joint. And if farmers had to pay a living wage, produce would suddenly skyrocket in price, more than limes I’m guessing. Doesn’t matter anyway, the Steve “Cantaloupe” Kings of the party are opposed to any immigrant being let in.

Written by Seth Anderson

March 31st, 2014 at 8:25 am

Starbucks promises to eventually stop using dye made from crushed insects

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Man on the Street interview
Man on the Street interview

Gross. Another reason to avoid Starbucks whenever possible.

Starbucks will cease using cochineal extract –a dye derived from crushed insects — to color select beverages and baked goods, according to a company blog post Thursday.

The company came under fire late last month when news that it was using the surprising ingredient lit up the Internet.

“As our customers you expect and deserve better — and we promise to do better,” Starbucks U.S. President Cliff Burrows wrote in the post. “After a thorough, yet fastidious, evaluation, I am pleased to report that we are reformulating the affected products to assure the highest quality possible.”

Lycopene will serve as the chain’s new red dye, and Burrows said he expects the changes to be in place nationwide by the end of June.

(click here to continue reading Starbucks to stop using dye made from crushed insects – chicagotribune.com.)

 (Tribune cited this blog post without providing the URL)

Treyf
Treyf

and all snakiness aside, you probably consume more cochineal extract than you realize: 

Today, it is used as a fabric and cosmetics dye and as a natural food colouring. In artist’s paints, it has been replaced by synthetic reds and is largely unavailable for purchase due to poor lightfastness. When used as a food additive the dye must be included on packaging labels. Sometimes carmine is labelled as E120. A small number of people have been found to have allergies to carmine, ranging from mild cases of hives to atrial fibrillation and anaphylactic shock, with 32 cases documented to date.  Carmine has been found to cause asthma in some people.  

Cochineal is one of the colours that the Hyperactive Children’s Support Group recommends be eliminated from the diet of hyperactive children. Natural carmine dye used in food and cosmetics can render the product unacceptable to vegetarian or vegan consumers. Many Muslims consider carmine-containing food forbidden (haraam) because the dye is extracted from insects, and Jews also avoid food containing this additive (even though it is not treif and some authorities allow its use because the insect is dried and reduced to powder).

Cochineal is one of the few water-soluble colourants that resist degradation with time. It is one of the most light- and heat-stable and oxidation-resistant of all the natural organic colourants and is even more stable than many synthetic food colours.  The water-soluble form is used in alcoholic drinks with calcium carmine; the insoluble form is used in a wide variety of products. Together with ammonium carmine, they can be found in meat, sausages, processed poultry products (meat products cannot be coloured in the United States unless they are labeled as such), surimi, marinades, alcoholic drinks, bakery products and toppings, cookies, desserts, icings, pie fillings, jams, preserves, gelatin desserts, juice beverages, varieties of cheddar cheese and other dairy products, sauces, and sweets.  Carmine is considered safe enough for use in eye cosmetics.  A significant proportion of the insoluble carmine pigment produced is used in the cosmetics industry for hair- and skin-care products, lipsticks, face powders, rouges, and blushes. A bright red dye and the stain carmine used in microbiology is often made from the carmine extract, too.The pharmaceutical industry uses cochineal to colour pills and ointments.

(click here to continue reading Cochineal – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.)

Written by Seth Anderson

April 23rd, 2012 at 10:33 am