Outlaw organic farming?

There is a little bit of panic circulating on the internet over the last few days about a bill which is in the early stages of working through Congress (it’s been referred to two House committees). It’s a food safety bill, but the message being circulated claims in all-caps that it will “OUTLAW ORGANIC FARMING,” and links to videos that claim the video will also outlaw home gardens, heirloom seeds, and basically any growing of food that doesn’t involve toxic chemicals.

Here is a slightly more articulate statement of the accusations against the bill, HR 875. Note the use of the term “food police” in the title. Is this a tip-off that this is at best knee-jerk conspiracy theory paranoia, at worst astroturfing by the industry that may be financially hurt by the regulation? I read the sections the article suggests reading, and the bill seems in fact to go out of its way to exclude any place where food is prepared for the purpose of being served. The following is from section 13.B of the definitions section of the bill; it modifies what the term “food establishment” means in the text of the bill:

EXCLUSIONS– For the purposes of registration, the term ‘food establishment’ does not include a food production facility as defined in paragraph (14), restaurant, other retail food establishment, nonprofit food establishment in which food is prepared for or served directly to the consumer

Here’s the full text of HR 875, go look for yourself and if I’m wrong point me to what I’m missing.

Here’s the video that most of the links seem to point back to as their source. Wow! It opens with the an Orwelian quote from a science-fiction movie, cuts to a guy in a baseball cap who claims that the bill “nationalizes the food industry.” Give me a break. He then goes on to give us his reading of the bill, which you can go see for yourself if you’re so inclined.

We already have a “food police.” That’s right, the government has people that inspect food production facilities to make sure they’re operating in a way the government considers safe. Does this seem like a bad idea?

Update: Snopes has finally tagged this: Mostly False.

Orange juice is a vile and mostly industrial substance

Since the word “juice” printed on a package legally means that the substance inside is 100% juice, you could be forgiven for thinking that especially “not from concentrate” orange juice would be some fairly straightforward stuff. But you would be horribly wrong, because actually orange juice is a vile and mostly industrial substance (via), which sits around in huge vats, and has chemical flavoring added to restore the flavor lost through processing.

Bicycle meals of Georgia and Florida

I was saving this one. OK, going 80 miles on a bike every day means you get to eat a lot of food. In a weird way, my trip (first two slide shows here and here) ended up consisted of biking, sleeping, and eating. There was plenty of shitty fast food, and an inordinate amount of convenience-store junk food (often a good source of easily-digestible carbs, so actually healthy in this context), but at least once a day something semi-miraculous landed in front of me, and as much as anything, the food made the trip worth it. I took photos of most of these restaurants, but in the end I decided to leave the slideshow be just of food. Here’s one that I couldn’t resist sharing, though. Click it to see the food:

Singleton's, Mayfair, FL

By the way, Singleton’s is actually more legit then it looks in this photo. There’s a fishing boat moored out back, and inside it reeks of fish in a slightly unpleasant way. You get acclimated, but I’m just saying. Sometimes the first-off-the-boat touristy place is actually the real deal.