How Russia may force the US to produce healthier meat

The USDA allows livestock to be fed controversial growth enhancers that are banned in the European Union. This year Russia joined the countries that won’t accept meat that was raised with beta agonists, forcing US authorities to come up with some quick answers if they want to recover this large export market. A collateral effect could be that Americans get meat that’s free of growth hormones, or not.

Why you need to brush up on fluoride

Fluoride has been controversial for longer than many of us have been alive. Back in the 1940s and 50s, when scientists introduced the idea of adding fluoride to our water systems to strengthen Americans’ teeth, people fought the effort.

Disney takes a page from The Lorax — announces a new paper policy

Disney, recognizing its heavy paper footprint as the world’s largest publisher of children’s books and magazines, has announced it will be changing its paper policies to try to stop the degradation of rainforests in Southeast Asia.

The change comes as a victory for indigenous Indonesians, rainforest wildlife and the atmosphere, which are all being harmed by the vociferous consumption of rainforests by logging in Indonesia.

China plays tug of war with U.S. inspectors over drywall

by Joaquin Sapien, ProPublica, and Aaron Kessler, Sarasota Herald-Tribune

A federal investigation into contaminated Chinese-made drywall has been a long, hard tug-of-war for U.S. investigators trying to pry information from Chinese government officials and manufacturers. When a team of investigators traveled to China last year, the tug-of-war became physical, with a Chinese official trying to wrest a piece of drywall from an American’s hands.

The federal probe is the largest defective-product investigation [1] ever conducted by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. But almost two years after it began, the CPSC still hasn’t been able to figure out what materials in the Chinese drywall are triggering the release of sulfur gases. The gases have a chemical smell and have corroded wiring and appliances in thousands of U.S. homes. They’ve also been linked to respiratory ailments, nosebleeds and sinus problems

Mingyang Wind Power opens U.S. office in Dallas

MingyangMingyang Wind Power Industry Group, the third largest wind energy company in China, announced today that it will open a Dallas-based operations office. The new office will be a hub for the global expansion of the company, which is not government owned. Mingyang is backed by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, a major shareholder and recently identified as the largest bank in the world.

Snack attack: China’s melamine scandal infects more foods

By Barbara Kessler

As if we needed another scare this week, the tainted milk scandal in China continues to slip its moorings, with melamine, an industrial chemical never intended for human consumption, turning up Lipton brand “milk tea powder” products destined for Asian markets as well as in good ol’ Nabisco Ritz cracker cheese sandwiches.

International food giant Unilever announced today it was recalling certain Lipton milk teas from Hong Kong and Macau shelves because internal tests found melamine contamination.

Meanwhile, South Korea officials reported finding melamine in Nabisco’s Ritz cracker cheese sandwiches and said they were banning imports of all Chinese-made food products containing powdered milk. (No calls back yet from Lipton or Nabisco.)

Earlier, Cadbury also recalled 11 chocolate bars after tests found a small amount of melamine in six chocolate samples. Hong Kong authorities declared the contamination to be at a “safe level” – but Cadbury said it was still withdrawing the candy, made in Beijing.

Before that it was Mr. Brown Blend Instant Coffee and Mr. Brown French Vanilla Instant Coffee on the hook for contamination, and…well, the list goes on.