When the drug company Merck Animal Health announced plans to suspend sales of its Zilmax feed additive last week, many observers were shocked.
Yet concern about Zilmax and the class of growth-promotion drugs called beta agonists has been building for some time. In an interesting twist, the decisive pressure on Zilmax did not come from animal welfare groups or government regulators: It emerged from within the beef industry itself, and from academic experts who have long worked as consultants to the industry.
Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 10:40 am
Credit Alastair Bland for NPR
What's thick-skinned and leathery, about the size of an egg, essential for guacamole and sold eight for a dollar?
No, not limes. Hass avocados. This year, anyway. These pear-sized fruits usually weigh half a pound or more. In the summer of 2013, though, hundreds of thousands of trees in Southern California are sagging with the tiniest Hass avocados in local memory — some just the size of a golf ball.
The blueberries on your morning cereal are less expensive this year. That's because farmers are harvesting a bumper crop this summer. It's good news for berry lovers, but the bounty might wreck some blueberry growers.
In Richland, Wash., Genoa Blankenship pops open the lid on a box of blueberries. Her three young children struggle to stop wiggling. Blankenship loves the idea of healthy snacks that are easy to take along to soccer practice.