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Cookson Beecher

Cookson Beecher

A journalist by trade, Cookson Beecher spent the past 12 years working as an agricultural & environmental reporter for Capital Press, a four-state newspaper that covers agricultural and forestry issues in the Pacific Northwest. Before working at Capital Press, she was the editor of a small-town newspaper, the Courier Times, in Skagit County, Wash. She received her B.A. in political science from Hunter College in New York City, and before moving West, she worked for publishing companies in mid-town Manhattan. In the 1970s and 80s, she and her family lived in North Idaho, where they built a log home and lived a “pioneer life” without running water and electricity for almost ten years. She currently lives in rural Skagit County of Washington State.

Articles Written by Cookson Beecher

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Small-Scale and Organic Farmers Facing FSMA Comment Deadline

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Small-scale and/or organic farmers are being alerted to the impending deadline of Monday, Dec. 15, for submitting comments on the Food and Drug Administration’s revisions to the proposed food-safety rules in the Food Safety Modernization Act. Signed into law on Jan. 4, 2011, FSMA focuses on preventing foodborne illnesses instead of merely reacting to them…. Continue Reading

Will Lactose-Free Fairlife Milk Be Coke’s Next Cash Cow?

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Soft-drink giant The Coca-Cola Company will soon be launching a new version of milk branded as Fairlife. The launch is planned for later this month, with sales to begin nationwide next year. “Purely nutritious milk” states the slogan under Fairlife’s name on the containers. The company’s optimism is riding high for this new lactose-free product, which… Continue Reading

The Search for Alternatives to Antibiotics

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Ask any doctor or veterinarian to rate the important medical discoveries of the past century, and antibiotics would surely be at or near the top of the list. In this century, too, antibiotics are expected to remain an essential tool for treating animal and human diseases. But the “miracle of antibiotics” is being threatened. There… Continue Reading

Food Safety to the Rescue

The Key to Donations of Fresher, More Nutritious Food

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Who doesn’t love a good rescue story? But now imagine one that involves rescuing millions and millions of pounds of nutritious foods from being taken to landfills and sending them to hungry people instead. Welcome to Grocery Rescue, a program that redirects perishable foods that stores identify as unmarketable but still safe for people to… Continue Reading

Farmworker Housing Linked to Consumer Demand for Safe Food

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When a farmworker and her children were discovered living in a decommissioned walk-in freezer due to lack of housing, Marty Miller, executive director of the Office of Rural Development and Farm Worker Housing in Yakima, WA, was dismayed — but not surprised. “Unfortunately, not surprised,” Miller told Food Safety News. “I had already heard or… Continue Reading

Controversy Erupts Over Process of Allowing Non-Organics in Organic Agriculture

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Rumblings over a new USDA policy about which synthetic (non-organic) materials can be used in organic agriculture sparked heated blowback on legal and political fronts during a four-day meeting late last month of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) in Texas. Those against the new policy believe it could make it more difficult for the… Continue Reading

‘Historic Wins’ for Organic Industry in New Farm Bill

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“Like being thrown under the bus” was how organic farmers and others in the industry described their fate a little more than a year ago when Congress failed to agree on a new farm bill and instead extended the 2008 version. Gone were some previously funded programs — among them research, marketing, certification cost-share and data-collection… Continue Reading

Families in WIC Nutrition Program to Get More Fresh Fruits, Veggies

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Families enrolled in the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) nutrition program will be able to get more fresh fruits and vegetables beginning next month, thanks to changes in the program’s “food packages,” which are outlined in a recently published USDA final rule. Under the revisions, the cash value of the fruit and vegetable vouchers for… Continue Reading

Fermenting Veggies at Home: Follow Food Safety ABCs

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Fermentation has become what USDA microbiologist Fred Breidt, Jr., describes as a “movement that’s picking up speed.” And for good reason, said Breidt, who specializes in the safety of fermented and acidic foods. Referring to home preparers, small producers and restaurant owners, he said that “they like being able to pick up these nice flavors… Continue Reading

Staying Safe When Handling Live Poultry

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Yes, baby chicks, ducklings and other poultry that appear in farm stores this time of year are as cute as can be. And, yes, children especially love to hold them and even nuzzle them mouth to beak. Unfortunately, that’s where the danger begins. The reason? No matter how healthy or clean the baby birds may… Continue Reading