Monday, April 7, 2014

Editors won't press beloved chefs on antibiotics

A workman appeared this morning at Euclid and Prospect avenues in Hackensnack, where potholes were marked with chalk, below, apparently to designate those that will be repaired weeks after they appeared.


Another slow-news Sunday and another weird story on Page 1 of The Record today, celebrating "health-conscious American consumers" who grow or raise their own food, including eggs from hens they keep in the backyard. 

Consumers, the story claims, are "increasingly crying foul about the antibiotics, growth hormones, pesticides, herbicides [and] genetic engineering" in the food they eat (A-1).

But why is the small minority who raise their own egg-laying chickens getting such big play on the front page when the paper's own food editor and food writers choose to ignore all the bad things factory farms do to food in the name of quick profits? 

Free ride

Rarely does Food Editor Esther Davidowitz or Restaurant Reviewer Elisa Ung ever mention all of the harmful additives in the food that restaurant chefs serve, denying concerned consumers the ability to make informed decisions.

On the paper's expense account, Ung has swooned over the "funk" from aged hunks of beef for $40, $50 or $60 without ever saying whether the animals were grass fed or raised naturally.

God forbid that during the weekly "COFFEE WITH ..." feature in Better Living (BL-2), a chef is asked about how the food he serves is raised or grown, instead of the weirdest thing a customer asked for. 

Mixed messages

And the paper's monthly survey of supermarket prices -- which runs in the Business section -- doesn't include organic or naturally raised or grown food.

Today's story on chicken-raising suburbanites might remind newsroom veterans, present and former, of the wonderfully fresh eggs copy desk supervisor Vinny Byrne brought into work for copy editors from chickens he raised at home more than a decade ago.

Euclid and Prospect avenues before the work began, above.

An employee of the private contractor, M. Ingannamorte & Son of Tenafly, said he believes only potholes on Prospect Avenue are being patched, above, meaning others on the block of Euclid between Prospect and Summit avenues are not slated for repair now.


  1. Mr.Sasson if the Star Ledger was projected to loose 19 million before cuts this year what do you think the financial statis is of NJMG?

    1. I have no way of knowing. Let's just hope Stephen Borg doesn't want a bigger home. The last time he took an NJMG mortgage, layoffs followed a few months later.

    2. It also occurs to me The Star-Ledger may be cooking its books to justify the layoffs. Can you really believe anything a newspaper publisher says? Take Stephen Borg of The Record. The downsizing he announced in 2008 was the biggest in the paper's history and followed by only a few months his closing on a $3.65 million McMansion in Tenafly, the proceeds of which came from North Jersey Media Group.

      Are the two events connected? No one has ever shown they are not. I seem to recall some discussion in 2008 about losses, but can't remember details and seem to think it was on the order of $1 million or so.

  2. Victor, a walk through Lexis Nexis shows that you didn't discuss any of those issues in your few examples of restaurant reviewing. Please explain the double standard. Thank you.

  3. There is no double standard. I published your comment from my phone, and will respond fully later.

    1. I wrote a dozen or more reviews of budget restaurants in 2005-06, when there was little discussion in the media of factory farming and animal antibiotics. Also, you could hardly expect organic or naturally raised food at a restaurant where four people could have dinner for $50, tip and tax included.

      But my awareness of the problem was growing, as evidenced by the Food section cover story I did for The Record on Costco Wholesale, and the lack of antibiotic-free poultry it was selling back then.

      Thanks for your comment, but you must be one of those arrogant editors or reporters at The Record. "A walk through" Lexis Nexis? Give me a break.


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