Alternative Housing Movie, Synthetic Food, and Other News Items

This installment of an ongoing short news items feature included stories on a planned movie about alternative housing and a federal agency's decision on the labeling of synthetic food.

| March/April 1976

038 synthetic food - TAlexTech - Fotolia

In 1976 the USDA decided manufacturers no longer had to identify synthetic food as "imitation," because the label was hurting sales.


The following news items were drawn from multiple sources. 

Alternative Housing Movie

Folks living in alternative forms of housing—domes, inflatables, sod structures, or others—might want to get in touch with a young movie-maker named Tom Schroeppel. The American Film Institute has given Tom a grant to put together a half-hour reel on the subject, and he's looking for as many "New Age" builders as he can find.

Synthetic Food Identification

Is it a steak or a fake? You may not be able to tell any longer, now that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has ruled that manufacturers are no longer required to identify synthetic foods as "imitation". Stephen McNamara, an attorney for the FDA (which, incidentally, was set up to protect the consumer) said in a recent statement that "Labeling food as an imitation has had a bad impact on selling because people think it's inferior.

Home Childbirth Advantages

A recent study on childbirth, prepared for The American Public Health Association by a team from Stanford University, says that mothers whose babies are delivered at home by midwives have fewer complications and healthier infants than those who deliver in a hospital. The research indicates that the sitting or squatting positions commonly adapted during domestic deliveries, the absence of drugs, and the relaxed atmosphere of familiar surroundings make childbirth easier and safer for all involved.

Hiking Etiquette

Who's destroying our wilderness system? No, it's not industry, big business, or hordes of mobile-home tourists: It's the millions of "ecology minded" backpackers who've not yet learned to adjust their camping and hiking habits to the severely increased demand for backwoods recreation. The U.S. Forest Service says the situation is critical. So remember: Don't travel in large parties; don't build fires (even with dead, fallen wood) unless absolutely necessary; avoid using major trails; and pack your trash and your own waste out. 

Cement Eggs

Which came first: the chicken, the egg ... or the experts? Well, it all started a few decades back when someone hatched the idea of "supercharging" chickens with drugs so they'd produce more eggs. The result, of course, is today's abundant supermarket supply of Grade A paper-shelled ping-pong balls. But never fear. Researchers at the Texas Agriculture Extension Service have been working on the problem, and have come up with yet another "improvement." They're now experimenting with a special shell-toughening formula made just for modem poultry: commercial chicken feed laced with cement.

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