Food News: Farmers Enjoy Moment Of Fame, There's Hope For GMO Labeling

Can you remember another time when the Super Bowl ended and everyone you knew was talking about farmers? We can't either, but this year America's farmers got their moment in the spotlight thanks to Dodge's Super Bowl ad — though not everyone is smitten with the ad's portrayal of the heartland. The USDA and GMO-labeling proponents also came out on top this week, but leafy vegetables and America's pork and beef producers didn't fare as well.

Dodge's love note to Americana in the form of their Super Bowl "farmer ad" struck a chord with sports fans all over the country, thrusting the oft-forgotten farmer into the national conversation. Politico reports that the ad was a hit with pundits who praised it for its aesthetics and powerful message, but not all viewers were won over. Alexis Madrigal, senior editor at The Atlantic, argues that the ad overlooks the huge role minorities play in modern agriculture, accusing Dodge of "whitewashing" the American farmer.

Critics of the school lunch nutrition standards and New York City's soda ban may have a new reason to cry "nanny state" this week. The USDA unveiled its "smart snacks" plan that proposes to limit the amount of fat, sugar and sodium sold outside of the school's cafeteria in places like vending machines. The guidelines are open to comment for 60 days and have quickly won support from health advocates.

Beyond school cafeterias, healthy eating faced another challenge thanks to a CDC report that named leafy greens as the top source for food-borne diseases between 1998 and 2008. But before you put down the kale, the CDC insists that leafy greens are still vital for your nutrition.

And since you're going to keep eating vegetables, you might as well know whether your food has been genetically engineered — or so thinks proponents for GMO labeling. Even Big Food may be on board. Executives from major food retailers like Wal-Mart and ConAgra attended a meeting last month where they discussed lobbying for a national labeling program. The companies seem to want to get out ahead of the issue after the millions of dollars they spent to crush Prop 37 last fall only resulted in more ballot initiatives.

In meat news, Russia has announced it will begin its ban on U.S. pork and beef this month after warning that it would not accept any meat that contains the growth-boosting drug ractopamine. The drug is legal in the U.S. and the USDA argues that Russia will be violating World Trade Organization commitments if it goes ahead with the ban.

Meanwhile the EU has loosened trade regulations, and will now accept live pigs and beef washed in lactic acid from the United States. In an effort to further trade talks with the U.S., the UK is trying to determine how horse DNA ended up in Irish beef products and the PEW Campaign has released this unsettling infographic that shows record high sales of antibiotics to animals for meat and poultry production.

And if you're not in the mood to eat meat after all of that, take this White House kimchi recipe for a spin.