Extra Extra : Food

U.S. food aid program struggles to move forward

The U.S. government spends more than half of its international food aid budget transporting life-saving commodities through a tangled system of special interests and government bureaucracy – more than $9 billion in taxpayer dollars over the past decade, a Medill/USA Today investigation has found.

That makes it by far the most inefficient and expensive food assistance delivery system in the world, and one that delays or deprives sustenance to potentially millions of people who desperately need it—and in some cases, die without it, according to interviews with dozens of U.S. officials and experts, and a review of ...

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Politicians' food tab takes $14.5M bite from donations

House members and candidates have spent at least $14.5 million of their donors' campaign contributions on food since Jan. 1, 2011, a USA TODAY analysis shows.

The expenses range from thousands of dollars to underwrite big fundraising lunches in their home districts to meal tabs at country clubs, glitzy New York hotels and Washington steakhouses. Politicians and their aides also spent donors' money at far less glamorous destinations, such as Dunkin' Donuts and Five Guys Burgers and Fries.

Unchecked irrigation threatens to sap Minnesota groundwater

Crop irrigation has boomed in Minnesota in the past few years, increasing land values and raising yields for corn, soybeans and other crops. But hundreds of Minnesota farmers appear to be irrigating cropland without the state permits required to use large volumes of public water, according to Minnesota Public Radio News.

Of roughly 1,200 crop irrigation wells drilled from 2008 to 2012, more than 200 likely are operating without a permit, a Minnesota Public Radio News investigation of public well records found. In addition, nearly 200 others operated without a permit until the past year or so.

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Government computer glitch left thousands in N.C. without food stamps

Thousands of people went without food stamps in North Carolina last year after government computers across the state crashed, according to the Huffington Post.

According to the report:

"The food stamp delays can be traced to troubles with a computer system designed by Accenture, one of the world’s largest consulting firms. The company is among a small group of politically connected technology contractors that receive government business across the country despite previous criticism of their work.

Accenture won the North Carolina contract after spending thousands of dollars on political contributions and lobbying in the state. North Carolina hired Accenture ...

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Extra Extra Monday: Pilots addicted to automation, 911 operators lacking training, county officials send poor to unlicensed care facility

Service Members Left Vulnerable to Payday Loans | Deal Book--The New York Times
Nearly seven years since the Military Lending Act came into effect, government authorities say the law has gaps that threaten to leave hundreds of thousands of service members across the country vulnerable to potentially predatory loans.

Detained border crossers may find themselves sent to ‘the freezers’ | The Center for Investigative Reporting
According to interviews and court documents, many immigrants have been held for days in rooms kept at temperatures so low that men, women and children have developed illnesses associated with the cold, lack of sleep, overcrowding, and ...

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Maker of Mexican dietary supplement used fake addresses and lied about ingredients

A USA Today investigation found that consumers who buy Reumofan, a Mexican dietary supplement considered a "100% natural" treatment for arthritis and joint pain, "are risking dangerous side effects and trusting their lives to a company that uses fake addresses, lies about the ingredients in its products and may not even exist."

USA Today set out to find the company behind Reumofan products, Riger Natural, and the people responsible through searching corporation records and visiting addresses listed for it in Mexico. The addresses were fake, and no evidence exists the companies ever had facilities in the locations, USA Today reports ...

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Cracks in the System: Salmonella proves to be a problem in beef too

As recently as March of 2013, Salmonella Typhimurium in ground beef was linked to more than 20 human illnesses in six states, according to a report by the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting. In September 2012, nearly 50 people in nine states became ill from eating ground beef tainted with Salmonella Enteritidis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

USA Today examines players in the risky supplement game

USA Today launched the first part of its investigation titled Supplement Shell Game: The People behind risky pills. The first article examines Matt Cahill, who has spent time in federal prison and now faces another federal charge after creating a series of products over the past 12 years -- one of which contained a pesticide banned for human consumption. One of Cahill's supplements, Craze, was marketed as "all-natural" and rated Supplement of the Year, and later was found to include undisclosed levels of amphetamine-like compounds. The supplement has been linked to several athletes' liver failures.

Experts told USA Today that ...

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