Happy Food Friday

July 10, 2009


non gmo project

Whole Foods Market today announced a commitment to the Non-GMO Project –a non-profit collaboration of manufacturers, retailers, processors, distributors, farmers, seed breeders and consumers – to use the Non-GMO’s Product Verification Program (PVP) in connection with Whole Foods Market’s private label products.

Whole Foods will submit its private label products to testing for genetically engineered organisms–a move that will add a new level of certification to what’s on the organic and natural grocer’s shelves.

Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods  will work with the Non-GMO Project, a nonprofit collaborative of manufacturers, retailers, processors, distributors, farmers and others. The product verification program is the reportedly the nation’s first system designed to scientifically test whether a product has met a set of defined standards for the presence of genetically engineered or modified organisms.

“From the moment GMOs were approved for use in the U.S., we recognized the need for transparency, but there was no definitive standard by which to evaluate or label products,” said Margaret Wittenberg, Whole Foods Market global vice president of quality standards. “We searched high and low for years for a way to do this and now, thankfully, the Non-GMO Project has answered that challenge by creating a standard and a practical system by which manufacturers may measure their products. At last, shoppers concerned about foods made with genetically modified ingredients will be able to make informed choices.”

According to the FDA, as much as 75 percent of processed food in the United States may contain components from genetically modified crops. Despite the abundance of products with genetically modified ingredients, a Pew Initiative study on food and biotechnology shows that 59 percent of Americans are unfamiliar with the issue of genetically modified ingredients in food. Read the rest of this entry »

Grow your own

June 27, 2009

j0289919[1]“And he gave it for his opinion, that whoever could make two ears of corn, or
two blades of grass, to grow upon a spot of ground where only one grew
before, would deserve better of mankind, and do more essential service
to his country, than the whole race of politicians put together.”

– Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels

Anemic earth

June 16, 2009

dead earthThe alarming fact is that foods – fruits, vegetables and grains – now being raised on millions of acres of land that no longer contains enough of certain needed nutrients, are starving us –no matter how much we eat of them.
US Senate Document 264 1936

factory farm70 percent of all antibiotics produced in the U.S.  –  25 million pounds annually – are given to farm animals, not people. Overcrowding and unsanitary conditions are the main reasons. Farm animals given antibiotics also need less food to grow.

To help prevent the development of “superbugs” that are resistant to antibiotics, doctors commonly warn their patients that antibiotics should only be used for bacterial infections, and should be taken at the proper dosage for the full course of treatment.


Industrial farms violate these medical principles every day by feeding healthy animals low doses of antibiotics over long periods of time in order to speed up their growth and to compensate for unsanitary living conditions. This creates the ideal breeding ground for dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacteria to thrive and spread.

The misuse of antibiotics on industrial farms threatens the health of farm workers, communities and the public. The American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and other leading medical groups agree that the growth of bacterial infections resistant to antibiotic treatment is a looming public health challenge. The groups also agree the misuse of antibiotics on industrial animal farms plays a significant role in this crisis.  While antibiotics are prescribed to people for short-term disease treatment, these same critically important drugs—like tetracycline, erythromycin and ciproflaxin—are fed in low doses to large herds or flocks daily, often for the lifespan of the animal. This creates ideal conditions for the breeding of new and dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Get the facts: Read the rest of this entry »

In a decision handed down yesterday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld a nationwide ban on the planting of genetically-engineered (GE) Roundup Ready alfalfa pending a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The Court determined that the planting of genetically modified alfalfa can result in potentially irreversible harm to organic and conventional varieties of crops, damage to the environment, and economic harm to farmers.

Although the suit was brought against USDA; Forage Genetics and Monsanto Company entered into the suit as Defendant-Intervenors. In her opinion, Circuit Judge Mary M. Schroeder held that Monsanto and Forage Genetics contend that the District Court disregarded their financial losses, but the district court considered those economic losses and simply concluded that the harm to growers and consumers who wanted non-genetically engineered alfalfa outweighed the financial hardships to Monsanto and Forage Genetics and their growers.

This ruling affirms a major victory for consumers, ranchers, organic farmers, and most conventional farmers across the country, said Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director of the Center for Food Safety. Roundup Ready Alfalfa represents a very real threat to farmers livelihoods and the environment; the judge rightly dismissed Monsanto claims that their bottom line should come before the rights of the public and Americaís farmers. This ruling is a turning point in the regulation of biotech crops in this country. Read the rest of this entry »

Palin on food democracy

August 29, 2008

“The landscape is littered with the bodies of those who have crossed Sarah,” pollster Dave Dittman told the Weekly Standard’s Fred Barnes.

When the Alaska Creamery Board recommended closing Matanuska Maid Dairy, an unprofitable state-owned business, Palin objected, citing concern for the impact on dairy farmers and the fact that the dairy had just received $600,000 in state money. When Palin learned that only the Board of Agriculture and Conservation could appoint Creamery Board members, she simply replaced the entire membership of the Board of Agriculture and Conservation. The new board, led by businesswoman Kristan Cole, reversed the decision to close the dairy. The new board approved milk price increases offered by the dairy in an attempt to control fiscal losses, even though milk from Washington was already offered in Alaskan stores at lower prices. In the end, the dairy was forced to close, and the state tried to sell the assets to pay off its debts but received no bids.


Coca-Cola is phasing out the use of the controversial additive sodium benzoate in Diet Coke because of consumer demand for more natural products. The company said it began removing the preservative (E211) from production lines in January, and so it should be out of circulation by the end of the year. However, the additive removal is only currently planned for products sold in Britain. The Coca-Cola Company could not confirm if any other countries would follow suit.

A spokesperson also said that there are no current plans to remove sodium benzoate from any other of its brands, such as Fanta, Sprite, Oasis and regular Coca-Cola.

“The product is very important technically, especially in fruit-based drinks,” said a spokesperson. “We are currently able to remove it from Diet Coke and we will look at removing it from products where technically possible.”

Sodium benzoate is used as a preservative in soft drinks, jams, fruit juices, pickles, shrimp, pharmaceuticals (especially cough syrups), and soy sauces. It primarily prevents them from going moldy. Recent studies have highlighted health concerns from its use.

However, Coca-Cola insisted the move was not a result of the studies and its removal from Diet Coke is simply a response to consumer preferences for natural. Read the rest of this entry »

Police place South Korean flags on cargo containers that hold sand to form a barricade to block a protest march on a street leading to the U.S. embassy and the presidential Blue House in central Seoul June 10, 2008. The containers were welded together and on to the road. About one million people fearing infection of mad cow disease across the country demonstrated to demand full-scale renegotiation of a beef deal with the U.S. and the resignation of President Lee Myung-bak. Yesterday the entire cabinet offered to resign because of mounting public protests against the resumption of U.S. beef imports.

South Korea was the third-biggest buyer of U.S. beef before imposing a ban in December 2003 on concerns about the brain- wasting disease, also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy. Scientists say BSE is spread in cattle by tainted animal feed. Eating contaminated meat from infected animals can cause a fatal human variant that has been blamed for the deaths of 151 people in the U.K., where it was first reported in the 1980s.

(Xinhua/Reuters Photo), www.chinaview.cn

A week ago, South Korea’s president said the country would resume full imports of American beef. Now, he says he won’t allow any beef from cattle more than 30 months old. The backpedaling came as tens of thousands took to the streets in public protest.

 Chung Woon-chun told reporters at a press conference that until the two sides reach an understanding on the age limit of cattle, South Korea will not post the revised sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) standards that were agreed on April 18. The move effectively maintains the ban on U.S. beef that has been in place since early October.  Read the rest of this entry »