Rates of digestive diseases are rising – from the uncomfortable (belly bloat) to the painful (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) to the serious and sometimes life-threatening (ulcerative colitis and colon cancer).
Prominent publicly-funded researchers in the US and Europe have concluded that carrageenan, a widely-used food ingredient, is a suspect in gastrointestinal inflammation and serious disease.
Sign the petition, tell the FDA to protect our health, not corporate profit, and we will send you information on what foods to avoid to protect yourself and your family.
May 17th, 2013
[NOTE: The Cornucopia Institute is one of the plaintiffs in the Monsanto seed patent lawsuit.]
Local, organic food may be the top choice for some people, but others are fearing for its future.
Donald Patterson’s family history of farming dates back to the 1700s. He’s been doing it all his life, but he is concerned with biotech giant Monsanto’s impact on the industry.
“They have focused on creating transgenic seeds, which take the DNA from an unrelated species, generally it’s been a bacteria, and they bring that into the plant,” said Patterson.
Monsanto is the largest producer of genetically modified crops.
Patterson has organized a massive lawsuit against the company. The 83 plaintiffs in The Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) v. Monsanto are made up of farmers, companies and agricultural organizations from across the United States and Canada. Two central Virginia-based companies, “Southern Exposure Seed Exchange” and “Countryside Organics” are also on the list.
Patterson and OSGATA say the patent on Monsanto’s seeds is a potential problem for organic farmers. Read Full Article »
May 17th, 2013
Image courtesy of Dirk Blankenhaus
Neonicotinoid insecticides have adverse effects not only on bees but also on freshwater invertebrates. Exposure to low but constant concentrations of these substances — which are highly soluble in water — has lethal effects on these aquatic organisms.
At the end of April, the EU imposed a 2-year ban on the use of neurotoxic agents belonging to the neonicotinoid group. In Switzerland, the Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG) has followed suit, suspending the authorizations of three insecticides used on oilseed rape and maize fields. These measures have been taken in response to evidence that neonicotinoids are toxic to honeybees and are contributing to the decline of bee colonies.
Problems seen with constant exposure
An Eawag study published today in the journal PLOS ONE (Public Library of Science) now shows that at least one of the insecticides in this class also has toxic effects on freshwater invertebrates. In this study, native freshwater shrimps (gammarids) were exposed to pulsed high and to constant low concentrations of imidacloprid. Read Full Article »
May 16th, 2013
Selling seeds, selling out democracy: US State Department does biotech industry’s bidding
By Jacob Chamberlain
The U.S. State Department does the bidding of biotech giants like Monsanto around the world by “twisting the arms of countries” and engaging in vast public campaign schemes to push the sale of genetically modified seeds, according to a new report released Tuesday by Food & Water Watch.
The report, Biotech Ambassadors: How the U.S. State Department Promotes the Seed Industry’s Global Agenda, which pulls from over 900 State Department diplomatic cables (obtained via WikiLeaks), reveals an environment wherein US ambassadors act as sales representatives for the global biotech industry.
U.S. ambassadors and their staffs actively lobby foreign governments to adopt pro-biotechnology policies and laws, create “rigorous public relations campaigns to improve the image of biotechnology” and challenge “commonsense biotechnology safeguards and rules — including opposing genetically engineered (GE) food labeling laws.”
“It really goes beyond promoting the U.S.’s biotech industry and agriculture,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “It really gets down to twisting the arms of countries and working to undermine local democratic movements that may be opposed to biotech crops, and pressuring foreign governments to also reduce the oversight of biotech crops.” Read Full Article »
May 15th, 2013
Industrial Model of Agriculture Is a Dead End, Scientists Say
Union of Concerned Scientists
WASHINGTON — U.S. agriculture is at a crossroads: continue the polluting, soil-depleting industrialized farming methods of the past, or invest in modern practices of the future. A policy brief and interactive web feature released by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) shows how several key practices can produce the food we need today while protecting precious natural resources for the long term—benefiting American farmers, consumers and the environment.
“Industrial agriculture sounded good in the 1950s, but it’s not serving us well in the twenty-first century,” said Doug Gurian-Sherman, senior scientist with UCS’s Food and Environment Program and co-author of the policy brief. “To meet the environmental, resource, and production challenges of the future, scientists, policy makers and farmers must work together to invest in a more sustainable kind of agriculture.”
“The Healthy Farm: A Vision for U.S. Agriculture,” identifies and explains four key healthy farm practices that would modernize agriculture to meet today’s challenges: Read Full Article »
May 14th, 2013
By Jim Robbins
THE world’s worrisome decline in biodiversity is well known. Some experts say we are well on our way toward the sixth great extinction and that by 2100 half of all the world’s plant and animal species may disappear.
Yet one of the most important threats to biodiversity has received little attention — though it lies under our feet.
Scientists using new analytical techniques over the last decade have found that the world’s ocean of soil is one of our largest reservoirs of biodiversity. It contains almost one-third of all living organisms, according to the European Union’s Joint Research Center, but only about 1 percent of its micro-organisms have been identified, and the relationships among those myriad life-forms is poorly understood.
Soil is the foundation on which the house of terrestrial biodiversity is built. Without robust soil ecosystems, the world’s food web would be in trouble.
To understand more, scientists recently embarked on what they call the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative to assess what is known about soil life, pinpoint where it is endangered and determine the health of the essential ecosystem services that soil provides.
They are not just looking at soil in remote, far-off landscapes. One of the more intensive studies is taking place in New York’s Central Park. Read Full Article »