Media/News Archive

U.S. Forced to Import Corn as Shoppers Demand Organic Food

Friday, April 17th, 2015

Chicago Tribune
Alan Bjerga, Bloomberg News

Source: Paul Townsend & OR Dept. of Agriculture

Washington — A growing demand for organics, and the near-total reliance by U.S. farmers on genetically modified corn and soybeans, is driving a surge in imports from other nations where crops largely are free of bioengineering.

Imports such as corn from Romania and soybeans from India are booming, according to an analysis of U.S. trade data released Wednesday by the Organic Trade Association and Penn State University.

That shows a potential market for U.S. growers willing to avoid the use of artificial chemicals and genetically modified seeds, said Laura Batcha, chief executive officer of the association, which includes Whole Foods Market Inc., Whitewave Foods Co. and Earthbound Farm.

The report is “a help-wanted sign” for U.S. farmers, Batcha said. “There are market distortions that are pretty striking.” Read Full Article »

Infographic: Stop Seed Laws That Criminalise Farmers & Defend Local Seeds!

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

Grain
by La Via Campesina

Click here to download full-size poster

Seeds are under attack everywhere. Under corporate pressure, laws in many countries increasingly put limitations on what farmers can do with their seeds and with the seeds they buy. Seed saving, a thousand-year-old practice which forms the basis of farming, is fast becoming criminalised. What can we do about this?

DEFEND FARMERS’ OWN SEED SYSTEMS

Farmers’ fields are the first line of defense against bad seed laws. This means organising to rescue, collect, maintain, develop, share and use local farmers seeds. It is very important that women and young people are all involved. You can start a project with neighbours or local associations, talk to market or street vendors, get schools or you work place involved, etc. Seed fairs and visits to farms and gardens are an important part of this work. Read Full Article »

Antibiotic Resistance from Unexpected Sources–Herbicides, Dust and Metals

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

Forbes
by Judy Stone

Source: TP Martins

More disturbing news was revealed this week on new sources of antibiotic resistance in the environment. First, in a troublesome report in mBio, the journal of the American Society for Microbiology, researchers showed that three commercial herbicides—Monsanto’s dicamba (Kamba) and glyphosate (Roundup), and 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D)—could make strains of Escherichia coli and Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium less sensitive to antibiotics. (The response varied with different combinations of antibiotic, herbicide, and bacterial strain).

This is hugely important for several reasons: Herbicides are fairly ubiquitous in the environment. Glyphosate (Roundup) has been found in the milk and meat of cows, and in human urine. According to German researchers, “Glyphosate residues cannot be removed by washing and they are not broken down by cooking. Glyphosate residues can remain stable in foods for a year or more, even if the foods are frozen, dried or processed.” Thus, there is great chance for interaction of herbicides with antibiotics. Interestingly, Roundup alone had once been considered as an antibiotic, but resistance was found to develop rapidly. Dr. Jack Heinemann, the study’s lead author and professor at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand explains that while a bacteria alone might have been killed by an antibiotic, when exposed to an herbicide, a resistance gene is turned on, in effect “‘immunizing’ the bacteria to the antibiotic.” Read Full Article »

Why the FDA Doesn’t Really Know What’s In Your Food

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

The Center for Public Integrity
by Erin Quinn and Chris Young

Why doesn’t the government know what’s in your food? Because industry can declare on their own that added ingredients are safe. It’s all thanks to a loophole in a 57-year-old law that allows food manufacturers to circumvent the approval process by regulators. This means companies can add substances to their food without ever consulting the Food and Drug Administration about potential health risks.
. Read the video transcript.

Rebecca Fattell was enjoying breakfast at a hotel in Berlin last summer when, after a few bites of a roll, her mouth started to itch, her gums started to hurt and before long, hives covered her skin.

“My face, trunk, arms, legs,” Fattell said, “they were all beet red.”

She rushed to the emergency room.

Fattell, who is allergic to peanuts, is vigilant about what she eats and had been assured by hotel staff that her breakfast didn’t contain any. Hidden in the pastry, however, was lupin flour, which is made from a peanut-related legume that caused her reaction. Read Full Article »

New Research Links Neonicotinoid Pesticides to Monarch Butterfly Declines

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

Independent Science News
by Jonathan Latham, PhD

Source: Joel Olives

USDA researchers have identified the neonicotinoid insecticide clothianidin as a likely contributor to monarch butterfly declines in North America. The USDA research is published in the journal Science of Nature and was published online on April 3rd (Pecenka and Lundgren 2015).  (ISN has had hacking problems, again. If this page is unavailable to you, thank the chemical industry, and please try later)

Monarch butterfly populations (Danaus Plexippus) have declined precipitously in North America in the last twenty years. This decline has commonly been linked to loss of milkweeds (Asclepias species) from farmer’s fields. Monarch caterpillars are dependent on milkweeds. The ability of farmers to kill them with the Monsanto herbicide Roundup (glyphosate) has therefore led to this herbicide being considered as a major contributor to the decline of the monarch butterfly. Read Full Article »