Media/News Archive

Rethinking Eating

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

The New York Times
by Kate Murphy

Credit: Simon Bodzioch

Having radically changed the way we communicate, do research, buy books, listen to music, hire a car and get a date, Silicon Valley now aims to transform the way we eat. Just as text messages have replaced more lengthy discourse and digital vetting has diminished the slow and awkward evolution of intimacy, tech entrepreneurs hope to get us hooked on more efficient, algorithmically derived food.

Call it Food 2.0.

Following Steve Jobs’s credo that “people don’t know what they want until you show it to them,” a handful of high-tech start-ups are out to revolutionize the food system by engineering “meat” and “eggs” from pulverized plant compounds or cultured snippets of animal tissue. One company imagines doing away with grocery shopping, cooking and even chewing, with a liquid meal made from algae byproducts. Read Full Article »

Food Cravings Engineered By Industry

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

How Big Food keeps us eating through a combination of science and marketing

CBC News
by Kelly Crowe

Credit: National Cancer Institute

Standing in her kitchen in downtown Toronto chopping vegetables for dinner, Pat Guillet is aware she has entered the battleground.

“Whenever you go grocery shopping, or into your kitchen, you’re in a war zone. You have to really be prepared before you go in,” she said. She decides, in advance, exactly what she’s going to eat, and she forces herself to stick to the plan. Because she knows she is just one sweet mouthful away from a descent back into hell. Pat Guillet is a food addict.

“I ate to the point it hurt to move. And I would just lie in my bed and wish I was dead,” she said. She has finally wrestled her addiction under control and now she counsels other food addicts to avoid processed food. “Yeah, just the sight of the packages will trigger cravings,” she said.

Craving. It doesn’t just happen to food addicts. Most people have experienced the impulse to seek out and consume a favourite packaged snack food.  On one billboard, recently put up in Toronto, the intention to make you reach for another one is prominently declared, in large letters that tower over the city street. It’s a picture of a box of crackers, and the promise “You’ll be back for more.”

They know you will be back, because they’ve done the research necessary to make it happen. Read Full Article »

U.S. Court Overturns Law Limiting Biotech Crops on Hawaiian Island

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Reuters
by Carey Gillam

Copyright 123RF Stock Photos

(Reuters) – A group of global biotech crop companies won a court victory on Monday that blocks enactment of a law passed last year limiting the planting of biotech crops and use of pesticides on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren of the U.S. District Court in Hawaii ruled that the law passed in November by local leaders on the island was invalid because it was pre-empted by Hawaii state law.

The Kauai law required large agricultural companies to disclose pesticide use and genetically modified (GMO) crop plantings while establishing buffer zones around schools, homes and hospitals to protect people from exposure to pesticides used on the crops.

The measure had broad support on the island and the U.S. mainland from organizations and individuals who say heavy pesticide use by the agrochemical companies is poisoning people and the environment.

But in his ruling, Judge Kurren said county leaders on Kauai could not attempt local regulation, agreeing with arguments made by DuPont, Syngenta, Agrigenetics Inc, a company affiliated with the Dow AgroSciences unit of Dow Chemical Co, and BASF. Read Full Article »

Q&A: Why Farmers Markets Are Growing in the American South

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

Federal assistance programs allow low-income regions to enjoy the season’s bounty.

National Geographic
by Gloria Dickie

Image courtesy of Tammy Farrugia

For many living in the lower reaches of the United States, it’s a touch of southern comfort: Farmers markets—with offerings of peaches, sweet corn, watermelon, and cantaloupe—are cropping up across the region, filling “fresh food deserts” with local produce and offering healthier alternatives to low-income families.

New data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that between 2013 and 2014, five of the states that saw the biggest increase in farmers markets were in the South—Tennessee (20.2 percent), Louisiana (12.1 percent), Texas (6.6 percent), Arkansas (5.4 percent), and North Carolina (4.8 percent). Combined, the five states now support 725 unique markets.

“I knew that there were some new markets being established in the South, but I didn’t expect for southern states to edge out some of the northeastern states and the western states,” says Arthur Neal, deputy administrator for USDA’s agricultural marketing service. Read Full Article »

New Herbicide and GE Seeds: EPA and USDA Poised to Approve Herbicide with Insufficiently Unexamined Cumulative and Long-Term Health Effects

Tuesday, August 26th, 2014

The Pump Handle
by Elizabeth Grossman

Credit: NRCS

If the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) give their approval to a new herbicide called Enlist Duo and to corn and soybean seeds genetically engineered (GE) to resist that chemical, the United States could see a significant increase in what is already one of the country’s most widely used herbicides. Yet while the EPA seems poised to approve Enlist Duo and USDA, the GE seeds, about 50 members of Congress have written to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack expressing their “grave concerns” about “the multiple adverse human health, environmental, agronomic and socioeconomic harms that approval of 2,4D crops will likely cause.”

The EPA says that “on the basis of protective and conservative human health and ecological risk assessments,” it has “confirmed” the new herbicide’s safety “for the public, agricultural worker and non-target species,” but many questions remain about effects of cumulative and long-term exposure, particularly for farm workers and others living near where it’s used. What makes these questions particularly pressing is that the new product combines two of the country’s three most widely used herbicides. Read Full Article »