Media/News Archive

Acreage for Genetically Modified Crops Declined in 2015

Monday, April 18th, 2016

The New York Times
by Andrew Pollack

Source: Lindsay Eyink

The world’s farmers have increased their use of genetically modified crops steadily and sharply since the technology became broadly commercialized in 1996. Not anymore.

In 2015, for the first time, the acreage used for the crops declined, according to a nonprofit that tracks the plantings of biotech seeds.

The organization said the main cause for the decline, which measured 1 percent from 2014 levels, was low commodity prices, which led farmers to plant less corn, soybeans and canola of all types, both genetically engineered and nonengineered.

But the figures for the last few years show that the existing market for the crops has nearly been saturated. Read Full Article »

Pennsylvania Certified Organic (PCO) Turmoil

Monday, April 18th, 2016

PCO-LogoAs we understand it there has been a fight between the PCO Board and its executive director that has gone on for the past few years and has now resulted in the resignation of many in their leadership.

One of the contentious issues is the executive director’s service on the Organic Trade Association’s Board and her nationally prominent role in “selling” an organic check on (tax) to organic farmers who, based on historical experience, find the concept repugnant.

Since PCO is a member-based organization, if you have questions before the next annual meeting we would encourage you to contact one of the signatories of the letter below.

– Mark A. Kastel

Dear members, staff, and friends of PCO,

As members of the PCO board of directors, we believe it is our duty and responsibility to inform the members, staff and stakeholders regarding the rumors and information about turmoil between the board and the Executive Director (ED). Pending Legal actions have prevented full disclosure, and it is with reservation that we address this matter publically. Read Full Article »

Fast-Food Eaters Have More Industrial Chemicals in Their Bodies

Friday, April 15th, 2016

by John Tozzi

Source: USDA

Would you like phthalates with that?

People who reported eating fast food in the last 24 hours had elevated levels of some industrial chemicals in their bodies, according to a new analysis of data from federal nutrition surveys.

The study is the first broad look at how fast food may expose the public to certain chemicals, called phthalates, that are used to make plastics more flexible and durable. The chemicals, which don’t occur in nature, are common in cosmetics, soap, food packaging, flooring, window blinds, and other consumer products. The Centers for Disease Control says “phthalate exposure is widespread in the U.S. population.”

Though the health consequences of encountering these substances aren’t fully known, scientists have increasingly focused on their effects on health and development, particularly for pregnant women and children. Research in rats has shown that they can disrupt the male reproductive system, and there’s evidence for similar effects in humans. Read Full Article »

Milk Jumps Onto the Small-Batch Bandwagon

Friday, April 15th, 2016

The New York Times
by Kevin Pang

Source: Paul Moody

CHICAGO — Standing in the dim basement of a meatpacking plant in the West Loop neighborhood, a 35-year-old start-up founder named Travis Pyykkonen conjured up a wholesome vision that was almost bucolic.

In one corner, Mr. Pyykkonen imagined a milk bar where customers could add blackberry-basil or banana-almond butter to fresh milk pasteurized on site. Over by some derelict filing cabinets, he saw a case for yogurt parfaits and house-made ice creams.

“What do we call ourselves?” he asked. “A microdairy. Like a microbrewery.”

His company, 1871 Dairy, already supplies grass-fed cow’s milk to Chicago’s top restaurants, including Alinea, Next and Blackbird. In the coming months, Mr. Pyykkonen will move his processing operation from Wisconsin to this au courant neighborhood a mile west of downtown, where meatpackers and fish smokehouses are making way for small-batch salumerias and coffee roasters. Read Full Article »

France to Ban Some Glyphosate Weedkillers Due to Health Concerns

Wednesday, April 13th, 2016

Reporting by Gus Trompiz; Editing by Andrew Callus

Francoise Weber,

France’s health and safety agency has decided to ban weedkillers that combine chemicals glyphosate and tallowamine due to uncertainty over possible health risks, the agency said on Friday.

The ANSES agency sent a letter this week to manufacturers informing them that it intends to withdraw the authorisation for such products, Francoise Weber, ANSES’ deputy director general, told Reuters.

The agency reviewed products combining glyphosate and tallowamine after conclusions published in November by the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) suggested greater potential risks compared to glyphosate alone, she said. Read Full Article »