Cornucopia Institute http://www.cornucopia.org Economic Justice for Family Scale Farming Fri, 27 Mar 2015 21:04:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 GM Alfalfa Creeps Across Borderhttp://www.cornucopia.org/2015/03/gm-alfalfa-creeps-across-border/ http://www.cornucopia.org/2015/03/gm-alfalfa-creeps-across-border/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 21:04:30 +0000 http://www.cornucopia.org/?p=15771 The Western Producer by Barb Glen Source: Ken Figlioli Although the Roundup Ready forage has been approved only for Eastern Canada, it’s been found in fields in Alberta and Saskatchewan OLDS, Alta.— Discovery of genetically modified alfalfa in Western Canada, where it has not yet been approved, highlights the likelihood of its eventual spread, said the president of Forage Seed Canada Inc. Heather Kerschbaumer said it would be preferable to keep GM alfalfa out of

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The Western Producer
by Barb Glen

Source: Ken Figlioli

Although the Roundup Ready forage has been approved only for Eastern Canada, it’s been found in fields in Alberta and Saskatchewan

OLDS, Alta.— Discovery of genetically modified alfalfa in Western Canada, where it has not yet been approved, highlights the likelihood of its eventual spread, said the president of Forage Seed Canada Inc.

Heather Kerschbaumer said it would be preferable to keep GM alfalfa out of the West, at least until it is accepted by export markets.

However, discovery of the Roundup Ready forage in one Saskatchewan and one Alberta field within the past few years shows that will be difficult if not impossible.

“I think it’s going to be really hard to keep it out because there’s going to be farmers that don’t know any better,” Kerschbaumer said in an interview at the Alberta Forage Industry Network meeting March 12.

“They’re going to think, ‘for my situation, it’s not going to hurt me. I’m going to feed my own alfalfa to my own cows … who’s going to care?’ ”

However, alfalfa can easily spread into ditches, fence lines and field edges, regardless of good intentions.

“He will never know. He’s not doing it intentionally but that unintentional way of contaminating, how do you keep it out?” asked Kerschbaumer.

Forage broker Ed Shaw agreed that GM alfalfa, which is grown in the United States and has been approved for growth in Eastern Canada, will be difficult to contain.

“I personally think that there is enough cross contamination and there is enough seed that is coming from the States, that … it’s going to be hard to keep it out,” Shaw said.

Forage Seed Canada finalized its position statement on GM alfalfa in February and has sent it to government and the industry. It says the organization cannot support commercialization of GM alfalfa until it has international consumer, market and industry acceptance.

The organization also said it requires an identity preservation system for alfalfa varieties in Canada, a rapid and cost effective test to determine GM presence, an economic impact assessment on how GM alfalfa would affect forage seed markets and a liability clause to compensate growers for lost seed markets because of contamination from gene transfer or uncontrolled feral alfalfa.

“The CFIA has failed to do a complete due diligence assessment in the approval of GE alfalfa for release into Canada by neglecting to factor in potential market losses or market impact by allowing GE traits in alfalfa into Canada before widespread market acceptance,” the position paper said.

Canadian Forage Growers Association president Doug Wray asked if Forage Seed Canada’s objections would be the same if the GM trait involved low lignin or drought tolerant qualities.

Kerschbaumer said Forage Genetics International, which owns the marketing rights for GM alfalfa, has said it plans to sell only stacked trait varieties, all of which will include glyphosate tolerance.

She said her organization supports regulations based on sound science, but the risk of export market loss is the primary issue.

Pollination supplier Weldon Hobbs said the absence of GM alfalfa in the West provides an opportunity.

“If the world accepts it, we would be in a lot of trouble not grasping it and trying to keep up with the rest of the world, but right now we have an advantage in trying to stay clean and take over a lot of markets,” he said.

Kerschbaumer said Canada’s share of the export alfalfa seed market is small, at about $145 million, but the market for hay is worth billions.

“We have everybody on our shoulders,” she said of seed growers.

“If we can’t have clean seed, we’re not going to have clean hay.”

Shaw said many international markets accept .1 percent GM in imported product, but China has a zero tolerance policy that Canada and other countries could tap.

Growers in the United States initially obtained a premium for growing GM alfalfa seed, but Kerschbaumer said that has disappeared.

“You actually get a premium now if you have no GE in your seed, so it has done a complete flip.”

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When Enough Is Enough and We Stand for Our Rightshttp://www.cornucopia.org/2015/03/when-enough-is-enough-and-we-stand-for-our-rights/ http://www.cornucopia.org/2015/03/when-enough-is-enough-and-we-stand-for-our-rights/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 14:04:16 +0000 http://www.cornucopia.org/?p=15766 A voice from Benton County, OR by Harry MacCormack Harry MacCormack There is a disturbance on the Land, in our intestinal tracts, and in our cells and genes. It is not a new terror. It has been deteriorating life quality for over four generations. Wreaking havoc daily at subtle, mostly unseen levels, the devastation is more and more widespread. Putting a face to this overpowering activity leads to illusive, mostly hidden figures who only surface

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A voice from Benton County, OR

by Harry MacCormack

Harry MacCormack

There is a disturbance on the Land, in our intestinal tracts, and in our cells and genes. It is not a new terror. It has been deteriorating life quality for over four generations. Wreaking havoc daily at subtle, mostly unseen levels, the devastation is more and more widespread. Putting a face to this overpowering activity leads to illusive, mostly hidden figures who only surface as giant international corporate names with which we’ve all become familiar.

In the 1950’s its slogan became “Better Living through Chemistry.” In the 1980’s it began a campaign to “Feed The World Through Genetic Engineering.” We as modern humans accepted what passed for science supporting this campaign, even though technologies based on that science were able to legitimatize the patenting of life processes, the turning into private-corporate property of our inherited Genetic Commons.

Study after study – world-wide – has shown the effects of allowing this disturbance free reign. Bio-chemical cellular level sickness and death have become the normal condition of our soils, water, air and the digestive, neural and mental states of all beings. Endocrine disruption and epigenetic consequences of this disturbance have been shown to be multi-generational.

The question for all of us at this time on this fragile planet is DO WE HAVE TO PUT UP WITH THIS IMPOSED POISONING?

The answer is of course NO. But that No implies that we get off our collective acceptance butts and act to change this situation. Usually we heave a collective sigh at this directive and claim these disruptive forces are too large, too entrenched to confront. But that attitude does not regain balance and harmony necessary for the health and welfare of all life.

There is a way to collectively disarm those few who have without open consent gained so much control over all our lives. First we have to be very clear about the world, the conditions we collectively wish to live in. Then we have to enact those conditions as legal Rights to which we have all agreed.

The Benton County Local Food System Ordinance models this push-back process. It was written by a group of mostly small famers with the help of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund over two years ago. It has survived three court tests, signature gathering, and is now Measure number 02-89 headed for the May 2015 ballot.

In this county ordinance we have (1) given legal status to our Local Food System (2) given legal standing to our Heritage Seeds (3) given legal status to Natural Communities, and (4) curtailed the Rights assumed by Corporations and the preemptive power of the State.

Which begs the question: What Is a Local Food System? And why is a Local Food System important now and the very near future?

Local Food Systems (LFS’s) are generated by communities of people who share practices oriented toward food security, locally based cuisine, and the vitality that comes from eating what is grown in a particular climatic zone where the eater lives. Gardeners, Farmers, Processors, Wholesale and Retailers may all be active participants in an LFS. Farmer’s Markets have been the most visual promoters of LFS. Obviously, consumers with a commitment to health and locally based economy are the necessary digesters of the products of an LFS. Local Food systems have been consciously building over the last 40 years, but they have no legal standing. The Benton County LFS Ordinance gives legal standing to all of the players that make our locally based regional food system possible.

So, why is it necessary to give legal standing to our Heritage Seeds? For generations, hundreds or even thousands of years, seeds have been grown, harvested, and shared by individuals in communities. Sometimes those seeds were gifted, traded or marketed outside those communities, worldwide. In 1980 in a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision ( Diamon vs. Chakraberty) seeds and all other life forms, the very foundations of food culture, were suddenly given the “right” to be patented. There were earlier seed and plant patenting  regulations, but the 1980 decision secured the right of privatization through ownership of The Genetic Commons. Since that time the Genetic Engineering of seeds, animals, all cellular life has expanded to the point that whole genomes are lost to patents. Sugar beets are an example: fully 97% of that seed is now patented GMO. Current risk crops include corn, rice, wheat, soy, flax, canola, and an ever- growing list of fruits and vegetables including papaya, apple, strawberry, tomato, summer squash, lettuce, beets, chard, potatoes etc.

When a local food systems seeds are threatened or even polluted by patented agricultural processes, all the necessary participants in the LFS loose control and have been found by the courts to have no legal standing vs. the large agrichemical/seed corporations. In fact, seeds grown by farmers under contract to patent holders, if found in a genetically patented form in non- contract fields are deemed property violations by the courts. Pollen is often how such gene transfer happens as it has for thousands of years. Insects, birds, rodents, even surface water can be causative factors in genetic transference and subsequent legal claims by the big agri corporations. The only way to insure our LFS future is to STOP genetic engineering from controlling the basis of our LFS. The Benton County Ordinance does that.

Why are Natural Communities given legal standing by our ordinance: Specifically those communities necessary for our soils, water and air, (and by extension many of those same communities as they populate healthy digestive tracts in humans and all other species}?

In the production of health promoting foods it is essential that microorganisms, bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes to name a few, be stimulated not retarded as they cycle primary soil nutrients such as Calcium, Phosphorus and Nitrogen. Since the dawn of industrial agriculture essential nutrient levels in foods have dropped worldwide by more than 60%. Much of this downturn is attributed to synthetic chemical damage by herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, fumigants etc. Our collective digestive tracts are also continually hammered by direct or residual ingestion of these pesticides, all of which are required parts of genetically engineered production contracts with patent holders (who are most often the producers of both the seed and the pesticides). Those Violators of Natural Communities – as the basis of an LFS – have never before been confronted by defenders of those communities and their Natural Community inherent Rights to exist, persist and flourish. The LFS Ordinance of Benton County expresses such Rights and gives We The People of this county legal authority to stand up for those Natural Community Rights.

Finally, why is it necessary for this ordinance to block assumed Corporate rights and deny the State preemptive powers over what we the people want as our living conditions?

Corporations have for more than 100 years lobbied and procured Corporate Commerce “Rights”, Corporate Personhood “Constitutional Rights” and Nature as Property “Rights”. The State has become little more than a tool of powerful Corporate money. The State either explicitly or by field preemption claims to trump ordinances or municipal decisions made which conflict with State statutes or agency regulations, even when those ordinances are passed through election by the people in accordance with the State Constitution and State approved Local Charters. Because the State more and more clearly acts on behalf of Corporate lobby money and subsequent influence, We The People are denied any power or authority, in this case as it has to do with the basis of our health and welfare. The Benton County LFS Ordinance directly challenges such limitation within our supposed democracy. Our ordinance specifically blocks Corporate/State authority to regulate the quality of the food system that is the basis of the quality of our individual and collective lives.

When We The People pass this ordinance in May the push-back in the forms of lawsuits will come from the faces that front for the large Agri-chemical/seed Corporations who presume to control all genetic life on this planet. We’ve been locked in court battles with them since submitting this ordinance for the people’s vote. It Is therefore  necessary that we feel the strength of this ordinance and that we collectively exercise that strength to carry forth the health and balance of the communities with whom we choose to live.

This struggle will not end with our YES votes on measure 02-89. Our vigilance and volunteer efforts will necessarily consume the days of our lives on this one of a kind planet. Get involved, wherever you live. For more information or to donate:  www.bentonccrc.org. or www.celdf.org.

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Former NOSB Chair: Approval Process for Synthetic/Non-Organic Materials… Turned on Its Headhttp://www.cornucopia.org/2015/03/former-nosb-chair-approval-process-for-syntheticnon-organic-materials-turned-on-its-head/ http://www.cornucopia.org/2015/03/former-nosb-chair-approval-process-for-syntheticnon-organic-materials-turned-on-its-head/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 17:48:46 +0000 http://www.cornucopia.org/?p=15684 [NOTE:  Barry Flamm is the Secretary of Cornucopia’s Board of Directors.] Certified Organics: 2015 by Barry Flamm Barry Flamm Members of MOA care deeply about organics. For many it is your life: manifesting a deep conviction that organics is the future for agriculture if a healthy, sustainable world is to be achieved. An important step in advancing U.S. organic production was the 1990 passage of the Organic Food Production Act (OFPA), which brought integrity and

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[NOTE:  Barry Flamm is the Secretary of Cornucopia’s Board of Directors.]

Certified Organics: 2015
by Barry Flamm

Barry Flamm

Members of MOA care deeply about organics. For many it is your life: manifesting a deep conviction that organics is the future for agriculture if a healthy, sustainable world is to be achieved.

An important step in advancing U.S. organic production was the 1990 passage of the Organic Food Production Act (OFPA), which brought integrity and order to organic food production and marketing. This Act and the implementing regulations were driven by the organic community’s desire to insure the integrity of organics, which is reflected by the seal of approval, and to assure a continuing role of the organic community in maintaining the high standards for organics.

To help achieve this goal, Congress established a citizen advisory panel, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), and gave it very important duties and rather unique powers as essential advisor to the Secretary of Agriculture on all issues concerning the implementation of OFPA and special responsibilities for what substances may appear on the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances. Intended as the voice of the organic community, the 15-member Board intends to represent the broad spectrum of interests in the organic community: farmers, handlers, retail, environmental protection and resource conservation, consumer interests, science, and certification. For some more background on the NOSB, please take a look at my article in the Summer 2014 issue of Organic Matters or the NOSB page on MOA’s website at: www.montanaorganicassociation.org/nosb.htm.

Since passage of the Act and implementation of the Rule, organic production and sales have increased, outpacing other agriculture sectors. Organics can be found on shelves everywhere, but to our dismay, they are sometimes mixed with labels such as “natural,” confusing customers as to which is best. But we have pointed with pride to the organic seal and all that it stands for!

I remember not long ago being ridiculed and attacked for risking my neighbor’s crops by being organic. Now many of the same people are at least occasionally buying and eating organic food.

Organics are mainstream. The January 2015 issue of Costco Connection’s cover story was “Growing Organic,” with the subtitle “keeping pace with a booming market.” The  article begins, “Walk into just about any food retailer and, more often than not, you’ll be faced with a choice: whether to buy organic or conventionally grown food. But what does it all mean? Simply put, certified organic foods have been farmed without synthetic pesticides and fertilizers and do not use GMOs…”

We know that organics is more than what we don’t do, but what we do to produce healthy food while protecting and sustaining the environment. Consumers are concerned with these values, but are mostly concerned with buying chemical-free foods. OFPA reflects this public interest by saying, “…establishes the overall principle that, in order to be labeled as organic it must be produced and handled without the use of synthetic chemicals.” The law recognizes there may be a need for temporary exemptions, thus it provided for a thorough review process, whereby certain synthetics could be permitted for use but would sunset, or be removed, after five years.

OFPA and public expectations vs. exemptions are in conflict. The materials on the National List have grown to 137 (crops 51, Livestock 40, processing 46) and consumers may be surprised by what is currently allowed.

As I reviewed in my last article (referenced earlier), the National Organic Program (NOP) was established within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to administer OFPA requirements. The staff was very small until 2008, when increase in budget and staff occurred along with newly declared USDA support for organic and a pledge of “organic integrity from farm to table—consumers trust the organic label.” For several years, collaboration and working relations between NOSB and NOP grew and recommendations for strengthening organic programs were submitted and adopted.

In 2013, all began to change without public notice or opportunity to comment. In summary, NOP limited the NOSB’s ability to provide independent advice to the Secretary of Agriculture by taking away the Board’s ability to develop its work plan and agenda. NOP also arbitrarily disbanded the important Policy Development Committee (aka sub committee) and expired the Policy and Procedures Manual (PPM), which was developed over the years with public participation.

Then in September 2013, NOP announced dramatic changes in the approval process for synthetic and non-organic materials allowed on the National List. The sunset procedural changes were now in conflict with OFPA and NOSB procedures mandated in the PPM. The important concept here is that materials sunsetted after five years unless, after careful review, the material was shown to be safe and was essential as no viable alternative existed, was turned on its head. As with all petitioned materials, sunsetting materials had required a super majority 2/3 vote in order to stay on the list. NOP’s dictate now required a super majority to remove a material from the list. This action makes sunset almost meaningless! It will be rare that any material will be removed if these procedures remain in effect.

Principle authors of OFPA, Senator Patrick Leahy and Representative Peter De Fazio, wrote Secretary Vilsack expressing “great concern” regarding the sunset provision changes. Past NOSB chairmen, including myself, wrote the Secretary expressing grave concerns for the arbitrary changes at NOSB and in the sunset process. These appeals were ignored by Secretary Vilsack and Deputy Administrator McEvoy. Instead, USDA/NOP tried to cement the radical changes last May through an amendment to the NOSB Federal Advisory Board Charter, improperly assigning authority to USDA to terminate the NOSB. This action took place immediately following the April NOSB meeting, in which McEvoy took over as Co-chair, intruding on the independence and authority of the NOSB.

Twenty organizations, pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act, petitioned amendments to the Charter to reflect the duties of NOSB and reflect the mandatory, continuing status of the NOSB. The Petition’s issues have not been fully resolved, but USDA has now amended the Charter to acknowledge that NOSB status is continuing.

At the Fall 2014 Board meeting, the NOSB Chair resumed presiding over the proceedings. The Policy Development Sub Committee was reinstated, but according to a NOSB source it has not yet met nor has an agenda. In any case, NOP overstepped their authority by unilaterally dismissing a Standing Committee (aka sub).

In spite of Congressional and many public objections, NOP has stood firm on its Sunset change. NOP’s instructions on implementation of the new policy has left the NOSB and its subcommittees confused. The confusion was apparent at the Fall meeting, where members were unclear on how and what to vote. This was not so serious this time as there were few materials to vote on. However, coming up are a massive number of materials sunsetting. (9 materials in 2016 and 115 materials in 2017).

Unfortunately, these serious problems created by NOP may have to be addressed in court. Involved organic advocates and organizations have been cautious criticizing program faults as they believe strongly in organics and have not wanted to weaken the organic image.

This is changing. Consumer Union, publisher of Consumer Reports and the most widely respected private consumer watchdog, downgraded the value of the organic seal from their highest rating. Uravashi Rangan, Director of Consumer Safety and Sustainability at Consumer Union stated last October that, “Organic is slipping. As a result we have downgraded its rating from highly meaningful to meaningful.” This happened only after very careful consideration of several issues, but was ultimately triggered by the NOP Sunset changes and the debasing of NOSB. We should also be aware that there are other seals of approval that have a high rating for integrity that may challenge the Certified Organic Seal if we don’t speak up about the weakening of the NOSB. Other labels will emerge if the trend of eroding organic integrity continues and if consumers are not getting what they paid for.

There has been much progress in organics and a rapid increase in production and product availability to consumers. But quantity must not diminish quality and the integrity of organics.

Integrity should be a fact, not rhetoric! If you believe this, your voices MUST be heard.

Visit www.montanaorganicassociation.org/nosb.htm for easy ways to express your concerns to the representatives that can make a difference and to the organizations that are working hard to retain the integrity of the Certified Organic Seal.

This article was reprinted with permission from Montana Organic Association’s Winter 2015 issue of Organic Matters. Visit www.montanaorganicassociation.org.

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Pesticides in Producehttp://www.cornucopia.org/2015/03/pesticides-in-produce/ http://www.cornucopia.org/2015/03/pesticides-in-produce/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 14:31:38 +0000 http://www.cornucopia.org/?p=15672 Consumer Reports Source: Remster 9 Consumer Reports’ new guidelines show you how to make the best choices for your health—and for the environment Across America, confusion reigns in the supermarket aisles about how to eat healthfully. One thing on shopper’s minds: the pesticides in produce. In fact, a recent Consumer Reports survey of 1,050 people found that pesticides are a concern for 85 percent of Americans. So, are these worries justified? And should we all

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Consumer Reports

Source: Remster 9

Consumer Reports’ new guidelines show you how to make the best choices for your health—and for the environment

Across America, confusion reigns in the supermarket aisles about how to eat healthfully. One thing on shopper’s minds: the pesticides in produce. In fact, a recent Consumer Reports survey of 1,050 people found that pesticides are a concern for 85 percent of Americans. So, are these worries justified? And should we all be buying organics—which can cost an average of 49 percent more than standard fruits and vegetables?

Experts at Consumer Reports believe that organic is always the best choice because it is better for your health, the environment, and the people who grow our food. The risk from pesticides in produce grown conventionally varies from very low to very high, depending on the type of produce and on the country where it’s grown. The differences can be dramatic. For instance, eating one serving of green beans from the U.S. is 200 times riskier than eating a serving of U.S.-grown broccoli.

“We’re exposed to a cocktail of chemicals from our food on a daily basis,” says Michael Crupain, M.D., M.P.H., director of Consumer Reports’ Food Safety and Sustainability Center. For instance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that there are traces of 29 different pesticides in the average American’s body. “It’s not realistic to expect we wouldn’t have any pesticides in our bodies in this day and age, but that would be the ideal,” says Crupain. “We just don’t know enough about the health effects.”

If you want to minimize your pesticide exposure, see the chart below. We’ve placed fruits and vegetables into five risk categories—from very low to very high. (Download our full scientific report, “From Crop to Table.”) In many cases there’s a conventional item with a pesticide risk as low as organic. Below, you’ll find our experts’ answers to the most pressing questions about how pesticides affect health and the environment. Together, this information will help you make the best choices for you and your family.

Learn about glyphosate, the most commonly used agricultural pesticide in the U.S. on farms.

How risky are pesticides?

There’s data to show that residues on produce have actually declined since 1996, when Congress passed the Food Quality Protection Act. This law requires that the EPA ensure that levels of pesticides on food are safe for children and infants.

Every year, the Department of Agriculture tests for pesticide residues on a variety of produce. In its latest report, more than half of the samples had residues, with the majority coming in below the EPA tolerance levels. “Conventionally grown fruits and vegetables are very safe,” says Teresa Thorne, spokeswoman for the Alliance for Food and Farming, an organization that represents growers of conventional and organic produce.

But that’s not the whole story. Looking at specific produce items, you see that progress has been made for some but not others. Grapes and pears, for example, once would have been in the high-risk or very high-risk categories but now rank low. But others, such as green beans, have been in the higher-risk categories for the past 20 years.

And there’s more to consider than just the amount of pesticides on the apple you eat. “Tolerance levels are calculated for individual pesticides, but finding more than one type on fruits and vegetables is the rule—not the exception,” says Urvashi Rangan, Ph.D., a toxicologist and executive director of the Consumer Reports Food Safety and Sustainability Center.

Our survey found that a third of Americans believe there’s a legal limit on the number of different pesticides allowed on food. But that’s not the case. Almost a third of the produce the USDA tested had residues from two or more pesticides. “The effects of these mixtures is untested and unknown,” Rangan says.

What’s the evidence that pesticides hurt your health?

A lot of the data comes from studies of farmworkers, who work with these chemicals regularly. Studies have linked long-term pesticide exposure in this group to increased risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease; prostate, ovarian, and other cancers; depression; and respiratory problems. There’s some suggestion that adults and children living in farm communities could also be at risk for chronic health problems.

The rest of us may not handle the stuff, but we are exposed through food, water, and air. The fact that pesticide residues are generally below EPA tolerance limits is sometimes used as “proof” that the health risks are minimal. But the research used to set these tolerances is limited.

In a 2010 report on environmental cancer risks, the President’s Cancer Panel (an expert committee that monitors the country’s cancer program) wrote: “The entire U.S. population is exposed on a daily basis to numerous agricultural chemicals. . . . Many of these chemicals have known or suspected carcinogenic or endocrine-disrupting properties.” Endocrine disruptors can block or mimic the action of hormones, even at low doses. “Endocrine effects aren’t sufficiently factored into the EPA pesticide-tolerance levels,” Crupain says. “And there’s concern they could cause reproductive disorders; birth defects; and breast, prostate, and other hormone-related cancers.”

Who may be at greatest risk from pesticide exposure?

Aside from farmworkers, it’s children. A child’s metabolism is different from an adult’s, so toxins can remain longer in a child’s body, where they can do more damage. Pesticide exposure can affect children’s development at many stages, starting in the womb. “Fetuses, babies, and kids are more vulnerable to the effects of pesticides because their organs and nervous systems are still developing,” says Philip Landrigan, M.D., director of the Children’s Environmental Health Center at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. And children’s risk is concentrated because they eat more food relative to their body weight than adults.

The health risks to children are significant. Even small amounts of pesticides may alter a child’s brain chemistry during critical stages of development. One study of 8- to 15-year-olds found that those with the highest urinary levels of a marker for exposure to a particularly toxic class of pesticides called organophosphates had twice the odds of developing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder as those with undetectable levels. Another study found that at age 7, children of California farmworkers born to mothers with the highest levels of organophosphates in their bodies while they were pregnant had an average IQ 7 points below those whose moms had the lowest levels during pregnancy. That’s comparable to the IQ losses children suffer due to low-level lead exposure.

The risk to adults is lower but still worrisome. “Pesticide exposure likely increases the risk, first, of cancerous tumor development, and, second, your body not being able to control a tumor growth,” says Charles Benbrook, Ph.D., a research professor at the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources at Washington State University and a consultant to Consumer Reports. In addition, research has linked endocrine disrupters with fertility issues, immune system damage, and neurological problems. “However, unlike cancer, quantifying those effects is difficult at this time,” Crupain says.

Does eating organic mean I won’t be eating any pesticides?

There are two groups of agricultural pesticides: synthetic and natural. Synthetics are created in labs, and natural ones are substances that occur in nature. The majority of synthetic pesticides (and all of the most toxic ones) used in conventional farming are banned in organic farming, but pesticide drift can mean chemicals sprayed on conventional crops may find their way to nearby organic farms. Still, all of the organic produce in our analysis fell into the very low-risk or low-risk categories.

USDA organic standards allow for the use of certain natural pesticides and very few synthetic ones. “But you can’t compare conventional and organic farming in an oranges-to-oranges kind of way,” says Michael Sligh, a farmer, founding chairman of the National Organic Standards Board, and Just Foods Program director at Rural Advancement Foundation International.

Natural pesticides are usually less toxic than synthetic ones. “ ‘Pesticide’ is a broad term used to refer to a range of substances from the very, very limited low-toxic ones allowed in organic farming to the highly toxic chemicals that can be used in conventional farming,” he says. “They are very different. Before a pesticide is even approved for use in organic farming, it must be evaluated for potential adverse effects on humans, animals, and the environment, and prove it’s compatible with a system of sustainable agriculture. And farmers must follow integrated pest-management plans that require that they use any approved organic pesticide as a last resort and develop strategies to avoid repeated use.” Those differences have implications for personal health but also for the health of farmworkers and the planet. “Folks need to understand the multiple benefits they are getting when they choose organic,” he says, “and the multiple choices they are making when they don’t.”

Some conventional farmers do follow pest-management plans similar to those of organic farmers. “Practices such as crop rotation and the use of beneficial insects or pheromones are tools both conventional and organic farmers use,” says the AFF’s Thorne. That may be so. However, Sligh says, “for organic farmers it’s a requirement, not an option.”

And eating organic means you may have fewer pesticides in your body. A study in Environmental Health Perspectives found that people who said they often or always ate organic produce had about 50 percent lower levels of organophosphate breakdown products in their bodies than those who rarely or never did. Those who sometimes chose organic produce had levels as much as 35 percent lower.

Should I skip conventionally grown produce?

No. The risks of pesticides are real, but the myriad health benefits of fruits and vegetables are, too. A 2012 study estimated that increasing fruit and vegetable consumption could prevent 20,000 cancer cases annually, and 10 cases of cancer per year could be attributed to consumption of pesticides from the additional produce. Another study found that people who ate produce at least three times per day had a lower risk of stroke, hypertension, and death from cardiovascular disease.

“We believe that organic is always the best first choice,” says Consumer Reports’ Rangan. “Not only does eating organic lower your personal exposure to pesticides, but choosing organic you support a sustainable agriculture system.” However, your primary goal is to eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables—ideally five or more servings a day—even if it’s a type that falls into our very high-risk category. If organic produce is too pricey or not available, our analysis shows that you often have a low-risk conventional option.

Rules to shop by: Our risk guide for conventional produce

The chart below (download a PDF or click on the chart to expand it) shows the risk of pesticide exposure from eating 48 fresh conventional fruits and vegetables from 14 different countries. Analyzing 12 years of data from the Department of Agriculture’s Pesticide Data Program, Consumer Reports scientists, in consultation with Charles Benbrook, Ph.D., of Washington State University, placed each produce-country combination into one of five risk categories. Risk assessment included the number of pesticide residues on each food, the frequency with which they were found, and the toxicity of the pesticides. The risk categories correlate with the number of daily servings of that fruit or vegetable.

We also took into account the typical serving size of the food and the weight of the person eating that food. Our analysis is based on the risk to a 3½-year-old child, estimated to weigh 35.2 pounds, because children are especially vulnerable to the dietary risks from pesticides and the EPA is required to consider the effects of pesticides on children. The risks to adults would be lower. (Download our full scientific report, “From Crop to Table.”)

We recommend buying organic for any produce-country combination in the medium or higher risk categories. We found that all organic produce falls into the low- or very low-risk categories. Conventional items in the low or very low categories are essentially equivalent to organic.

Our No. 1 rule: Eat more produce! Though we believe that organic is always the best choice because it promotes sustainable agriculture, getting plenty of fruits and vegetables—even if you can’t obtain organic—takes precedence when it comes to your health.

CRO_Health_Pesticide_Chart_03-15
Click on the chart to view a larger version.

Editor’s Note: This article also appeared in the May 2015 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.

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Monsanto Settles With Farmers Over GMO Wheathttp://www.cornucopia.org/2015/03/monsanto-settles-with-farmers-over-gmo-wheat/ http://www.cornucopia.org/2015/03/monsanto-settles-with-farmers-over-gmo-wheat/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 00:13:10 +0000 http://www.cornucopia.org/?p=15667 St. Louis Business Journal by Ben Unglesbee Source: Occupy Reno Media Committee Monsanto Company has reached a settlement with wheat farmers in seven states, including Missouri, over the 2013 contamination of an Oregon wheat farm with the seed and biotech company’s genetically modified wheat. In the settlement, Monsanto did not admit liability and agreed to donate $50,000 to land grant universities in each of the states represented in the lawsuit to advance the interests of

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St. Louis Business Journal
by Ben Unglesbee

Source: Occupy Reno Media Committee

Monsanto Company has reached a settlement with wheat farmers in seven states, including Missouri, over the 2013 contamination of an Oregon wheat farm with the seed and biotech company’s genetically modified wheat.

In the settlement, Monsanto did not admit liability and agreed to donate $50,000 to land grant universities in each of the states represented in the lawsuit to advance the interests of wheat farmers and the wheat industry. The states involved in the settlement are Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.

Monsanto will also reimburse plaintiffs and their counsel for a portion of their out-of-pocket costs and fees associated with this litigation.

The settlement will lead to the dismissal of seven separate lawsuits. It will not resolve a suit brought by Arkansas wheat growers, whose case is still pending.

“Rather than paying the costs of protracted litigation, this agreement puts that money to work in research and development efforts for the wheat industry,” said Kyle McClain, Monsanto chief litigation counsel, in a release. “Resolution in this manner is reasonable and in the best interest of all of the parties.”

Interim lead counsel for the plaintiffs in the settling cases, Patrick Pendley of Pendley, Boudin & Coffin, L.L.P. in Plaquemine, Louisiana, noted, “We believe this is a unique and fair mechanism for resolving the claims of midwest and southeast wheat farmers. The settlement fairly and equitably resolves our clients’ claims in a manner that will benefit all wheat industry farmers in the states receiving donations.”

Monsanto has settled separate suits with farmers in the Midwest. The GMO contamination of an Oregon wheat field led farmers elsewhere in the U.S. to sue Monsanto over economic damages caused by the incident.

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‘Seedy Business': New Report Digs Beneath Agrichemical Industry’s High-Cost PR Machinehttp://www.cornucopia.org/2015/03/seedy-business-new-report-digs-beneath-agrichemical-industrys-high-cost-pr-machine/ http://www.cornucopia.org/2015/03/seedy-business-new-report-digs-beneath-agrichemical-industrys-high-cost-pr-machine/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 17:04:30 +0000 http://www.cornucopia.org/?p=15599 Common Dreams by Sarah Lazare Source: TP Martins ‘The tremendous amount of money spent speaks to depth of public unease about GMOs,’ says lead author What exactly is the agrichemical industry hiding with its high-cost public relations and lobbying efforts to convince the U.S. public that genetically modified organisms and pesticides are safe? According to a just-released study by the newly-formed nonprofit organization U.S. Right to Know, the answer is: A great deal. Entitled Seedy

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Common Dreams
by Sarah Lazare

Source: TP Martins

‘The tremendous amount of money spent speaks to depth of public unease about GMOs,’ says lead author

What exactly is the agrichemical industry hiding with its high-cost public relations and lobbying efforts to convince the U.S. public that genetically modified organisms and pesticides are safe?

According to a just-released study by the newly-formed nonprofit organization U.S. Right to Know, the answer is: A great deal.

Entitled Seedy Business: What Big Food is hiding with its slick PR campaign on GMOs, and authored by Gary Ruskin, the study aims to expose the “sleazy tactics” of corporations like Monsanto and Dow Chemical.

“Since 2012, the agrichemical and food industries have mounted a complex, multifaceted public relations, advertising, lobbying and political campaign in the United States, costing more than $100 million, to defend genetically engineered food and crops and the pesticides that accompany them,” states the report. “The purpose of this campaign is to deceive the public, to deflect efforts to win the right to know what is in our food via labeling that is already required in 64 countries, and ultimately, to extend their profit stream for as long as possible.”

In fact, according to Ruskin’s calculations, the industry spent more than $103 million since 2012 on defeating state initiatives to mandate GMO labeling in California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, with Monsanto alone spending over $22 million.

“The tremendous amount of money spent speaks to depth of public unease about GMOs,” Ruskin told Common Dreams.

The biotechnology industry—whose tactics include attacking scientists and journalists—switches its message depending on the regulatory environment, notes the report. For example, St. Louis-based Monsanto backs GMO labeling in the UK, where such labeling is mandatory, but strongly opposes it in the U.S. “Half of the Big Six agrichemical firms can’t even grow their GMOs in their own home countries,” states the report, due to health and environmental concerns in European countries.

Industry PR firms such as Ketchum—whose clients include tobacco corporations and the Russian government—have had considerable success in manipulating public opinion about GMOs. However, beneath the spin are a number of red flags about the environmental and human health impacts of agrichemical products.

According to the report, “big agrichemical companies have a well-documented record of hiding the truth about the health risks of their products and operations,” from the cancer-causing danger of polychlorinated biphenyls produced by Monsanto to the tragic human impacts of the chemical weapon Agent Orange, which was primarily manufactured by Dow Chemical and Monsanto.

Despite this track record, U.S. oversight of the industry is inadequate, according to the study, thanks largely to the anti-regulatory structures put in place by former Vice President Dan Quayle. The Food and Drug Administration, in fact, does not directly test whether GMOs are safe.

“This report presents a new argument for why the FDA regulatory process doesn’t work,” Ruskin told Common Dreams. “The FDA trusts agrichemical companies and the science they pay for, but the industry has repeatedly hidden health risks from the public so there is no reason to trust them.”

According to Ruskin, this is analogous to the pharmaceutical industry, where positive results get published over negative ones. “What we know is that agrichemical companies have repeatedly hidden health risks, repeatedly suppressed scientific results adverse to the industry,” Ruskin continued. “There is no registry of studies, no way to know. There are are no epidemiological studies on the health impacts of GMOs.”

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Why You Should Grow Heirloom Seedshttp://www.cornucopia.org/2015/03/why-you-should-grow-heirloom-seeds/ http://www.cornucopia.org/2015/03/why-you-should-grow-heirloom-seeds/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 19:47:25 +0000 http://www.cornucopia.org/?p=15594 Organic Lesson by Sam Cho When I bought seeds for the first time, I did not know what the difference was between heirloom, hybrid, and GMO. If you are in the same boat as I used to be then check out the infographic below to learn what the main differences are. Feel free to use the embed code below if you want to share it on your website or blog. Source: Organic Lesson What is

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Organic Lesson
by Sam Cho

When I bought seeds for the first time, I did not know what the difference was between heirloom, hybrid, and GMO. If you are in the same boat as I used to be then check out the infographic below to learn what the main differences are. Feel free to use the embed code below if you want to share it on your website or blog.

Heirloom Seed Infographic
Source: Organic Lesson

What is Heirloom?

Heirloom seeds come from open-pollinated plants that pass on similar characteristics and traits from the parent plant to the child plant. There is no concrete definition that every gardener uses to define heirloom plants. Some people state that heirloom plants are those that were introduced before 1951, while others state that heirloom varieties are those introduced before the 1920s. In general, you should consider heirlooms to be seeds that are possible to regrow and pass on from one generation to the next.

One important thing to note for heirloom plants is whether they are organic or non-organic. In most cases, heirloom plants are organic because they are generally only used by small-scale gardeners who do not use pesticide or other harmful chemicals. However, there may be minor cases when chemicals do get involved since heirloom plants do not always have a similar level of innate protection that hybrid and GMO plants provide against diseases and pests. Remember, heirloom refers to the heritage of a plant, while organic refers to a growing practice. They are two different things.

Heirloom vs. Hybrid vs. GMO

There are some distinct differences that one should be aware of when it comes to heirloom, hybrid, and GMO plants. First, heirloom plants are the only ones that breed true. As mentioned earlier, this means the same characteristics are passed on from generation to generation. The same cannot be said for hybrid and GMO. Hybrid plants are produced when different varieties of plants are cross-pollinated, which can happen with or without human intervention. Because there are different varieties of plants involved, it can’t be guaranteed that the offspring of hybrid plants produces identical traits as the parent plant.

Both heirloom and hybrid plants can be viewed as natural occurrences. GMO plants, on the other hand, can only be produced using unnatural methods such as gene splicing. Scientists essentially modify a seed’s DNA to ensure the resulting plant produces the desired traits and characteristics. A common example of a GMO plant is Bt-Corn.

Why Grow Heirloom Seeds

If hybrid and GMO seeds grow plants with useful traits, why should you grow heirloom plants instead? First, heirlooms are generally known to produce better taste and flavor. Heirloom fruits and vegetables are also known to be more nutritious. Last but not least, they are less expensive over the long haul. Heirloom plants may require a bit more care than their counterparts but the effort you put in will be worth it! Don’t forget that you would also be playing an important part in preserving the genetic diversity of plants by growing heirloom seeds. After all, how can hybrid seeds be produced without the existence of the original seeds?

Where to Find Heirloom Seeds

With the demand for heirloom seeds increasing, you will find that it isn’t as difficult as before to obtain them. There are certain places you might want to check out to get seeds locally. These places include: local farms, seed exchanges, and botanical gardens. How can you be sure that the seeds you are getting definitely came from heirloom plants? One thing you might want to look out for is the Safe Seed Pledge. Although it isn’t regulated, the Safe Seed Pledge is still a good sign that the company is only providing non-GMO products. Most of the well-known seed companies have already signed up for this pledge so look out for it on the seed company websites.

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Bees Victory in Pesticide Battle – Bayer Libel Action Dismissedhttp://www.cornucopia.org/2015/03/bees-victory-in-pesticide-battle-bayer-libel-action-dismissed/ http://www.cornucopia.org/2015/03/bees-victory-in-pesticide-battle-bayer-libel-action-dismissed/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 14:02:36 +0000 http://www.cornucopia.org/?p=15589 The Ecologist by Oliver Tickell Source: Irene Florez Chemical giant Bayer has failed in its attempt to sue Friends of the Earth Germany over its claims that its pesticide Thiacloprid harms bees. Now pressure is growing on the EU to add the neonicotinoid to the three already banned. German chemical giant Bayer has failed in its attempt to sue Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND) over its claims that two of its pesticide formulations harm

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The Ecologist
by Oliver Tickell

Source: Irene Florez

Chemical giant Bayer has failed in its attempt to sue Friends of the Earth Germany over its claims that its pesticide Thiacloprid harms bees. Now pressure is growing on the EU to add the neonicotinoid to the three already banned.

German chemical giant Bayer has failed in its attempt to sue Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND) over its claims that two of its pesticide formulations harm bees.

A judge in Dusseldorf has ruled that BUND had a right to voice its concerns about Bayer’s ‘Calypso‘ and ‘Lizetan’ pesticide formulations, sold to consumers as “not toxic to bees”. Both contain the neonicotinoid Thiacloprid which is associated with harm to bees.

“We are delighted with this achievement”, said BUND’s pesticide expert Tomas Brückmann.“This is a victory for the bees and freedom.”

Just before last Christmas Bayer took out a restraining order against BUND at the District Court in Dusseldorf, preventing the group from publishing its view that the product was harmful to bees, under threat of a €250,000 fine or a detention of up to two years. Now that order has been overturned.

A spokesman for Bayer said the company “regrets the decision”, adding that the products“had officially been classified as ‘not harmful for bees’ and were labeled as such in accordance with binding legal regulations” after thorough testing both by Bayer and Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL)

Scientific evidence shows Thiaclopid harms bees

But according to BUND, there is “scientific evidence of impaired learning ability” to bees from Thiacloprid, as well as to “the ability to communicate and pollen foraging activity of bees”.

It also believes that by printing a “not toxic to bees” logo on products containing Thiacloprid, following the emergence of contrary evidence, there arose “the suspicion of a deliberate deception of the consumer by Bayer.”

A scientific paper by Professor Randolf Menzel used in evidence by BUND, says: “Sublethal doses of neonicotinoids interfere selectively with the homing flight component based on this cognitive map memory, reducing the probability of successful returns to the hive. Chronic exposure to the neonicotinoid Thiacloprid reduces the attractiveness of a feeding site and the rate of recruitment.”

Following its legal defeat, says Brückmann, Bayer Crop Sciences should immediately withdraw the offending bee-hazardous pesticides from the market.

“We call on all markets to stop the sale of Thiacloprid pesticides”, he continued. “In addition, the EU should withdraw the authorization of the Thiacloprid and the Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) withdraw product approvals for all Thiacloprid products.”

A paper published in the Journal PLOS ONE confirms that Thiacloprid, along with the neonicotinoids Imidacloprid and Clothianidin, affects bees’ navigational ability and behaviour, making it harder for them to find their way back to their hives.

It also shows that exposure to Thiacloprid can increase the likelihood of honeybees dying if they are already infected with diseases. A further study found that the toxicity of Thiacloprid to honey bees is increased over 1,000 fold when mixed with fungicides.

These bee-toxic pesticides must also be banned in the UK!

Back in London, Friends of the Earth bees campaigner Dave Timms said: “Bayer has been shown up as a corporate bully, trying to silence campaigners who are standing up for bees. 

“The ruling is a victory for Friends of the Earth Germany, freedom of speech and for the many thousands of people who have taken action to protect bees across Europe. 

Thiacloprid is used on various crops in the UK including oil seed rape (canola) and apples, and it is sold direct to the public in garden bug-killing products. Friends of the Earth is now asking the European Commission to take a precautionary approach by suspending all uses of Thiacloprid and to review its safety.

As in Germany, Bayer’s Thiacloprid products sold in the UK are described as “Bee Safe” or having “no risk to bees”. These include Calypso and Biscaya.

“Now we want to see action from the European Commission to ensure that any pesticides with evidence of harm to bees are taken off our shelves and out of our fields for good”, said Timms. In addition FoE will be contacting retailers asking them to stop selling products containing Thiacloprid.

In 2013 three other neonicotinoid pesticides (imidacloprid, thiamethoxam and clothianidin) were subject to a temporary ban in the EU. This followed a review of evidence by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) which found they each posed a “high acute risk” to honey bees.

“Although Thiacloprid is not subject to that ban there is evidence that it can make bees more likely to die from common diseases and can impair their navigational abilities, making it harder for them to return to their hives”, Timms added.

Not just bees – the entire food chain is at risk!

Last year a group of 29 independent scientists on the Global Taskforce on Systemic Pesticides concluded that the widespread use of neonicotinoid pesticides is affecting earthworms, birds and bees and the quality of water and soils.

They examined over 1,000 peer reviewed papers before reaching this conclusion. They also found that the compounds which neonicotinoids break down into are often as, or more, toxic than the active ingredients.

In another legal action, Bayer and Sygenta are suing the European Commission to lift its temporary ban on the three neonicotinoids. “The Commission must stand form against these bully-buy tactics”, said Timms.

And Bayer is not ruling out an appeal against BUND’s legal victory. A spokesman said:“The court considered the allegations of BUND to be a free expression of opinion, which deserved special protection. Bayer CropScience will wait for the written grounds for the judgment and subsequently consider potential further steps.”

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6 Ways Your Gut Controls Your Healthhttp://www.cornucopia.org/2015/03/6-ways-your-gut-controls-your-health/ http://www.cornucopia.org/2015/03/6-ways-your-gut-controls-your-health/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 01:03:18 +0000 http://www.cornucopia.org/?p=15584 Rodale News by Julia Westbrook Source: Foto Nerd Your gut isn’t just where you shovel in the grub. It’s also a delicate, micro-ecosystem that keeps your whole body healthy. To get your health on track, look no further than your gut. The digestive tract does more than just process your breakfast, lunch, and dinner, according to a review of the current literature published in Integrative Medicine: A Clinician’s Journal. Your gut microbiome has far-reaching effects

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Rodale News
by Julia Westbrook

Source: Foto Nerd

Your gut isn’t just where you shovel in the grub. It’s also a delicate, micro-ecosystem that keeps your whole body healthy.

To get your health on track, look no further than your gut. The digestive tract does more than just process your breakfast, lunch, and dinner, according to a review of the current literature published in Integrative Medicine: A Clinician’s Journal. Your gut microbiome has far-reaching effects on your health that you’d never expect.

The creation of a person’s gut composition starts at birth as an the infant is exposed to the bacteria in his or her mother’s birth canal. “The initial gut colonization is instrumental in shaping the composition of the adult’s gut microbiota,” report the researchers. From then on, there are both internal and external factors that can affect your gut, including environmental microbes, foods you eat, intestinal pH, and drugs.

“Each day we put pounds of foreign substances (food, drinks, medications, and supplements) into our mouths, hoping that our bodies will be able to sort out friend from foe,” says Elizabeth Lipski, PhD, CCN, CHN, author of Digestion Connection. “Because of this interface, the digestive system is the seat of our immune system, runs our metabolism, makes vitamins, and communicates with every other cell in our bodies.”

Gut bacteria affect your health in at least six ways.

#1. Smoothing Food Digestion
Unsurprisingly, the bacteria in your digestive tract are instrumental in, well, digesting your food. Interestingly, the researchers point out that these bacteria are able to break down food that humans can’t, such as fiber, making important vitamins and amino acids available for your body to take in.

#2. Resisting Metabolic Disorders
Obesity and type 2 diabetes are impacted by the gut. Research has shown distinctive bacteria differences between obese and non-obese individuals and that, as people lose weight, their gut composition changes, too.

Bonus—getting an out-of-whack gut back on track may also help you lose weight, too.

#3. Defending Against Outside Germs
The bacteria in your gut protect you from harmful germs in three ways:

Acting as a Barrier. The researchers explain that the cells along your digestive tract have attachment sites that can be used for nasty bugs trying to creep into your system to make you sick. Fortunately, the good bacteria can also latch onto these attachement sites, effectively blocking the pathogens from getting in.

Competing for Resources. In addition to competing for entry points, healthy bacteria also squirrel nutrients away from harmful pathogens, making your gut an inhospitable environment for the invaders.

Actively Fighting Other Germs. The bacteria in your gut also generate bacteriocins, antimicrobial substances that inhibit the growth of their competitors.

#4. Causing Gut Inflammation
While the cause of irritable bowel syndrome is unknown, imbalanced gut bacteria have been implicated in low-grade intestinal inflammation, a common characteristic of the condition. The researchers believe that this may be due to a failure of the gut bacteria to effectively bar pathogens from sticking to the walls of the intestinal tract.

Similarly, inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, are linked to patches of gut bacteria imbalances leading to chronic inflammation. (Check this list to make sure you’re avoiding these 9 things that could wreck your gut.)

#5. Preventing Allergies
A healthy microbiome in your gut is also important for children to protect against allergies. “The intestinal microbiota stimulates the immune system and trains it to response proportionately to all antigens,” explain the researchers. “An altered composition of intestinal microbiota in early life can lead to an inadequately trained immune system that can, and often does, overreact to antigens.” The hygiene hypothesis says that living in an environment that is too sterile can lead to such imbalances, too.

When a healthy microbiota goes awry, you can get what the researchers reffered to as the “atopic march.” Atopic describes an allergy that leads to a reaction even in parts of the body not exposed to the allergen. It starts with atopic eczema, continues to asthma, and then to rhinitis (irritation of the nose).

#6. Connecting With the Brain
We’re not talking about listening to a gut feeling, but there is a conversation going on between your brain and your belly and it’s called the brain-gut axis. “Significant progress has been made over the past decade in recognizing the important ways in which gut microbiota relate to brain function,” the researchers note. And this goes both ways. For instance, feeling stressed (a mental reaction) can alter the gut bacterial composition. On the flip side, gut bacteria can communicate with the central nervous system to influence the host’s stress reactivity.

Now that you know how vital it is to take care of your gut, start eating these 8 gut-friendly foods.

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Popular Weed Killer Deemed Probable Carcinogen by UNhttp://www.cornucopia.org/2015/03/popular-weed-killer-deemed-probable-carcinogen-by-un/ http://www.cornucopia.org/2015/03/popular-weed-killer-deemed-probable-carcinogen-by-un/#comments Mon, 23 Mar 2015 14:20:17 +0000 http://www.cornucopia.org/?p=15580 ABC News by Maria Cheng Source: Chafer Machinery One of the world’s most popular weed-killers — and the most widely used kind in the U.S. — has been labeled a probable carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. The decision was made by IARC, the France-based cancer research arm of the World Health Organization, which considered the status of five insect and weed killers including glyphosate, which is used globally in industrial farming.

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ABC News
by Maria Cheng

Source: Chafer Machinery

One of the world’s most popular weed-killers — and the most widely used kind in the U.S. — has been labeled a probable carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

The decision was made by IARC, the France-based cancer research arm of the World Health Organization, which considered the status of five insect and weed killers including glyphosate, which is used globally in industrial farming.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which makes its own determinations, said it would consider the French agency’s evaluation.

The French agency has four levels of risks for possible cancer-causing agents: known carcinogens, probable or possible carcinogens, not classifiable and probably not carcinogenic. Glyphosate now falls in the second level of concern.

The new classification is aimed mainly at industrial use of glyphosate. Its use by home gardeners is not considered a risk. Glyphosate is in the same category of risk as things like anabolic steroids and shift work. The decision was published online Thursday in the journal, Lancet Oncology.

According to the French agency, glyphosate is used in more than 750 different herbicide products and its use has been detected in the air during spraying, in water and in food. Experts said there was “limited evidence” in humans that the herbicide can cause non-Hodgkins lymphoma and there is convincing evidence that glyphosate can also cause other forms of cancer in rats and mice. IARC’s panel said glyphosate has been found in the blood and urine of agricultural workers, showing the chemical has been absorbed by the body.

Monsanto and other producers of glyphosate-containing herbicides, strongly disagreed with the decision. “All labeled uses of glyphosate are safe for human health,” said Monsanto’s Phil Miller, global head of regulatory and government affairs, in a statement.

The EPA’s 2012 assessment of glyphosate concluded that it met the statutory safety standards and that the chemical could “continue to be used without unreasonable risks to people or the environment.”

The French agency’s experts said the cancer risks of the weed killer were mostly from occupational exposure.

“I don’t think home use is the issue,” said Kate Guyton of IARC. “It’s agricultural use that will have the biggest impact. For the moment, it’s just something for people to be conscious of.”

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