October 23rd, 2014
Analysis ‘has confirmed what farmers, beekeepers and scientists have been saying all along: neonicotinoids do more harm than good’
by Andrea Germanos
A new U.S Environmental Protection Agency analysis of neonicotinoid pesticides on soybean production offers further proof that they should be suspended, environmental watchdog groups say.
This class of pesticides, often referred to as neonics, has been linked to the decline of bees and other environmental harm.
The agency’s analysis, released Thursday, found that there was little to no benefit to using neonicotinoid seed treatments on soybean yields. Such neonic-treated seeds, first registered for use in soybeans in 2004, were applied on an average of 30% of soybean acres between 2008 and 2012, EPA states. The analysis notes that some growers report having difficulties in obtaining non-treated seed.
It also states that “much of the observed use is preventative and may not be currently providing any actual pest management benefits.” Read Full Article »
October 22nd, 2014
by Bradford Heap | Chef and Owner, Colterra, Niwot, CO; and SALT, Boulder, CO
As a Coloradan, chef, and restaurateur committed to farm-to-table quality, integrity, taste, health, and the environment, I join organizations like the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, Moms Across America, Conservation Colorado, and others in my support of GMO labeling, and encourage Coloradans to vote yes on Proposition 105 this November to require the mandatory labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in foods sold in Colorado.
As a father, I choose non-GMO foods for my kids when I can, but since an estimated 85-percent of grocery products sold in the U.S. contain genetically engineered ingredients without having to be labeled as such, it’s hard to make informed choices at the supermarket for my family. While pro-biotech interests claim that GMOs are safe, a growing body of scientific research suggests that there may indeed be enough risks to warrant the need for consumer transparency and justify the call for mandatory GMO labeling. Read Full Article »
October 22nd, 2014
OTA/Corporate Interests Creating “Trojan Horse” to Soften Image,
In a move that would look just as cynical as if General Motors decided to create their own workers-union, the powerful Organic Trade Association (OTA) has created their own Farmer Advisory Council and is now discounting memberships to smaller family farmers in an attempt to soften their current image as a hard-knuckled corporate lobby group.
Over the past few years the OTA has received increasing criticism for their lobby efforts that have allegedly helped water down the federal standards governing organic farming and food production. The latest dustup in Washington surrounding OTA activities concerns their attempt to sell Congress, and the organic farming community, on a scheme that will tax farmers and other industry participants to do research and promotional work.
“Trying to recruit farmers is an attempt by the OTA to redeem their damaged credibility and sell their agenda on Capitol Hill,” said Mark A. Kastel, Codirector at The Cornucopia Institute. “The agribusiness lobby is also attempting to dilute the influence of nonprofit groups and cooperatives that legitimately represent the interests of family-scale farmers — and frequently differ with the OTA on regulatory policy.”
Over the past two years the OTA has run into a buzzsaw of opposition from farmers, and the groups that represent them, after proposing a commodity checkoff that would create an estimated $40 million per year. “Farmers are understandably skeptical about being forced to pay into such a fund because of a long history of corruption, mismanagement and lack of effectiveness in existing checkoff programs showcasing milk mustaches, ‘incredible edible eggs,’ and ‘the other white meat’ (pork),” Kastel said.
The OTA is held in low esteem by many farmers and organic food advocates because of their past history and alleged duplicity in dealing with other interests in the organic food movement. Read Full Article »
October 21st, 2014
Join Melinda Hemmelgarn, a registered dietitian and investigative nutritionist, for 28-minute, weekly interviews with national experts in food, health and agriculture. From physicians to film makers, writers, farmers, scientists and chefs, Food Sleuth Radio navigates our complicated food system. You’ll discover how farm and food policies impact our environment and public health, and learn the secrets to eating well. Provocative, practical and personal, Food Sleuth Radio helps us think beyond our plates to find “food truth.” Award-winning Food Sleuth Radio ranks among the top national “green food radio shows.” If you care about what you eat, tune in. Read Full Article »
October 20th, 2014
by Elizabeth Grossman
It’s almost impossible to imagine life without flexible, transparent and water-resistant food packaging, without plastic sandwich bags, cling film or shelves filled with plastic jars, tubs and tubes, and durable bags and boxes.
While storing food in containers dates back thousands of years, and food has been sold in bottles since the 1700s and cans since the 1800s, what might be considered the modern age of food packaging began in the 1890s when crackers were first sold in sealed waxed paper bags inside a paperboard box. Plastics and other synthetics began to appear in the 1920s and ’30s, shortly after chemical companies started experimenting with petroleum-based compounds and pioneering new materials that could be used for household as well as industrial applications.
Fast forward to 2014: Upwards of 6,000 different manufactured substances are now listed by various government agencies as approved for use in food contact materials in the U.S. and Europe — materials that can legally go into consumer food packaging, household and commercial food containers, food processing equipment, and other products. Read Full Article »