April Dávila wondered what it would take to cut the GMO giant out of her family's life. She found that it was far more entrenched than she'd ever realized.
UC Berkeley researchers have been studying more than 300 Mexican-American children living in California's Salinas Valley, aka America's "Lettuce Bowl." They tested for levels of pesticide metabolites in urine in pregnant mothers, their newborns, and at 2 years old. The findings? Each tenfold increase in pesticide levels in the mothers' urine was associated with a fivefold increase in attention problems, and boys had it worse than girls.
A federal district court judge revoked the government’s approval of genetically engineered sugar beets Friday, saying that the Agriculture Department had not adequately assessed the environmental consequences before approving them for commercial cultivation.
The decision, by Judge Jeffrey S. White of Federal District Court in San Francisco, appears to effectively ban the planting of the genetically modified sugar beets, which make up about 95 percent of the crop, until the Agriculture Department prepares an environmental impact statement and approves the crop again, a process that might take a couple of years.
The decision could cause major problems for sugar beet farmers and sugar processors. In the past the sugar industry has warned there might not be enough non-engineered seeds available. However, the judge ruled that crops currently in the ground can be harvested and made into sugar, so the effects will not be felt until next spring’s planting season.
Try pronouncing disodium 6-hydroxy-5-((2-methoxy-5-methyl-4-sulfophenyl) azo)-2-naphthalene-sulfonate.
It's not easy, right? That explains why this mouthful goes by its friendlier name, Red 40. It might sound innocent, but this ingredient and others like it are far from harmless. And they're in our food.
For years, we at the Center for Science in the Public Interest and food-safety officials in Europe have highlighted studies linking food dyes to hyperactivity and other behavioral problems in children. The British government and the European Parliament even decided to phase out artificial dyes based on these concerns alone, but the same can't be said for the United States. So why do food manufacturers continue to pour about 15 million pounds of eight synthetic dyes into the American food supply every year?
The authors of the current study note that the best sources of unfortified foods naturally containing vitamin D are animal products and fatty fish and liver extracts like salmon or sardines and cod liver oil. Vitamin D-fortified food sources include milk and milk products, orange juice, breakfast cereals and bars, grain products, pastas, infant formulas and margarines.
Typical recommended daily intakes (RDIs) lie between 200 and 600 international units (IU) per day while more and more science shows the above benefits can be better achieved with levels closer to 2000IU per day without safety concerns.
Genetically modified crops are commonplace in fields across the United States, but a new study suggests that some plants have spread into the wild. A survey of North Dakota has turned up hundreds of genetically modified canola plants growing along roads across the state.
The results, presented Friday at the annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America in Pittsburgh, show that the vast majority of feral canola plants in the state contain artificial genes that make them resistant to herbicides. Researchers also found two plants that contained traits from multiple genetically modified varieties, suggesting that genetically modified plants are breeding in the wild.
“As organic food sales continue to expand in the marketplace, organic production continues to be an increasingly viable farm opportunity,” said state Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker.
“In order to better help our farming community, we needed to identify the level of interest, the perceived barriers to transition and the materials or services farmers are seeking," he said. "This survey was successful in providing us valuable information and will enable us to focus our efforts in areas that were identified as important in order to help those interested participate in this growing and exciting market.”
The survey, the first of its kind in New York, found 6 percent of those surveyed have a high level of interest in organic production, while 15 percent have a moderate interest and 19 percent a slight interest.
As certified organic farmer Greg Schwartz spoke to me on the phone last week from his front porch in picturesque Damascus, Pennsylvania, he lamented over the big natural gas drilling rig staring him down just 0.31 miles from his home at Willow Wisp Farm. It's not just his home but also a farm that provides a diverse array of healthy vegetables for hundreds of families in a way that keeps toxic contaminants out of the soil and drinking water supply of his neighbors. The water he uses to grow food comes from the Delaware River watershed and is among the cleanest in the entire country. This watershed provides clean drinking water for nearly 16 million people.
Federal regulators, who are charged with ensuring the safety of food and consumer products, are in the dark about the suspected chemical, 2-methylnaphthalene. The Food and Drug Administration has no scientific data on its impact on human health. The Environmental Protection Agency also lacks basic health and safety data for 2-methylnaphthalene -- even though the EPA has been seeking that information from the chemical industry for 16 years.
The cereal recall hints at a larger issue: huge gaps in the government's knowledge about chemicals in everyday consumer products, from furniture to clothing to children's products. Under current laws, the government has little or no information about the health risks posed by most of the 80,000 chemicals on the U.S. market today.
In recent years, organic food has become big business, dominated by publicly traded packaged food companies like Golden Valley-based General Mills Inc., a fact that some devoted organic consumers aren't keen on. But Sno Pac has stuck to its roots: It's family-owned and based in farm country, something many organic brands can't claim.
The company was organic long before organic became trendy, eschewing the use of herbicides and pesticides since the 1940s.
While it's certainly not some quaint farmstead -- it counts its revenue in millions of dollars -- it's a business that captures an ethos prized by more hard-core organic consumers. It's a relatively small company that primarily uses local foods grown on local farms.