Like produce, milk quality can vary with the season and year. Dairy cows' daily diet, much of which comes from plant forage, determines the nutritional makeup of their milk, so when their food lags in quality, so too does their output. And a new study shows that conventionally produced milk is more prone to these unfavorable seasonal shifts than organic milk.
Earlier research had shown slight benefits in organic milk's nutritional profile when it was tested on the farm. "Whereas on the farms the benefits of organic milk were proven in the summer but not in the winter, in the supermarkets it is significantly better quality year round," Gillian Butler, of the Nafferton Ecological Farming Group at Newcastle University and study co-author, said in a prepared statement.
The Soil Association has hailed a report that it claims provides ‘overwhelming evidence’ of the need to expand organic and other ‘agroecological’ farming systems.
The report by the Worldwatch Institute looks at the global food crisis, with particular emphasis on ‘global innovations that can help solve a worldwide problem’.
Produced with support from the Bill Gates Foundation, it claims to highlight innovations ‘that will allow billions of people to feed themselves, while restoring rural economies, creating livelihoods, and sustaining the natural resource base on which agriculture depends’.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has agreed to stop planting genetically engineered (GE) crops on all its refuges within a dozen Northeastern states, according to a settlement agreement in a lawsuit brought by conservation and food safety groups. Because the federal government would not agree to end illegal GE agriculture in refuges nationally, new litigation is being prepared in other regions where as many as 75 other national wildlife refuges now growing GE crops are vulnerable to similar suits.
After much petitioning by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced plans to form an advisory committee meeting which will review clinical studies conducted on common food dyes including Yellow 5 and Red 40 and the link connecting them to adverse behavior issues in children.
Brought to public attention in the 1970s by a San Francisco allergist who noticed significant improvement in patients when they changed their diets, numerous studies have supported his theory, yet no regulations have been put in place to monitor the use of questionable dyes in cereals, snacks and candies targeted at children.
These cattle are eating more than grain -- antibiotics are routinely part of their feed.Photo: CistalAnimals in factory farms get daily doses of antibiotics, both to keep them alive in their stressful, unsanitary conditions and to make them grow faster. What's the annual volume of antibiotic use on factory farms? The question is a critical one, because the practice has given rise to a novel strain of antibiotic-resistant staph (MRSA), known as ST398, that's widely present in our vast hog and chicken factories.
Well, federal regulators have for years ignored the question and refused to release estimates of just how much antibiotics the livestock industry burns through. But that ended yesterday, when the FDA released its first-ever report on the topic. The answer: 29 million pounds in 2009. According to ace public-health reporter Maryn McKenna, that's a shitload. (I'm paraphrasing her.)
This week, California, which has among the most rigorous pesticide regulations in the nation, approved methyl iodide for use. This came despite the unanimous findings of its own scientific panel against approval of the chemical. California Watch quoted a member of this panel.
"It is my personal opinion that this decision will result in serious harm to California citizens, and most especially to children," wrote panel member Theodore Slotkin, a professor of pharmacology and cancer biology at Duke University.
An analysis of census data from the USDA by Food & Water Watch has found that such farms grew by 20 percent in the years between 2002 and 2007 (2007 had the most current census data available). That's faster than either of the two preceding five-year periods.
Today Federal District Judge Jeffrey S. White issued a preliminary injunction ordering the immediate destruction of hundreds of acres of genetically engineered (GE) sugar beet seedlings planted in September after finding the seedlings had been planted in violation of federal law. The ruling comes in a lawsuit filed by Earthjustice and Center for Food Safety on behalf of a coalition of farmers, consumers, and conservation groups. The lawsuit was filed on September 9, shortly after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) revealed it had allowed the seedlings to be planted.
They aren’t here for their beauty or as a cash crop — they are a key pest control strategy down on the organic farm.
Research here on wild sunflowers, he says, shows they are home to lady beetles and parasitic wasps, which are good bugs that kill bad bugs.
“The sunflowers help us provide a bed-and-breakfast for beneficial insects and keep them going year round,” he said. “And native sunflowers are a lot better at it than domestic. There’s a lot more insect biodiversity in wild sunflowers.”
Grass-based organic dairy farming promotes cow health, enhances milk quality, and lightens the environmental footprint of dairy farming. Reproductive health problems on high-production, grain-based dairies lead to fewer and longer lactations, increasing costs and cutting lifelong production and revenue,
Organic systems promote cow health and longevity by placing less stress on cows and feeding them healthier forage-based diets, while also improving the nutritional quality of milk, according to a new report released today by The Organic Center, Bolder, Colo.