Food News You Can Use

October 24, 2011

  • Occupying the Food System: Continuing the commentary on the confluence between the food movement and the “occupy” movement, Food First’s Eric Holt Gimenez writes in the Huffington Post (10/21) that “voices from food justice organizations across the country are connecting the dots between hunger, diet-related diseases and the unchecked power of Wall Street investors and corporations.” Tom Philpott writes inMother Jones (10/14) that “foodies” need to Occupy Wall Street because “agribusiness is concentrated to a point that would make a Wall Street master of the universe blush. Vast globe-spanning corporations, many of them US-based, dominate the industry.”
  • Genetically Modified Foods You Love: Still eating Hebrew National hot dogs, Jiffy Pop and Peter Pan peanut butter? Iron Bolt Bruce reminds us (10/21) of the list of ConAgra brands, and the lawsuit against the corporation for deceptively marketing its Wesson brand oils as “all-natural,” “when they’re actually made from genetically modified organisms” (Michele SimonFood Safety News, 8/24).
  • The Cantaloupe BrouhahaMother Jones‘  Tom Philpott explains (10/21) just why Freakonomics‘ Steve Sexton is so wrong to blame the cantaloupe listeria outbreak on the local foods movement (10/20).
  • Is Your Food Really Organic? Loophole Alert! Take Action!According to an August letter to the USDA National Organic Program by a group of organic strawberry farmers from California, consumers don’t know the truth about organic.” The USDA definition of organic “fails to address. . . what goes on around the produce. An entire farm’s worth of trees can be sprayed with a pupu platter of pesticides and chemicals, and as long as the plants haven’t borne fruit yet, the produce from those trees may be considered organic” (10/19). The NOP admits (10/20) that challenges it faces moving into 2012 “include the risks and lost efficiencies associated with immature records management; public confusion about organics; organic scandals related to enforcement; the sifting [sic] political and budget environment; and conflict among industry groups.” You can sign the petition to close the loophole here.
  • Hundreds Rallied in D.C. to Demand GMO Labeling: “The rally marked the end of a 16-day, 504-km march from the United Nations in New York City to the White House in Washington D.C., . . . urging the government to require compulsory labeling of food made from genetically modified organisms (GMOs)” (10/17).
  • “Feral” GMO Canola Plants Found From North Dakota to Manitoba: The Vancouver Sun reports (10/6) that “GM canola was found growing everywhere from ditches to parking lots. . ., with some of the highest densities along a trucking route into Canada,” according to studies by the University of Arkansas and the University of Guelph. “At some locations there were thousands of GM plants growing,” according to University of Arkansas ecologist Cynthia Sagers.
  • U.S. Taxpayers Funding Frankenfish to the Tune of $1.95 Million: National eater advocacy group Food and Water Watch reveals (10/6, California Progress Report) that the corporation AquaBounty Technology “has received almost $2 million dollars in federal research grants since 2003″ to raise genetically engineered (GE) salmon and study technologies to render them sterile. “Because of the risk that escaped GE fish pose to wild populations, sterilizing GE fish has become an important consideration as AquaBounty pursues regulatory approval from the FDA for GE salmon. The FDA has stated that AquaBounty’s proposed production plan may allow up to five percent of GE salmon to remain fertile.”
  • Want to Know More About Statins, Cholesterol and… Sulfur? MIT Senior Research Scientist Dr. Stephanie Seneff explains how critical cholesterol sulfate is to metabolism and how statins interfere ”with the synthesis of cholesterol, a nutrient that is essential to human life. . . . Cholesterol has been demonized by the statin industry, and as a consequence Americans have become conditioned to avoid all foods containing cholesterol. This is a grave mistake, as it places a much bigger burden on the body to synthesize sufficient cholesterol to support the body’s needs, and it deprives us of several essential nutrients. . . . Cholesterol, absent from plants, is the key molecule that allows animals to have mobility and a nervous system. . . . [T]he nutrient that is most crucially needed to protect the heart from atherosclerosis is cholesterol sulfate. . . . So, in my view, the best way to avoid heart disease is to assure an abundance of an alternative supply of cholesterol sulfate. First of all, this means eating foods that are rich in both cholesterol and sulfur. Eggs are an optimal food, as they are well supplied with both of these nutrients.”  To learn more, read Seneff’s March 2011 essay here or watch her seven-part interview with Dr. Ron Mercola here.

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