Monday, April 30, 2007

Does This Chicken Taste Like Arsenic to You?

"Roxarsone, an arsenic-based additive used in chicken feed, could pose health risks to humans.

Roxarsone is the most common arsenic-based additive used in chicken feed, used to promote growth, kill parasites and improve the color of chicken meat. It is normally benign, but under certain conditions that can occur within live chickens or on farm land, the compound converts into more toxic forms of inorganic arsenic.

Arsenic has been linked to bladder, lung, skin, kidney and colon cancers, and low-level exposure can lead to partial paralysis and diabetes.

A number of food suppliers have stopped using roxarsone, including Tyson Foods, which is the largest poultry producer in the United States. But even so, 70 percent of the 9 billion broiler chickens produced annually in the United States are fed roxarsone.

..Seems like it would be wise to avoid most conventionally raised chicken altogether now that you know about roxarsone. Neither the USDA or FDA have a clue as to how much arsenic you may be consuming in the chicken you eat.

..Still, organic chicken -- preferably those raised on farms near you -- is the best choice for your health. Organic chickens are better fed, exposed to fewer pesticides and harmful chemicals, and get more sunlight, all of which makes them healthier for you."

Read the article

Jeans Can Be Green

"GoIndigo Jeans with coconut shell buttons from The Colours of Nature (TcoN) in Auroville, which was recently launched as part of the Earth Day (April 22) celebrations, is completely eco-friendly, so much so, that the water used by the company to dye the materials is 15 years old! It has been continuously recycled and reused.

"If the material is organically grown, the dye is natural (the dyeing process does not use chemicals), the buttons are made from natural ingredients, the embroidery threads have been naturally dyed, the jeans are given a finish with bio degradable soap (very less pH) and are made from organic cotton, they are completely organic and we make our denim jeans that way," says Jesus Ciriza, director of TcoN. An engineer from Spain, he founded the company in 1993 and wanted to work with ancient Indian dyeing techniques.

The company makes jeans for men and women and will soon make for children too. For women, they have jeans in comfort style, slim fit, capri, cargo and bootcut and for the men, they have regular jeans, cargo, slim fit and capri. You can place orders on the net at"

Read the article

Burger King.. Humane?

"[Burger King] has started purchasing 10 percent of its pork from suppliers that don't use sow gestation crates. It also said it will start getting 2 percent of its eggs from cage-free hens. Burger King plans to double the percentage it purchases in both of these areas by the end of this year.

The fast-food chain also has plans to influence suppliers by saying that it will look favorably on cage-free eggs when weighing its purchases, and will also give preference to poultry outfi ts that use controlled-atmosphere stunning to kill animals, a method favored by many animal-rights organizations."

Read the article

Shortage of Feed in Britain

"Drought conditions in some parts of Britain led to forage shortages now affecting organic dairy farms. Several factors have now combined in early 2007 to create severe shortages of organic feed ingredients.

..Europe's poor grain harvest last summer, together with stricter EU standards, have raised prices for organic cereals to new levels, with wheat selling at up to £280 ($550) per ton.

The EU requires the organic content of animal feed to increase from 80 to 85%, and 95% for organic ruminant feed.

"The biggest demand for organic feed is from poultry producers responding to the growing popularity of organic chicken and turkey with consumers," says Loveday.

Read the article

Miracle Gro Sues the Little Guy for Organics

"The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company is a $7 billion global business with broad brand recognition, a 59 percent market share, and Roman columns framing the entry to its corporate headquarters. TerraCycle Inc. is a fledging startup with $1.5 million in annual sales, an infinitesimal share of the market, and a graffiti-covered warehouse with used tires on the lawn where the rose bushes were before someone stole them out of the ground.

But Scotts sees similarities between the two plant-food makers. So, the Goliath of plant products sued late last month, accusing TerraCycle of copying its look and falsely claiming that its organic products are better than synthetic ones like Miracle-Gro.

..The plant-food giant also accuses TerraCycle of making false and misleading advertising claims on its Web site and at point-of-purchase displays.

For example, Miracle-Gro claims there is no scientific basis for TerraCycle's claim that it ``outgrows synthetic fertilizers,'' or that it makes ``the most effective, convenient, affordable plant you can buy.'

Read the article

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Canadian Woman Told Food Was Organic, But Was It?

"For more than a decade, a 52-year-old Canadian woman paid premium prices for what she thought was organic chicken and beef. Eating a strict diet of organic meat was part of a doctor-recommended strategy to help the woman cope with a yeast overgrowth that attacks the intestinal tract and can break into the bloodstream.

But, when the woman began talking to another vendor, while searching for a rare type of organic chicken, she was stunned to learn the person she bought meat from for 12 years was really selling conventionally grown product with an "organic'' label affixed to it."

Read the article

This proliferation of sham organics is driving me crazy.

FDA Knew About Spinach and Peanut Butter Contamination

"The Food and Drug Administration has known for years about contamination problems at a Georgia peanut butter plant and on California spinach farms that led to disease outbreaks that killed three people, sickened hundreds, and forced one of the biggest product recalls in U.S. history, documents and interviews show.

..In the peanut butter case, an agency report shows that FDA inspectors checked into complaints about salmonella contamination in a ConAgra Foods factory in Georgia in 2005. But when company managers refused to provide documents the inspectors requested, the inspectors left and did not follow up.

..The FDA has known even longer about illnesses among people who ate spinach and other greens from California's Salinas Valley, the source of outbreaks over the past six months that have killed three people and sickened more than 200 in 26 states. The subsequent recall was the largest ever for leafy vegetables.

In a letter sent to California growers in late 2005, Brackett wrote, "FDA is aware of 18 outbreaks of foodborne illness since 1995 caused by [E. coli bacteria] for which fresh or fresh-cut lettuce was implicated. . . . In one additional case, fresh-cut spinach was implicated. These 19 outbreaks account for approximately 409 reported cases of illness and two deaths."

Read the article

Plastic Bag Ban in The Hub

Could plastic bags be banned in Beantown? Boston City Council is seriously considering it.

"They end up everywhere," said Councilor Robert Consalvo . "They blow in trees, they're floating in Boston Harbor . . . They're an environmental nightmare. We need to rid our city of these plastic bags."

..The proposal comes amid growing concern over plastic shopping bags, some 100 billion of which end up in American landfills each year, according to Worldwatch Institute, an environmental research agency.

The bags are popular among stores because they are cheap to manufacture, costing less than one cent per bag, and many consumers prefer them because they are easy to carry. But environmentalists have railed against them because they are difficult to recycle and take centuries to decompose in landfills."

Read the article

Do It Yourself

"Do you eat organic food? Do you actually know what you are eating? Or, do you only think you know? It may look like a carrot but is that all it is? Do you know what has been sprayed onto and absorbed by the leaves? Which chemicals have been mixed into the soil and taken up by the roots?

Herbicides against weeds, pesticides against insects, fast-acting enzymes to promote growth; all are used regularly in food growing. Ultimately, tiny quantities end up in the food we eat. But our bodies do not need pesticides etc to help it function – quite the reverse! Hence the ever-increasing negative reactions in people; respiratory and allergy problems are all very much on the increase.

So how can you be sure that what you and your family eat is all you want to eat? The easiest way is to control how the plants you eat are grown – Grow Your Own (G.Y.O.)"

Read the article

Saturday, April 28, 2007

India's Green Wave

"The group that got together was of organic farmers, and the leader was the Collector, T. Udayachandran. Their mission to conquer: the minds of farmers in the district to turn them organic. At the MYRADA office at Arepalayam, in Sathyamangalam hills, as many as 20 organic farmers assembled to discuss steps to expand organic farming in the district. The farmers presented a list of suggestions to the Collector to formulate a plan of action. Organic farmer R. Selvam of Arachalur, who presented the plan of action, said they aimed to unite organic farmers to create awareness among others in farming community; increase the involvement of women in organic farming; enlighten consumers about the benefits of organic produce; protect traditional seed varieties and animal breeds; rejuvenate lands `polluted by chemical farming'; evolve steps to make organic farming a part of school syllabi; create awareness about genetically modified crops, among others."

Read the article

Friday, April 27, 2007

SunOpta to Sell Yumberry Juice, But What the Hell is a Yumberry?

"SunOpta Inc. announced that the SunOpta Fruit Group has entered into an exclusive supply agreement with Zhejiang Yumberry Juice Co., Ltd. to market Yumberry juice concentrate initially in the United States and also in Canada after one year.

The agreement excludes certain existing customers. Yumberry is a native Chinese fruit harvested organically from one-hundred year old trees in the valleys of Xiangu.

Yum, short for yummy derived from its native name Yang Mei, has been harvested in China for over 2,000 years for its healthy attributes. This deep red fruit is high in antioxidants and contains a wide range of vitamins, including vitamin C, thiamine, riboflavin and carotene.

Yumberry is used in diverse applications ranging from fruit juices to bakery applications, wines, cocktails and dairy products. Organic Yumberry juice has a sweet/tart balance that can either stand alone or be mixed with other juices or flavors. The harvested fruit is carefully selected, pressed, de-pectinized, filtered, concentrated and pasteurized before being shipped to North America. The juice is also available in single strength."

Read the article

UK Faces Supply and Demand Problems

The UK's demand for organics is great. Unfortunately, many farmers are not helping with the market because of problems due to "lack of labour, lack of skills, pricing techniques and which markets to supply."

"The situation is one that is clearly beginning to concern the Soil Association, the largest, but not the only, organic certification body in the UK. Of late, the organisation has been targeted for criticism given the amount of organic products that are imported.

Keen to improve its reputation as an industry leader in the fight against climate change and promote home-grown produce, it has embarked on an aggressive programme to encourage more farmers to look seriously at the opportunities in this sector.

..Their urgency suggests how serious the problem has become. Self-sufficiency in organic vegetables is improving – 62 per cent in 2004/05 compared with 57 per cent in 2001/02.

However, while the amount of land converted to organic vegetable production remains steady, demand is increasing at around 14 per cent each year."

Read the article

Monsato's Weed Problem

"Scientists at universities around the country have noted that weed resistance has been on the increase for the herbicide glyphosate, the chief ingredient in Roundup Ready products developed by St. Louis-based Monsanto Co.

Glyphosate surged to popularity in the mid-1990s after the development of genetically-engineered soybeans and other crops that are immune to the herbicide. That meant farmers could use Roundup weed killer and Roundup seed bean without fear of other weeds turning up.

Monsanto harvested a winner with that one. The firm said 87 percent of U.S. soybean fields and 60 percent of international soybean fields were planted with Roundup Ready soybeans in 2005.

But a growing number of weeds are now reportedly showing resistance. "It was just a matter of time," said Aaron Hager, a weed scientist with University of Illinois Extension. "We now have instances of weed species that aren't controlled by glyphosate," he said."

Read the article

Clif Bar to Reduce Carbon Dioxide Emissions

"Clif Bar & Co., a manufacturer of all-natural and organic energy and nutrition food and drinks, has announced that its field marketing team has brought eight biodiesel-powered pickup trucks into its fleet. The eight new Dodge Ram 2500 turbo diesel trucks will replace gasoline-powered vehicles and reduce the fleet’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by an estimated 40 percent—about 60,000 pounds of CO2 per year."

Read the article

On the Wrong Track

"ANTI-GM campaigners have been forced to apologise after they targeted the wrong field in a demonstration against trials of GM potatoes.

Hundreds of protesters from the group Mutatoes descended on land at Hedon, near Hull, which they believed had been earmarked for the BASF Plant Science trials.

The rally started as a GM-free potato picnic accompanied by live music with around 300 protestors. A large number then set out across the field to plant organic potatoes.

..However, it emerged that they had selected the wrong field, which was owned by another farmer. The land they had planted with organic potatoes had, in fact, already been drilled with beans by Hedon farmer David Buckton, who reported that the protestors left rubbish behind on his land including placards."

Read the article

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Prince and the Actor

"Like the prince, Nell Newman, the actor Paul Newman’s daughter, runs an organic food company whose profits go to charity. She said she is aching to visit his farm. The prince was even a hit among the farmers in Marin County, the hub of the nation’s organic movement, when he visited two years ago.

..At the entrance to Home Farm, a short drive from his house, rustic signs proclaim the land free of genetically modified organisms. Rare breeds of British cattle eat red clover. Heirloom ginger Tamworth pigs roll in royal mud. The prince (actually, the prince’s people) grow vegetables from heirloom seeds, and raise organic oats that are baked into the thin, crisp crackers that are the flagship of the Duchy Originals line."

Read the article

Canada's Campbell's Soup

"Campbell’s also has organic free range chicken, and organic vegetarian vegetable broths. These broths have no preservatives, no artificial colours or flavours and are made without pesticides, hormones or antibiotics. They also have 25 to 30 percent less sodium than regular ready-to-use broth."

Read the article

Turkey Sees Organic Growth

"When it first began in Turkey in 1996, it was only practiced in İzmir with eight products being produced but now 200 different products are grown in 50 cities. The Turkish organic farming market has grown by 30 percent in the past 10 years since its initiation while exports have reached $100 million and the domestic market has grown to $20 million."

Read the article

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

OTA Farm Bill

"I know from my own experience with my company that U.S. farmers are not keeping up with consumer demand for organic products," Clarkson said. "Today, U.S. demand for organic grains and oilseeds could easily support a doubling of organic production acres. Organic prices generally double conventional prices and offer higher net farm incomes than those available to conventional farmers. Despite buyer preference for domestic organic production, it is the foreign farmer who seems to be responding to the U.S. demand."

The OTA Farm Bill plan focuses on four priorities:

1) Fostering Conversion to Organic Agriculture and Trade
2) Eliminating Hurdles to Organic Agriculture and Trade
3) Initiating and Funding Organic Agriculture and Economic Research
4) Maintaining and Enhancing Current Agency Programs"

Read the article

Late July Testimony

"During her testimony, Dawes urged the subcommittee to increase funding for the National Organic Program and fully implements education provisions. She also urged lawmakers to make removal of export trade barriers on organic food products a priority, and support provisions within a pending farm bill that support U.S. organic agriculture and businesses.

She also asked the subcommittee to take a position in favor of organic agriculture “to help make a positive impact on the food chain for generations."

..She cares passionately about the environment and sees organic foods as a choice people can make as a “gateway” to reducing our impact on the planet.

"It’s hard to know where to start,” she said. “Not everyone can afford a hybrid car."

Read the article

Feed Baby Something Pure

"Pauline Amell-Nash worried that the pesticides and additives used to grow and preserve food were bad for her 1-year-old daughter Sophia, not to mention the earth itself. That’s why the pureed carrots, sweet potatoes and fruits Sophia ate were purchased from makers of organic baby food.

“She is so small, I just thought that the more pure, honest things she ate would be better for her,” the Claremont, Calif., mother said. “I also thought it benefits the environment. I want to raise my child with an idea of social responsibility.”

..Organic baby food sales soared 21.6 percent to $116 million in the 52 weeks ended Feb. 24, after jumping 16.4 percent a year earlier, according to The Nielsen Co. Meanwhile, overall baby food sales rose 3.1 percent to $3.7 billion in the same period, after being essentially flat a year earlier. The data was gleaned from U.S. grocery, drug and mass market retailers, excluding Wal-Mart."

Read the articles

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

New Cookies and Crisps from Newman's Own

Newman's Own Organics is adding two different kinds of snacks to their line-up, organic Hermit cookies and organic soy crisps. Along with the traditional Hermit cookie, the line will also include flavors ginger and cinnamon while the soy crisps will come in barbecue, white cheddar, lightly salted, and cinnamon sugar varieties. Here is a review of the new products by LA Daily News reporter Natalie Haughton. It doesn't seem like the taste testing of these products went over so well. Supposedly, the original Hermit cookies and the cinnamon flavored ones are the best, and the soy crisps all taste like "cardboard" with the exception of the barbecue flavored snack. Anyway, I think I'll keep an eye out for them!

Organic Food Producers in Canada Receive Grant

"B.C.'s organic producers are getting help from the provincial government as health-conscious consumers lap up organic food products of all kinds and new agriculture standards are set.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Lands has announced a $100,000 grant to the Certified Organic Associations of British Columbia to be used to support producers in meeting the requirements of the national Organic Products Regulation to be implemented over the next two years."

Read this article

Farmers Debate Over Bio Crops

"Organic and conventional farmers find themselves on opposite sides of the fence as the Legislature considers a bill that would make manufacturers of genetically modified seeds liable for damages if their products spread to other crops.

Some supporters of the bill, sponsored by Rep. James Schatz, D-Blue Hill, said it would protect farmers' ability to control what they grow whether they use organic or conventional methods.

But opponents said the bill could cause some manufacturers to remove their products from Maine, depriving conventional farmers of tools they use.

Seth Kroeck of Crystal Spring Community Farm in Brunswick, a supporter of the bill, feels that not enough is known about crops whose genetic material has been scientifically altered to produce particular traits, like resistance to rot or pests. Organic growers could lose their certification if their products mix with genetically modified plants, he said.

"Genetically modified crops are getting more powerful. You put that up against organic food, which is growing as a market," Kroeck said in a telephone interview. "We're going to start banging up against each other really soon."

Read the article

Monday, April 23, 2007

No Pesticides for Gwen Stefani

1 - Organic selection of whole vegestables (sic) to include: 3 cucumbers, 1 bunch beets, 1 bunch organic carrots, 1 bag prewashed spinach, 1 bunch flat leaft parsley, 1 bunch celery (all must be organic)

1 - Bowl of organic grown whole cashews

1 - Bowl of organic grown whole almonds (unbleached)

1 - Organic veggie tray with organic ranch dressing/dip

1 - Organic fresh cut fruit tray - to include seasonal berries, melons, fruits, a tropical assortment also welcome.

1 - Organic fruit bowl - to include organic bananas, plums, apples and pears

Read the article

GMO Protest: Our Land Isn't A Laboratory

"More than 150 protesters joined a rally and march to urge Michael Wilkin to abandon plans for the tests in Preston, near Hedon.

Some of the demonstrators hammered home their message by symbolically planting organic potatoes near the GM potato trial site.

Campaigners listened to anti-GM speakers at the rally in Preston Road Community Centre, east Hull.

Then marchers carried placards and banners amid a strong police presence to ensure the nationally publicised demonstration passed off peacefully.

Organic grower Dr Gwen Egginton, one of the speakers, said: "We are appealing to the farmer to ditch the trial because it is something nobody wants except the big biotech firms."

Read the article

The Organic Food Club

"We're bringing a community of people together," said Kalajian, who treats people and animals with her homegrown and handmade herbal tinctures, teas and other products. She also gives workshops on raw food, making herbal medicines, cosmetics, cat and dog health care, and other subjects.

The organic produce club started last month. Its 17 members pick what they want from a list more than a few dozen items long - from the standards like Yukon Gold potatoes, garlic and celery to the things not so mainstream, like Swiss chard, Medjool dates and Lacinato kale. Kalajian puts in the order from Global Organics, a certified organic produce distributor in Sarasota.

The delivery truck comes to her house - which is on the farm - on Thursdays and members pick up their goods on Fridays."

Read the article

Nestle Sees Organic Growth

"Nestle SA reported a first quarter sales rise of 6.4 pct to 24.3 bln sfr, the increase driven by organic growth of 7.4 pct with a positive contribution form all regions and businesses, partially due to higher demand ahead of expected price increases.

Looking ahead, the Swiss food giant said it continues to target organic growth of 5-6 pct as well as improved constant currency EBIT margins for the full year.

..Nestle's key food and beverages unit posted 7.1 pct organic growth driven by its strategic repositioning towards nutrition, health and wellness."

Read the article

Brazil Bash

"Organics Brasil, the first nationally sponsored program to export and promote organic products from Brazil, is pleased to announce the arrival of the Organics Brasil products in 25 Whole Foods Market stores in the Southern Pacific Region which include; Southern California, Southern Nevada, and Arizona. Whole Foods Market exclusively carries Organics Brasil products in both the food and body care departments."

Read the article

Sunday, April 22, 2007

FDA Plans to Remove Labeling from Irradiated Food

"The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed new federal regulations that will allow manufacturers and retailers to sell controversial irradiated foods without labeling them, as previously required by law. Consumers are justifiably wary of foods bombarded with nuclear waste or powerful x-rays or gamma rays--since irradiation destroys essential vitamins and nutrients, creates unique radiolytic chemical compounds never before consumed by humans, and generates carcinogenic byproducts such as formaldehyde and benzene. Although irradiation, except for spices, is banned in much of the world, and prohibited globally in organic production, U.S. corporate agribusiness and the meat industry desperately want to be able to secretly "nuke" foods in order to reduce the deadly bacterial contamination that is now routine in industrial agriculture and meat production."

Read the article and send the FDA your thoughts.

Jim's Organic Coffee Relies on Renewable Energy

"Jim’s Organic Coffee is proud to join hands with Sterling Planet and the Environmental Protection Agency to become the East Coast’s first coffee roaster that is 100% powered by renewable energy. The company has offset 100% of their electric and gas use to renewable energy sources. The purchase is enough to compensate for all gas and electricity in the roasting facility, for transportation of green coffee to the plant and for the company automobiles. This renewable energy is equivalent to 171,216 pounds of CO2, 17 passenger cars NOT driven for a year, 26 tons of waste recycled or 65 acres of pine/fir forests storing carbon for a year. According to Jim, “Being a 100% organic company, energy sustainability has always been a primary focus for us. By making these new strides, we maintain our leadership position as a coffee roaster dedicated to quality in the cup, while preserving our shared ecosystems."

Read the article

Why Organic is Bad

"Organic farming isn’t pesticide free, as consumers are led to believe. A number of synthetic substances are allowed for use in organic crop production, including isopropanol, chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, boric acid, sulfur and streptomycin. Among the dozens of other nonorganic substances allowed as ingredients in or on processed products labeled as “organic” or “made with organic” include various acids, animal enzymes, glucono delta-lactone (whatever that is), wood resin, cellulose, glyceride and kelp.

..Because organic crops do not yield as well as conventional or biotech crops, organic production requires more land. Alex Avery, in his must-read book “The Truth About Organic Foods” writes that “organic farming, on a large scale, poses the single greatest threat to natural ecosystems and biodiversity in human history.” Why? Because “organic only” would force us to clear-cut, graze, plow, and farm larger areas of the earth’s remaining wildlife habitat due to lower yields."

Read the article

Canada Creates Organic Seal

"This will mean consistency for the whole country," said Dag Falk, program manager with Richmond-based Nature's Path Foods. "This is something we've been working hard to get . . . Customers will be able to expect a certain standard in organic food, no matter where it's coming from."

Imported organic food will have to meet the new standards, he said."

Read the article

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Celeb Kids Eat Organic

"Donald Trump was guest hosting with Kelly Ripa today and apparently mentioned that Melania feeds little Barron organic baby food.

After seeing the show Marcia Cross called up Similac for several cases of Similac Organic for her twins Eden & Savannah, according to Similac’s PR rep."

Read the article

Go Greed for Earth Day

"Then I saw the list of companies participating in the Organic Trade Association and I began to suspect that this warm and fuzzy concern for our health might be just another hypocritical public relations campaign.

For example, over 3,500 grocery stores are participating in this Go Organic event… that’s twenty-nine chains, by the way. I reflected that if these companies were so concerned with America’s health, they should simply lower the prices of organic food to enable everyone to afford it. Most purchasers of organic products are price-insensitive; that is to say, they will purchase the product without regard to its price. Many of our least healthy Americans, however, are in the working class and often don’t have health insurance either. These people are price sensitive; that is to say, they purchase less expensive foods because their budget for food is smaller. They cannot easily afford organic produce or meat. Aren’t their children’s metabolisms important too?

So the price of organic food is an issue. Not that grocers earn much money from actually selling food! The big money is in the listing fees that manufacturers must pay to the grocers in order to have the right to put product on the shelves. The smaller organic producer or manufacturer often cannot afford these listing fees."

Read the article

Pasteurized Almonds Anyone?

"Almond Board-funded research shows no change in nutritional values or enzyme change in the heat-treated nuts, said Richard Waycott, president of the board.

Larsen said Big Tree's research reached the same conclusion. Buyers of raw almonds want them to be able to sprout, said Larsen, and the pasteurization process for organic almonds will not change that characteristic.

Waycott said the industry has worked on development of the pasteurization plan for the past three years and has made efforts to gather input from a number of stakeholders. For the past two years, the plan was discussed in open forums at the annual almond industry conferences.

"I can't tell you how many hours and meetings it has involved. There has been broad representation in our industry, including organic growers and handlers, as well as major customers here and abroad, government officials and health experts," Waycott said.

He emphasized that the food safety plan is a voluntary initiative by the almond industry to ensure quality and safety for consumers. It has not been mandated by any government agency, Waycott said.

..Glenn Anderson of Hilmar is one grower who disputes the Almond Board's research. Anderson sells his raw almonds directly to customers. Those customers don't believe the treatment will leave the nuts raw and want an unpasteurized product, he said.

"They want it completely raw, just as it came from the tree," he said.

Anderson said organic growers are more diligent about harvesting and handling their almonds and questioned the need for organic products to be pasteurized.

"No one ever has been made ill by eating organic almonds," he said. Anderson said he suspects the biological methods associated with organic farming reduce the risk for bacterial contamination. "

Read the article

Golden Egg

"Tesco made the first move, increasing the cost of 12 medium eggs from £2.69 to £2.99 and 12 large from £2.95 to £3.25. The retailer lifted its organic half-dozen packs by 14p. Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons quickly followed with similar increases.

..“The very future of organic egg production has been threatened by the crisis surrounding escalating feed costs and we’ve been pushing the packers for an increase in producer price since February,” said Tom.

“This is a significant lift at retail level and one that gives ample scope for producers to be fully compensated for the extra money they are shelling out for feed. It must not be used by retailers as an opportunity to further boost their margins at the expense of producers.”

..Due to an acute shortage of organically-grown wheat, producers have seen the price of organic poultry rations jump by £60 a tonne to £300. BFREPA calculates this represents an increased cost of 13p for every dozen eggs produced."

Read the article

Friday, April 20, 2007

Canada Turns Green and Black

Green and Black's is going to begin wide distribution of their chocolate bars throughout Canada in attempts to boost sales there.

"U.K. chocolate maker Green & Black's has launched a major push into the Canadian market, convinced that chocoholics with a social conscience are more than willing to pay $4 for a 100-gram chocolate bar.

..Sams said Green & Black's chocolate bars sell for between $3.50 and $4.30 each -- about 10 per cent more expensive than Lindt chocolate bars, which are not organic."

Start Milking

"On a larger scale, Organic Valley, a cooperative based in Wisconsin that sells dairy products, is adding 269 farmers this year for a total of 972; it will process 45 percent more milk this spring than a year earlier.

Horizon Organic, the biggest organic dairy company in the country, added 64 organic dairy farmers in 2006 for a total of about 350, and about 230 more are in transition, said Sara Unrue, a spokeswoman."

Read the article

Find Whole Foods in London

"Whole Foods Market opens in London on 6 June.

The world’s leading natural and organic supermarket will cover three impressive floors in Kensington High Street, in what was once Barkers Building.

It will fill the demand for getting organic shopping under one roof and having lots choice.

‘The Market Level’, on the lower ground floor, will sell good old market favourites, such as fresh fruit and veg and a host of fresh meat and fish. There will be a ‘whole body’ market area devoted to natural and organic hair and beauty products.

‘The Provisions Hall’ has been so named since 1870 when Barkers first opened the store. This is the entrance level, where you’ll be greeted by smells of freshly baked breads, biscuits, cakes and pastries, all made in-house using 100 per cent pure and natural ingredients."

Read the article

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Middle East Organics

"According to Provisor, the supermarket, which covers an area of 2,870 square meters, is the largest of its kind in the Middle East and one of the biggest health food stores in the world.

With more than 14,000 products in 20 different departments, including a bakery for whole wheat bread and pastries, a deli for boutique cheeses, an organic hummus stand, an ice cream parlor that will also manufacture soy and organic milk-based ice cream, a deli for organic salads, an organic chocolate department, a vitamin department and a department for environmentally-friendly detergents. This store hopes to provides its customers the best."

Read the article

Munch on Chemicals

"Bottom line: Focus on foods' benefit to your immediate environmen (sic) -- i.e. your body -- first. "A good diet means variety, balance, and moderation, regardless of the farming method that produced the food," McHughen says."

Read the rest

Organic Farmers Receive Recognition from Congress

"Vieira grows yams and sweet potatoes organically near Livingston, Calif. He speaks English with the accent of his native Azores Islands and wants Congress to step up its organic investments. "I would like to see more [attention] from the Congress, from the government, paid to the people like myself who are trying to have better food, and a better life," he said yesterday."

..Vieira joined other farmers in what was billed as the first-ever House hearing devoted solely to the subject of organic agriculture. For the first time, a congressional subcommittee has the words "organic agriculture" in its name, and lawmakers are recognizing that the $14.5 billion-a-year industry is not simply a fringe player."

Read the article

It's about time! To read more about the meeting with Congress and their recognition of organic shortages, click here.

Fall Into the Government Accountability Project

"GAP's food program is expanding to provide whistleblower protections to the organic food production sector," she told Sustainable Food News.

..GAP wants the organic food industry to know that it "can confidentially report a violation of organics standards and seek our guidance or assistance," the editorial read.

"As the public debate over the future of the organic label rages on, I want you to know that GAP is dedicated to maintaining the integrity of the organic standards and defending the rights of people who raise their voices to hold all players, even the giants, accountable to these standards," said the editorial."

Read the article.

Is Wal-Mart Struggling with Organics?

"Wal-Mart's 30-second television ads on national broadcast and cable stations that will be aired on such programs as "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and ABC's "Good Morning America", each feature a woman urging Wal-Mart shoppers to help the environment by buying low-energy light bulbs, organic cotton clothes or concentrated laundry detergent, which reduces packaging.

Matching print ads will appear in Friday and Sunday editions of USA Today and The New York Times and in national Sunday supplements, said Linda Blakely, a spokeswoman for the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer. She declined to say how much the campaign cost.

..The ads, which will run through the end of the month, are Wal-Mart's first national campaign to push those products, Blakely said."

Read the article.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Will True Earth Wine Taste Like Dirty Socks Too?

"The Three Thieves enter the organic wine business with a new brand called True Earth, made from organically grown grapes (sales of Organic wines have grown 35% in the last 52 weeks). Both True Earth wines -- a red blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petite Sirah, and a varietal Chardonnay -- are made from California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) vineyards in Mendocino County, using no pesticides, herbicides, or conventional synthetic fertilizers."

Read the article.

New Almond Beverage from Pacific Foods

"Pacific® Natural Foods has launched the first USDA-certified Organic Unsweetened Almond Beverages available in the marketplace. These new unsweetened beverages are available in both Original and Vanilla flavors and are sold in 32 oz. shelf stable containers.

Pacific Natural Foods has also reformulated its 32 oz. Almond Original and Almond Vanilla Beverages based on consumer sensory feedback. These reformulations along with the new Organic Unsweetened Almond Beverages contain roasted almond butter, which delivers a more delicious taste, improved mouth feel, and a creamier texture. The SRPs for these 32 oz. products are $2.49-$2.99.

In the Natural Channel, Non-Dairy Alternative Beverage sales reached more than $13 million in 2006, up 44 percent over the previous year. Additionally, Non-Dairy Beverage sales grew over 61 percent in mainstream grocery to more than $9 million last year.* According to Kevin Tisdale, director of marketing with Pacific Natural Foods, “more and more consumers are seeking great tasting organic beverage options without added sugar or sweeteners."

Read the article.

Go Green When You Stay in Europe

"Increasingly in Europe's small hotels and bed & breakfasts, particularly those run by farms, serving organic food is becoming less and less a rarity. In the Welsh town of St Davids in February, the TYF Hotel became the first organic hotel certified by the Welsh Organic Scheme.

.. Nail joins the growing band of chefs who believe it's their responsibility to make their clients aware of the environmental impact of choosing food that isn't local. They would like diners who have been used for so long to eating whatever they want whenever they want to accept that in demanding produce that has to be imported from wherever else it's in season, they should factor in the flyer miles it costs to get the food onto their plates.

..So far, the move is limited to organic options on the hotel's Du Jour menu and an organic menu at breakfast. Claridge's has been surprised by the popularity of this breakfast instead of the regular one that's also available. Difficult to speculate on the feelings of their other guests, but the British at least feel strongly about breakfast and are not easy to push to change their habits so early in the day."

Read the article.

Chef Wants Green Kids

"As childhood obesity rates hit startling highs, several Lake County cafeterias offer kids a steady stream of hot dogs, burgers, fries and pizza with little nutritional value. Grabowsky has made it his goal to bring healthy alternatives to the table that resemble kids' favorites, but contain a fraction of the calories and chemicals.

"Overall, 95 percent of the time I can be sure there's less chemicals in [organic foods]" Grabowsky said. "To me, it's really simple; do I want chemicals in my body?"

Read the article

All About Organic Tea and Coffee

If you are new to the idea of organic teas and coffee, this article will be of some help to you. If you aren't, then forgive this useless post!

"Wild Thyme Whole Food & Tea owner Jill Lyons said, "You won't have to worry about any of the pesticides or chemicals that are sometimes used on the tea leaves. In order to create a more suitable environment, instead the farmers are the ones who create the more suitable environment."

To be considered an organic coffee or tea farm, strict guidelines are required.

Lyons said, "You have to first of all apply. You have to get your farm in compliance with certain particular structures. In the U.S. there is an organic certification system that is kind of standardized, and there is a certain expectation level."

Read the article.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Cloned Animals NOT Organic

"The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), an expert advisory panel to the USDA’s National Organic Program, has made it clear that organic agriculture should not allow the use of cloned animals or their offspring in the production of organic food. The NOSB voted at their spring meeting in Washington, DC to exclude cloned animals, their offspring, and any food products from cloned animals from the organic sector."

Read the article.

Organic Valley Continues Fight Against GMOs

"Consumers respect and trust what the USDA organic seal represents, which includes no GMOs," said Organic Valley CEO George Siemon. "If the seal no longer represents a GMO-free product, the integrity of the seal will be greatly compromised and consumers may no longer choose organic products. The organic dairy industry is now at approximately $1.4 billion in sales. GM alfalfa drift would severely impact the market for our farmers' products."

Read the article.

Thailand Takes A Bite Out Of Organics

"Rai Plook Rak Farm, in Ratchaburi province, is one of many certified organic farms that have sprung up across Thailand in recent years hoping for a slice of the burgeoning market for all things chemical-free.

Once considered a niche market for eccentrics, "organic" has exploded into an international phenomenon worth an annual 26 billion dollars. And Thai farmers are cultivating the trend.

In 2005 the Thai organic market was estimated at 805 million baht (23 million dollars), up 145 percent from 2002.

In 2005, about 21,700 hectares (53,600 acres) of farmland was certified as organic, a 900 percent increase from four years earlier.

"I have really noticed the increasing popularity of organic food," said farm owner Kaan Ritkhachorn, who began cultivating the plot eight years ago.

"Everybody is becoming a lot more health-conscious. A decade ago people didn't really know it existed."

Ninety percent of the farm's vegetables go to supermarkets in Bangkok, with 10 percent exported, mainly to Singapore.

The shift in Thai attitudes towards organic food is clear. In 2005, domestic consumption was estimated to have overtaken exports, easing concerns in the industry about fluctuations in international markets."

Read the article.

Worldwide Organics

"The American OTA (Organic Trade Association) is glad to see global growth in organic agriculture. A report that was released at BioFach 2007 in Germany by IFOAM (International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements), FiBL (Research Institute of Organic Agriculture), and SÖL (Foundation for Ecology and Farming) reflected this.

World of Agriculture: Statistics & Emerging Trends 2007 indicate, around 30 Million Hectares are certified to be organic at present. Globally, organic products’ market reached 25.5 Billion Euros in the year 2005. Europe and North America remain the leading markets, as per the report.

Organic textiles, detergents & cleaning agents, pet food, and natural cosmetics showed a growth of 30% in 2005 and will continue to show immense growth rates in future as well.

The US generally depends on the imports of more than 30% of its organic food consumption. After all, nearly 27% of population was already regular consumer of organic products in 2004. A lot of merchandize is needed to meet the demands of more than 160,000 food stores and approximately 300 Million consumers."

Read the article.

Organic Clothing Options

"The fashion-conscious could show their support by wearing clothing and accessories produced without toxic chemicals and made of organic cotton or of sustainable fibers such as corn and bamboo.

..A sweater made from bamboo in camel, ivory and navy by Avalin feels like silk ($83), and knits made from corn by Moral Fervor ($79) feature a monarch butterfly. A fresh group of Stewart Brown organic cottons has a romantic T-shirt and ruffled skirt in white, graphite and medium brown ($65 to $120). Substance donates 2 percent of gross sales to public education in the United States."

Read the article.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Not Just A Bar of Chocolate

"In 1994, organic chocolate manufacturer Green & Black's added Maya Gold to its line of chocolates after founders Craig Sams and Jo Fairley fell in love with a Mayan drink while on vacation in Belize. "Kukuh," the Mayan drink, had been consumed by native cocoa farmers for generations. The company had already begun with the belief that sourcing organic ingredients for its products would be beneficial to taste. The company also believed that farmers who grew their crops organically were more interested in the quality and taste of what they grew, and were therefore more personally invested in their crops.

..The Maya Gold Project officially started in 2003 with the aim of turning the Toledo Cocoa Growers Association into a viable, self-sustaining organization. This group operates in the poorest part of Belize and the program aims to help people in the local community improve their quality of life.

To achieve this, the organization must sell at least 200 tons of fair trade cocoa per year. Green & Black's has committed to buying at least that amount for their Maya Gold and other organic chocolate bars. Thanks to their commitment, there is now a palpable feeling of excitement and enthusiasm over the project and cocoa as a crop."

Read the article.

New Cereal from Nature's Path

"The Nature’s Path Organic Foods family is thrilled to introduce SmartBran™, the first-ever certified organic high-fiber cereal with psyllium. SmartBran™ combines three great sources of dietary fiber – psyllium, oat bran and wheat bran – together in a delicious cereal. With 13 grams of dietary fiber, SmartBran™ meets the needs of today’s health-conscious consumers, and has 25% less sugar than its closest non-organic competitor."

As mentioned previously, they unveiled some new flavors to their toaster pastry line as well. In addition to those new flavors, they also came out with family sized boxes of frosted strawberry and brown sugar maple cinn which contain twice as many organic pastries.

"The new Toaster Pastries join the existing line of frosted and unfrosted Strawberry, Blueberry and Apple Cinnamon six packs. The suggested retail price for these products ranges from $2.59 to $3.29. In addition, two larger Family Packs of 12 pastries each have been added for the frosted Strawberry and Brown Sugar Maple Cinn.

Toaster pastries are North America’s second most popular breakfast choice. Shelf stable toaster pastries are a $406 million category with a negative category growth of -2.3. The Nature’s Path brand ranks No. 4 and is proud to boast a growth rate of 119.5%.**"

More On Raw Almonds

"We agree with The Institute's main contention — these almonds which would be labeled "raw" is deceptive to those who wish to buy truly raw, unprocessed almonds. It's time to separate out the technology benefits (or drawbacks) from labeling issues and allow shoppers to be able to trust what’s listed on the package as being “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”

Read the article.

Go Grass-Fed

"It's an old story, actually, one about a Texas ranching family that raises cattle on rolling, green hills of native grasses, never uses pesticides, hormones or grain, and sells their meat to people they know on a first-name basis.

Jon and Wendy Taggart tell it best.

"It's not new," Wendy Taggart said. "It's the way ranching was done years ago."


Studies have shown a number of health benefits to eating beef from cows that were 100 percent grass-fed.

-Lower in saturated fats

-Slightly higher in omega-3 fatty acids

-Higher in vitamins A and E

-No antibiotics

-Substantially lower chance of E. coli contamination

Read the article.

The Organic Struggle

"Dave Size's organic heirloom vegetables were once the cream of the crop.

That is, until the federal government got involved.

Size used to pay a couple of hundred dollars a year to be part of a regional organic growers association. But after the U.S. Department of Agriculture stepped in and he learned his costs would skyrocket, he closed his New York heirloom farm, which produced tomatoes featured on "Good Morning America" and the Food Network.

"That was a big disincentive for people that had already established organic farms, and you just can't go out and start charging your customers more money for the same thing," said Size, who now owns a berry farm near Frankford."

Read the article.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Candy Everywhere!

I was at the supermarket yesterday, and I noticed organic lolipops in the bulk section. I also noticed some organic jelly beans and gummy type snacks at the check-out area. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to buy anything, but I did look up the companies when I got home.

First I came across Yummy Earth, a candy company started by two fathers who wanted to treat their children with something wholesome.

Yummy Earth says:
"Sergio Bicas, father of then-four-month-old Rose, was feeding lunch to
Rob Wunder’s then-one-year-old Jonah while they talked about organic
treats they wish were available. Both longtime lollipop fans and
longtime friends through their college roommate wives, they began
dreaming out loud about inventing organic lollipops to share with their
babies as they got older. The lollipops would be really yummy and have
no chemical colors, artificial flavors, pesticides or other junk."

Flavors include pomegranate pucker, cheeky lemon, wet-face watermelon, mango tango and sour apple tart. They also have a line of hard candy with all of the same flavors.

The organic jelly beans and gummy worms I found are manufactured by Santa Cruz Nutritionals under the name Surf Sweets.

Santa Cruz Nutritionals says:
"Fat Free. Non GMO. Natural Colors and Flavors. Gluten Free.
Let Surf Sweets drench you with fresh fruit flavor. Our candy is crafted from natural ingredients without artificial flavors and colors. Reward your good taste and respect the earth by choosing organic. Try any of our delicious varieties and you'll be convinced - snack time is a perfect time to Catch a Wave of Flavor!!"

They offer gummy bears, fruity bears, gummy swirls, and jelly beans in a variety of flavors.

The organic candy market seems to be growing. It is appealing to me mainly because I have an enormous sweet tooth, and I hate having to eat nonorganic candy (sorry, I am such an organic snob I almost can't stand myself.)

Anyway, if you would like to learn more about these products, I suggest checking out this review of Surf Sweets and this review of Yummy Earth candy drops.

Say No to GMOs

Brian Gore wants you to say no to genetically modified organisms. In his documentary, Unjust Genes, the hazardous effect GMOs have on both the environment and human health is examined.

"Gore showed excerpts from his new film, Unjust Genes, which features London-based anti-GMO campaigner Dr Mae-Wan Ho, who warns that GMO crops could lead to “global famine, environmental devastation and massive crop failures”.

The Columbans operate two organic demonstration farms in the Philippines, encouraging farmers to plant traditional varieties of rice and corn and extricate themselves from dependency on multinational agricorps. “As oil has gone up, so has the cost of fertilisers”, explained Gore.

“We don’t need it”, argued Gore. “On our traditional farms, good organic practices yield a good crop without depleting the soil or polluting the environment. In economic terms alone, this is superior to hybrid seeds and agro-chemicals or to GMO."

Read the article.

South Africa Steps Away from Pesticides

"Organic farming has come to South Africa, where it is being billed, not only as a profitable enterprise, but also as a panacea for poor soil quality in growing regions.

From an estimated 5 million rand ($700,000) before 2003, sales of organic food grown in South Africa - domestic sales and exports combined - jumped to 155 million rand ($21 million) in 2005, with an exponential increase expected again in 2006/07, according to Organics South Africa trade organization.

After a slow start the rate of conversion to organic farming has accelerated. Of the 230 certified organic or in-conversion operations in South Africa in 2005, 75 percent have started organic processes in the previous two years."

Read the article.

More Info on Monsato Hormone Case

"Agribusiness giant Monsanto Co. is challenging a growing trend among dairies to label their milk "hormone free," saying that claim misleads consumers into believing the cow growth hormone Monsanto makes is unsafe.

St. Louis-based Monsanto's aggressive move against a group of dairies to halt use of the labels could send ripples through the food industry.

In letters filed recently with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission, Monsanto protests that milk labels touting the fact that cows did not receive the hormone--known variously as rBGH, rBST or Posilac, the trade name--have unfairly damaged its business, as well as that of dairy farmers who use the drug on their cows.

The FDA has found no difference between the milk produced by cows that received the hormone and the milk from cows that did not receive it, Monsanto says. The hormone increases milk production by about 10 percent."

Read the article.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Sweet, Green Dreams

"The retailer is teaming with Vivetique, a premier organic mattress brand based in Los Angeles, and is introducing its “EcoDream” bed at its showroom at 64th Street and Second Avenue in Manhattan, and 455 Central Park Ave. in Scarsdale. It will also be available online and over the telephone and can be shipped worldwide.

..The "EcoDream" mattress combines two types of natural latex for support and comfort. The “EcoDream” is wrapped in all organic cotton and comes with an eco-friendly wood foundation. The mattress and box spring set will retail for $4,999 in queen size.
“The rise in organic food purchases nationally leads us to believe that consumers will be equally as concerned with what goes against their bodies as what goes inside them, particularly since consumers increasingly view a good night’s sleep as being critical to living a healthier lifestyle,” said Senior Vice President of Merchandising and Retail John O’Connell."

Read the article.

Harming the Environment with Organic Farming?

"After studying 150 organic and non-organic food products, lead author Ken Green, professor of environmental management at the Manchester Business School, reported, "There is certainly insufficient evidence available to state that organic agriculture overall would have less of an environmental impact than conventional agriculture."

The researchers found no evidence that organic farming provides any overall environmental advantages ... and also found that many popular organic products strain the environment much more than food products produced through conventional methods. Organically grown vegetables were singled out as particularly stressful on natural resources.

"..Consumers should avoid being misled into shopping out of fear and propaganda," said Avery, "and instead realize that the modern food system is not only incredibly safe--last fall's spinach E. coli outbreak was caused by organically grown spinach on a pasture-based, 100 percent grass-fed beef ranch--it is also incredibly efficient. And that is just good for the environment."

Read the article.

Wal-Mart Denies Organic Troubles

Dear Editor, Pallavi Gogoi's article, posted April 12, 2007, on, is an erroneous and inaccurate representation of Wal-Mart's commitment to providing our customers with affordable access to organic products.

We have been selling organic products in our Supercenters and Neighborhood Markets for many years and, due to customer demand, announced plans to double the organic food offerings in those locations in March of 2006. We quickly met that goal and even exceeded it in communities where there is an exceptionally high demand for organic offerings. We continue to see steady customer interest in buying quality organics at great prices.

Read the rest of the letter.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Fiji Enters Organic Market

"Mr Mangal said with Fiji producing less than 0.01 per cent of world sugar, it was time the industry concentrated on value to improve competitiveness.

He said with an unlimited demand for organic food products, there was a need for Fiji to shift in that direction."

Read the article.

No More Organics at Wal-Mart?

"BusinessWeek reported today that the retail behemoth "has backed off of aggressive plans to offer more organic foods."

Wal-Mart itself tepidly denies its retreat from organic, claiming that its original plans to push into organics had been exaggerated in media reports.

But BusinessWeek counters that large- and midscale organic farmers from Florida to Maine are claiming Wal-Mart is buying less stuff.

According to the newsweekly, Wal-Mart's faltering organic strategy is part of a broader trend: the company would like to capture higher profit margins by selling "upscale" products, but its customers -- even higher-income ones -- doggedly see it as the place to load up on cheap stuff."

Read the article.

Tightening of Standards Results in Shortage of Feed in Europe

"Demand for organic food is on a steady upward course, but the supply of organic animal products is being held up by shortages of feed, including grass, says the Soil Association, the umbrella body for the movement.

This is confirmed by leading feed manufacturer BOCM Pauls, which says it is having to source organic grain and pulses from overseas, mainly France and Italy, to keep up with demand.

This is due to tightening of the EU standards for organic provenance of feed for livestock production."

Read the article.

Cabot To Offer Organic Cheddar (again)

"Cabot, whose parent company is Massachusetts-based Agri-Mark, sees a chance to capture market share in the booming organic dairy market, said Jed Davis, director of marketing for Cabot.

"..There weren't as many outlets for selling organic food. Major supermarkets didn't have natural and organic sections as they do today. There weren't as many organic dairies, either, and milk supply was not always adequate, Davis said.

The organic dairy farming picture has changed significantly in the past seven years. In 2000 there were 47 organic diaries. In early 2007 there were 133, with another 80 in the process of becoming organic, according to the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont."

Read the article.

Appleton, Wisconsin Goes Organic

"We're very picky," said Rousseau, who owns the store with husband Kelly.

"We've been investigating every ingredient. Just because it's natural doesn't mean it's safe. We're doing the legwork for people. We investigated the companies to know if animals were treated humanely," she said.

"..We've traveled around the nation for a year and a half looking at other stores. When we saw something we liked, we asked, 'Where did you get that?' We tasted things. We don't want it to taste like the box it came in."

Read the article.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

More Organic Yogurt and Smoothies from Stonyfield

From the recent Stonyfield Farm newsletter:

"More Organic Yogurt and Smoothies
On May 1st, our 32oz. fat free yogurts and 10oz. smoothies will become certified organic again!

In the past, organic milk shortages have prevented us from offering as many organic yogurts and smoothies as we’ve wanted to offer. But organic milk supplies have recently grown, enabling us to increase our organic offerings."

New Kashi Frozen Pizzas

"Our pizzas feature flavorful natural ingredients paired with a one-of-a-kind crust made from our signature blend of seven whole grains,” says Jeff Johnson, Kashi senior brand manager and nutritionist. “Our pizza is tasty and convenient, and the whole grains, fiber and Omega-3s make it deliciously good for you.”

Kashi All-Natural Frozen Pizzas feature a great tasting, stone-fired signature Kashi™ Seven Whole Grain and Sesame blend crust complemented with flax seeds, providing 260 mgs of ALA Omega-3 fatty acid. Each serving provides between four and five grams of fiber, eight grams of whole grains, and 15 to 19 grams of protein(a)."

Read the article.

Where Have All the Bees Gone?

"Colony collapse disorder (CCD) is characterized by the sudden die-off of honey bee colonies. The cause of CCD has not been determined, and the Subcommittee heard about the situation and its impact on agriculture from scientists and bee keepers, as well as a farmer who relies on bees to pollinate his crops.

"I am deeply committed to raising awareness of CCD and its impact on American agriculture,” said Subcommittee Chairman Cardoza. “Farmers and beekeepers across the country are dependent on honey bees for their livelihoods. It is imperative that we move swiftly to get to the bottom of this, before the problem becomes even more serious. The insight and perspectives we heard in today’s hearing will be very useful as we consider the next steps in addressing this threat to honey bees, and to the livelihoods of commercial beekeepers and crop producers."

Read the article.

Steak Plant

"Doyle Brasher of Northern Beef Packers said that the plant could easily produce organic or natural beef if there was a demand for it. Whether there will be remains to be seen.

Brasher made his comments during a Wednesday night meeting in Bath. Five people attended what wound up being a casual question-and-answer session sponsored by the group Vote Yes For Regional Growth, which supports an estimated $8.6 million in tax increment financing for the plant.

On April 24, Brown County residents will be asked to approve a TIF district for Northern Beef Packers."

Read the article.

Certified Cloned

"One such bill, Senate Bill 63, by Sen. Carole Migden, D-San Francisco, would require meat and milk produced from cloned animals to carry a label identifying it as having a cloned origin. The bill had its first committee hearing Wednesday. "Consumers want to know what they're feeding their children," Migden said. "We don't like the notion of fake food. We ought to know that our food is fresh and authentic. And we certainly don't want to wrestle with moral issues when we're grocery shopping."

Industry representatives oppose such labels, saying they would unnecessarily frighten consumers when studies have indicated food from cloned animals poses no added risk."

Read the article.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

DHA to Go

NuGo Nutrition, in collaboration with Martek Biosciences, have added dark chocolate almond and dark chocolate pomegranate to their line of food bars. These new bars also contain 32 mg of DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid.

"NuGo Nutrition was developed to give consumers healthy, great tasting nutrition bars that can be enjoyed by the entire family. Created by Keith Rohrlick and David Levine, the food products company promotes good nutrition in a healthy, portable size. NuGo currently markets three product lines: NuGo Family bars in 6 flavors; NuGO Organic in 3 flavors and Smarte Carb in 2 flavors. NuGo continually responds to its customers' requests for new and improved nutritional products with exceptional flavor and taste. Healthier choices from nutrition conscious NuGo will be at a store near you soon with more products debuting each year."

Read the article.

Rare and Organic Chinese Tea from Andao Tea

"GK: Why drink organic tea?

Jake: I think that's a question everybody has to answer for him or herself. Essentially, consumers choose organic food products because they have a belief that these products benefit their health and have less chemical and artificial pollutants. And they are probably right. Ironically, something I didn't understand before we actually got involved in the mechanics of getting organic certified, the certification does not mean it's better for your health. It's simply an assumption that currently can't be scientifically supported. The certification does however posit that the land where the crop was grown and the crop itself have not been exposed to fertilizer and pesticide pollution. The certification is, in a sense, an assurance of sustainable land use. I think both health and sustainable land development are compelling reasons to drink organic teas.

GK: How reliable are China's organic standards?

Jake: China does have its own 'green' and 'organic' standards. We don't have much experience in the various local "green" standards currently emerging. Andao is actually certified according to US [NOP] and EU [EU2092/91] international standards. It is not a question of one standard for China and one for other countries. Producers who have chosen to undergo the rigorous certification process have to maintain the very strict levels required by these standards.

China's internationally certified organic food production essentially came about to support demand in the international market. In that sense it's distinct from the grassroots-level organic farmers that sprouted up years ago and gave birth to a whole movement in the US and Europe. So the growth of organic production here was largely economically motivated. However, this is a positive result of external economic impetus and it is already being followed by small but growing demand by Chinese consumers for more 'green' products."

Read the article.

Andao Tea says:
"Our company was created in 2005 in order to supply the growing demand in the West for a more reliable source of high quality, rare and organic Chinese teas. Located in southwestern China's Yunnan Province, we work year round with local and national Chinese artisan tea producers in order to ensure the best possible whole leaf, single origin, rare and organic teas for our clients. We are very particular when it comes to providing authentic tea varietals to our customers. Whether it be a unique flavor specific to a tea production region or a particular denomination of origin, we do our best to promote Chinese teas that represent the true nature of China and its tea drinking culture.

We offer a wide range of single-origin, rare and organic white, green, oolong, black and Puerh teas shipped directly from China, guaranteeing you the freshest whole leaf teas possible. Our teas are available in tea and coffee shops, specialty food shops and gourmet markets."

Wild Oats: Can a Tomato Save the Earth?

"Can a tomato save the earth? It can if it's organic!
At Wild Oats, we believe in the benefits of organic food and think that buying organic is good for you, good for your family and a great way to make a positive impact on the environment. Plus our great selection of organic produce makes it easy to get started.

How about starting with an organic tomato? You're probably asking, "Can eating a tomato really help save the earth?" It can if it's a certified organic tomato. Why? Organic Certification begins on the farm where fruits and vegetables are grown without synthetic pesticides, herbicides or synthetic fertilizers. This means that you get a tomato that's free of chemical residues and the earth benefits from fewer toxic synthetic chemicals entering into the environment.

Top 5 Benefits to Choosing Organic

-cleaner soil and water
-ecosystem protection
-support for biodiversity
-reduction of health risks
-keeps small farming communities prosperous"

UK Poultry Company Wants More Money

"The launch of free-range and organic whole birds, and roasting crowns and joints is expected before the end of this year. It is part of a wider relaunch of the Bernard Matthews brand, which aims to make it more “relevant to today’s consumers" with new recipes and products.

The company has faced a number of difficulties over the past few years including those caused by Jamie Oliver's crusade against its Turkey Twizzler product in his Channel 4 show, Jamie's School Dinners. But consumer confidence was hit harder by the bird flu scare earlier this year."

Read the article.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Bloom Boom

"Beyond Organic Food: People initially gravitated to organic products because of concerns about pesticide residue in their food, but there is more to organic than healthful eating. Organic is an environmentally-responsible farming method that applies to all areas of agriculture, whether tomatoes, cotton or flowers. Organic flowers are the newest category in the $230 billion Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability market (LOHAS), in which there are reportedly more than 50 million Americans making environmentally-conscious purchases each year."

Read the article.

You Got Bio-Crops on My Organically Grown Plants!

"..Genetically engineered plants are more popular than ever across the country and around the world.

Between 1996 and 2006, the amount of land cultivated worldwide with genetically engineered plants increased from 4.2 million acres to 250 million acres, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report. More than half of those acres were in the United States.

Proponents say genetically engineered plants can provide longer-lasting crops, are resistant to adverse conditions, herbicides and insects, and can be used for pharmaceutical purposes or as edible vaccines for diseases such as hepatitis B and AIDS."

Read the article.

More Organic Deliveries in the UK

"The acquisition means that the Lawrence's Lampeter-based company can now deliver organic food, drink, skin care, baby care, textiles, homeware and even pet care across a wider area of West Wales.

And local customers in Lampeter get their orders delivered in a much more traditional but environmentally kind way - by grocer's bicycle."

Read the article.

Australia Works on Organic Standards

"The OFA called for the implementation of the national standards to ensure consumer faith in organic products, by acting as a basis for domestic regulation in the country, after consultation with authorities in the country.

"It was the Australian Government that proposed that an Australian Standard was the correct way to get domestic regulation," Leu told

"It took a lot of consultation and investigation before we decided that this was the only option."

A similar standard is already in place for the country's exports of organic food, and the OFA is keen that domestic market for organic foods is finally following suite.

He added that the standards, which would be used by the industry to define organic production techniques, allowable inputs and prohibited practices, could conceivably be in place by the end of the year."

Read the article.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Drink Froid

"Gaining popularity on both coasts, Froid has now been picked up by distributors such as; United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI East& West), Nature’s Best, Haddon House, Distribution Plus Inc. (DPI), and Tree of Life. With the acquisition of widespread distribution, Froid can be seen in an array of stores from major chain grocery stores such as Wegman’s and Food Emporium, to cafes, health food stores, convenience stores, and specialty stores like Harry & David, Whole Foods, and Bristol Farms. Assuring its place in the organic beverage market, Froid is soon to be carried by Albertsons, Food Lion, Gristedes, Publix, and Vons, to mention a few."

Read the article.

The Froid website says:
"Froid's founders had a vision to create a unique line of ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages that would stand out in today's expanding organic marketplace. We knew that the first step in this process was to find premium ingredients in order to create a smooth creamy texture with layers of flavors that dance atop a foundation of coffee and tea."

New Export for India

"Mariann Fischer Boel, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, European Commission, said in a statement reported on March 9, 2007 by that as organic products from India are now in accordance with EU norms, India should consider exporting its organic products to European markets.

..The business of organic food segment is growing gradually. In 2005, EU (with 25 member states) had approx six million hectare of land either under organic farming or was being transformed to organic production.

This equates to an impressive 2% hike over 2004. During the same timeframe, the total number of organic cultivators increased by over 6%, and most of the new member states of EU are particularly showing interest in organic farming.

"In Europe we have a huge market for organic products," Boel said.

"India should improve its capabilities in terms of infrastructure, cold storage facilities. India now conforms to the EU's standards of organic produce and that was crucial," she explained."

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Amity Gets Whole Food

"Kimberton Whole Foods supports organic farmers. “We try to support local farmers,” Greenblatt said, adding that it takes three years to become certified as an organic farm.

The store will have organic meats and poultry along with gourmet dairy items, such as artisan cheeses, organic yogurts and raw milk.

A grand opening is planned for April 21 with radio station Frank FM, 107.5, and local cheerleaders holding a car wash."

Wisconsin Community Grows Organic

"Q. What sort of trend have you witnessed in the last five years in terms of organic production in the state and area? Are you finding more producers — or potential producers — coming to you for advice on setting up or running an organic operation?

A. Organic production has steadily increased in the state and our area. Many issues surrounding organic local foods have been increasing as well, like food councils, food assessments, local food summits, food security and food sovereignty. We have talked with many tribal nations throughout the United States, in what our program provides and how they could adapt the same concept to meet their communities' needs and maintain the indigenous cultural knowledge that comes from their people."

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Sunday, April 8, 2007

Professor Claims Organic Food Is "No Healthier"

“The idea that somehow eating organic foods is going to make you healthier, I think is just wishful thinking,” says Mark Kantor, a professor of nutrition at the University of Maryland.

He says a crop grown under organic conditions has less pesticide residue than conventionally grown crops. But he says both kinds of crops have only harmless amounts.

“There is no health advantage,” he says, adding “There's really no evidence that you are going to be any healthier in terms of pesticides.”

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Saturday, April 7, 2007

What's In Your Milk?

"Up in arms over what they describe as deceptive milk labeling, Monsanto and more than 500 individuals - many of them dairy farmers - have appealed to two federal agencies to put a halt to advertising strategies that disparage milk from cows treated with Monsanto's artificial hormone rBST.

..According to Monsanto, a recent lab analysis of 95 different brands of retail milk purchased in 48 states confirmed that there is no difference in the hormone content of milk from cows that were injected with rBST and milk from those that weren't.

Yet out in the marketplace, it's a different story. Consumers are seeing labels and advertisements that promote milk from cows that haven't been treated with rBST as healthier and safer for their families to drink."

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Sham Organic Milk Will Remain A Sham (for now)

"QAI is North America's largest for-profit organic certifier. Its job--along with the 94 other USDA-accredited certifiers-- is to confirm by inspection whether the producers, processors, handlers and retailers seeking the "Certified Organic" stamp are adhering to the 2002 organic standards. But controversy has erupted over what critics are calling QAI's loose interpretation of the standards--and whether the San Diego certifier is, in effect, allowing companies to bend, if not break, the rules.

Mark Kastel, cofounder of The Cornucopia Institute, a Wisconsin-based organic watchdog group, dubbed QAI the "corporate certifier of convenience" for its propensity to certify most of the "suspect" large-scale dairy operations that his organization is monitoring. According to Kastel, many of these "factory farms," which supply milk to Horizon (owned by Dean Foods) and Aurora Dairy (which markets under the Woodstock Farms brand), are skirting the rules by confining thousands of cows in feedlot-like conditions with minimal time grazing onpasture."

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Friday, April 6, 2007

The Number One Place for Peanuts

"Naveen Puppala of the New Mexico State University Agriculture Science Center in Clovis. Puppala’s area of specialty is in peanut breeding and genetics.

Q. Why is New Mexico ranked No. 1 in organic peanut production?
A. Mainly because we have a suitable climate. We do not get as much rain as other areas do. Other areas have higher humidity, which can cause more diseases in the plants. Weather is the number one reason for us."

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OTA Raises $500,000

"The Organic Trade Association (OTA)’s 2007 Annual Fund campaign has raised $528,000 for its public policy, media relations and advocacy work for the year. The theme for this year’s fund campaign was “Today. Tomorrow. Together. Organic,” reflecting OTA’s vision to bring organic to the next level of growth and sustainability by industry members working together on issues and goals."

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The Vending Machine Is No Longer The Enemy

"Vending machines with fresh organic fruit of the season and snacks with vegetables of organic origin are available in various locations in Rome now.

..Fruit and vegetables are harvested, selected, processed and distributed on a daily basis to fill the vending machines. The fruit, packed in transparent cellophane, carries date and location of harvest. The price for an apple or a pear, for example, is 50 cents, and a small part of this is given to an agricultural company which the Region of Lazio has established for children in Congo.

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Dr. Bronner's Reaches Organic Goal

Sometimes, the idea of going organic can be overwhelming especially if you consider the expense of organic food and then, uhm, organic everything else. Food is my first priority so I always make sure I buy all organic food. Next, I think it's important to think about skincare. If you look at a bottle of body wash, you will notice half of the ingredients are just way too.. scientific sounding. Thankfully, brands like Dr. Bronner's exist. The company's mission is to create soaps that are "simple, natural and 100% environment-friendly." The famed soap company is also proud to announce the progress of their organic conversion:

"Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps announced that the company has reached a milestone in its goal to use 95 percent raw materials that are both organic and fair trade certified. In February the company received shipment of its first order of 80 metric tons of organic olive oil from the Holy Land, where olive trees have flourished without pesticides since biblical times. Dr. Bronner's set its 95 percent organic and fair trade goal in 2005, with a plan to meet it by mid-2007. The olive oil will be included in Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps by this summer."

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Organic Raw Almonds Not Organic After All?

"Small-scale farmers, retailers, and consumers are outraged over a new federal regulation that will require all almonds grown in California to be sterilized with various "pasteurization" techniques. The rule, which the USDA quietly developed in response to outbreaks of Salmonella in 2001 and 2004, traced to raw almonds, mandates that all almonds undergo a sterilization process that includes chemical and/or high-temperature treatments."

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Growth in Organic Pet Food Sales

"Nationally, organic pet food sales make up a tiny but growing slice of the $14.3 billion dog and cat food industry.

In 2003, organic pet food sales totaled $14 million, representing 0.09 percent of total sales. Two years later, organic pet food sales had climbed to $30 million, representing 0.19 percent of the market, according to the Organic Trade Association.

According to a 2006 survey conducted by the association, organic pet food sales are projected to grow by 36 percent in 2006 and by at least 24 percent each year from 2007 to 2010."

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Thursday, April 5, 2007

Organic Wine Tastes Like Dirty Socks

"It tastes like a pair of nylon socks,'' said Darran Rees, a solicitor, "that have been left in the dirty washing basket for weeks.''

..Most of the wines we tasted did speak to us, with only a couple of duds and some indifferent ones. But nobody expressed an immediate conversion to organic wines, and everyone raised the issue of whether consumers should be prepared to pay the premium prices often demanded by organic producers just for feeling warm and cuddly about their products."

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College Offers More Organics

"One of the things I've learned working at UTC is that students these days are more sophisticated than they used to be," Flores said. "They want healthier options."
Jody Chapman, a Franklin, Tenn., senior, said she is pleased with the changes made on campus.
"Obesity is an obvious problem in our society and I'm happy to see that the school is helping to remedy this," Chapman said. Chapman said she decided to start eating organically after she started having medical problems. "I have been eating and living a healthier lifestyle for probably over a year," Chapman said. "I started having a lot of stomach problems and realized that they only way I was going to feel better is if I changed my diet."

Flores said in the past he has attempted to make organic foods available to students but only recently was able to find a reasonably priced distributor."

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