Thursday, May 31, 2007

GM Crops are Safer than Organic?

"In a short "Facts & Fears" article, the American Council on Science and Health suggests that Bt corn and other GM crops could be safer than organic ones.

Authors L. Andrew Staehelin (University of Colorado) and David A. Christopher (University of Hawaii) state that organic foods are often presented to consumers as representing the ultimate standard in food safety and healthfulness, an image which is used to justify premium prices.

They also suggest that the organics industry campaigns against GM crops on the basis that they are unnatural creations of technology which are bad for health and the environment.

Citing a number of studies published in peer-reviewed journals, Staehelin and Christopher say such claims have little merit and that in many ways, GM crops are safer than organic ones.

For instance, Bt corn resists insect infestation and contains, on average, far lower levels of carcinogenic mycotoxins than non-GM varieties grown by organic farmers."

Read the article

"Yuppie Chow"

"Organic food, taken over by big business, has become an assembly-line product marketed as 'yuppie chow' for the privileged, a Canadian researcher says.

Multinational food-processing giants such as ConAgra Foods, Cargill, Kraft Foods, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo now own most organic brands, Irena Knezevic of Toronto`s York University said in advance of a presentation she will make to social science scholars Friday.

While the food may meet organic standards, it is prepared, packaged, shipped and marketed in ways that are anathema to organic agriculture`s essence, which includes 'environmentalism, resistance to corporate globalization and the `back-to-the-land` movement, Knezevic said."

Read the article

Oh yeah, so everyone should just eat tons of pesticides to avoid having their food called "yuppie chow." What a ridiculous thing to say.

Organics in the Philippines

"The Department of Agriculture said in a press release it is tapping the growing global market for organic and halal foods to boost the profitability of Filipino farmers and raise more revenues from agro-fishery exports.

Secretary Arthur Yap said the market for organic foods alone is growing at a rate of eight percent annually worldwide, even if these products can be 30 percent more expensive than regular and processed food items."

Read the article

Hain Celestial Group Buys WhiteWave Foods Co.

"Broomfield-based WhiteWave Foods Co. will sell its tofu and meat-alternative business to the Hain Celestial Group for an undisclosed amount, the companies said Wednesday.

The deal, expected to close next month, will take WhiteWave out of the tofu business for the first time since Boulder entrepreneur Steve Demos started the company in 1977.

Demos built the business on tofu and Silk soymilk products, selling to Dallas-based Dean Foods Co. in 2002 for $204 million. Two years later, Dean paid $216 million to acquire Horizon Organic Dairy, and eventually combined the units under the WhiteWave umbrella.

Once the sale closes, WhiteWave will focus on building its four remaining key brands: Silk, Horizon Organic, International Delight and Land O'Lakes, said spokeswoman Molly Keveney."

Read the article

I have never been much of a fan of soy, especially after reading Harvard's thoughts about it. It's pretty unavoidable though because it's in almost every product.

Tofu tastes okay, but soy milk is like drinking liquid cardboard.

Valencia Learns About Organics

"The town of Valencia, the little Baguio of Negros Oriental, has intensified its campaign to promote organic farming by training farmers on how to produce organic fertilizers using vermicomposting, the process of organic wastes using earthworms to produce organic fertilizers.

Municipal Agricuturist Recil Vincoy said this effort would make Valencia the first fully organic producing town in the province in line with the provincial government’s effort to achieve 10 percent in its organic farming efforts by year 2010."

Read the article

I've said it once and I'll say it again: the more places that go organic, the better.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

EcoSMART at Wal-Mart

"EcoSMART, the leading botanical, organic pesticide, goes on sale this week in local Wal-Mart stores. Flying Insect, Ant & Roach, and Wasp & Hornet Killers — retailing for less than $4 a can — are as effective and as affordable as conventional insecticides, but are safe for kids, pets and the environment. EcoSMART is a local company with its headquarters in Alpharetta, Georgia.

"Many people have concerns about health and safety when using insecticides in and around the house. With EcoSMART, which is made entirely of food-grade ingredients, they can stop worrying,” said Steve Bessette, founder of EcoSMART. “EcoSMART kills as quickly and effectively as leading pesticides. We are excited to offer this proven, affordable, environmentally-friendly alternative to conventional insecticides at retail stores for the first time."

Read the article

Surely Wal-Mart won't screw this up...?

The Benefits of Your Own Organic Garden

"The benefits of growing your own vegetable garden are known by many. Fresh food is available for the plucking and preserved food is available during the non-growing seasons. An organic garden is also an option for the gardener."

Read the article

China Opposed to Lax Organic Standards

"In response to a government plan to ease the requirement that locally produced organic crops be pesticide-free, the Consumers' Foundation (CF) said Tuesday that it strongly opposes the move out of concern over food safety.

CF Chairman Cheng Jen-hung made the comments after Agriculture and Food Agency Director-General Huang Yu-tsai visited him to tout the change. The agency is a unit under the Cabinet-level Council of Agriculture (COA).

According to Huang, his agency is planning to follow the U.S. model by permitting local crops that contain no more than 5 percent in chemical residue of the standard safety levels set by the public health authorities to carry "organic" stickers.This would mark an easing of the existing zero-residue tolerance."

Read the article

Whole Foods Receives Blessing

"KAHALA MALL is getting ready to welcome the long-awaited Whole Foods Market chain to Hawaii.

A Hawaiian blessing will be held for Whole Foods at Kahala Mall on Monday morning, signaling the start of the Texas-based company's work on the former Star Market space.

The new store is slated to go into the 26,000-square-foot space vacated by Star Market in March, although exact design details have yet to be revealed. It is expected to open early next year."

Read the article

Is Your Food Biodynamic?

"Just as certified organic tomatoes and tofu have made themselves a comfortable home in mainstream grocery stores, a new term is creeping into the consciousness of the farm-to-food elite.

Biodynamic farming is a 90-year-old concept with an almost cult-like following reminiscent of organic before it exploded. The practice takes organic techniques of bolstering soil health and avoiding chemical fertilizers and pesticides and goes a few steps further with the aim of not only using the land sustainably but actively “healing” past damage."

Read the article

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Organic Farms Save Some Cash

"ECONOMIC analysis of organic farming has shown that Family Farm Income is 14pc higher on organic farms than conventional farms.

Liam Connolly, head of Teagasc's National Farm Survey Unit, told the National Organic Conference in Tullamore that organic farmers were also retaining more of their Single Farm Payment when compared with conventional farmers.

"We compared a conventional and an organic cattle rearing farm and there was a 30pc increase in the value of Single Farm Payment retained by the organic farmers," he said.

"And while total sales were less from the organic farm, their direct costs and overhead costs were also less when compared with conventional farming."

Read the article

Not spending all that cash on icky pesticides probably helps!

Air-freighted Produce Banned from Organic?

If air-freighted produce is banned from being considering organic in the UK, what will happen to the companies that depend on flight for their livelihood? More importantly, does it even matter? Shouldn't we be more considered about the environment and our impact on the world than keeping businesses opened?

"Blue Skies, which exports pre-cut ready-to-eat fruit from Ghana, is cited by those opposing a complete air freight ban. The company's business is totally dependent on air freight.

"Blue Skies' achievements are seen as a model for development. In (Ghana's) Central Region, the company has provided access to drinking water and built roads, enabling farmers to trade and send their children to school," the Soil Association said in a statement.

The consultation indicated that any ban would be introduced over a number of years."

Read the article

So many questions yet so few answers. The ban does make sense to me though.

Organic and Fairtrade Ignorance

"The majority of UK consumers do not care if their wine is organic or Fairtrade, and do not understand what biodynamic means, says a new study.

Market research firm Wine Intelligence asked 2000 regular wine drinkers for their views on wine that is produced with consideration to social, ethical and environmental issues.

Both qualitative and quantitative results revealed a great deal of confusion and mistrust about the terminology applied to such wines. The study revealed that while most people understand the concept of Fairtrade, some believe that all wine is organically produced, and at least one consumer thought organic wine meant vegetarian."

Read the article

Monday, May 28, 2007

New Organic Standards for East Africa

"A uniform set of procedures for growing and marketing organic produce has been established for East Africa and will be introduced by the Prime Minister of Tanzania at a conference to be held in Dar es Salaam from May 8th to June 1st 2007.

The East African Organic Products Standard (EAOS) is the second regional organic standard in the world, following that developed by the European Union. The EAOS and associated East African Organic Mark will ensure to consumers that produce so labeled has been grown in accordance with a standardized method based on traditional methods supplemented by scientific knowledge, and based on ecosystem management rather than the use of artificial fertilizers and pesticides. As organic produce generally sells at premium prices in rapidly growing overseas markets, it is hoped that the standard will increase sales and profits for small farmers in the region."

Read the article

An Organic Story from Singapore

"SU AZIZ undertakes living, consuming and believing in all things organic. For just 10 days.
EAT organic foods and help save the environment.That’s been Callie Tai’s rallying cry now for eight years, and the reason she’s in the organic food and health-care business.

“Going organic is not just for health, but it is also for our environment. Did you know that? Through eating, we can save the environment,” says the chief executive ofthe justlife organic stores.

Her introduction to an organic life came in Singapore in the late 90s where Callie, an accountant, was then working.

She quickly became a convert, and so too her sister Jacqueline and brother Terence.
They had enough confidence to go into the business of selling all things organic with a tiny shop in SS2, Petaling Jaya called justlife in 1999. “It was only half a shop lot."

Read the article

US Should Produce More Organics

"What I'm wondering is whether the produce sold as organic in huge grocery or discount chains, easily identifiable by asking to see the shipping containers, can conform to our own USDA standards when it comes from other countries and is almost never inspected. I don't see how that's possible, particularly in view of recent disclosures in the news about filthy and contaminated shipments from China."

Read the article

I definitely agree with Ms. Goodman. America should be focused on having a pleathora of organic foods grown in country. We rely way too much on the importation of organics.

Canadian Organic Market Continues to Grow

"In its recent report on "World Organic Foods And Beverages Report (2006)" RNCOS has found that the Canadian organic food market is expected to grow at a CAGR value of almost 17.41% for the period spanning 2007-2011.

According to the data in a report that Certified Organics released on May 14, 2007, more than 50% of Canadian households purchased organically grown food during 2006. The most significant reason behind this switchover was Canadians’ worry regarding the presence of pesticides & fertilizers in conventionally grown foods.

Organic food & farming sector of Canada is less advanced in comparison to that of the US and various EU nations. After a surge of interest during late 1980s, govt. research & support in this sector has gone down. Though the industry continued to expand but quite sluggishly."

Read the article

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Can Farmers Trust Organic Soymeal from China?

"Like farmers across the country, southwest Washington dairyman Bill Goeres had been dismayed to learn about the tainted pet food and livestock feed ingredients that had come into this country from China.

So he was understandably shocked when a Cargill Animal Nutrition salesman recently told him that he could line him up with an independent broker who was offering organic soymeal from China. Last fall, the price had been about $200 per ton less than domestic soymeal, although the price has gone up since then.

The salesman, John Orange, said he's been to dairies in Oregon where he's seen organic soymeal from China, and one dairy farmer in Eastern Washington told him he had included Chinese soymeal in his feed ration.

"It sounds kind of scary," said Goeres, who is a conventional dairy farmer. "We're so stringent with our organic requirements in our own borders, but are we just as stringent for products coming in from outside our borders? How do consumers know?"

Read the article

Ban on Foods Flown into UK

"Food flown into the UK could be stripped of its organic label if the Soil Association goes ahead with controversial plans to deal with major loopholes in its rulebook. The organisation - responsible for giving organic status to food sold in Britain - is considering the introduction of restrictions, or even a ban, on produce imported by air.

A ban, which would have widespread consequences for shoppers, is being considered because senior Soil Association executives have become increasingly worried that they are encouraging carbon-emitting flights into Britain."

Read the article

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Organic 100 Calorie Cookie Packs from Barbara's

Information on the new 100 calorie cookie packs from Barbara's Bakery has been added to the website. These little cookies are perfect for anyone watching their figure and interested in organics. They are an organic dieter's dream! The other 100 calorie packs pale in comparison when it comes to ingredients. Flavors include chocolate, ginger and oatmeal. So many great new products to look for.

Organic Purchases Make Up Three Percent

"U.S. organic milk sales jumped 14 percent to $899 million for the year ended April 21, according to ACNielsen.

Within the overall milk category, organic dairy milk refrigerated sales increased just over 17 percent to $569.8 million. Overall milk sales fell 2 percent to $11.6 billion, the market research firm said. The statistics covered U.S. food, drug and mass merchandisers, not including Wal-Mart.

Organic baby food sales surged nearly 24 percent to $121 million. Total baby food sales were up almost 4 percent to $3.7 billion. Organic baby juice sales skyrocketed to $2 million from $89,872.

According to preliminary findings from the Organic Trade Association's 2007 Manufacturers Survey released earlier this month, sales of organic baby food posted a 21.5 percent gain in 2006.

U.S. organic food sales totaled nearly $17 billion in 2006, up 22 percent over previous year, OTA reported."

Read the article

Put the Emphasis on Organic

"New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer signed an executive order establishing a food policy council to increase sales of local agricultural products to consumers, with an emphasis on expanding the consumer market for organic foods.

The New York State Council on Food Policy will coordinate state agriculture policy and make recommendations on developing food policy to ensure the availability of safe, fresh, nutritious and affordable food for all New Yorkers, especially low income residents, senior citizens and children.

"Ensuring that all New Yorkers have access to safe, fresh and nutritious food is a top priority that the Council on Food Policy will be addressing head-on," said Spitzer. "The council will bring the public, producers and government together to explore ways in which we can improve our existing food production and delivery systems, expand capacity, and in particular, address the critical needs of children and low-income New Yorkers. Additionally, by expanding the sale of locally grown products, we can help struggling farmers, and expand the local agriculture and state economy."

Read the article

Friday, May 25, 2007

All About Newman's

Here's an article all about Paul Newman and what he has been up to with organics. (I would paste an excerpt, but it doesn't seem like my computer or their website wants me to!)

Congress Confirms, Uhm, Yeah, We Need More Organics

"April marked the first US Congressional hearing devoted to organic agriculture, and organic industry members are asking for more spending on crop research and market development to keep up with the booming American preference for organic foods.

Representative Dennis Cardoza of California, chairman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Horticulture and Organic Agriculture, said, "This broad acceptance and perception of quality is a far cry from where organic food was 20 years ago."

Read the article

Canada Gets Babied

"CLEARLY CANADIAN (OTCBB: CCBEF), is pleased to announce it has completed the acquisition of My Organic Baby Inc., Canada's first full nation wide line of organic baby food.

"My Organic Baby is an incredible opportunity and provides yet another vehicle for top line revenue growth for Clearly Canadian," stated Brent Lokash, President of Clearly Canadian. "Consumer spending on baby products has shown double digit growth during the last five years and more consumers are making the change to organic, especially where their children are concerned. Nothing is more important for a baby's positive development than healthy and nutritious food. With national retail distribution and its wide product offerings, My Organic Baby is in a great position to capture the family's desire for organic products for their children."

Read the article

It seems like there's a lot of organic news coming from Canada lately. Good to hear!

More on Tahini Recall

You may have heard about the organic sesame tahini recall earlier this month. The recall has spread to a few more products including the Whole Foods' 356 branded item.

"However, county officials said that people should check to make sure they do not eat any of three types if already bought: MaraNatha Sesame Tahini in 16-ounce jars with a "use by" date of 10/02/07 or earlier; MaraNatha Sesame Tahini in 15 or 32 pounds with a use-by date of 11/14/07 or earlier; and 365 Organic Everyday Value Sesame Tahini in 16-ounce jars with a "best buy" date of 10/02/07 or earlier."

Read the article

Amy's Grows

"It's been seven months since Amy's Kitchen began production of its organic frozen food lines on Agate Road in White City.

The center of a high-profile tug-of-war between the governors of California and Oregon, Amy's proved to be the coup of the decade for the region's economic developers.

"Amy's Kitchen was ultimately very big," says Ron Fox, who assumed his post as Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development Inc.'s executive director after the Santa Rosa, Calif., company's local expansion was signed and sealed.

"In its early stages I don't think that it was anticipated to be as large as it's become already. Amy's could still be much larger over time as their markets grow and operations expand."

The latest report to cross Fox's desk shows Amy's Kitchen now employs 450.

"That's a very large single-point addition to the region's employment," Fox says.

The questions become: Who will be Southern Oregon's next Amy's Kitchen, and how long will it take to lure such an employer here?"

Read the article

Subsidy to Organic Farmers in India

"Taking advantage of low consumption of synthetic fertiliser in Orissa, the State Government has taken initiatives to promote organic farming.

The Government has announced subsidy to farmers for commercial production of bio-fertilisers.

For each bio-fertiliser production unit costing Rs 5,000, the subsidy amount will be Rs 2,500, said Agriculture Minister Surendra Nath Nayak.

The State has also submitted a Rs 5-crore project proposal to the Centre on organic farming."

Read the article

That's one way to motivate farmers to make the change!

Whole Foods Having Shortages Abroad?

"Europe's first Whole Foods Market is set to opening London in two weeks' time, but the vast potential of the organic market is being curtailed by a shortage of organic produce, according to Organic Monitor.

The US company currently has 193 outlets in its home country and in the UK, including its five Fresh and Wild stores in the UK. The new 80,000 sq ft store, which will take up two floors of a former department store, will open to much fan-fare on June 6.

But the opening was initially slated for August 2006, then postponed to February 2007. Organic Monitor analyst Amarjit Sahota told that one of the major reasons behind the nine-month delay was the shortage of organic supplies: WFM simply could not fill its shelves."

Read the article

Organic Granola Company Wins Best Business Award

La fourmi bionique Inc., an organic granola company from Quebec, was honored with the National Best Business Award 2007 by the Canadian Youth Business Foundation.

"The Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF), with National Bank Financial's generous support, celebrated individuals from across the country who contributed significantly to entrepreneurship in Canada at the Chairman's Awards Gala held last night at The Carlu in Toronto. CYBF proudly announced Quebecer Geneviève Gagnon, owner of La fourmi bionique Inc. as its 2007 National Best Business Award Winner.

"Winning the 2007 National Best Business Award and the 2007 Québec Best Business Award is encouraging and serves as a recognition which emphasizes our achievements and our social and economic contribution," said Geneviève Gagnon, whose company manufactures and markets handcrafted granola blends of food products containing natural and organic ingredients that are distributed to retail and high-profile institutional markets including some of the most prestigious hotels in Québec and the Ritz Paris hotel."

Read the article

Thursday, May 24, 2007

K-State Wants You to Grow Organic

"Budding organic farmers can blossom through a Kansas State University program.

Established in response to requests by area organic growers for a training program to increase numbers of local organic producers, the Growing Growers Training Program facilitates on-farm apprenticeships complemented by workshops on critical skills to train new growers and improve the skills of existing growers to meet large demand for local and organically grown produce in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

"Farming is a profession that requires multiple skills related to production, marketing and financial management," says Ted Carey, K-State vegetable specialist. "The Growing Growers Training Program provides training for new farmers as they enter the field, while also encouraging established farmers to improve such skills in response to changing circumstances and new information about sustainable farming practices."

Read the article

Horizon Talks "Organic" with Congressman Pitts

"Horizon Organic® farmer-partner Forrest Stricker is passionate about organic dairy farming and recently had the opportunity to share his farming practices with Congressman Joe Pitts (R, PA-16), a member of the House Organic Caucus. Congressman Pitts visited Spring Creek Farms, Stricker’s 400-acre farm in Wernersville, Pa., that has 150 cows and has been organic since 1999, to gain a better understanding of how organic farming promotes the highest standards of animal welfare, environmental stewardship, and agricultural sustainability.

“The organic food industry is rapidly growing, and that’s creating a great opportunity for organic farmers,” said Congressman Pitts. “Pennsylvania’s rich farmland is allowing local farmers like Forrest Stricker to meet this new demand, and I’m glad to support their efforts as a member of the House Organic Caucus.”

Horizon Organic, which helped to pioneer organic dairy farming practices 15 years ago, has helped hundreds of farmers like Stricker make the transition to organic milk production practices every year through the HOPE (Horizon Organic Producer Education) Program. Horizon Organic currently has nearly 167 farms in transition to organic."

Read the article


Planet Organic Opens in Ontario

"Ontario's first Planet Organic Market has opened in Port Credit.

The new store, located at 170 Lakeshore Rd. E., is a 14,000-sq.-ft. facility that sells 100 per cent certified organic produce, all-natural groceries, organic meats, fair trade coffee and chocolates as well as all-natural supplements and personal care products.

“There has been a wonderful shift in the way people view organic,” said Diane Shaskin, Planet Organic founder and vice-president. “I think it is because people are looking for ways to keep themselves one day healthier and one day younger. Everyone at some point has been touched by a health crisis and that's usually what moves them towards organic food.”

At the store, as in all the other Planet Organic stores across Canada, there's evidence of a holistic approach to embracing the organic philosophy — the store is cleaned using organic products, wind power is used to operate computers and the staff wears certified organic cotton and bamboo t-shirts manufactured in child labour-free environments. These and other initiatives are largely defined by the Eco Karma Committee, comprised of company employees, whose objective is to achieve the highest possible standards."

Read the article

Czech Sees Organic Explosion

"The turnover of organic food in the Czech Republic grew by 250 million CZK and reached 760 million CZK (€ 27 million) in 2006, growing by impressive 49 %. The Czech organic food market was thus probably the fastest growing market in Europe last year. Figures come from the report “Czech Organic Food Market 2007”, which was published by Green marketing this month."

Read the article

BioFach China

"BioFach China 2007, an international fair for organic food, will be held from May 31 to June 2 in Shanghai.

It's being jointly sponsored by China Green Food Development Center and NurnbergMesse of Germany, and organised by China Organic Food Certification Center and NurnbergMesse China Co Ltd.

As the first Sino-foreign fair for organic food, the event is expected to promote long-term cooperation between Chinese and overseas organic food enterprises and create conditions for market expansion for clean food in China and abroad.

Some 195 enterprises from Italy, Germany, France, Switzerland, Malaysia, Turkey, the Netherlands, Brazil, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Taiwan Province, and 1,500 Chinese and foreign purchasers are expected at the 6,000 square meter fair."

Read the article

I think a lot of people in America are still freaked out by the melamine and pet food crisis. It will probably take a while before anyone can trust any kind of food imports from China.

Organic Food is not a Fringe Movement

"Sharon Labchuk brought a tableload of organic goods to the Culinary Institute of Canada in Charlottetown Wednesday to illustrate the Green party’s pledge to restore the family farm by returning agriculture to its organic roots.

National Green Leader Elizabeth May caught the ferry to P.E.I. to join provincial leader Labchuk and a panel of candidates with links to the food system in order to make the pitch that organic food is not some fringe movement but a viable industry that can make farms profitable and sustainable on a scale appropriate to Prince Edward Island.

“These are all the kinds of products that we see in the new green economy for Prince Edward Island as being creators of jobs, protectors of the environment and rebuilders of rural communities,” Labchuk said."

Read the article

I always hate it when people act like organic food is just some kind of movement or trend! It's no fad, it's a choice. In some cases, it's even a lifestyle. I don't understand why the media won't acknowledge that.

Become an Organic Major

"Tending crops at WSU’s 3-acre organic food farm, Will Hollingberry enjoys being able to eat a carrot after pulling it right out of the earth — without worrying about pesticides, herbicides or other man-made chemicals.

Hollingberry, along with six other students, certified into the nation’s first organic agriculture degree at WSU and recently received scholarships totaling $10,000 dollars from Pacific Natural Foods, an Oregon company.

“I think it’s really cool that businesses are rallying behind the major and also that members of the greater community are also noticing and offering their support,” Hollingberry said.

Since the major was implemented last June, the program has attracted students wishing to help fill the growing demand for knowledge about organic foods, said Cathy Perillo, the program’s coordinator and professor of crop and soil sciences. Some students have specifically based their decisions to transfer to or enroll in WSU because of the new major. Some students, such as Hollingberry, were attracted from other areas of the agriculture department."

Read the article

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Amy's Launches New Pizza, Burgers and More!

You know I'm always thrilled when Amy's comes out with new products. Well, today might just be my day. I went to their website and found an array of new products to look forward to.

First, there are the two new veggie burgers: the Bistro Burger and the Quarter Pound Burger. The Bistro Burger is both gluten and dairy-free while the Quarter Pound Burger is strong enough to handle the grill.

Next, there is the new Tortilla Casserole & Black Beans Bowl and the Southern Meal with Cornbread and Beans. The new Bowl is "delicious and might remind you of a bowl of “nachos” made with organic baked corn chips and melted cheddar and jack cheeses. Plus… an assortment of organic vegetables and our own homemade fresh tofu. On the side are delicately seasoned slow-cooked black beans, making this gluten free meal in a bowl thoroughly satisfying." The Southern Meal is a combination of swiss chard and collard greens, mashed sweet potatoes, sweet corn, and pinto beans. Sounds like a great, hearty meal to me!

But, there's still more! There has also been an addition to their great line of pizzas with a Margherita Pizza. "The handstretched crust is thinner than our usual crust, the simple sauce made from organic tomatoes, and best of all is the topping, fresh mozzarella cheese sprinkled with Parmesan and basil. They all combine to create a light, fresh tasting pizza that will delight you."

I know I'll be keeping an eye out for these awesome new products.

Safeway Looks for a Face

"Safeway introduced a line of organic baby and toddler food earlier this month, joining a growing number of supermarket chains looking to cash in on the organic food craze by offering their own labels. Angie Sheets of San Mateo brought her 15-month-old, Cody, to a photo shoot in Alameda on Tuesday, hoping her son would become the face on Safeway's advertising and promotional campaigns for O Organics."

Read the article

Uganda is Africa's Organic Star

"UGANDA'S export share of organic products to the world market has increased considerably and is the highest in Africa. The Coordinator of the National Organic Agricultural Movement of Uganda, Mr Moses Muwanga said that although Africa produces only 1 percent of the world organic products, Uganda is the leading African country that is producing organic products both for the local and international markets.

"Thirty eight per cent of organic agriculture production in Africa is from Uganda, with over 50,000 certified organic farmers. This makes Uganda one of the countries with the highest comparative advantage for organic production in Africa.

Mr Muwanga said the number of organic export companies has also grown from 5 in 2001 to 22 by the end of 2005. In Africa, Tanzania comes second with 17 percent while South Africa produces 14 percent of organic agricultural products."

Read the article

No Folate Here

"Soil & Health is celebrating that the Fair Trading Act is being interpreted to mean that products called organic should be certified organic, following the release last night of Food Standards Australia New Zealand’s Review Report, again recommending the introduction of folic acid fortification to all but organic bread.

“The recommendation appears to mean that foods labelled ‘organic’, but not certified to be organic, will not be exempt. FSANZ has said that foods labelled 'natural' will not be exempt as they are not subject to certification criteria. However organic foods are to be exempt, as there are certification criteria against which they can be checked”, said Soil & Health spokesperson Steffan Browning."

Read the article

So, it seems like New Zealand won't have anymore problems with this issue, but what about the rest of the world? Isn't Australia and Europe still considering adding folate to organic bread?

'Organic Inc.'

"While organic farming is not a new movement (its roots can be traced to the 19th century), recent years have shown an unrivaled increase in popularity, and therefore, profits. Author and journalist Sam Fromartz will speak at the Library of Congress today at 11:30 a.m. about just that.

He witnessed the upward swing of organics firsthand years ago when he realized he spent a good deal of time and money shopping at Whole Foods. He wisely decided to purchase stock in the company.

"We started shopping at Whole Foods and I was so impressed by the store, their crowded parking lot, their lines and their prices that I ended up buying stock — this was in '97 or '98 — and the stock surprisingly kept going up when the whole market tanked in 2000," he says. "The tech stocks crashed, everything crashed, and Whole Foods kept chugging along. I was a business writer and I thought, 'Hmm, something's going on here.'"

Using his background as a business journalist, Fromartz began researching the organic food industry from a business perspective and wrote the book "Organic, Inc.," which saw its paperback release in March."

Read the article

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Let's Get Rid of Conventional

"Consumers are gaining awareness of the health enhancing effect of fruits and vegetables. Therefore, a rise in demand for organic fruits and vegetables can be observed. Although organic vegetables do not always have an appealing look yet, this aspect is improving as well. "Organically grown vegetables are gaining importance. I am certain that some day, organic vegetables will replace conventionally grown variants," says Raymond Wong of Origino."

Read the article

Organic Meals for Kids at Asda

"Asda will become the first UK supermarket to offer an own_label range of organic ready_meals specifically aimed at children.

The group has picked up 24 organic dishes developed by the parents of Georgia Stiles to help her combat autism.

Each ready_meal follows a recipe developed by Pauline and Gary Stiles after their daughter was diagnosed with autism in 1995 and doctors recommended an organic, additive free diet.

With few organic options available in the UK market at the time, the Stiles' formed Pure Organics, supplying organic ready meals to specialist outlets."

Read the article

Will Whole Foods Win?

"..Whole Foods said it hasn't decided which Henry's stores will stay open but said it will remodel and rebrand the ones it keeps. The Henry's locations provide a challenge in that for the most part, they are smaller than a typical Whole Foods, which ranges from 40,000 to 75,000 square feet.

..Speculation has included everything from Whole Foods remaking most of the Wild Oats and Henry's or perhaps selling some or all of the Henry's stores because their size and locations don't fit Whole Foods' plans.

..Despite the increased competition, Whalin said, most natural food stores should be able to fend off the supermarket chains because they know the business and have better contacts throughout the industry. Also, they serve a different clientele. Wal-Mart, for instance, has cut back on its ambitious plans to offer more organic products because its customers didn't want to spend the extra money.

"I don't ever see the mass-markets chains being a major player in the organic market," Whalin said. "They just don't do it that well."

Read the article

Richmond Wants Organic Cage-Free Eggs

"Richmond City Council will be asked this month to be the first municipality in Canada to endorse a policy on using certified organic free-range eggs in its city-run facilities, including the ice rink, the park and the café at city hall.

The shift to free-range-egg purchasing would run counter to the approach almost everywhere else in the country. About 98 per cent of the 6.9 billion eggs produced each year in Canada come from operations that keep chickens confined in cages.

However, earlier this year, Ontario's University of Guelph adopted a cage-free egg policy, becoming the first Canadian postsecondary institution to endorse the free-range eggs."

Read the article

Whole Foods Extends Offer Until June

"Natural- and organic-food seller Whole Foods Market Inc. on Tuesday extended the expiration date for its tender offer to buy shares of smaller rival Wild Oats Markets Inc. to June 20.

..The Federal Trade Commission is considering challenging the acquisition because of perceived anticompetitive effects, Whole Foods said, but has not yet decided if it will do so."

Read the article

I'm still crossing my fingers it will fall through somehow. I like Wild Oats much better by itself!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Organic Beer and Sausage Standards to Drop Thanks to USDA

"It's happening again -- the USDA is scheming to water down organic standards for key products. This time, the targets are that sacred duo, beer and sausage.

Beer is composed essentially of two agricultural products: barley and hops. If the USDA gets its way, makers of "organic" beer will be able to use conventionally grown hops.

And sausage is made up essentially of ground meat stuffed into casing made of animal intestines. The USDA would like manufacturers to be able to use intestines from conventionally raised animals."

Read the article

Just Add Water

Don't have the time in the morning to brew a cup of organic coffee? Then Java Juice is right for you.

"Just in time for camping season, the Food Network's series Unwrapped features Java Juice(R), a "machine-less" liquid coffee essence. On the upcoming Unwrapped segment titled "On the Go," foodies will discover why the liquid concentrate was an immediate hit with the outdoor industry.

.."Until Java Juice, premium portable organic extract did not exist," explains Karno, who is also known for his commitment to progressive relationship coffee-purchasing practices. The extract is sourced only from fair traded, shade-grown, certified kosher, organic coffee beans. "With Java Juice(R), we have created an organic, socially responsible coffee product you can add water to, cook and travel with. What more could you ask for?" Karno said."

Read the article

Give Your Kids Cancer with a Bath

"Some very common bath products for both adults and children have been found to contain a cancer causing chemical.

That's according to a Campaign for Safe Cosmetics report. We asked chemist Dr. Shelly Minteer exactly what this carcinogen is.

You won't find it on the ingredient label because it's a by product of another chemical that is listed.

The chemical listed is called sodium laureth sulfate. It's what causes your shampoo and bubble bath to foam, so it's in dozens of products.

The FDA reports that much of the carcinogen, called 1-4 dioxane, evaporates when it's used and doesn't pose a serious threat since the shampoos usually get washed off quickly. But the FDA sets no limits, so some products contain more of the chemical than others."

Read the article

Isn't the FDA just darling?

The Folic Acid Debate

Bread in the UK might become just a little more synthetic if the addition of folic acid to flour becomes mandatory. The industry is surely considering it.

"The board of the government agency unanimously agreed on Thursday to recommend mandatory fortification of some foods with folic acid, following a final consultation with stakeholders and a positive opinion from the FSA's Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN).

..There is some evidence to show that folic acid could mask deficiency of other B vitamins in the elderly and there are also fears of the effects of large amounts of folic acid in young children.

Meanwhile organic bakers say that they cannot add a synthetic vitamin to their products that are by definition free of all additives."

Read the article

I might be mistaken, but isn't this process already mandatory in America? I do think it's unfair to force organic bakers to fortify their products because they should be able to decide what goes into what they bake and sell.

Organic Puff Pastry in UK

"CAPE Town-born Moira Blake studied photography for a degree at Britain's Derby University. But now she makes her living making what is reported to be the world's only organic puff pastry - pastry that is rolled, folded, proofed and folded again until it achieves a mind-boggling 700 laminations.

And, yes, they have a way of counting all those layers.

Blake's pastry is sold at Harrods and Harvey Nichols, selected Waitrose and other premium outlets in the UK - and will be available locally for a few days at the Gourmet Festival's Good Food & Wine Show (Thursday to Sunday) at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, where Blake will have a stand."

Read the article

I don't think I've seen organic puff pastry in any of the natural supermarkets I go to. All I have seen is organic phyllo dough (I would link the company, but I can't remember the name.)

Organics Brasil Becomes O.N.E. with Coconut Water and Açaí

"Organics Brasil, the first nationally sponsored program to export and promote organic products from Brazil, today announces the newest member of the Organics Brasil project, O.N.E™. World Enterprises, the producers of O.N.E.™ 100% Natural Coconut Water and O.N.E.™ Amazon Açaí.

"We are proud the addition of O.N.E to our line up of companies," states Ming Liu, Project Manager, Organics Brasil. "O.N.E. fully embodies the Organics Brasil vision and mission. It is a model for producing the highest quality products while maintaining its commitment to sustainability, organic farming, responsible packaging and philanthropy. O.N.E. is a leader in the natural and organic market and represents the best of Brazilian products currently available. We are honored to have them join the Project."

Read the article

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The EnviroBox from Nature's Path

"Nature’s Path Organic Foods, North America’s number one organic cereal brand, is announcing that it is converting over 50 of its boxed cereals to the new EnviroBox™, a 10 percent reduction in packaging that saves water, energy and paperboard.
“We are committed to sustainability and showing leadership through constant innovation, efficiency and waste reduction,” said Arran Stephens, President and Founder of Nature’s Path Organic Foods. “The new EnviroBox™ is a natural move for us as a leader and innovator in our industry. If there are ways for us to reduce our packaging without compromising product quality or consumer value, we will always strive to be the first to bring it into the marketplace."

..With no reduction of cereal for the consumer (same net weight, just 10 percent less packaging), the conversion has numerous advantages for the environment including:

-144 tons of paperboard saved
-942,128 KwH of energy saved
-1,318,979 gallons of water saved
-400 tractor trailers removed from highways

Read the article

Saturday, May 19, 2007

New Organic Valley Strawberry and Vanilla Milk

"Organic Valley is now offering its Shelf Stable Single Serve Milk in organic Strawberry and Vanilla flavors.

"Kids and families are on the go year-round, but especially in the summer," said Sara Tedeschi, community nutrition educator for Organic Valley. "When you're out and about, finding healthy food and drink choices can be a challenge. Fortunately, with shelf stable Organic Valley single serve milk, you can take nutritious organic milk with you pretty much anywhere, with no refrigeration necessary."

Read the article

I'm assuming they decided on those flavors because of popularity. Either that or they are trying to compete with Horizon who already offers chocolate, strawberry, vanilla and plain single serve milks. Of course, the difference between Horizon and Organic Valley is one company is actually organic and the other probably isn't.

Will Food Stamps Cover Organic Costs?

"Nutritional value and cost usually have an inverse relationship, the outcome of which is quite obvious. And although there's a growing number of farmer's markets that accept EBT cards, most food stamp recipients purchase cheap food in big grocery stores. Rebecca Blood has been thinking about this, and she decided to undertake a one-month challenge with her husband, during which they would buy food strictly within the USDA's food stamp budget. But it doesn't stop there -- that challenge was recently completed by the governor of Oregon -- they planned to eat according to the same food standards they normally keep. Their eating habits fairly well match those of the first population mentioned above, so this is where the real challenge lies. They would keep their CSA box coming, continue shopping at the same groceries, and prepare their meals from scratch at home as always."

Read the article

Check out Rebecca's blog.

Organic Experts' Favorite Products

"Here are some favorite products of organic gardening advocates Doug Oster, Scott Meyer and Mark Roesner:

• Corn gluten meal, a byproduct of corn milling that can be used on the lawn for pre-emergent control of crab grass, dandelions and other weeds. It works by preventing seeds from germinating, so timing is critical.

• BurnOut II, a weed and grass killer made from vinegar, clove oil and other ingredients. It's good for spot-treating weeds in sidewalk cracks, mulched beds and fence lines.

• Blended fertilizers such as Re-Vita, made by Hartville's Ohio Earth Food Inc., and fertilizers made by Espoma (Plant-tone, Holly-tone, Bulb-tone, Rose-tone, etc.). These are blends of natural ingredients combined to provide a complete plant food. They contain trace elements that result in tastier food crops and healthier plants.

• Insecticidal soap. This product kills a number of soft-bodied insects, including aphids, mealybugs, mites, earwigs and grasshoppers, but it must come in contact with the insect while it's still wet. It can be used on vegetables right up to harvest."

Read the article

Organic or Conventional Fertilizer?

"..When you pick up a package of organic fertilizer or potting soil, you often see words like, "includes beneficial microbes" or "contains mycorrihizae," a fungus that is the botanical equivalent to, say, yogurt's acidophilus, an intestinal-friendly bacteria. Ironically, many customers at our nursery think they get more for their money with synthetic fertilizers. It's easy to understand: Compare the NPK content - nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium content - of synthetic fertilizers with organic ones and you see huge differences: 19-19-19 vs. 4-4-4, say.

However, organic fertilizers are less wasteful at delivering nutrients to plants because they exploit the fabulous efficiency of the natural microbial system. This is science mimicking nature. Soil has been performing this biological sleight of hand for eons, honing it to perfection."

Read the article

Friday, May 18, 2007

Who's Buying and What's Bought?

MSNBC complied a small list of things you might not know about organics. It has some interesting information like who's buying organic, what's being grown and bought.

Brunei to Learn About Organics

"SALES of organic food products in Brunei Darussalam is expected to increase in less than five years' time, but current trends suggest that most consumers are still unaware of the health benefits of organic food, a manager of an international organic food product company said.

The consumption of organic food products will start to pick up in Brunei. The share of Asian food market is currently not even one per cent while in Europe, fresh organic food accounts for 25 per cent of the market, Jean-Francois Torrelle, manager of Alce Nero Asia Pte Ltd told The Brunei Times yesterday.

Speaking during a cooking demonstration using organic products at Nakhoda Ragam Vocational School, he said that organic food products were first introduced in Brunei about three years ago, but consumers are not aware of organic food which is naturally grown without chemicals or pesticides."

Read the article

12% Drop of Dean Foods Stock

"Socially concerned investors, who filed a shareholder proposal with Dean Foods, today again questioned the company's management at its Annual Meeting of Stockholders in Dallas as its marquee organic brand faces increasing competitive pressures and a consumer backlash over its reliance on factory-farm milk production. Investors believe the large-scale dairy operations are damaging the image of Dean's Horizon Organic brand and watering down shareholder value."

Read the article

Good! If there's even a shadow of a doubt about their organic department, I don't think people should buy into it.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

USDA to Allow More Conventional in Organic

"This proposed rule proposes to amend the Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (National List) regulations to enact recommendations submitted to the Secretary of Agriculture (Secretary) by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) during public meetings held May 6-8, 2002, in Austin, Texas, and March 27-29, 2007, in Washington, DC. Consistent with the NOSB recommendations, this proposed rule proposes to add 38 substances, along with any restrictive annotations, to the National List regulations."

Read the proposal.

So, what does this mean?

"The USDA has announced a proposal to allow 38 new non-organic ingredients in products bearing the "USDA Organic Seal". Most of the ingredients are food colorings derived completely from plants that are not yet available in an organic form. But a few of the proposed ingredients have raised the concerns of the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) and other leading organics experts.

Specifically, the OCA disagrees with allowing conventionally grown hops to be used in beers labeled as "organic". Also, the USDA would like to allow the use of conventionally raised factory-farmed animal intestines as casing for sausages labeled as "organic". The public comment period on these additions is only 7 days, so take action now."

Read the article and write the USDA.

Whenever I used to see the certified organic seal, I would automatically trust the product, but now I'm not so sure. The USDA has made making plenty of shady moves lately. Looks like Eden Foods was right.

Cut Down Organic Costs

Here's a little advice for cutting down on organic costs from a Kansas newspaper:

"It's easy to cut down on grocery costs when buying organic foods. Besides starting a herb and vegetable garden (I have one in big pots), drastically omit nearly all red meat, which is probably your highest financial food outlay. Red meat and especially most lunch meats are also your largest contributors of saturated fats (butter, cream, whole milk and cheese are the others). When you do have meat, use it lightly, only once or twice a week, and make it lean in all meals. Also, mix it up. Use half organic and half the usual. It's cheaper and you won't get as many chemicals you don't want. Don't skimp on health. It's the best money you spend."

Read the article

Sri Lanka Makes Organic Goals for 2010

"The Sri Lankan government plans to increase investments in promoting organic agriculture in the next three years with the aim of earning over five billion dollars through exports by 2010, officials said Thursday.

The government has allocated a total of 62 million dollars, starting with 17 million dollars this year, 25 million dollars in 2008 and 20 million in 2009, to promote organic products, Minister of Information Anura Yapa said.

Sri Lanka today earns only 75 million dollars annually from organic exports, mainly of tea and spices.

Vegetable exports earn around one million dollars a year, Yapa said.

Organic products are exported to markets like Europe, Japan and the United States."

Read the article

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Stonyfield Ups Oikos Website

The Oikos website is up! There isn't really much new information, but it does say Oikos is available at natural food markets nationwide! (A store locator is also being added to the site.) Check out their website in meantime.

Kraft Organic Brings Old Favorites to the Green Side

Kraft is the last company people think of when the word "organic" comes to mind, but it looks like the food giant is ready to change that. Enter Kraft Organics. (We all knew about organic Oreos for a while so it's not much of a surprise.)

Now shoppers will be able to find fully organic or partially organic versions of Yuban coffee, Wheat-Thins (made with organic flour), Ritz (made with organic flour), Chips Ahoy! (made with organic flour), three different flavors of salad dressing, Cheddar and White Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese, Honey Bunches of Oats, Grape-nuts, Seattle's Best Coffee, and Planters Cashews and Nut Selections. Quite a variety of products, right? (I have also seen their organic string cheese and American slices in the dairy section.)

What am I most excited about? Probably the Grape-nuts. I can't help it.. I love them. (I stopped eating them because they weren't organic, but now I don't have to worry.)

I wonder if people will buy into this or if they will opt for the cheaper, conventional versions?

Horizon Offers $2,500 Scholarships

"Horizon Organic® invites students who are pursuing degrees in organic milk production and alternative veterinary science to apply for a brand-new scholarship program.

As an extension of its dairy farmer education and information efforts under the Horizon Organic Producer Education (HOPE) program, Horizon Organic will award annual scholarships in the amount of $2,500 each. They will be awarded to selected farm family members participating in the HOPE program (currently shipping milk to Horizon Organic) and working towards a degree in agriculture or veterinary science that will later be used within the organic industry.

"Our HOPE program has been around since 2001 with a focus on converting more dairy farm operations and their land to organic production and sustainable farm management practices. We are delighted to add the scholarship program because it is a natural extension of our efforts to nurture the future of the organic community,” says Kelly Shea, vice president, industry relations and organic stewardship, Horizon Organic. “We need young, bright people to be personally engaged and passionate about this business from farm to fork."

Read the article

Trying to look like a nice, thoughtful company, huh? The "good guys?"

Organix-South Expands

"Organix-South, manufacturer of herbal body care products and herbal supplements under the brand names TheraNeem and TheraVeda, announced today their partnership with Nisarga Biotech, an India based company that produces high quality, organic supercritical extracts. Together, the two companies purchased the Umbari Organic Farm, located a few hours east of Bombay, which received the prestigious EcoCert certification last winter."

Read the article

British Market Feels the Organic Pulse

"Booming sales of organic, fairtrade and premium food ranges have helped profits at Sainsbury's leap by 42 per cent to £380 million.

Britain's third biggest supermarket chain said its sales were up more than £1.2 billion, or just under six per cent, to £18.5 billion.

The better than expected figures are the latest indication of a turnaround engineered by chief executive Justin King after a series of management blunders and the extraordinary strength of Tesco drove Sainsbury's to its first ever loss in 2004."

Read the article

Who Wants the Greener Lawn?

"A cultural turf war is being waged across America.

On one side are the traditionalists who shear and spray and fertilize and take great pride in their picture-perfect lawns, as well they should.

On the other are the organic practitioners whose legions are swelling and whose focus is shifting from flower and vegetable gardens to the grass making up the rest of their properties.

When it comes to lawns, the cultural divide is clear."

Read the article

So, basically it's either do something good for the environment or something bad. Of course, even if you try to do something good, chances are your neighbors will be doing something worse.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Apple Rush Gets Certified

"Apple Rush division last week passed both its Organic and Kosher Certification inspections, allowing all its pre-sold orders to be released.

Apple Rush Company personnel recently sampled Apple Rush at the All Things Organic (ATO) Trade Show in Chicago May 6-8. The heavily attended show was running concurrent with Grocery industry’s FMI and United Produce Shows, as well as the Spring Fancy Food Show, where buyers from all channels crowded the booth and showed major interest in both the bottle and the forthcoming can line. With Apple Rush Company’s beverages now fully credentialed, all doors are open to the expanding product line. The company’s personnel saw that full potential at the ATO Show with buyers from large and smaller regional grocery, natural and specialty food chains agreeing to take the line on now. The company also received unexpected interest from foodservice buyers, both in the U.S. and overseas."

Read the article

Apple Rush sells 100% certified organic juices. Flavors include traditional apple, strawberry apple, cranberry apple, raspberry apple, black cherry apple and pomegrante apple. (That must take a lot of apples.)

Green Lunch

"Children should have organic, healthy meals provided for them in schools, P.E.I.'s Green party said Tuesday.

Green party interim leader Sharon Labchuk promised to provide all schools on the Island with kitchens staffed by local people, cooking meals from scratch using local organic food. A Green government would also ban junk food in schools.

"Growing children need adequate nourishment to not only maintain health, but to be able to learn," Labchuk said in a news release."

Read the article

I couldn't agree more. If children are given better options, they are more likely to make better choices for the rest of their lives.

Organic Herbicide for South Australia

"Listed sharemarket minnow Certified Organics has secured another $500,000 deal with the South Australian Government to provide organic herbicide.

The pine extract-based BioSeed Eradicator is used to kill seeds from the aggressive branched broomrape, which are buried under the water.

CER says Broomrape is considered to be one of the world's most devastating weeds as it has no ability to generate its own food and survives by sucking nutrients out of a host plant, leading to high levels of crop loss. The company says its herbicide does not harm earthworms or soil and breaks down into a naturally occurring oxide within days of application."

Read the article

Rachelle-Berry Spice Shop Expansion

"The IGA supermarket wholesaler of Quebec, Sobeys, hopes they can rely on organic food. In the next two and a half years, says Laurier Cloutier, they are going to double their number of Rachelle-Bery healthy Spice shops. Last Wednesday Sobeys-IGA came out with its new organic food market concept. President Marc Poulain assured the press that it’s a prototype which will be under development in the coming months.

The Sobeys chain bought the small Rachelle Bery network last year. At the time there were five of their spice shops in Montreal."

Read the article

The Pesticide Pregnancy

"A study from the University of Granada in Spain that analyzed the presence of organochlorine pesticides in pregnant women found that all the participants showed placental traces of at least one pesticide. More alarmingly, on average, the women were contaminated with eight different pesticides.

Organochlorine pesticides fall into a group of chemical compounds known as persistent organic pollutants. They are present in the environment in food, biomass, soil and water. They cannot be assimilated and tend accumulate in the fatty parts of the body.

Exposure to organochlorine pesticides has been linked to various malformations in the genitals and urinary systems of offspring. The most common effects of exposure in the womb are cryptorchidism (undescended testicles) and hypospadias (a total fusion of the urethral folds) in male infants."

Read the article

This is a very troublesome article. A lot of women probably don't even think about pesticides when they are pregnant.. (It always makes me CRAZY to see pregnant women wiht colored hair or buying/drinking soda.)

Supermarket Competition: Hannaford and Shaw's Vs. Whole Foods

The popularity of Whole Foods is starting to make grocery stores like Hannaford and Shaw's sweat a little. In an attempt to compete with Whole Foods, both markets will be adding to their organic departments.

"Hannaford Bros., for instance, recently sought and received certification as an organic retailer from Quality Assurance International, an independent agency that oversees a program that ensures that stores meet organic guidelines. Hannaford is the first traditional supermarket chain to gain certification, and it now offers more than 3,500 natural or organic products, about 10 percent of the store's products. Most of the products are distributed among conventional brands rather than relegated to a separate aisle.

New and remodeled Shaw's stores will have more room devoted to that chain's Wild Harvest line of natural and organics, part of the chain's effort to present itself as the place for "premium fresh and healthy" food."

Read the article

Kashi Introduces First Granola

"Kashi Company, the premier natural food company, today announced the introduction of KashiTM Granola, a cereal that features an all-natural blend of delicious fruits, nuts and seven whole grains. While Kashi has developed a comprehensive family of all-natural foods including cereal, bars, crackers and whole grain cookies, this is Kashi’s first granola cereal.

“Our granola cereal was created for the individual who wants to eat a great-tasting granola with equally great nutrition. Many granolas currently on the market taste great, but do not deliver the seven whole grains and Omega-3 found in KashiTM Granola,” said Jeff Johnson, senior brand manager and nutritionist for Kashi. “We saw the opportunity to create a seven whole grain granola cereal that tastes great.”

KashiTM Granola is packed with delicious flavors and hearty textures in every bite. Along with the perfectly toasted seven whole grain clusters, Kashi’s Mountain MedleyTM offers sundried cranberries and raisins; crunchy almonds, pecans and whole sunflower seeds; and a pinch of coconut. The Orchard SpiceTM flavor includes crispy apples, sweet spices, rich pecans, plump raisins and whole flax seeds.

In addition to its great taste, each serving of KashiTM Granola delivers powerful nutrition with 300 mg ALA Omega-3, plus an excellent source of fiber and over two full servings of whole grains.(a) Kashi also uses other all-natural ingredients such as golden honey, maple, and ground spices while avoiding preservatives and unnecessary additives."

Read the article

Another nonorganic product added to Kashi's repertoire. Oh well.

Ricera Ups Website

The Ricera Rice Yogurt website is now up (thanks for the tip, ned!)

Ricera says:
"Ricera is the latest patented product created by Dr. Cheryl R. Mitchell, mother and scientist. Ricera's wholesome, organic, whole grain recipe starts with Oryzalife™, Dr. Mitchell's unique new ingredient made exclusively from brown rice. Incredibly, Oryzalife™ delivers all the nutrients of whole grain brown rice, along with an extra rice protein boost.

..With four scrumptious varieties -- Peach, Blueberry, Strawberry and Vanilla -- you can get your whole grains and live active cultures along with great flavor and creamy texture. Enjoy this delicious and satisfying treat!"

At Whole Foods, I think the price is $1.29 for each cup which is high considering the other organic yogurts are below a dollar. Nice product though!

Monday, May 14, 2007

SAF Funds Canadian Exporters

"Saskatchewan’s organic sector is getting a boost with the expansion of a successful financing program for exporters.

Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food (SAF) is providing $1 million in targeted support for companies exporting organic or natural branded agricultural products through the nextrade program.

The nextrade finance initiative is administered by STEP – the Saskatchewan Trade and Export Partnership. The program provides customized financing solutions for small and medium-sized exporters in the province. Basically, it gives companies the ability to grow larger by providing flexible financing to cover the costs of doing business abroad, such as the input costs required to fill a large order."

Read the article

Treat Your Animals Like People

"Inside his pet-food company's warehouse on Main Street, Harvey Cohen, a.k.a. "Dr. Harvey," sticks his nose inside a bag of dehydrated broccoli and breathes deeply.

"Smell that?" he says. "We don't use broccoli stems. We use broccoli florets, the highest grade."

Next it's on to the carrots, which are deep orange.

"See the color?" he asks proudly. "That's as good as it gets."

There are many people who would say the same thing about Cohen's "holistic" pet foods, which the rail thin, white-bearded chiropractor-turned-pet nutrition guru has carefully formulated, using only certified-organic and "human-grade" vegetables and herbs."

Read this article

It makes total sense to feed your animals something good enough for humans because they are like a member of the family.

Keeping Food Safe

"The UN's FAO held a conference in Rome last week on Organic Agriculture and Food Security, in partnership with the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM).

The aim was to shed light on the contribution of organic agricultural methods in preserving food security, identify its potential and the conditions needed for its success.

It is estimated that the world's population will increase from six billion to nine billion by 2050, calling for a massive increase in food production to feed the additional mouths.

But Angela Caudle, executive director of IFOAM, said prior to the meeting that food security is not just a matter of production figures. Issues such as war, climate change, disasters and inequality also have a large bearing."

Read the article

The industry definitely needs to work on making food safer. People just shouldn't DIE from eating SPINACH. It's insane.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Why Eden Foods Doesn't Need the Seal

Many of you may know Eden Foods for their great variety of organic products. They have been offering everything from dried fruit to seasoned beans since 1969. Many of you may also notice none of their products bear the USDA certified organic seal. Eden took the opportunity to explain why they said no to the seal in June 2006:

"Though all EDEN organic food is grown, handled, processed, and certified in a way that meets and exceeds the requirements for using the 'USDA Organic' seal, Eden Foods chooses not to use this seal on its product labels or marketing materials.

Many reasonably ask how Eden came to this decision. The short answer is, this seal does not approach Eden's high standards for organic, in practice or in spirit.

Years before the implementation of the National Organic Program (USDA's NOP) in October of 2002, Eden got word in 1992 that a national standard for organic was underway. In theory it seemed like a good idea, but early on we had serious concerns.

Petitioning the NOP several times in the rule drafting process, Eden asked that the new national organic standards be a strong minimum standard, allowing growers and companies to certify to a higher standard. The answer was an adamant No: the USDA intended to set one minimum organic standard, it would not allow higher standards to be certified, and total control would lie with USDA."

Read the article

I can see why they passed on the seal, but I wonder if people pass on their products because of the lack of that little label? (Personally, I love their beans, buy Eden items, and respect their decision so no problem here.)

Exporters Lose Money with Organic Bananas

"The market for organically-grown banana in Japan is growing but exporters are not happy because the appreciation of the peso against the dollar has reduced their earnings by at least P27 per box at present exchange rates, a local industry leader said.

Read the article

Wal-Mart Fixing Organic Department

"Days after a state consumer protection agency warned Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. to clean up discrepancies in labeling of organic products on shelves, the retail giant issued updated guidelines to its employees.

The rebuke from the State of Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection follows a three-month investigation into allegations that the Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer was misleading consumers in the state by incorrectly labeling on shelves some foods as organic.

Although no fines or penalties were assessed, the state's Bureau of Consumer Protection Director James Rabbitt told Sustainable Food News that agency inspectors follow "a progressive enforcement model" and will continue to monitor the retailer's labeling practices to ensure continued compliance."

Read the article

Drink Your Organic Milk

"After years of being in short supply, organic milk is expected to flood the U.S. market as a regulation change and higher margins push more dairy farmers to produce it.

The dairy industry is expecting organic milk supply to surge by at least 40 percent this year from a previous annual growth rate of 20 percent, creating an excess of 25 million gallons, according to some estimates.

Meanwhile, consumer demand for organic milk will continue to grow at 25 percent annually, leading some industry experts to predict that a retail promotion war is imminent.

U.S. dairy processors and distributors like Dean Foods, Stonyfield Farm and Organic Valley, a dairy farmers' cooperative that sells to retail grocery chain Whole Foods Market and others, are welcoming the news because it provides an opportunity to expand the market and offer more organic milk-based products.

"The oversupply situation is going to result in a pretty competitive marketplace," said Molly Keveney, a spokeswoman for Dean, which owns the best-selling Horizon Organic brand of milk. "Until last year we were in a supply constraint situation. We weren't innovating at all."

Read the article

Let's just hope it isn't all sham organic milk from Horizon. Personally, I don't drink much milk (I prefer yogurts and cheese) but it is nice to finally see a surplus of something organic.

London Prepares for Whole Foods

"An organic food fight is set to erupt early next month when America's greenest retail giant opens its doors in the UK.

Whole Foods Market, the $7bn (£3.5bn) behemoth of the wheatgerm world, has created an 80,000sqft foodie extravaganza in London over three floors of the former Barkers department store in Kensington High Street.

More outlets will follow in the capital and across the UK, as the US natural food chain tries to cash in on Britain's £13bn-a-year posh food addiction.

Fuelled by the sight of celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow trotting home from farmers' markets, our obsession with quality, locally sourced and preferably organic food has soared. IGD, the grocery industry think-tank, estimates the premium food market will be worth about £20bn by 2011."

Read the article

If their Whole Foods is anything like the ones in America, I think a lot of people are going to be disappointed.

The Life of a Fruitarian

"When Joe Bernstein meets friends for a dinner out, he knows ahead of time that there will be nothing on the menu for him to eat.

"They do accommodate me, though," he says. "I just ask for a dish of sliced avocado."

You could say Bernstein is mad about fruit. He is a fruitarian, or frugivore, and he adheres to a lifestyle that is a niche within a subset of vegetarianism. Bernstein, who lives in New York City, eats only raw fruit, a diet that includes some nuts and non-sweet fruit like avocado and tomato. A typical day's meals may include sunflower seeds with a few servings of fruit, such as pears or plums, for breakfast; a coconut shake with bananas for lunch; and Brazil nuts with tomatoes and avocado for dinner.

"I'm not too elaborate in the kitchen," Bernstein says. "I usually just eat whole pieces of fruit to keep it simple."

I think I could easily become a fruitarian, but I would worry about getting all of the necessary nutrients like protein. You can read more about the life of a fruitarian at Robert Dyckman's blog.

Chemical Salon Goes Clean

Celebrity stylist Elizabeth Alvillar couldn't take the harsh chemicals that her work involved, but Alvillar loved her job and decided to find a way to make it healthier for herself and her clients by creating Isvara Organics.

"I could shop at health food stores, but the [cosmetics] products were not of salon quality," she said.

When her son, now 14, went into a diabetic coma, she decided she would change her life if he survived. He did, and she kept her promise.

She cut back her hours, commuting to Carlsbad to work four days a month at La Costa, an exclusive spa that kept the paparazzi out. She moved to Capitola and got a business permit to set up a lab to create her own blend of cosmetics without synthetic chemicals. Her products include shampoo, conditioner, hair coloring, skin care, lotions and makeup. Her company, Isvara Organics, is named for the Sanskrit word for creator.

"..I love her shampoos and her conditioner," Branagan said. "You smell the smell. It's incredible the way it washes your hair. And it's not any more expensive"

She is well-aware of the concern about chemicals from hair, skin and other beauty products.

"Everything you use absorbs into your skin," she pointed out.

Still, she's not a total convert. She hasn't switched to organic makeup and she doesn't carry Isvara products at Warmth Co."

Read the article

Saturday, May 12, 2007

USDA to Study GM Alfalfa

"In response to a federal judge's ruling last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is preparing to begin an environmental study on Roundup Ready alfalfa.

Judge Charles Breyer of the Federal Northern District of California ruled May 3 that the USDA violated the National Environmental Protection Act when it deregulated Roundup Ready alfalfa in June 2005.

Breyer found that the USDA failed to assess adequately the crop's potential risk of contaminating organic and conventional alfalfa because it didn't conduct an environmental impact study."

Read the article

Where to Find Organic in Galveston, TX

"For those who want to still a nagging voice that tells them to stop eating pre-packaged foods, a Saturday morning trip to Saengerfest Park might help — and pack some health benefits to boot.

Spring is here and that means fresh fruit and vegetables at The Historic Downtown Galveston Farmers Market.

The event has been happening at the park on periodic Saturdays since November, but mostly featured baked goods and crafts.

Now on each second Saturday of the month, the open-air market will feature locally and regionally grown organic produce. Because people are getting the message about the benefits of organic vegetables, the Farmers Market is growing and now features 20 vendors."

Read the article

Every state should have options like this! Well, I'm sure a lot of states do, but it probably takes some searching. I'm hoping to find something similar so I can buy a wider variety of fresh produce.

Utah's First Organic Beer

After years of teasing Utahns with such titillating beer labels as Chasing Tail and Captain Bastard, Squatters is going natural. Now on tap is Squatters Organic Amber Ale, the state's first and only certified organic beer. The ale is brewed from organic pale and caramel malted barley and aromatic hops. The taste, says brewmaster Jenny Talley, is a caramel-like maltiness with a hint of sweetness. Organic certification requires high levels of cleanliness and sanitation that already were in place, said Talley. But it also requires strict segregation of ingredients "from grain to glass."

Read the article

It's so funny to see news stories about organic alcohol because the reporter always ends with "But it IS alcohol so moderation is still key." I really hope people wouldn't be dumb enough to think "Hey! It's organic, so that means it's good for me and I can drink as much as I want!"

Friday, May 11, 2007

Tell Us Where This Came From!

"U.S. consumers want and need country of origin labels on food. Recent food poisoning scandals, linked to contaminated pet, pork and poultry food ingredients from China, along with tainted produce and seafood, have taken away many Americans' appetites for cheap imported foods.

Although polls indicate that the overwhelming majority – 82 percent – of Americans want to know where our food is coming from, Big Food and Washington bureaucrats have united to deny us this right.

Lobbyists for corporate agribusiness such as the American Farm Bureau; giant food manufacturers such as Cargill, Smithfield and Con-Agra; and supermarket chains have handed over millions of dollars to an industry-indentured Congress to keep us in the dark about the “country of origin” of the hundreds of billions of dollars of foods we buy every year in supermarkets or consume in restaurants."

Read the article

As consumers, we deserve this kind of common courtesy. We buy your products and you tell us where they came from. Organic Valley is just one organic company that can tell you exactly where your food came from. Hopefully, the food industry will be forced to tell their customers the truth.

RECALL: MaraNatha Organic Raw Sesame Tahini

"The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is warning the public not to consume MaraNatha brand Organic Raw Sesame Tahini described below because the product may be contaminated with Salmonella.

The affected product, MaraNatha brand Organic Raw Sesame Tahini, No Salt, a product of USA, is sold in 340 g jars bearing UPC 0 51651 09327 9 and Use By date 07/27/07 (July 27, 2007). This product has been distributed nationally.

There have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of this product."

Read the article

It's too bad things like this have to happen. Companies need to be more careful. Of course, incidents like this always cast a shadow over organic products and companies. If the media responds to this story (sometimes they completely pass over recalls and then other times they blow them out of proportion) every reporter will probably say "Is organic really safe? Is organic bad? Blah blah blah." Oh well, just as long as everyone is okay!

US Split Over Cloned Food

"The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is set to process a multitude of opposing comments on its proposal to introduce products from cloned animals into the nation's food chain, which reveal that industry, scientists and consumers remain split on the controversial issue.

The public comment period on the proposal closed last week, already a month later than the original date set.

The FDA's announcement of its cloned food plan at the start of the year set off a fierce debate on the safety and ethics of the proposal, and the agency has since received a flood of responses to its invitation for public comments.

Consumer advocacy and public interest groups have been particularly vocal about their opposition to the new technology, and consumer polls have reveled that the majority (two-thirds) of the American public remains skeptical of the food production process. In turn, increasing numbers of food producers have responded to these consumer concerns, announcing that their products will remain 'clone-free' if the technology is eventually approved."

Read the article

The last thing we need is scientific meat!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Stop Spraying Pesticides My Way!

"In a case that could reverberate through the county, a judge has ordered a farming service company to temporarily stop spraying pesticides that an organic farmer says are moving with the fog onto his field and destroying his crop.

Organic Jacobs Farms is suing Western Farm Services, a Fresno company that provides and applies pesticides for conventional farmers. The suit, filed by Larry Jacobs, seeks to stop the spraying of pesticides that could travel to his field and an unspecified amount of money to cover the crops he says he lost. The farmer who owns the conventional field is not named in the suit.

The pesticides apparently were applied correctly and did not blow onto the organic field, which would be illegal. Instead, all involved think they were picked up by fog, which can turn pesticides into liquid and carry them off days after they were sprayed."

Read the article

This must be a difficult situation to deal with since it's like fighting with your neighbors. It's not like you can tell them what to do.

2006 Organic Sales Up in the Billions

"U.S. organic food sales totaled nearly $17 billion in 2006, up 22 percent over previous year, according to preliminary findings from the Organic Trade Association's 2007 Manufacturers Survey.

Organic foods' share of total retail sales of food and beverages was about 3 percent, up from 1.9 percent in 2003 and approximately 2.5 percent in 2005. Sales in 2005 were $13.8 billion.

About 31 percent of overall organic sales in 2006 were through mainstream supermarkets/grocery stores, and 24 percent were through the leading natural food supermarket chains such as Whole Foods, Wild Oats, and Trader Joe's.

Another 22 percent of all organic sales were through independent, small chain natural grocery stores. Foodservice sales still represent a small fraction of total organic sales at 3 percent of overall organic product sales, OTA said."

Read the article

FTC Undecided Over Whole Foods Purchase of Wild Oats

"Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods Markets Inc. acknowledged in its earnings announcement Wednesday that members of the Federal Trade Commission may have issues with a proposed $671 million acquisition of Boulder-based Wild Oats Markets Inc.

"Although the FTC has not yet decided whether to challenge the Wild Oats transaction, members of the FTC staff have voiced concerns regarding perceived anticompetitive effects resulting from the proposed tender offer and merger," the company said in a statement."

Read the article