Sunday, August 31, 2008

Will Irradiated Foods Save Lives?

"For years, our Center has been demanding irradiation for spinach, lettuce, and other high-risk produce—to kill the food-borne bacteria that present a last big preventable risk in our food supply. On August 22, the Food and Drug Administration granted our plea.

FDA permission to irradiate produce is the biggest step forward in U.S. food safety since irradiation was approved for meat (read hamburger) in 1990. That followed dozens of needless “burger deaths” due to the rare-but-vicious E. coli O157 bacteria.

There’s a problem, however: scare-mongers have warned the public that irradiation itself is not safe. We’re not even irradiating much of our hamburger, even as recalls continue to warn us of the danger.

One scare-monger—a former professor of environmental medicine—said, “Every man, woman and child who takes a bite of irradiated food increases their chance of getting cancer.” Could he say that publicly without evidence? He could, and the papers quoted him. The truth, based on thousands of studies: Irradiation does not create dangerous cancer-causing organisms, nor does it make the food radioactive."

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Organic Lobby Calls for Origin Labels

"Organic agriculture advocates say the discovery of pesticides in imported Australian vegetables support calls by mainstream growers for country of origin labels on this side of the Tasman.

The insecticide dimethoate found in Australian capsicum labelled as "Product of New Zealand" in an Auckland supermarket, was a clear breach not only of voluntary origin labelling at the Woolworths supermarket but of the Fair Trading Act, the association said in the September issue of its Organic NZ magazine.

It alleged that a "NZ Hothouse 3Pack Capsicum" appeared to have been "topped up" with Australian produce dipped in dimethoate.

Dimethoate, a systemic organophosphate insecticide, is used as an insecticidal dip to kill the Queensland fruit fly in produce imported from Australia to New Zealand. It is difficult to rinse off."

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Ayala's Herbal Water Now at Safeway

"Wynnewood, PA (PRWEB) August 28, 2008 -- Herbal Water™, the only nationally available USDA Certified Organic flavored water, today announced that more than 500 Safeway stores have added the company's line of Herbal Water to store shelves. Locations carrying Herbal Water include Safeway Stores in Denver, Northern California, Portland and Seattle; Dominick's in Chicago; Genuardi's in Philadelphia; Randall's in Dallas and Houston; and Von's in Southern California.

Herbal Water blends hand-selected, organically grown herbs with purified water and nothing else - no preservatives, colors, artificial ingredients, sweeteners or calories - to create a refreshing taste and an enchanting aroma."

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U.S. and England Look to Peru for Organic Mangoes

"Exports of this product increased 79.4 percent. Holland, the United States and England were the main end- markets.

The preference for healthy food developed with non-contaminant techniques which protect the environment, is showing a significant international increase.

Peru is not far from this process and is making a big effort to introduce and position an attractive organic supply that fulfills the quality and standards that are demanded by this new market.

One of the Peruvian products that are being impelled is the organic mango, which is showing an interesting growth.

First sales took place in 2003 with non-significant amounts. In the year 2007, exports increased 79.4 percent, jumping from US$ 1.72 million to US$ 3.09 million; reports Peru's Export and Tourism Promotion Board – PromPerĂș."

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Food Stamps at Farmers' Markets

"BRATTLEBORO -- A pilot program that began last year in Vermont in Brattleboro and Bellows Falls to allows consumers to use food stamps at farmers' markets is now spreading across the state, and the rest of the country. In 2007, the experimental service was set up at the two Windham County markets. While there were a few glitches with the wireless technology, six other markets are also trying the service out this season across the state.

And at other markets from Maine to Hawaii, farmers are introducing the electronic debit systems that allow low income families to use their federal food assistance dollars to purchase local fruits and vegetables.

The number of farmers' markets across the country accepting electronic benefit transfer, or EBT, transactions increased from 532 in 2007 to 605 as of June 2008, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

USDA Undersecretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Nancy Montanez Johner, said both food stamp recipients and farmers have benefited from the success of the program."

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Whole Foods Requests Different Judge

"WASHINGTON, Aug 27 (Reuters) - Organic premium grocer Whole Foods (WFMI.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) has asked the Federal Trade Commission, which is assessing whether its merger with rival Wild Oats is legal, to use an administrative law judge to hear the case, not a commissioner already on record as questioning the merger.

The FTC has named Commissioner Thomas Rosch to oversee the case, but Whole Foods said he should recuse himself, citing the fact that he was one of the commissioners who voted in June 2007 to investigate the merger as one that potentially violates antitrust statutes."

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Earth Balance Introduces Vegan Nut Butters

"Earth Balance®, a line of all-natural healthy buttery spreads, shortenings, nut butters, and cream cheeses, announced today that Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ: WFMI), the world's leading natural and organic foods supermarket, is now offering Earth Balance®'s new vegan nut butter products in all of its stores nationwide.

United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI) will distribute all three new Earth Balance® products -- Almond Butter, Crunchy Peanut Butter and Creamy Peanut Butter -- to over 250 Whole Foods Market stores across the country.

"Whole Foods Market is already home to many of Earth Balance®'s all-natural products, so we are excited to add to the product mix, offering our shoppers even more of these unique, healthy and great-tasting alternatives," said Errol Schweizer, Whole Foods Market's Associate Global Grocery Coordinator. "The new nut butters are perfect additions to a brand that already strongly resonates with our customers."

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SunOpta Acquires Pure Nature Organics

"NEW YORK (Associated Press) - A unit of SunOpta Inc. said Tuesday it bought the Pure Nature Organics brand of frozen fruits and vegetables, expanding its organic food business.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

SunOpta Global Organic Ingredients, a division of SunOpta's fruit business, increases its supply capability in Central America under the deal.

SunOpta said the addition would generate incremental revenue of $5 million to $7 million in the first year."

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Organic Food Bar Only Consumer Brand Available at DNC and RNC

"LOS ANGELES, Aug 26, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- As we are underway on the most heavily-anticipated political conventions in a generation, the candidates Barack Obama and John McCain -- and the political parties they represent -- differ on everything from the economy and health care to energy and the war in Iraq. But, both parties agree on one thing: Organic Food Bar(TM) products -- the only consumer brand to appear at the Democratic National Convention in Denver from August 25-28 and the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis from September 1-4.
"We are over the moon about this," said Dr. Jack J. Singh, founder and President of Organic Food Bar(TM), Inc. "We know Obama and the Dems and McCain and the GOP diverge on many points, but it's good to know Organic Food Bar(TM) products are embraced by both parties! As Americans, we can have healthy debates and disagree, but we all agree on better health. And, Organic Food Bar(TM) products embody better health."

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Celebrity Organic Moms

"I’m not immune to the allure of celebrity. And I see how it sells green books. The ones with famous people attached to them absolutely have better Amazon ranks than those that don’t. Odd but undeniable.

So it’s only natural that I wish one of the bumps People, Us Weekly, and others are constantly writing about would suddenly start carrying around a dog-eared copy of The Complete Organic Pregnancy and telling the stalking paparazzi and all reporters they speak to just how important having an organic pregnancy is.

I see pictures of Jennifer Garner pushing a cart full of loaded cloth bags outside of a Whole Foods and wonder (longingly) if she’s the one to be our poster bump girl. I think she’s a much, much more likely candidate than Ashley Simpson. And I harbor a certain fantasy that perhaps (I hope) Jessica Alba read the book. I’ve SEEN several reports saying she has greened her recently born babe. InStyle wrote that she has an eco-nursery filled with organic cotton onesies and did eco-friendly renovations. It’s funny how taken the tabloids are with pregnancy. I get it -- I’m quite taken myself.

Wouldn’t it be great if the celebrity offspring on were instead constantly covered on (haven’t yet surfed here? I warn you, it’s addictive.) And the outfits various supermarket checkout magazines are constantly highlighting on young Suri, Violet, and Shiloh? What if they were all organic cotton, fair trade, thrift store finds, or even hand-me-downs? That would make me so happy. And the bottle all of these same rags are constantly debating if Suri should still be carrying around at her age? What if it were glass? Not even BPA-free plastic but regular old totally inert and easy to recycle glass. That would really be something."

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Organic Planet Festival to Educate Attendees

"The fourth annual Organic Planet Festival filled Eureka’s Halvorsen Park, Sunday, with exhibitors, speakers and live music, all in the name of organic living.

Those in attendance got to see some new things and learn about organic and non-toxic living, as well as see some of the most popular festival highlights.

Eureka Natural Foods served the world’s largest organic salad. “Everything here is organical and most of it was locally grown,” said produce manager Juan GagnĂ©. “There is probably 500 pounds of salad materials here, but we measure in volume.”

Filling the stage throughout the day were Grammy winner Queen Ida and her zydeco band, as well as The Jennifer Breeze Band, Jah Sun with High Voltage, WoMama, and Queen Omega & Soul Majestic.

Speakers presented different food topics, such as organic gardening and local food issues, and Dr. Tyrone Hayes spoke about his research on pesticides and their effects on frogs and humans."

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New Method for Detecting Food Toxins

"A research group led by the Kobe University Research Center for Environmental Genomics has developed a technique that may enable faster and more accurate detection of toxic substances in food, The Yomiuri Shimbun learned.

The technique, which is not yet ready for widespread practical use, involves artificially produced human enzymes that act as sensors for toxins in food samples.

Currently methods of food toxin analysis, such as chromatography and experimentation on mice, can take weeks to complete, a time frame the new technique could reduce to a few days.

The researchers are working to further improve the accuracy of the new approach."

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Destroying the Rainforest for Palm Oil

"Fortune) -- What do Oreo cookies made by Nabisco (KFT, Fortune 500), Cheez-It crackers from Kellogg's (K, Fortune 500) or General Mills' (GIS, Fortune 500) Fiber One Chewy Bars have to do with global warming and the destruction of tropical rainforests? A lot, say environmental activists.

The link between the supermarket shelf, climate change and shrinking rainforests is palm oil, a controversial ingredient that may now be the most widely-traded vegetable oil in the world.

Here's the problem: Demand for palm oil, which is found in soaps and cosmetics as well as food, has more than doubled in the last decade as worldwide food consumption has soared. Farmers, in turn, are expanding their plantations, burning forests in Indonesia and Malaysia, where nearly all of the palm oil imported to the United States originates. Deforestation is the primary reason that Indonesia's greenhouse gas emissions are the third-highest in the world."

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The Troubles of Organic Wool Production

"There is a strong growing demand in the world for “organic” wool and consumers are willing to pay a bonus, which is a promising advantage for Uruguay and its textile industry, said Pedro Otegui, one of the country’s leading wool and textile exporters.
During a conference in the framework of the opening this week of the 2008/09 wool clip season and the Salto Agro Show, Mr. Otegui said this has become “a great challenge for Uruguay”, and the textile industry should take advantage of this opportunity, not only because world wide there’s a growing demand for organic produce, but also because in the coming quarter of a century the global population will increase well over 1.5 billion people.

“Consumers are increasingly demanding quality and relief that what they are buying does not alter or cause harm to the environment”, said Otegui who anticipated this will force radical changes in wool farming and in the industrial process of textiles.

“As a company we are in the process of obtaining an organic industrial license. There’s a long protocol to comply which should allow textiles, working with organic wool, to supply them with the necessary certification to a market willing to pay for the extra bonus”, said Otegui."

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"Inappropriate" Levels of Arsenic Found in Rice Bran

"A new study has suggested that commercial rice bran products contain "inappropriate" levels of the poisonous chemical arsenic.

Rice bran is the shavings left over after brown rice is polished to produce white rice grains.

According to a report in New Scientist, Andrew Meharg at the University of Aberdeen, UK, and colleagues made the findings.

The research team found that the levels of arsenic in rice bran products available on the Internet and used in food-aid programmes funded by the US government would be illegal in China - the only country in the world to have standards for how much arsenic is permissible in food.

Arsenic is a natural carcinogen, present in drinking water around the world including in Australia, the US and many developing countries."

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Friday, August 22, 2008

The New Biopesticide

"With the boom in consumption of organic foods creating a pressing need for natural insecticides and herbicides that can be used on crops certified as "organic," biopesticide pioneer Pam G. Marrone, Ph.D., is reporting development of a new "green" pesticide obtained from an extract of the giant knotweed in a report scheduled for presentation here today at the 236th national meeting of the American Chemical Society.

That 12-foot-high Goliath, named for the jointed swollen nodes on its stem, invaded the U.S. from Japan years ago and grows along the East Coast and other areas. "The product is safe to humans, animals, and the environment," says Marrone, founder and CEO of Marrone Organic Innovations Inc., in Davis, Calif.

The new biopesticide has active compounds that alert plant defenses to combat a range of diseases, including powdery mildew, gray mold and bacterial blight that affect fruits, vegetables, and ornamentals. The product will be available this October for conventional growers, according to Marja Koivunen, Ph.D., director of research and development for Marrone Organic Innovations. A new formulation has also been developed for organic farmers and will be available in 2009."

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Town Shuts Down 11 Year Old's Organic Vegetable Stand

"For about two years, Katie Lewis, now 11, has sold organic watermelons, zucchini and other homegrown produce at a roadside stand in Clayton, Calif., bringing in perhaps $20 a week to put in her college fund.

But now the long arm of the law has caught up with her, reports ABC News. Municipal officials have shut down the stand, saying that it violates zoning rules that prohibit commercial activities in a residential area. It also violates health regulations that say food can't be sold without a permit, explains Mayor Gregory Manning.

Two residents complained, he says, and "I find that for every person who calls you or writes a letter, there are 100 that feel the same."

Opinion is divided about the municipality's no-exceptions enforcement, according to the network. Some feel a rule is a rule. But others, including the girl's father, Mike Lewis, wonder why Clayton officials can't find a way to make an exception. (Officials say the family is welcome to make a formal application for a zoning variance.)"

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FDA to Allow Radiated Spinach, Lettuce

"Let's get one thing straight up front. Just because the government has ruled that spinach and lettuce can now be zapped with radiation to kill E. coli, salmonella and other nasty bugs, it doesn't mean that the produce will be radioactive, warm to the touch or even pre-cooked.

The decision by the Food and Drug Administration has been long awaited since the Grocery Manufacturers Association petitioned the agency in 2000 to allow producers to irradiate a wide variety of fruits and vegetables and prepared foods.

The equipment is costly, but well worth it to producers because the process also can control insects and parasites, reduce spoilage, and extend shelf-life.

However, Thursday's action by the federal food protectors limits the use of zoomies only to spinach and iceberg lettuce.

"I wish it could be used on all greens, all types of lettuce, and herbs like basil and parsley and cilantro," said Dr. Christine Bruhn, a researcher from the University of California, Davis Center for Consumer Research."

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Canadian Government Invests in Organics

"The Government of Canada is providing organic farmers with the support they need to tap into new and locally-based markets. A $258,100 investment has been announced by Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz which will support the organic industry while they grow to meet increasing consumer demand for organic products.

“Increasingly, families at home and around the globe are choosing to buy organic food,” said Minister Ritz. “The Government is committed to supporting our farmers as they seize these new market opportunities.”

Growing Up Organic
Funding for the project, called Growing Up Organic, is being provided to the Canadian Organic Growers Inc. (COG) through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s national Advancing Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food Program (ACAAF).

“Through this initiative, government, farmers and industry are ensuring the continued growth of the agricultural sector, and a vibrant future for organic farming in Canada,” said Laura Telford, Executive Director of COG.

Through the ACAAF program, which began in 2004, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has provided more than $7.2 million to 74 organic projects."

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Fabulously Green Ltd. Launches Daas Beer

"With the rapid growth of the organic foods and beverage market worldwide, Daas Beer produced in Belgium by Fabulously Green Ltd, is set to match the increasing demand for organic beer. We are on the brink of penetrating the lucrative Organic food and beverage market, which is rapidly-growing worldwide.

Why Organic Beer?

The current trend towards the Organic Industry and an increase in the number of entrepreneurs and the overall consumer awareness towards Organic goods present an opportunity to penetrate this expanding market.

Daas Beer will be positioned very carefully and we carry the required European Ecocert certifications and UK Soil assoc Organic Certifications . Dass beers will be of extremely high quality to ensure customer satisfaction, supported by impeccable service to our customers."

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

East Organics On-the-Go

This post was contributed by Heather Johnson, who writes on the subject of green and organic shopping. She invites your feedback at heatherjohnson2323 at gmail dot com.

Organic products and the people who purchase them is an ever-growing and changing marketplace. Many people are looking for greener ways to live their lives, which requires a shift in habits—eating habits, purchasing patterns, and even what they choose to wear.

The fact remains, however, that we still live in a busy society where things are moving forward, and fast. Here is a list of some great organic snacks and drinks you can eat in a flash to keep you going.

Energy and Meal-Replacement Bars

1. Bumble Bars: Bumble Bars are not only organic energy bars, but they are gluten-free and vegan as well. Take one of these with you for the commute, or save one for later in the day to keep you going without turning to the nearest snack machine.

2. Pro Bars: These fully-organic bars are full meal-replacements, which is great for those days when you have no time. Nourish your body with a Pro Bar and keep on moving.

3. Clif Bars: The Clif brand is one of the leading manufacturers of organic energy products, including drinks and other snacks.

4. Peak Bars: Peak makes organic products for a variety of lifestyles. Whether you need bars for wellness, balanced nutrition, performance, or even snacks for your kids, take a look at what Peak has to offer.

5. Think Organic: Think Products makes 100% USDA Organic nutrition bars, as well as other bars made with whole foods and all-natural ingredients.

Organic Beverages

6. Ocean Spray Organics: Available at most major stores, the folks at Ocean Spray offer organic versions of the juices you already love.

7. RW Knudsen Juices: One of the oldest producers of natural and organic juices, the Knudsen brand has been in business since 1961. With over 100 different products for people of all ages, you are sure to find something that suits your tastes.

8. Shift Energy Drink: The folks at Stonyfield Yogurt have come up with three variations on an organic energy drink that will give you a natural boost without all the additives. Focusing on protein, B vitamins, Acai, among others, Shift energy drinks are a great organic alternative to keep you going.

9. Santa Cruz Sodas: This fully-organic line of sodas offers customers an alternative to conventional soft drinks. Enjoy your favorite flavors without damaging yourself and the environment in the process.

10. Jones Organic Teas: From the same people who brought you Jones Pure Cane Colas, Jones Organic Teas has six different, fully USDA Certified Organic iced tea flavors to choose from.

Earth Balance Now Available Through Canada

"Earth Balance®, a line of all-natural healthy buttery spreads, shortenings, nut butters, and cream cheeses, announced today that Loblaws, Canada's premier grocery store, is now offering two bilingually packaged Earth Balance® products in 230 of its stores across Canada. The new Earth Balance® products include the Original Buttery Spread and the Mediterranean Spread.

"We are excited to extend our line of natural spreads across Canada at Loblaws," said Rickard Werner, vice president and general manager of Earth Balance®. "Loblaws is the premier Canadian food retailer and we are thrilled to bring two of our most popular products in to select stores. We look forward to building a strong relationship with the Loblaws team and customers."

The Earth Balance family of products includes organic, vegan, and dairy blend varieties that are produced using a unique, nutritionally beneficial blend of oils. From delicious butter alternatives and savory olive oil-based spreads to sweet nut butters and rich-tasting cream cheeses, every Earth Balance® Natural Spread is 100% natural and contains important Omega 3s. They are also completely free of GMOs, trans fats, hydrogenated oils, and artificial ingredients of any kind."

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Organic Processing Center Announced in Dayton, Washington

"DAYTON, Wash.—The city of Dayton, Wash., will be the home of first U.S. eco-industrial park targeting organic and artisan food processing companies. The Port of Columbia developed the plan under its economic development jurisdiction in South Central Washington, with grant funding provided in part by Washington state. Jennie Dickinson, manager, Port of Columbia, said the park, named Blue Mountain Station, was created to further economic development in the area, working with specialists in a number of disciplines to develop a fully integrated certified organic food chain. In addition, the park will provide professional assistance to small farmers and processors not currently certified organic, but interested in transitioning to organic production; further, the companies can participate in local, regional, national and international marketing programs."

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Guide to Organic Pest Control

"Sharp-eyed handpicking and trapping can control many garden pests, but not every insect battle can be won with hand-to-hand combat. Instead, you may need an intervention plan that affects the pest, yet causes little or no harm to natural predators and beneficial life-forms that live in your garden. This is where organic pest control products can come to the rescue. To help you match the best products with each pest, we’ve organized our guide in two ways — by pest and by remedy. Read through the Organic Remedies for Garden Pests table and then bring yourself up to date on cures with “Top 11 Organic Pest Control Products” on the next few pages. The information in the table and the text is based on current recommendations from sustainable agricultural research centers throughout North America."

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Organic Gardening Spreading Through Schools

"What the heck is horticultural therapy? Horticultural therapy uses gardens and plants in activities to improve the body, mind and spirits. It has been practiced since 1798 in America.

Universities all across the nation now offer degrees in horticultural therapy. It has become accepted and is an effective tool in improving the quality of life for those who participate in gardening efforts.

Our capacity to recognize and seek out the natural order is one of the basic drives that makes up the fabric of a human being and has shaped our common ancestry. There is a shift happening across our current cultural landscape. The impact of the human race on our planet, our greater insights into our biology, our universe and the inner workings of our life are all being understood at an unparalleled rate."

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Enjoy Organic Cuisine with Your Kids at Giggles N' Hugs Restaurant

"LOS ANGELES, CA, Aug 20, 2008 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX) -- Since its opening in February 2008, Giggles N' Hugs restaurant has been an instant hit with Los Angeles families looking for an alternative to standard grease-laden children's fare. Featuring a menu that includes everything from edamame to pizza, Giggles N' Hugs provides tasty, healthy, organic meals that are expertly fashioned in their creative kitchen to "disguise" veggies and other nutritious ingredients, such as Flaxseed. They are also the first restaurant of its kind to feature a 2,500 square foot indoor play area designed for kids complete with games, activities and live entertainment.

Carefully designed to be welcoming and vibrant, yet tranquil and magical, the decor of Giggles N' Hugs is all about fun and imagination. Special live entertainment includes the popular Friday disco nights, Saturday puppet shows and Wednesday "favorite character" nights, where anyone from Spider Man to Cinderella can put in an appearance."

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tastybaby Now Available for Home Delivery

"Tastybaby(R), a company devoted to a balanced and healthy lifestyle, today announced that in addition to its full 10-item line of 100% organic frozen baby food, Tastybaby(R) Variety Packs are now exclusively available on, making it easy for parents to shop by
bringing the brand directly to their front doors, free of shipping charges.

With product now available to anyone, anytime, anywhere, this expansion enables Tastybaby(R) to reach customers in areas where the products are not yet available in retail stores. The expansion will also help Tastybaby(R) further its message of the importance of an organic lifestyle from the beginning. is offering FREE Super Saver Shipping with dry ice via 2nd Day Air for all Tastybaby(R) orders (a value of about $50)."

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High Level of Pesticides Discovered in Beehives

"An analysis by Penn State researchers of beehive wax has shown unprecedented levels of fluvalinate and coumaphos - pesticides used in the hives to combat varroa mites - in all hive samples. The researchers also found lower levels of 70 other pesticides (used to protect agricultural crops) and metabolites of those pesticides in pollen and bees.

"Everyone figured that the acaricides (anti-varroa mite chemicals) would be present in the wax because the wax is reprocessed to form the structure of the hives. It was a bit of a shock to see the levels and the widespread presence of these [other] pesticides," Penn's Maryann Frazier told the 236th American Chemical Society meeting."

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YoNaturals Vending Machines Launches Direct to Schools Program

"YoNaturals Inc. announced launch of its "Direct to Schools" healthy vending program. This program is available to every school in the U.S. and consists of a "no money down" lease program with low-cost 48 and 60 month payment terms. Healthy Vending Machines can be leased for as low as $40 per week.

This program allows schools to choose their own healthy snacks and drinks from the company’s range of nutritionally acceptable products with 100 percent of the profits from the vending machines received staying in the school’s bank account, said Mark Trotter, CEO YoNaturals. "Every Public and Private School nationwide is essentially pre-approved for our new program and the machines essentially pay for themselves quickly through the sale of the healthy snacks and drinks," Trotter said in a prepared statement.

YoNaturals offers three different machine options. The "YoZone" for drinks and snacks simultaneously, the "YoThirsty" for drinks only and the new "YoHungry" for snacks only. These options allow administrators to have complete control over their school vending programs."

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Monday, August 18, 2008

Biotech Scientists Angered Over Prince Charles' GMO Protests

"Leading Norfolk scientists last night hit back at the Prince of Wales for his attack against genetically-modified crops, branding his outburst “shocking and ill-informed”.

And experts at the John Innes Centre in Colney, Norwich, now want the prince to visit their laboratories so they can answer his questions and address his concerns.

Prof Alison Smith, research group leader at the centre, who was made an OBE for her services to plant biochemistry, accused Prince Charles of abusing his role and said he should have used it to launch a debate into the issue instead of making “unhelpful” remarks.

She said: “I was really quite shocked and saddened by what the prince had to say. It was really rather ill-informed and very negative.

“And I'm saddened that the Prince of Wales, who is in a leadership role and able to solve some of the problems he identifies - by bringing scientists, technicians and agricultural and climate change experts together - instead tried to blame the problems of the planet on a technology he clearly does not understand.

“He has a lot of understandable concerns about the way the planet is going but it would be good to see him looking broadly and objectively at how those concerns can be addressed and leading a constructive debate rather than dismiss something out of hand that we need to keep the door open on.”

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Fresh Harvest and Organic Industry Continue to Grow

"NEW YORK, Aug 18, 2008 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ -- Fresh Harvest Products, Inc. (FRHV: FRHV 0.25, +0.06, +31.6%) announced today that it is very optimistic about its potential for growth in 2009. According to industry data, the US organic industry grew by 19% in 2007 to USD $19.2 billion, outpacing its historical 15 to 18 percent annual growth rate. Fresh Harvest intends to continue benefiting from this upward trend.
Organic food accounted for approximately 60% of the USD $26.7 billion natural and organic food market and a total of 3.3% of the USD $575 billion US foods market. Organic sales grew 17.2% for mass market retailers, which now account for a 63% of organic food sold in the US, offering major opportunities for Fresh Harvest as our distribution expands. The natural retail channel grew by 11.5%. April 2007-2008 dry grocery dollar sales growth in organics was 10 times greater than non-organics, by a 28.8% to 2.8% comparison."

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Are Restaurants Lying About the Organic and Local Status of Foods?

"Restaurant diners beware: That local, organic dish you're wrapping your lips around - and paying dearly for the privilege of doing so - may be a fraud. It may not be all-natural, as your menu promised, and it may come from a huge national vendor like Sysco rather than the family-owned farm that the menu touts.

Restaurateurs be warned: If you're caught mislabeling your menu - and chances keep getting greater that if you are, you will be - then you're not only in for your customer's wrath. You may well be "fired" by the very vendors who supply your best ingredients.

Seem like a stretch scenario? It's not. As the Slow Food movement gains popularity across America, terms like "sustainable" and "artisan" are showing up on more Valley menus. It's not uncommon to find this statement at the bottom of many bills of fare these days: "We proudly support local farmers and producers whenever possible."

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Bangladesh Gets Into Organic Cotton

"Farmers in Bogra district have recently produced organic cotton for the first time without using chemical fertilizer and pesticide.

Instead of chemical fertilizer and pesticide, they used compost fertilizer and natural pesticide produced from urban organic waste and 'neem' respectively in the fields of organic cotton filed.

The initiative was taken to assess the economic feasibility of growing environment friendly organic cotton commercially in Bangladesh, Director of Waste Concern, one of the leading waste management organizations in the country, Iftekhar Enayetullah told BSS here today.

Waste Concern in partnership with Mohipur Agriculture Training Institute (MATI) with the support of UK-based 'People Tree' produced organic cotton under a pilot project on one hector of lands this year.

Bangladesh Cotton Development Board provided good quality of cotton seeds, required manpower and supports to the pilot project. The success achieved from one hector of lands proves that organic cotton will open a new opportunity in the world market for the Bangladeshi farmers, Iftekhar said.

Executive Director of Waste Concern AHM Maqsood Sinha said the weather in Bangladesh is quite conducive to producing organic cotton side by side with the traditional cotton."

-Read the article

India FAO's Organic Tea Project

"India is in the final stages of launching a project for organic tea under the aegis of the Inter-Governmental Group of the UN-based Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO).

The $1.6 million project is to be funded by another UN body, the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC). The formal launch is likely to take place in mid-September, here. It coincides with a growing interest in tea as a wellness beverage the world-over.

Under this project, which would have three components, India would evolve a package of farm practices which conform to organic tea cultivation. Towards this end, 100 hectares each have been given to three tea estates in Coimbatore district in Tamil Nadu, in Darjeeling district in West Bengal and in Upper Assam.

Each of these estates will remain attached to a research association with which it will coordinate over the three year tenure of the project. The research bodies which will be associated are: Tea Research Association, the Darjeeling Tea Research and Development Centre and the United Planters’ Association of Southern India."

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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Recall: Whole Foods 365 Organic Everyday Value Popcorn May Contain Undeclared Milk Ingredients

"AUSTIN, Texas — August 14, 2008 — Whole Foods Market today is recalling 365 Organic Everyday Value Popcorn, Lightly Salted because it may contain undeclared milk ingredients. The popcorn in these packages was incorrectly flavored with a white cheddar seasoning which includes milk ingredients; the seasoning may not be visibly apparent. People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to milk ingredients run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they consume these products.

This product was distributed to and sold in Whole Foods Market retail stores in California, Arizona, Nevada, Kentucky, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington D.C, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Oregon, New Jersey, New York and Washington.

The product is sold in a blue and white 5 ounce bag with a picture of popcorn in a red and white container. The product is labeled as 365 Organic Everyday Value Organic Popcorn, Lightly Salted with a UPC of 9948240552. The recalled product’s lot code is stamped on the front top right corner and reads “Sell By 10/28/08″ or “Sell By 10/29/08″."

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Organic Farm Conversion Pays Off

"Cairness Home Farm is one of three north-east farms short-listed for the annual Royal Northern Good Farming Practice Award organised by the Royal Northern Agricultural Society and sponsored by Aberdeenshire Council.

The other two finalists have been featured in Farm Journal over the past two weeks and the winner will be announced next week.

John and his father, Willie, and uncle, Sandy, trading as Cairness Ltd, at Fraserburgh, farm a total of 1,600 acres, including 600 acres of seasonal grazing around the Loch of Strathbeg which is rented from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

Full advantage has been taken of various environmental schemes to create hedges, beetle banks, water margins, clover-rich grazing, unharvested crops to encourage wildlife, late cutting grass and wetlands for waders. Also, around 190 acres of blown woodland has been replanted.

The two-year conversion to organic farming on 1,100 acres is due to be completed on September 1. Mr Moir has plans to convert more of the farm in due course, particularly in the light of soaring fertiliser prices, and in the longer term he hopes to open a farm shop selling organic produce."

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Friday, August 15, 2008

Why You Need to Buy Local AND Organic

"The limits of consumption-based food movements
In "Dispatches from the Fields," Ariane Lotti and Stephanie Ogburn, who are working on small farms in Iowa and Colorado this season, share their thoughts on producing real food in the midst of America's agro-industrial landscape.

A few years ago at farmers markets here and around the country, most customers would ask a farmer how she grew her vegetables and herbs. Eaters were concerned about organic growing habits and pesticide use on farms, and inquired about the methods used to grow the produce they were purchasing.
Nowadays at market, almost no one asks if Dragonfly Farms is certified organic. (We're not, but are pursuing Certified Naturally Grown status.) They don't even ask if we use synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers.

Consumer priorities, and the questions buyers ask, have shifted. Now the main farm-production question I hear is related to place: "Where is your farm?"
Customers used to worry about how food was produced; now they worry about where it is from. This switch is both interesting and somewhat troubling. It's interesting in part because it shows how the power of one captivating idea -- local -- can quickly eclipse the power of another -- organic."

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All Things Organic to Include Hispanic and Asian Food Shows

"The Organic Trade Association (OTA) announced it will co-locate its 2009 All Things Organic Conference and Trade Show with two of Diversified Communications' Cultural Food brand events -- Expo Comida Latina and All Asia Food -- June 16-18, 2009, at McCormick Place in Chicago, Ill.

The All Things Organic Conference and Trade Show will mark its ninth year in 2009. Presented by OTA and Diversified Business Communications, All Things Organic is the definitive annual meeting place of the North American organic industry, with an extensive conference program and a focused trade show floor open to only certified organic products and products approved for use in organic processing. The show has grown from 100 exhibitors in the 2001 inaugural event in Austin, Texas, to over 600 booths of organic products and services and a buying audience of 12,000 in 2008. One hundred percent of all revenue OTA receives from All Things Organic is reinvested in programs that support the organic business community."

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Whole Foods Cuts 49 Jobs at Austin HQ

"Whole Foods Market Inc. said Wednesday it is cutting 49 jobs at its Austin headquarters.

The announcement came after Whole Foods reported disappointing third-quarter financial results last week. The company blamed the ailing economy for its performance and said it was beginning cost-cutting measures.

"Due to the current economic environment and the impact it is having on our business, Whole Foods Market regrets to announce that we are eliminating 49 out of its 650 positions that report to our global headquarters in Austin," the company said in a statement.

It is rare for Whole Foods to lay off employees. It was not immediately clear which departments within the company's headquarters are going to be affected.

Whole Foods has a history of weathering economic dips and rises well. But the latest economic downturn, coupled with a rise in fuel costs, has hurt the chain of 270 natural and organic food stores."

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USDA Meets with Organic Leaders to Discuss Farm Bill

"WASHINGTON—Representatives of the organic community met with the USDA Farm Bill Implementation Team on Aug. 11, 2008, to discuss the implementation of organic provisions within the 2008 Farm Bill. The meeting was organized by the Organic Trade Association (OTA), in what David Gagnon, OTA’s interim executive director, called a “historic opportunity to present key information on the significance of these organic provisions to the team charged with developing the rules implementing the Farm Bill.”

The OTA-led group included representatives of the Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF), the Center for Food Safety's National Organic Coalition, Rodale Institute, National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), Food and Water Watch, Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, and Florida Organic Growers. The meeting was co-hosted by USDA Deputy Under Secretary Floyd Gaibler of the Farm and Foreign Agriculture Services and Lowell Randel, Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Congressional Relations. Also attending were agency representatives from the Agricultural Marketing Service, National Resources Conservation Service, Foreign Agricultural Service, Risk Management Agency, Agriculture Research Service, and the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service."

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British Groceries More Expensive Than Organic Box Delivery

"London, England (AHN) - Comparison shopping by a United Kingdom newspaper showed that organic veggies cost 22 percent more in British supermarkets than those sold by box delivery schemes and local grocers.

A large box of greens made up of fennel, chard leaves, runner beans, courgettes and potatoes from Riverford, U.K.'s largest organic delivery business, totaled $29.78 (15.95 pound).

The same volume of veggies at Tesco will cost the consumer $41.08 (22 pound), $44.44 (23.80 pound) at Sainsbury's and $48.99 (26.23 pound) at Waitrose.

Rob Hawar, operations director of Riverford, explained to the U.K. Telegraph the large difference was because of financial redundant business models of the grocery chains. Hawar cited the chains' rejection of oddly shaped veggies as one of the reasons behind the high cost, which is passed on to shoppers.

Meanwhile, a School Food Trust report discovered 14 percent of young Britons do not eat fruits despite nutrition experts' advice to take in five portions a day."

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Prince Charles Slams GMOs

"Prince Charles has gone on a new tirade against genetically modified crops. Sitting down with a journalist from the UK Daily Telegraph, Charles let rip his feelings on the future of big business controlling crop production.

“What, all run by gigantic corporations? Is that really the answer? I think not. That would be the absolute destruction of everything and… the classic way of ensuring that there is no food in the future,” Charles told the paper. He added that “clever” genetic engineers had put the world on course for the “biggest disaster environmentally of all time. “The world should be working “with nature. We have gone working against nature for too long,” he said."

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Grant to Help Fresno State Organic

"A $250,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture grant will boost organic agricultural research and education at California State University, Fresno beyond a greenhouse and a small plot for vegetables certified earlier this year.

The student-operated Rue and Gwen Gibson Farm Market at Barstow and Chestnut avenues sells student-produced organic vegetables and greenhouse-grown organic herb and vegetable seedlings for use by home gardeners.

The three-year award is from the USDA's Hispanic-Serving Institution Education Grant Program. It will establish Fresno State's organic farming initiative under the Sustainable Agroecosystems and Efficient Resource Management program housed within the College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology."

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Pizza Fusion Becomes First Certified Organic Restaurant

"FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Pizza Fusion ( recently announced their pursuit of independent, third-party organic restaurant certification for all their restaurants upon receiving certification at their Fort Lauderdale, Fla. location. Quality Assurance International (QAI), the third-party certifier conducting Pizza Fusion’s certifications, verifies the strict standards set forth by the USDA's National Organic Program via on-site inspections to validate the use of organic ingredients and menu selections with consistency and integrity in the certification process. To date, Pizza Fusion Fort Lauderdale is one of only four restaurants in the United States to receive Organic Restaurant Certification.

“The Organic Trade Association sees this move as exciting news. Organic certification is a big step for foodservice operations, and helps meet increasing consumer interest in accessing certified organic products where they shop and where they eat,” said David Gagnon, Interim Executive Director for the Organic Trade Association.

QAI’s certification ensures ingredients are organic while providing verification of food preparation area management and comprehensive organic planning. This verification declares to restaurant patrons that Pizza Fusion upholds the highest organic standards and that the organic integrity of their menu selections is assured from seed to table. Pizza Fusion’s adoption of Organic Restaurant Certification builds upon their industry leading approach to quality, including being the only restaurant chain to build all their restaurants to LEED certification standards."

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Yorganic to Give Away Free Frozen Yogurt

"This just in to the Gothamist feedbag -- organic (and environmentally friendly) fro yo joint Yorganic will be officially opening tomorrow in the Financial District at 3 Hanover Square. To celebrate, they will be serving free frozen yogurt (5 oz of original or green tea with one topping) today from 12pm until 4pm. In addition to fro yo, starting tomorrow they'll be offering smoothies and juice. Having stopped by the recent opening of their midtown location, the free snack was more than welcome, although being forced to hear "welcome to Yorganic where the yogurt is organic" over and over again while on line was a bit much."

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Promax Acquires Pure Bar

"Marwit Capital-owned Promax Nutrition Corporation has acquired Pure of Holland, a manufacturer of nutrition bars.

Promax, a developer and marketer of protein and energy bars, said the deal was a good strategic fit.

"Pure Bar is a great complementary strategic fit with the Promax brand portfolio and we enthusiastically embrace this partnership. Pure Bar is a fantastic brand experiencing strong growth," Promax president Tim Welch said.

Pure Bars are currently carries by Whole Food Markets, natural food stores and grocery chains such as Ralph's, Meijer and HEB."

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FTC Plans Whole Food-Wild Oats Merger Hearings

" WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is moving forward with plans to hold full administrative hearings on the 2007 merger between Whole Foods Markets Inc. (WFMI) and Wild Oats Markets Inc.

The commission's plans, announced in an order released Friday, come two weeks after a federal appeals court revived the FTC's antitrust challenge to the $565 million transaction.

The commission has argued the merger would lessen competition in the market for natural and organic foods.

Whole Foods and Wild Oats consummated their merger last August after a federal judge rejected the FTC's preliminary bid to block the deal.

The commission, however, has continued to press its case, leaving open the possibility that it could try to halt further integration of the two companies or require Whole Foods to sell some operations."

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Elliott Bay Brewing Company to Go Green

"This July, Elliott Bay Brewing Company's Burien location became only the second certified organic beer provider in the state and its West Seattle location should follow suit by the end of the year.

To be certified organic, a beer must have all of its ingredients, as well as its brewing facility, meet the Washington State Department of Agriculture guidelines for organic food.

Doug Hindman, head brewer for Elliott Bay Brewing, said the company is now able to offer 12 certified organic beers brewed at its Burien location.

Elliott Bay Brewing started the application for certification of its Burien location last October, but because the application required paperwork from the suppliers of all ingredients certifying their organic nature as well as paperwork pertaining to the brewing process, the certification was not finalized until late July, Hindman said."

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

SCI Research Compares Organic, Says It is No Better

"New research in the latest issue of the Society of Chemical Industry's (SCI) Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture shows there is no evidence to support the argument that organic food is better than food grown with the use of pesticides and chemicals.

Many people pay more than a third more for organic food in the belief that it has more nutritional content than food grown with pesticides and chemicals.

But the research by Dr Susanne B?nd colleagues from the Department of Human Nutrition, University of Copenhagen, shows there is no clear evidence to back this up.

In the first study ever to look at retention of minerals and trace elements, animals were fed a diet consisting of crops grown using three different cultivation methods in two seasons."

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Saturday, August 9, 2008

Congressman Kucinich Designs Bills to Fight GMOs

"Washington, Jul 30 -

Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) introduced three bills designed to protect consumers, defend farmers’ rights, and increase food safety yesterday. The bills collectively create a comprehensive framework to regulate genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

“We have a responsibility to put the public health and the environment before profits. These bills spell out common sense precautions.”

The three bills are titled, respectively, H.R. 6636, The Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act, H.R. 6635, The Genetically Engineered Safety Act, and H.R. 6637, The Genetically Engineered Farmer Protection Act.

H.R. 6636, The Genetically Engineered Food Right To Know Act, would require mandatory labeling of all foods that contain or are produced with genetically modified material. A legal framework to ensure labeling accuracy without significant economic hardship would also be established.

H.R. 6635, The Genetically Engineered Safety Act, would require that genetically engineered foods follow a food safety review process to prevent contamination of food supplies by pharmaceutical and industrial crops. This Act would also require that the FDA screen all genetically engineered foods to ensure they are safe for human consumption."

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Sign the Petition to Stop Organic Fraud

"The U.S. Department of Agriculture National Organic Program (NOP) announced on August 5th that 15 of the 30 accredited organic certifiers they recently inspected failed the USDA audit and will have 12 months to make corrections or lose their accreditation with the NOP. It is clear that there are numerous violations of organic standards taking place in the U.S. and across the world. (Read the August 5 NOP Audit Report here)

A number of the violations noted in the several hundred page audit related to Chinese imports certified by the French-based organic certifier Ecocert and other certifiers. Strangely enough, Quality Assurance International (QAI), the largest organic certifier in the world, is not cited by the USDA, even though the OCA has recently reviewed documents that indicate that QAI is indeed under investigation by the NOP.

QAI has recently been in the news for sourcing ginger, contaminated with a dangerous and banned pesticide, Aldicarb, from its Chinese certification sub-contractors and then labeling it as "USDA Organic." (Watch news video coverage of this issue here). QAI is also under public fire, along with other certifiers, for certifying factory farm feedlot dairies supplying milk to Horizon and Aurora Organic Dairy, who in turn supply Wal-Mart, Costco, Safeway, and other organic private label organic milk. (Learn more)

For six years the OCA and the organic community have called upon the USDA to implement a "Peer Review Panel" system, as required by law in the National Organic Standards, so that respected members of the organic community can monitor and police violations of organic standards on the part of producers, importers, and certifiers."

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Recall: Whole Foods Ground Beef May Be Contaminated with E. coli

"Whole Foods Market, the world's largest retailer of natural and organic foods, has recalled fresh ground beef it sold between June 2 and August 6, 2008 at its four Vancouver-area stores, as well as elsewhere, because of a concern that it may be contaminated with E. coli.

The beef in question came from a Nebraska beef processing plant that had previously been subject to a nationwide recall but at the time Whole Foods had been assured that its beef had not come from that plant, the company said in a news release. After some confirmed cases of E. coli were linked back to the company, "those assurances are now in question," the release said."

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Friday, August 8, 2008

Should the Organic Center Admit Organic is Not More Nutritious?

"The Organic Center is described as a not for profit advocacy group by their supporters in the popular press, which makes them appear to be a bunch of good guys who are interested in promoting good health through organic food. The Organic Center, however, is supported by tax-deductible contributions mainly from organic food companies and their officers, and the main interest of those companies is shareholder profits (as it has to be in our capitalist society), not improved consumer health.

One of the prime messages from The Organic Center in recent years is that organic food is more nutritious, a claim not supported by scientific fact nor by the FDA, USDA, or the UK's Food Standards Agency. Last March, The Organic Center published a fifty-two-page report claiming that organic fruits and vegetables contained 25% more nutrients than conventionally-grown crops. This conclusion was based on their "rigorous methodology" which examined 236 paired comparisons between organic and conventional foods under identical or similar growing conditions. Although this number sounds impressive, Harold McGee of the New York Times wrote that because the report ranged across eleven nutrients and more than a dozen crops, it "hardly seems to justify" the report's conclusions.

I examined the report a bit more carefully and found numerous errors throughout. Correcting for these errors, I calculated in an ACSH report published in July that the 25% figure had no basis in fact and that there were essentially no differences in nutritional content between organically and conventionally grown crops (actually, conventional came out slightly better).

My report generated a response from The Organic Center's chief chemist, Charles Benbrook, and his colleagues (Preston Andrews, Neal Davies, Jaime Yanez, and Xin Zhao), critical of my analysis."

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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Review of Wildwood Foods Organic Probiotic Soymilk

It has been months since I wrote my last review, and organic news has been pretty slow in the past few days so review for today!

One of my new favorite products is Wildwood Foods' organic probiotic soymilk. I posted the press release here back in March. Flavors include pomegranate, blueberry and vanilla. I've tried all three flavors and I think I'm addicted to it, even though I'm not usually much of a soymilk drinker. They are sweet and tangy without being overpowering. There is a little bit of that cardboardy soy flavor I'm not very fond of, but it's not enough to stop me from enjoying it. Each drink is 10 ounces and free of dairy, cholesterol and saturated fat not to mention organic and low fat. I'd say to give it a try if you're looking for something nutritious and sweet tooth satisfying.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Urgent Recall Over Pesticides in "Organic" Ginger





BASKIN: Ginger is a common kitchen spice. Used in everything from stir fry to baking ginger cookies. Our lab tests revealed organic ginger from China was laced with a forbidden pesticide. As a result, food distributor Frontier Natural Products Coop, under its "Simply Organic" label is following Whole Foods lead and has ordered an "Urgent Recall." It affects more than two dozen other ginger products… including…Jamaican Seasoning… Pickling Spice…and Seafood Seasoning.
All carry the U.S.Department of Agriculture (web|news) 's Organic certification. Barbara Robinson heads the USDA's organic program."

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Develop Corn Mazes to Save Your Farm

"EVERETT, Wash. -- The next workshop in Washington State University Snohomish County Extension's Farmer-to- Farmer series will explore what's involved in developing a corn maze on the farm, including planning the design, development and maintenance.

The workshop will be held on Monday, Aug. 11, starting at 10 a.m. at Bob's Corn, 10917 Elliot Road, Snohomish. Self-taught corn-maze master Bob Ricci will explain how his family's annual corn maze is designed and built using just a few basic tools. He'll also discuss liability issues in bringing people on the farm as well as insurance, marketing and managing crowds.

While many corn mazes are created by specialty design companies, sometimes costing up to $10,000 to install each year, Ricci designs and creates his maze without computers or GPS systems. In the seventeen years since Ricci created his first one, the maze at Bob's Corn has become a major source of on-farm income for the entire Ricci family, helping them keep the farm intact and profitable."

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WSU Farm Walk at 21 Acres Agriculture and Environmental Learning Center

"WOODINVILLE, Wash. – Connect with farming in an urban environment by attending the next Farm Walk at the 21 Acres Agriculture and Environmental Learning Center on August 18.

Explore the farm at 21 Acres and see how the site is being utilized for research, experimentation and education, while producing a wide variety of fruits and vegetables for sale through local direct marketing avenues. Visitors will tour the sustainable farm and future site of the multi-purpose Agriculture Center, with a focus on urban farming, green technology, and building urban community support for agriculture. Participants will learn about the construction of the permanent farmers market, integration of animal husbandry into an urban setting, alternative pest management, and the on-site community gardens."

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Monday, August 4, 2008

Whole Foods Goes Back to School

" AUSTIN, TX, Aug 04, 2008 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX) -- As part of its "Be Good to Your Whole Body" campaign in its Whole Body departments, Whole Foods Market will focus on health and wellness for children of all ages during the months of August and September. In-store lectures and podcasts will offer suggestions for building the immune system, managing stress and options for kid-friendly body care to ensure an energetic kick off to the school year.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that nearly 22 million school days are lost annually due to the common cold alone(1). Strengthening the immune system and good nutrition are essential at this time of year when kids are headed back to the classroom."

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The Philippines to Align Its Organic Certification System with International Standards

"The Philippines has to align its organic certification system with the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movement (IFOAM) accreditation if it has to capture a growing market for health food in Europe, US, and Japan.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) – attached Bureau of Agriculture, Fisheries Product Standards (BAFPS) has been designated by Executive Order (EO) 481 to look after a standard for organic food in the Philippines.

BAFPS has accredited only one institution, the Organic Certification Center of the Philippines (OCCP), for this function. But OCCP is not recognized by international organic food certification systems.

This compels the Philippines to make its accreditation system compliant particularly with the ISO 65 which is recognized as a certification for safe organic food, according to Organic Producers and Trade Association (OPTA) Trustee Pablito M. Villegas.

"Our certification system is not fully in place. There’s an international task force on equivalence and harmonization of standards (with which we’re trying to work). If we have an internationally-recognized certification system, then we can export to Europe, US, Japan, and Korea," he said."

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Organic Farming Still Growing in China

"In recent years, Americans have been concerned about what's in Chinese products, including the food we eat and the toys we buy. In China, a small but growing number of people are worried about the same issues.

You can see one result of this growing concern at an organic farm about 15 miles south of the city of Chengdu, in China's southwestern Sichuan province. The farm is called Fruit Garden, Fragrant Pig.

Luo Yu is the farm's 37-year-old owner. Slim, with wire-frame glasses, he is an unlikely farmer.

He used to be a stockbroker earning several thousand U.S. dollars a month. But his job stressed him out. Then he heard about organic farming from Taiwanese friends. He read some books and was intrigued. He spent six months driving around China, looking at conventional farms."

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Sunday, August 3, 2008

Organic Dye Used for Bindi May Be Key to Skin Cancer Treatment

"Australian scientists say an organic compound used by Indian women to paint dots or bindi on their foreheads could hold the key to a breakthrough in cancer treatment. Rose Bengal was first used in the early 1900s as a dye for food, textiles and cosmetics. But now it is proving to be a useful weapon in the fight against skin cancer. From Sydney, Phil Mercer reports.

Television advertisements constantly warn of the dangers of overexposure to the fierce Antipodean sun. Among them is the possible contraction of the disease melanoma, a type of skin cancer characterized by a dark tumor that can spread through the body. More than 1,200 Australians die every year from the disease.

Initial trials of a solution of Rose Bengal injected into some melanoma cells have had a 75 percent success rate in controlling the disease."

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Friday, August 1, 2008

Review of A Spring without Bees: How Colony Collapse Disorder Has Endangered Our Food Supply

"Alert observers of current events may have noticed, half buried in the general melange of war/gas prices/ politics/ celeb gossip that passes for What’s Happening Now, some alarming news about bees cropping up in the past few seasons. They’re going missing. To anyone with a glancing familiarity with how ecosystems work, this is an upsetting prospect. Besides being iconic, bees play a crucial role in the agricultural process; without them, we can kiss a lot of food crops good-bye.

When a news broadcast touches upon the subject of the missing bees, it’s usually in mystified tones. Where, oh, where could the bees be? What’s causing this phenomenon? Woodstock author Michael Schacker offers some plausible answers—ones that a lot of Powers That Be probably don’t want to accept. To the extent that one accepts his theory—and his evidence seems compelling—this explains both Colony Collapse Disorder (as the bees’ vanishing act is officially called) and the media silence surrounding its roots.

Referencing the French experience with Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), Schacker implicates IMD, a relatively new pesticide and close cousin to DDT, manufactured in its most widespread form by Bayer. This revelation has a feeling of inevitability to it, like finding out that the murderer who drew the light sentence was the Congressman’s cousin. Though Schacker’s tone can sometimes get a little strident, any initial annoyance on the reader’s part is dissipated by the urgency of his message. By the time we get to the section titled “The Government Responds?” we are very much with him."

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Organic.. Tobacco?

"A Chilliwack man recently fined by Revenue Canada for failing to file proper information argues his penalty is as much about upsetting Ottawa's apple cart--or tobacco cart--as it is about paperwork.

Brian Downey was fined $4,000 in June for failing to file the proper documents on time with Revenue Canada for the years 2002 through 2005. However, the tax statements in question represent his dealings with a Fraser Valley co-op with which he is involved. The Canada U Grow Co-op is a group that tries to find organic, chemical-free food for its members but what's got the federal government concerned, in his eyes, is the group's effort to get people to grow organic tobacco, which would fall outside the tax formulas that governments impose on cigarettes. Downey says their point is not to encourage tobacco use, adding that going organic, home-grown actually makes it easier to butt out."

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