kiwis have many nutritional advantages, UC-Davis food
New research by Maria Amodio, Ph.D., and Adel Kader,
Ph.D., from the University of California Davis indicates
organically grown kiwis tested had significantly higher
levels of vitamin C and polyphenols, according to story
in Telegraph.com of the London Daily Telegraph.
The researchers said, "All the main mineral constituents
were more concentrated in the organic kiwi fruit, which
also had higher asorbic acid (vitamin C) and total polyphenol
content, resulting in higher antioxidant activity. It
is possible that conventional growing practices utilize
levels of pesticides that can result in a disruption
to phenolic metabolites in the plant that have a protective
role in plant defense mechanisms."
for organic nutrition benefits strengthened by EU studies
Three new European research projects have just revealed
that organic tomatoes, peaches and processed apples
all have higher nutritional quality than non-organic.
The studies were done in Britain, France and Poland.
The French study concluded that organic production
had "positive effects...on nutritional quality
and taste." Researchers at Warsaw Agriculture University
found organic tomatoes contained more vitamin C, beta-carotene
and flavonoids than conventional ones. They were lower,
however, in lycopene, which is another beneficial nutrient.
The same team found organic apple puree contained more
phenols, flavonoids and vitamin C than conventional
rice due to pesticides used on former cotton fields,
A team at Scotland’s Aberdeen University comparing
arsenic levels in US-produced rice found significant
The team examined 107 samples of American long-grain
rice grown in the US “south-central”' belt
(Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi) and 27 samples
from California. They found that the level of inorganic
arsenic in the south central rice was three- to five-times
higher than in the rice from California and other parts
of the world.
Arsenic is found naturally in soil, but the contamination
in the south-central belt relates to land where cotton
was once cultivated. Team leader of the study, Andy
Meharg, Ph.D., said: "Cotton production relied
heavily on arsenic pesticides. It left residues in the
soils which are still there and are being picked up
by the rice."
Organic dairy giant
commits to animal care standards
Horizon Organic recently published its "Standards
of Care," a comprehensive set of guidelines that
will govern how the company runs its company-owned farms.
A spokesperson for Horizon said the standards will eventually
extend to the family-farm suppliers, as well, but no
timetable has been set. Sara Unrue said also, “
We will expect our farms, both company-owned and family
farm partners, to meet the new USDA pasture rule when
they release it later this year.”
The document is said to encompass the full range of
cow life on the farms, including:
- Raising the company's own calves from certified
- Taking a holistic, preventive and natural approach
to animal care and welfare;
- Ensuring that cows graze on organic grass every
day during the active growing season (frost to frost)
and as many days as possible during the dormant season;
- Ensuring that cows are outside year-round to exercise,
socialize and interact with the land; and
- Managing pastures in a way that encourages the growth
of grass for grazing and improving biodiversity, while
conserving soil and water.
Soil Association deconstructs
report that pans organic benefits
The Soil Association issued a brief-but-emphatic rejoinder
to a recently highly publicized report issued by the
Manchester Business School (Foster, et al, 2006) stating
that organic farming had few, if any, public benefits.
The Soil Association wrote: “The report only
covered a couple of the environmental impacts of organic
farming, omitting many others. Most importantly, the
main conclusions on 'carbon emissions', eutrophication
and land use are largely based on a single study which
does not represent organic farming systems.”
“We believe the energy data is reliable but
has been mis-reported. Based on all the evidence available,
the Soil Association remains confident that organic
farming is better for tackling climate change and for
other environmental impacts.
Scientists still scrambling
for clues in massive honeybee die-offs
In a story in Speigel Online International, author
Gunther Latsch writes about the mysterious phenomenon
"Colony Collapse Disorder" (CCD) whose cause
has yet to be determined. He quotes Dennis vanEngelsdorp,
an apiarist with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture,
referring to the problem as a potential "AIDS for
the bee industry." Losses in the East Coast have
topped 70 percent, with reports of bee losses of 60
percent on the West Coast.
Hans-Hinrich Kaatz, Ph.D., whose earlier research with
high doses of the Bt material contained in GMO-corn
found impact on bees, would like to pursue investigation
of a possible link between the specialized corn and
insect impact, but lacks the funds. "Those who
have the money are not interested in this sort of research,"
says the University of Halle professor, "and those
who are interested don't have the money."
Sierra Club story, with citations
National organic farmer
co-op launches regional food campaign
Farmer co-op Organic Valley’s “Local from
the Ground Up” activities are intended to promote
the full range of benefits from supporting local and
regional organic food systems.
OV farmers from across the country will help lead the
effort, which includes a speakers’ bureau; regional
packaging, partnerships and web pages to facilitate
new partnerships; and public outreach events such as
“regional earth dinners.”
Public comment extended
for cloning issue
The federal Food and Drug Administration has extended
the public comment period to May 3 with regard to the
government’s risk assessment for animal cloning.
Detractors have pointed out that consumers do not trust
the technology and have criticized the decision to allow
these products in the marketplace without labeling.
Consumers can submit
comments to the FDA’s docket on cloning here.
(Docket # 2003N-0573 must be included in comments).