kiwis have many nutritional advantages, UC-Davis food scientists
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."
Documentation 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
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 versions.
Arsenic-tainted rice due to
pesticides used on former cotton fields, study finds
A team at Scotland’s Aberdeen University comparing arsenic
levels in US-produced rice found significant regional differences.
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
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
The document is said to encompass the full range of cow life on
the farms, including:
- Raising the company's own calves from certified organic mothers;
- 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
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
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).