practices helpful in producing safe, leafy greens
It its June report, “Unfinished business: Preventing
E. Coli 0157 Outbreaks in Leafy Greens,“ The Organic
Center’s Dr. Chuck Benbrook zeroes in on practices
needed to keep leafy greens safe—in the field
and through the food chain.
The report reviews in detail the fall 2006 nationwide
outbreak of human infection from E. Coli that was traced
back to the Paicines Ranch. It gives the outbreak some
context in terms of other food-borne illness numbers,
looks at new steps to improve safety and decrease contamination
and examines in detail the possible—but still
unknown—causes for the bacterial contamination.
The report includes a sidebar, titled “Tilting
the Odds Against E. Coli 0157,” citing research
showing advantages in food safety using surface irrigation
and several biological benefits enhanced by using organic
Iowa State finds organic
ag would boost regional farm impact
A recent study shows that the potential regional economic
impact of organic crop production exceeds that of conventional
crop production, based on publicly funded incentives
for farmers to make the change to organic.
In work funded by Iowa State’s Leopold Center
for Sustainable Agriculture, findings show that operators
who choose organic methods will receive greater economic
returns than those who opt for conventional practices.
The study found that the economic impacts of the organic
alternative were substantially larger than the conventional
configuration, a significant observation for those engaged
in rural and regional economic development.
Specifically, organic rotation farming produced 52
percent more gross sales revenue, 110 percent more value-added
and 182 percent more labor income than from the same
1,000 acres farmed using conventional corn-soybean rotation
Bacteria in food “may
cause rise in superbugs”
Prepared and fresh foods could be contributing to the
global rise of antibiotic-resistant infections caused
by superbugs, an Ohio State University researcher said
at a recent scientific meeting in Canada.
Tests were carried out on a variety of ready-to-eat
food samples including seafood, meats, dairy, items
from delicatessens and fresh produce purchased from
several grocery chain stores. With the exception of
processed cheese and yogurt, bacteria carrying antibiotic
resistance genes were found in many foods.
Farmer John in theaters,
soil carbon sequestration in video
After wowing audiences at sustainable farming conferences
across North America in its DVD format during 2006—and
collecting some 30 film festival awards—“The
Real Dirt on Farmer John” opens a series of screenings
in theatres across the United States next week in New
The movie traces farmer John Peterson's journey from
farm boy to counter-culture rebel to the son who almost
lost the family farm to a beacon of today's booming
organic farming movement. Shot over a 25-year period,
the work shows how the Peterson family farm became Angelic
Organics in Caldeonia, Illinois, one of the largest
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms in the United
“Soil: The Secret Solution to Global Warming”
is an online video featuring Canadian farmer Percy Schmeiser,
and including comments from Dr. Paul Hepperly, training
and research director at The Rodale Institute. The movie
explains how public policy could favor kinds of farming
that would sequester significantly more carbon than
current methods, making agriculture a way to reduce
global warming contributions.
Certifier strips organic
certification from large California dairy
Long the subject of complaints for its alleged shortcomings
to comply with pasture requirements and other aspects
of federal organic regulations, the split conventional-organic
Vander Eyk Dairy has lost its organic certification.
This means it cannot sell milk into the organic market
unless the certification is restored.
The certification of the farm in Pixley (Tulare County),
a small town about halfway between Fresno and Bakersfield,
was suspended by its certifier, Quality Assurance International,
according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The
dairy farm has about 10,000 cows, with at least 3,500
of the animals under organic management.
Horizon Organic had earlier stopped buying milk from
Scientists say timing
of exposure critical for fetus
A multi-disciplinary group of scientists has called
for the need to shift the focus of toxicology and chemical
regulation from the centuries-old paradigm—"the
dose makes the poison"—to "the timing
of exposures makes the poison."
The Torhavn, Faroe Islands, conference was attended
by 200 biologists, toxicologists, epidemiologists, nutrition
researchers and pediatricians. They issued the Faroes
Statement, which highlights the extraordinary vulnerability
of the fetus, and the many ways that exposure to endocrine-disrupting
chemicals can alter normal developmental pathways, sometimes
with lifelong consequences.