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 crop-management practices.
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
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
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 practices.
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
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 York City.
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 States.
“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
View or download
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 the farm.
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