why label GMOs?
Healthy food - Healthy people

With the internet at one's fingertips it's possible to find innumerable people who have all of the answers. The trick of course is in finding those few who understand the questions. The information here comes from people who I think have a better grasp of the questions than many others.
I hope you find something of interest or at least a question you've yet to ask.

The Definitive Guide to Conventional Wisdom according to Mark Sisson

Idaho 2014 Ag-Gag law struck down. Light at the end of the tunnel?

A US chief judge struck down Idaho's shiny new Ag-Gag law saying it violated the First Amendment and targeted industry critics.

"the effect of the statute will be to suppress speech by undercover investigators and whistleblowers concerning topics of great public importance: the safety of the public food supply, the safety of agricultural workers, the treatment and health of farm animals, and the impact of business activities on the environment."

Read the Takepart article.

EWG's Dirty Dozen Guide to Food Additives

The guide covers ingredients associated with serious health concerns, additives banned or restricted in other countries and other substances that shouldn't be in food. And it underscores the need for better government oversight of our food system. Dirty Dozen Guide to Food Additives

It Ain't Honey Ultra-filtering Removes Pollen, Hides Honey Origins

More than three-fourths of the honey sold in U.S. grocery stores isn't exactly what the bees produce, according to testing done exclusively for Food Safety News.
The results show that the pollen frequently has been filtered out of products labeled “honey” which would make the nectar flunk the quality standards set by most of the world's food safety agencies.
See the article in Food Safety News

Shoppers Spread Raw Poultry Juices at Store, Home

Researchers in a recent study found that few people used either the plastic bags intended to carry raw meat products nor(sic) the sanitizing solution intended to mitigate the spread of harmful bacteria when provided by stores. See the article in Food Safety News

'Vegetable' oils health promotion or health hazard

A large new Northwestern Medicine® study shows drastically different health effects of vitamin E depending on its form. The form of Vitamin E called gamma-tocopherol in the ubiquitous soybean, corn and canola oils is associated with decreased lung function in humans, the study reports. The other form of Vitamin E, alpha-tocopherol, which is found in olive and sunflower oils, does the opposite. It's associated with better lung function.

Everything is better with Butter says Unilever??

According to Antoine Bernard de Saint-Affrique, the head of Unilever's Food division “For the last 20 years or so, we have been too obsessed, overly obsessed on the fact that butter was opposed to margarine, I'm happy to say that this time is over and we have changed.”
In what Unilever executives describe as a fundamental turnaround, the consumer products giant is now selling a spread made with butter.
Lest you think that the corporate giant has had an epiphany consider that:

As the locus of health and nutrition concerns have shifted away from fat content and toward worry over processed foods, margarine sales have tanked. In the US, margarine consumption is at a 70 year low. Since 2000, sales are down by more than 30%. Meanwhile, butter consumption in the US hit a 40 year high in 2012. Sales are up by over 65% since 2000.

More madness or U.S. as USual

It seems that the USDA (Department of Agriculture) must be running out of steam or something. After decades of screwing the family farm in favour of damn nearly anybody else they're being shuffled aside for the organic battle. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration - ever wonder why they don't get to use the 'US') is going to lead a full frontal assault on organic farming. One has to wonder how the skills they developed kissing the asses of every pharmaceutical company on the block will be brought to this new front but I'm willing to bet that no good will come of it.
Meanwhile out in Idaho it seems that a while back one of those pinko journalists got pictures of some preverts doing their thing with the cows. Governor Butch knew just how to take care of that and now it's illegal (fines, jail if you don't get shot) to take pictures of preverts and their cows. Where's Colonel Bat Guano when they need him.
btw Same strokes for the folks in Iowa, Utah, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, and Kansas.

The Full-Fat Paradox: Whole Milk May Keep Us Lean

It seems that yet another long vilified foodstuff may be on the rise again. Two recent studies, one published in the Scandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care, the other in the European Journal of Nutrition conclude the consumption of whole-fat dairy is linked to reduced body fat. These follow on the heels of a British study of children published in the Archives Of Diseases in Childhood which concluded that low-fat milk was associated with more weight gain over time.
See the full story in NPRs the salt

Only Organic: A Short Message from the "False Advertising Industry"
A Short Message from the "False Advertising Industry" GMO's and God's Work
Monsanto Picking Up God's Slack
Monsanto - Picking Up God's Slack
Cheap chicken you get what you pay for

Consumers Union recently tested 316 samples of raw chicken breasts from Perdue, Pilgrim's, Sanderson Farms, Tyson, and other brands, and found potentially harmful bacteria in almost all of them. Does that mean you should swear off chicken? No, but it does mean that you need to handle chicken all chicken, all the time with caution, starting in the grocery store and ending with storing your leftovers. See the full article.

Coca-Cola's Assault on Tap Water Cap the Tap™ program

Capture Lost Revenue By Turning Off the Tap
Every time your business fills a cup or glass with tap water, it pours potential profits down the drain. The good news: Cap the Tap™ -a program available through your Coca-Cola representative- changes these dynamics by teaching crew members or wait staff suggestive selling techniques to convert requests for tap water into orders for revenue-generating beverages.
See more at: http://civileats.com/2013/11/13/coca-colas-assault-on-tap-water/

Washinington State GMO Labeling campaign- Organic Brands Hide Behind Lobby Group to Attack

We're used to seeing the usual bad boys (Bayer, Monsanto, DuPont and Dow) out front trying to keep consumers from knowing about thier GMO products. Also present and ponying up 2.2 of the 11,000,000 (yeah that's 11 million) campaign is the Grocery Manufacturers Association. You may not have heard of the front group but you know Naked Juice, Silk, Simply Orange, Kashi, and Larabar among others. They're the healthy ones fakes! See the players here.

Online Masters in Public Health

OMPH have created two good infographics. Milk matters needs no explanation but the other shows how we're breeding nutrition out of our food. I've reproduced these here because their website isn't always working.

Milk Matters nutrition

The Men Who Made Us Fat a three part BBC documentary on obesity
The Men Who Made Us Fat ''Episode 1/3'' The Men Who Made Us Fat ''Episode 2/3'' The Men Who Made Us Fat ''Episode 3/3''

View on BBC

Eggs Free Range, Free Run or FRAUD

Unfortunately the term 'free range' has no legal meaning so eggs in the supermarket labeled 'free range' or 'free run' might only be more expensive. This picture shows a 'porch' which allows the birds to have 'outdoor access' and entitles the producer to dig deeper into your wallet.
Even organic certification does not carry with it any guarantee that the chickens are not confined to battery cages. An egg carton from the Natural Food section of my local supermarket boasts that the eggs are from hens raised in behavioural enriched colony housing. Do you suppose the person who penned that has ever seen a chicken up close?
I'm lucky enough to get my eggs from a local farmer and I can say hello to the chickens (they don't answer) when I drive out there because they are wandering around in the yard and garden. I even get to talk to the person who's responsible for my food so I now know that they follow organic practices.
Check out these 10 chicken facts.

Did eating meat make us human?

A recent study led by Joseph Ferraro, Ph.D., assistant professor of anthropology at Baylor, offers new insight in this debate with a wealth of archaeological evidence from the two million-year-old site of Kanjera South (KJS), Kenya.

Considered in total, this study provides important early archaeological evidence for meat eating, hunting and scavenging behaviors -cornerstone adaptations that likely facilitated brain expansion in human evolution, movement of hominins out of Africa and into Eurasia, as well as important shifts in our social behavior, anatomy and physiology,

press release
Does this mean that we will revert if we stop eating meat?

Seven Things To Tell Your Friends About GMOs

There's a lot of opinion these days about genetically engineered foods - whether they're safe, if they should be labeled, and how they affect the environment - to name a few. To learn more about the links to health, environmental, and food security issues at the heart of the debate, Small Planet Institute's newest handy guide is a good place to start. Download the pdf

Vanishing Breed how much have we lost in crop diversity

food diversity lossAccording to National Geographic, 93 percent of the varieties that used to be available in America in 1903 are now extinct. Quite a scary thought when you think about it. It really shows how vegetable varieties have dwindled down to the mainstream choices you see at the supermarket.

Put the chicken before the egg

The Vancouver Humane Society has a fact filled website about the production of eggs in Canada. It's a bit strident in places but filter that out and get some good information on process and labelling that you'll want to think about before you crack that next egg. http://www.chickenout.ca/index.html

While looking for Ontario specific information I chanced on this statement on the Organic Pride Eggs site

"Even though the hens in cages enjoy a pleasant environment, some consumers want to buy eggs from hens enjoying greater freedom."

They apparently have a different definition of pleasant than most folks.

Dr. Suzanne Millman Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph

"The recommended space allowance for laying hens in some countries is 60-80 square inches per hen, barely enough for the hen to turn around and not enough for her to perform normal comfort behaviors; however, many hens are allowed less than even that meager amount."

(in Canada the requirement is 70 sq in)

The Cornucopia Institute has complied the Organic Egg Report and Scorecard which will do nothing to allay your growing cynicism

And speaking of pendulums the new Conventional Wisdom

On his blog Grass Based Health From forage production, through utilization, to human health, Peter Ballerstedt PhD posits (among other things) that the paleo/primal community is rapidly replacing the old discredited 'conventional wisdom' about health with an new equally flawed model. http://grassbasedhealth.blogspot.ca/2011/02/new-conventional-wisdom.html

Homo Sapiens (yeah, right)
fat volution

Primates diverged from other mammals about 85 million years ago in the Late Cretaceous period. This little crittur is thought (this week) to be the first placental mammal. Mother earth has been pretty good to us for all those millions of years but now we're so smart that we'll take it from here.
About 10.000 years ago we adopted agriculture and almost immediately got shorter, fatter, and sicker.
In 1977 in the US George McGovern's (D) Senate Select Committee ran out of money and time. After saying that "politicians didn't have the luxury of time to find the truth" they published the Dietary Goals for Americans. Fat became the demon and the spiral had begun.

Some of the low points in our recent dietary evolution:
US President Eisnhower's heart attack while in office moved the public health debate from the halls of academe to the popular press. The pithy quote soon usurped peer review.
Ancel Keys selective research was found wanting by the World Health Organization but made for dramatic headlines in Time.
The USDA starts promoting its food guide. There's just so many things wrong with a food guide coming from an agency which at best is designed to promote the sale of US agricultural products and has neither interest nor expertise in maintaining human health (and in reality is little more than a lobby group for big agribusiness). The Canadian food guide is published by Health Canada but if you try to find the basis for it you'll be hard pressed to tell if they did any research or just used that done by the various food producer organizations (and chocolate milk is recommended?).

How it all started

how it got started

The result of this Standard American Diet experiment.

the sorry result
Stone Age diet may hold key to optimum nutrition

Unilever R&D has - for the first time - brought together professionals from the fields of archaeology, anthropology, evolutionary genetics, food science and botany to recreate the diet of the caveman.
Using the latest techniques in biological sciences - such as human genomics, microbiomics, cell culturing and biochemical analysis - the work is exploring the complex relationship between our genetic make-up and the changes in our diet since the Stone Age.
Read the press release at http://www.unileverme.com/innovation/researchdiscoveries/Stoneagedietmayholdkeytooptimumnutrition/index.aspx
It remains to be seen just how Unilever will put this information to use.

Raw milk some lucky people can get it
From Grass to Glass

Here is a You Tube video courtesy of the McAfee family at Organic Pastures Dairy Company in the San Joaquin Valley of California. It shows how a small family run raw milk dairy does it.

Dr. Mercola Interviews Mark McAfee about Raw Milk

This is a particularly long interview but if you can spare 12 minutes the beginning has the most succinct explanation of how we came to be converting one of the best foods we have into a lifeless irritant for many people.

There is a light at the end of an albeit very long tunnel.

Real Milk has links to raw milk sources in the US and other countries but we're out of luck here as the nearest is at least two hours away.
A Campaign for Real Milk is a project of the Weston A. Price Foundation and has a lot of current information about many aspects of the crusade.

School Lunch Program
Ann Cooper - SCHOOL LUNCH'S - TED TALK - documentary, lecture, talk (health)

Ann Cooper, a California school food administrator speaks out about the National School Lunch Program. The program may be US but the message crosses the border.

What does Establishment 38 mean to you?

You've doubtless heard about the recalls of XL beef product and perhaps even about the complete shutdown of Establishment 38 due to E-Coli contamination. Recalls involving E-Coli are not unusual but the scale of this incident surpasses any other. According to CFIA "All products currently at this plant are under CFIA detention and control."
It used to be that such recalls were restricted to ground meat products but this is everything, tens of thousands of pounds of beef. Why the difference this time? Welcome to the new world of non-intact beef.
From The Center for Research & Knowledge Management in the Department of Research, Education & Innovation at the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (now that's a mouthful) http://beefresearch.org/CMDocs/BeefResearch/NonIntact_Final.pdf

Non-intact beef products include beef that has been injected/enhanced with solutions, mechanically tenderized by needling, cubing, or pounding devices, or reconstructed into formed entrees (e.g., beef that has been scored to incorporate a marinade, beef that has a solution of proteolytic enzymes applied to or injected into the cut of meat, or a formed and shaped product such as beef gyros). In addition, non-intact beef products include comminuted beef products that are chopped, ground, flaked, or minced (e.g., fresh veal sausage and fabricated beef steak).

Why are non-intact considered a greater health risk?
The primary concern involving non-intact beef is the introduction or translocation of surface pathogens, such as E. coliO157:H7, into the deep, internal tissues of the final product. In 1999, the United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA-FSIS) clarified that the public health risk for E. coliO157:H7 was not limited to ground beef, and it declared E. coliO157:H7 as an adulterant in all non-intact beef products.

Evidence of bacterial translocation has been studied through the works of Hajmeer et al. (2000), Heller et al. (2007), Luchansky et al. (2008), and Ray et al. (2010). As expected, these studies show that if the surface is contaminated, it is likely that the interior will be contaminated after needle tenderization, after needle-injection enhancement, and after needle-free-injection enhancement. Heller et al. (2007) even found evidence to show that surface bacteria internalization was greater for moisture-enhanced products than blade-tenderized products.

You'll doubtless be reassured by the statements of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food www.bit.ly/T1OJxA
If you've finished gagging then you'll perhaps join me in loudly calling out "BULLSHIT". This plant wasn't taken over by a band of ruthless brigands bent on our collective demise. It was and is being run by fine upstanding members of the community (well they really were sleazebags but who's counting) using processes which have been sanctioned over and over again by every government agency involved.
Minister Ritz said "Canadians can be assured that they are and will continue to be our first priority." That's cheap talk. Let's see some action to prove the words.

Update: It seems that the Minister mis-spoke. It was our Japanese customers who were the first priority. Beef destined for us could still be covered in shit. For the CTV take on the story http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/under-fire-ritz-denies-cfia-inspectors-ignored-meat-contamination-at-xl-foods-1.1059996

Food Inc

Last week I happened to catch most of a special length Passionate Eye on CBC. They were airing the 2008 documentary Food Inc about which they said on thier website (link has been lost)

In the Oscar-nominated Food, Inc., producer-director Robert Kenner and investigative authors Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation) and Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma) lift the veil on the U.S. food industry - an industry that has often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihoods of American farmers, the safety of workers and our own environment.

I'm not sure whether I was more angry or frightened after viewing it. I'm not even sure what else to say about it except that I'll be renewing my efforts to find sources for pasture raised animals and sustainably raised crops. The video is widely available for $12 - $15 and is a must see for anyone who eats.

Who to believe - the real dilemna for the lay person

The folks over at FORKS OVER KNIVES have got it all figured out and they've even got a movie by the same name to prove it.

"most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods"

"The major storyline in the film traces the personal journeys of a pair of pioneering yet under-appreciated researchers, Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn."

While the forks people are lamenting the lack of esteem in which Dr's Cambell and Esselstyn are held Denise Minger has written what she bills as "the longest movie review you'll ever attempt to read" in which she sets out to "shed light on the areas where the 'plant-based science' is a little, um, wilted". Be warned that Ms. Minger is a dedicated researcher and prolific writer so the 'longest movie review' is earned. http://rawfoodsos.com/2011/09/22/forks-over-knives-is-the-science-legit-a-review-and-critique/

And in the same vein:

Big fat lies:

The Eating Academy | Peter Attia, M.D.

How did we come to believe saturated fat and cholesterol are bad for us?
As Frederic Bastiat once said,

"We must admit that our opponents in this argument have a marked advantage over us. They need only a few words to set forth a half-truth; whereas, in order to show that it is a half-truth, we have to resort to long and arid dissertations."

The following presentation is quite long but well worth viewing. The limits of scientific evidence and the ethics of dietary guidelines -- 60 years of ambiguity

Dr. Peter Attia: The limits of scientific evidence and the ethics of dietary guidelines -- 60 years of ambiguity

There is a great deal of interest on this site including Dr. Attia's personal journey to nutritional ketosis. http://eatingacademy.com/why-i-decided-to-lose-weight. The article seems to have been abandoned but thanks to the WayBackMachine it can still be found here. I'm a little disconcerted by the amount of time that Dr. Attia spends exercising. Does excess in one area carry over??

Paleo - The Primal Blueprint

Following are seven links to Mark Sissons take on how to achieve lifelong health with the Primal Blueprint. Keep in mind that he's a paleo evangelist and has product to sell along with the vision.

Dr. Terry Wahls - Minding Your Mitochondria
Minding Your Mitochondria: Dr. Terry Wahls at TEDxIowaCity

Learn more about Dr Terry Wahls http://www.terrywahls.com/about-Terry-Wahls and her fight to defeat progressive multiple sclerosis without drugs.

The short and sweet version of Dr' Wahls dietary regime http://www.terrywahls.com/eating-the-wahls-way Dr. Wahls too has books to sell

The Weston A. Price Foundation

The Weston A. Price Foundation is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charity founded in 1999 to disseminate the research of nutrition pioneer Dr. Weston Price, whose studies of isolated nonindustrialized peoples established the parameters of human health and determined the optimum characteristics of human diets. Dr. Price's research demonstrated that humans achieve perfect physical form and perfect health generation after generation only when they consume nutrient-dense whole foods and the vital fat-soluble activators found exclusively in animal fats.

Wise Traditions London 2010 - Barry Groves

The main goal of the foundation is to improve our diet and in the process they have been duking it out with big agriculture in an effort to improve our options in food sourcing.
The London Conference appears to be their own show completely. No books but lots of videos for sale.

Dr Wheat Belly

Milwaukee heart doctor William Davis is convinced the single biggest threat to health in North America is wheat. Or at least the modern super-hybrid dwarf kind found in all manner of processed foods. Good Food Revolution has an interview with him here or you can look at his website http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/
He does have a book that he'd like you to buy along with his theory. I haven't seen the book but the interview and web site are a reasonable investment of time.

Who else has been playing with our food?

Corn in the US (and we follow right along behind them) has an amazingly high glycemic index. Our sweet corn hybrids score a 60 on the Glycemic Index. Compare that to Italian Ice cream; the really good stuff, vanilla flavoured. That ice cream only scores a 57. Our sweet corn is sweeter than some ice creams.
Do another comparison. Sweet corn from New Zealand only scores a 37. Their corn 37. Our corn 60. Like I said, they don't call it sweet corn for nothing.
One hint for eating sweet corn. Drench it in butter. When you have a food that has a high glycemic uptake and you balance that off it won't hit your system so harshly. So the butter will make the corn easier on your system. Never thought someone would tell you the butter is the good thing for you, did you? Excerpt from http://www.arcamax.com/recipes/zola/s-936690
For more (a LOT more) information on the GI Revised International Table of Glycemic Index (GI) and Glycemic Load (GL) Values 2008

Prenatal pesticide exposure tied to lower IQ in children

BERKELEY In a new study suggesting pesticides may be associated with the health and development of children, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley's School of Public Health have found that prenatal exposure to organophosphate pesticides widely used on food crops is related to lower intelligence scores at age 7. (read article)

US Meat and Poultry Is Widely Contaminated With Drug-Resistant Staph Bacteria

Drug-resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus, a bacteria linked to a wide range of human diseases, are present in meat and poultry from U.S. grocery stores at unexpectedly high rates, according to a nationwide study by the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen).
Nearly half of the meat and poultry samples -- 47 percent -- were contaminated with S. aureus, and more than half of those bacteria -- 52 percent -- were resistant to at least three classes of antibiotics, according to the study published April 15 in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. (read the article)

What's in a name??

The never ending battle to eat better and safer is being actively thwarted by some manufacturers. When you're reading the next label you come across remember that Aspartame is now called AminoSweet and High Fructose Corn Syrup is now called Corn Sugar.

Julia Child 100

Alfred P. Knopf has invited a cross section of people to participate in a celebration of Julia Child, to mark what would have been her 100th birthday. The select few (many?) are all publishing online and will be trying out a new JC recipe each week till the happy day in August. I mention it here because a few days after the selected people get the recipe it will be shared on the JC100 page on facebook http://www.facebook.com/JuliaChild?ref=ts so that we mere mortals may also join in the celebration (and perhaps be tempted to purchase a cookbook?).

2012/05/10 - UPDATED HEALTH HAZARD ALERT (E. coli)

Government cutting 100 food-safety inspectors The witless wonders at the helm in Ottawa seem determined to gut what few protections consumers have. This story is old news (a month old anyway) but put into perspective by these two postings on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency site. Food Safety Investigation - E. coli in certain ground beef products (no longer available) and List of Affected Products for Certain Ground Beef Products Produced at Establishments 761 and 530 (also no longer available)
Might just be time to dig out that old meat grinder and find a local farmer with a cow except of course the idiots in Toronto are trying to put a stop to that too.


The Organization for an International Geographical Indications Network - oriGIn - is a not-for-profit NGO based in Geneva. Established in 2003 in response to the increasing phenomenon of Geographical Indications (GIs) abuse, oriGIn represents today some 350 associations of producers from some 40 countries (including Canada's own Conseil des appellations réservées et des termes valorisants).

Pink Slime and Ammonia: Two Main Ingredients in Some Ground Beef

This was last year's story and to no one's surprise it's still happening. Basically a large American producer takes slaughterhouse scraps and "liquefies the trimmings and uses a spinning centrifuge to separate the sinews and fats from the meat, leaving a mash that has been described as 'pink slime,' which is then frozen into small squares and sold as a low-cost additive to hamburger". But when it was tested "the tests came back showing that the slime was rampant with harmful bacteria" so they treated it with ammonia! Yummy!
But it gets worse. Seems the ammonia made it taste funny (ya think??) so they started using weaker solutions which don't kill all of the nasties. Then the USDA allows them to call the ammonia a "processing ingredient" and exempted the slime from normal testing. TLC story or Google 'pink slime in meat' for 7 million other stories.
This just in - and I wish it were hard to believe
March 19, 2012 USDA Gives Schools the Option to Buy Beef Without "Pink Slime" only after 7 million pounds of the crap has already been purchased for school lunches this year alone. story
Now I'm sure that you'll all be pleased to know that MacDonalds is no longer using 'pink slime' as of February 2012 but the kicker is that they quit using it because they couldn't get enough to feed the whole world. Don't you just love corporate ethics? ABC story
These fillers are banned in the civilized world but just be careful the next time you pick up a package of ground beef. The CFIA is none too fussy about what it lets in the door and it seems that our supermarkets don't much care either.

UPDATE 2013/11/06: Cargill to label meat after 'pink slime' uproar. Can we say A DAY LATE AND A DOLLAR SHORT!!

The USDA is allowing meat to be “cleaned” with ammonia - and they're hiding it.

The typical fast-food burger is made with slaughterhouse trimmings, fatty cuts of beef typically reserved for pet food and cooking oil. What's more, these burgers contain pieces of hundreds, potentially even thousands, of different cows. This creates an environment where bacteria thrive, so to clean the meat, the USDA allows a company called Beef Products to pipe the raw beef through pipes and expose it to ammonia gas. Never mind that ammonia is a poison or that evidence suggests the process may not be fully effective. The USDA deems it safe enough, and it allows the meat to be sold without any indication that it received the gas treatment.
From Men's Health - 20 Scariest Food Facts

Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern

One of my indulgences is watching the mentioned show on the travel channel whenever I see that it's on or remember to record it Chef Zimmern will eat nearly anything, anything that is that his hosts in whatever country he's visiting are dishing up. He recently had a show focused on children and what they were eating around the world. He then brought back some of the examples to the International School of Minnesota for the children there to sample. They tucked into fried crickets (and devoured every last one), head cheese, trotters, chicken feet, and tongue prepared in blood. I suspect that they were more adventurous than their parents would have been.
One short segment from Argentina was enlightening. He introduced several children to peanut butter. While they all tried it the girls agreed that it was 'gross' while the boys seemed to think that anything brown and squishy had some redeeming value even if it wasn't taste.

The Milky Way in Ontario??

Imagine, milk with terroir. Two local dairy farms are about to revolutionize the way we think about that most basic of foods. Make history this summer. Walk into a food market in Creemore and pick up some fresh Jersey milk in a glass bottle from Miller's Dairy. Then drive past John and Marie Miller's farm on County Road 9 so you can say, "That's where my milk came from".
We can all be jealous now of the lucky folks near Kingston and up Collingwood way who have, or soon will, access to farm fresh milk (still not raw but that's another battle). The story appeared in the Food In The Hills magazine which has gone away or the farm web sites at http://www.sheldoncreekdairy.ca/ http://www.millersdairy.com/ http://www.limestonecreamery.ca/

Sustain Ontario - The Alliance for Healthy Food and Farming

Sustain Ontario is compiling lists of organizations, networks and resources related to healthy food and sustainable agriculture.http://sustainontario.com/
June's here and with it the opening of seasonal farmers markets everywhere! Finally, you can taste the spring weather and earth in the fresh produce delivered direct to your local neighbourhood. Farmers markets are one good food idea that keeps on growing. These four videos show how farmers markets are making a difference in communities across Ontario (but lamentably NOT in Chatham-Kent). http://sustainontario.com/category/growing-good-food-ideas/ggfi-videos

What would happen if I went for an entire month without eating any processed foods?

In October of 2009, Andrew Wilder was struck by a simple idea: What would happen if I went for an entire month without eating any processed foods?

Unprocessed food is any food that could be made by a person with reasonable skill in a home kitchen with whole-food ingredients.

So he tried it, along with a few good friends: A month of no processed foods.
It was revelatory.
In 2010, he decided to try it again, in a bigger way. He issued the challenge again and 415 people took the pledge.
It's grown each year since: In 2011 - 3000, 2012 - more than 6,000, and 2013 - than 15,500.
And this year he's back again.

Cute and possibly useful egg trick

If you've got lots of eggs to separate this might prove worthwhile. Unless you speak Chinese you might as well turn down the volume.

Sugar and you were worried about tooth decay!

Sugar-sweetened sodas, sports drinks and fruit drinks may be associated with about 180,000 deaths around the world each year, according to research presented at the American Heart Association's Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2013 Scientific Sessions. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130319202144.htm

Diet Dance so your new diet is going to melt away the fat and decorate the Christmas tree to boot - or not

Konstantin Monastyrsky, author of Fiber Menace offers a candid perspective on dieting.
Can you lose weight by dieting? Of course you can. Will it be effortless, miraculous, instantaneous, or rapid? Not in this lifetime.
The Real Reason Diets Fail and What You Can Do About It
How Long Will it Take to Lose the Weight?

Food Pyramid or pyramid scheme who benefits??
Dietary Guidlines and obesity

Data from: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). National Center for Health Statistics, Division of National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. Prevalence of Overweight, Obesity, and Extreme Obesity Among Adults: United States, Trends 1976-1980 Through 2007-2008.
There is hope however faint.
In December 2005 Dr. Annika Dahlqvist was reported by two dieticians in Sweden. They wrote to the National Swedish Board of Health and Welfare complaining of her 'divergent dietary advice' (High Fat Low Carb). That agency examined the issue and publicly declared on January 16, 2008 that a low-carb diet is

in accordance with science and well-tried experience for reducing obesity and Type 2 diabetes.

Less than three years later almost 25% of Swedes have adopted a HFLC diet.

An apple a day brings the mortician to the door??

It's not quite that bad. The apple is the most contaminated fruit you can buy but the Environmental Working Group still admonishes us to eat our fruits and vegetables while pointing out the items for which we might want to pay the premium for organic:

The health benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables outweigh the risks of pesticide exposure.

The Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ will help you determine which fruits and vegetables have the most pesticide residues and are the most important to buy organic. You can lower your pesticide intake substantially by avoiding the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables and eating the least contaminated produce.

The guide along with the list of the least contaminated vegies can be found at http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary/ or you can check out the full list at http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/list/

Megaquarry Cancelled sometimes they do listen

At 10 AM on Wednesday, November 21, 2012 The Highland Companies withdrew their application for environmental assessment of the proposed "Mega-Quarry" they hoped to dig out of the prime farmland in Melanchton Township, near Creemore, Ontario. Among the reasons the company gave was that "the application does not have sufficient support from the community and government to justify proceeding with the approval process." A brief history of the grass-roots movement that opposed the quarry, got the Ontario government to make the unprecedented move of requiring a quarry to go through a public environmental assessment, and then demonstrated how profoundly the people of the province did not want it, has been written by activist Jason Van Bruggen in The National Post, click here to read it.
It will be interesting to know what will become of that land holding as I doubt that a bunch of speculators want to start farming.

Update: I've since learned that those Boston bankers may have a little dirt under their fingernails. Since beginning this little escapade they've become one of the largest potato producers in Ontario. Do you suppose they'll discover that there's money to be made in organic??

Are you heading for the final Roundup

Researchers from the Universities if Caen and Verona have published a study about "Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize" which is apparently the first long term study yet undertaken (previous studies were limited to 90 days).

The health effects of a Roundup-tolerant genetically modified maize (from 11% in the diet), cultivated with or without Roundup, and Roundup alone (from 0.1 ppb in water), were studied 2 years in rats. In females, all treated groups died 2-3 times more than controls, and more rapidly. This difference was visible in 3 male groups fed GMOs. All results were hormone and sex dependent, and the pathological profiles were comparable.

The original publication and a number of dissenting opinions can be found at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0278691512005637 After cursory inspection of the dissenting views it seems to me that the only item not in dispute is the fact that this is the first long term test. I suppose it's just naive of me to wonder why a product that's been in the works since the early 1970's has never before been tested to this extent. If drug companies were held to the same strict standards as the chemical behemoths then all we'd ask is that the pills fit in the bottle.

Crops which are currently Roundup Ready® include corn, soybeans, canola, cotton, sugarbeets, and alfalfa.

2013/11/29 The publisher has withdrawn this paper after a year long investigation found it did not meet scientific standards. Reed Elsevier's Food and Chemical Toxicology journal, which published the study by the French researcher Gilles-Eric Seralini in September 2012, said on Thursday the retraction was because the study's small sample size meant no definitive conclusions could be reached. They failed to note that the article was withdrawn only after a Monsanto employee was appointed to the newly minted position of editor for biotechnology. A letter from the researchers appears here
The authors of the report have been snowed under by an avalanche of paper questioning their integrity, academic credibility, and their personal hygiene (I made that up). My point is that of all of the brilliant people who chose to condemn them not one offered to prove them wrong. Any researcher who could prove that Roundup really is God's gift to the world would have Monsanto funding up the wazoo for the rest of eternity.
Just sayin . . .
2014/06/24 Four journals offered to republish the paper and Environmental Sciences Europe was selected.
2017/08/10 An article with lots of comments in Retraction Watch shows a lot of grey areas on both sides.

Roundup: Quick Death for Weeds, Slow and Painful Death for You

Roundup, Roundup everywhere. Most homeowners use it without a second thought. Many schools even use it, blithely spraying around planting beds and sidewalks where children walk and play, tracking its residues into classrooms, cars, homes and little bodies. article with florid prose and the report as published in Entropy Volume 15, Issue 4 longer, really technical, same bottom line. The stuff's going to kill us.

Have you ever wondered whether the money you spend ends up funding causes you oppose?

Buycott is a tool that lets you organize your consumer spending to help causes that you care for, and to oppose those that you don't. Scan a barcode with the Buycott app and it will try to determine what the product is and who owns it. Buycott will then trace the product's ownership back to its top parent company and cross-check this company against the campaigns that you've joined before telling you whether it found a conflict. web site

Not Just Bad for Hormones: How Soy Harms Digestion and Stresses the Pancreas

So you got the memo that soy is very bad for the hormonal system. But did you know that back in the 1970s and 1980s, researchers studying damage to the pancreas caused by protease inhibitors noted that pancreatic cancer had then moved up to fifth place, and suggested a soybean-protease inhibitor connection. Since then pancreatic cancer promoted itself to the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths of men and women in the United States, and is predicted to move into second place by 2020. full story

Cicadas as Food: Summer's Low-Fat Snack?

High-protein, low-carb dieters take note: The billions of cicadas emerging from the ground this month are a healthy alternative to that bacon double-cheeseburger without the bun. Magicicada Brood II will emerge along the US Eastern Seaboard. This map shows the area of expected emergence.
More info on the insect.
National Geographic article on the 2007 emergence.

8 Food Fakes Sniffing Out Food Fraud

The U.S. has one of the safest food supplies in the world. But that doesn't mean it's perfect. In fact, shoppers here are just as likely as shoppers anywhere in the world to succumb to the growing problem of food fraud, cases of unscrupulous food producers adding cheaper ingredients to a product, for instance, cheaper oils rather than olive oil, but advertising it as the real thing. "Food fraud attempts to cheat the market by selling a substandard product and trying to get away with it," says Markus Lipp, senior director of food standards at U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP), which recently launched an online database of independently documented food fraud instances.

Organic Strawberries safer and better tasting to boot

It's hard to find fault with the latest field trials by Washington State University showing that organically grown strawberries are more nutritious than their chemically grown counterparts. The study also shows that the soil in which the organic strawberries were grown is healthier. article

And to reiterate the reasons for buying organic in the first place (nine known or probable carcinogens, 24 suspected hormone disrupters, 11 neurotoxins, 12 developmental or reproductive toxins, and 19 honeybee toxins). EWG article

Following a Western Style Diet May Lead to Greater Risk of Premature Death some people still seem to be surprised by this

A group has examined whether diet, assessed in midlife, using dietary patterns and adherence to the Alternative Healthy Eating Index (AHEI), is associated with aging phenotypes, identified after a mean 16-year follow-up. press release
It's curious that they are re-examining data from the British Whitehall II cohort study which focused on the social determinants of health, specifically the cardiorespiratory disease prevalence and mortality rates among British civil servants. Sadly the (AHEI) which they tout as our path to salvation looks little different than all of the other food guidelines which certainly have led us down a path.

BPA is it finally on it's way out?

California just officially declared the canned food chemical bisphenol A, or BPA, what it is: toxic. The state announced its has included BPA on its Prop. 65 list, a collection of compounds that by state law must be labeled due to their known carcinogenic and/or reproductive damage properties. <Rodale article>
Unfortunately the replacement may be as bad or even worse (but who knows because of course it hasn't been tested before use either). Scientific American article

Communicating the Science of the '6x°C Egg'

Delivering a keynote address at the 245th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society César Vega, Ph.D., explained why cooking ranks as an ideal way of fostering broader awareness about science.

"Cooking is chemistry, and the kitchen is a laboratory, cooking and food are the single most direct and obvious personal experiences that people have with chemistry. Food is personal. Food is fun! Seemingly simple foods like cookies, fondue and eggs help illustrate key scientific principles. Why are some cookies chewy and others crunchy -- or even better, both at the same time? Why do egg whites whip better if we add cream of tartar? Why does Gruyère cheese make the perfect fondue? The sights, the smells, the textures of food can help people remember the science."

Read the rest of the article to discover why a lot of the hype around the perfect '6x°C egg' is bad science and worse cookery.

The vegan's dilemma

Those among us who take up the vegetarian/vegan existence for ethical reasons may have to do some soul searching following this latest round of research. Scientists at Rice University and the University of California at Davis have been investigating the circadian rhythms of plants and report in part:

Vegetables and fruits don't die the moment they are harvested . . . they respond to their environment for days

? I'm at a loss for words

Poor food and worse lifestyle choices have us in an obesity epidemic and heading for the cliff. Pizza Hut has added a couple more nails to the coffin. This quote is taken from a recent review (my emphasis):

Now Pizza Hut has taken the ordering process to the next level - an app you download and run on Microsoft's Xbox 360 system. What could be better after a few hours of gaming or movie watching than to jump over to a simple app, place our order, and get up only when the doorbell rings?

If you're keen to reserve your place on the leading edge of whatever this is then I suggest you look into it but I'm going to refrain from further assistance

Food Waste Challenge ~ Together we can make a difference!

Approximately $47 billion worth of food available for sale at grocery stores and other retail outlets in the US in 2008 did not make it into consumers' shopping carts.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), in collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), launched the U.S. Food Waste Challenge, inviting producer groups, processors, manufacturers, retailers, communities, and other government agencies to join in their efforts to:

I suspect that they ought to get food educators and entertainers on board first so that they can stop delivering the "if it ain't perfect then throw it out" message that pervades the industry.
To add insult to injury the USDA also calculates that $2 billion of US taxpayer money is spent trucking 35 million tons (that's the lowest of several estimates I found)of food waste to landfills.

COOL Country of Origin Label

A survey by the Consumer Federation of America shows 90 percent of Americans are in favor of requiring companies to list the origin of the fresh meat they sell on the label. It seems that the current administration (not the idiots in Congress or Senate) is either willing to listen to the general public or (more likely) has an agenda which happens to coincide with popular opinion.
Here in Canada the government doesn't give a rat's ass what we think (they've never asked) so instead of giving us some decent COOL regulations they've devoted all of their efforts (and a boatload of our tax dollars) to whining about the American regulations
I'll drive across town to Sobey's because they advertize (some of) their meat to be Canadian and my regular store (RCSS) tells me source of the meat on the counter is a crapshoot. Thanks Galen but no thanks

"Local Food" the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is busy protecting us

The CFIA is abandoning it's definition of local (within 50km or in the local government unit) "with input from consumers, industry and other stakeholders"

The CFIA is adopting an interim policy which recognizes "local" as:

  • food produced in the province or territory in which it is sold, or
  • food sold across provincial borders within 50 km of the originating province or territory

all the rest of the excuses
Just who's paying these birds anyway?.

Chinese Chicken? but don't worry it's just for food service (like hospitals)

The US Department of Agriculture gave four chicken plants in China the go-ahead to send processed meat products to the United States, possibly opening the way for China to eventually send its own bred chicken to the US market.
The USDA's approval will allow the plants to export only products from chickens raised and slaughtered in the US and Canada to be shipped back to the US for sale.
The full story in ChinaDaily.

APPETITE FOR CHANGE? Nutrition and the nation's obesity crisis

Lest anyone think that North America has a lock on industrial food related health issues this report from the UK.

In two decades levels of obesity have grown from one in seven adults to one in four. Fat is the new normal with 61% of the population either overweight or obese. And the problem only seems to be getting worse with experts predicting that by 2050 more than half of all adults will be obese.

Get the executive summary.

The Story of Bottled Water

Comment by me would be superfluous.

Rural America in Crisis a shortage of cannon fodder?

In a recent conflab of who's who in agriculture in Virginia U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack stated that in 2012, for the first time ever — rural America lost population in real numbers — not as a percentage but in real numbers. It's down to 16 percent of total population.
This is of course a major concern though not for the reasons that might first come to mind. It seems that though rural America only has 16 percent of the population, it gives 40 percent of the personnel to the military. Well, well, well! It seems that decades of screwing the family farm has finally come back to bite them in the ass.
Joel Salatin was there and has said it much more eloquently than I can.

Commonly used flame retardants can mimic estrogen hormones

By determining the three-dimensional structure of proteins at the atomic level, researchers at the National Institutes of Health have discovered how some commonly used flame retardants, called brominated flame retardants (BFRs), can mimic estrogen hormones and possibly disrupt the body's endocrine system. BFRs are chemicals added or applied to materials to slow or prevent the start or growth of fire.
news release

Another soft drink? better not

When mice ate a diet of 25 percent extra sugar – the mouse equivalent of a healthy human diet plus three cans of soda daily – females died at twice the normal rate and males were a quarter less likely to hold territory and reproduce, according to a toxicity test developed at the University of Utah.

TEDx has gone to the dark side

It seems that TEDx has taken a page from the Roman Inquisition (the papal court that sentenced Galileo Galilei to life in prison for daring the suggest that the earth revolved around the sun) and has instructed all of its organizers to eschew any speaker whose topic "Has failed to convince many mainstream scientists of its truth" among other things. Lest you think I exaggerate they have published their retrograde standards for all to see at http://blog.tedx.com/post/37405280671/a-letter-to-the-tedx-community-on-tedx-and-bad-science.
That's a damn shame as I always looked to them for stimulating ideas even if the presenters were dead wrong (imho).

The Perfect Pizza at least as far as the US militery is concerned

They call it the holy grail of ready-to-eat meals for soldiers: a pizza that can stay on the shelf for up to three years and still remain good to eat. Scientists tweaked the acidity of the sauce, cheese and dough to make it harder for oxygen and bacteria to thrive. They also added iron filings to the package to absorb any air remaining in the pouch.
As RR would say, "yum". See the whole article.

Food TV maybe it'll be about food again

Are you, like me, tired of all of the wars, throat cutting and chopping being done on the Food Network these days then GustoTV may be a ray of hope. Founder Chris Knight who has produced food-based television shows for big television networks for well over a decade promises "all the kinds of shows that made Food Network popular in the first place"

Post makes it two

Post sent a letter to GMO Inside, a campaign run by the green-business group Green America, announcing that as of January 2014, its Grape-Nuts cereal would be made without GMOs. Unlike General Mills the company also hinted that other Post brand cereals would be made without GMOs in the future but didn't list specific brands.

Alarum! Alarum!, the end may be nigh General Mills - GMO free??

General Mills announced on January 2 that they would start making original Cheerios without genetically modified (GMO) ingredients.
This from a company that spent millions of dollars to defeat GMO labeling laws in California and Washington state!!
Now before you start thinking that the earth reversed its spin or something it's important to note that "It's the unique and simple nature of original Cheerios that made this possible" as it only contained a small quantity of cornstarch and beet root sugar (virtually all corn and sugar beets in North America are GM) so sourcing clean ingredients was not an onerous task. Before you rush out to stock up note that this only affects the original recipe, the sundry variations are not yet safe.
As a major player in the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), a trade group representing large food corporations they have helpfully written their own version of a GMO labelling law which would also allow the "GMO-free" label on foods that contain GMOs due to "unavoidable contamination" as well as on dairy products from cattle fed GMO corn and soy and on foods like cheese that have been produced with genetically engineered enzymes. They're currently shopping for some witless wonder in the US Congress to be the shill.

MacDonalds gives up on pink slime North America gets slime free patties just like the rest of the world

Hamburger chef Jamie Oliver has won his long-fought battle against one of the largest fast food chains in the world – McDonalds. After Oliver showed how McDonald's hamburgers are made, the franchise finally announced that it will change its recipe, and yet there was barely a peep about this in the mainstream, corporate media (are we surprised?). The story

Ontario Court confirms we don't have the right to choose what we eat

In upholding a 2011 conviction against Michael Schmidt the Ontario Court of Appeal said “Lifestyle choices as to food or substances to be consumed do not attract Charter protection.”.
It would be interesting (at the very least) to know how many millions have been drained from the public purse since 1994 when the Grey-Bruce Health Unit recommenced it's campaign against Mr Schmidt.
It's difficult to understand public healths vitriolic campaign against raw milk. Only in Canada and Australia is there a nationwide ban on the sale (not consumption or they would have to make dairy farmers quit drinking it) of raw milk. If the stuff was as dangerous as public health officials would have you believe then there would be extensive data to support their claims. If the proof exists they aren't trotting it out.
I don't think I'd want to consume the product of our milk factories were it not pasteurized but the day raw milk is legal (or just available here) I'll be at the front of the line.

Food packaging chemicals may be harmful to human health over long term

Supermarket. The synthetic chemicals used in the packaging, storage, and processing of foodstuffs might be harmful to human health over the long term, warn environmental scientists. This is because most of these substances are not inert and can leach into the foods we eat, they say.

A Moveable Feast: The Bowery Project is an instant prefab demountable urban farm

Bowery Project is a not-for-profit organization with a mission to create opportunities for urban agriculture through the temporary use of vacant lots. They design, build and manage mobile urban farms in downtown Toronto growing food for local chefs and charities while engaging the community through fun, creative and educational programming.
For more info http://www.boweryproject.ca/

USDA needs machine guns cows in raw milk dairies seen packing heat

"The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General, located in Washington, DC, pursuant to the authority of FAR Part 13, has a requirement for the commerical acquisition of submachine guns, .40 Cal. S&W, ambidextrous safety, semi-automatic or 2 shot burts trigger group, Tritium night sights for front and rear, rails for attachment of flashlight (front under fore grip) and scope (top rear), stock-collapsilbe or folding, magazine - 30 rd. capacity, sling, light weight, and oversized trigger guard for gloved operation."
I promise I didn't make it up (nor did I change the atrocious spelling). https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=9fc3a01217d03b0354e1e18b69aa7bad&tab=core&_cview=0

Machine guns are for killing people. If the USDA is training its agents to kill people then you've just got to wonder who's in their sights.

Sugar the elephant in the kitchen

Support for reduction of sugar consumption is coming from some unlikely places. A report issued by Credit Suisse Research Institute draws this conclusion

With few exceptions, regulators and health officials around the world have done little to address the impact of excess sugar consumption. We believe higher taxation on “sugary” food and drinks would be the best option to reduce sugar intake and help fund the fast-growing healthcare costs associated with diabetes type II and obesity. However, lobbying in this area has been fierce and has watered down or stopped major initiatives.

Meanwhile the research giants at the Canadian Taxpayers Federation report that "Most research shows sugar is as safe as spring water". The maundering of one of their finest can be found in a Financial Post article.

CFIA strikes again

The ongoing charade orchestrated by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency in which they killed a herd of healthy sheep just to prove they could has taken another twist. It seems that as word of their misdeeds began to leak out prior to the preliminary inquest they convinced the judge in the case to order a publication ban to spare themselves further embarrassment. No word yet on the Canadian media fighting the ban but the wimps at the National Post have expunged any reference to the case rather than explaining the ban. Fortunately coverage will continue online at http://thecompletepatient.com/article/2015/march/3/read-all-about-it-news-blackout-sheep-napping-case and https://thebovine.wordpress.com/2015/03/02/diseased-sheep-may-have-been-from-u-s-rather-than-montanas-herd/.
Donations to Canadian Constitutional Foundation which is mounting the defense can be made at http://theccf.ca/donate/form

Caramel Colour Time to ditch it?

According to DDW, a major producer of the additive,

Caramel colour is a naturally derived colourant that results from the process of caramelization, or the carefully controlled heating of carbohydrates.

Sounds like the yummy concoction that you can make at home. Did I mention the ammonia? Well the folks at Consumer Reports don't think it's safe and are saying so to whomever will listen (this of course does not include many regulatory agencies).
The focus here is on soft drinks but caramel colour is one of the oldest and most widely used food colorings. It's featured prominently in cheap knock-offs of everything from balsamic vinegar to soy sauce. There's enough in most products that it appears on the list of ingredient so, as always, read and heed.

In the 'did the earth move category'

For two generations the US government has told Americans (and by example the rest of the 'civilized' world) to eat fewer eggs and other animal products because fat and cholesterol were bad for their health. Last fall the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee of the National Institutes of Health decided to abandon the low fat diet. Now that the report has been released it seems they also decided that there was "no appreciable relationship" between dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol.
So now, if they've discovered that they have orchestrated the most disastrous social/medical experiment on record, can we expect that all current recommendations will be reviewed to ensure that they're based on solid science? Have pigs learned to fly?
The committee's new report advises eliminating "lean meat" from the list of recommended healthy foods, as well as cutting back on red and processed meats.

Is Ontario leading the way on neonicotinoids?

Not only are neonicotinoids the prime suspect in bee deaths all over North America but it seems likely that they are just another money grab by the usual suspects. The US EPA (an agency which is usually well behind the curve) has decided that "these seed treatments provide little or no overall benefits to soybean production in most situations" EPA Notice and Cornucopia article

Farms can be held liable for pollution from manure

In a long overdue decision a U.S. federal court has ruled for the first time that manure from livestock facilities can be regulated as solid waste. Pollution is pollution and it should not matter whether the factory producing the pollution is making plastic or piggies. Look for this to end up in the US Supreme Court about 27 years from now by which time it will no longer matter. See The Huffington Post article.

Olive Oil Crisis get ready for higher prices this year as the stock of 2013 extra virgin olive oil runs out

Poor weather (too hot, too wet), insect infestations and disease are blamed in most reports. Spain and Italy make up roughly 70% of world olive oil production and it's estimated that they have lost more than half and more than a third of their crops respectively. Hardest hit are small scale, boutique producers who grow their own fruit. Many have cancelled all production this year.

Gluten Sensitivity Doesn't Exist so says the Business Insider

That's the truth according to one Jennifer Walsh who's witless prattling can be found on the 'science' pages of the aforementioned publication. A brilliant researcher extensively tested 37 self-identified gluten-sensitive patients, discovered that they were not gluten intolerant, and of course concluded that gluten sesitivity is just a fad??? Who do you suppose picked up the tab for that piece of work and the article?
Gives me a warm fuzzy feeling to know that we can depend on rigorous research and insightful reporting.

We Lie About What We Eat, And It's Messing Up Science

Quelle surprise!! A paper published in the International Journal of Obesity has named the elephant in the room.

"[The data] are so poor as measures of actual [energy intake] and [physical activity energy expenditure] that they no longer have a justifiable place in scientific research."

Long overdue given the amount of bad science based on worse data that we've been subjected to over the past several decades. See the article.

Monsanto Mommies the next threat to the food chain

On the heels of this years BlogHer Conference Monsanto paid selected bloggers $150 each to attend “an intimate and interactive panel” with “two female farmers and a team from Monsanto”. The strictly invitation-only three-hour brunch, promised bloggers a chance to learn about “where your food comes from”.
Not to say that all of BlogHer is suspect but . . .
And Monsanto's money has borne fruit. Alyson is singing from the Monsanto songbook to mixed reviews.

Behind the Brands Oxfam's GROW campaign

Oxfam's Behind the Brands campaign aims to provide people who buy and enjoy these products with the information they need to hold the Big 10 to account for what happens in their supply chains. In putting together a scorecard (unfortunately no longer active) based entirely on publicly available information on company policies, we posed the question “what are they doing to clean up their supply chains”?
(Who owns what you eat)
(Sorry about the tiny graphic but I can't find the full size version)

The Real Reason Wheat is Toxic (it's not the gluten)

That's the title of Sarah Pope's (aka The Healthy Home Economist) current rant. In it she claims

Standard, recommended wheat harvest protocol in the United States is to drench the wheat fields with Roundup several days before the combine harvesters work through the fields as withered, dead wheat plants are less taxing on the farm equipment and easier to harvest than live ones

It piqued my interest primarily because I didn't think that wheat had been perverted by Monsanto. Turns out that it hasn't (actually it has been but they aren't peddling it yet). It seems that ripe wheat is too hard to harvest so the alternative is to let the wheat dry (with subsequent losses in volume and quality) or kill the plant. Journal of Seed Science article. Lest we think that this is an American phenomena the cited study is Brazilian and Herbicide Options to Enhance Harvesting FAQ comes from the Government of Saskatchewan (check the other crops approved for this process).
Now Sarah thinks that this is the only problem with wheat. Not sure that I'm willing to go there but I'm real sure that I don't want glyphosate in my toast.

Rate Your Plate Just what are you eating

The Environmental Working Group has created a massive database of consumer food items which should allow Americans to clean up their plates. As the results are brand specific the rest of us can just wish we had a similar resource.

Label reading taken to the next level

Kristen Michaelis aka Food Renegade takes reading labels to the next level, decoding labels, as she dissects Beyond Meat Southwest Chicken Free Strips which are purported by the manufacturer to be "Free of gluten, GMOs, & antibiotics. Cholesterol-free. Real Meat made from 100% Plant Protein. As much protein as chicken."
Real Meat made from 100% Plant Protein???? http://www.foodrenegade.com/decoding-labels-beyond-meat-chicken

Birra Spalmabile from Italy and Black Burgers in Japan

I think this is in the 'truth is stranger than fiction' department.

Chickens have gotten ridiculously large since the 1950s

Chickens, then and now
(Zuidhof, MJ, et al. 2014 Poultry Science 93 :1–13) or read the Vox article

Free Choice of Food an insightful dissertation

Dr. Amanda Rose gave this presntation at TEDxLAMiracleMile. It's focus was raw milk but the principle embraces pretty much everything we do.

New Discovery About What's Killing Honey Bees or is it what we already knew?

As many of you are aware for several years now the earth has experienced an unprecedented loss of honeybees to a condition known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). A recently published study on the subject provides further evidence that the widespread use of neonicotinoids, a class of insecticides, is harming the bees, causing them to desert their hives during winter months. Without the protection of their hives, the bees die.

These Countries Waste Enough Food to Feed the Planet

Richer countries like the U.S. and U.K. are the worst culprits, chucking away 222 million metric tons of food daily, which is almost as much as the entire net food production for the whole of sub-Saharan Africa. Whole sad story

Organic or not? Clear differences between organic and non-organic food

An international team, led by Prof Carlo Leifert at Newcastle University, concludes that there are "statistically significant, meaningful" differences, with a range of antioxidants being "substantially higher" – between 19% and 69% – in organic food. The whole story.
Of course only two years ago Dena Bravata, MD, MS of Stanford said:

“There isn't much difference between organic and conventional foods, if you're an adult and making a decision based solely on your health,”

Are we all on the same planet? See confused above.

Improvest balm for little piggies or bane of consumers of pork?

The pork industry in North America has a new (2011) tool to make cheaper pork. Improvest is a vaccine to prevent male hormone creation in male pigs. The short story is that Improvest tricks the pigs immune system into shutting down the signals that would produce androstenone and skatole and effectively neuter the animal. (The long story can be found here.)
There's no need to worry of course because this is all on the up and up, approved by those same great minds who approved feeding dead cows to cows and told us that there would be no downside to feeding boatloads of anti-biotics to meat animals (MRSA, cDiff, and other superbugs).

The bugs are in the news again-

A new study says the DNA from antibiotic-resistant bacteria found in American cattle yards has become airborne,
And then in Saskatchewan, a superbug in the squid

CRISPR Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats

This technology enables precise editing of a gene sequence at any desired location. Sounds pretty scary though it did allow Salk Institute scientists to remove HIV from infected cells
Now UC San Diego scientists have supercharged CRISPR, enabling an engineered gene to spread on its own throughout an organism.
Global search and replace in the gene pool. What could possibly go wrong with that!

Glyphosate (Roundup) WHO says it's probably carcinogenic to humans

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) announced its assessment of glyphosate after convening a meeting this month of 17 cancer experts from 11 countries. They looked at the available scientific evidence on five different pesticides, including glyphosate, to determine whether to classify them as carcinogens. Carcinogens are substances that can lead to cancer under certain levels of exposure. Link to Lancet article
Monsanto objected saying in part "We don't know how IARC could reach a conclusion that is such a dramatic departure from the conclusion reached by all regulatory agencies around the globe". The squeaky wheels at WHO must be harder to grease than those other tame regulatory agencies. In the meantime Roundup is the prime suspect in a chronic kidney disease that has killed tens of thousands of farm workers in tropical climes. Article in theguardian

Pesticides in fruit and vegetables linked to semen quality.

The first study to investigate the relationship between eating fruit and vegetables containing pesticide residues and the quality of men's semen has shown a link with lower sperm counts and percentages of normally-formed sperm.
The full report from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health can be found in the Oxford Journal Human Reproduction and the concise Science Daily version.

RoundUp one less application

I mentioned a while ago that RoundUp was approved for use on several non RoundUp Ready crops to kill the plants to make harvesting easier and controlled. Seems that's not working out as well as Monsanto would like. Grain Millers, a major oat buyer in Western Canada, announced on 20 April 2015 that it will no longer purchase oats if the crop has been desiccated with glyphosate. They explained that the decision was:

“driven by functional performance attributes of finished products manufactured from oats known to have been treated with glyphosate and by customer demand.
When mills cut, flake or roll the groat, it is chalky, it's brittle, it breaks apart and the finished product doesn't make spec, in terms of granulation or absorption,"

Article in The Western Producer

Lab rats what good are the tests when the 'control' group is being poisoned

Scientists regularly use rats in tests designed to determine just how good (or bad) something will be for us. To do so they have a subject group(s) and a control group. The control group is fed a standard diet of commercially available rat chow. A recent French study found that 13 laboratory rodent diets from 5 continents contain toxic levels of environmental contaminants.

The sum of the hazard quotients of the pollutants in the diets (an estimator of risk with a threshold of 1) varied from 15.8 to 40.5. Thus the chronic consumption of these diets can be considered at risk. Efforts toward safer diets will improve the reliability of toxicity tests in biomedical research and regulatory toxicology.

The report or a more readable article.

Cod Liver Oil fermented or foul?

Dr. Kaayla Daniel aka the Naughty Nutritionist is making big waves in the real food community. Fermented cod liver oil has been touted by many as being the nearly magical elixir of health. It needs to be said that a significant number of equally learned souls shun it entirely and that only one company has ever been able to ferment oil. Not the least among its proponents is the Weston A. Price Foundation of which the good doctor is a VP (well she was anyway). When Dr. D. took her concerns to the WAPF board they declined to investigate. Not being one to give up easily she had bottles of the elixir tested at 5 labs in three countries. To make a VERY long story short it isn't cod, it isn't fermented, and it isn't something that any of the lab personnel would willingly ingest after one sample. You can click here for the full report.
What concerns me more than the sleazy product is the fact that the WAPF board refused to act even in the light of strong concerns from one of their own. That's the kind of "don't confuse me with the facts" science that the foundation so often and properly rails against. If they don't act on this very quickly then they might just as well fold their tent and slink off into the night. I would really hate to see that happen.