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News for July 13, 2010

State cracks down on organic sales

It's been barely a year since Luis Miranda began selling organic produce at farmers markets near his home in California's Central Valley, but he's already seen every trick in the book.

Scanning the stands recently at a market in downtown Sacramento, Miranda pointed out a half-dozen examples of misleading signs and labels. One of the most common tricks is posting a banner with the California Certified Farmers' Markets sealâ which closely resembles the marks bestowed by state-recognized organic certifiers, but means only that the produce was grown by the farmer selling it.

READ MORE (Daily Democrat) ]

Time vs. OTA: Organic Egg Debate

Time reported a USDA study found organic and conventional eggs are usually nutritionally indistinguishable, and when they are different, it’s because the factory eggs are safer. However, the Organic Trade Association (OTA) said the Time article misleads readers because the study, as published in Poultry Science, includes no reference to certified organic eggs and says nothing about nutritional value.

Time noted factory hens experience worse conditions because of the crowded cages that leave them immobilized, but said those living standards proved to have no effect on the quality of eggs. The article said food technologist Deana Jones lead the study, which evaluated eggs via the Haugh unit, a specialized egg-quality metric developed in 1937. The Haugh unit measures protein quality found in the egg white. The study found no difference in factory or organic eggs when measured this way.

READ MORE (Natural Products Marketplace) ]

Small organic farming versus Big Government

WHAT COULD BE MORE organic than a family farm tended by family members?

But that's not organic enough for the state Division of Labor Standards, which fined San Anselmo vegetable grower Jerome Draper for not paying his relatives in cash.

READ MORE (Marin Independent Journal) ]

United Nations Supports Organic Farming to Fight World Hunger

In an international meeting on agroecology held on June 22 in Brussels, Olivier De Schutter stated that organic and sustainable farming is not only a solution to degraded soiled and polluted water, but can also end world hunger and global climate change. De Shutter is the UN’s Special Rappteur on the Right to Food, considered to be an internationally recognized human right. He is also an expert in agroecology.

"Governments and international agencies urgently need to boost ecological farming techniques to increase food production and save the climate," De Schutter stated while presenting his findings. He decried the current large-scale production methods involving "improved seeds, chemical fertilizers and machines" that rapidly leads to soil and water degradation. "Scant attention has been paid to agroecological methods that have been shown to improve food production and farmers' incomes, while at the same time protecting the soil, water, and climate."

READ MORE (Diets in Review) ]

Food safety requirements for large-scale producers of eggs go into effect

New food safety requirements for large-scale egg producers mean that as many as 79,000 illnesses and 30 deaths due to consumption of eggs contaminated with the bacterium Salmonella Enteritidis may be avoided each year, according to the US Food and Drug Administration.

These new food safety requirements took effect July 9, 2010, through a rule for egg producers having 50,000 or more laying hens—about 80% of production. Among other things, it requires them to adopt preventive measures and use refrigeration during egg storage and transportation.

READ MORE (Refrigerated Transporter) ]

Local food movement sprouts in Detroit

The People's Pierogi Collective launched a retail offensive in Eastern Market last month just a few stalls away from the local Good Girls Go to Paris crepe makers and Brother Nature Produce, a 2-acre farm in Detroit's North Corktown that also supplies nearby restaurants.

They reflect a growing movement of entrepreneurs, urban farmers, niche markets and independent restaurants that are trying to sell food in part by tapping into Detroit's food culture and the local-food movement.

READ MORE (Detroit News) ]

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