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News for January 20, 2011

U.K. organic milk better for you than conventional, thanks to cows’ grass-based diet

According to an important new study, organic milk sold in England delivers significantly higher levels of healthy fatty acids than does conventional milk. The study, funded by the European Union and published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Dairy Science, can be accessed for free here.

The researchers compared fat composition and protein content of 10 organic and 12 conventional brands found on supermarket shelves in northeast England. Researchers found that the organic milk had only slightly higher overall fat content, but much higher levels of what it calls "beneficial fatty acids."

READ MORE (Grist) ]

Worldwatch Report Reveals Real Agricultural Solutions

We’ve started 2011 with a lot of bad news. But the newest Worldwatch Institute report, State of the World 2011, has a lot of good news: agricultural innovations that address hunger and protect our ecology are working and they are scalable. We don’t have to choose between food or the environment. In fact, the most effective strategies address both.

Worldwatch is an independent research organization based in Washington, D.C. that works on energy, resource, and environmental issues. For their annual State of the World report senior researcher Danielle Nierenberg traveled throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, home to 239 million of the world’s 925 million hungry, to investigate and documents programs that effectively address hunger and ecology. You can read about the report’s findings in her blog, Nourishing the Planet.

READ MORE (CommonDreams) ]

Wyoming defeats, Georgia introduces Food Freedom Act

On Tuesday, by a vote of 5-4, agriculture committee members rejected the Wyoming Food Freedom Act which would have exempted some food products from government inspections and would have encouraged the sale and consumption of homemade foods.

Sue Wallis, who introduced the measure, told the Billings Gazette its defeat was "disappointing."

READ MORE (The Peoples Voice) ]

Trial held for Howell County cheese maker

A trial was held in Howell County court this week for a local raw milk cheese manufacturer, Morningland Dairy.

The dairy, located between Mountain View and Willow Springs, was involved in a nationwide recall of their cheese at the end of August. The recall was prompted after some of the farm’s cheese was seized in an armed raid at Rawesome health food store in California. In that raid, some of Morningland’s cheeses were taken and the California Department of Food and Agriculture said the cheeses were tainted with listeria monocytogenes and staphylococcus aureus.

READ MORE (Howell County News) ]

Health concerns don't dampen enthusiasm for raw milk

The grocery store dairy case is stocked full with every kind of milk. Whole milk. Reduced-fat milk. Low-fat milk. Skim milk. Buttermilk. Acidophilus milk.

Comedian Lewis Black rants that soy milk, another choice, isn't milk at all.

READ MORE (Bellingham Herald) ]

Dairy farmer to challenge raw-milk rules

A frustrated B.C. dairy farmer is adding heat to the debate over raw milk.

Alice Jongerden is launching a constitutional challenge arguing that it is her right to consume and distribute the product she believes tastes better and is more nutritional than its pasteurized counterpart.

READ MORE (Globe and Mail) ]

Wyo. committee rejects "food freedom" bill

Wyoming lawmakers have rejected a bill that would have exempted some food products from government inspections.

The House agriculture committee on Tuesday voted 5-to-4 against the "Wyoming Food Freedom Act."

READ MORE (Bloomberg) ]

Our Theoretical Rights Don't Yet Mean a Lot in the Real World of Judges and Insurance Companies...And Canada Provides a Dark Vision for Food Rights "Success"

I was just opening a container of raw milk kefir I purchased about three weeks ago, to make a smoothie with some mango and blueberries, when there was this explosion. A pop, like a small firecracker. The kefir was everywhere, on the kitchen cabinets, the counter...and on my clean shirt. I don't remember that ever happening with store-bought kefir.

I wasn't pleased about the mess I had to clean up, or the shirt, but I took it as a good sign, that the kefir was as active as I would hope it would be. (I cleaned up much of the mess before it occurred to me to take the photo at left.) Needless to say, the smoothie, when I finally made it, tasted great.

READ MORE (Complete Patient) ]

Sure, Growing Push for Raw Dairy Standards Faces Major Hurdles, But Going Through Process Will Expand Market

Despite so much evidence to the contrary, we continue to think we can gain control of events around us. Last evening, I watched an ABC Nightline segment about how the parents of a Boy Scout are suing the organization because their teenage son, working for his Eagle badge (the highest level of achievement), had died from complications of heat exposure during a twenty-mile hike in Florida. The correspondent said the segment had been prompted by the parents' lawyer bringing the suit to Nightline's attention (gotta love those enterprising lawyers).

Based on Nightline's account, it seemed that the scouts in charge had taken appropriate precautions, packing plenty of water. When the boy working for his eagle badge encountered problems, they stopped. Then, when the boy collapsed, one of the leaders spent 45 minutes on resuscitation, before calling in a medical helicopter.

READ MORE (Complete Patient) ]

Conservative Congressmen Lobby Hard for GE Alfalfa

Alfalfa is a crop that typically doesn't get too much attention — unless it's genetically engineered (GE) alfalfa, that is. The sustainable food scene has been in full-on panic mode ever since the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its environmental impact statement (EIS) on Monsanto's GE alfalfa, a sign that the agency is poised to approve the Frankenfood for planting this spring. Now there's even more reason for sustainable foodies to lose sleep over the plant.

Republican members of Congress recently sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, asking him to get a move on and give GE alfalfa the green light already. The three scribes were Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK), Chair of the House Ag committee; Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), ranking Republican on the Senate Ag committee; and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS). While it's concerning enough that America's Ag leaders are heading up the Frankenfood Fan Club, the group's letter was a bit off, factually speaking. (To read the full letter, check out the La Vida Locavore blog, where Jill Richardson posted the letter in its entirety).





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