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News for June 26, 2010

USDA dietary guidelines- a recipe for disaster?

The proposed 2010 USDA Dietary Guidelines are a recipe for infertility, learning problems in children and increased chronic disease in all age groups according to Sally Fallon Morell, president of the Weston A. Price Foundation.

"The proposed 2010 Dietary Guidelines perpetuate the mistakes of previous guidelines in demonizing saturated fats and animal foods rich in saturated fatty acids such as egg yolks, butter, whole milk, cheese, fatty meats like bacon and animal fats for cooking. The current obesity epidemic emerged as vegetable oils and refined carbohydrates replaced these healthy, nutrient-dense traditional fats. Animal fats supply many essential nutrients that are difficult to obtain from other sources," explains Fallon Morell.

READ MORE (Washington Times) ]

Demand for raw milk grows with local food movement

Shanna Wegman grew up drinking raw milk straight from the milk tank.

It's a habit that has followed her into adulthood as she's grown more concerned about where the food she eats comes from, who made it and what's been put in it.

READ MORE (Post Bulletin) ]

Letter from George Siemon

Things are happening at the Cooperative on many levels. Overall sales are slowly getting stronger. We remain concerned about the economy in the near term, but long term we still see the organic market as resilient due to growing consumer awareness. The combination of solid scientific evidence supporting organics grows, along with the blossoming green lifestyle. These factors assure a positive future for organics.

At the June 16th Board meeting there were several significant decisions reached by your Board. These are communicated in this mailing.

READ MORE (CROPP) ]

Fake organic foods proliferate from China

The organic label is meant to signify that a food is relatively environmentally friendly: Organic producers are forbidden from using many synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. When that organic food comes from China, that label may not mean much.

"When I see organic food from China, I question," environmental journalist Michael Pollan told PRI's The World, "how organic is it?" Organics are a $26 billion industry in the United States, and an increasing amount of that is coming from China. Pollan points out, "organic is a very big global business now. People don't realize it."

READ MORE (PRI) ]

USDA's dietary guidelines: ever-hopeful, ever-ignored

The USDA's latest dietary guidelines are notable for how closely they resemble those from 30 years ago. In the years between, Americans have made high-sodium fast food their bread and butter.

Avoid excessive fat, sugar and salt. Boil and bake, rather than frying foods. Eat the good carbohydrates, such as beans and whole grains. Maintain your ideal weight. That's the advice the U.S. Department of Agriculture and then-Department of Health, Education and Welfare issued in 1980, in their first Dietary Guidelines for Americans. And it's not much different from the 2010 guidelines offered for public comment this month. In between the two reports, however, most Americans have grown overweight or obese on fats and sugar, while lacking key nutrients such as calcium and potassium. We've consumed too much salt, and suffered higher rates of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases that are aggravated by our poor diets. In short, we have been told what to do for 30 years and have done the opposite.

READ MORE (LA Times) ]

Hog Farmers Cut Sow Herd 3% as Debts Swell, USDA Says

The U.S. hog-breeding herd on June 1 shrank 3 percent from 12 months earlier, a sign that some producers are repaying debt rather than expanding after a return to profit in March ended more than two years of losses.

U.S. hog farms have slashed herds after losing about $6 billion from late 2007 until early this year, as corn prices jumped and the recession and swine flu curbed pork demand, said Ron Plain, a livestock economist at the University of Missouri in Columbia. Hog producers made about $39 per animal sold for slaughter in May, the third straight month of profits, he said.

READ MORE (Businessweek) ]

Food safety shake-up needed in the USA

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been rapped over the knuckles again for gaps in its food-safety system. On June 8, the US Institute of Medicine (IOM) and National Research Council (NRC) released a report-Enhancing Food Safety: The Role of the Food and Drug Administration-pointing to several problems in the way the agency handles food safety. The report states that the FDA uses limited resources inefficiently, has a piecemeal approach to gathering and using information about risks, and takes a reactive rather than proactive stance to food-safety problems. The authors call for the FDA to implement a risk-based approach to food safety in which data are used to identify where along the production, distribution, and handling lines there is the greatest chance of contamination. However, the report notes that the FDA itself has insufficient expertise and infrastructure to gather and manage such data, and calls on the US Government to establish a separate food-safety data centre.

To improve efficiency, the report also suggests that food-facility inspections be delegated to states. The FDA should set standards for these inspections and help states to reach these requirements, say the authors. The agency would be responsible for training and certifying state inspectors with the goal of handing over most facility inspections to them under FDA supervision.

READ MORE (The Lancet) ]

Tour de Coops offers look at local food

This year, the Wasatch Community Gardens hosted its fifth annual Tour de Coops, a walking tour of the urban chicken coops around Salt Lake City. Avid gardeners and families wandered through the 17 yards featured in the walk, picking up tips on organic gardening techniques and watching the chickens cluck around their pens.

Some yards were orderly, with neat little rows of emerging vegetables popping out from the soil. Other yards were wild and overgrown, like a miniature jungle in the middle of Salt Lake City. But every yard had a small space reserved for clucking, wing-flapping chickens.

READ MORE (Deseret News) ]

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