Posting in Food
Here are seven food safety, agriculture and nutrition predictions for 2010 and beyond.
Last month, the Boulder-based Organic Center, which focuses on the science of organic food and farming, released a list of seven food safety, agriculture and nutrition predictions for this year. In a press release, the center voiced its concern for the state of the food industry:
“Despite the hopeful and symbolic gesture of planting an organic garden at the White House and the First Lady's ongoing efforts throughout 2009 to promote more healthy diets amongst children, the year ended with little progress on important domestic policy issues affecting food safety and quality, agriculture and nutrition.”
Without action to address problems associated with how food is grown and processed, the center predicts the following will become (or remain) a reality:
1. An increase in the number of children facing developmental issues including autism, ADHD, birth defects and allergies. Just 1 percent of all pesticides are responsible for virtually all pesticide-related developmental risks from exposure in the diet.
2. An increase in the number of Americans who are obese, diabetic, or both. In order to address the obesity and diabetes epidemics in the U.S., farm program spending must shift away from subsidizing high-fat foods to supporting healthier fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and dairy products.
3. A decrease in the efficacy of life-saving antibiotics. There are now several strains of bacteria that are essentially untreatable in humans, and more will follow without major changes in how antibiotics are used on farms.
4. An increase in disease linked to inflammation. Nutrient-dense foods can help elderly people fight disease, aches and pains linked to inflammation while also promoting brain health.
5. An increase in the spread of 'super weeds.' Genetically engineered, herbicide-tolerant crops have increased herbicide use by over 380 million pounds since 1996, with 46 percent of the total increase in 2007 and 2008.
6. The continued decline of the honey bees. Five seed treatment insecticides are known to undermine bee immune systems and the ability of bees to find their way back to the hive.
7. More global warming in the absence of changes in farm and conservation programs.
Apr 8, 2010
More global warming???? How can you have more of something which does NOT exist Keep your religion to yourself
We don't want to pay to process our toxic waste. And yet we don't want it in our food, water or air. So we send it overseas, where it is usually processed in such a way as to ensure that it ends up in the food, water and air. These countries then grow food. Which we buy and eat. And this saves us how?
While high-fat processed foods are a big issue, the emphasis should be on 1) the word "processed" and 2) the type of fat. Trans-fats are bad, hydrogenated-oils are bad. Saturated and mono-unsaturated fats are good for you. I used to be hypoglycemic. I tried many things to control it, including only eating whole grains and rarely eating sugary foods, but I still had to eat 6 meals a day or I would experience a low blood sugar crash. Then I found the Primal Blueprint, gave up grains and greatly increased my intake of fats (mainly through nuts and meat) and not only do I now have more energy than before, I can also go all day without eating without any repercussions other than feeling hungry. My energy level is unaffected. The omega-3 to omega-6 ratio in the body is way off due to the grain-centric diets that we not only eat, but that we also feed the food that we eat as well (we eat lots of grain, cows eat lots of grain, etc.). Fixing the omega-3 to omega-6 imbalance in your body is one of the key components to having a healthy heart. Pastured (grass-fed) cows have an almost 1:1 omega-3-to-6 ratio. Vegetable oil contains way more omega-6 than it does omega-3. Just because we've been brought up to believe something is right doesn't make it right. Studies can be incorrect. Challenge conventional wisdom; don't throw it all out the window, but research it, and make sure that it's right. Never accept it at face value.
My family had a hog farm when I was growing up, so I have first-hand experience with the issues. The contribution of the use of livestock antibiotics to creating resistant bacteria is minimal when compared to the overuse of antibiotics in humans. Many people go to their doctors and insist on antibiotics for viral diseases such as colds. Others stop taking antibiotics after symptoms disappear but before the bacteria is entirely killed, resulting in superbugs. Many livestock antibiotics are not used in humans in the first place, so if the bug becomes resistant to them it's strictly a problem for the farmers. Most of the bacteria and viruses on farms do not even cross over to humans, and vice-versa (influenza, a virus, being the major exception). And the use of antibiotics in livestock must be withdrawn for weeks before slaughter to make sure no antibiotics are passed in the meat to humans. Regular testings is done, and even the smallest trace of antibiotics in the animals sent to market results in severe penalties. As for herbicide-resistant crops resulting in the use of more herbicides, well that's kinda the point. Can it result in superweeds? Perhaps. But like antibiotics, it's far better to hit the weeds with a strong killing dose than with a much smaller dose to try and save non-resistant crops. Smaller doses are far more likely to result in superweeds. It's important to remember this issue is not black and white. If the nation went totally organic starvation would result. Organic methods simply cannot feed the world at its current population. We know that antibiotic use in humans is a necessary evil to save lives even though in the long run without proper management it can result in superbugs. It's the same with farming. Farmers are well-aware that if they overuse antibiotics and herbicides, their own livelihood will be at stake.
Face facts. Routine administration of 'preventative antibiotics' is the same as progressive exposure as far as the germs are concerned. Which is to say, the prefect way to make antibiotic resistant germs is practiced daily on our farms.
No one can argue with the common sense wisdom in the last paragraph of the previous reply. However the combined experience and professionalism of journalists such as the caliber of Ms Hernandez and Kaplan are done a disservice by merely regurgitating a series of sound bites without opening further discourse on the subjects. The issues are not so simple- just a taste of other perspectives: High fat processed foods are indeed a economic and health disaster in the making, and perhaps not just for the inter-related reasons one might intuit. However, the effects of high-fructose corn syrup are many times worse, not only for the human body, but for the political lobby that the producers and sellers of HFCS employ. Ironically, this same lobby is involved in huge amounts of corn subsidies being paid for bio fuels, a dead-end in technological application that's at odds with healthy farming practices, let alone dubious in its effect on energy policy. Similarly, just a bit of impartial research would find that the seemingly intuitive connections of antibiotic-treated beef and antibiotic resistant bacteria are similarly incorrect. Studies going back to 1998 through 2008 are inconclusive and contradictory. One study even showed (and demonstrated an empirical and causal relationship) grass-fed and antibiotic-free cattle had HIGHER levels of toxic-type E. Coli in their guts. Conventional wisdom of Nina Planck's NYT 2006 op-ed piece aside, the sound bites are easier to spread than a balanced and researched statement on the subject. The occurrence of food-borne pathogen-related illnesses have declined substantially over the last 20 years, that's a fact despite the media coverages inferring the opposite. Citing oversimplified factoids of similarly poorly peer-reviewed research into identifying environmental factors and their effects on ADHD and autism spectrum conditions is as unwise as solely blaming thimerisol. My point is not to troll or go on a point by point review of the re-posting of another entity's web-site. Similarly, I don't mean to disparage the good-hearted work of the OC- But please, may we have some efforts at true journalism to go into these posts?
No scientific study has ever demonstrated the nutritional superiority of "organic" so-called food over those raised with the use of inorganic fertilizers and modern insecticides. Similarly, the superstitious dread of gene-modified crops is totally unjustified by any science. Antibiotic use in livestock for the purpose of increasing feed efficiency is a dangerous and foolish practice that ought to be prohibited, but that does not justify throwing the baby out with the bath water.
As true and threatening as these possibilities are, until people vote with their wallets and purchase healthier food, the Food Manufacturers (what a term!) are only supplying what the market is demanding: cheap, poorly processed 'foods' to satiate our expanding bellies. Purchase organic, locally grown foods. Eat less meat. Cook your meals with real ingredients. Read your labels and avoid processed ingredients and the chemicals that you cannot pronounce. If you can't purchase each ingredient somewhere in your grocery, its not really a food ingredient. We need a lot of work on this aspect of the USAmerican lifestyle.