Category Archives: google.com

Tear-Free Onions?

onion-clean-fd-lg

Foodfacts.com is eager to provide news on everything food-related. We recently discovered a slightly dated article on tear-free onions being created by Monsanto and had to share. We haven’t heard too much about this topic, so we figure this may be new to a few of our followers also. Check it out!

ever-mild
St. Louis-based Monsanto has a plan to make sweet-onion farmers weep.

The seed company last week unveiled a tearless onion that it’s dubbed the “EverMild,” modeled after the famous Vidalia sweet onion from Georgia.

It’s far from the biotech firm’s first foray into produce, but company officials say it marks a new approach to vegetable science: a way of looking at it from a foodie’s perspective.

“Our focus has been more on what makes something a successful product for growers, things like [crop] yield or disease resistance,” explains Monsanto spokeswoman Danielle Stuart. “We’re looking at things with a more consumer-focused point of view now, at things that are more interesting to the consumer’s sensory experience.”
grape-tomatoes
Monsanto vice president David Stark envisions grape tomatoes as sweet as Skittles, honeydew melons with a creamy, sugary finish and onions that exude sweetness — whether blended into sorbet or paired with peanut butter. “The onion is just the first step in coming up with fruits and vegetables that taste phenomenal,” notes Stark.

Such overtures sound alarm bells in the head of Randy Wood, an owner of Sappington Farmers’ Market, a south-county purveyor of local and organic foods. Wood and other advocates of small-scale farming have long touted how much better — and sweeter — so-called sustainable foods taste because of minimal man-made intervention.

“Typically, organic and biodynamic methods of farming increase the fructose levels in fruits and vegetables,” says Wood. “For the sweetness to be achieved in a fashion other than through a natural process is concerning. But I’ll take the bait and say somebody has to educate me on the process by which they’re doing this.”

Monsanto says the onion is neither organic nor genetically modified. It took more than twelve years of cross-pollinating different plant breeds, and complex computer models, to arrive at the right proprietary blend of sweetness.

“The trait is a little bit tricky to develop because you can’t just eat onion after onion,” explains Scott Hendricks, a Monsanto breeder based in Madison, Wisconsin. “We can sample a few, but pretty soon you’ve ruined your palate for the rest of the day. So, we do rely on a lab screening technique that we’ve come up with to tell us which onions would match this profile.”

The first commercial batch of EverMilds — some 700,000 pounds — was raised by a farmer in Washington, home to another sweet onion, the Walla Walla. The EverMild is being rolled out only in St. Louis-area Schnucks this year, but Monsanto has no intentions of selling the seed to local farmers.

The EverMild is a “long-day” onion that grows best in a more northern climate. It is harvested in September and sold through March, thus positioned as a winter stand-in for the Vidalia, which is only available from April to September.
seeds-maui-onion-1000
Like the Vidalia, which, according to state and federal trademarks, can only carry the Vidalia label if grown in a thirteen-county region of Georgia, the trademarked EverMild will have its own intellectual property protections.

Hendricks, the Monsanto breeder, says farmers using EverMild seeds must conform to growing conditions set out by Monsanto, and samples from every yield must be tested and approved for sweetness in order to carry the EverMild label.

Wendy Brannen, executive director of the Vidalia Onion Committee and marketer for Vidalia growers, barely flinches at the prospect of competition. “We’ll always have companies that will try to emulate us, and you know what they say about imitation being the highest form of flattery,” says Brannen.

“We always welcome the competition, but a lot of this really is tried and true farming practice. We have a lot of third-generation farmers who’ve been doing this for a while and really know what they’re doing. I feel really secure.”

Monsanto is trying to seize on the fashionable concept of counting “food miles,” the environmental cost of delivering food from farm to fork. Company officials suggest consumers will feel better about buying a winter onion from a U.S. farmer than one shipped up from, say, South America.

It’s a bittersweet notion for hardcore foodies. “When the asparagus that you’ve been dreaming about for two or three months comes in, and the tender peas, the morels, when those first spring offerings arrive, they come with an excitement and a joy that, if you’ve had asparagus year-round, or tomatoes year-round, you lose,” observes Julie Ridlon, a caterer, personal chef and founder of several local farmers’ markets.

“But,” adds Ridlon, “we all need onions through the winter. It’d be great if the onions could be grown in Missouri, and if they can’t be, well, Washington’s better than Peru.”
(Science Daily News)

GMO Labeling in California?

Foodfacts.com would like to keep followers updated on the latest news pertaining to GMO labeling, because it has become a major concern for many people. Check out the article below describing California’s next steps in achieving proper labeling for GMO products. Also, for more information on labeling go to Truth in Labeling Coalition.

gm20label

(Natural News) Advocates for truth in food labeling will be working diligently this fall to gather enough signatures to get an initiative placed on the 2012 California electoral ballot that, if passed, will mandate that genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) be properly labeled within the state.

The measure also has the potential to set a new labeling standard for the rest of the US as well, which could eventually drive GMOs out of the marketplace altogether.

The biotechnology industry and its allies have pumped billions of dollars into lobbying efforts that have effectively prevented every proposal for GMO labeling from moving forward.

While numerous polls have found that at least 90 percent of Americans support the mandatory labeling of GMOs, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), and various other federal agencies backed by special interests have repeatedly stood against it (http://www.naturalnews.com/029168_G…).

The Obama administration has also made it very clear that regulating genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) is not a primary concern for the US government, let alone any sort of proper labeling.

Just a few months ago, Obama’s USDA, for instance, willingly and openly deregulated GM alfalfa without an environmental impact report (EIR) or any proper safety studies (http://www.naturalnews.com/031196_G…).

And the administration has also been pushing very hard to get GMOs permitted for planting in national wildlife refuges, which is against the law (http://www.naturalnews.com/032726_G…).

Getting GMOs labeled continues to be an uphill battle — and it may seem like something that will never happen apart from a miracle — but like every other political effort that has ever been successful on a significant level, dedication and strategic planning by grassroots activists just might be the key to victory.

By simply getting a GMO labeling initiative on the California electoral ballot in 2012, half the battle will have already been won. The goal now, though, will be to gain enough signatures to get it on the ballot.

Organic Trade Association board members have ties to GMOs, thus the organization’s silence on the issue
Labeling of GMOs is something that most NaturalNews readers might assume is widely supported by the nation’s organic companies and groups. And this is largely the case except for a few, including the Organic Trade Association (OTA), whose ranks have been tainted by board members with ties to corporations that profit from the sale of GMOs.

OTA’s President Julia Sabin, for instance, is Vice President and General Manager for Smucker Natural Foods, Inc., which uses GM high fructose corn syrup and other GM ingredients in its various jellies and jams. Sabin personally profits from her company’s use of GM ingredients, and yet she holds the highest post at OTA, a group that is supposed to represent the interests of the organic food industry.

While OTA claims to support the labeling of GMOs, the group has never devoted any of its financial resources to actually making this a reality. So this key player in the organic industry has essentially done little to nothing to actually get GMOs labeled in the US, and yet claims at the same time to support GMO labeling.

Be sure to watch this short, informative video about various OTA board members’ connections to GMOs, and learn why OTA has taken a soft stance on GMO labeling: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCK0…

After seeing the numerous connections to GMO interests, it will become clear why OTA essentially plays both sides of the fence by saying one thing and doing another.

Speaking about Oregon’s Measure 27 (2002), Alexis Baden-Mayer, Political Director of the Organic Consumers Association said “The first ballot initiative effort to require food companies to label products that contain genetically-modified (GM) ingredients. The Organic Trade Association ostensibly supported the measure, but didn’t chip in financially. The food and crop biotechnology industries raised a war chest to fight the ballot measure. Ironically, some of these companies already had stakes in organic and some had subsidiaries that were members of OTA.”

Baden-Mayer also stated that “General Mills (currently represented on the OTA board by Craig Weakly of Small Planet Foods), HJ Heinz Co. (invested in the Hain-Celestial Group), PepsiCo (Tropicana and Quaker produce a few organic products), and Kellogg’s (owns Kashi), joined a coalition of corporate giants — the Coalition Against the Costly Labeling Law — including chemical makers Monsanto and DuPont, agribusiness ConAgra, food processor Sara Lee, the pesticide lobbying group CropLife, and the junk food lobbying group the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), in spending some $5.5 million to defeat mandatory GMO labels.”

So you see, some of the very same organic companies represented by OTA are also tied to companies that use GMOs. Naturally, these companies are choosing to fight labeling laws that will hurt their bottom line. This is precisely why it will take grassroots support to get the California initiative on the 2012 ballot, and to successfully rally enough support to get it passed.

If you would like to learn more about how you can help gather signatures for the initiative this fall, and get this landmark GMO labeling law passed, visit: http://www.labelGMOs.org

At the site, you will also find access to useful information about organizing and educating people in your community about GMOs, volunteering to help the California campaign, and even starting an initiative to label GMOs in your own state if you do not live in California.

New Monsanto Facility Working on Corn Seed to Decrease Overall Growth Time

Foodfacts.com recently came across the following article regarding a breed of corn seen that will decrease cross-pollination time from 9 to 5 years. This will allow easier and more abundant production of genetically modified crops if the trial is successful. What does this mean for our food supply? There’s a great chance Monsanto and other major biotechnology companies are coming closer and closer to dominating most of our agriculture. Check out the article below!

OTHELLO — The kernels created at Monsanto’s new corn breeding facility four miles east of Othello could affect corn grown across North America.

The corn facility, which opened last month, is the beginning of the breeding process for seeds that farmers could be using within five years.

The Othello plant is the first of its kind for Monsanto in the United States because of its use of the double haploid breeding technique for corn seeds, said Brett Sowers, the global corn double haploid production lead for the global provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural products.

The 15,000-square-foot lab at 1485 W. Cunningham in Othello will provide a service for the company’s other research programs across the country, he said.

The double haploid breeding technique makes an inbred line of corn faster than would happen in nature, Sowers said. The technique uses a plant with only one copy of a chromosome in its cells instead of the normal two, a trait that occurs occasionally in nature, he said.

Employees in the lab will hand-select kernels to work with, Sowers said. Those kernels will be subjected to a chemical process that affects how chromosomes divide, causing the cells to double their chromosomes and create a double haploid plant.

The seedlings are then moved to the 10,000-square-foot greenhouse to recover, he said. They are later planted in an adjacent 48-acre field to grow, pollinate and produce seeds.

The created seeds will be the parents, the male and female plants, which still will need to be crossed into a combination that farmers use, he said.

They are still several years of further selection and testing away from a commercial product, Sowers said.

Corn is already planted in the field this year, Sowers said. The plants seem to be doing well so far, despite the earlier cool weather.
sweet-corn-clean15jpg-lg
The process gets to pure genetics quicker, Sowers said. What would normally take up to nine years of self-pollinating will take up to five years, which gets the new seed to farmers faster so the benefits are seen sooner.

In the seed industry, Sowers said, they are always working to create a higher yield and resistance to disease and insects. And nature is always working to overcome the resistance plants have.

That means creating a novel combination of genetics, he said.

“You are constantly looking for new or better combinations,” Sowers said.

A new seed may be used for about a decade before it is replaced with another seed, Sowers said.

Monsanto has invested about $4 million in the Othello plant since 2006, and anticipates additional improvements in the future, said Kathleen Manning, Monsanto media relations specialist.

The facility was built with room to expand by adding more office and lab space if needed, Sowers said.

Othello was chosen because of the availability of irrigation, good soil, the high yield potential and the arid environment, which means fewer insects and disease, Sowers said.

And the existing seed production facility, opened in 2003, was available to help with initial work, he said.

That facility, at 776 S. Booker Road in Othello, is where Monsanto produces and packages corn seeds for farmers to use on their fields, Manning said.

Monsanto set up a pilot for the breeding program in Othello in 2006 and a temporary facility in 2007 to work with the breeding materials.

The program was moved from Hawaii, where Monsanto was able to plant and test year-round until the company was confident it could develop the process to use on a commercial scale, he said. The breeding process already is used on wheat, canola, squash and cucumber.

With the permanent plant, Sowers said Monsanto added a fifth full-time employee. The number of seasonal employees has grown to 100 to 110 at the peak. During the winter months, the full-time employees will complete prep work for the next year and support work for other Monsanto plants, he said.

Othello City Administrator Ehman Sheldon said Othello should see some economic benefits from the new Monsanto plant with increased sales tax revenue and within the housing market.

Sheldon, who toured the facility several weeks ago, said it was fantastic.

“It’s a very promising effort by Monsanto,” he said.

(The News Tribune)

Navigating GMO Labels

Foodfacts.com likes to provide our followers with tips to enjoy their favorite foods. Here is an article we recently came across that can help you decipher GMO vs. non-GMO products in grocery stores:
gmo
LOS ANGELES (KABC) — With so many concerns about our food supply, terms like “genetically modified,” “organic” or “GMO-free” can be confusing. What do those labels actually mean and which ones are the right choice for you and your family? Here’s what you need to know before you head to the grocery store.

With today’s labels, even the most scrutinizing shopper can get confused.

“Americans increasingly want to know more about their food before they eat or buy it. They want to know where it’s made, how it’s grown and what’s in it,” said Elisa Zied, a registered dietitian, nutritionist and author.

“I think it’s very difficult for a consumer to understand what exactly it is that they’re considering buying,” said one grocery shopper.

Zied, who wrote “Nutrition at Your Fingertips,” helps decipher the lingo, starting with genetically modified (GMO) foods.

“If a food is genetically modified it means its genes are altered. DNA from one species is inserted into another species to create a unique genetic combination that doesn’t occur in nature,” said Zied. “At least 60 to 70 percent of processed foods that you’ll find in grocery stores contain at least one genetically engineered ingredient.”

Currently the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t require specific labels for GMO foods, but you may see companies point out when they are not genetically modified, with “non-GMO” or “GMO-free” labels.

“Though you might not see it that often, a PLU sticker on produce can tell you a little something about the food,” said Zied.

Something to note: a five-digit number that starts with an “8″ is genetically modified, although it’s rarely used. But stickers starting with “9″s stand for organic and can be found on lots of produce.

What makes something organic?

“If a food is organic that means it was prepared without synthetic pesticides, herbicides, fungicides or synthetic fertilizers and it’s also not been genetically modified or radiated,” said Zeid.

You will only see the official United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic seal on products that have 95 percent or more organic ingredients.

“If you see ‘made with organic ingredients,’ that means the product contains at least 70 percent organic ingredients,” Zied says.

Finally, when it comes to dairy, “rBGH” or “rBST” will signify things such as artificial hormones.

(Lori Corbin, ABC)

Meatless Mondays Better for the Environment?

meat
Foodfacts.com likes to share a variety of food and nutrition-related topics with our followers. As of recently, we’ve been hearing more about “meatless Mondays”, along with a campaign to help promote this new trend. Here is some more information pertaining to this subject:

If every American skipped meat and cheese one day a week, environmentally it would be the same as the country driving 91 billion fewer miles a year. That’s the figure calculated by the Environmental Working Group, which in a report out today urges the nation to eat less meat and cheese, both for health and the environment.

The call joins a growing movement advocating once-a-week meat-free meals, from an International Meatless Monday campaign and a European Veggie Days movement to decisions by some Catholic bishops to suggest a return to the no-meat Fridays of old.

The EWG report is the most recent in a long list calculating the greenhouse gases emitted in food production.

Lamb, which makes up only 1% of the meat Americans consume, came in highest, at 39.2 pounds of carbon dioxide equivalents per pound of meat. Beef was second, at 27.

Cheese was third, at 13.5. That’s much higher than milk, because “it takes about 10 pounds of milk to make 1 pound of cheese,” says Kari Hamerschlag, who wrote the report.

Frank Mitloehner, who studies animal-environmental interactions at the University of California-Davis, disputes the numbers. Scientific life cycle assessments of meat production “haven’t been conducted,” he says.

The Environmental Protection Agency says only 3.4% of all greenhouse gases are the result of animal agriculture. “By changing the focus to eating habits, people think it doesn’t matter whether they drive a Hummer or a Prius, it’s whether they eat a burger or not.”

Hamerschlag says the group is not asking everyone to be vegetarians. “We’re just urging people to be more conscious about what they eat.”

Kay Johnson Smith of the Animal Agriculture Alliance in Arlington, Va., says there’s a “hidden animal-activist” agenda behind some of the groups.

Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition at New York University, says dropping meat and cheese a day a week wouldn’t hurt: “I’m not a vegetarian myself, but people don’t need to eat as much meat as they’re eating.”

(By Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY)

GMO Labeling

2011-001-26-tomato
Foodfacts.com likes to provide followers with consistent updates on GMO production. We recently came across this article that we think will help educate those unfamiliar with genetic modification; and also update others on the labeling issue still going on.

Silk Soymilk and some of its other beverages recently completed the verification process of the Non-GMO Project. Why the careful wording? Given the ubiquity of genetically modified organisms in some U.S. commodity crops — 93 percent of soybeans grown in the United State are genetically modified according to Craig Shiesley of Silk — no product is able to call itself completely free of GMOs. However, Silk and some other companies, such as Whole Foods with its 365 products, have sought to do is to get as close as possible, using a certification process from the non-profit Non-GMO Project, which holds products to a standard of 99.1 percent GMO free.

Shiesley, general manager of the Silk business, says the verification process for the company’s soymilk, coconut milk and almond milk took 12 to 14 months, a surprise for the company, which had always sourced non-GMO ingredients.

“The reason (the verification process) elevates this to another level if that it goes from verifying the ingredient to verifying the entire process,” Shiesley says. “For example, (it verifies) that there’s no cross contamination in the dehullers.”
silk
GMO in the food supply

Currently labeling for GMOs is not required in the United States, as it is in European Union countries and Japan. The percentage of U.S. processed foods that include at least one genetically engineered food is estimated at about 60 to 70 percent, according to a 2010 fact sheet from Colorado State University. Even foods labeled as natural, a term that has no legal meaning, may contain genetically engineered crops; however, USDA certified organic foods forbid GMOs.

Do GMOs matter?

The answer depends on whom you talk to. Companies such as Monsanto, DuPont and Bayer that supply genetically engineered seed, say the crops, often engineered to be resistant to herbicides such as Monsanto’s Roundup, are nutritionally identical to non-modified crops. The U.S Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration agree with this position. They say the engineering allows them to grow crops more efficiently and with fewer, less toxic pesticides.

Opponents say the effects on human health and the environment have not been fully tested. They fear genetic modification may be involved in an increase in food allergies and other problems, and they say weeds may become resistant to herbicides, requiring more toxic herbicides to kill them.

Labeling

In addition, they argue that a U.S. decision not to require products with GMOs to be labeled has kept consumers in the dark about how deeply genetically-engineered crops reach into the food chain. Surveys have shown that many consumers don’t know that they regularly consume genetically engineered foods. For retailers with a consciousness about food and how it’s produced, the lack of labeling means they have no way to verify GMOs in products unless the items are certified organic.
365ginger
Mark Retzloff, president and chairman of Alfalfa’s, says the grocery has worked hard to verify that the canola and other oils in its bulk dispensers are not from made from genetically modified seed crops. The store has verified that the dairy products it stocks are from cows not dosed with hormones. However, unless the product is certified organic or has the new Non-GMO label, the store can’t verify if cows have been fed genetically-modifed grain. He is particularly concerned about genetically modified alfalfa, which the U.S. approved for use earlier this year. While certified organic milk producers won’t use it, the possibility of contamination through the cross-pollination of organic and GMO crops, as has happened with corn and soy is concerning, he says. In addition, as the genetically engineered seed becomes available, farmers may have a hard time buying non-GMO seed.

“From my own experience at Aurora Dairy, we buy about 40,000 to 50,000 tons of alfalfa hay. It’s all organic. If we start having trouble doing that, it restricts our ability to produce organic milk,” he says, adding that milk is a gateway product into organics for many consumers.

Whole Foods is currently putting its 365 brand products through Non-GMO verification. The products don’t currently carry the label. However, customers can go to Whole Food website and click to find Non-GMO certified products.

“It’s a significant focus of the company right now to work on verification,” says Ben Friedland, regional marketing coordinator for the Rocky Mountain Region.

Asked about the company’s position on GMOs, Friedland says: “We believe in farmers’ right to farm non-GMO crops and our customers’ right to choose whether they want GMOs. We work to provide opportunities for both our stakeholders,” Friedland says.

Shiesley of Silk says the Non-GMO verification is extremely valuable to his company. For the Silk products that are not organic — the company switched some of its Silk line from organic to natural in 2009, Shiesley says because the company wanted to source soybeans domestically — the non-GMO verification offers assurances.

Shiesley says he also believes the label will raise awareness.

“I hope we’re at a tipping point with consumer understanding toward Non-GMO,” he says. “Unlike organic labeling which went through legislation and took eight-plus years, the industry can self-regulate … I don’t think we can wait five years plus with this.”

He points to consumer awareness on trans-fat and many companies’ subsequent reformulations of their products as an example of how awareness can change push industry to make changes.

“We bring 40 million consumers along with us when we go to Non-GMO (labeling),” he says.

Carol Carlson, chair of Slow Food Boulder County approves of voluntary labeling, but would also like to see mandatory standards.

“I think GMO contamination is a huge concern for all of us,” she says. “Anything that can be done to bring awareness to what we’re eating and whether it contains GMOs is a very good thing.”

She also urges Boulder Countians who disapprove of GMOs to become involved in county policy on Boulder County Open Space agricultural land.

(DailyCamera)

Farmers Sue Monsanto

cotton-from-usda-image-library-k5927-233

Foodfacts.com recently came across this article about farmers in India fighting against major agribusiness, Monsanto. What are your thoughts? Check it out.

In India, Bt Cotton has become one of India’s biggest cash crops, accounting for over 90% of their cotton production. If you are not familiar with Bt cotton, it stands for bacillus thuringiensis cotton. Basically, BT is a GMO gene that is placed in the cotton plant to act as a pesticide.

The problem is, it damages the soil over time and usually farmers are left fighting another insect that the Bt doesn’t repel.

One company managed to corner the market on these GMO Cotton seeds in India and, you guessed it, that company is Monsanto. The creators of Agent Orange, the deadly cancer-causing chemical that was used in Vietnam, now has an international monopoly on the GMO and seed business.

In 2005 a decision, it was announced that Monsanto’s Bt cotton seeds would be allowed in India, after much lobbying by Monsanto. Since then, there has been an alarming suicide rate among farmers in India that is connected to the failure of the Monsanto GMO (genetically modified organism) cotton seeds.

Now an agrarian crisis has hit Maharashtra itself thanks to the Monsanto program. Farmers are buying 11 packets of 450 gm per hectare as per the company’s guide for the recommended “population method” but the sudden demand and ill-managed Indian sub agents have brought the company big trouble as 50% of the Bt cotton seeds failed to germinate even after its second sowing.
cotton
The Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti farmer’s advocacy group has approached the local state Govt. of Maharashtra to arrange a high level probe of all complaints received from farmers of west Vidarbha where more than 10,000 cotton farmers have committed suicide since June 2005 after the introduction of the killer Bt cotton seeds in this region.

The Monsanto Bt cotton seed crisis heated up in early June when all Bt cotton seeds ordered by Maharashtra dealers sold out it to the adjourning Andhra farmers and there was no seed available to cater to the local market.

Monsanto sub-agents had failed to respond to a state govt. request, and then suddenly Bt cotton seeds were freely available in the market by the third week of June.

A source supply was immediately discovered and Yavatmal police raided the house of Nerendra Indurkar in the very small village of Munjala and reportedly caught him red handed packing local cotton seed in the pockets of branded Bt cotton. Police have sealed the advanced imported pocket packing machines and thousands of packets of Bt cotton seeds being sold on the premium.

However the alleged culprit, Nerendra Indurkar, was allowed to go without any interrogation. Officials at Monsanto were called and facts were shared but they denied any link with this bogus Bt cotton seed supply racket.

Now that the stage has been set and a timeline has been created, here enters the Monsanto official….

When news of a Monsanto senior official’s arrival from Mumbai reached the nearby village of Munjala, cotton farmers of the village Karanji, about 140 K.m. from Nagpur, located the Monsanto official and took him to their field where a complete failure of ‘Paras Sudarshan’ Bt cotton seed was shown to him.

When the Monsanto representative failed to admit the lapse, he was severely beaten up by the farmers. It was reported that even a local agriculture officer did not come to his rescue. This, from accounts in daily papers in Vidarbha and the Marathwada region of Maharashtra where more than 4 million hectares under Bt cotton cultivation are reporting the flood of bogus seed supplied local agents of American cotton seed MNC giant Monsanto.

At this point, although the situation was reported, the administration has failed to take any action of this serious issue. So, Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti has written to Maharashtra Chief Minister Prathiraj Chavan to order a judicial enquiry into the supply racket of bogus BT. cotton seed in Maharashtra, and also to start criminal action against the culprit, Tiwari added.

Monsanto has done a lot of horrible things without any remorse — the agent orange they made doesn’t just affect the person who comes into contact with it; it goes on to affect their children, and their children’s children. Many hard-working farmers have lost everything, including their lives, due to Monsanto.

I imagine many who read this will grin when they read what happened to the Monsanto official. Did some kind of justice get served by the Indian farmers out in that farm field? Well maybe, but violence is never the answer. Then again, try to explain that to the India farmers.

(Planetsave)

Foodfacts.com looks into How To Protect Yourself From Food Poisoning

food_poisoning_symptom
Foodfacts.com looks into how to protect yourself from food poisoning. The CDC estimates that roughly 1 in 6 Americans will get sick from food-borne illnesses each year. E. coli outbreaks continue to be a public health problem, both in the States and abroad, especially since our food supply has gone global and we’re able to have fresh produce year-round by importing fruits and veggies. Now, E. coli outbreaks are happening on a never-seen-before scale in Germany with more than 2,500 infections and more than 25 deaths reported since last month. Experts aren’t sure exactly which vegetable triggered the outbreak (though many are pointing to organic sprouts at the moment), or even which country it originated from.

“This particular outbreak shouldn’t affect Americans because it’s rare that perishable produce will make it across the Atlantic, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t risk of an outbreak here in the States,” says Keith R. Schneider, Ph.D, Associate Professor in the Department of Food Safety and Human Nutrition at the University of Florida. Dr. Schneider points out that we’ve had multiple outbreaks in the States, from the salmonella incident linked to Jalapeño peppers in salsa to the E. coli outbreak connected with spinach.

“It’s hard to find the exact source of a food-borne illness because it typically takes two to three days for the first symptoms of an infection to appear, and longer for people to actually visit a doctor. By then, you can’t remember exactly what you ate last Tuesday,” says Dr. Schneider. “Moreover, contamination might not be from a specific farm or food, but from a point of distribution. It might be from one guy named Eddie who isn’t washing his hands while packaging food.”

Still, the health benefits of eating fresh produce far outweigh the risk, says Dr. Schneider. “You’re much more likely to get sick from meat than you are from produce. You can find pathogens on poultry 50 percent of the time. That’s not even a reason for alarm because all it takes is cooking meat fully to completely kill the bacteria.”

The key to avoiding food-borne illnesses is safe handling practices, says Francisco Diez, Ph.D, Professor of Food Safety and Microbiology in the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Minnesota. “Since poultry is especially likely to have salmonella or another pathogen called campylobacter that normally lives in the intestines of birds, it’s important to cook meat to the proper temperature,” says Dr. Diez.

He recommends using a food thermometer to cook the center of any type of meat or fish to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. “This temperature has sufficient heat to destroy harmful bacteria without overcooking so the meat stays tender and juicy.” Also wash your hands before and after handling meat, and avoid cross contamination by using separate cutting boards and knives for meat and produce.

When it comes to fresh produce, there are certain types that may be more susceptible to pathogens. Here is Dr. Diez’s list of top five at-risk produce, and how to protect yourself from illness.

alfalfa-sprouts-5901. Sprouts.

This type of plant, especially alfalfa sprouts, has been linked with E. coli and salmonella. It grows in wet, humid environments that make it easy for bacteria to thrive. The more bacteria on a plant, the greater your chances of getting sick.

How to stay safe:

Rinsing well may lower the bacteria count but not eliminate it. “If you’re healthy, your immune system can fight off small amounts of pathogens,” says Dr. Diez. He recommends those most susceptible to food-borne illness avoid sprouts, which includes children younger than 8, people older than 65, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems. If you eat sprouts, keep them refrigerated between 35 and 40 degrees to curb bacteria growth.

iceberglettuce2. Lettuce.

Though it’s not exactly clear why it may be more susceptible to contamination, one explanation is that the textured surface of lettuce leaves makes it easier for microbial cells to attach compared to smoother leaves, such as cabbage.

How to stay safe:

Remove the outer leaves on a head of lettuce before eating, and wash it thoroughly. You should submerge the entire head in a bowl of water and soak for a few minutes to loosen any soil, and run under regular water to help rinse away remaining particles.

3. Tomatoes.tomato

The juicy red fruit has been linked with regular but small outbreaks of salmonella, and experts aren’t sure exactly why. “Some people argue that the tomatoes might have been pre-washed with contaminated water that then got into the produce,” says Dr. Diez. “I wouldn’t recommend eliminating tomatoes from your diet because you can take precautions to prevent possible infection.”

How to stay safe:

If you’re eating tomatoes raw, be sure to wash thoroughly in plain water and use a towel to help to wipe away any remaining bacteria. Also, don’t buy tomatoes that are at all cut or bruised. When the skin of any vegetable is damaged, there’s more of a chance for bacteria to get into the product, and then there is no way to eliminate it unless you cook it to ensure pathogens get killed.

4. Melons.melon

Melons have a rugged surface, and pathogens may be more easily trapped in nooks and crannies. Plus, people often forget to wash this fruit since the fleshy part that you eat isn’t readily exposed to germs.

How to stay safe:

Bacteria gets transferred inside the flesh by knives when people cut through the rind of unwashed melons. Before you enjoy your summer cantaloupe or watermelon, be sure to thoroughly wash and scrub the outer surface with a soft produce brush.

5. Spinach.baby_spinach

Like lettuce and melons, spinach leaves‘ crinkly surface may make it more susceptible to bacteria. Also like other produce grown close to the ground, it may come into contact with contaminated animal feces.

How to stay safe:

Submerge spinach leaves in water and dry with a paper towel before eating to reduce your risk of pathogens, or serve cooked as a healthy side dish.

Information provided by Prevention.com

7 heart attack symptoms that Women often overlook

appleheart
Foodfacts.com looks into what signs Women may not want to avoid when it comes to their health and their heart’s. Conventional wisdom has it that heart attacks come out of the blue. We’re also trained to expect a heart attack to happen a certain way: The victim clutches his chest, writhes in pain, and collapses. But for women, it often doesn’t happen that way. Study after study shows heart attacks and heart disease are under-diagnosed in women, with the explanation being that they didn’t have symptoms.

But research shows that’s not the case. Women who’ve had heart attacks realize, looking back, that they experienced significant symptoms — they just didn’t recognize them as such.

In a study funded by the National Institutes of Health and published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association, 95 percent of women (that’s almost all!) who’d had heart attacks reported experiencing symptoms that were decidedly new or different from their previous experience a month or more before their attacks.

Even when a heart attack is occurring, women are often slow to realize what’s happening and call a doctor. The reason? Women’s heart attack symptoms are different than men’s. This failure to recognize heart attack signs in women has led to a grim statistic: Women are more likely to die from sudden cardiac death than men are, and two thirds of women who have a heart attack don’t recover completely.

To prevent a heart attack from sneaking up on you, watch for these 7 little-known signs of heart attack

The Top Little-Known Signs of Heart Attack

Fatigue. More than 70 percent of women in the NIH study reported extreme fatigue in the month or months prior to their heart attacks. This was not just your run-of-the-mill tiredness — the kind you can power through — this was an overwhelming fatigue that sidelined them from their usual schedules for a few days at a time.

Sleeplessness or Insomnia. Despite their fatigue, women who’ve had heart attacks remember experiencing unexplained inability to fall asleep or stay asleep during the month before their heart attacks.

Anxiety and Stress. Stress has long been known to up the risk of heart attack. But what women report is the emotional experience; before their heart attacks they felt anxious, stressed, and keyed up, noticeably more than usual. Moments before or during a heart attack, many women report a feeling they describe as “impending doom;” they’re aware that something’s drastically wrong and they can’t cope, but they’re not sure what’s going on.

Indigestion or Nausea. Stomach pain, intestinal cramps, nausea, and digestive disruptions are another sign reported by women heart attack patients. Become familiar with your own digestive habits, and pay attention when anything seems out of whack. Note especially if your system seems upset and you haven’t eaten anything out of the ordinary.

Shortness of Breath. Of the women in the NIH study, more than 40 percent remembered experiencing this symptom. One of the comments the women made is that they noticed they couldn’t catch their breath while walking up the stairs or doing other daily tasks.

Flu-Like Symptoms. Clammy, sweaty skin, along with feeling lightheaded and weak, can lead women to wonder if they have the flu when, in fact, they’re having a heart attack.

Jaw, Ear, Neck, or Shoulder Pain. While pain and numbness in the chest, shoulder, and arm is a common sign of heart attack (at least, among men), women often don’t experience the pain this way. Instead, many women say they felt pain and a sensation of tightness running along their jaw and down the neck, and sometimes up to the ear, as well. The pain may extend down to the shoulder and arm–particularly on the left side–or it may feel like a backache or pulled muscle in the neck and back.

In addition to the symptoms they do have, women differ from men in another significant way — they may not experience many of the symptoms we traditionally associate with heart attacks. This, experts say, is a major reason why women’s heart attacks go unrecognized and untreated. Almost half of all women in the NIH study felt no chest pain, even during the heart attack itself. Numbness is another symptom women may not experience, experts say.

If your body is doing unusual things and you just don’t feel “right,” don’t wait. Go see your doctor and ask for a thorough work-up. And if you have any risk factors for cardiac disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, or family history of heart disease, mention these to the doctor. Time is of the essence, so don’t count on medical staff to know your background or read your chart — tell them your risk factors right away, so your condition can be evaluated fully and completely.

Information provided by: Yahoo health

One in Twelve U.S. Children May suffer from Food Allergies

food-allergies-children
Foodfacts.com realizes that more and more children are now suffering from food allergies. Nearly 6 million U.S. children or about one in 12 kids are allergic to at least one food, with peanuts, milk and shellfish topping the list of the most common allergens, a new study finds.

Researchers conducted a nationally representative survey of the parents of more than 40,000 children. About 8 percent reported having a child who had a food allergy. Of those, about 30 percent said their child was allergic to multiple foods.

Among kids with food allergies, 25 percent were allergic to peanuts, 21 percent were allergic to milk and 17 percent had an allergy to shellfish. Those were followed by tree nuts (13 percent), eggs (nearly 10 percent), finned fish (6 percent), strawberries (5 percent), wheat (5 percent), and soy (just under 5 percent).

While the study was a snapshot of the prevalence of food allergies in America and did not track change over time, researchers said anecdotal evidence — including reports from schools and the numbers of patients coming in to allergists’ offices — suggests that the rate is rising.

“Eight percent is a pretty significant amount of kids,” said lead study author Dr. Ruchi Gupta, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University and a pediatrician at Children’s Memorial Hospital, both in Chicago. “We are seeing a lot more cases. We are seeing a lot more in schools than we used to see. It does seem that food allergy is on the rise.”

The study is published in the July issue of Pediatrics.

Allergic reactions to foods can range from mild to severe. In the survey, about 61 percent of food allergic children had a mild to moderate reaction, including swelling of the lips and face, hives, itching, flushing or an eczema flare.

The remaining 39 percent had a severe or even potentially life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis — wheezing and trouble breathing, vomiting, swelling, persistent coughing that indicates airway swelling and a dangerous drop in blood pressure.

The foods most commonly associated with a severe reaction included tree nuts and peanuts, shellfish, soy and finned fish.eatingpeanutsduringpregnancymayincreasechildrensriskoffoodallergies_2248_800211243_0_0_7052658_300

“Especially for kids with multiple food allergies, it complicates their lives and makes it really tough on these kids to avoid multiple foods to stay healthy and stay alive,” Gupta said.

Parents of children with food allergies should always carry antihistamine and an epinephrine shot (i.e., an EpiPen) with them, Gupta said. Even with those close at hand, witnessing a child having a serious food reaction can be terrifying for parents, who don’t know how bad it’s going to get and need to decide within moments whether to administer the shot and call 911.

Often, reactions happen when parents least expect them — while they’re at a family gathering or some other social event, and the child accidentally ingests something.

Dr. Susan Schuval, a pediatric allergist at Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y., agreed that food allergies seem to be getting more common.

“We are seeing tons and tons of food allergies. There also seems to be an increase from what we’ve seen in the past,” Schuval said.

Right now, the only treatment available to most food allergic kids is avoidance. For parents and children, that means paying close attention to labels, taking precautions when eating out, bringing along their own food when they travel or go to social events such as birthday parties. It also means educating teachers, caregivers and other parents who may have their kids over to play about using an epinephrine shot and the seriousness of the allergy.

“They need to maintain their full alertness out of the home, in the schools and in restaurants,” Schuval said.

For some children, food allergies get better over time. Previous research has found many kids outgrow allergies to milk, egg, soy and wheat. Fewer outgrow peanut, tree nut, fish and shellfish allergies.

A wheat allergy is different from celiac disease, in which wheat cannot be digested properly and, over time, damages the lining of the intestines.

For more information on food allergies and how to avoid them check out blog.foodfacts.com.

Information provided by: MSN News