‘How we produce and consume food has a bigger impact on Americans’ well-being than any other human activity. The food industry is the largest sector of our economy; food touches everything from our health to the environment, climate change, economic inequality and the federal budget. Yet we have no food policy — no plan or agreed-upon principles — for managing American agriculture or the food system as a whole.
That must change.
The food system and the diet it’s created have caused incalculable damage to the health of our people and our land, water and air. If a foreign power were to do such harm, we’d regard it as a threat to national security, if not an act of war, and the government would formulate a comprehensive plan and marshal resources to combat it. (The administration even named an Ebola czar to respond to a disease that threatens few Americans.) So when hundreds of thousands of annual deaths are preventable — as the deaths from the chronic diseases linked to the modern American way of eating surely are — preventing those needless deaths is a national priority.’
- John Oliver On Sugar: It’s In Everything!
- Parasites, Killing Their Host: The Food Industry’s Solution to Obesity
- Food Giants Are Getting People Addicted to Their Food: Interview with Michael Moss
- Salt Sugar Fat: NY Times Reporter Michael Moss on How the Food Giants Hooked America on Junk Food
- U.S. income inequality, on rise for decades, is now highest since 1928
- The Hands That Feed Us: Challenges and Opportunities for Workers Along the Food Chain
- A Potential Decline in Life Expectancy in the United States in the 21st Century
‘If Britain’s big supermarkets fondly imagined that they’d come roaring back to health once the recession ended, then they’ve been sorely disappointed. Instead, as the new Sainsbury’s chief executive, Mike Coupe, put it: “The reality is that the market has changed more rapidly in the last three to six months than I’ve seen in my 30 years in the industry.”
And Sainsbury’s isn’t even the company most in trouble. Tesco has been caught cooking its books in order to make its fall in profits look slightly less vertiginous. The conventional wisdom is that this is all because shoppers are flocking to Aldi and Lidl. Maybe that’s part of it. But figures from August confirm that the big four – Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons – still have a market share of nearly 75%. Between them, Aldi and Lidl have 8.4%. The real difference is that, with their pared-down approach, those two sell at a decent profit.
The success of Aldi and Lidl does mean something, of course. But I suspect that Britain’s changing grocery habits are the consequence of much more than mere bargain hunting. As a society, we are a bit different post-recession. I think a lot of people’s lives and priorities have changed.’
‘[…] Livestock thefts have increased on British farms during the past few years, and jumped again by 24% last year. According to figures from the insurance company NFU Mutual, which insures around three quarters of the UK’s farmers, around 90,000 animals were stolen last year – mostly sheep, though pigs and cattle have also been targeted – costing farmers £6.5m. The word rustling sounds almost quaint, with its connotations of centuries-old mischiefs, or wild west-style lawlessness, but it can be hugely damaging to many farmers’ livelihoods, has serious welfare issues for the animals taken and could have terrible consequences if diseases are spread. It can even affect the health of the customers who buy illegal meat.’
‘A packaging-free supermarket has opened in Berlin, targeting eco-minded consumers by positioning itself as a “zero waste” store.
The concept of “Original Unverpackt” is simple: there is none of the usual superfluous supermarket packaging which either requires extreme levels of urban recycling or results in waste.
Instead, customers bring their own containers (tubs and recycled bags can be bought at the store) and help themselves to dry goods and non-foodstuff items which are stored in giant bins and dispensers.’
‘A team of researchers from Lund University in Sweden has identified a unique group of 13 lactic acid bacteria (LAB) that come from the honey stomach of bees, and are found in fresh honey, that have an impressive ability to fight pathogens. The honey stomach is one of two stomachs found in bees, and it stores nectar, which worker bees later suck out and store in the hive.
Together, these live bacteria produce a number of active microbial compounds, such as hydrogen peroxide, fatty acids and anaesthetics, that can kill other harmful bacteria – it’s believed that this is the formula that protects the bee colony against collapse. Unfortunately, these LAB are processed out of the honey we buy in shops, but the researchers now believe they could be used to help treat anitibiotic resistance.’
‘The last 12 months have seen a surge of attacks against the EU’s precautionary principle. Some law firms consider it as a potential obstacle to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and UK Conservative MEP Julie Girling considers that “the EU’s expanding embrace of `precautionary’ regulation… may well be the biggest threat” to an agreement being signed off.
Last October, 12 CEOs of mainly chemical companies wrote to the presidents of the European Commission, Council and Parliament, calling for the formal adoption of an “innovation principle” as a counterbalance to “precautionary legislation”, because they were concerned that “the necessary balance of precaution and proportion is increasingly being replaced by a simple reliance on the precautionary principle and the avoidance of technological risk.’
- Report: Late lessons from early warnings: science, precaution, innovation
- Constructing “Sound Science” and “Good Epidemiology”: Tobacco, Lawyers, and Public Relations Firms
- A reply to a “common sense” intervention by toxicology journal editors
- Deficits in US and European chemicals legislation
- WHO/UNEP Report: Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals
- Berlaymont Declaration on Endocrine Disrupters
- Conservative MEP: The Junk Science Threat to Free Trade
‘Pesticide drift is a serious concern for organic farmers and they’ve come up with several defences, such as buffer strips. Twelve states are part of a registry of farms that tips off aerial and ground sprayers to areas they need to avoid. The aerial spraying industry and pesticide manufacturers, meanwhile, say they’ve made big strides in controlling drift through pilot education and new technologies.
Organic and specialty crop growers are trying to profit off the rising consumer interest in locally grown, natural foods. But those smaller farms are often islands surrounded by a sea of conventionally grown crops that get sprayed with herbicides, insecticides and fungicides.’
Editor’s Note: Long may the slump continue. Why so many people are obsessed with the shite that McDonald’s serves has always been baffling. I hear people say “it’s great hangover food” but the last time I had some of their “food” it gave me a bloody hangover! And it’s not just the food that leaves you feeling sick, it’s the company as a whole and the way it has operated over the years.
‘McDonald’s posted its worst monthly sales decline in more than a decade in August, according to new figures the company released Tuesday, as same-store sales dropped precipitously in Asia and ebbed across the rest of the world.
Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa led the downturn, with a 14.5% drop in sales in August. The overall sales drop of 3.7% was the worst since February of 2003, the Wall Street Journal reports. Sales fell fastest in China and Japan, after news broke of a supplier in Shanghai attempting to pass off expired meat to its customers, most prominently, McDonald’s.’
- McDonald’s Monthly Sales Slump Worst Since 2003
- McDonald’s Is Losing the Happy Meal Crowd
- McDonald’s sales hit by China meat scandal
- Fast food workers fight for $15 minimum wage
- Consumer Reports: McDonald’s burger ranked worst in the U.S.
- Nutritionists’ Annual Confab Was Catered for by McDonald’s
- The Onion Creates An Advert for McDonald’s
- This Is How McDonald’s Makes Chicken McNuggets
- Happy Meal shows no sign of decomposing after 6 months
- McDonald’s and PepsiCo to help write UK health policy
- Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us (Book)
- Fast Food Nation (Book)
- Super Size Me (Documentary)
‘People often ask me, “How does lobbying work?” Last week it was with fat and sugar, when the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) hosted its 32nd annual Capitol Hill Ice Cream Party. Some 6,000 bowls of ice cream were served up to Sen.Tom Harkin, Reps. Pete Sessions, Robert Aderholt, Jeff Denham, John Shimkus, Ron Kind and Lamar Smith, among others, according to Politico.
Dairy lobbyists are ever present in Washington, and their efforts usually pay off. For example, last year when the IDFA implored the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to give dairy foods a pass in the new snack food guidelines for schools, the agency capitulated, opening school doors to even more junk food, such as YoCrunch Lowfat Yogurt with M&Ms.
This is just one of many examples I uncovered in a report I published last month, “Whitewashed: How Industry and Government Promote Dairy Junk Foods” (PDF). The dairy industry, propped up by government, has convinced us of the health benefits of milk and other dairy products. The assumption that eating dairy is essential to the diet has obstructed our ability to criticize federal government support for unhealthy dairy products, of which there are many.
One of the most important forms of government support is the federally mandated collection of industry fees for checkoff programs that promote milk and dairy.’
- How the US Government Helps McDonald’s Sell Junk Food
- ‘Dairy junk foods’ under fire in report highlighting dramatic shift in dairy consumption patterns
- Whitewashed: How Industry and Government Promote Dairy Junk Foods
- How Smart are School Snacks? A Closer Look at New USDA Rules
- Sorry, McWilliams, the New York Times got the USDA cheese story right
- The Times exposes the craziness of the junk-food industry/USDA alliance
- Dairy Manufacturers Commend USDA for Recognizing Importance of Dairy Products as Snacks in Schools
- Dietary Sugars Intake and Cardiovascular Health: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association
‘[…] The findings are likely to embarrass ministers. The Guardian understands they are similar to conclusions in the interim report submitted last year highlighting the impact of deep spending cuts on frontline enforcement and inspection in the food industry. It said confusion reigned when the horsemeat scandal broke because the coalition had stripped the FSA of overall responsibility for the integrity of food.
The report concluded that the industry’s own audits were inadequate to protect the public and that unless audits were unannounced, they were of little value. He also told a conference of food experts in May he had been warned by a senior civil servant that his report into the horsemeat scandal was so hard-hitting the government might want to bury it. This week, he declined to comment other than to say he was still awaiting notification of the publication date.’
‘Gone are the peaceful afternoons of waiting for a fish to bite the line. The seafood industry is a vicious and brutal one, both for animals and humans. Farmed fish are subjected to terrible lives, wild fish are caught unfairly and mindlessly, and all face inhumane deaths. Even humans are enslaved to put cheap shrimp on your dinner table. Here are just a few reasons why you should think twice about eating fish, or go out and catch it yourself.’
‘Medical experts urged the health service to “get its house in order” and clear its hospitals of junk food companies such as Burger King and Subway and coffee shops selling muffins and high-sugar drinks. Simon Stevens, the head of NHS England, said the health service had to take “hard-nosed action” to end the sale of junk food in hospitals, to help tackle the obesity crisis. Health campaigners said they were particularly disturbed by the march of Costa Coffee, which has recently come under fire for selling fruit drinks with four times the recommended daily sugar limits.
The investigation by The Sunday Telegraph found 92 branches of the company among the 160 NHS trusts, alongside a host of burger chains, pizzerias, muffin shops and patisseries. The latest figures show that two- thirds of Britons are overweight or obese. A leading cardiologist said allowing companies such as Burger King, Subway and Greggs bakeries to operate from NHS premises was damaging the health of staff, patients and visitors. Senior managers at some of the hospitals said they wanted to close fast-food outlets, but faced being stung by financial penalties from their subcontractors.’
‘The toxins that contaminated the water supply of the city of Toledo – leaving 400,000 people without access to safe drinking water for two days – were produced by a massive algae boom. But this is not a natural disaster.
Water problems in the Great Lakes – the world’s largest freshwater system – have spiked in the last three years, largely because of agricultural pollution. Toledo draws its drinking water from Lake Erie.
…The main cause for such algal blooms is an overload of phosphorus, which washes into lakes from commercial fertiliser used by farming operations as well as urban water-treatment centres. Hotter and longer summers also promote the spread of the blue-green scum.’
- Water ban over, Toledo drinks from tap again; Erie algae a big problem
- Toledo mayor lifts drinking water ban affecting 400,000 residents
- Behind Ohio drinking-water ban, a Lake Erie mystery
- Bottled water sells out amid state of emergency
- A Balanced Diet for Lake Erie: Reducing Phosphorus Loadings and Harmful Algal Blooms (LEEP Report)
- Earth is in the early stages of a sixth mass extinction, says the journal Science
‘Writing in the New England Journal of Medicine last year, Dr Harlan Krumholz, professor of medicine at Yale, described a syndrome that starts to develop close to discharge from hospital. Physiological systems are impaired, reserves are depleted, and the body cannot effectively mitigate health threats. It is instructive to note that this syndrome – created by the stressful hospital environment – is a significant contributor to hospital re-admissions. It is estimated that 10-20% of patients discharged from hospital in the UK and US will be re-admitted within 30 days, often with a condition entirely unrelated to their original admission. Poor sleep and inadequate nutrition have an adverse effect on physical performance and co-ordination, cognitive function, immunity, and even cardiac risk. The elderly are particularly vulnerable to being re-admitted with falls and infection, with one study revealing that a fifth of hospitalised patients over 65 had an average nutrient intake of less than 50% of their daily requirements.
[…] A culture of over-investigation and over-treatment is now one of the greatest threats to western health. In the US it is estimated that a third of all healthcare activity brings no benefit to patients. Examples include excessive use of antibiotics, imaging for non-sinister headaches, use of surgery when watchful waiting is better and unwanted intensive care for patients at the end of life who would prefer hospice and home care. In the US, a fee-for-service model encourages high volume and expensive procedures. But we should be alert to similar possibilities here: the UK’s “payment by results” – which in reality is a payment-by-activity model – potentially incentivises “doing more” on the part of physicians. As a profession we have also been guilty – unwittingly or otherwise – of exaggerating the benefits of medications often perceived as magic pills by patients when their benefits are often modest at best. This also detracts from more meaningful lifestyle interventions by giving the public the illusion of protection.’
‘Two-thirds of fresh retail chicken in the UK is contaminated with campylobacter, a nasty bug that affects about 280,000 people a year.’ (The Guardian)
‘The McDonald’s cheeseburger will have its day in court. Russia’s consumer protection agency has filed a claim accusing the restaurant chain of violating government nutritional and safety codes in a number of its burger and ice cream products, a Moscow court announced Friday.
The suit could temporarily ban the production and sale of the chain’s ice cream, milkshakes, cheeseburgers, and Filet-o-Fish and chicken sandwiches, said Yekaterina Korotova, a spokeswoman for Moscow’s Tverskoi District Court, where the case will be heard.
“We have identified violations which put the product quality and safety of the entire McDonald’s chain in doubt,” Anna Popova, the head of Rospotrebnadzor, Russia’s consumer protection agency, said in statements reported by the Interfax news agency.’
‘Washington State University researchers say ancestral exposures to the pesticide methoxychlor may lead to adult onset kidney disease, ovarian disease and obesity in future generations. “What your great-grandmother was exposed to during pregnancy, like the pesticide methoxychlor, may promote a dramatic increase in your susceptibility to develop disease, and you will pass this on to your grandchildren in the absence of any continued exposures,” says Michael Skinner, WSU professor and founder of its Center for Reproductive Biology. He and his colleagues document their findings in a paper published online in PLOS ONE.
Methoxychlor — also known as Chemform, Methoxo, Metox or Moxie — was introduced in 1948 and widely used during the 1970s as a safer replacement for DDT. It was used on crops, ornamental plants, livestock and pets. It is still used in many countries around the world. It was banned in the U.S. in 2003 due to its toxicity and ability to disrupt endocrine systems. Methoxychlor can behave like the hormone estrogen and profoundly affects the reproductive system.’
‘Walk through your local grocery store these days and you’ll see the words “all natural” emblazoned on a variety of food packages. The label is lucrative, for sure, but in discussing the natural label few have remarked on what’s really at stake — the natural ingredients and the companies themselves.
If you take a look at some of the favorite organic and natural food brands, you’ll see they’re owned by some of the largest conventional companies in the world. Coca-Cola owns Odwalla and Honest Tea. PepsiCo. owns Naked Juice. General Mills owns Lara Bar. Natural and organic food acquisitions aside, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and General Mills all opposed California’s GMO Proposition 37 that would require GMO food labeling. Today, some of those companies touting an all-natural list of grains and sugars can be seen changing the ingredients in their natural food products as the natural foods’ distribution channels are pushed to larger and larger markets.’
- The Big Green Buyout
- Organic Processing Industry Structure
- Cereal Crimes: How “Natural” Claims Deceive Consumers and Undermine the Organic Label
- The word “natural” helps sell $40 billion worth of food in the U.S. every year—and the label means nothing
- Salt Sugar Fat: NY Times Reporter Michael Moss on How the Food Giants Hooked America on Junk Food
- Food Giants Are Getting People Addicted to Their Food: Interview with Michael Moss
‘A supplier to McDonald’s and KFC in China has been accused of supplying rotting meat to the fast-food chains and falsifying product expiration dates, in the latest food safety scandal to hit the country. It is also the latest blow to foreign fast food companies operating in the country, where promises of rapid growth – there are more than 4,400 KFC restaurants alone – are being undermined by food safety issues.
The Shanghai food safety watchdog said on Monday it had closed a meat and poultry processor on the outskirts of the city after an undercover investigation by a local television station found the company to be putting new labels on expired meat, among other food safety violations. KFC and McDonald’s, both of which used the US-owned meat processor to supply their Shanghai outlets, apologised to their Chinese customers.’
‘Coca-Cola, the world’s largest beverage producer, has been ordered to shut down its bottling plant in Varanasi, India following local complaints that the company was drawing excessive amounts of groundwater. After an investigation, government authorities ruled that the company had violated its operating license.
…This is not the first time that the company has been in trouble in India for unsustainable water extraction practices. In 2004 a bottling plant in Plachimada, Kerala, was closed for excessive water consumption. Later Kerala passed legislation that allows Coca-Cola to be sued for as much as $47 million in damages as result of the operations. And last year, community organizers in Charba, Uttarakhand, defeated Coca-Cola’s plans to build a new factory as soon as the proposal went public.’
- Coca-Cola’s Varanasi plant shut after pollution board order
- Authorities Cancel License for Coca-Cola’s Mehdiganj Plant
- Opposition Grows to Coca-Cola’s Expansion Plans and Current Operations
- War On Want: Coca-Cola – The Alternative Report
- Coca-Cola just part of India’s water ‘free-for-all’
- CSE Report on Pesticides in soft drinks
- Report on Pesticide Residues and Safety Standards of Beverages Makers
- Criticism of Coca-Cola
‘Organic food really is better for your health than its conventional counterparts. At least, that’s the conclusion of a new study conducted by researchers at Newcastle University and published this week. But not everyone is convinced. Specifically, the researchers said that organic fruits, vegetables and cereals contain significantly higher concentrations of antioxidants than conventionally grown crops. They added that organic produce and cereals were found to have lower levels of toxic metals and pesticides.
For the study — said to be the largest of its kind — the researchers analyzed more than 340 international, peer-reviewed studies that looked at compositional differences between organic and conventional crops. According to the paper, researchers found that organically grown produce and cereals have between 19 and 69 percent higher concentrations of certain antioxidant compounds than conventionally grown crops.’
- Organic vs non-organic food
- Study sparks organic foods debate
- Is organic food healthier? Many scientists are still skeptical
- Clear differences between organic and non-organic food, study finds
- Mythbusting 101: Organic Farming > Conventional Agriculture
- Organic Food vs. Conventional Food
- Is Organic Better? Ask a Fruit Fly
- Antioxidants: Beyond the Hype
- Stop forcing veg down our throats
- Why can’t we farm without chemicals like my grandfather did?
- Women who eat organic foods no less likely to develop cancer, research finds
- Study: Vegetarians Less Healthy, Lower Quality Of Life Than Meat-Eaters
- Nutritional quality of organic foods: a systematic review
- Fruit and Soil Quality of Organic and Conventional Strawberry Agroecosystems
- FSA: Comparison of putative health effects of organically andconventionally produced foodstuffs
- Seven-Year Neurodevelopmental Scores and Prenatal Exposure to Chlorpyrifos, a Common Agricultural Pesticide
- Soil Association Organic Market Report 2013
- Organic Pesticides: Not An Oxymoron
- Five myths about organic food
- Whole Foods: America’s Temple of Pseudoscience
- Whole Foods paying $800,000 for overcharging in California
‘The rapid emergence of nanotechnology suggests that size does, indeed, matter. It turns out that if you break common substances like silver and nickel into really, really tiny particles—measured in nanometers, which are billionths of a meter—they behave in radically different ways. For example, regular silver, the stuff of fancy tableware, doesn’t have any obvious place in sock production. But nano-size silver particles apparently do. According to boosters, when embedded in the fabric of socks, microscopic silver particles are “strongly antibacterial to a wide range of pathogens, absorb sweat, and by killing bacteria help eliminate unpleasant foot odor.” (By most definitions, a particle qualifies as “nano” when it’s 100 nanometers wide or less. By contrast, a human hair clocks in at about 80,000 nanometers in diameter.)
According to the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN)—a joint venture of Virginia Tech and the Wilson Center—there are more than 1,600 nanotechnology-based consumer products on the market today. If SmartSilver Anti-Odor Nanotechnology Underwear sounds like a rather intimate application for this novel technology, consider that the PEN database lists 96 food items currently on US grocery shelves that contain unlabeled nano ingredients. Examples include Silk Original Soy Milk, Rice Dream Rice Drink, Hershey’s Bliss Dark Chocolate, and Kraft’s iconic American Cheese Singles, all of which now contain nano-size titanium dioxide*. As recently as 2008, only eight US food products were known to contain nanoparticles, according to a recent analysis from Friends of the Earth—a more than tenfold increase in just six years.’
‘Resistance to antibiotics is a growing phenomenon and has become one of the world’s most serious public health concerns. Antibiotic resistance is a form of drug resistance where some bacteria are able to survive the administration of one or more antibiotics. This phenomenon is a consequence of misuse and overuse of antibiotics in medicine and in livestock feed. As a result of this, there is a growing presence of superbugs, as are called microorganisms -mostly bacteria- that carry several antibiotic-resistance genes.
The seriousness of the problem is underscored by the World Health Organization (WHO), which in a recent report has called this phenomenon a ‘global threat.’ The WHO report follows a 2013 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report which showed that two million people in the U.S. are infected annually with antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and 23,000 people die each year from them. Last year, Dr. Sally Davies had called the problem a “ticking time bomb” and said that it probably will become as important in the magnitude of its effects as climate change.
As a result of antibiotic resistance and the increasing number of superbugs, common infections that could be treated without major problems have become untreatable. In 2012, the WHO reported 450,000 cases of tuberculosis in 92 countries where multiple drugs used to treat them were found ineffective.’
- A Superbug Resistant to ‘Last-Resort’ Antibiotics Has Made Its Way into the Food Supply
- WHO: Antibiotic Resistance Worse Health Crisis Than AIDS
- Antibiotic-resistant superbugs are officially a global threat
- Antibiotics Are Becoming Ineffective All Over the World, Why? Interview with Martin Khor
- Outbreak Of Drug-Resistant Bacteria Linked To Lutheran General Hospital
- Antibiotic-Resistant Infections Lead to 23,000 Deaths a Year, C.D.C. Finds
- Probiotics May Protect Against Drug-Resistant Superbug, Study Finds
- A Brief History of the Antibiotic Era: Lessons Learned and Challenges for the Future
‘Young children who dig into a bowl of fortified breakfast cereal may be getting too much of a good thing. A new report says that “millions of children are ingesting potentially unhealthy amounts” of vitamin A, zinc and niacin, with fortified breakfast cereals the leading source of the excessive intake because all three nutrients are added in amounts calculated for adults.
Outdated nutritional labeling rules and misleading marketing by food manufacturers who use high fortification levels to make their products appear more nutritious fuel this potential risk, according to the report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a Washington, D.C.-based health research and advocacy organization.’
‘[…] Old TV shows and movies depicted 21st century food as nutrient-dense capsules, giving you a day’s worth of calories and nutrients in a single pill – and two new companies are close to bringing that prediction to reality.
These California-based companies – Soylent, named after the 1973 science fiction film “Soylent Green,” and Ambronite – have both developed meal replacement mixes that are intended to free you from the burden of cooking. Simply mix the powder with water or any liquid and, in the case of Soylent, a little oil, and you have a ready-to-drink nutritious breakfast, lunch or dinner.’
- How I Ate No Food for 30 Days
- The folly of thinking real food is replaceable
- Soylent Is Like A Productivity Cheat Code
- A Transhumanist Wants to Feed DIY Soylent to Starving Children
- Here’s What You Get When You Order A Month’s Worth Of Soylent
- Could you live off Soylent for a month?
- Soylent: Is the ‘Food of the Future’ Really a Nutrition Solution?
- Nestle is developing a Soylent-like “nutrient Nespresso”
- My week on Soylent: ‘I was irritable, grumpy and a general pain in the arse’
‘Between 2000 and 2010, a total of 500 million acres of land in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean was acquired or negotiated under deals brokered on behalf of foreign governments or transnational corporations. Many such deals are geared toward growing crops or biofuels for export to richer, developed countries – with the consequence that small-holder farmers are displaced from their land and lose their livelihood while local communities go hungry.
The concentration of ownership of the world’s farmland in the hands of powerful investors and corporations is rapidly accelerating, driven by resource scarcity and, thus, rising prices. According to a new report by the US land rights organisation Grain: “The powerful demands of food and energy industries are shifting farmland and water away from direct local food production to the production of commodities for industrial processing.” Less known factors, however, include ‘conservation‘ and ‘carbon offsetting.”
- Land taken over by foreign investors could feed 550m people, study finds
- Conservation vs Communities – The Plight of the Sengwer
- Indigenous Kenyans evicted in the name of ‘conservation’
- Kenyan families flee Embobut forest to avoid forced evictions by police
- Ogiek are violently evicted from ancestral home in Kenya
- Kenyan Government torches hundreds of Sengwer homes in the forest glades in Embobut
- How the World Bank is implicated in today’s Embobut Evictions
- Status of Forest Carbon Rights and Implications for Communities, the Carbon Trade, and REDD+ Investments
‘There is fierce debate about the role of added sugar in contributing to the obesity crisis. UK government scientists today halved the recommended level of added sugar people should eat each day. And the World Health Organization has also said people should aim to get just 5% of their daily calories from the sweet stuff. But calculating how much sugar we eat is not as simple as it sounds.
Sugar is sugar – right? Not quite. Health professionals take a dim view of sugars added to processed food but say that naturally occurring sweetness in milk and fruit is largely fine, with the exception of juice. Current advice says no more than 11% of a person’s daily food calories should come from added sugars, or 10% once alcohol is taken into account. That works out at about 50g of sugars for a woman and 70g for a man, depending on how active they are. And it’s this level which has just been halved in a draft report by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition. But look at the back of a food packet and you’ll see a guideline amount for total sugars – including those naturally occurring in fruit and other ingredients.’
‘Technology originally designed for the U.S. military now has a second use: helping those with tremors eat and live better.
A high-tech spoon — fitted with a tiny computer and sensors such as those in a camera or cellphone — softens the effect of essential tremors by sensing their direction and strength and moving the device in the opposite direction.
“In some ways, it seems too simple to be true,” said Dr. Kelvin Chou, a University of Michigan neurologist and essential tremors specialist whose patients helped test the device. For essential tremor patients, simple daily activities — eating, applying makeup — can be impossible.’
‘Buzzwords like “gluten-free,” “antioxidants” and “whole-grain” pepper the grocery store aisles, but do they really mean that such products are healthy? A recent study conducted at the University of Houston warns shoppers to proceed with caution. Researchers say these health-related euphemisms have a powerful impact on consumers and, in light of the actual ingredients in some of these products, could convey a false sense of health.
…Although the FDA requires Nutrition Information labels in the United States and similar labeling systems are seen in other countries, Northup’s research concludes they have little effect on consumers. “Words like organic, antioxidant, natural and gluten-free imply some sort of healthy benefit,” Northup said. “When people stop to think about it, there’s nothing healthy about Antioxidant Cherry 7-Up — it’s mostly filled with high fructose syrup or sugar. But its name is giving you this clue that there is some sort of health benefit to something that is not healthy at all.”‘