GilmerFreePress.net

New Way to Identify Pesticide-Free, Non-GMO Food

The Gilmer Free Press

Organic farmers can have their products certified at a cost less than the USDA’s certification program

Eco-conscious shoppers now have an alternative to organic food that has been certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as Certified Naturally Grown (CNG). The equally pesticide-free method of farming is being used by a growing number of small farmers who cannot afford the expense of getting an organic certification from the USDA.

Naturally grown produce, considered to be the grassroots alternative to certified organic agriculture, requires a national certification by the CNG. The CNG conducts rigorous oversight to assure that all food labeled Certified Naturally Grown is grown without the use of synthetic chemicals or GMOs.

“Certified Naturally Grown is like the USDA’s National Organic Program in that our certified producers must follow similar standards, farm without the use of synthetic chemical inputs or GMOs, and farm to support biological diversity and ecological balance,” Alice Varon, CNG executive director, told Mother Earth News.

Some benefits of the CNG certification include the facts that it costs less and takes less time to get compared to the USDA’s certified organic program. The CNG’s certification and inspection documentation is also available online, thus simplifying the paperwork process for participating farms.

“The cost of the new USDA program—both in terms of money and paperwork requirements—is too much for many small farmers to afford,” according to the CNG website. “This is even more true for farmers that grow a wide range of crops all at once, typical of the diversified family farms we serve, but not common among the large mono-crop farms typical of agribusiness operations. This is a shame, because growing many different crops at once is a safer and more ecologically sustainable practice. The soil is worked in different ways, and disease and pest problems are significantly reduced.”

There are currently more than 700 CNG farms and apiaries in North America.

Awareness is growing among the public regarding the importance of eating organic, naturally grown food. However, many people still may not realize the sheer quantity of toxic pesticides found in conventionally grown produce. A recent study conducted by scientists at the University of Washington School of Public Health and published in Environmental Health Perspectives shows just how much pesticides conventional produce contains. The government-funded report looked at individuals who ate similar amounts of fruits and vegetables, and found that those who reported eating organic produce had significantly lower levels of organophosphate (OP) pesticides in their bodies compared with people who ate conventionally grown produce.

“For most Americans, diet is the primary source of OP pesticide exposure,” said lead author Cynthia Curl, who conducted the research while a PhD student at the School of Public Health’s Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences. Curl is now an assistant professor at Boise State University’s School of Allied Health Sciences. “The study suggests that by eating organically grown versions of those foods high in pesticide residues, we can make a measurable difference in the levels of pesticides in our bodies.”

Organic or naturally grown food not only contributes to healthier people, it can help reverse climate change. According to the white paper, Regenerative Organic Agriculture and Climate Change: A Down-to-Earth Solution to Global Warming,“We could sequester more than 100% of current annual CO2 emissions with a switch to widely available and inexpensive organic management practices, which we term ‘regenerative organic agriculture.’”

Recalls Issued Over Listeria Linked to Frozen Spinach

The Gilmer Free Press

SAN FRANCISCO — Three organic food companies that use spinach in their food have recalled hundreds of thousands of items over listeria concerns.

Organic food company Amy’s Kitchen has voluntarily recalled about 74,000 cases of frozen and prepackaged products containing spinach.

It comes after one of Amy’s suppliers issued a recall notice saying the Petaluma-based company may have received organic spinach possibly tainted with the bacteria that causes listeria.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials are aware of the recall.

The disease can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.

Although healthy individuals may suffer only short-term symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhea, listeria infection can cause miscarriages and stillbirths among pregnant women

The company reports it has not had any complaints of illnesses from the products being recalled in the United States and Canada.

The recalled items include vegetable lasagna, tofu vegetable lasagna, garden vegetable lasagna, tofu scramble, enchilada verde meal, spinach pizza, brown rice and vegetables owl, stuffed pasta shells bowl, gluten-free tofu scramble and the breakfast wrap.

Rochester-based Wegmans Food Markets is recalling roughly 12,540 packages of Wegmans organic spinach due to possible contamination with listeria. The 12-ounce product was sold in the frozen food department of the company’s 85 stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, and Massachusetts between Jan. 27, and March 21. This product is supplied to Wegmans by Twin City Foods in Stanwood, Wash. A representative from that company said he would have comment later Tuesday.

On Monday, Carmel Food Group today issued a voluntary recall of certain Rising Moon Organics frozen ravioli items over the same concern.

The Hayward, Calif.-based company did not say how many packages or cases of the ravioli were produced with the ingredient in question or how widespread their recall is.

Also Tuesday, federal authorities said Blue Bell is expanding the recall of some ice cream products to include 3-ounce cups of chocolate, strawberry and vanilla ice cream that have tab lids because of possible exposure to the listeria bacteria.

The Blue Bell creamery in Brenham, Texas, earlier this month recalled several other products made on the same production line after listeria was detected. Five people developed listeriosis in Kansas after eating Blue Bell products and the FDA says three of them died.

HealthTip™: How Processed Foods Can Be a Disaster for Your Health

Used in mayonnaise and sauces,
emulsifiers could raise your blood sugar and make you fat

Processed foods are suspected of causing a variety of heath issues. Foods high in sugar and refined carbohydrates, for example, are known to cause high blood sugar and obesity. But recent research has uncovered an entirely new mechanism by which many metabolic disorders can be triggered. Certain additives that are commonly used in processed foods are being shown to impact health, at least in mice, by altering the body’s population of bacteria that live in the gut. Collectively referred to the microbiome, the importance of this bacterial community of millions is just beginning to be understood.

Research published last September demonstrated that artificial sweeteners can raise blood sugar levels in mice, stimulate their appetites, and possibly lead to obesity and diabetes. The artificial sweeteners appear to create these conditions by changing the micriobiome’s composition.  

Last month, a different set of researchwas published that also suggested a disease pathway mediated by microbiome disturbance. This time, commonly used food additives called emulsifiers are the culprits.

Emulsifiers help keep sauces smooth and ice cream creamy, they hold dressings together and prevent mayonnaise from separating into oil and water. The new research gives reason to suspect that emulsifiers could raise your blood sugar, make you fat and even make your butt hurt.

The Gilmer Free Press

The study, published in Nature, looked at two common emulsifiers, Polysorbate 80 and carboxymethylcellulose (CMC), and found a range of metabolic problems that appeared in mice who were given water dosed with these chemicals in quantities proportional to what a human might consume. The mice who drank either emulsifier tended to eat more, gain weight and develop conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, colitis and metabolic syndrome, which is a range of pre-diabetic conditions.

The effects of these additives were dependent on the dosage; the more emulsifier the mice consumed, the worse off they were. A control group drank water laced with a common preservative, sodium sulfite, and did not show any negative effects on the gut.

The team found that the bacterial diversity of the mice microbiomes were altered. They also discovered the mucous membrane of the gut was thinner in mice who were fed emulsifiers. The thinner mucous membrane allowed the microbes closer to the gut wall than they would normally get, they wrote, which could cause the observed inflammation of the gut wall, and diseases like irritable bowel syndrome.

John Coupland, a professor of food science at Penn State University, thinks this research could be a game changer, providing it can be shown that these emulsifiers can do to humans what they do to mice. “[It] really challenges a lot of the way we think about assessing toxicology and nutritional value of foods,” he said in an email.

Coupland noted that Polysorbate 80 and CMC are very different molecules. While Polysorbate 80 is small, and doesn’t carry an electrical charge, CMC is large, and charged. These molecules are not only built differently, but they behave differently, he said, pointing out that CMC is technically not even an emulsifier, but a thickener that makes emulsions more stable. That they both cause similar microbial disruptions, mucous reductions and associated health problems is a striking discovery.  

In an email interview, the study’s co-author, Benoit Chassaing, acknowledged that CMC is more of a thickener than an emulsifier, but noted that it does have emulsification properties, due to its charge. He suspects the resulting emulsifying activity is to blame.

I asked how they originally thought to look at emulsifiers. Chassaing explained:

“The incidence of IBD and metabolic syndrome has been markedly increasing since about the mid-20th century, and this dramatic increase has occurred amidst constant human genetics, suggesting a pivotal role for an environmental factor. We considered that any modern additions to the food supply might play an important role, and addition of emulsifiers to food seems to fit the time frame of increased incidence in these diseases.

“We hypothesized that emulsifiers might impact the gut microbiota to promote these inflammatory diseases and designed experiments in mice to test this possibility.“

The team is currently investigating other common emulsifiers, aiming to identify any others that might cause microbial disturbances, or inflammation of the gut. Carrageenan, Chassaing noted, has already been foundto cause inflammatory bowel disease in rats. Extracted from seaweed, carrageenan is widely used in processed “natural” foods. Like CMC, carrageenan is more of a thickener than an emulsifier, but is, like CMC, on the spectrum of additives that exhibit emulsifying properties.

One molecule his team is currently investigating is lecithin, which is a true emulsifier. Like carrageenan, lecithin is used in many “natural” processed products. If lecithin shows similar activity to carrageenan, CMC, and Polysorbate 80, it would cast a shadow over many, many processed food formulations. Organic processed foods are still processed foods. Organic approved additives like carrageenan can still give you ulcerative colitis.

Food additives are tested for certain toxilogical activities, like the ability to cause cancer, or to cause a mouse to instantly drop dead. But they aren’t tested for any potential effects they might have on one’s microbiome, or their ability to stimulate one’s appetite, or cause conditions like irritable bowel syndrome.

If the recent results on mice can be repeated in humans, current testing protocols for food additives will be revealed as woefully inadequate.

If you stay away from highly refined, heavily processed foods with long lists of ingredients, you can avoid most of these additives in one swoop, and not have to worry about inadequate testing procedures.  

But not everyone has the luxury of being able to avoid processed foods, especially the poor, and ironically, people stuck in institutions like hospitals. That’s why we need the standards by which food additives are evaluated to be updated sooner, rather than later.

~~  Ari LeVaux ~~

Bon Appétit: Roman-Style Pizza with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Cheese

The Gilmer Free Press

Ingredients:

Servings: 4-6

  2 tsp. sugar
  1 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
  7 1/2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  1 tsp. kosher salt plus more
  2 1/4 cups (or more) all-purpose flour
  1 1/2 lb. cherry or grape tomatoes
  Freshly ground black pepper
  Semolina (for dusting)
  2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan, divided
  2 cups grated mozzarella (about 8 oz.), or 6 oz. buffalo mozzarella, thinly sliced, divided
  Chopped fresh basil


Directions:

Combine 3/4 cup warm water (105°-115°), sugar, and yeast in a large bowl; let sit until spongy, 4-5 minutes. Mix in 1 1/2 Tbsp. oil and 1 tsp. salt. Stir in 2 1/4 cups flour. Turn out onto a work surface; knead until smooth and elastic, adding more flour if sticking, about 6 minutes. Grease a large bowl with 1 Tbsp. oil. Add dough, cover bowl with plastic; let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.

Meanwhile, position one rack in top third of oven and another in bottom third; place a pizza stone on top rack and preheat oven to 500°. Scatter tomatoes on a large rimmed baking sheet. Add 1 Tbsp. oil, toss, and season with salt and pepper. Place on lower rack; roast until skins split, 10-12 minutes. Let cool on rack. Continue heating pizza stone for 45 more minutes.

Sprinkle a pizza peel or rimless baking sheet with semolina. Divide dough in half; roll or stretch each into a 13x9” rectangle. Cover with kitchen towels; let stand for 15 minutes. Transfer 1 rectangle to prepared pizza peel. Brush with 2 Tbsp. oil, sprinkle with half of the Parmesan, then mozzarella, and top with half of the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper.

Set front of peel at far edge of stone; gently jiggle peel side to side, sliding pizza onto stone as you remove peel. Bake until crust is browned and crisp, 9-10 minutes. Using peel, transfer pizza to work surface. Garnish with basil. Slice and serve.

Repeat to make second pizza.

Click Below for More Content...

Page 500 of 526 pages « First  <  498 499 500 501 502 >  Last »


Western Auto Glenville



The Gilmer Free Press

Copyright MMVIII-MMXVIII The Gilmer Free Press. All Rights Reserved