This week's dose of organic headlines, updates, resources, goodies, and recipes courtesy of dsnodgrass...
The following is very good news about an important issue on which I did an audio article in 2008 (click here to listen).
The Obama administration announced Tuesday that two synthetic additives will no longer be permitted in infant formula or baby foods certified as organic because the widely used ingredients have not received legal approval for use in organic products.
The additives -- omega-3 fatty acid DHA and omega-6 fatty acid ARA -- are present in 90 percent of organic infant formulas and are marketed as promoting brain and eye development in ways that mimic breast milk.
The Washington Post reported last July that U.S. Department of Agriculture employees had concluded three years earlier that the fatty acids violated federal standards and should be banned from products carrying the federal organic label. Their findings were overruled by a USDA program manager who had been heavily lobbied by the formula industry.
"Today's announcement will strengthen the National Organic Program by providing greater confidence for consumers and better information and procedures for producers," Miles V. McEvoy, deputy administrator of the USDA program, said in a statement.
Organic-food advocates -- including Charlotte Vallaeys, who filed complaints about the substances with the USDA -- said the decision will help restore consumers' faith in the certification program.
I'm a big fan of Jamie Oliver's ambitious goals for our food culture. Here's an interesting commentary about the ultimate symbol of our mainstream food culture.
Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver surprised many with recent praise of McDonald's as having better food than many eateries in the U.K. and being better than McDonald's in the U.S., but his praise also raises questions about how deserving of praise the fast food chain is.
Oliver, who has been critical of the Golden Arches in the past, praised the fast food chain in the British press, saying it had made efforts to produce better food and be more conscientious.
"McDonald's in the U.K. is very different compared to the U.S. model," Oliver said at a press conference. He cited "the quality of beef, [that] they only sell free-range eggs, [that] they only sell organic milk, [and that] their ethics and recycling is being improved and improved."
But while Oliver may believe the fast food chain is making strides in the U.K., it is less clear if it is importing those practices to the U.S.
Splendid piece here.
TWO decades ago, Doug Tunnell was a veteran newsman who wanted to be a winemaker. Having been a globetrotting CBS correspondent for 18 years, he bought a farm and returned to his family’s roots in the Willamette Valley, a landscape of rolling hills and farmland about 45 minutes southwest of Portland, Oregon.
But he didn’t just want to make wine — he wanted to make organic wine.
“Back in the day, no one else was doing organic, other than the Cattrall Brothers Vineyard down the valley in Amity,” Mr. Tunnell said. He bushwhacked his way through his 40-acre parcel, a former hazelnut farm scarred by years of pesticide use, and employed natural remedies to rehabilitate the soil and keep his young pinot noir vines alive in those early years. “There was really no advice to get — we had to learn as we went along,” he said.
Mr. Tunnell’s winery, Brick House Vineyards, celebrates its 20th anniversary in May; all the fruit is estate-grown and certified organic, and each season about 4,000 cases are produced and bottled by hand. The winery itself is a certified-organic and biodynamic operation down a quiet country lane near this small town, which has become something of an attraction for the green oenophile.
When it comes to winemaking these days, Willamette Valley wineries are on the leading edge of sustainable, eco-conscious practices. According to the Oregon Wine Board, more than 25 percent of Oregon’s vineyards are certified sustainable, organic, or biodynamic, classifications that require varying degrees of organic methods.
A reminder to exercise some common sense...
Organic food may not contain artificial additives, but it doesn’t mean it is calorie-free. According to a study presented at the Experimental Biology conference in Anaheim, Calif., adults eating snacks labeled as "organic" tended to underestimate calories and, in return, overeat.
Researchers found people who ate cookies labeled as organic believed the snack contained 40 percent fewer calories than the same cookies with no label.
"An organic label gives a food a 'health halo,'" said study coauthor Brian Wansink, Cornell University professor and author of the book Marketing Nutrition, to Science Daily. "It's the same basic reason people tend to overeat any snack food that's labeled as healthy or low fat. They underestimate the calories and over-reward themselves by eating more."
According to the study, two personality types were most likely to make low calorie estimates: people who claim to "usually buy organic foods," and those who typically read labels for nutritional information.