This week's dose of organic headlines, updates, resources, goodies, and recipes courtesy of dsnodgrass...
Time for yet another round of connect-the-dots, which seems to be a recurring theme in this column.
Children exposed to higher levels of a type of pesticide found in trace amounts on commercially grown fruit and vegetables are more likely to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder than children with less exposure, a nationwide study suggests.
Researchers measured the levels of pesticide byproducts in the urine of 1,139 children from across the United States. Children with above-average levels of one common byproduct had roughly twice the odds of getting a diagnosis of ADHD, according to the study, which appears in the journal Pediatrics.
Exposure to the pesticides, known as organophosphates, has been linked to behavioral and cognitive problems in children in the past, but previous studies have focused on communities of farm workers and other high-risk populations. This study is the first to examine the effects of exposure in the population at large.
Environmental Protection Agency regulations have eliminated most residential uses for the pesticides (including lawn care and termite extermination), so the largest source of exposure for children is believed to be food, especially commercially grown produce. Adults are exposed to the pesticides as well, but young children appear to be especially sensitive to them, the researchers say.
Detectable levels of pesticides are present in a large number of fruits and vegetables sold in the U.S., according to a 2008 report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture cited in the study. In a representative sample of produce tested by the agency, 28 percent of frozen blueberries, 20 percent of celery, and 25 percent of strawberries contained traces of one type of organophosphate. Other types of organophosphates were found in 27 percent of green beans, 17 percent of peaches, and 8 percent of broccoli.
Here's a mixed bag. This speaks to a robust future in the organic food industry, while raising a myriad of concerns in regards to local farmers and environmental distress associated with long-range food transport.
India has set a target of exporting organic food worth $1 billion in the next five years with its produce receiving wide acceptance in many mature markets of the US and Europe, a top official said on Saturday.
“Through more capacity building and bilateral agreements, India’s organic exports can be enhanced to $1 billion in the next five years,” said Asit Tripathy, chairman of the Agricultural and Processed Food Export Development Authority (APEDA).
“Our vision is to make India the number one organic hub in the world over in the next 10 years,” Tripathy, whose agency has been promoted by the ministry of industry, told a conference on organic foods here on Saturday.
Last year, India exported 135 organic products under 18 categories. The total volume was 44,476 tonnes, realising over $125 million. The overall growth of organic food exports, thus, was 50.31 per cent over the previous year.
Around 60 per cent of the country’s organic products were exported to the European Union, 20 per cent to the US, 5 per cent to Japan and the rest to Canada, Australia and East Asian countries.
I bring this disturbing issue before you on Meat Free Monday, which is another topic we should discuss in the very near future...stand by...
The British animal welfare organization Animal Aid secretly planted cameras inside a slaughterhouse operated by Tom Lang, whose facility had been certified for the "humane slaughter" of organic animals by the Soil Association. The organization chose Lang's slaughterhouse precisely because it is certified to the highest standard available in the United Kingdom.
Forty hours of secret footage uncovered tightly packed animals being driven up to the facility, where they were chased into the factory by men beating them with sticks. Inside the facility, the animals are beaten once more to be herded into place. In one case, a man is seen punching, kicking and kneeing a pig, then striking it with a steel stunning tong at least 20 times, as the animal screams.
Regulations also require that animals be killed or have their throats slit within 15 seconds of being stunned, yet the tape shows animals left for much longer. One sheep was hung upside down for at least 50 seconds, during which time it began to jerk and struggle before being stabbed.
After the release of the video, the Soil Association rescinded Lang's humane slaughter certification. The Meat Hygiene Service suspended three slaughterers, opened a criminal investigation and implemented an increase in random checks of the facility.
A Daily Mail article notes that such welfare violations are widespread, with 166 slaughterhouses throughout the United Kingdom being reprimanded and 33 being prosecuted on more than 450 different occasions in the past three years. These cases do not reflect practices occurring when inspectors are not around.
Great recipe here. As always, use as many organic ingredients as possible.
1 baguette cut on the bias (diagonal) into slices
½ cup of Olive Oil
4 garlic cloves (smashed skins removed)
½ cup of basil
Salt & Pepper
2 pounds fava beans (unshelled weight)
2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves smashed and minced
¼ cup of dry wine (chardonnay)
3 tablespoons of Pecorino or Parmigianino cheese
¼ teaspoon of lemon zest
½ teaspoon of lemon juice
Shaved Pecorino or Parmigiano for garnish