The Watering Hole Hole, Tuesday October 27, 2015 – Environmental News and Food Politics

100 Mayors Sign Milan Urban Food Policy Pact

The industrial food complex has not had rival competition, but could this new food initiative lay the groundwork for nutritional integrity, fair prices, and fair labor standards? It might take 50 years to overcome the present dominance, but the diet for a small planet has to have political stakeholders to effect change.

A new food infrastructure?

From the article…

The Framework recommends 37 actions, among them

  • Identify, map and evaluate local initiatives
  • Develop or revise urban food policies and plans
  • Address non-communicable diseases associated with poor diets and obesity, giving specific attention where appropriate to reducing intake of sugar, salt, transfats, meat and dairy products and increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables and non-processed foods
  • Develop sustainable dietary guidelines to inform consumers, city planners (in particular for public food procurement), food service providers, retailers, producers and processors, and promote communication and training campaigns.
  • Explore regulatory and voluntary instruments to promote sustainable diets involving private and public companies as appropriate, using marketing, publicity and labelling policies; and economic incentives or disincentives; streamline regulations regarding the marketing of food and non-alcoholic beverages to children in accordance with WHO recommendations.
  • Those aimed at social and economic equity (cash transfers, school feeding programs, employment, education, training, research).
  • And those aimed at improving food production and reducing waste.

Urban Agriculture

The Watering Hole, Tuesday August 26, 2014 – Environmental News and Food Politics

Since it is harvest time, going to focus on food politics for this post.

First, how about a smart phone app that can determine whether the product you are buying leans Democratic or Republican. You get to vote in the food aisle every time you shop.

Corn flakes – Repub or Dem?

Next up – drought and bottled water. Did you know that most of the stuff comes from drought prone states?

Water from where?

Last – a staggering number of Americans will succumb to Type 2 Diabetes and many of them are people of color without good access to fresh veggies or good information about diet and nutrition. It doesn’t hurt that they are inundated with advertising pointing to bad food choices. Think about how many McDonald’s commercials have people of color featured. These commercials are not about being inclusive or progressive. They are predatory. When was the last time you saw a black person touting the benefits of arugula?

Fritos, Egg McMuffins, Whoppers, …supersize me!

Can you eat just one?

 

 

The Watering Hole, Thursday, February 21, 2013: Genetically Modified Salmon Will Soon Be At A Store Near You

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Genetically Engineered Salmon Nears FDA Approval

 The Food and Drug Administration has determined genetically engineered salmon won’t threaten the environment, clearing it of all but one final hurdle before it shows up on shelves throughout the nation — and igniting a final 60-day debate on whether it poses health risks before it’s officially approved.

Although it’s been nicknamed “Frankenfish” by critics, health professionals say they aren’t worried the lab-engineered salmon will cause more allergies or other harmful effects than any other breed of fish.

While labeling of genetically modified food of any type is not guaranteed and so we won’t know if we’re buying it.  And we certainly won’t know if it is harmful to ingest.  There is always a chance that it will interfere with indigenous species.  Should we have learned a lesson from the destruction the common carp has created since it’s introduction?

History of Common Carp in North America

A Fish once Prized, Now Despised
By the turn of the century, the introduction of the carp was such a “success” that both public agencies and sportsmen had come to regard the fish as a nuisance. While tons of free-swimming carp were being harvested from area waters, they were comparable in taste to neither the selectively bred pool-cultivated carp of Europe nor, it was believed, to many of the native “game” species, and were thus useless as a food source. Moreover, their rapid spread appeared to threaten both water quality and native species, as commissioners nationwide noted a deterioration of formerly clear and fertile lakes and waterways upon the arrival of carp.

Salmon Nation: Genetically Engineered Salmon

While not on anyone’s dinner table just yet, genetically engineered salmon are just a pen stroke away. GE salmon are being developed by a U.S. company called Aqua Bounty Farms and are preferred for their ability to grow two to four times faster than other farmed salmon…

Research at both Purdue University and The National Academy of Sciences points to the “considerable risks” that genetically engineered (also called “transgenic”) fish pose to nearby populations of native fish:

“Purdue University researchers have found that releasing a transgenic fish to the wild could damage native populations even to the point of extinction.”
Sigurdson, C. (2000). Transgenic fish could threaten wild populations, Purdue News.

There is little doubt that transgenetic fish will, if raised, escape to the surrounding waters. Estimates of farmed salmon escapees in British Columbia total at least 400,000 fish from 1991 to 2001:

“According to the Canadian government, in the past decade nearly 400,000 farm-raised Atlantics escaped into British Columbia waters and began competing with wild species for food and habitat. (That number relies primarily on escapes reported by fish farmers; environmentalists put the actual figure closer to 1 million.)”
Barcott, B. (2001). Aquaculture’s Troubled Harvest, Mother Jones, November/December.

There is much more on the dangers to our waterways at Salmon Nation.  Although you’d think common sense would be enough to know that this is a very bad idea.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to talk about salmon, genetically-modified foods, or anything else you wish to discuss.

Watering Hole: Monday, January 16, 2012 – Vitamin D

There’s a been a lot of chatter lately regarding the value of Vitamin D.  It seems like this vitamin prevents any disease or disability (only fooling around with this statement).  There are some really crucial benefits to Vitamin D.  Here are a few:

  • Needed for the absorption and metabolism for calcium and phosophorus.  These elements are vital to bone formation and other various functions within the body.
  • As an immune system regulator, it may arm the immune system against the common cold.
  • There may be a connection between insufficient Vitamin and the risk of developing Multiple Sclerosis.
  • Some studies are beginning to show a lower risk of some cancers in people with higher Vitamin D levels.
  • WebMD has a more information regarding the benefits of Vitamin D.

With all this good news about Vitamin D and our health, what would be the best sources for us to get this valuable vitamin?  That would be our bodies.  There is no risk of overdosing when our body manufactures Vitamin D.  Supplements are another source of Vitamin D.  When using supplements as a source, then it is advised that no more than 2000 IU be taken daily as an overdose may occur.  This is one reason that Vitamin D levels in the blood should be measured on a regular basis.  When the body manufactures Vitamin D, it also creates another chemical which stops the Vitamin D production when blood reaches its optimal level of Vitamin D.

Doctor Oz has a good animation on how the body manufactures Vitamin D.

People living above 40 degrees latitude have a difficult time getting sufficient Vitamin D during the winter months.  This is where supplementation with Vitamin D 3 may help.  Another source would be 4 to 6 minutes, depending on skin type, under tanning lights 2 or 3 times/week. In the warmer climates and the warmer weather, step outside for a walk in the sunshine.

This is our Open Thread.  Speak Up!