Problems with Pesticides and Washing Your Produce


washing produce

Chances are, even if you’re trying to eat healthy, occasionally, you consume food that has been exposed to pesticides. As the name implies, pesticides kill harmful organisms, such as insects, rodents, and weeds, so they do not eat the crops that the pesticide is sprayed on. However, many people are wondering just how safe these pesticides are for people who eat the food. There is some evidence to suggests that pesticides, in the wrong amounts, can be harmful and even fatal to humans. Therefore, finding ways to cleanse food after the ‘necessary evil’ of pesticides is a top concern.

While the recognition of pesticide ingestion as a problem is clear, what is less so is the best way to clean off pesticides to make the food they once protected safer for human consumption. As with many other situations, there are some partially effective solutions and some that make absolutely no difference at all. When it comes to protecting your health, it’s important to be as informed as possible. With that being said, when it comes to getting harmful chemicals off of your fruits and vegetables, there are many things you need to keep in mind.

Water Isn’t Enough

rinsing produce

More than likely, you rinse off your apples, pears, and such before you eat them. This will undoubtedly help get the wax off, as well as remove any harmful substances that happen to be on the fruit in question. There’s some truth to this. That being said, it is unrealistic to expect even a thorough washing of three to five minutes or more to remove all of the pesticides present on fruit. Water cannot remove every trace of pesticide from fruit on its own. It’s an excellent place to start, but generally, effectiveness is dependent on the fruit being washed.

So, if water isn’t enough, then what is? Perhaps you have heard of veggie wash? There are some mixed reviews about it as well. While it is effective at taking care of dirt and wax, there is little to be said about their effectiveness regarding pesticides. Neither the FDA nor USDA recommends switching to veggie wash use. If you decide to change to a veggie wash, however, you’re better off making your own; not only is the effectiveness questionable, the commercial versions costlier, and may seep into the fruit itself, defeating the purpose of washing at all.

Natural Alternative?

Natural Alternative

If water is not enough, and commercial vegetable washes are no good, what is the solution? Well, to listen to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the answer is to use sodium bicarbonate, more commonly known as baking soda, in conjunction with water. The most significant drawback is that it may take longer than one is willing to wait; in one study, soaking fruits in a water and baking soda solution caused the pesticides being used in the study to break down. While about ten minutes made a significant difference, this process took approximately fifteen minutes for the most significant effect.

While that’s well and good, it may be a little early to celebrate. This particular study covered one type of fruit, Gala apples, against the two pesticides phosmet and thiabendazole. While the solution may have proven effective under these circumstances, there is no guarantee that this will be the result regarding all fruits and vegetables when it comes to removing all of the different types of pesticides. Still, this suggests some very promising things when it comes to the world of healthy eating. Keep in mind that pesticides can sometimes seep into fruit too, where washing solutions can’t always reach.

Traces of Weed Killer Found in Popular Cereals


Cereals

Recent findings reported by a study discovered that traces of common weed killer Roundup were present in portions of oat-based foods.

According to The Environmental Working Group (EWG), the study’s findings suggested that several popular oat cereals, oatmeal, granola and snack bars contained the active ingredient of the weed-killing product. Some cereals tested were found to have three times the safe amount of glyphosate.

Glyphosate is an herbicide linked to cancer by California state scientists, and was detected in all but two of the 45 samples containing oats used in the study, mentioned EWG.

Food products used in the study that called for serious concern due to their levels of glyphosate included Back to Nature Classic Granola, Giant Instant Oatmeal, Quaker Dinosaur Eggs with Brown Sugar Instant Oatmeal and Quaker Steel Cut Oats, to name a few.

The high levels of the herbicide, which were found in almost three-fourths of those samples, were higher than what EWG scientists consider to be safe for children’s consumption.

EWG also reported that the highest level of glyphosate detected in an oat-based food was 1,000 ppb, found in two samples of Quaker Old-Fashioned Oats. There were three samples of Cheerios that had glyphosate levels ranging from 470 ppb to 530 ppb. The maximum safe level of consumption is 160 ppb.

Consuming more than .01 milligrams of glyphosate per day is considered a potential cancer risk, according to EWG.

Quaker released a statement stating, “We proudly stand by the safety and quality of our Quaker products. Any levels of glyphosate that may remain are significantly below any limits of the safety standards set by the EPA and the European Commission as safe for human consumption.”

General Mills told CBS News: “Our products are safe and without question, they meet regulatory safety levels. The EPA has researched this issue and has set rules that we follow.”

World’s most popular cereals contain ingredients that are registered with EPA as “biopesticides”


Image: World’s most popular cereals contain ingredients that are registered with EPA as “biopesticides”

Biopesticides are particular types of pesticides, derived from the bacteria in plants and animals, that kill insects. Scientists in laboratories insert the genes of these bacterial pesticides into the DNA sequences of seedlings (i.e. Mycogen seeds) of our most popular crops, like corn, soy, and canola, and then claim they’re all totally safe for human consumption, even though they dissolve the digestive tracts and destroy the reproductive capabilities of worms, beetles, frogs, bees, birds, and just about anything else that eats them.

Biopesticides are commonly found in conventional foods like canola oil, cereal, granola bars, and oatmeal. One gleaming example is a certain brand of Corn Flakes, which contains ingredients registered as pesticides under EPA codes 524.581 and 68467-7. Many organisms in the GMO BT corn used for this nightmarish Monsanto-manufactured product produce bug killing pesticide.

After the toxic corn grows in the field, but before harvest, it’s also dosed with toxic neonicotinoid pesticides (that are killing off our bee population in droves), and then, to top it all off, the corn is further coated with carcinogenic weed killer herbicide (Roundup’s glyphosate), which functions as a drying agent, before the corn is cut down and stored in silos for further processing. The same horrific poisoning process is used for most U.S. grains also, including wheat and oats.

Still, medical doctors can’t seem to figure out why cancer and dementia cases are debilitating every other American, including children. Should there be a pesticide aisle at the supermarkets instead of a cereal aisle? This is not food, it’s poison.

 

Biopesticides target crop pests, but do they also target humans?

Biopesticides registration action documents reveal that most conventional processed foods contain ingredients that are genetically modified and also registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as bug killers, also known as “target pests.” Corporations like Monsanto, Dow AgroSciences, Bayer, and Syngenta are in the business of using chemicals and bacteria to kill anything that eats corn, soy, cotton, canola, sugar beets or alfalfa. If those same chemicals give animals cancer and dementia in the long run, so be it. It’s all about profits, with no regard for human health, farm animal health, environmental health, or sustainability.

Target pests include the European corn borer, the Southwestern corn borer, the Southern cornstalk borer, the corn earworm, the fall armyworm, the Sugarcane borer, the Western corn rootworm, the Mexican corn rootworm, and the list goes on. Monsanto likes to brag in magazines and online about their “insect protected, herbicide-tolerant corn with interspersed refuge.”

In laymen’s terms, this means the corn’s seeds are genetically mutated so the plant grows and produces pesticides, the stalk contains weed-killing genes, and the bug-killing bacteria kills the larvae that nest and travel in the roots.

Are you and your children eating bug-killer and weed-killer daily, at every meal even, and then wondering why you all have severe allergies, headaches, asthma, chronic inflammation, skin disorders, brain fog, ADD, ADHD, autism, Asperger’s syndrome, depression and anxiety? Stop “wondering” and stop eating poison. You are being targeted for health destruction, just like the bugs and worms. You are being targeted for elimination, just like the weeds.

Monsanto found GUILTY of failing to warn consumers their corn, soy, and canola pesticides cause blood cancer

In a landmark case that’s sure to set the precedent for thousands more, a California jury found the most evil company on Earth, Monsanto (now owned and operated by Bayer), guilty and responsible for nearly $300 million in damages to the health of just one man, Dewayne Johnson. Talk about “weeding out” the truth. Johnson was a groundskeeper for a local school system and was diagnosed with blood cancer (non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma) after spraying the same poison we find in cereal, grains, and oats, on school grounds for several years. Obviously, some got on his skin and in his lungs.

What’s worse is that Monsanto has known this atrocity for decades, but they cover up the truth with their own falsified research and follow-up propaganda based on that “scientific” fraud.

That means that most conventional cereals not only contain GMOs that are essentially pesticides that cause cancer and dementia, but they’re also coated with the same blood-cancer-causing weed killer that debilitated Dewayne Johnson. How many millions of Americans could sue Monsanto for the same and win millions of dollars? Johnson’s body is now 80 percent covered in lesions and he’s expected to pass away some day in the next couple of years.

Do you use Roundup on your yard? Roundup contains 50 percent glyphosate. It runs into your garden and your pets soak it up through the pads in their paws. Never use Roundup. Switch to 100 percent organic food right now, because the price to pay for eating conventionally is an early death by cancer or dementia, or both.

 

Sources for this article include:

TheTruthAboutCancer.com

Facebook.com

EWG.org

EPA.gov

TheGuardian.com

NaturalNews.com

Pesticides.news

BeyondPesticides.org

How to Inhale Himalayan Pink Salt to Help Remove Mucus, Bacteria and Toxins from your Lungs


How to Inhale Himalayan Pink Salt to Help Remove Mucus, Bacteria and Toxins from your Lungs

 

There’s a lot of information on the internet about the benefits of Himalayan salt. Many people don’t realize that unlike table salt, Himalayan salt contains the same 84 natural elements and minerals that are found in the human body, minerals which contribute to your overall health and vitality.

Its minerals are in an ionic state, which means that they are tiny enough for our cells to absorb easily.

 

Although it’s relatively new to the United States, salt rooms have been used for therapeutic purposes in Eastern Europe for more than 200 years. Years ago it was common practice for people with lung conditions to visit salt mines for their healing benefits. Ancient Greeks also used Halotherapy (salt therapy) for respiratory problems.

In the United States, salt therapy is becoming more widely known and appreciated with the introduction of salt rooms in spas and other wellness businesses. Salt is known for its antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties.

While many people visit salt mines around the world to help rid themselves of respiratory ailments of all kinds including allergies, asthma, congestion, and hay fever, others flock to salt rooms popping up in cities like New York, Orlando, and London.

But you don’t have to travel far to reap the benefits of Himalayan salt. You can enjoy the health benefits by adding Himalayan salt to your diet, routine or home. Himalayan salt is available in numerous forms such as blocks, slabs, lamps, rocks, ground salt for culinary purposes, coarse salt for baths, or you can make your own Sole.

Benefits of Salt Inhalers

Modern salt inhalers combine the best of old-world and modern technology. The small Himalayan salt rocks rest at the bottom of the inhaler. When you inhale, the natural moisture in the air absorbs the salt particles into the lungs.

This will help to reduce inflammation in the lungs and can help with other conditions such as asthma, allergies, colds, congestion, hay fever and sinus congestion. Unlike traditional inhalers, this therapeutic technique offers no negative side effects.

  • Salt is a natural expectorant and may help in reducing excess mucous.
  • Reducing mucus, may eliminate night time coughing and post nasal drip, allowing you to sleep better.
  • Himalayan salt contains 84 natural elements and minerals that are found in the human body.
  • Salt inhalation therapy can reduce redness and swelling of nasal passages.
  • Himalayan salt inhalers can reduce irritation and inflammation from pollutants and smoke.
  • Salt is known for its antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties. Using a salt inhaler can be used to cleanse the body of harmful organisms.

How to Use a Salt Inhaler

  1. Place Himalayan rocks inside your ceramic inhaler, (don’t use plastic inhalers) according to the package directions.
  2. Place the inhaler mouthpiece in your mouth.
  3. Breathe in normally through the mouth, and exhale through the nose.
  4. Do not add water, the inhaler is for dry therapy only.
  5. When you inhale with long slow deep breaths this will bring the salt ions to the lungs. Because the ions are so small they bypass the nasal filtering system we have and go directly into the lungs. The lungs then absorb the ions and bring them into the bloodstream. This will help to reduce inflammation and can also reduce pain in lungs from various conditions such as asthma, bronchitis or pneumonia.

NOTE: Following the cleaning directions on your inhaler package, and remember inhalers should not be shared, they are recommended for one person only. Each family member should have their own inhaler.

Although many people have seen immediate and drastic results within a few days, in general, the effects of using a Himalayan salt inhaler are more subtle than immediately dramatic and are usually noticed with regular and consistent use.

How to Refill Your Himalayan Salt Inhaler

If you need to refill the salt in the inhaler, simply open the round plastic stopper and empty out the used salt and refill with the fresh coarse Himalayan crystal salt. Plug the stopper back in.

Never refill your inhaler with anything other than Himalayan salt.

Regenerative Agriculture — The Next Big Thing


There is no doubt in my mind that GMOs and the toxic chemicals used along with them pose a serious threat to the environment and our health, yet government agencies turn a blind eye and refuse to act — and the reason is very clear: They are furthering the interests of the biotech giants.

It is well known that there is a revolving door between government agencies and biotech companies such as Monsanto. Consider the hypocrisy of the FDA. On paper, the U.S. may have the strictest food safety laws in the world governing new food additives, but this agency has repeatedly allowed GMOs and their accompanying pesticides such as Roundup to evade these laws.

In fact, the only legal basis for allowing GE foods to be marketed in the U.S. is the FDA’s claim that these foods are inherently safe, a claim which is patently ridiculous. Documents released as a result of a lawsuit against the FDA reveal that the agency’s own scientists warned their superiors about the detrimental risks of GE foods. But their warnings fell on deaf ears.

The influence of the biotech giants is not limited to the U.S. In a June 2017 article, GMWatch revealed that 26 of the 34 members of the National Advisory Committee on Agricultural Biotechnology of Argentina (CONABIA) are either employed by chemical technology companies or have major conflicts of interest.

You may be aware that Argentina is one of the countries where single-crop fields of GE cotton, corn and soy dominate the countryside. Argentina is also a country facing severe environmental destruction. Argentinians are plagued with health issues, including degenerative diseases and physical deformities. It would appear that the rapid expansion of GE crops and the subsequent decline in national health indicators are intrinsically linked.

Don’t Be Duped by Industry Shills!

Biotech companies’ outrageous attempts to push for their corporate interests extend far beyond the halls of government. In a further effort to hoodwink the public, Monsanto and its cohorts are now zealously spoon-feeding scientists, academics and journalists with questionable studies that depict them in a positive light.

By hiring “third-party experts,” biotech companies are able to take information of dubious validity and present it as independent and authoritative. It’s a shameful practice that is far more common than anyone would like to think. One notorious example of this is Henry Miller, who was thoroughly outed as a Monsanto shill during the 2012 Proposition 37 GMO labeling campaign in California.

Miller, falsely posing as a Stanford professor, promoted GE foods during this campaign. In 2015, he published a paper in Forbes Magazine attacking the findings of the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a branch of the World Health Organization, after it classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen. After it was revealed that Miller’s work was in fact ghostwritten by Monsanto, Forbes not only fired him, but also removed all of his work from its site.

Industry front groups also abound. The Genetic Literacy Project and the American Council for Science and Health are both Monsanto-funded. Even WebMD, a website that is often presented as a trustworthy source of “independent and objective” health information, is acting as a lackey for Monsanto by using its influence to promote corporate-backed health strategies and products, displaying advertisements and advertorials on Biotech’s behalf, furthering the biotech industry’s agenda — all for the sake of profit.

Monsanto has adopted underhanded tactics to peddle its toxic products, but the company is unable to hide the truth: Genetic engineering will, in no way, shape or form, make the world a better place. It will not solve world hunger. It will not increase farmers’ livelihoods. And it will most certainly not do any good for your health — and may in fact prove to be detrimental.

There’s No Better Time to Act Than NOW — Here’s What You Can Do

So now the question is: Will you continue supporting the corrupt, toxic and unsustainable food system that Monsanto and its industry shills and profit-hungry lackeys have painstakingly crafted? It is largely up to all of us, as consumers, to loosen and break Monsanto’s tight hold on our food supply. The good news is that the tide has been turned.

As consumers worldwide become increasingly aware of the problems linked to GE crops and the toxic chemicals and pesticides used on them, more and more people are proactively refusing to eat these foods. There’s also strong growth in the global organic and grass fed sectors. This just proves one thing: We can make a difference if we steadily work toward the same goal.

One of the best things you can do is to buy your foods from a local farmer who runs a small business and uses diverse methods that promote regenerative agriculture. You can also join a community supported agriculture (CSA) program, where you can buy a “share” of the vegetables produced by the farm, so that you get a regular supply of fresh food. I believe that joining a CSA is a powerful investment not only in your own health, but in that of your local community and economy as well.

In addition, you should also adopt preventive strategies that can help reduce the toxic chemical pollution that assaults your body. I recommend visiting these trustworthy sites for non-GMO food resources in your country:

Organic Food Directory (Australia) Eat Wild (Canada)
Organic Explorer (New Zealand) Eat Well Guide (United States and Canada)
Farm Match (United States) Local Harvest (United States)
Weston A. Price Foundation (United States) The Cornucopia Institute

Monsanto and its allies want you to think that they control everything, but they do not. It’s you, the masses, who hold the power in your hands. Let’s all work together to topple the biotech industry’s house of cards. Remember — it all starts with shopping smart and making the best food purchases for you and your family.

The Seeds Of Suicide: How Monsanto Destroys Farming (and the Lives of Farmers)


“Control the oil, and you control nations. Control the food, and you control the people.” — Henry Kissinger

Monsanto’s talk of ‘technology’ tries to hide its real objectives of control over seed through genetic engineering.

“Monsanto is an agricultural company. … We apply innovation and technology to help farmers around the world produce more while conserving more. … Producing more, Conserving more, Improving farmers lives.” — These are the promises Monsanto India’s website makes, alongside pictures of smiling, prosperous farmers from the state of Maharashtra. This is a desperate attempt by Monsanto and its PR machinery to delink the epidemic of farmers’ suicides in India arising from the company’s growing control over cotton seed supply — 95 per cent of India’s cotton seed is now controlled by Monsanto.

Seed is the first link in the food chain because seed is the source of life. When a corporation controls seed, it controls life, especially the life of farmers.

Monsanto’s concentrated control over the seed sector in India as well as across the world is very worrying. This is what connects farmers’ suicides in India to Monsanto vs. Percy Schmeiser in Canada, to Monsanto vs. Bowman in the US, and to farmers in Brazil suing Monsanto for $2.2 billion for unfair collection of royalty.

Through patents on seed, Monsanto has become the “Life Lord” of our planet, collecting rents for life’s renewal from farmers, the original breeders.

Patents on seed are illegitimate because putting a toxic gene into a plant cell is not “creating” or “inventing” a plant. These are seeds of deception — the deception that Monsanto is the creator of seeds and life; the deception that while Monsanto sues farmers and traps them in debt, it pretends to be working for farmers’ welfare, and the deception that GMOs feed the world. GMOs are failing to control pests and weeds, and have instead led to the emergence of superpests and superweeds.

Recommended reading: Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation by F. William Engdahl

Altered Genes, Twisted Truth

The entry of Monsanto in the Indian seed sector was made possible with a 1988 Seed Policy imposed by the World Bank, requiring the Government of India to deregulate the seed sector. Five things changed with Monsanto’s entry: First, Indian companies were locked into joint-ventures and licensing arrangements, and concentration over the seed sector increased. Second, seed which had been the farmers’ common resource became the “intellectual property” of Monsanto, for which it started collecting royalties, thus raising the costs of seed. Third, open pollinated cotton seeds were displaced by hybrids, including GMO hybrids. A renewable resource became a non-renewable, patented commodity. Fourth, cotton which had earlier been grown as a mixture with food crops now had to be grown as a monoculture, with higher vulnerability to pests, disease, drought and crop failure. Fifth, Monsanto started to subvert India’s regulatory processes and, in fact, started to use public resources to push its non-renewable hybrids and GMOs through so-called public-private partnerships (PPP).

In 1995, Monsanto introduced its Bt technology in India through a joint-venture with the Indian company Mahyco. In 1997-98, Monsanto started open field trials of its GMO Bt cotton illegally and announced that it would be selling the seeds commercially the following year. India has rules for regulating GMOs since 1989, under the Environment Protection Act. It is mandatory to get approval from the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee under the ministry of environment for GMO trials. The Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology sued Monsanto in the Supreme Court of India and Monsanto could not start the commercial sales of its Bt cotton seeds until 2002.
And, after the damning report of India’s parliamentary committee on Bt crops in August 2012, the panel of technical experts appointed by the Supreme Court recommended a 10-year moratorium on field trials of all GM food and termination of all ongoing trials of transgenic crops.

But it had changed Indian agriculture already.

Monsanto’s seed monopolies, the destruction of alternatives, the collection of superprofits in the form of royalties, and the increasing vulnerability of monocultures has created a context for debt, suicides and agrarian distress which is driving the farmers’ suicide epidemic in India. This systemic control has been intensified with Bt cotton. That is why most suicides are in the cotton belt.

An internal advisory by the agricultural ministry of India in 2012 had this to say to the cotton-growing states in India:

“Cotton farmers are in a deep crisis since shifting to Bt cotton. The spate of farmer suicides in 2011-12 has been particularly severe among Bt cotton farmers.”

The highest acreage of Bt cotton is in Maharashtra and this is also where the highest farmer suicides are. Suicides increased after Bt cotton was introduced — Monsanto’s royalty extraction, and the high costs of seed and chemicals have created a debt trap. According to Government of India data, nearly 75 per cent rural debt is due to purchase inputs. As Monsanto’s profits grow, farmers’ debt grows. It is in this systemic sense that Monsanto’s seeds are seeds of suicide.

The ultimate seed of suicide is Monsanto’s patented technology to create sterile seeds. Called “terminator technology” by the media, sterile seed technology is a type of Gene Use Restriction Technology, GRUT, in which seed produced by a crop will not grow — crops will not produce viable offspring seeds or will produce viable seeds with specific genes switched off. The Convention on Biological Diversity has banned its use, otherwise Monsanto would be collecting even higher profits from seed.

Monsanto’s talk of “technology” tries to hide its real objectives of ownership and control over seed where genetic engineering is just a means to control seed and the food system through patents and intellectual property rights.

“As part of the process, they portrayed the various concerns as merely the ignorant opinions of misinformed individuals – and derided them as not only unscientific, but anti-science. They then set to work to convince the public and government officials, through the dissemination of false information, that there was an overwhelming expert consensus, based on solid evidence, that GMOs were safe.” — Jane Goodall, Altered Genes, Twisted Truth

A Monsanto representative admitted that they were “the patient’s diagnostician, and physician all in one” in writing the patents on life-forms, from micro-organisms to plants, in the TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) agreement of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Stopping farmers from saving seeds and exercising their seed sovereignty was the main objective. Monsanto is now extending its patents to conventionally bred seed, as in the case of broccoli and capsicum, or the low gluten wheat it had pirated from India — which we challenged as a biopiracy case in the European Patent office.

That is why we have started Fibres of Freedom in the heart of Monsanto’s Bt cotton/suicide belt in Vidharba. We have created community seed banks with indigenous seeds and helped farmers go organic. No GMO seeds, no debt, no suicides.

The beauty of seed is that out of one you can get millions. The beauty of the pollinator is that it turns that one into millions. And that’s an economy of abundance. That’s an economy of sharing. To me that’s the real economics of growth — because life is growing. The economics and technology of hybridization, of genetic modification, is a deliberate creation of scarcity.

Genetic engineering has never been about saving the world, it’s about controlling the world.

Why GMOs are a death knell to biodiversity and farming

About the author:

Vandana Shiva is a philosopher, environmental activist, and eco feminist. Shiva, currently based in Delhi, has authored more than 20 books and over 500 papers in leading scientific and technical journals. She was trained as a physicist and received her Ph.D. in physics from the University of Western Ontario, Canada. She was awarded the Right Livelihood Award in 1993. She is also the founder of Navdanya.org, an organization dedicated to the conservation of biodiversity.

FDA, Agriculture Department to Work More Closely on Food Safety


Agreement aimed at streamlining regulations, cutting duplicate inspections

 The FDA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are pledging to work more closely together to oversee food safety, the agencies announced Tuesday.

“Today, [FDA] Commissioner [Scott] Gottlieb and I signed a formal agreement to promote coordination and the streamlining of capacities and obligations on shared concerns and jurisdiction,” Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a statement. “Congress passed the Food Safety Modernization Act and assigned responsibilities to the USDA and the FDA. The USDA has the knowledge and expertise to support the FDA’s work related to farming. We at the USDA have a motto: Do Right, and Feed Everyone. We believe this joint effort will help us move one step closer to that goal.”

“Over the last several months, the Secretary and I have worked closely and identified several areas where we can strengthen our collaboration to make our processes more efficient, predictable, and potentially lower cost to industry, while also strengthening our efforts to ensure food safety,” Gottlieb said in the statement. “This agreement not only formalizes this ongoing coordination, but presents a great opportunity to expand those efforts through better integration and increased clarity to the agriculture and food processing sectors. Our coordination with these sectors plays an integral role in helping to keep our nation’s food supply safe and secure.”

One thing the agreement seeks to do is reduce the number of food manufacturers who are supervised by both the FDA and the Agriculture Department. For instance, a canned soup manufacturing facility that makes both chicken noodle soup and tomato soup “is currently subject to regulation by both agencies,” the statement noted. “The agreement tasks both government organizations with identifying ways to streamline regulation and reduce inspection inefficiencies, while steadfastly upholding safety standards for dual-jurisdiction facilities. This can reduce costs on industry and free government resources to better target efforts to areas of risk.”

To a certain extent, such streamlining makes sense, according to David Katz, MD, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, in Derby, CT. “Each agency has responsibility for different parts of the food supply, and each has historically developed its own rules and regulations in a silo,” he said in an email. “The results have not been fundamentally incompatible, but they have not been uniform and reliably consistent, either.

“So, in principle, this effort makes good sense and could result in both greater efficiency at the agency levels, and greater efficiency, consistency, and user-friendliness where rules and regulations are encountered as guidance by consumers,” he continued. “There may be advantages in greater consistency in the handling of food industry clients as well.”

However, Katz said, “I do have a worry, particularly with the current administration. These agencies are historically overworked, and both understaffed and underfunded to do all that is expected of them — the FDA especially. The word ‘streamlining’ may be code for further reductions in a workforce that is already marginal at best … If ‘streamlining’ and ‘coordination’ are, indeed, code for ‘cuts’ — there is the possibility that this move could prove foe, not friend, and dangerous foe at that, to anyone eating in America.” Only time will tell, he added.

Follow These Easy Steps And Grow Your Own Organic Strawberries At Home!


Homegrown strawberries are organic, taste far better than store-bought ones and can save some you serious money.

Chillies, beans and tomatoes on potted plants? Nothing new about that. A lot of urban gardeners in India grow these kitchen vegetables on their balconies or terraces — but how about strawberries? If you think they are too exotic or too tough to grow at home, think again!

Incredibly easy to cultivate, strawberry plants have a compact and quick-growing habit. As such, they can be grown almost anywhere – in terracotta pots, plastic containers or hanging baskets.

The vitamin C-rich fruit is also packed with flavonoids, anti-oxidants and phytonutrients that offer a wealth of health benefits.

Furthermore, homegrown strawberries are organic, taste far better than store-bought ones and can save you some serious money by not having to pay supermarket prices — on an average, a box of strawberries in the market costs between 40-60 bucks, and the ones at the bottom are often small, pale and squished.

Here’s a simple step-by-step guide that’ll help you successfully grow strawberries at home.

1. Decide where you’ll grow your strawberries

As mentioned earlier, strawberries can be grown in a container on your balcony, terrace or window box. If your horizontal space is limited, consider growing strawberries in a hanging basket or stacked planter —this will allow you to take advantage of vertical growing space.

Do note that a sunny spot outside your home is the best place to grow strawberries, though you can get a slightly lower harvest with less than a half day of direct sunlight. Avoid windy sites which will prevent pollinating insects from reaching the flowers.

Tip: For shadier spots, try planting Alpine strawberries (tougher to source but available in select online nurseries) which take more care and patience but produce fruit that is just as delicious.

2. Reuse and recycle while choosing containers

 

At the outset, you don’t need to invest in fancy containers or earthen pots. You can even make use of 2-litre plastic bottles, wooden crates and re-purposed buckets to grow strawberries. However, whether you choose a container made of clay, plastic, wood, or other material, make sure it has a soil depth of at least 12-14 inches to give the plants’ root systems space to grow.

How many plants you can fit in will depend upon the width of the container, since you should space plants about 10-12 inches apart to allow them to spread horizontally.

Tip: There are a number of distinct advantages to growing strawberries in tubs or buckets of any kind. Plants can be moved to track the sun (allowing them to enjoy more light than they might otherwise) or lifted off the ground to avoid the interest of slugs!

3. Get pot-grown plants or ‘runners’ of the right variety

 

Strawberry plants grow from ‘runners’ (buds that are grown in pots that develop into new plants) that can be purchased from nurseries.

There are two main kinds of strawberries available: ‘June-bearing’ plants that will bear fruit in spring or early summer, and ‘Ever-bearing’ varieties that can be harvested from early summer right up until early autumn. While June-bearing varieties can take up to a year to establish, ever-bearing plants can give you fruit the very first year and may allow you to extend your harvest over a period of weeks or months.

Do note that there are many varieties within each grouping of strawberries and your local nursery should be able to recommend some good ones for the climate in your area.

Tip: It is best to buy the runners just before you intend to plant them into the ground or container. Leaving them for too long in their store-bought pots can cause them to become root-bound and unhealthy, preventing them from growing well when replanted.

4. Prepare a soil that will make your strawberries happy

 

Strawberries like rich, loamy soil that drains well. Start with what you have and add plenty of organic matter (such as compost, shredded bark or peat moss) as well as some sand or grit. Most potting soil mixes sold at nurseries will be sufficient. Ensure that the soil is free of weed roots and that the container has drainage holes in the bottom.

Tip: If growing in a hanging basket, line the basket with sphagnum moss before putting soil to retain moisture for the plants. Sphagnum moss will also allow for the plant to grow out the sides of the pot, which looks nice.

5. Plant it right

 

Set plants into the soil, ensuring that each crown (where the leaves emerge) sits just above the surface and spaced 10-12 inches apart – this is closer than they would be in the ground and will make it easier to water them.

Firm the plants in and water to settle the soil around the roots. Mulch after planting (with dry leaves) to reduce a loss of water due to evaporation and provide food for beneficial soil microbes. Runners can look quite severe with their minimal top growth and often less-than-plump roots. This is normal, so worry not!

Tip: While potted strawberries can be planted any time of the year, it is best to plant them in spring.

6. Super simple maintenance

 

To encourage flowering, feed with all-natural homemade fertilizers ( a weekly handful dose of leftover filter coffee grounds can work wonders) and water regularly. However, don’t overdo the water — the shallow roots need water in hot weather but don’t like being soggy. Soon you’ll see tiny green strawberries, which shows that the fruit has ‘set’!

Strawberries flower and fruit in the cool months, around October to February. It is important that you take good care of your plants during summer.

Do note that strawberry plants continue to be productive for at least 2-3 years but will need to be replaced thereafter. To renovate June-bearing plants for next year, trim off their old leaves, making sure not to damage the centre stalk (crown) of the plant. Ever-bearers do not need this trimming.

Tip: Tuck some straw under the fruits to keep them clean and dry, and to discourage slugs and snails. Wet fruit rots very easily.

7. Harvesting Happiness

When picking your strawberries, be sure to exercise patience and pick the fruits that look like the ones at the right end of the spectrum. Picking prematurely halts the development of the natural sugars, nutrients, and vitamins and will result in harder, tart or sour berries.

 

Pick strawberries when they are bright red all over, ideally during the warmest part of the day because this is when they are at their tastiest. Eat them as soon as possible or transform them into scrumptious preserves.

Also, after fruiting, cut back the foliage to leave just the central, young leaves intact. Runners should be removed (unless you want to propagate new plants) to ensure plants bulk out again — the more runners a single mother plant has, the more resource/nutrition will drain off from the mother plant.

Tip: Always pick so that the stem is left intact.

New bill would allow farmers to sue Monsanto if GMO crops invade their property


Small farm owners in Oregon have been in a deadlock against the GMO giant Monsanto over legislation concerning their crops.

In the past Monsanto have been able to spread their GMO pesticides wherever they liked, putting non-GMO farmers at risk of selling contaminated produce which would compromise their livelihoods.

GMO’s are also the cause of certain super-powered weeds that take over crops, which the farmers are unable to successfully get under control due to their unnatural strength and resilience.

On the whole, Monsanto have made business for regular farmers particularly tough in recent years, but it might all be about to change.

A bill is under consideration which, if passed, would put into practice the following paragraph (the bill) “Allows cause of action against patent holder for genetically engineered organism present on land without permission of owner or lawful occupant.”

Meaning Monsanto would have no right to carry on their dirty work where they are clearly not wanted by the farmers.

The House Bill 2739 could put an end to the bulling farmers have faced in the past when Monsanto seeds ended up where they shouldn’t have been. Farmers in have been threatened with having their farming license revoked due to unwanted GMO particles.

Oregon are also considering another House Bill this year which concerns GMO farming. Bill 2469 if passed, will allow local governments to restrict the use of GMO’s where they see fit.

This new material replicates photosynthesis to generate clean energy and suck up CO2 


Anything plants can do…

Scientists have created an artificial form of photosynthesis that could reduce levels of carbon dioxide in the air, and provide solar fuel at the same time – two potential benefits to help stabilise our changing climate.

The chemical reaction is triggered by blue light mimicking the blue wavelength of sunlight, and converts carbon dioxide into two reduced forms, formate and formamides, which can be used as energy sources.

 After the reaction is finished, what’s left is cleaner air and excess energy, just like the photosynthesis process in plants that converts light energy to chemical energy. The team from the University of Central Florida has high hopes for its synthetic version.

“Tailoring materials that will absorb a specific colour of light is very difficult from the scientific point of view, but from the societal point of view we are contributing to the development of a technology that can help reduce greenhouse gases,” explains one of the researchers, Fernando Uribe-Romo.

As Uribe-Romo points out, scientists have tried to do this sort of thing before, but getting light in the visible spectrum to trigger the right chemical reaction is notoriously tricky.

The materials that can absorb visible light, such as platinumrhenium, and iridium, tend to be too rare and expensive to be of any practical use for building artificial photosynthesis machines.

Uribe-Romo and his colleagues hit upon the idea of using the more common titaniummetal with organic molecules called N-alkyl-2-aminoterephthalates acting as antennae to absorb the incoming blue light.

This metal-organic framework (MOF) did the trick. MOFs have already been used to separate and trap gases over high surface area – in this case, it’s CO2 that is soaking into its pores, while the ‘antennae’ trap the light and provide some electrons, which the titanium oxide uses to convert the CO2.

 The researchers set up a cylindrical testing pod fitted with blue lights – which looks a lot like a tiny tanning bed – and let the MOF get to work. The material does the job of trapping the CO2 while the blue light provides the energy to convert it into solar fuel.

For the process to be viable on a larger scale, the scientists say, the efficiency of the system needs to be increased and a bigger spectrum of visible light needs to be captured – but the signs are promising.

With levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere exceeding scary thresholds, we need all the help we can get in reducing it, whether from nature our own materials. Scientists are also working on numerous alternative methods for trapping CO2.

As for the new MOF material, it could eventually be set up near power plants to significantly cut down the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere.

“The gas would be sucked into the station, go through the process and recycle the greenhouse gases while producing energy that would be put back into the power plant,” explains Uribe-Romo.

Another possibility is having roof tiles made of this material on homes, material that could clean up some of the air and produce energy at the same time.

“That would take new technology and infrastructure to happen,” says Uribe-Romo. “But it may be possible.”

You can see Fernando Uribe-Romo explaining the artificial photosynthesis process in the video below:

Watch the video. URL:

The findings have been published in Journal of Materials Chemistry .

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