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Tag: hormones

When I woke up yesterday and saw the headline, “Organic produce is no healthier or nutritious, finds study,” I was very curious. What exactly did this study look at and how did they come up with their conclusion? Turns out I wasn’t the only one who was interested. Our twitter page blew up with comments and articles on what the study missed. Mark Bittman showed a wee bit of frustration in his tweet:

Ridiculous Study Claims Organic Same as Conventional, irritates anyone capable of thought: http://buff.ly/NaNeKI

The Standford Study, as it is being referred, is a “meta-analysis” of a few hundred previously published research papers on the topic. The researchers reviewed the studies and and summarized the results in the journal, The Annals of Internal Medicine.

The Purpose: To review evidence comparing the health effects of organic and conventional foods.

The Conclusion: The published literature lacks strong evidence that organic foods are significantly more nutritious than conventional foods. Consumption of organic foods may reduce exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

While this sounds compelling, there was a whole lot left out. For example, two glasses of milk might be identical when it comes to the amount of vitamin D or calcium, but vastly difference when you start comparing added hormone or antibiotic levels. Also, nutrition is not the only reason why people choose organic. In the last day, I’ve read numerous articles about the Standford Study. To further understand what the study actually did and did not include, I urge you to read these three compelling articles.

5 Ways the Stanford Study Sells Organics Short
by Tom Philpott of Mother Jones

As an investigative journalist, Tom takes a deep dive on the study and points out the multitude of risks that pesticides both
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On Wednesday, consumer advocacy groups filed a lawsuit against the FDA for their failure to address the overuse of antibiotics in animal feed. Factory farms  include antibiotics and antimicrobial drugs in animal feed to fight against the myriad of illnesses that cows, pigs, chickens, and turkeys suffer from as a result of their CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) lifestyle (horrendous living conditions, restriction of natural behaviors, use of  unnatural feed and growth hormones). The antibiotics can also help increase production in food-producing animals which is an obvious plus for farmers. The major concern with this practice is that humans and animals will eventually become resistant to these drugs and then they will no longer be effective when they are really needed. The FDA itself has acknowledged that non-therapeutic use of antibiotics contributes to antimicrobial resistance in humans and has urged the meat industry to phase out antibiotics in feed. The FDA issued a draft guidance for the industry and recommends “judicious use” be applied. Specifically, the “FDA recommends that all antimicrobial drugs for animals and people be used only when necessary and appropriate.”
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A Look at Why We’re All Confused About What to Eat

Part of my job as the primary blogger for Be Food Smart is to stay up to date on what’s new in the food and nutrition world. For the most part I love it, but inevitably, there comes a point in my week where I throw my hands up in frustration. It seems that every type of food I thought I knew somehow becomes a subject of debate. Need some examples?

Sugar – The stuff that comes from the lush sugarcane plant is now suddenly associated with the “T” word. Remember when toxic was primarily used to describe a pile of nuclear waste oil drums with skull & crossbones? Robert Lustig’s YouTube video has only been viewed 1.16 million times.

Wheat – Between whole, unbleached, enriched, stone ground, and bleached, wheat is downright confusing. And all this before I even mentioned the almighty power word: gluten.

Salt – Sodium is bad, right? Or wait, is the regular stuff bad and sea salt good? What about rock, kosher, or unrefined pink Himalayan salt? Do I need the iodine (especially since the Japanese nuclear reactor is leaking)? I predict a future blog post on salt…
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This is a guest post by Jean at Delightful Repast. Be Food Smart showcases voices from all fronts of the food movement. Know of a blogger, farmer or passionate food writer who may be interested? Contact us or provide details in your comment.

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Pan-Seared Ribeye Steaks with
Shallot Pan Sauce


When Dina invited me to do a guest post at Be Food Smart, I didn’t have to think twice. Be Food Smart is one of my favorite blogs, one I visit regularly. I was attracted to it because of its primary focus of increasing awareness of the harmful additives in today’s food. I grew up with that awareness, having a mother who got interested in health and nutrition when she was a young woman. I believe saying “No” to pesticides, herbicides, chemical additives, preservatives, food coloring, irradiation, GMOs, hormones and antibiotics puts our consumer power to work for a better world as well as better health for ourselves and our families.

I’ve been vegetarian at various times in my life and ideally I would be vegan; but that’s not going to happen any time soon. So I try to eat meat less often and choose meat that has been produced under the best conditions. We need to insist on humane treatment of all animals and proper working conditions for those who work in the meat industry. (One of the reasons I insist on organic produce is so that I know the people who worked in its production and harvest were not harmed by pesticides and herbicides.)

When I “met” Rod Morrison of Rocky Mountain Organic Meats on Twitter, I looked into the company and learned that their beef and lamb are 100% grass-fed, grass-finished and certified organic. No hormones. No antibiotics. No grain. No GMO feed. No irradiation. No feedlots where deadly antibiotic-resistant bacteria thrive. Passionate about sustainable and organic agriculture and livestock production, Rod is dedicated to environmentally friendly agriculture practices, healthy land stewardship and–most important to me–the ethical treatment of animals. The animals are allowed to roam free and are treated humanely.

Yes, organic grass-fed beef is more expensive than conventional beef. But I would rather have it less often and in smaller servings and feel good about what I’m eating and feeding my family and friends. Of course, I am a locavore and always favor buying food produced as close to home as possible. But organic grass-fed beef is not available locally to many people across the country, so it’s wonderful to have the mail-order option.

I hope you’ll try my original recipe for Pan-Seared Ribeye Steaks with Shallot Pan Sauce (pictured above) with some good organic grass-fed beef. And be sure to let me know how you liked it!


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Jean at Delightful Repast is a freelance writer who writes about food (also entertaining, weddings and etiquette) for numerous publications. She started her food blog Delightful Repast February 2010 to share her passion for good food that is also good for you and good for the planet.

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This is Part 1 of a three-part series on raw milk.

Eric Brody, WAPF Chapter Leader

When the local chapter of The Weston A. Foundation (WAPF) announced their March topic, All About Raw Milk…Samples Will be Provided, I have to admit that I got a wee bit squeamish. I’m not really sure why since I like almost everything else raw. Maybe it stems from the fact that drinking a tall glass of milk with dinner was never part of my childhood. Mom breastfed all her kids until we self-weaned and did not “graduate” us to cow’s milk like most American parents. We consumed cow’s milk with cold cereal and in cooking (my mom makes a mean cream of cauliflower soup), but never to drink. I suppose it could have something to do with childhood, or maybe it’s all the fear surrounding raw milk. I receive virtually all food-related updates from the FDA (US Food & Drug Administration) and “the dangers of raw milk” seems to be a very frequent topic. If you believe the hype, people must be sick and dying all the time because of this dangerous stuff. I pushed aside my squeamishness and I vowed to attend the meeting anyway (I figured I’d skip the plastic sample cup of raw milk and just go for the presentation).

I arrived at the Goleta Library a few minutes late and pasted my name tag onto my cardigan. The meeting room was packed with about 50 local people and I was directed to sit in the front row (don’t you love showing up late?). After a brief introduction to the WAPF by chapter leaders, Eric Brody and Katie Falbo, the CEO of Organic Pastures approached the podium. Mark McAfee is a big guy, both in stature and personality. The minute he started talking, I knew I wouldn’t be bored. The passion Mark has for raw milk seeps from his every pore.

Mark’s presentation was filled with powerfully memorable slides and you know he’s spoken these words a hundred times over.  There were three main intertwined themes:

(1) the differences between the two raw milks in America

(2) the ever-important bacteria in the human body

(3) the negative sides of dairy pasteurization.

Two Raw Milks

We started with the two raw milks; what do they have in common and what are the differences?
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Many of our readers have been asking what brand of organic dairy they should be buying. In 2006, the Cornucopia Institute put out a Dairy Scorecard report on US dairy producers. While some things may be a bit different now since it’s a few years old, the report is still a great reference for consumers looking for a more objective and well-rounded look at organic dairy.

The report looks at a wide variety of factors including antibiotic use, hormone use, organic certification process, and acreage of pasture available. Dairy products covered: fluid milk, butter, ice cream, yogurt, kefir, cheese, milk-based infant formula, and cream.

To see the scorecard, click here: Cornucopia Institute Dairy Scorecard

To read the full PDF report which includes interesting background information, history of the organic dairy, and a segment on the largest organic dairy producer, Horizon, click here: Maintaining the Integrity of Organic Milk, Showcasing Ethical Family Farm Producers, Exposing the Corporate Takeover – Factory Farm Production

Note that virtually all private label store brands in the report, receive a 1 or 0 (least desirable) rating since they refused to participate in the survey. This includes: Trader Joes, Costco Kirkland, and Safeway “O” brands.  This doesn’t necessarily mean that dairy from these brands are at the bottom of the pack, but since no information was provided to the Cornucopia Institute, there are no objective measures to compare. I’m a firm believer that if you have nothing to hide and are proud of your farm and business practices, you’d be a bit more happy to share.

Sources:
Cornucopia Institute
Image: Caroline Henri | Dreamstime.com

Image: Andres Rueda via Flickr

Don’t think you need buy organic meat? Think again. The US FDA released an estimate on the amount of antibiotics given to farm animals in the United States. The grand total is over 29 MILLION pounds in 2009!

2009 was the first year the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine required sales and distribution data of antimicrobial drugs approved for food-producing animals (cattle, poultry, swine) including:

“…(1) the amount of each antimicrobial active ingredient by container size, strength, and dosage form; (2) quantities distributed domestically and quantities exported; and (3) a listing of the target animals, indications, and production classes that are specified on the approved label of the product…”

- 2009 Summary Report, Food & Drug Adminstration

If we take cattle as an example, we know that they are meant to forage grass and digest it through their multi-chamber stomachs. Today’s commercially raised cows are fed a diet of corn, wheat, barley, sorghum, and likely never see a fresh blade of grass in their lifetime. They are eating a diet that they were not meant to eat and this has led to a situation
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