Monthly Archives: August 2012

“Farmers markets are a critical ingredi


“Farmers markets are a critical ingredient to our nation’s food system,” USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan said. “These outlets provide benefits not only to the farmers looking for important income opportunities, but also to the communities looking for fresh, healthy foods.”

After 18 years of steady increases, the number of farmers markets across the country now registered with the USDA is 7,864. In 1994, there were 1,744.


Effective August 3, the allowance for th


Effective August 3, the allowance for the use of tetracycline in organic apple and pear production will be extended until Oct. 21, 2014, providing two years for the development of alternatives for fire blight control. Additionally, producers will have the option of using formic acid as a means of controlling varroa and tracheal mites in organic honey bee operations, while processors will have the option of using attapulgite, a nonsynthetic processing aid, for purification of plant and animal oils.

Tetracycline has been allowed in organic crop production since 2002 solely to control fire blight, a bacterial disease affecting large populations of apples and pears. Given the high susceptibility of the crops to the disease, and in light of tetracycline’s proven effectiveness to treat it, the National Organic Standards Board recommended that the substance continue to be allowed for a period. However, the expiration date should encourage the development of options for biological controls and also help cultivate fire blight-resistant apple and pear varieties.

The so-called “Big Six” agrichemical c


The so-called “Big Six” agrichemical companies—Monsanto, Syngenta, Dow Agrosciences, BASF, Bayer, and Pioneer (DuPont)—are sitting pretty. Together, they control nearly 70 percent of the global pesticide market, and essentially the entire market for genetically modified seeds. Prices of the crops they focus on—corn, soy, cotton, etc.—are soaring, pushed up by severe drought in key growing regions. Higher crop prices typically translate to increased pesticide sales as farmers have more money to spend on agrichemicals and more incentive to maximize yield.

Fish oil helps chronic heart failure – s


Fish oil helps chronic heart failure – study

Sunday Aug 12, 2012 ( — Long chain omega-polyunsaturated fatty acids such as those found in fish oil help patients with chronic heart failure, according to a study in the July 3, 2012 issue of the journal Heart.

This study led by W. Xin of Chinese PLA General Hospital, Beijing, China and colleagues was based on data from seven randomized controlled trials of 825 patients with chronic heart failure to assess the effect of fish oil supplementation on cardiac function.

Tea-sing your senses By MAJORIE CHIEW st


Tea-sing your senses

Macrobiotic teas from Japan have a distinct flavour and aroma. They are finer, rich in nutrients and supposedly enhance health and relaxation.

SOME cultures believe that drinking tea promotes longevity. For the Japanese, drinking the brew made from tea leaves harvested on the 88th day after the first day of spring will result in perfect health and a longer life.

The new crop or “the first flush” of green tea is harvested around this time of the year. The crop, referred to as Shincha or Ichi-ban-cha, is appreciated more than the second or third crop for its less bitter and sweeter taste. By drinking this “new” tea, they are absorbing the “new and strong energy” into their bodies to promote health throughout the year.

Hachijyu Hachiya (which literally means 88 nights) is the day (on May 2; May 1 in a leap year) that marks the season of harvesting the first green tea of the year. Some Japanese regard it as good luck to drink green tea on this day. It is such a big part of Japanese culture and posters announcing Shincha can be seen in the windows of tea stores around this time.

Strawberry Extract Protects Against UVA


Strawberry Extract Protects Against UVA Rays, Study Suggests

ScienceDaily (Aug. 3, 2012) — An experiment has shown that strawberry extract added to skin cell cultures acts as a protector against ultraviolet radiation as well as increasing its viability and reducing damage to DNA. Developed by a team of Italian and Spanish researchers, the study opens the door to the creation of photoprotective cream made from strawberries.

“We have verified the protecting effect of strawberry extract against damage to skins cells caused by UVA rays,” as explained by Maurizio Battino, researcher at the Università Politecnica delle Marche in Italy and lead author of the jointly Spanish and Italian study. The results are published in the ‘Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry’.