WHO Shows Why to Avoid Glyphosate

The World Health Organization added its prestige to the debate over glyphosate this month, and in the process renewed fears that the widespread agricultural use of Monsanto’s GMO-tailored herbicide Roundup is a clear and present danger to public health.

“An international committee of cancer experts shocked the agribusiness world … when it announced that two widely used pesticides are ‘probably carcinogenic to humans,’” National Public Radio reported. “[WHO’s] well-respected International Agency for Research on Cancer published a brief explanation of its conclusions in The Lancet and plans to issue a book-length version later this year. The announcement set off a wave of feverish reaction, because one of these chemicals, glyphosate, is a pillar of large-scale farming.”

According to the panel’s summary, “The herbicide glyphosate and the insecticides malathion and diazinon were classified as probably carcinogenic to humans. The insecticides tetrachlorvinphos and parathion were classified as possibly carcinogenic to humans. …

“For the herbicide glyphosate, there was limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans for non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The evidence in humans is from studies of exposures, mostly agricultural, in the USA, Canada, and Sweden published since 2001. In addition, there is convincing evidence that glyphosate also can cause cancer in laboratory animals. … Glyphosate also caused DNA and chromosomal damage in human cells, although it gave negative results in tests using bacteria. One study in community residents reported increases in blood markers of chromosomal damage (micronuclei) after glyphosate formulations were sprayed nearby.”

The report carefully defines the term “probably carcinogenic to humans”: “This category is used when there is limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans and sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals. Limited evidence means that a positive association has been observed between exposure to the agent and cancer but that other explanations for the observations (called chance, bias, or confounding) could not be ruled out. This category is also used when there is limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans and strong data on how the agent causes cancer.”

The scientists took note of the connection between rising glyphosate use and the introduction of GMO crops. “Glyphosate currently has the highest global production volume of all herbicides. … The agricultural use of glyphosate has increased sharply since the development of crops that have been genetically modified to make them resistant to glyphosate.”

Monsanto, of course, is the biotech corporation that makes both Roundup, whose active ingredient is glyphosate, and various genetically modified plants that can tolerate massive spraying of Roundup on fields.

Discover more here: http://bit.ly/1x9hNIN

Recipe: Gluten Free Sprouted Brown Rice Carrot Cupcakes with “Cream Cheese” Lemon Frosting

The moist, sweet, and rich flavor of these cupcakes is highly addictive. Best enjoyed fresh and generously frosted!

GLUTEN FREE SPROUTED BROWN RICE CARROT CUPCAKES WITH “CREAM CHEESE” LEMON FROSTING

YIELD: 12 CUPCAKES

CUPCAKES

1 1/2 cups gluten free flour blend (see below)

2 teaspoons cinnamon

3/4 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

pinch of clove

1 cup carrots, finely shredded

1/2 cup coconut palm sugar

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup coconut oil, melted

1/4 cup almond milk

2 flax eggs (2 tablespoons One Degree Organics Flax Seeds, ground + 5 tablespoons water)

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners or lightly grease. Prepare the flax egg in a small bowl and let rest for approximately 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together the first 7 ingredients. In a separate bowl mix together the shredded carrots, coconut palm sugar, maple syrup, melted coconut oil, almond milk and prepared flax egg. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and gently mix to combine. Fold in the walnuts. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared muffin tins.

Bake for 18 minutes, until fluffy and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let rest in the muffin tin for 15 minutes before removing from the tin to a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely before unwrapping or frosting.

FROSTING

1 1/2 cups vegan butter, chilled

2 cups organic powdered sugar

2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

5-6 teaspoons lemon juice

DIRECTIONS

Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or in a large bowl and use a hand mixer. Mix until smooth and fluffy.

Add more powdered sugar to thicken, if needed.

GLUTEN FREE FLOUR BLEND

1 3/4 cup One Degree Organics Sprouted Brown Rice Flour

3/4 cup tapioca flour

 

Routes of Pie: Tracking Food Fraud

“What’s for dinner would seem to be one of life’s more straightforward questions,” food consultant David Edwards writes in a column for Scientific American. “However, if my 36 years of food safety experience have taught me anything, it is that the answer to that question isn’t as simple as it once was. Most consumers would be surprised to find just how complex simple meals have become.”

For example, many would assume that manufacturing a conventional frozen pizza would involve a simple list of ingredients and suppliers. But creating a processed pizza is no longer as easy as pie. Supply chains stretch around the world, with mystery ingredients appearing suddenly from anonymous, unaccountable sources: “A recent analysis of the components of a pizza … found that it was made from 35 different ingredients that passed through 60 countries on five different continents.”

As much as 10 percent of the food Americans buy may be adulterated, Edwards notes. In the absence of strong commitments to transparency by suppliers and retailers, finding the source of a dishonest ingredient can be a formidable task. “Much of the challenge is rooted in the extraordinary reach of the global marketplace. When a Chilean summer strawberry can make it to the top a banana parfait in a Manhattan restaurant in mid-winter, we’re in a new world that demands a whole new level of vigilance. It’s a food supply network with so many links that tampering with just one can easily go unnoticed.

“The 2013 horse meat scandal is a good illustration of this concept. By the time French authorities identified a French meat wholesaler as the prime suspect in passing off horse meat as beef throughout Europe, sales had stretched over several months, across 13 countries and reached into 28 companies.”

What makes global food fraud so difficult to contain is the lure of vast amounts of money, a problem that is getting worse, Edwards says: “Investigations into the European horse meat scandal … found that the profit margins available to the more sophisticated and organized criminals are beginning to approach those normally associated with other forms of organized crime.”

Discover more here: http://bit.ly/1ohSw4e

Table Sugar Rule, Lobbyists Demand

A proposal to require an “added sugar” line to food nutrition labels has ignited a storm in the processed food industry. One result of the controversy is that the public is beginning to catch a glimpse into the common practice of adding spoonfuls of sugar to products ranging from salad dressing to deli meats.

“The furor over the idea reveals the extent to which extra sugar is infused into even the most unlikely foods and the concerns that manufacturers have about consumers finding out,” the Los Angeles Times wrote this week of the prospective rule, which is being considered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The opposition ranges from soup to nuts, literally. “The Campbell Soup Co. argued that revealing how much sugar they pour into their cans could help make Americans more obese,” the Times reported. “‘Such information could confuse consumers by taking their focus off of calories,’ the company’s director of regulatory affairs wrote to the agency.

“Another of the dozens of companies calling on the FDA to scrap the sugar plan is the Roman Meal Co., which makes whole-grain breads. The American Nutrition Society also joined the fight. Its sustaining partner donors include Kellogg Co., Coca-Cola and Dannon.

“Nutrition advocates say the uproar only bolsters their argument that unhealthy amounts of sweeteners are infiltrating unlikely corners of the food supply.

“‘That one line on a label seems like a small thing,’ said Deborah Bailin, an analyst at the Union of Concerned Scientists. ‘But not having it covers up a very big fact that the food industry does not want people to know. Things they want you to think are healthy are full of sugar.’

“When the Environmental Working Group analyzed 80,000 food products, it found that 58% had extra sugar added. That included even most deli meats on supermarket shelves.

“‘I was shocked,’ [Environmental Working Group research director Renee] Sharp said. ‘I mean, it’s turkey. Why is there sugar in it?’”

According to a report in the Chicago Tribune: “The average American consumes 19.5 teaspoons (78 grams) of sugar a day, substantially more than the amount recommended by the American Heart Association. The association sets these limits: 6 teaspoons (24 grams) for women, 9 teaspoons (36 grams) for men, and 3-6 teaspoons (12-24 grams) for children, depending on age. Just one 12-ounce soda contains 8 to 9 teaspoons (32-36 grams) of sugar.”

Discover more here: http://lat.ms/1BMs902

Recipe: Sprouted Rye Artisan Bread

This crusty, caramel colored loaf with a clean, rich flavor and incredible taste will make your kitchen smell just like the small artisan bakeries of Europe.

SPROUTED RYE ARTISAN BREAD

YIELD: 1 LOAF

INGREDIENTS

3/4 cup One Degree Organics Sprouted Rye Flour

2 1/4 cups organic all-purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon instant yeast

1 1/3 cups water

DIRECTIONS

In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, salt and yeast. Add the water and using a wooden spoon or your hands mix until a wet sticky dough has formed.

Do not over-mix, simply ensure that everything is well-blended. Move the dough to a clean bowl and cover with foil or plastic wrap. Let sit at room temperature for 12-14 hours.

When first rise is complete, generously dust a work surface with flour and using a rubber spatula transfer the dough in one piece out of the bowl. With well-floured hands, gently shape the dough to a round or oval shape.

Generously dust a clean dish towel with rye flour and gently place the dough on the towel, seam side down.

Lightly dust the top of the dough with flour and loosely fold the towel over the dough. Place in a warm spot to rise for 1-2 hours, until doubled in size.

While dough is rising, place a dutch oven on the center rack in the oven and preheat to 475 degrees F. Once the dutch oven is fully heated and the dough is done rising, remove the dutch oven and carefully place the loaf inside.

- Placing the bread seam side up will create a rough, rustic look on the top of the loaf.

- Placing the bread seam side down will give a smooth top on the loaf.

- Using a knife you can slice patterns on the top of the loaf to give it texture.

Cover the pot and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and continue baking until the bread is a deep chestnut color but not burnt, 10-15 minutes more.

Carefully lift the bread out of the pot and place it on a rack to cool completely.

Pesticides Top List of Hormone Disruptors

A comprehensive review of endocrinological studies is sounding the alarm about hormone-disrupting chemicals that are pervasive in the conventional food chain and our environment.

In light of the high physical, developmental and economic costs of these toxic substances, researchers are suggesting that consumers substitute organic produce for items that have been sprayed with organophosphates or other pesticides.

“The series of papers, just published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, convened expert panels who reviewed laboratory and population-based evidence that certain endocrine-disrupting chemicals — including pesticides, bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates, which are said to interfere with hormones in the human body — contribute to disease and disability,” Time reported earlier this month.

Research team leader Dr. Leonardo Trasande, associate professor of pediatrics and environmental medicine at New York University School of Medicine, told the news magazine: “Our findings suggest potentially that endocrine-disrupting chemicals are replacing lead and methylmercury as leading contributors to neurodevelopmental disease and disability in children.”

“Global experts in this field concluded that infertility and male reproductive dysfunctions, birth defects, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and neurobehavioral and learning disorders were among the conditions than can be attributed in part to exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs),” Rodale News added. “EDCs mimic, block, or interfere with the body’s hormones. EDCs include biphenol A (BPA), found in water bottles and can linings, certain phthalates, found in plastic products and cosmetics, flame retardants, and pesticides such as chlorpyrifos.”

Rodale advises these precautions to limit your exposure to EDCs: “Avoid canned foods and opt for fresh or frozen whenever possible. Avoid microwaving or washing plastic in the dishwasher, since it causes the plastic to break down more quickly. Better yet, ditch plastic and opt for food-grade stainless steel, glass, or ceramic food and drink containers. Eat organic to avoid hormone-disrupting pesticides found on and inside of the food.”

Dr. Trasande agrees with this advice, and also advocates a fundamental change in the U.S. regulatory structure. As Time reports, “There are proven ways to lower your exposure to the major endocrine-disrupting chemicals, Trasande says, including eating organic to cut out organophosphate pesticides and not microwaving plastic to limit phthalates. But real change will need regulation reform, he says. ‘Except for the Food Quality Protection Act, the regulatory model in the United States assumes innocent until proven guilty, resulting in broad and widespread experimentation on humans with exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals.’”

Discover more here: http://ti.me/1GMXTDc

Recipe: Sprouted Khorasan Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies

These cookies are loaded with chocolate chips and the rich caramel flavor of coconut sugar makes them a deliciously irresistible twist on an old classic.

SPROUTED KHORASAN OATMEAL CHOCOLATE CHUNK COOKIES

YIELD: 12 COOKIES

INGREDIENTS

1 flax egg (1 tablespoon One Degree Organics Flax Seeds, ground + 2 1/2 tablespoons water)

1/2 cup vegan butter or coconut oil

2/3 cup coconut palm sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups One Degree Organics Quick Oats

3/4 cup One Degree Organics Sprouted Khorasan Flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 heaping cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

 

DIRECTIONS

Combine the ground flax seed and water in a small bowl and set aside. In a large bowl combine the flax egg, vegan butter or coconut oil, coconut palm sugar, and vanilla, and using an electric mixer beat on medium-high speed until creamed and well combined, about 3 minutes.

Add the oats, sprouted khorasan flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt, and beat on low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Add in the chocolate chips and beat on low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds.

Using a large scoop or your hands, form balls of dough and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Flatten the cookies slightly. Refrigerate for about 1-2 hours. Do not bake un-chilled dough because cookies will bake thinner, and will tend to spread.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake cookies for about 11-12 minutes, or until edges have set; don’t over-bake. The cookies will firm up as they cool. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for about 10 minutes before serving.

Transparency Wave Rises

Transparency is transforming the world around us at the speed of light. That’s especially true in the homes, farms, cafeterias and markets where the laser-hot concept is changing the way daily food choices are made.

As with light itself, transparency is not only a brilliant force of energy, but also a wave; and a new tide of nationwide campaigns by nonprofits provides the latest examples of that wave’s amplitude and power.

The National Farm to School Network is gracefully surfing the crest of the wave. Their philosophy: “Across the board, kids who know their food are more likely to eat their food. Who isn’t curious to taste a carrot they just pulled out of the ground or meet the farmer who grew their lunch? The more positive experiences children have with healthy foods, the more they acquire a taste for them. Farm to school activities like school gardens, taste tests, cooking classes and farm field trips are building a new generation of informed, healthy eaters.”

Recently the Network teamed up with a variety of other nonprofits for the “Blue Needs You to Know Your Source” campaign. “Blue” is the planet we share, and the central message of the program is: “More history, less mystery. Celebrate clearly labeled ingredients and origin.”

Adding considerable prestige to the Blue Needs You to Know Your Source effort is The Lunch Box, whose mission is “to provide school district administrators, food service directors, and their teams with the tools and resources they need to serve healthy, nutritious, and delicious food to every student, every day.”

As The Lunch Box Web site explains, “It may be an old and well-worn maxim, but nevertheless it remains true: our children are our planet’s future. The kindergarteners of today’s world will grow up to be the farmers, policy makers, and consumers of tomorrow. But while they’re still young, and we’re still tying their shoes and filling their lunch trays, we have a singular opportunity. We can teach our kids the connection between their food, their health, and their planet. We can encourage them to nourish their bodies while being stewards of the land that feeds them. And where best to teach them these lessons? School, of course.”

The Lunch Box is led by the Chef Ann Foundation, a nonprofit created by Ann Cooper, author of the popular books, “Bitter Harvest” and “Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children.” The goals of Chef Ann, her foundation and The Lunch Box include providing schools with resources that encourage these vital changes: “Cooking healthy, nutrient-rich recipes that highlight fruits and veggies; building connections between salad bars and farmer’s markets; using more local produce in their salad bar and overall school meal programs; [incorporating] school garden harvests into salad bars; [and providing] examples of successful farm-to-school programs.”

For additional information, check out these sites:

National Farm to School Network: www.farmtoschool.org

The Lunch Box: www.thelunchbox.org

Chef Ann Foundation: www.chefannfoundation.org

Blue Needs You: http://bit.ly/1EmEGqN]

‘Wall of Secrecy’ Hides Future of Food

This week the innovators behind many of the great natural food brands are gathering at Expo West, a premier industry trade show held each year in the shadow of Disneyland, just a short Autopia drive from Tomorrowland.

If you work for a global food conglomerate, however, the place to be is not Expo, but rather the Food Ingredients conference, a chemical additive bazaar that travels a circuit of international capitals. For manufacturers of artificial food, this annual show is Frontierland. But for author Joanna Blythman, the experience of entering Food Ingredients’ secret world of texturized proteins, pulp extenders and high-viscosity starches seemed more like a ride on the whirling cups of Fantasyland’s Mad Tea Party.

“When technology meets nature, you save,” was the vaguely Orwellian slogan of one exhibitor, a brand promoting “an enzyme-modified encapsulated butter flavour that has as much as 400 times the flavour intensity of butter.” This was the general theme of the event, Blythman found, as she roamed the Frankfurt conference hall with her pirated access pass.

In a report for Britain’s Guardian newspaper, Blythman described her most troubling discovery: the fact that these arcane artificial substances are so omnipresent — and stealthy — that it’s almost impossible to keep them off your plate: “You might check labels for … strange-sounding ingredients, boycotting the most obvious forms of processed food. And yet you will still find it hard to avoid the 6,000 food additives — flavourings, glazing agents, improvers, bleaching agents and more — that are routinely employed behind the scenes of contemporary food manufacture. That upmarket cured ham and salami, that ‘artisan’ sourdough loaf, that ‘traditional’ extra-mature cheddar, those luxurious Belgian chocolates, those specialty coffees and miraculous probiotic drinks, those apparently inoffensive bottles of cooking oil: many have had a more intimate relationship with food manufacturing than we appreciate.”

Unlike Expo, where transparency is celebrated, Food Ingredients exhibitors try hard to reduce visibility, at least for the consumer. “When you try to dig deeper, you hit a wall of secrecy,” writes Blythman.

Beyond that wall, manufacturers of chemical additives go about the disingenuous business of inventing new substances that will, paradoxically, allow food companies to present a “clean label” to the public. This is usually accomplished by replacing the ominous-sounding chemicals on labels with “processing aids” that are not required to be listed. “From water-injected poultry and powdered coagulated egg, to ultra-adhesive batters and pre-mixed marinades, the raw materials in industrial food manufacturing are rarely straightforward. In fact, they commonly share quite complicated back stories of processing and intervention that their labels don’t reveal.”

Where there is no transparency, there can be no real accountability. And that, Blythman notes, is dangerous for anyone relying on the good faith of giant food companies: “The history of food processing is littered with ingredients that were initially presented as safer and more desirable, yet subsequently outed as the opposite. … We all eat prepared foods made using state-of-the-art technology, mostly unwittingly, either because the ingredients don’t have to be listed on the label, or because weasel words such as ‘flour’ and ‘protein,’ peppered with liberal use of the adjective ‘natural,’ disguise their production method. And we don’t know what this novel diet might be doing to us.”

Discover more here: http://bit.ly/1Ge6z62

Heirloom Seeds: Pure, Royal, Irreplaceable

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant,” advised the famous Scottish author, Robert Louis Stevenson. It’s a sentiment that’s been heartily embraced by Slow Food International in a new guide designed to help consumers find, plant and consume heirloom crop varieties, many of which often seem one harvest away from extinction.

“The continuous rise of industrial agriculture and its need for uniformity, homogenization and a focus on profit, has resulted in a concentration of the species which are grown and a reduction in the number of varieties, with a terrible loss of plant biodiversity,” explains Slow Food in the guide. “It only takes a look at the numbers to better understand this trend: of the 80,000 edible species available for food production, only 150 are currently grown, 8 of which are sold on a global scale. …

“In the 1970s there were over 7,000 seed companies, none of which reached the global market. Today, the biggest three (Monsanto, Pioneer Dupont and Syngenta) hold 53% of the global market and the biggest 10 companies hold 76%.”

This incredible concentration of life in the clenched fists of titanic seed companies began slowly: “From the beginning of the seventies, a new wave of legislation began to develop that slowly managed to overthrow a barrier that our grandparents believed to be insurmountable: in other words the possibility of creating ‘monopolies’ over food. From the eighties onwards, large companies took the opportunity (which was made possible thanks to a series of American court rulings in 1980/5) to patent living organisms and, therefore, to produce seeds. This effectively subjected the agricultural world to the rules of the industry, while transforming a vital common resource into a widely consumed good controlled by the industry itself.”

Against this dark backdrop, the guide challenges each consumer and gardener to preserve the future of heirloom seeds by rediscovering their beauty, tastes and histories. A glance at a few of the guide’s stories proves that many of these special seeds have royal genealogies. The plump strawberries that replaced the small forest berries that grew wild in Europe’s forests started out as a gift from a cartographer touring Chile to Louis XIV. The Perinaldo Artichoke got its start as a present by Napoleon to the residents of a small Italian village.

The guide reminds us that varieties such as these, with their colorful stories and grand historical adventures, have a personality that no laboratory hybrid could ever match, and a purity that no industrial process could ever simulate.

Download “Seeds According to Slow Food” here: http://bit.ly/1zUHwAz