Monday, October 4, 2010

Article Round-Up: a side of arsenic, groundwater, chicken feed, GOOD news about milk

September 24, Dartmouth – (National) Professor warns against arsenic ‘on your plate’. High levels of arsenic in rice and rice products present serious hazards to public health, a professor from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland said in a seminar at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire September 23. The professor discussed the dangers and pervasiveness of arsenic, which has long been linked with cancer, in a seminar, "Arsenic on Your Plate." Although health organizations and governments have stressed the need to regulate arsenic levels in water, the professor said there are no corresponding standards for arsenic in food. He cited research to demonstrate that rice is particularly susceptible to arsenic contamination, and that diets heavy in rice can be related to arsenic-related health conditions, including cancer. Rice absorbs a substantially larger amount of arsenic than other crops because the water used to flood rice paddies is able to "mobilize" arsenic from the soil, the professor said. Levels of arsenic contamination are higher in rice grown in the United States than in any other nation, according to research the professor cited in his lecture. Rice from the South, specifically Arkansas and Texas, shows the highest rates of arsenic poisoning because of the arsenic-laden chemicals farmers previously used to cultivate cotton there, he said. Source:

September 27, Homeland Security NewsWire – (International) Worldwide groundwater depletion rate accelerating. In recent decades, the rate at which humans worldwide are pumping dry the vast underground stores of water that billions depend on has more than doubled, said scientists who have conducted an unusual, global assessment of groundwater use and recently released results of their study. These fast-shrinking subterranean reservoirs are essential to daily life and agriculture in many regions, while also sustaining streams, wetlands, and ecosystems and resisting land subsidence and salt water intrusion into fresh water supplies. Today, people are drawing so much water from below that they are adding enough of it to the oceans (mainly by evaporation, then precipitation) to account for about 25 percent of the annual sea level rise across the planet, the researchers found. Soaring global groundwater depletion bodes a potential disaster for an increasingly globalized agricultural system, said a researcher of Utrecht University in Utrecht, the Netherlands, and leader of the new study. He and his colleagues will publish their new findings in an upcoming issue of Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union. In the new study, which compares estimates of groundwater added by rain and other sources to the amounts being removed for agriculture and other uses, the team taps a database of global groundwater information including maps of groundwater regions and water demand. Source:

October 1, Associated Press – (Ohio; National) Court strikes down parts of Ohio milk labels rule. Dairy processors can make claims that their products are free of a synthetic growth hormone, a federal appeals court in Cincinnati, Ohio, ruled September 30 in striking down parts of the state’s rule on milk labeling. Key parts of the state’s labeling rule violated First Amendment rights to commercial free speech, a three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled. The Organic Trade Association and the International Dairy Foods Association sued the Ohio Department of Agriculture in 2008 over a state rule on how consumers are informed about whether milk is made from cows that were given a synthetic hormone. The trade groups argued that the rule is too restrictive. It prohibits composition claims such as "antibiotic-free" and "pesticide-free," violating their free speech rights and impeding interstate commerce, the groups argued. The appeals court reversed a lower court decision on the free speech issue, concluding that the state’s ban is "more extensive than necessary to serve the state’s interest in preventing consumer deception." The appeals court agreed with a lower court ruling that the rule does not impede interstate commerce. Source:

September 22, WTAQ 1360 AM Green Bay – (Iowa; National) Feds: Feed ingredients not Salmonella source at Iowa egg farm. Federal officials said feed ingredients bought by an Iowa egg company were not the source of Salmonella that contaminated the farm’s eggs. According to FeedStuffs.Com, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) believes the feed got contaminated during or after its processing at Wright County Farms. But officials are still not sure how the Salmonella was generated — and their investigation is continuing. Wright and nearby Hillandale Farms recalled 550 million eggs after a salmonella outbreak reported last month. It was responsible for making 21 diners sick at a Kenosha, Wisconsin restaurant in June. More than 1,500 people were sickened nationally. Top officials of both egg farms testified before a House sub-committee in Washington D.C. September 22. Panel members said they have records showing that Wright routinely tested positive for Salmonella contamination in the 2 years before the outbreak. The sub-committee has also asked the FDA and the Ag Department for their records in the case. Reports show that U.S. Department of Agriculture inspectors were aware of growing sanitary problems at Wright — but they did not notify health officials. Source:

And I just love this headline and had to include it:

September 21, Associated Press – (Arizona; International) Agents stop harmful insects at U.S.-Mexico border.

At least they're stopping something at the border, right?

1 comment:

The Apple Pie Gal said...

Thanks for sharing! Gosh, I am so glad they stopped those insects!!