The Real Truth About Organic Strawberries

Certified organic strawberries aren’t so organic after all. Although organic strawberries sell for 50% to 100% more than conventional berries, organic strawberries are fumigated with toxic chemicals, including methyl bromide, at the beginning stages of their life-cycle.

Methyl bromide, is used to sterilize the soil before strawberries are planted. It’s not sprayed on the fruit. It’s a soil fumigant that kills just about everything it touches. Many hybridized seed varieties have been created that can only grow in sterile soil.

“The soil is, as a matter of fact, full of live organisms. It is essential to conceive of it as something pulsating with life, not as a dead or inert mass.”

– Albert Howard, The Soil and Health, 1947

“For most of agriculture’s 10,000-year history, farmers have succeeded or failed based on their ability to nurture life within soil. The microorganisms and earthworms that thrive in healthy soil metabolize nutrients and make them available for crops. They also convert animal and vegetable waste into humus, thus regenerating their own habitat and maintaining that thin layer of topsoil on which all terrestrial life depends.
In modern agriculture, however, soil operates as a medium, not a habitat: It exists to transfer synthetic, pre-metabolized nutrients from factories to crops. In this regime, any life form found in soil is at best innocuous — and at worst a threat. When a vast field is planted in the same crop year after year, its pests concentrate in the soil, waiting to strike.”

 

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Scientists Use DNA Testing to Detect Seafood Fraud

bluefin-tuna-was-the-only-fish-that-was-labeled-in-100-of-samples

How much did you pay for that slice of halibut sashimi? What about those two pieces of red snapper? According to a study published in the journal Conservation Biology on Friday, you likely paid too much. This may be frustrating news for sushi lovers, but it’s good news for flounder lovers: Any time you’ve been served halibut in a sushi restaurant, rest assured that you probably ate flounder. But the problem is much broader than just this one substitution. Demian Willette, of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California Los Angeles , and his colleagues found that 47 percent of the samples they collected were mislabeled. That means your odds of getting the sushi you ordered are slightly better than a coin toss.

If you think this is an issue associated with lower-tier sushi joints, think again. Willette and his colleagues had their undergraduate students gather samples over four years from 26 sushi restaurants that were rated highly by customers on Zagat and Yelp in the greater Los Angeles area. They used a genetic testing technique called DNA barcoding, in which particular portions of DNA can be used to identify an individual as part of a species, to verify the identities of the samples. All of the restaurants had at least one incident of mislabeling during the four year period, with an average mislabeling rate of 45.5 percent.

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South Carolina just obliterated millions of bees by accident

Reports out of South Carolina have indicated that when officials approved the spraying of local farmlands with insecticide to prevent the spread of Zika-carrying mosquitos, it accidentally wiped out millions of bees too.

The insecticide in question, called Naled, is known to be “highly toxic” to bees, and these vital pollinators appear to be the latest collateral damage in the fight against Zika.

In response to the ensuing outcry from local farmers after last Sunday’s bout of aerial spraying in Dorchester County, the local administrator’s office announcedthat the state health department had reported four travel-related cases of Zika virus in the Summerville area of Dorchester County on Friday 26 August.

While the health department reported that no one has been infected from a local mosquito bite to date, Dorchester County officials justified the accidental bee cull on the grounds that the mosquito population remained a threat.

“Dorchester County is concerned about the safety of its citizens,” a statement from the County Administrator’s Office reads. “This includes protecting citizens from insect bites from pests such as mosquitoes that carry viruses including West Nile and Zika.”

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