Organic Chickens Have Lower Incidence of Salmonella
Scientists at the University of Georgia’s Center for Food Safety have published a paper comparing the incidence of Salmonella in organic chickens compared to conventional chickens raised by the same company in the same area. The team also analyzed the antibiotic-resistance status of 70 of the Salmonella isolates. Their findings were remarkable:
• 38.8 percent of conventional birds were infected with Salmonella, while only 5.6 percent of organic birds were infected.
• 27.5 percent of conventional feed samples were contaminated with Salmonella; only 5 of organic feed samples were contaminated.
• 39.7 percent of Salmonella isolates from conventional birds were resistant to SIX antibiotics; 0 percent of isolates from organic chickens were resistant to these six.
The team’s paper is entitled “Prevalence and Distribution of Salmonella in Organic and Conventional Broiler Poultry Farms.” It appeared in the journal Foodborne Pathogens and Disease, Vol. 7, Number 11, 2010.
CEO Run’s Across Ethiopia for To Raise Funds for Schools
In January, Nigel Willerton, CEO of Wholesome Sweetners, participated in the Run Across Ethiopia, a fundraiser to support school-building projects in fair trade coffee-growing regions. At 45, Willerton, an established Iron Man competitor, has seen what additional income can mean for farming communities. Wholesome Sweeteners pioneered the standards for Fair Trade Certified sweeteners in 2005 and since then has paid more than $2.5 million in social premiums, providing safe water, transportation, school and clinics and more.
“Building a new school in Ethiopia could take a lifetime, or just a few months if we can help with the right resources. Long-term education and knowledge will lift countries like Ethiopia out of poverty,” Willerton says.
The project is a campaign of On The Ground, a non-profit that helps communities gain sustainable access to fresh water, education and quality healthcare. According to OTG, the average coffee grower in the area earns $1.25 a day; it will take more than $40,000 to build a single school there. Wholesome Sweeteners matched, dollar-for-dollar, every individual donation made in Willerton’s honor. Willerton ran 264 miles in 11 days, an average of 24 miles a day. He personally raised almost $30,000, and the Run Across Ethiopia Team raised close to $200,000 for the education of the children of farmers.
CCOF Launches Online Organic Certification Management Tool
CCOF has released the first client-wide online organic certification management tool, MyCCOF. Clients may now use MyCCOF to monitor their certification and renewals, access key documents including the most current version of certificates, and track the inspection and certification process in real time. They can also monitor their account status and submit payments online. Clients are able to maintain operations and program enrollment and view information stored by CCOF including sales method and company statements.
MyCCOF also allows clients to manage several CCOF certified operations with a single login. MyCCOF is free for all CCOF clients.
Nineteen Pesticides Linked to Increased Cancer Risk
The Agricultural Health Study (AHS) is the largest-ever assessment of the health of workers involved in U.S. agriculture, and has been underway for almost two decades. A recent review published in Environmental Health Perspectives summarizes the results of 27 studies using AHS data on linkages between pesticide use and exposure and elevated cancer risk. A total of 36 cases were identified in which exposure to a pesticide increased the risk of a specific form of cancer.
Odds ratios over 1.2 are regarded as indicative of potential to cause cancer, and values over 2.0 means the individuals in the most exposed group were twice as likely to suffer from a given cancer. In the report there were 20 odds ratios that fell in the range 2-3, 12 in the range 3-4, 6 between 4 and 5, and three were over 5. Nineteen pesticides were involved in these 36 cases. While seven of these 19 pesticides are no longer registered in the U.S., several widely used pesticides are among the remaining 12 including chlorpyrifos, diazinon, EPTC, dicamba, metolachlor, pendimethalin, aldicarb, imazethapyr, trifluralin, carbaryl, and permethrin. Lymphoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and brain cancer were among the cancers elevated in children of pesticide applicators in an Iowa study. Exposed children were 2.46-times more likely to suffer from non-Hodgkin lymphoma than children in the unexposed control group. For more, go to www.organic-center.org/news_archive/January2011NewsletterFinal.htm
Stonyfield Farm Launches Health Club Media Network Campaign
Working with the Health Club Media Network (HCMN), a marketing company that works with a network of health clubs across the U.S., Stonyfield is promoting its Organic 0% Fat Greek Yogurt via in-club ad panels coupled with tear-off coupons. In independent research commissioned by HCMN, nearly 70 percent of female health club members and over 50 percent of male health club members go shopping after leaving a club.
“Our CPG clients are targeting health-focused audiences where they are choosing to improve their lives and right before they go on a regular shopping trip,” said Richard Hirsch, EVP, Health Club Media Network. “Redemption rates that are ten to 20 times their benchmark FSI rates.”
San Francisco Summit Calls for Greater Transparency
The North American edition of the Sustainable Foods Summit, organized by EU-based Organic Monitor, took place in San Francisco this January, bringing together leaders to discuss improving transparency in the food industry with a focus on eco-labels and innovative sustainability initiatives.
Sessions explored how to measure sustainability, ethical sourcing and sustainable ingredients and marketing and distribution innovations. “Organic-plus” strategies were also discussed, with a focus on the convergence of some eco-labels and case studies of pioneering organic food companies that were integrating sustainability into their corporate ethos.
Speakers included a long lineup of leaders from the industry including Honest Tea’s CEO Seth Goldman; Organic Valley’s VP of marketing Theresa Marquez; Chad Smith, sustainability director at Earthbound Farm; and Whitewave’s VP of responsible livelihood, Ellen W. Feeney. Some other companies who presented included Green Mountain Coffee, Straus Family Creamery, Theo Chocolate, Alter Eco, Fresh and Easy and Equal Exchange.
The summit raised many questions including: Will an eco-label ever fully represent sustainability? What ecological and social parameters are most important in such a standard? What are the most efficient methods to measure sustainability? Where is the line between green marketing and greenwashing? How can companies become more sustainable in distribution and packaging? The next editions of the Sustainable Foods Summit, set for June 23-24th 2011 in Amsterdam, and January 17-18th 2012 in San Francisco, aim to address such questions.
Save the Date: Sustainable Cosmetics Summit
When: May 12-14th, 2011 • Where: New York City
Topics Covered: Sustainable supply chains and green formulations as well as other practical and cutting edge approaches to reduce the environmental and social impacts of beauty products. Following the 2-day conference presented by Organic Monitor, an interactive workshop will tackle some of the major issues involved in formulating natural and organic cosmetics. For more information, go to: www.sustainablecosmeticssummit.com