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Drinking non-cow milk linked to shorter kids, study suggests

CNN | Posted on June 12, 2017

Children who drink dairy alternatives like soy, almond or rice milks are slightly shorter than their peers who drink cow's milk, according to a new study.The study, published Wednesday in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that each daily cup of non-cow's milk consumed was associated with 0.4 centimeters (0.15 inches) lower height than average for a child's age."We found that children who are consuming non-cow's milk like rice, almond and soy milk tended to be a little bit shorter than children who consumed cow's milk," said Dr. Jonathon Maguire, the study's lead author and a pediatrician and researchers at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto. "For example, a 3-year-old child consuming three cups of non-cow's milk relative to cow's milk was on average 1.5 centimeters shorter."

How millions of cartons of ‘organic’ milk contain an oil brewed in industrial vats of algae

The Washington Post | Posted on June 7, 2017

Inside a South Carolina factory, in industrial vats that stand five stories high, batches of algae are carefully tended, kept warm and fed corn syrup. There the algae, known as Schizochytrium, multiply quickly. The payoff, which comes after processing, is a substance that resembles corn oil. It tastes faintly fishy.Marketed as a nutritional enhancement, the oil is added to millions of cartons of organic milk from Horizon, one of the nation’s largest organic brands. Rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, the oil allows Horizon to advertise health benefits and charge a higher price.“DHA Omega-3 Supports Brain Health,” according to the Horizon cartons sold in supermarkets around the United States.What the Horizon milk carton doesn’t advertise is that some of its contents were brewed in closed stainless steel vats of Schizochytrium. This omission avoids any ick reaction from shoppers, but consumer advocates say it also dodges a  key question: Is milk supplemented with an oil brewed in a factory really “organic”? “We do not think that [the oil] belongs in organic foods,” said Charlotte Vallaeys, a senior policy analyst, at Consumer Reports. “When an organic milk carton says it has higher levels of beneficial nutrients, like omega-3 fats, consumers want that to be the result of good farming practices … not from additives made in a factory.”Exactly what should be considered an “organic” food? A closer look at how the oil winds up in organic milk offers insight into how the U.S. Department of Agriculture determines what foods may be sold with its coveted “USDA Organic” seal, a label that can double a product’s price. At least in part, it’s a lobbying tug-of-war: On one side, many companies, seeking to maximize sales, push the USDA for an expansive definition of “organic.” On the other, consumer groups advocate for a narrower, “purer,” definition.

Nation’s second-largest school district pilots vegan lunches

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on June 7, 2017

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the second-largest public school district in the country, has launched a pilot program to test plant-based vegan options for its school lunches during the 2017-2018 school year. LAUSD board members last month approved a resolution developed by freshman Lila Copeland, who is youth director of the nonprofit group Earth Peace, according to a news release issued by Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, which helped her develop the proposal.Dr. Neal Barnard, PCRM board president, helped make the case to LAUSD leaders and, along with Dr. Jay Gordon, has made recommendations to the district for modeling healthful eating templates for its 650,000 students spanning kindergarten through 12th grade.

Why Are People So Obsessed With Getting Raw Milk?

Bon Appetit | Posted on June 7, 2017

Raw milk is illegal or highly regulated in most of the country. Are the health benefits worth the risks of the underground raw milk market? So what’s the appeal? Is raw milk really worth breaking the law for? It depends who you ask. The Weston A. Price Foundation, a nonprofit named for the early-20th-century dentist who believed strong teeth could be credited to raw milk, would give a definite “yes.” The WAPF claims that raw milk is an elixir that can not only cure allergies but also provide beneficial bacteria and digest more easily than other milk, because the lack of processing makes the vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and fats easier for our bodies to absorb. By the time I get off the phone with Mark McAfee, CEO and founder of Organic Pastures, which distributes its raw dairy products in 650 stores and 25 farmers’ markets in California, I’m considering drinking the raw Kool-Aid.“Raw milk is like breast milk: non-allergenic, full of good bacteria, the ultimate immune-booster,” he says. “This flies in the face of the FDA, but tens of thousands of people have reported to us that, when they drink raw milk, they have no problems digesting it, their children have a decreased risk of asthma, and their eczema is cured in four to six weeks.”But the Centers for Disease Control has a different opinion. It says there’s no scientific evidence to back up the claims, and that unpasteurized milk can carry bacteria, parasites, and viruses. The milk can come out contaminated (say, the cow has bovine tuberculosis or an udder infection), or it can get that way by coming into contact with dirty equipment.What happens if you drink “bad” raw milk? Diarrhea, stomach cramping, or vomiting, and, in rare cases, kidney failure, paralysis, or death. Between 1998 and 2011, there were 148 raw-milk-related outbreaks, 2,384 illnesses, 284 hospitaliztions, and two deaths, according to the CDC.

McDonald's just mocked America (and made a mess of it)

AOL | Posted on June 7, 2017

I've just come back from a trip to Europe.Every single European I talked to -- on discovering I live in the US -- wanted to talk about one thing. Well, one person.I tried to offer reassurance, explanation, uplift or even incomprehension when it came to their concerns about my Uncle Samuel. It's still odd, though, what people over there think of people over here.Which leads me, painfully, to McDonald's. The company's British arm has just released some ads that are supposed to attract British people to eat a variety of American-themed burgers.Still, the shtick here is that there are burgers named after Louisiana, South Carolina, Tennessee and New York and, as these Brits describe them, they turn into people from those states.The only slight issue residents of these states -- and other sane people -- might have is that the images portrayed here have little or nothing to do with those states.Instead, it's a desperate patchwork of clich sewed by a possibly inebriated Brit who searched online for "bad jokes about Americans."

How an experiment turned Canadian farmers into cooking oil kings

Frederick News Post | Posted on June 6, 2017

In the heart of Canada's bread basket, a Richardson International Ltd. processing plant stands as a testament to what may be the country's most successful agricultural experiment.Farmers across the Prairie Provinces are planting a record acres of canola, a crop that didn't exist about four decades ago but now is the nation's biggest, sown on more land than spring wheat. Richardson was the first company to market canola oil. It has since expanded capacity at factories like the one in Lethbridge, Alberta, as global demand exploded and Canada became the top exporter of an oilseed used in everything from salad dressing to french fries.Richardson's facility now spans six square blocks -- a warren of crushing machines, conveyor belts, railroad links and grain silos devoted entirely to canola. After a C$120 million ($89 million) upgrade to expand capacity by 55 percent, it will be able to process 700,000 metric tons annually, boosting exports of oil and related products including margarine and buttery popcorn topping."It's almost a constant turnover" of jugs, barrels and bottles of oil shipped to grocers, fast-food restaurants, hospitals and bakers every day of the work week, said Steve Scott, the plant's maintenance manager. Pointing to a tanker car capable of hauling 80 tons, he said, "a big potato-chip plant will be taking a couple of these a week."Canadian scientists invented canola in 1974 by breeding out undesirable traits from the rapeseed plant, though it didn't get the name "canola" until 1978.The seed has more than twice as much oil as a soybean, and canola oil has become popular in cooking and deep frying. It's rich in heart-healthy fatty acids found in salmon and tuna that lower bad cholesterol and help control blood sugar, with no artery-clogging trans fats. Canola oil has about 7 percent saturated fat, about half as much as olive oil and a fraction of what's in palm oil, according to the Canola Council of Canada."The healthy oil profile that canola enjoys is going to keep it popular," said David Reimann, a market analyst in Winnipeg, Manitoba, for Cargill Ltd., the world's largest agricultural company. "It's a huge, huge market and can certainly tolerate a lot more acreage and production."Farmers are doing just that. While planting is a little behind schedule because of wet weather, Canadian growers eventually will sow 22 million acres of canola this year, the most ever, government data show. The planting season will end in a few weeks.

FDA’s tough new task: Explain biotech’s safety, benefits

Agri-Pulse | Posted on June 5, 2017

The Food and Drug Administration has a tough job ahead of it, a job that the food and agriculture sectors have struggled to accomplish: Convince the public that biotech crops are safe to eat and can offer a variety of benefits to the public and the environment. The fiscal 2017 spending bill enacted at the end of April includes $3 million earmarked for FDA to coordinate with the Agriculture Department on a consumer outreach and education effort. The stated goal under the legislation is to educate consumerson the environmental, nutritional, food safety, economic, and humanitarian impacts of such biotechnology, food products, and feed.”The GMO law enacted in July 2016 will require companies to disclose the presence of biotech ingredients through a digital code that can be read by smartphones. But consumers still won’t have enough knowledge about biotechnology itself, and that is where the FDA program will come in, said Brian Rell, a spokesman for House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Robert Aderholt, an Alabama Republican who originally put the provision in the House version of the FY17 bill.“Up until now, consumer activists, biotech seed companies, and organic companies have tried to fill the void in trying to educate the public. However, each of these segments has an ulterior motive. FDA is a neutral source and the public generally accepts FDA’s word on most scientific issues,” Rell said.

Here’s Why Organic Food Might Not Be Worth the Price

The Daily Meal | Posted on June 1, 2017

According to a video narrated by Bjørn Lomborg, president of the Copenhagen Consensus Center, a U.S.-based economics think tank, and published by PragerU, a conservative website co-founded by radio host Dennis Prager, almost everything we think we know about organic food is a lie. Lomborg breaks down the ways the organic farming industry is allegedly fooling us into paying more for a product that isn’t necessarily going to change the world (or make you any healthier): Lomberg is the author of The Skeptical Environmentalist, a controversial 2001 book devoted to debunking many generally accepted environmental theories and predictions, and espousing the use of cost-benefit analysis in environmental matters.The assertions by the organic food industry that Lomborg claims to refute include:“Organic produce is healthier for you.” A 2012 study by researchers based at Stanford University showed that organic produce is not nutritionally superior, even though a blind research test from Cornell University showed that people are willing to pay up to 23 percent more because they believe organic produce is better for you. (It should be noted that many of the supposed health benefits of organic food have to do with the absence of pesticides and other potentially harmful chemicals, not solely with its nutritional value.)“Animal welfare is much better on organic farms.” A five-year study from Oregon State University found that animals are no happier or healthier on organic farms than on traditional farms. Pigs and poultry are able to spend time outdoors, but this leaves them open to pathogens and predator attacks, Lomborg argues.

World Milk Day - 10 Amazing things you didn't know about milk

Dairy Good | Posted on June 1, 2017

1. A Trendsetter: Milk really is a trendsetter – it’s one of humanity’s first foods. People drank cow’s milk even before they started practicing agriculture – more than 10,000 years ago.
2. “Food of the Gods”: Throughout history, different cultures have embraced milk as a staple. From Greeks and Romans to Egyptians and Sumerians, ancient mythology valued milk as the “food of the gods.”
3. A Family Affair: Did you know that 97 percent of dairy farms are family owned and operated – often by multiple generations.
4. A Nutrient Powerhouse: To get the same amount of calcium in an eight-ounce glass of milk, you’d need to eat ten cups of raw spinach!
5. Who Knew?: It takes more than 21 pounds of whole milk to make a single pound of butter and 12 pounds of whole milk to make a gallon of ice cream.
6. The United States of Milk: Forget state birds or state flowers. Did you know 28 states have a “state beverage”? And 21 of those states choose milk.
7. Chocolate Milk for the Win: Low-fat chocolate milk makes a great post-workout recovery drink. 

Join us for Changes in Agriculture Law Webinar

State Agriculture and Rural Leaders | Posted on June 1, 2017

Webinar: Recent Developments in Agriculture & Food Law: Impacts on States

Wednesday, June 14 at 2:00 pm ET (1:00 pm CT) 

State Agriculture and Rural Leaders is collaborating with the National Agriculture Law Center in a pilot webinar on recent developments in agriculture and food law. Agriculture and food law at the local, state and national level is changing constantly and impacting our farmers, food producers and rural residents.

It is almost impossible for you to stay abreast of the legal challenges and changes impacting your constituents and state laws. To make it easier for you, we are offering this update. After registering for the webinar, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about how to join. If you are unable to attend, register now and a link to the recording will be sent to you.

This webinar will address developments related to: 

  • the Waters of the United States rule;
  • Maryland’s passage of legislation banning the use of antibiotics in health animals; 
  • property tax assessment for farmland; 
  • the Philadelphia soda tax; 
  • a stay on organic practice rules; and 
  • other recent legal developments in agriculture and food legislation and law.

Register now at

or call/email Carolyn Orr at or 859.265.0658 to register.