According to The Washington Post , Maryland lost more than 60 percent of its bee hives last year, each with up to 20,000 honeybees. Honey bees are critical to the pollination of many plants and the loss of the honey bee population in the United States would have devastating environmental and economic consequences.
The widely suspected culprit is Neonicotinoids, known as neonics. Monsanto is a major supplier of pesticides that neonics. Earlier this year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a report acknowledging that pesticides containing neonics were killing off beehives at an alarming rate. The European Union has significantly restricted the use of neonics.
Under the Maryland bill homeowners would be banned from buying products containing neonicotinoids such as Knockout Ready-to-Use Grub Killer, Ortho Bug B Gon, All-In-One Rose & Flower Care, Lesco Bandit Insecticide and other products at 3,000 hardware stores, garden centers, nurseries and other outlets in the state. A report issued late last year by the Maryland Division of Legislative Services, — while acknowledging that the use of pesticides is killing or weakening “thousands of honey bee colonies in the United States each year” — was still uncertain if pesticides are the single or major source of such destruction. However, the report found that honey bees are “routinely and chronically exposed to neonicotinoids.”
It is still unclear if Maryland Governor Hogan will sign or reject the bill, according to the same Washington Post article, but Del. Anne Healey (D-Prince George’s), who authored the House version, said it had strong bipartisan support, and there appeared to be enough votes to override a veto.
Other states may be considering similar legislation. The National Resources Defense Council has published an article on “8 Ways to Attract Bees and Butterflies” for those who want to help and learn how they can assist these important pollinators.
You may have noticed I’ve taken a blogging hiatus while the new store website was being designed. I used that time to receive input on how to improve the blog. Thanks to many of you who shared your ideas with me.
The FOOD ADVOCATE blog is back up. As always, please email me whenever you have blog topics, thoughts and suggestions. Also, please be sure to sign up to get email notices when a new blog is posted. Thanks for your support. Let’s get back to blogging!
Michelle Obama and the GMO Hoax: Some of you may have seen the faux announcement last week that First Lady Michelle Obama had endorsed a public campaign to promote genetically modified foods as being healthy for children. There was quite an outcry in social media and in natural food related blogs. It turns out it was a hoax that caused many well respected sites and bloggers to issue apologies to the First Lady. Although President Obama campaigned that he would push for labeling for foods containing GMO, he has not done so and many claim he has helped GMO food manufacturers, like Monsanto, in various ways. So the groundwork was set for this hoax. I admit when I read it, I thought it was plausible. Here is the full explanation and an apology from Natural News (one of many in the blogsphere).
New Federal Rules For Poultry Inspection: For those of you who eat chicken and turkey, please take note. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced new rules last week, based on its proposed regulation from January 2012 and subsequent public comments. The official USDA press release is here. Consumer groups view the new rules as industry deregulation, to allow faster line speeds which are claimed to be unsafe to workers and for inspection purposes. The rules also shift the responsibility to plant employees for inspection, as the USDA has phased out a large number of its own inspectors. For two varying perspectives on these new rules see The Hill and The Wall Street Journal.
Organic Food is Healthier: Back in 2012, researchers at Stanford University made the claim that organic food is not healthier than conventional food. See this article on the Huffington Post. However, last month the British Journal of Nutrition published a research article that reviewed 343 studies on this topic and (as you may have guessed) concluded that organic food is healthier than conventional food. According to the research article, organic food has higher concentrations of antioxidants and conventional food has higher level of toxins. For a summary of this article see the recent LA Times article here.
Kirk Schroder / Food Advocate / firstname.lastname@example.org
Just found this vintage MONSANTO ad from the 1970’s on Flickr. Pretty funny when you think about it, especially in the present day.
“Monsanto is a big part of the destruction of sane agriculture. By creating crops meant to be grown in monoculture fields, creating seeds that can’t be harvested, and patenting genetics, Monsanto is almost single handedly destroying generations of knowledge and practice for sustainable agriculture.” –Elisabeth Robson