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National Public Radio's stories on food, nutrition, recipes, cooking, cookbook reviews, and health (updated daily).

Stories on food, nutrition, recipes, cooking, cookbook reviews, and health. Download Food and Hidden Kitchen podcasts and subscribe to RSS feeds. Food

The Organic Consumers Association maintains an excellent feed of the latest articles on matters of world food integrity updated here daily.

  • By law, poultry plants can run their processing lines at 140 birds per minute. Now the National Chicken Council has petitioned to waive speed caps entirely, a move with potential labor and consumer health implications.

  • On September 5, Kansas’ Republican Governor Sam Brownback, together with poultry processor Tyson Foods, Inc. announced a plan to build a $320 million chicken complex near Tonganoxie, Kansas. The announcement shocked residents of Tonganoxie and surrounding Leavenworth County. “It was announced as if it was a done deal, and no one in the community had heard anything about this.”

  • Farmers planted a new kind of seed on 25 million acres of soybean and cotton fields this year. Developed by Monsanto, the seeds, genetically modified to be resistant to a weed killer called dicamba, are one of the biggest product releases in the company’s history. But the seeds and the weed killer have turned some farmers — often customers of Monsanto, which sells both — against the company and alarmed regulators.

  • The Food and Drug Administration prohibits the use of 11 chemicals in the U.S. while the European Union bans over 1,300; only 1 percent of 84,000 chemicals in personal care products in the U.S. have been safety tested. Chemicals from your personal care products washed down the drain are poisoning groundwater supplies and finding their way into your drinking water; health hazards include cancers, poor sperm quality and ADHD. Consider using homemade personal care products, contacting your senator to express concern over chemicals in your tap water and consulting EWG’s database about the store-bought products you use.

  • Most physicians in the U.S. believe overtreatment is harmful, wasteful and common, costing Americans both financially and very real physical health damage from unintended side effects. Improvements in imaging and testing have led to an increase in the number of people diagnosed with diseases, but not necessarily a reduction in the number who die from the condition. Seek out a physician who prescribes medications conservatively to reduce your risks while improving your nutritional, exercise and movement lifestyle choices.

  • By monitoring your serum ferritin (stored iron) and GGT levels and taking steps to lower them if they’re too high, you can avoid serious health problems. Virtually all adult men and postmenopausal women are at risk for iron overload due to inefficient iron excretion. Left untreated, it can contribute to cancer, heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases and other chronic health problems. GGT is a liver enzyme involved in glutathione metabolism and the transport of amino acids. GGT can be used as a screening marker for excess free iron and is a potent predictor of mortality.

  • Military defeats come in many shapes and sizes, and having the enemy slaughter all of your troops is just one of them. Equally palpable is the defeat of being unable to prevail against a weaker and smaller opponent. Accidentally inflicting damage on one’s own forces can also be quite humiliating. And the ultimate coup de grâce for a military empire is to be unable to join the opponent in battle at all.

  • Rescue workers scrabbled through rubble as dawn broke on Wednesday, searching for dozens of children feared buried beneath a Mexico City school, among hundreds of buildings destroyed by the country’s most lethal earthquake in a generation. The magnitude 7.1 quake on Tuesday killed at least 217 people, nearly half of them in the capital, 32 years to the day after a devastating 1985 quake. The disaster came as Mexico was still reeling from a powerful tremor that killed nearly 100 people in the south of the country less than two weeks ago.

  • Last week, Puerto Rico was lucky. This week, it’s not. The majority of the U.S. territory was spared the worst from Hurricane Irma, the Category 4 storm that devastated the lower Florida Keys and Caribbean islands including St. Martin and Barbuda. But now Hurricane Maria, a Category 5 monster with 165 mph winds, is headed straight for the heart of the island; every meteorological prediction shows the storm pummeling Puerto Rico. Rain is already falling, and the eye is expected to hit as early as Tuesday evening.

  • The CDC has just published a seismic study (Donahue et al. 2017 Vaccine 35:5314) linking spontaneous abortions in women to flu vaccines.  The study reviewed data for the 2010-11 and 2011-12 flu seasons.  Women vaccinated with the inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV) in the 2010-2011 season were 3.7 times more likely to experience a spontaneous abortion within 28 days than women not receiving the vaccine.  Over the entire study period (2010 to 2012), the odds for a spontaneous abortion for vaccinated women were 2.0 times greater than for those women not receiving the flu vaccine.

  • Perhaps the greatest fiction of the Donald Trump era is that of his skill at closing deals. Put aside the dubious victories of his early days in New York and Atlantic City, where he proved uncannily good at saving his own financial skin at the expense anyone who worked for him or partnered with him. These were mere preamble to his far move eventful inability to get things done as president.

  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General recently did an audit of the National Organic Program, which is part of its Agricultural Marketing Services group. Marketing? Yes, that is the only real thing that the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 set out to accomplish. The AMS group was given $120,000 at the request of organic food lobbyists and permission to create a set of standards they could use in marketing, to create an official seal of what "organic" would mean. The time-limited advisory board they created was re-authorized by USDA in 2014 and at that time, a group of organic food marketing groups petitioned to have themselves removed from USDA oversight. 

  • Big Food is increasing targeting poor countries as "emerging markets" to please shareholders, supplanting their indigenous diets with fast food, packaged goods and soft drinks. In addition to creating obesity, diabetes, heart disease and chronic illnesses, the junk food supplants subsistence agriculture crops with sugar cane and GMO corn and soybeans. Even philanthropic groups like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have drunk Big Food's Kool-Aid about GMOs "feeding the world." Actually, GMOs drench the fields of poor communities with toxic pesticides and pollute their waters.

  • Three years ago this month Monsanto executives realized they had a big problem on their hands. It was September 2014 and the company's top-selling chemical, the weed killer called glyphosate that is the foundation for Monsanto's branded Roundup products, had been selected as one among a handful of pesticides to undergo scrutiny by the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Monsanto had spent decades fending off concerns about the safety of glyphosate and decrying scientific research indicating the chemical might cause cancer or other diseases. And even though the IARC review was still months away, Monsanto's own scientists knew what the outcome would likely be—and they knew it wouldn't be good.

  • Increased levels of prenatal fluoride exposure may be associated with lower cognitive function in children, a new study says. The study, published Tuesday in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, evaluated nearly 300 sets of mothers and children in Mexico and tested the children twice for cognitive development over the course of 12 years. Fluoride is not added to public water supplies in Mexico, but people are exposed through naturally occurring fluoride in water and fluoridated salt and supplements.

  • Globally, 83 percent of tap water samples tested were found to contain tiny microplastic particles. In the U.S., 94 percent of tap water samples were found to contain plastic — the most out of all the locations tested. Large quantities of microplastics are likely being transferred to agricultural land via sewage sludge.

  • Kevin Folta, a plant scientist and professor at the University of Florida, is suing The New York Times for defamation for its 2015 article exposing his ties to Monsanto. Folta instructed Monsanto to issue funds to the University of Florida Foundation earmarked for his work but would circumvent disclosure rules. This appears to be a commonly used loophole that allows industry ties to remain hidden from public scrutiny. US Right to Know is suing the University of Florida for failure to provide all the emails required by freedom-of-information law. 

  • Killing the nuclear deal with Iran will put the U.S. back on a path to war and that is exactly what the Israeli leader has sought for the past twenty-five years.

  • A recent study published in the scientific journal Frontiers in Microbiology has found that pigs raised on organic farms have significantly fewer strains of antibiotic-resistant Campylobacter bacteria than pigs raised on conventional farms. Campylobacter is a bacteria known to jump from livestock, particularly from poultry and pigs, to infect humans.

  • Dietary fiber is made up of two types: soluble, which easily dissolves in water and becomes gel-like, and insoluble, which doesn’t dissolve but stays basically intact as it moves through your colon; both types are important for digestion. Fiber, especially that found in vegetables, is important for your diet on a daily basis because it promotes bowel movements and keeps your colon free of obstruction while benefiting your heart health and blood sugar control. Fiber helps optimize your gut microbiome and your immune system, while resistant starches act as prebiotics, helping to feed healthy bacteria in your gut.


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