One in every three bites of food you eat is pollinated either directly or indirectly by honey bees. Dr. Dennis vanEngelsdorp says there can be a balance between modern agriculture practices and a thriving honey bee population.
We’ve been hearing about honey bees in the news lately – an increase in the rate of honey bee mortality over the winter is concerning to farmers who rely on them for pollination. The devastation of American honey bee colonies is the result of many factors. A recent comprehensive federal study says that pesticides, parasites, poor nutrition and a lack of genetic diversity are contributing factors. A decline in honey bees could create significant problems for American farms that rely on the pollination to grow their products annually. And it’s not a small issue. American agricultural products are worth tens of billions of dollars a year.
To answer a few questions, we reached out to Dr. Dennis vanEngelsdorp, Assistant Research Scientist, Department of Entomology, University of Maryland.
A recent study published in Environmental Health Journal assessed the risks to children from the cumulative exposure to chemicals and pesticides in a variety of foods. The study claims that cancer and non-cancer benchmarks were frequently exceeded by children for several food contaminants. Based on the study’s findings, the researchers suggested that new dietary guidelines be developed to minimize exposure to these contaminants.
As the year winds down, we'd like to thank all of our readers for taking time to learn more about our food system. We appreciate your comments and questions! We'd also like to thank our food system experts for providing their thoughts and expertise throughout the year.
To close 2012, here's a listing of our blog posts with the most visits.
Best Food Facts recently received a question from Peg about genetic modification of wheat. Peg asked, “I have seen information about wheat that indicates genetic modification was taking place MANY years ago and that our current wheat crops are a result of that modification. Many sources state that there are inherent problems with this wheat. Would you please clarify?”
Best Food Facts recently received a comment on YouTube stating, "The worry is that there are no external differences between GM corn and non-GM corn. The problem lies within. The GM corn has been developed to produce its own pesticide, and often the crops are registered as pesticides. This cannot be washed off as they are genetically engineered to make the toxins internally. This means that target pests eat any part of the plant and die as their guts split open. Since the introduction of GM foods the incidence of allergies in children has skyrocketed."
Do you buy organic? If so, why? A new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine by Standford University researchers may change your mind about eating organic.
Does cooking grass-fed meat destroy fatty acids?
Many of us see grass-fed and grain-fed labels when shopping for beef. We’ve looked at the differences between grass-fed and grain-fed, and asked experts what’s more healthy, but recently we received another question about the topic from one of our readers.
The drought across the United States is setting records for heat, lack of rain and now, food prices. Dr. Chris Hurt from Purdue University explains how a drought leads to higher food prices.
People might be questioning the safety of eating chicken in light of news reports claiming a link between the E. coli that causes human urinary tract infections and E. coli that could be found on chicken products. Dr. Randall Singer, DVM, Ph.D., associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Minnesota’s Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences.
Recent blog posts and articles claiming that "superweeds" are getting stronger because of herbicide resistance have raised concerns amongst our readers. To help dig into the subject, we’ve enlisted the help of Dr. David Shaw from Mississippi State University.
When you're shopping for eggs, do you look at the labels and wonder about the welfare of the hens? For example, The Mother Fitness blog examined the differences, while One Mom's World toured a modern egg farm. In thinking about the chickens who lay those eggs, which housing system does the best job of caring for the chickens?
Given that the vast majority of us are entrusting someone else to grow/raise our food, it's common to want to know who is producing it and what methods are used to ensure it is being done in a manner that meets our preferences. Based on an inquiry from http://www.fooddialogues.com/, we sought out the help of Dr. Dan Thomson, Kansas State University, and Dr. Peter Davies, University of Minnesota, to better understand how farmers care for their animals. In a nutshell, we learned that what matters most isn't the size of the farm, but the management practices that farmers use, to ensure good animal care.
At the beginning of 2012, the world population exceeded 7 billion people and is projected to increase to over 9 billion people by 2050. That means, to feed this fast-growing population, we need to figure out how to double our food production in the 38 years that remain between now and then. Thinking a bit more specific, and looking just at the United States' ability to produce food for U.S. residents, we received a question from http://www.fooddialogues.com/ and enlisted Dr. Tom Tomich from the University of California, Davis.
Last September, Best Food Facts asked Dr. Robert Paarlberg to respond to a question, Can Organic Farming Feed the World? Dr. Paarlberg is the Betty Freyhof Johnson Class of 1944 Professor of Political Science at Wellesley College and Adjunct Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, and Associate at Harvard’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. Since then, two blog posts - 6 Reasons Organics Can Feed the World and Industrial Agriculture Cannot Feed The World - have said otherwise. To follow up, we again asked Dr. Paarlberg to respond.