Just the facts. From the experts.
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True? Or Not? "Large farms are bad for the environment."

Manure from farm animals when used as fertilizer improves soil and increases crop yields. It can become a pollutant if it reaches water supplies.

Farm animal production in the United States has clearly shifted away from many small farms to an increasing number of larger farms. It takes several small farms to equal the manure production of a single large farm. On the large farm, the manure management responsibility lies with only one management system instead of several.

True? Or Not? "Regular use of antibiotics in healthy cows, pigs and chickens has led to increased antibiotic resistance in humans eating meat products."

Are antibiotics in livestock to blame for increased antibiotic resistance in humans?

True? Or Not? "Small farms and increased consumer purchases of locally-produced food products better for the future of American agriculture and the environment."

Many consumers are nostalgic for the bucolic scenes associated with the small farms of generations past and have embraced farmers markets and other opportunities to buy their food from "local" producers. Consumers might be surprised to find that this approach may not provide the long-term benefits to agriculture or the environment as they believe.

 

True? Or Not? "The well-being of farm animals on larger operations is disregarded in the pursuit of higher profits."

The question is often asked by critics of modern animal agriculture but the size of the farm is not a reliable indicator of animal welfare. Research shows good animal husbandry has more to do with the people providing the care.

Small and large farms present different challenges, but both require skilled and conscientious management to promote good animal care. While there are fewer animals on a small operation, time spent caring for the animals must be juggled with various tasks. On larger operations...

True? Or Not? "Contract production put farmers at an economic disadvantage and harms farming communities."

Like other business owners, farmers have different skills, expertise, financial positions, and appetites for risk. Reducing costs and risk through contracts allows a farmer to establish a steady income source that is attractive to traditional farm lenders.

In contract production, the farmer is responsible for construction of the barns and the day-to-day labor while someone else, either another farmer or a company, provides...

True? Or Not? "Organic food is better for your health than non-organic food."

For the average American consumer, the term "organic" has a positive connotation and the beneficial properties of organic foods may be misinterpreted or exaggeratedSurveys indicate many proponents of organic food production look beyond the final product to consider factors such as environmental impacts, worker safety, and economic considerations which are not related to organic production standards. U.S. consumers frequently have the choice between purchasing organic and conventional foods and make food purchasing decisions that reflect their values, concerns, and lifestyles.

Red Meat: Good or Bad for Your Health?

7/26/2013

Recently, a Best Food Facts reader asked about her concern of red meat, and if it can be unhealthy for you. We reached out to Dr. Ruth MacDonald, Chair of Food Science Department at Iowa State University, to talk to us about red meat.

What is Colony Collapse Disorder?

7/24/2013

One in every three bites of food you eat is pollinated either directly or indirectly by honey bees. With bees dying at a rapid pace, mentions of colony collapse disorder (CCD) are on the rise. What is CCD? What is causing it? What can be done to ensure bees stop suffering from it? Two experts respond.

Does Palm Oil Cause Allergic Reactions?

7/7/2013

Recently, Best Food Facts reader Natalie submitted a question about palm oil regarding whether it causes allergic reactions.To answer the question, we reached out to Dr. Stephen Taylor, Professor, Food Science & Technology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Egg and Milk Allergies: GMO Connection?

6/24/2013

With food allergies on the rise, there's no shortage of concern about what is causing them. Best Food Facts reader, John, had a very specific question about allergies related to genetically modified food, after reading our post on GMOs and Food Allergies. Two experts respond.

Is Unapproved GM Wheat in Our Food Supply?

6/12/2013

While other genetically modified (GM) crops have been approved for planting in the U.S., GM wheat has not, so the discovery of a GM strain of wheat growing in a farm field in Oregon prompted the U.S. Department of Agriculture to investigate. It was confirmed that it was the same herbicide resistant wheat variety that was authorized to be field tested from 1998 to 2005.

Is Agriculture Killing Bees?

5/22/2013

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.

Should I Avoid Food With Ingredients I Can't Pronounce?

2/5/2013

What do you know about the additives in your food? Particularly, those mysterious ingredients on the label that have us all scratching our heads and wondering “Is this stuff good for me and my family?” Food experts explore whether we should avoid foods with ingredients we cannot pronounce.

What Are Pesticides? Do They Harm My Kids?

1/17/2013

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.

Toxins in GMO corn?

11/19/2012

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."

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