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.
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.
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.
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."
In this video focusing on impacts GM crops have on the environment, a mom from California, Karri Hammerstrom, asks tough questions of environmental scientist Dr. Cecilia Chi-Ham from the Public Intellectual Property Resource for Agriculture at the University of California-Davis.
Every now and again we find a particularly compelling statistic or graphic related to food. Today, we came across this one focused on food waste and hunger. It may seem that, in a country like the United States, where we enjoy a food supply that never leaves our grocery store shelves empty, hunger wouldn't be an issue. But if you follow any of the statistics from groups like Feeding America, Share Our Strength, the United States Department of Agriculture or your local hunger relief organization, you'll know that hunger is an increasingly real issue for our neighbors throughout the country. This infographic outlines a great deal of information on the subject that we thought worthy of sharing.
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.
A national study is taking a thorough look at the well-being of not only the birds housed on these farms, but also the people who care for them.
An article in The Washington Post discussed a study about the dangers of BPA, bloggers are concerned about it, soup companies are eliminating it, moms are taking plastics out of their homes, and an article posted on the website foodconsumer.org discussed the FDA’s denial of a request to ban BPA in products manufactured in the United States. Dr. Bruce Chassy concludes that while infinitesimal amounts of BPA do enter the food or beverage, it's all about the quantity of exposure that matters.
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 think of local food, what definition do you use? Take our poll!
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?
We talked to Dr. Hongwei Xin regarding the environmental impacts of different types and sizes of farms. He said that it's all about managing the manure - no matter the system.
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.