In all forms, fruits and vegetables are inherently nutritious, no matter whether eaten fresh, canned or frozen. In recent years, a number of marketing tactics have presented organic fruits to be safer, based on the premise that they are grown without pesticides. In truth, both organic and conventional farmers use pesticides on their crops.
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.
Recently, Best Food Facts launched a series of videos about GMOs, which spurred many questions. One question that seemed to be on everyone's mind was the differences between organic and non-organic food. One viewer asked, "Is non-organic food full of chemicals?"
To answer this question, we reached out to Dr. Ruth MacDonald, Chair and Professor of the Department of Food Science & Human Nutrition, Iowa State University.
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."
We frequently get questions about which fruits and vegetables to buy organically and which ones are ok to eat without being labeled "USDA Organic." Many people asking this question are concerned about pesticides on fresh produce and have read or heard about the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 lists from the Environmental Working Group. Here, several experts weigh in on the impacts of pesticides on our food and, ultimately, our health.
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.
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.
Best Food Facts reader Nora had a couple questions about antibiotics and probiotics in food animals. We contacted Dr. Paul Ebner and Dr. Stuart Price to answer her questions.
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.
According to Dr. Stephen Taylor, no one knows the exact answer to why the prevalence of food allergies is increasing. He doubts any experts would hypothesize that chemicals used in food production play a role in the prevalence of food allergies. He explains other theories that seem much more plausible, but have not been proven, like clenliness, c-section births and avoidance of specific foods.
Comparison of reactions to the 2011 Germany E. coli outbreak in sprouts and the 2010 U.S. Salmonella outbreak in eggs.
Expert information about the Dirty Dozen list from the Environmental Working Group that lists pesticide residues in fruits and veggies.
Dr. Scott Hurd, Iowa State, discusses the E. coli outbreak in Europe and how it affects Americans