News bites, November 2002

This article was originally published in November 2002

Healthy eating costs less

Contrary to popular belief, a recent study published in the Journal of the American Diabetic Association finds that healthy eating can reduce a family’s overall food costs. The study states that high fat, low nutrition foods often cost more than fruits and vegetables. (MSNBC)

Organic gets media boost

A recent cover story in Newsweek magazine says, “an organic ethic could be the very key to our survival.” It says 40 percent of consumers now buy organic at least sometimes and that organic dairy is growing at an average rate of 98 percent every two years. Consumers reportedly are buying organic for better health, a cleaner environment and flavor. (Newsweek)

Let food be your medicine

Prevention Magazine reports that “poor diet is the biggest cause of a weakened immune system in healthy individuals,” which in turn causes people to be more prone to catching colds and the flu.

Prevention defines the top five foods that can help shoppers build their immune systems and explains how and why they work. The five foods that the magazine recommends are beef, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, tea, and kefir. (Prevention)

Irradiated fruits and vegetables

The USDA has approved a rule permitting the import of irradiated fruits and vegetables, effective immediately. Critics say the government currently inspects only two percent of imported food and that it’s unlikely imported, irradiated fruits and vegetables will be properly labeled. Irradiation destroys vitamin and nutrient value and creates Unique Radiolytic Products, which are not well studied or understood. They’re formed by molecules being pulled apart and then recombining during irradiation. Consumers who wish to comment on this rule may write:
   Docket # 98-030-4
   Margaret Malanoski, Desk Officer
   Office of Information & Regulatory Affairs
   Office of Management and Budget
   727 17th Street, NW; Washington, DC 20503

GE loses money on the farm

Genetically engineered (GE) crops are causing economic trauma for farmers in the U.S.. Data released by Britain’s Soil Association shows GE crops have cost American taxpayers $12 billion in farm subsidies in the past three years.

The report says that since GE corn was commercialized, almost the entire $300 million annual corn export to Europe has disappeared. Soy exports also have decreased. The study also says GE crops have lead to an increased use of pesticides, while resulting in overall lower crop yields. (Reuters)


The headline read Blackberry power (Newsbites, October 2003 Sound Consumer) but the story named black raspberries as having more antioxidant power than other berries. A PCC shopper, Rosemary P., called to ask if blackberries and black raspberries are the same, and it turns out they are not. Black raspberries are the hybrid of red raspberries; when they’re picked, they’re both hollow in the center. Blackberries are a different fruit altogether.

Also in this issue