News bites, April 2003

This article was originally published in April 2003

Yogurt merger

Stonyfield Farm, Inc. purchased Brown Cow West Corp. The acquisition brings together two of the nation’s leading natural yogurt producers and offers benefits to each brand. Stonyfield Farm will establish western family farmer agreements and begin processing organic yogurts in California for its western customers. The Brown Cow brand will benefit from Stonyfield’s East Coast base and also its sales, marketing, operations and management resources. (Food Institute Daily Update)

Got junk food?

More farmers have turned to feeding their cattle surplus snack foods to offset high corn prices. Everything from potato chips, cheese curls, pretzels, pineapple, sunflower seed hulls, sugar beet pulp, chocolate, peanut butter and cereal are being fed to cattle. Industry experts say that feeding livestock discarded human food saves money and “helps the environment,” so the practice will continue to grow. The quality of beef and milk allegedly are unaffected as the nutritional value of the feed is normally lab-tested several times a year. (ABC News and CoCoSnips)

Taste trends

Americans believe comfort food (74 percent of respondents), health food (61 percent) and organic food (59 percent) are rising trends, according to a Bon Appetit survey. Sixty-eight percent believe fast food is on the wane, but that opinion differs a bit depending on age. People between the ages of 18-34 believe fast food is on the wane (79 percent) and that health food (71 percent) and organic food (68 percent) is on the rise. Folks older than 50 were less likely to believe fast food is on the way out and the healthy trends are here to stay. (Food Institute Daily Update)

“Terminator” trials

Environmental and consumer groups across the UK report that genetically engineered canola oil crop trials across the UK have contained highly controversial “Terminator” genes. The genes cause male sterility in the plants, rendering the plants unable to reproduce. The biotech industry had agreed to phase out the “Terminator” technology.

The crop trials were kept secret by Bayer CropScience (the seed owners) and the government. Research by Dr. Mae-wan Ho and Dr. Joe Cummins at the Institute for Science in Society revealed how the plants were altered. “Terminator” plants could wreak havoc by contaminating non-GE species, causing sterility in populations of other brassicas (broccoli, mustard and cauliflower) and leading to their extinction. (GM Free Cymru)

Also in this issue

Your co-op, April 2003

Annual meeting at new PCC Fremont location; Directions to PCC's annual meeting at the new Fremont location — 600 N. 34th Street, Seattle; Sustainability retreat; and more