• Seven Predictons for 2010: Food, Agriculture and Nutrition

    Mar 16, 2010 08:30 ET -- Food Safety, Agriculture and Nutrition: Seven Predictions for 2010

    The Organic Center examines how agriculture and food policy roadblocks could continue to adversely affect our health, agriculture and environmental conservation

    BOULDER, Colo., March 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Organic Center, a leading research institute focused on the science of organic food and farming, revealed today its broad concern for the state of the food industry and American agriculture. Despite the hopeful and symbolic gesture of planting an organic garden at the White House and the First Lady's ongoing efforts throughout 2009 to promote more healthy diets amongst children, the year ended with little progress on important domestic policy issues affecting food safety and quality, agriculture and nutrition.

    The Organic Center highlights seven predictions for 2010 that cast a dark shadow over national efforts to improve public health and restrain health care costs, conserve natural resources, and combat global climate change. These predictions will become or remain reality in the absence of concerted action to address the root causes of systemic problems relative to how food is grown and processed and in the American diet itself.

    Food Safety, Agriculture and Nutrition: Seven Predictions for 2010 and Beyond

    1. An increase in the number of children facing developmental issues
    including autism, ADHD, birth defects and allergies
    . Just 1% of all
    pesticides are responsible for virtually all pesticide-related
    developmental risks from exposure in the diet. The government must
    take steps to ban high-exposure uses of these pesticides.
    2. An increase in the number of Americans who are obese, diabetic, or
    both
    . Government agencies and programs either directly control or
    shape one or more of the daily meals consumed by 25% of Americans.
    3. A decrease in the efficacy of life-saving antibiotics. There are now
    several strains of bacteria that are essentially untreatable in humans
    and more will follow without major changes in how antibiotics are used
    on farms. Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) introduced a bill in
    2009 that would ban the subtherapeutic agricultural uses of human
    antibiotics - passage of this bill will help preserve the efficacy of
    life-saving antibiotics.
    4. An increase in disease linked to inflammation. Nutrient-dense foods
    can help elderly people fight disease, aches and pains linked to
    inflammation while also promoting brain health. As we age, our bodies
    become more dependent on antioxidants in food, as opposed to those
    manufactured by the body. Antioxidant levels are highest in richly
    colored fresh fruits and vegetables, and organic farming increases
    average antioxidant concentrations by about 25%.
    5. An increase in the spread of 'super weeds.' Genetically engineered,
    herbicide-tolerant crops have increased herbicide use by over 380
    million pounds since 1996, with 46% of the total increase in 2007 and
    2008. Strong steps must be taken to reverse the dramatic increases in
    herbicide use, which is resulting in spread of 'super weeds' throughout
    the 160 million acres of U.S. GE corn, soybeans, and cotton grown
    annually.
    6. The continued rapid decline of the honey bees. Five seed treatment
    insecticides are known to undermine bee immune systems and the ability
    of bees to find their way back to the hive. In Italy, a ban on these
    seed treatment uses during the 2009 crop season resulted in virtually
    no bee losses. The U.S. should follow suit to assure ample harvests of
    foods dependent on pollination by bees.
    7. Global warming. Farm and conservation program payments should be
    re-directed toward proven ways to sequester carbon in soil organic
    matter, which will reduce America's contribution to global warming
    while enhancing agricultural productivity, lowering farm production
    costs and helping to shrink 'Dead Zones' in coastal areas. [/FONT][/FONT]

    About The Organic Center
    The Organic Center's unique mission is to advance scientific research on the health and environmental benefits of organic food and farming, and to communicate those benefits to the public. As an independent nonprofit 501(c)(3) research and education organization, we envision improved health for the Earth and its inhabitants through conversion of agriculture to organic methods. All of The Organic Center's research reports, publications, consumer guides and videos are available free of charge on our website, www.organic-center.org.
    Source: The Organic Center
    CONTACT: Dr. Charles Benbrook, The Organic Center, +1-541-828-7918,
    cbenbrook@organic-center.org; or Mia Herron, mia@neighboragency.com, or Katy
    Saeger, katy@neighboragency.com, +1-310-526-1340Web Site: http://www.organic-center.org/