Friday, May 29, 2015

Is Organic Food Marketing Hype? - A Debate


The European Union, the United States, Canada, Japan and many other countries require producers to obtain special certification based on government-defined standards to market food as organic within their borders. Although sales of organic food increased greatly over the last decade, organics are still a tiny fraction of the food Americans eat.


Processed organic food usually contains only organic ingredients. If non-organic ingredients are present, at least a certain percentage of the food's total plant and animal ingredients must be organic (95% in the United States, Canada, and Australia). Foods claiming to be organic must be free of artificial food additives, and are often processed with fewer artificial methods, materials and conditions, such as chemical ripening, food irradiation, and genetically modified ingredients. Pesticides are allowed as long as they are not synthetic. However, under U.S. federal organic standards, if pests and weeds are not controllable through management practices, nor via organic pesticides and herbicides, "a substance included on the National List of synthetic substances allowed for use in organic crop production may be applied to prevent, suppress, or control pests, weeds, or diseases."


Are organics worth the extra costs? Or does organic grossly overstating the health benefits?

For the motion that organic food is marketing hype: Dennis Avery, Director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Global Food Issues and Blake Hurst, Freelance Writer for Wall Street Journal, Wilson Quarterly, and the American and John Krebs, Principal of Jesus College, Oxford.

Against the motion that organic food is marketing hype: Charles Benbrook, Chief Scientist of The Organic Center and Urvashi Rangan, Director of Technical Policy for Consumers Union and Jeffrey Steingarten, Food Critic for Vogue Magazine.

The moderator is John Donvan, author and correspondent for ABC News.
Podcast source: intelligence2: Organic Food Is Marketing Hype


Honeybee Collapse Linked To New Insecticides

Honeybees are essential pollinators for fruits and vegetables. No bee species existed in the New World during human times before the introduction of bees by Europeans. In early 2007, abnormally high die-offs (30–70% of hives) of European honey bee colonies occurred in North America and such a decline seems unprecedented in recent history. Harvard School of Public Scientist Alex Lu tells Steve Curwood about new research connects the collapse to the recent introduction of a new type of pesticide, neonicotinoids.
Podcast source: living on earth: Honeybee Collapse linked to New Insecticides


Water Conservation Technologies

Turn on the faucet, and water pours out. Pull out the drain plug, and the dirty water disappears. Most of us give little thought to the hidden systems that bring us water and take it away when we’re done with it. But these underappreciated marvels of engineering face an array of challenges that cannot be solved without a fundamental change to our relationship with water.

Increasing population density and changing climate stress our cities’ water supply. UC Berkeley professor David Sedlak discusses future water infrastructure with Steve Curwood.
Podcast source: living on earth: Water 4.0

Download or Play Food Marketing Hype Part 1
Download or Play Food Marketing Hype Part 2
Download or Play Food Marketing Hype Part 3
Download or Play Honeybee Collapse

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