Daniel Charles http://delmarvapublicradio.net en Can You Trust That Organic Label On Imported Food? http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/can-you-trust-organic-label-imported-food Maybe you've wondered, while looking at the price tag on some organic produce, whether that label is telling the truth.<p><a href="http://peterlaufer.com/">Peter Laufer</a>, a writer and professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, doesn't just wonder. He's an outright skeptic, especially because the organic label seems to him like a license to raise prices. And also because those products are arriving through supply chains that stretch to far corners of the world.<p>The U.S. imports organic soybeans from China, spices from India, and dried fruits from Turkey. Wed, 23 Jul 2014 22:15:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 58286 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net Can You Trust That Organic Label On Imported Food? Are Organic Vegetables More Nutritious After All? http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/are-organic-vegetables-more-nutritious-after-all There may never be an end to arguments over whether organic food is more nutritious. But a new <a href="http://csanr.wsu.edu/program-areas/m2m/research-areas/nutritional-quality/bjn-2014/">study</a> is the most ambitious attempt so far to resolve the issue — and it concludes that organic fruit and vegetables offer a key benefit.<p>It's a scientific reply to an <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/09/04/160395259/why-organic-food-may-not-be-healthier-for-you">analysis</a> that some researchers at Stanford University published two years ago. Fri, 11 Jul 2014 22:46:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 57617 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net Is Foster Farms A Food Safety Pioneer Or A Persistent Offender? http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/foster-farms-food-safety-pioneer-or-persistent-offender Foster Farms, a chicken producer in California, just can't seem to stop bleeding bad news.<p>On July 3, it <a href="https://fosterfarms.com/about/press/press_release.asp?press_release_id=183">recalled</a> several batches of chicken products because a chicken breast from one of those batches is blamed for poisoning someone with salmonella bacteria. The recall came on top of an <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/heidelberg-10-13/map.html">outbreak</a> of salmonella that's been going on since October 2013. Wed, 09 Jul 2014 21:35:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 57465 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net Is Foster Farms A Food Safety Pioneer Or A Persistent Offender? Globe-Trotting GMO Bananas Arrive For Their First Test In Iowa http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/globe-trotting-gmo-bananas-arrive-their-first-test-iowa Somewhere in Iowa, volunteers are earning $900 apiece by providing blood samples after eating bits of a banana kissed with a curious tinge of orange.<p>It's the first human trial of a banana that's been genetically engineered to contain higher levels of beta carotene, the nutrient that our body converts into vitamin A. Tue, 08 Jul 2014 14:34:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 57361 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net Globe-Trotting GMO Bananas Arrive For Their First Test In Iowa Big Bucks From Strawberry Genes Lead To Conflict At UC Davis http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/big-bucks-strawberry-genes-lead-conflict-uc-davis Yesterday, we <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/07/01/327256662/breeding-battle-threatens-key-source-of-california-strawberries">reported</a> on a legal tussle over control of the country's top center of strawberry breeding, at the University of California, Davis. But there's a backstory to that battle. It involves the peculiar nature of the UC Davis strawberry program.<p>Basically, in the world of plant breeding, there are public programs at universities, there are private efforts at companies like DuPont or Monsanto. Wed, 02 Jul 2014 21:37:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 57091 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net Breeding Battle Threatens Key Source Of California Strawberries http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/breeding-battle-threatens-key-source-california-strawberries In California, a legal skirmish has erupted over strawberries — or rather, over strawberry breeding.<p>To be absolutely precise, the battle is about strawberry breeding at the University of California, Davis. This is more important than it might sound. Tue, 01 Jul 2014 21:40:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 57021 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net 'Natural' Food Sounds Good But Doesn't Mean Much http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/natural-food-sounds-good-doesnt-mean-much Some people have had it with "natural" food.<p>For fifteen years, <a href="http://consumersunion.org/experts/urvashi-rangan/">Urvashi Rangan</a>, director of consumer safety and sustainability for Consumer Reports, has been pointing out that "natural" is just about the most misleading label that you'll ever see on a food package. Tue, 24 Jun 2014 21:49:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 56610 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net 'Natural' Food Sounds Good But Doesn't Mean Much From Organic Pioneers, Son Inherits Passion, Just Not For Farming http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/organic-pioneers-son-inherits-passion-just-not-farming If you're a listener, you may recognize the name <a href="http://www.newmorningfarm.net/">New Morning Farm</a>. Fri, 20 Jun 2014 20:26:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 56406 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net From Organic Pioneers, Son Inherits Passion, Just Not For Farming In The Making Of Megafarms, A Mixture Of Pride And Pain http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/making-megafarms-few-winners-and-many-losers It seems that everybody, going back at least to <a href="http://www.monticello.org/site/jefferson/quotations-agriculture">Thomas Jefferson</a>, loves small family farms.<p>Yet those beloved small farms are becoming increasingly irrelevant. Big farms are taking over.<p>According to the <a href="http://www.agcensus.usda.gov/">latest census of American agriculture</a>, released this year, there are two million farms in America. Mon, 16 Jun 2014 21:29:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 56141 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net In The Making Of Megafarms, A Mixture Of Pride And Pain Hunting For Alien Bug And Seed Invaders At Baltimore's Port http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/hunting-alien-bug-and-seed-invaders-baltimores-port Baltimore's <a href="http://www.mpa.maryland.gov/index.php">seaport</a> is a world of big, noisy steel machines: giant cargo ships, cranes and roaring trucks.<p>In the middle of this hubbub, David Ng, an agricultural specialist with <a href="http://www.cbp.gov/">U.S. Customs and Border Protection</a>, tries to find things that are small and alive: snails, moths and weed seeds of all sorts.<p>It's part of a long-running struggle to protect America's fields and forests from exotic insects and weeds. That struggle plays out every day in seaports and airports across the country. Mon, 16 Jun 2014 07:51:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 56076 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net Hunting For Alien Bug And Seed Invaders At Baltimore's Port California Farmers Ask: Hey Buddy, Can You Spare Some Water? http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/california-farmers-ask-hey-buddy-can-you-spare-some-water Imagine if a gallon of milk cost $3 in your town, but 100 miles away it cost $100, or even $200.<p>Something similar is happening right now in California with water that farmers use to irrigate their crops. Mon, 09 Jun 2014 20:06:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 55700 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net California Farmers Ask: Hey Buddy, Can You Spare Some Water? California's Drought Isn't Making Food Cost More. Here's Why http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/californias-drought-isnt-making-food-cost-more-heres-why The entire state of California is in a severe drought. Farmers and farmworkers <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/04/22/303726931/fields-and-farm-jobs-dry-up-with-californias-worsening-drought">are hurting</a>.<p>You might expect this to cause food shortages and higher prices across the country. After all, California grows 95 percent of America's broccoli, 81 percent of its carrots and 99 percent of the country's artichokes, almonds and walnuts, among other foods.<p>Yet there's been no sign of a big price shock. What gives?<p>Here are three explanations.<p><strong>1. Fri, 23 May 2014 20:46:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 54784 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net California's Drought Isn't Making Food Cost More. Here's Why Double Trouble For Coffee: Drought And Disease Send Prices Up http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/double-trouble-coffee-drought-and-disease-send-prices If you're drinking a cup of coffee right now, treasure it. The global supply of coffee beans may soon shrink because of problems in coffee-growing areas of Brazil and Central America.<p>With supply threatened and demand strong, prices are <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-04-22/coffee-surges-to-highest-in-26-months-on-global-supply-outlook.html">taking flight</a>. Wed, 21 May 2014 07:19:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 54592 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net Double Trouble For Coffee: Drought And Disease Send Prices Up Less Nutritious Grains May Be In Our Future http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/less-nutritious-grains-may-be-our-future In the future, Earth's atmosphere is likely to include a whole lot more carbon dioxide. And many have been puzzling over what that may mean for the future of food crops. Thu, 08 May 2014 10:13:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 53876 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net Less Nutritious Grains May Be In Our Future For Many, Farming Is A Labor Of Love, Not A Living http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/many-farming-labor-love-not-living Every five years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture carries out a census of farmers: who they are, and what they are doing on their farms.<p>The agency just released the <a href="http://www.agcensus.usda.gov/">latest one</a>, and it's a feast for all ag geeks. And here's the very first, most basic piece of new information: There are 2,109,303 farmers in this country.<p>But look a little closer at that number, and you can see that it's not quite what it seems. Most of those farmers are not actually making a living by farming.<p>Bill Miller is a typical example. Wed, 07 May 2014 20:37:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 53855 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net For Many, Farming Is A Labor Of Love, Not A Living No More Bromine: Coke, Pepsi Drop Controversial Ingredient http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/no-more-bromine-coke-pepsi-drop-controversial-ingredient Chalk up another win for citizen activists. Coke and Pepsi <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/05/05/coke-pepsi-dropping-bvo-from-all-drinks/8736657/">announced</a> this week that they will no longer use brominated vegetable oil, or BVO, in their soft drinks.<p>BVO is an emulsifier; it helps to keep other ingredients, like flavors and colors, nicely mixed together. Tue, 06 May 2014 18:54:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 53791 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net No More Bromine: Coke, Pepsi Drop Controversial Ingredient Organic Farming Factions Spat Over Synthetic Substances http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/organic-farming-factions-spat-over-synthetic-substances Here in the news biz, we rely on thumbnail descriptions, sparing you the details. We'll tell you, for instance, that organic farmers aren't allowed to use synthetic pesticides and factory-made fertilizer.<p>In general, that's true. But there's also a <a href="http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELPRDC5096045">long list</a> of pesky exceptions to the rule. Sat, 03 May 2014 11:18:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 53609 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net Organic Farming Factions Spat Over Synthetic Substances Fire-Setting Ranchers Have Burning Desire To Save Tallgrass Prairie http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/fire-setting-ranchers-have-burning-desire-save-tallgrass-prairie For the past month, in part of eastern Kansas, the prairie has been burning, as it does almost every spring. On some days, you could look toward the horizon in any direction and see pillars of smoke. Mon, 28 Apr 2014 07:34:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 53279 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net Fire-Setting Ranchers Have Burning Desire To Save Tallgrass Prairie Can Wal-Mart Really Make Organic Food Cheap For Everyone? http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/can-wal-mart-really-make-organic-food-cheap-everyone It could be another milestone in organic food's evolution from crunchy to commercial: Wal-Mart, the king of mass retailing, is <a href="http://news.walmart.com/news-archive/2014/04/10/walmart-and-wild-oats-launch-effort-to-drive-down-organic-food-prices">promising</a> to "drive down organic food prices" with a new line of organic food products. The new products will be at least 25 percent cheaper than organic food that's on Wal-Mart's shelves right now.<p>Yet we've heard this before. Sat, 19 Apr 2014 09:07:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 52809 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net Can Wal-Mart Really Make Organic Food Cheap For Everyone? Plant Breeders Release First 'Open Source Seeds' http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/plant-breeders-release-first-open-source-seeds A group of scientists and food activists is launching a <a href="http://www.news.wisc.edu/22748">campaign</a> Thursday to change the rules that govern seeds. Thu, 17 Apr 2014 07:30:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 52680 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net Plant Breeders Release First 'Open Source Seeds' Can Fish Farms Thrive In The USA? http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/future-clean-green-fish-farming-could-be-indoor-factories Why hasn't fish farming taken off in the United States?<p>It's certainly not for lack of demand for the fish. Slowly but surely, seafood that's grown in aquaculture is taking over the seafood section at your supermarket, and the vast majority is imported. The shrimp and tilapia typically come from warm-water ponds in southeast Asia and Latin America. Mon, 07 Apr 2014 22:14:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 52154 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net Can Fish Farms Thrive In The USA? Farmers Need To Get 'Climate Smart' To Prep For What's Ahead http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/farmers-need-get-climate-smart-prep-whats-ahead The planet's top experts on global warming released their latest <a href="http://ipcc-wg2.gov/AR5/report/final-drafts/">predictions</a> this week for how rising temperatures will change our lives, and in particular, what they mean for the <a href="http://ipcc-wg2.gov/AR5/images/uploads/WGIIAR5-Chap7_FGDall.pdf">production of food</a>.<p>The report, sadly, is massive and excruciatingly hard to digest. Thu, 03 Apr 2014 18:14:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 51948 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net Farmers Need To Get 'Climate Smart' To Prep For What's Ahead Food Giants Want 'Sustainable' Beef. But What Does That Mean? http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/food-giants-want-sustainable-beef-what-does-mean McDonald's made a big green splash a few months ago by <a href="http://www.aboutmcdonalds.com/mcd/sustainability/signature_programs/beef-sustainability.html">announcing</a> that it will start buying "verified sustainable" beef in 2016.<p>A chorus of voices responded, "What's 'verified sustainable' beef?"<p>McDonald's, it turns out, is part of a group that's trying to come up with an answer. Tue, 25 Mar 2014 16:45:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 51405 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net Food Giants Want 'Sustainable' Beef. But What Does That Mean? Top 5 Ways Asparagus, A Rite Of Spring, Can Still Surprise http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/top-5-ways-asparagus-rite-spring-can-still-surprise As the snow melts, even in Minnesota, and daylight lingers into evening, people who like to eat with the seasons know what's coming: asparagus.<br /> Thu, 13 Mar 2014 18:44:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 50765 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net Top 5 Ways Asparagus, A Rite Of Spring, Can Still Surprise In The New Globalized Diet, Wheat, Soy And Palm Oil Rule http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/new-globalized-diet-wheat-soy-and-palm-oil-rule These days you can fly to far corners of the world and eat pretty much the same food you can get back home. There's pizza in China and sushi in Ethiopia.<p>A new scientific <a href="http://www.ciatnews.cgiar.org/2014/03/03/globalized-diet-more-food-less-diversity-more-associated-risks/">study</a> shows that something similar is true of the crops that farmers grow. Increasingly, there's a standard global diet, and the human race is depending more and more on a handful of major crops for much of its food.<p>At the same time, all over the world, people are eating a bigger variety of foods. Tue, 04 Mar 2014 08:50:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 50199 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net In The New Globalized Diet, Wheat, Soy And Palm Oil Rule Why The 'Non-GMO' Label Is Organic's Frenemy http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/why-non-gmo-label-organics-frenemy It's easy to think of "organic" and "non-GMO" as the best buddies of food. They sit comfortably beside each other in the same grocery stores — most prominently, in Whole Foods Market. Culturally, they also seem to occupy the same space. Both reject aspects of mainstream industrial agriculture.<p>In fact, the <a href="http://www.nongmoproject.org/">increasingly successful</a> movement to eliminate genetically modified crops — GMOs — from food is turning out to be organic's false friend. Fri, 28 Feb 2014 18:20:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 50082 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net Why The 'Non-GMO' Label Is Organic's Frenemy Chickens That Lay Organic Eggs Eat Imported Food, And It's Pricey http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/chickens-laying-organic-eggs-eat-imported-food-and-its-pricey The other morning, I found myself staring at something strange and unfamiliar: empty grocery shelves with the word "eggs" above them. The store, a Whole Foods Market in Washington, D.C., blamed, in another sign, the dearth on "increased demand for organic eggs."<p>This scene is unfolding in grocery stores across the country. But Whole Foods' sign wasn't telling the whole truth. Thu, 27 Feb 2014 22:02:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 50039 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net Chickens That Lay Organic Eggs Eat Imported Food, And It's Pricey The System Supplying America's Chickens Pits Farmer Vs. Farmer http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/system-supplies-our-chickens-pits-farmer-against-farmer After reading Christopher Leonard's <em>The</em> <em>Meat Racket</em>, a <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/02/19/276981085/is-tyson-foods-chicken-empire-a-meat-racket">broadside</a> against the contract-farming system, I decided to take a closer look at it.<p>I drove to North Carolina and ended up in the kind of place that supplies practically all of our chickens: a metal-sided, 500-foot-long structure near the town of Fairmont.<p>In the dim light, I see 30,000 little chicks scuttling around on the floor. Thu, 20 Feb 2014 08:40:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 49588 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net The System Supplying America's Chickens Pits Farmer Vs. Farmer Is Tyson Foods' Chicken Empire A 'Meat Racket'? http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/tyson-foods-chicken-empire-meat-racket Christopher Leonard's new exposé on the chicken industry, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/The-Meat-Racket-Takeover-Americas/dp/1451645813/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392403784&sr=8-1&keywords=meat+racket">The Meat Racket</a>, doesn't devote much ink to the physical object on our plate, the chicken meat itself.<p>Instead, Leonard focuses on the economic machinery that delivers the meat to us, or, as he puts it, "the hidden power structure that has quietly reshaped U.S. Wed, 19 Feb 2014 08:44:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 49520 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net Is Tyson Foods' Chicken Empire A 'Meat Racket'? How American Food Companies Go GMO-Free In A GMO World http://delmarvapublicradio.net/post/how-american-food-companies-go-gmo-free-gmo-world Quite possibly, you've noticed some new food labels out there, like "Not made with genetically modified ingredients" or "GMO-free." You might have seen them on boxes of <a href="http://www.cheerios.com/en/Articles/cheerios-and-gmos#.UvAOhD1dV8E">Cheerios</a>, or on <a href="http://murrayschicken.com/images/poop/Non-GMO_Chicken_Card_New.pdf">chicken meat</a>. Tue, 04 Feb 2014 08:40:00 +0000 Daniel Charles 48725 at http://delmarvapublicradio.net How American Food Companies Go GMO-Free In A GMO World