Study: Most ocean fish still tainted by toxic chemicals, but levels are gradually decreasing

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Levels of pollutants in seafood vary widely in different regions. @bberwyn photo.

More research needed to determine risk to consumers

Staff Report

Fish in all the world’s oceans are still tainted by a stew of potentially toxic chemicals, but concentrations of the pollutants have decreased in the past 30 years, according to a new study by researchers with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.

The scientists said their findings included both good and bad news. On the up side, the findings suggest that the global community responded to the calls-to-action, such as in the Stockholm Convention, to limit the release of potentially harmful chemicals into the environment. Continue reading

Food: Campbell’s to support mandatory GMO labeling

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GMO labeling coming soon to Campbell’s products. @bberwyn photo.

Citing widespread support among American consumers, Campbell’s has announced it will label products that contain genetically engineered ingredients.

“We are operating with a ‘Consumer First’ mindset. We put the consumer at the center of everything we do,” Campbell’s president and CEO Denise Morrison said in a prepared statement that was distributed to employees.

“That’s how we’ve built trust for nearly 150 years.  We have always believed that consumers have the right to know what’s in their food. GMO has evolved to be a top consumer food issue reaching a critical mass of 92 percent of consumers in favor of putting it on the label,” Morrison said. Continue reading

EU identifies potential for energy savings in food industry

What's the energy footprint on your dinner plate? @bberwyn photo.

What’s the energy footprint on your dinner plate? @bberwyn photo.

Report eyes energy footprint of typical consumer food basket

Staff Report

The EU’s food production industry has some catching up to do when it comes to adopting renewable energy, according to a new report that took a close look at the food sector.

Overall, renewable sources now account for 15 percent of the EU’s energy mix, but in the food production sector, that share is only about 7 percent, according to study, which acknowledges the challenges of of decarbonizing food production. Continue reading

Study says U.S. consumers waste 1.3 billion pounds of seafood per year

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A fisherman in Piran, Slovenia, tends his nets. @bberwyn photo.

Discarded seafood could feed 10 million people

Staff Report

With food waste on the UN agenda this week, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future say that as much as 47 percent of the edible U.S. seafood supply is lost each year — mainly from consumer waste.

In the U.S. and around the world, people are being advised to eat more seafood, but overfishing, climate change, pollution, habitat destruction and the use of fish for other purposes besides human consumption threaten the global seafood supply. Continue reading

Is the EPA doing enough to protect bees?

Bumblebee love!

Bees are dying in huge numbers, and conservation groups are concerned the EPA is not doing enough to protect them. @bberwyn photo.

Beekeepers accuse pesticide industry of trying to ‘hijack’ public policy

FRISCO — The public comment period for proposed EPA rules on bee-killing pesticides may be over, but the battle over pesticide policies will continue, as conservation groups suspect that the pesticide industry may have exerted undue influence over the rule-making process.

Those concerns are reinforced by some of the country’s beekeepers, who say the proposed rule doesn’t do enough to address federal responsibility to address the impact of pesticides on bee deaths. The Pollinator Stewardship Council recently submitted a letter to the EPA detailing its concerns about the proposed new rule. Continue reading

Study tracks school lunch food waste

More fruit and veggies than ever ending up in trash

It's harvest season!

You can give school kids all the fruit in the world, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to eat it. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

FRISCO — A push to get kids eating healthier school meals isn’t exactly playing out as hoped, according to Vermont researchers, who used cameras to track what students are doing with the fresh fruit and veggies on their lunch trays.

It may not be a surprise to anyone who has spent time in a school lunch room, but many students are putting the apples and oranges straight into the trash, eating even fewer of them than they did before the the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 was passed.

The new study, published online in Public Health Reports, is the first to use digital imaging to capture students’ lunch trays before and after they exited the lunch line. It is also one of the first to compare fruit and vegetable consumption before and after the controversial legislation – the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 – was passed.

The study found that students put more fruits and vegetables on their trays, as required by the law. But that doesn’t mean the goodies are being eaten. Overall, the study found a big increase in food waste. Continue reading

Study quantifies environmental footprint of food waste

Cutting food waste would save huge amounts of water

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Food waste has a huge environmental footprint.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Food waste doesn’t just mean that a few scraps end up being tossed in the garbage bin. There’s a huge environmental footprint, including the waste of water associated with the production of the food.

In the EU, according to a new study, the surface and groundwater footprint from avoidable food waste has reached an average of 27 liters per person, per day, which is slightly higher than the average amount per capita municipal water use. The rainwater footprint is even higher, at 294 litres per capita per day, equivalent to the amount used for crop production in Spain.

And the amount of nitrogen contained in avoidable food waste averaged 0.68 kg per capita per year. The food production nitrogen footprint was 2.74 kg per capita per year, the same amount used in mineral fertilizer in both the UK and Germany put together. Continue reading

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