Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Poultry Farms That Go Organic Have Significantly Fewer Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

Antibiotic resistance

Image via Wikipedia

From the 14 August 2011 Health News Today article

Antibiotic use in conventional animal food production in the United States has created public health concern because it has been shown to contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that can potentially spread to humans. A new study, led by Dr. Amy R. Sapkota of the University of Maryland School of Public Health, provides data demonstrating that poultry farms that have transitioned from conventional to organic practices and ceased using antibiotics have significantly lower levels of drug-resistant enterococci bacteria. The study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives (online August 10, 2011), is the first to demonstrate lower levels of drug-resistant bacteria on newly organic farms in the United States and suggests that removing antibiotic use from large-scale U.S. poultry farms can result in immediate and significant reductions in antibiotic resistance for some bacteria. …

 

Read the entire news article

August 16, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, Public Health | , , , | Leave a comment

USDA State Fact Sheets


From the US Department of Agriculture State Fact Sheets home page

State fact sheets provide information on population, income, education, employment, federal funds, organic agriculture, farm characteristics, farm financial indicators, top commodities, and exports, for each State in the United States. Links to county-level data are included when available.

Data last updated on April 28, 2011.

May 10, 2011 Posted by | statistics | , , | Leave a comment

The Health Halo Effect: Don’t Judge A Food By Its Organic Label

Official seal of the National Organic Program

Image via Wikipedia

From the April 11 2011 Medical News Today article

Jenny Wan-chen Lee, a graduate student in Cornell University’s Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, has been fascinated with a phenomenon known as “the halo effect” for some time. Psychologists have long recognized that how we perceive a particular trait of a person can be influenced by how we perceive other traits of the same individual. In other words, the fact that a person has a positive attribute can radiate a “halo”, resulting in the perception that other characteristics associated with that person are also positive. An example of this would be judging an attractive person as intelligent, just because he or she is good-looking.

A growing literature suggests that the halo effect may also apply to foods, and ultimately influence what and how much we eat. For instance, research has shown that people tend to consume more calories at fast-food restaurants claiming to serve “healthier” foods, compared to the amount they eat at a typical burger-and-fry joint. The reasoning is that when people perceive a food to be more nutritious, they tend to let their guard down when it comes to being careful about counting calories – ultimately leading them to overeat or feel entitled to indulge. This health halo effect also seems to apply to certain foods considered by many to be especially healthy, such as organic products. Specifically, some people mistakenly assume that these foods are more nutritious just because they carry an “organic” label – an area of longstanding active debate among food and nutrition scientists. …

…As part of the scientific program of the American Society for Nutrition annual meeting, results from this [halo effect ]study were presented on April 10 at the Experimental Biology 2011 meeting.

April 11, 2011 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News, Nutrition | , , | Leave a comment

Free range and other meat and poultry terms

From the Mayo Clinic article

“Free range,” “natural” and “antibiotic-free” are among the common terms on meat, poultry and egg packages today. Do these terms guide your purchases either because of concerns about food quality or animal welfare? Then you should know that terms such as free range, antibiotic-free, natural and others may not actually mean what you think they do. In some cases, terms you find on packages are regulated under federal organic rules, while others are standard regardless of organic status. Other terms aren’t regulated at all, and some may have no relevance to animal welfare even if they sound like they do. Take a closer look.

The article goes on to define terms as antibiotic-free, cage-free, certified humane, chemical free, free-range or free roaming, grain fed, grass fed, hormone free, naturally raised, pasture raised, vegetarian fed

Some related Mayo Clinic articles

A sampling of organic food Web sites (via Internet Public Library)

Information about the organic standards program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Explains the “USDA Organic” labels found on food and beverage packaging, marketing phrases (such as “organic,” which “must consist of at least 95 percent organically produced ingredients (excluding water and salt)”), news and updates, and material for producers and retailers.

This advocacy site for organic farming features articles and reports on subjects such as pesticides in foods, nutritional quality, antioxidants, and food safety. Also find links to related sites. From an organization whose mission is “to generate credible, peer reviewed scientific information and communicate the verifiable benefits of organic farming and products to society.”

A “national consumer advocacy organization committed to educating, uniting, and organizing organic consumers. We will actively work to protect the integrity of organic food, and dramatically increase its accessibility to the point where sustainable agriculture becomes the dominant form of food and fiber production in the US and across the world.” Provides news, calendar of events, book reviews, links to other resources.


November 19, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health, Finding Aids/Directories | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Organization Strives to Eliminate Misuse of Pesticides.


Beyond Pesticides is a nonprofit organization provides information on pesticides and alternatives to their use.
The current home page features a video on how to control bedbugs without toxic pesticides.
Current alerts and actions include:
**Pesticide-Induced Disease Database with links to select scientific articles correlating a growing number of diseases with pesticides in the environment
**The Safer Choice with links to information on pesticide alternatives
**Organic Food: Eating with a Conscience which “urges consumers to consider impacts on environment and rural families and farm workers, in addition to pesticide residues, when making food choices”

September 8, 2010 Posted by | Consumer Health | , | Leave a comment

   

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