Give Us a Helping Hand
This year, as we?ve celebrated the 25th anniversary of The Natural Foods Merchandiser, we?ve compiled at least one list of 25 for each month. We?d like to think the lists honor the people and ideas that give the industry its heart and soul. To be truthful, the difficulty hasn?t been finding 25 people, books, ideas, supplements to put on each list; it?s been the process of narrowing the list down to just 25 each time.
We?d like suggestions from you for anyone or anything that you think should have been on a list but wasn?t. We?ll run 25 of them in our December issue. E-mail your suggestions by Oct. 18 to [email protected], and please put ?25? in the subject line. Or stop by the New Hope booth (#3039) at Natural Products Expo East and share your suggestions with us there.
Coalition Sends ?SOS?
The Coalition to Preserve DSHEA recently launched www.SaveOurSupplements.org to educate consumers about threats to dietary supplement access. The Washington, D.C., nonprofit organization formed in May to protect the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act through lobbying and education.
?Millions of American consumers safely and effectively use dietary supplements, and Save Our Supplements will offer them the avenue to voice their opinions and ensure access to these products,? said David Seckman, chief executive officer of the Coalition, in a press release. ?While some lawmakers want to pass laws that will create roadblocks to supplement access, consumers deserve real health choices.?
Through the Web site, consumers can take the following actions to protect their rights to purchase safe supplements:
- Become knowledgeable on public policies and laws regulating the industry.
- Contact Congress and the media to express opinions on supplement access.
- Sign up for e-mail updates about actions in Congress.
- Share supplement stories and personal testimonials.
Organic Option Studied, Debated
The conversion from conventional to organic dairy farming can be milky ? er, murky. And a group of researchers from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., plans to study exactly what happens when a dairy farm undergoes that transition.
Cornell?s Quality Milk Production Services, part of the school?s College of Veterinary Medicine, will observe five herds from farms in upstate New York, and will track their health and analyze their milk samples while taking note of farm practices, such as access to pasture.
The study will take about three years to complete—about the same amount of time as it takes a dairy to make the transition to organic—and is being funded by grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Cornell. Alltech Inc., a food and feed biosciences firm headquartered in Lexington, Ky., is contributing about $9,000 of the approximately $1.1 million needed to conduct the study.
?We want to make sure, at the end of this challenging transition, that the milk is still healthful, the animals are healthy and the dairy farm is still in good fiscal health, too,? said Linda Garrison-Tikofsky, the lead veterinarian on the project.
Nevertheless, some consumers may still question the value of organic foods, thanks in part to the mainstream media. In its Sept. 6 issue, BusinessWeek reported that the prevalence of pesticide residue in conventional foods was not high enough to cause concern, except perhaps for children and pregnant or breast-feeding women. ?Research has yet to prove an adverse health effect from consuming the low levels of pesticides commonly found in U.S. food,? the newsweekly reported. ?While 47 percent of the produce sampled by the USDA in 2002 had detectable pesticide residues, only 16 percent of grain and 15 percent of meat tested did.? The article conceded that antibiotics and growth hormones in the food supply could be worrisome. ?Remember that despite all the things you could worry about, America?s food supply is among the safest in the world,? the author concluded.
On Sept. 2, USA Today gave readers a list of 17 ways to save money on organic food. Among the suggestions were shopping at farmers? markets and online, and using community supported agriculture. The bottom line? Be prepared to advocate for the healthfulness of organics and to compete with other outlets to ring up the sale.
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXV/number 10/p. 15, 22