News bites, October 2002 | PCC Sound Consumer | PCC Natural Markets

News bites
Sound Consumer | October 2002

Nuts shell out benefits

The Journal of Nutrition reports a possible link between walnuts and a reduced risk of coronary heart disease. Findings were based on five controlled clinical trials. They show that walnuts, as part of a heart healthy diet, significantly lowered blood cholesterol.

A second study by the Harvard Medical School found that men who eat an ounce of nuts twice a week may reduce the risk of fatal heart disease by 30 percent and decrease the risk of sudden cardiac death by half.

More moo in the West

Western states should see continued growth in milk production at the expense of the Midwest, according to agricultural economists. The West could produce more than half of all the U.S. milk by 2020. California replaced Wisconsin as the leading milk producing state in 1993 and could become the number one cheese producer within a few years. (Capital Press)

Fluoride ban

Belgium is urging a ban on fluoride supplements throughout Europe, after passing a ban of its own in August. Belgium's fluoride ban was the result of a research review showing fluoride supplementation increased the risk of osteoporosis and could damage the nervous system.

Soft drinks in schools

In Los Angeles County, school officials have voted to ban the sale of soft drinks to its 735,0000 students amid worries about increasingly overweight children being fed junk food in their schools. (Reuters)

The Boss goes organic

Rolling Stone magazine reports that musician Bruce Springsteen is in the process of converting his 400-acre farm in Monmouth County, New Jersey, to organic. (Organic Trade Association)

Blackberry power

Researchers at Ohio State University say black raspberries have as much as 40 percent more antioxidant power than blueberries or strawberries, and that they may help against colon cancer. Tests showed rats that ate the most black raspberries experienced an 80 percent reduction in the size and number of malignant tumors. (Nutrition and Cancer)

Alzheimer's and food

The Journal of the American Medical Association reported two studies recently showing that foods rich in vitamin E may lower the risk of Alzheimer's disease. Avocados, seeds, nuts, and eggs all are rich in vitamin E, a free-radical fighting antioxidant.

Nicotine water

A company called QT5 bought the rights to market bottled water with added nicotine using the same type and dose of nicotine found in patches and gums. It supposedly wasn't meant to help people quit smoking, but to help smokers get their nic fix in places where they can't get it, such as restaurants and airports.

The Food and Drug Administration disagreed. It ruled the nico-water was a drug, not a dietary supplement, and banned its sale. (Natural Foods Merchandiser)

High-risk food

According to a Michigan insurance company, candy bars and chocolate in general are among the most dangerous foods for drivers to eat. It's not the sugar or fat that's worrisome here, it's the "smearability." If chocolate falls on a driver's clothes, the instinctive reaction is to try to clean it up right away.

With food-related wrecks on the rise, insurers are watching. Hot coffee still ranks as the most dangerous on-the-road food. (Natural Food Merchandiser)

Roundup linked to birth defects?

Two new studies indicate that Monsanto's herbicide, Roundup, is a hormone-disruptor and is associated with birth defects in humans.

One, involving farm families in Minnesota, found that two kinds of pesticides — fungicides and the herbicide Roundup — were linked to statistically significant increases in birth defects. Roundup was linked to a three-fold increase in neurodevelopment disorders, such as attention deficit. (Environmental Health Perspectives, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences)

Secret "biopharms?"

The Environmental News Service is reporting that experimental plants engineered to produce pharmaceuticals are being grown at more than 300 secret locations nationwide. Corn, soy, rice, and tobacco reportedly are being altered to produce drugs that act as vaccines, contraceptives, growth hormones, or to induce abortions, create blood clots, or industrial enzymes.

A coalition of consumer and environmental groups has called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to end open-air cultivation of these crops. Most of the field trials are said to be in Iowa, Florida, Illinois, Texas, California, Maryland, Kentucky, and Indiana. (Environment News Service)