Physalis peruviana (Cape Gooseberry) in Europe

April 22, 2013 · Filed Under Featured Plant, Science · 2 Comments 

I was recently approached by someone working on a PhD, who is looking for any information on Cape Gooseberry cultivation in Europe.  Does anyone have any historical information?  Is anyone aware of any farmers growing it now in Europe?  He’s looking for any sort of leads or contacts on the subject.

11 Belgian Potato Activists Speak Out

March 13, 2013 · Filed Under Environment, Food Sovereignty, Political, Science · Comment 

Some of the 11 Belgian potato activists have recorded their message in the video above.

Their trial continues in April, with a public mock trial to be held simultaneously outside the courthouse. Everyone is welcome to attend that day.

New GMO Study Shows Cancer Risk

September 26, 2012 · Filed Under Food and Drink, Science · 6 Comments 

A new French life-long study shows rats fed a particular variety of Monsanto’s GMO corn or exposed to glyphosate (Round Up) residues had a significantly higher risk of developing tumors and organ damage.

As a result of this study, Russia has suspended the import of US GMO corn.

This peer reviewed study showed a number of important things.  The first was currently all testing is done for 3 months, and in this study the tumors didn’t develop until after the initial 90 days.  This is also the first study that shows exposure to the GMO corn alone was enough to cause tumors, suggesting direct manipulation of the corn genome can itself cause cancer.  The study also showed exposure to glyphosate residues can cause cancer.

Dutch Research Nonsense

September 24, 2012 · Filed Under Food and Drink, Science · Comment 

If there was ever a finer example of research study nonsense, I can’t remember when.  Supposedly Dutch researchers have come up with the first ‘hard evidence’ that drinks containing sugar contribute to childhood obesity.

Yes, I know.  If you believe the comments on that post, or talk with worried moms the world over, you’ll know it’s just a fact that sugar is bad for children.  If you follow the links on the post through, and actually read the referenced studies, you get a different story.

This study only included youngsters who were already drinking sugary drinks, because it was considered unethical to possibly give them sugary drinks otherwise!

The children in The Netherlands were given specially manufactured artificially flavored non-carbonated drinks containing sucralose and acesulfame potassium, two ingredients not normally found in commonly available sugar free drinks.  They then supervised the drinking of the beverages, and tested for traces of these chemicals in the urine of the children.  At the conclusion of this study, they determined these children gained less weight than their peers who drank a similar beverage made with real sugar.

I’ll bet those drinks tasted vile!

So what have we learned here?  It seems to me, we’ve learned large quantities of these two chemicals delay weight gain in the 5-12 year age range.

Is there really anything else to be gained from this study?  Apparently we’re supposed to conclude drinking diet soft drinks as an alternative to those made with sugar is healthier for children.

Did anyone read any conclusions about the long term health of the children?  What about longer term weight gain?  A similar study in the US noted weight loss was limited to the first year, and after that returned.  Was there any other way the health of those children were improved with all those chemicals?  What about the children who drank water instead of specially manufactured artificially flavored drinks?  Don’t we know when people diet to lose weight, they almost always gain it back and then some?

Drinks containing sugar have been around for a long time, especially if you consider fruit juice too.  Both sugar free drinks and childhood obesity on the other hand are relatively new, especially in Europe.  Is it a coincidence the widespread consumption of sugar free drinks in the US corresponds with the obesity epidemic there?  What about other changes in the diets of children.  Could a significant increase in the amount of processed food have something to do with it?

Isn’t it a little strange there’s money for a study to show sugar free drinks are good for you, but no money to show the dangers of sugar substitutes?  What about that Italian study from a few years ago that showed aspartame causes cancer?

We need to spend more time worrying about the processed food children are eating, including sugar substitutes, and less time on sugar.  We need some real science!

Is this any different from the ‘science’ that showed us all those energy saving light bulbs were good for us?

Field Liberation Movement Calls for Support

Now nearly a year and a half ago, I posted on the Belgian Field Liberation Movement, and their Field Liberation Day in Wetteren.  This was a demonstration against a genetically modified potato field planting trial.  After much public debate, and many long winded speeches by politicians, they finally decided last May to sue eleven of the ‘Field Liberators’ in civil court for damages.

Last month a Belgian court, acting on a filing from Greenpeace, declared the original permit authorizing the field trial invalid, and thus the field trial itself illegal.  Way to go Greenpeace!

The civil trial is now scheduled for 15 January 2013.

You can help!  You can donate to help offset possible sanctions or civil liabilities, as well as pay their legal or other expenses.  You can buy their t-shirts or beer!  You can also attend the hearing in January to show your support.

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