Organic Is Pricier, But Better

Photo courtesy of frenchatfams.wikispaces.com

Photo courtesy of frenchatfams.wikispaces.com

MSN has a video up about the debate over whether organic produce is healthier than conventional produce. The video cites studies done that compared the two and found that organic fruits and veggies have up to 70% more antioxidants than conventionally grown food. The studies also confirm that organic food doesn’t contain chemicals that conventional food is doused with, namely pesticides and cadmium, thus making organic healthier.

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Harvard study links pesticides to bee deaths

Science on the Land

Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) in honeybees (Apis mellifera) can be linked with low-dose insecticides. Philip Case at the UK magazine Farmers Weekly tells us about research in the States, where CCD is a huge problem. This is a serious matter for all of us because without bees, we’d go hungry.

Here’s the press release from the Harvard School of Public Health. Here’s the research paper.

A team of scientists led by Dr Chensheng (Alex) Lu fed bees low doses of two neonicotinoids in sugar-water. Then they let the bees return to foraging from their hives. The sugar-water contained two of the neonics which, since last December, are under a temporary ban here in Europe. The insecticides these scientists used were imidacloprid and clothianidin, both made by the biotech giant Bayer.

So much for the pro-neonic view that I read (I don’t recall where)…

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Real impact of neonicotinoid seed dressings stays buried

Science on the Land

A temporary European ban on three insect-killing chemicals called neonicotinoids has been in force since December 2013. These neonics are called clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam. They’re used as seed dressings and soil treatments, among other things.

Just after this ban came into force, Peter Crosskey at the Agricultural and Rural Convention reminded us that the neonic ban allows exemptions for certain crops which weren’t considered a likely risk to bees and other pollinators. That is, for crops sown in autumn when pollinating insects aren’t active.

The ban says, ‘Uses as seed treatment or soil treatment shall not be authorised for the following cereals, when such cereals are sown from January to June: barley, millet, oats, rice, rye, sorghum, triticale, wheat.’

In other words, European farmers can use neonics between July and December. Oh that’s all right then. Mr Crosskey points out that neonics persist in soil, with half-lives (the…

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