Category Archives: pest control

News Review…or…it’s On My Mind Monday

in the news | photo: mconnors

I’m always looking up information about food, health, and what’s in the news.  Just as an experiment this is a posting of what’s I’m reading right now, some of which may or may not turn into a blog post, but all of which is of interest to me.  I’d be curious to know if any of this is of interest to you.  In no particular order (other than this is what’s open across my browsing window) here’s what’s on my mind:

The little county that could get CA to rethink methyl iodide – I’ve written about this before.  Essentially CA agreed to let agricultural companies use a known carcinogen (so effective that it is used in laboratories to reliably cause cancer) on strawberry crops.  In spite of massive protests CA went ahead and approved it anyway.  Turns out the fight is still on.  This gives me hope that this awful carcinogenic chemical will be banned.  Until then I have essentially fought back the only way I know how.  I purchase no strawberries from California at all, even the organic ones.

Public Park Helps Feed 200,000 People Every Month –  I love this.  What a great solution to help feed those who are hungry and also make effective use of public lands.  This ties in to a video I shared on my Facebook Page about Suburban Homesteading/Urban Victory Gardening.  Looking at the info I see it’s the same guy, John from Growing Your Greens.  I’ve subscribed to his YouTube channel and am looking forward to more good info.

Low Vitamin D Ups Diabetes Risk in Kids – One more reason to check your vitamin D levels.  I think sometimes people tune out the vitamin D message believing that they are getting enough from their milk.  Sadly that’s often not enough, especially if you are drinking skim milk.  Vitamin D is important for so many different reasons and across different populations.  Are you over 65?  Check your vitamin D.  Is it wintertime and you live in a Northern latitude?  etcetera etcetera etcetera.  Check your vitamin D.  I’m not saying everyone needs to supplement, but it’s easy to check and if you are low you probably do need to supplement.  Always get the 25 hydroxy test rather than the 1,25 dihydroxy – it’s a better indicator of your vitamin D status.

Apple Juice Made In America?  Think Again – This one surprised me.  Because I know we have so many apple orchards in the US I just assumed that our apple juice was made here.  Turns out it’s not.  Given that so many children drink it (and the recent fungicide contamination of orange juice) I’m even more convinced that getting our food from abroad is not necessarily a good idea.  I believe the best thing is to get to know your farmer, buy locally, and grow your own.  I’m blown away by the idea that apples which are grown in China can be juice and fossil fuels expended to bring a liquid product (very heavy) all the way around the world to us, and somehow it’s cheaper.  There is something very very wrong with that equation.

Programmed To Be Fat? – This looks like a fascinating program and I am going to try to see if I can borrow a copy through my local library.  Given the increasing number of obesogens in our environment (I wrote an article some time back called Is Your Plastic Making You Fat?) and  the rising toxicity levels for newborns this is an issue that really needs to be looked at and worked on.   We are poisoning ourselves, our environment and destroying our future.

Goats being used, instead of pesticides in Eastham – I love this.  What a great way to solve a problem.  Instead of throwing chemicals at the issue of weeds, use goats.  The goats are happy, they get fed, the town gets less toxic chemicals in their environment, the residents have less exposure and, presumably, less potential for illness.

Reconditioned Food

Under the what’s-in-your-food catgory…an article caught my attention at the beginning of the week about reconditioned food.  I’ll be totally honest with you and share that this idea never ever crossed my mind.  I assumed that if food was in any way spoiled it needed to be discarded.  This article, however, made it abundantly clear that this is not the case.  The fact that the company in question only received a “sharp censure” from the FDA is truly wrong.

In Home Ec (as we used to call it) I remember being taught in the sixth grade that soft foods with any hint of mold, discoloration, or odor should be immediately destroyed as bacteria travelled quickly through them, whereas in hard foods they are more localized.  I don’t know about you but in my book applesauce is a soft food.

The FDA has a manual that talks about food reconditioning.  But just because you can doesn’t mean you should.  With the increasing rates of food recalls due to bacterial infections, poor sanitary conditions and massive outbreaks of illness why is our government willing to allow corporations to knowingly serve bad food for profit?  Silly question…we all know the answer is money.

As a consumer the answer boils down to what is one of my top catch phrases…eat real food.  Do I buy some packaged foods, yes I do.  But I try to buy as little as possible, purchasing most of our groceries as whole food and then making the items myself.   We have already severely reduced our canned goods (most of what we have on hand is in our emergency preparedness closet), and are weaning ourselves off of most snack foods.  This last is not so popular with our teens but we certainly don’t have nearly as much as we used to.  I also get more and more products from local sources that I trust.

The more I learn, the more I am motivated to make things myself.  For example learning that “an average of 225 insect fragments or 4.5 rodent hairs per 8 ounces of macaroni or noodle products.” is okay is motivating me to get out the pasta maker again.  I still, and always will, throw out whatever is contaminated in my house.  When we have had a moth infestation everything they got into was destroyed. That’s why my dry goods are stored in glass or plastic, to keep them out.  Hard food products can be washed, and cleaned so although I don’t like it I understand how it can be allowed in a case like the one in Illinois.  But it’s motivated me to double check the pantry seals on things.

The FDA has set up a Reportable Food Registry which is a first step.  But I believe they need to know that this practice is unacceptable.  What are your thoughts on the matter?

Carcinogenic Strawberries

A while back I wrote a post about the proposed use of Methyl Iodide as a pesticide for strawberry crops.

The original post stated that the comment period would end on June 14.  That has been extended to June 29.

If you have not yet made your feelings about this issue known I urge you to take a moment and do so.  The United Farm Workers has a quick and easy way for you to participate on their website.

As I stated previously, this is a known carcinogen, one used in laboratories for it’s reliable ability to create tumors.  Many scientists, including Nobel winners, have urged that this never be used.  Yet California is considering going ahead with it.  The potential for damage and illness is huge.  Not only those who eat those strawberries, but those who work with the crops, those who harvest and or package those crops, those who live near the fields, all will be affected.  This is truly horrifying.  Please take just a moment of your time and vote for clean food by stating your objection to the use of Methyl Iodide.

Strawberry Contamination

Recently it has come to my attention that the State of California has approved methyl iodide for use as a pesticide on strawberry crops.

Methyl iodide is a potent carcinogen, it is used to induce cancer in lab animals because it is so effective.  Back in 2007 dozens of well respected scientists (many of them Nobel winning scientists) urged the EPA to ban this substance because it was such a dangerous chemical.

I find it disturbing and appalling that any organization, governmental or otherwise, would knowingly approve use of a substance virtually guaranteed to cause cancer in consumers.   I plan to watch this issue closely and, if methyl oxide is approved, will no longer be eating strawberries from California.  I will then be watching further to see if they approve it for other crops which I will then also no longer eat.  

The State is now seeking public comment on the issue before they implement it, you have until June 14th to let them know how you feel.  Please take a moment to stand up for your rights as consumers to non-carcinogenic foods.

Photo courtesy of Henning 48 | Wikimedia Commons

Praying Mantis Adventures

I’m so excited because there is a new crop of baby praying mantis in our neighborhood. The kids across the street were lucky enough to get a praying mantis egg casing. It just hatched revealing an enormous number of babies from the case. The kids let the mantises go in the garden and I’m hoping that a lot of them will survive to populate the area.

Praying mantises are great for the garden. They are carnivores, eating beetles, roaches, grasshoppers, even moths and moth larvae. All things that are very destructive to the garden. While they only live for one season if you’re lucky enough a fully mature female will lay an egg casing in your garden and the cycle can start all over again.
As you can see from the picture (which I took, I’m so happy that one actually came out well), they are very small. They were less than 24 hours old when I took the picture and about the size of a grain of rice (if rice had long cricket-y legs that is).
Welcome to the neighborhood guys! Hope you find lots to eat.