April 24, 2014

More Hidden Soy to Enter the Food Chain: Factory-farmed Fish Feed

FactoryFedFishCover 245x300 More Hidden Soy to Enter the Food Chain: Factory farmed Fish Feed

Health Impact News Editor Comments: Very few people understand just how much soy is in our modern diets. As this report states: “From 1996 to 2009, the sales of foods containing soy increased from approximately $1 billion to almost $4.5 billion.” Few people realize that factory-farmed livestock are dependent on soy as a source of cheap protein that promotes fast growth. Virtually no studies have been conducted on the effects all this soy has on the quality of these meats. Tropical Traditions is one of the few companies that worked with a poultry biologist at Ohio State University to determine that soy protein from chicken feed is passed into egg yolks and chicken tissue. (See: Soy protein present in egg yolks and chicken tissues) Thus, people looking to avoid soy in their diet are consuming it in foods where it is not listed as an ingredient. Now, the soybean industry is venturing into a new market: factory farmed fish.

Factory-Fed Fish: How the Soy Industry Is Expanding Into the Sea

by Food and Water Watch

In 2010, the CEO of the American Soy Association reported that the organization has been closely monitoring progress in the development of offshore fish farming legislation and meeting with congres­sional staff on the topic. In March 2011, it endorsed a controversial plan that would allow such fish farming or “aquaculture” in the Gulf of Mexico. In September 2011, a press release was issued announcing a new marine fish farm project that would “revolutionize sustainable agriculture.” The source of the release? The Illinois Soybean Association.

Why are trade associations for an agricultural commodity that is grown on land involved in policies and marketing that affect the use and stewardship of our oceans?

Seafood is one of our last wild food sources. Fish are a vital part of many people’s diets because of poten­tial health benefits, fresh taste and the connection that fish give us to our oceans and coasts. Around half of the world’s seafood, however, now comes from farms rather than from the wild. In some of these farms, fish are grown in crowded, polluting cages and may be fattened on commercially prepared diets.

Feed has been one of the aquaculture industry’s greatest challenges. Many of the species grown by the ocean finfish industry are highly valued carnivorous fish, which have typically been fed diets consisting of fishmeal and oil made from smaller, wild fish. The excessive use of wild fish to grow farmed fish can make aquaculture inefficient. Further, aquaculture has been accused of spurring the depletion of these small fish, which is problematic not only for their own populations, but also to the other animals that rely on them for food.

With little public scrutiny, soy has been hailed by some as a sustainable alternative to feed based on wild fish, thus supposedly solving some of the fish farming industry’s sustainability problems.

In this report, the first to address the relationship between the soy and factory fish farming industries, Food & Water Watch reveals that, while the soy industry stands to make large profits from the expan­sion of factory fish farming, there is no guarantee that soy-based aquaculture feed can consistently produce healthy fish or promote ecological respon­sibility. In fact, by causing fish to produce excess waste, soy could lead to an even more polluting fish farming industry.

By supporting factory fish farming, the soy industry could not only help to expand an industry that degrades marine environments, threatens wild fish populations and damages coastal communities, it could also extend its own negative impacts. Already, industrial soy production has led to the prevalence of genetically modified crops on U .S. farmland and in consumer food-products, caused massive deforestation in South America and displaced indigenous communities living in areas now used to grow soy.

Rather than actually promoting sustainability in a developing industry, the involvement of soy associa­tions in aquaculture could spur the growth of two industries that have extremely negative impacts on our land, our oceans and the communities that depend on them.

Read the Full Report

Excerpts:

As soy becomes increasingly ubiquitous in our diets — in processed foods and the meat from animals that have been raised on it — we must ask what health impacts this high level of soy consumption may have on us. Scientists are beginning to question claims about the benefits of eating soy and to suggest that the plant-based estrogens that occur naturally in soy, many of which are endocrine disruptors, could potentially have adverse impacts. In light of these concerns and unanswered questions, it is troubling to know that much of our fish — one of our last wild foods — could be fattened on this crop.

Further, a large-scale offshore fish farming industry could cause major environmental damage . Placing fish farms in the open ocean has been pitched as a way to minimize pollution by diluting or dispersing waste. There is not enough information available yet to know what the long-term effects of these farms will be, and research from Italy indicates that pollution from offshore farms “may affect the marine ecosystem well beyond the local scale.” The ecosystems around farms could also be disrupted by chemicals and drugs used on farms, potentially leading to negative health consequences for people . One study found that the use of antimicrobials on fish farms can lead to the development of drug-resistant genes in fish pathogens — genes that could be transferred to bacteria that infect humans. This could make human illnesses more difficult to treat.

Read the Full Report

pasturedpoultrymed 270x300 More Hidden Soy to Enter the Food Chain: Factory farmed Fish Feed

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Russian Family Gardens Produce 40% of Russian Food

Russian Family Gardens Produce 40% of Russian Food

Earlier this month, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev stated that Russia will not import GMO products because Russia has enough space and resources to produce organic food.

This was not a political statement of posturing, given the current cool relations between the U.S. and Russia over the Ukraine. As it turns out, Russia’s food security is light years ahead of the U.S.

As you will read below, a significant portion of the Russian population own “dachas,” or seasonal garden homes, where they can grow their own food. At the height of the communist era, it is reported that these dachas produced 90% of the nation’s food. Today, with the land now privatized, they still comprise about 40% of the nation’s food.

Compare that with the United States, where less than 1% of the population controls the food, and small-scale family farms have for the most part been bought out by huge Biotech corporations.

Russia Bans Import of GMO Products – Promotes Organic Food

Russia Bans Import of GMO Products – Promotes Organic Food

Russia will not import GMO products, the country’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said, adding that the nation has enough space and resources to produce organic food.

Moscow has no reason to encourage the production of genetically modified products or import them into the country, Medvedev told a congress of deputies from rural settlements on Saturday.

“If the Americans like to eat GMO products, let them eat it then. We don’t need to do that; we have enough space and opportunities to produce organic food,” he said.

Study: Roundup Herbicide 125 Times More Toxic Than Regulators Say

Study: Roundup Herbicide 125 Times More Toxic Than Regulators Say

A highly concerning new study published in the journal Biomedical Research International reveals that despite the still relatively benign reputation of agrochemicals such as Roundup herbicide, many chemical formulations upon which the modern agricultural system depend are far more toxic than present regulatory tests performed on them reveal. Roundup herbicide, for instance, was found to be 125 times more toxic than its active ingredient glyphosate studied in isolation.

Food Security: Why Congress Should Care About the Beepocalypse

Food Security: Why Congress Should Care About the Beepocalypse

This year, food security is set to suffer another big setback, and the culprit could not be cuter: honeybees. Last winter, America’s beekeeping industry lost nearly half of all its bee colonies. And the numbers keep falling. Last summer, in the largest bee kill on record, more than 50,000 bumblebees were killed in Oregon as a direct result of exposure to an insecticide applied to trees for cosmetic purposes.

The killing has gotten so bad that people are calling it a beepocalypse. This is a serious situation. One-third of the food produced in North America depends on pollination by our honeybees. Nearly 100 varieties of fruits depend on honeybee pollination, from almonds (which are California’s third-largest export) to avocados to apples to cranberries.

America, then, must act fast if we want to save our bees, our food and our economic productivity.

U.S. GMO Policy Hurting Exports, Costing Jobs, As China Rejects US GMO Corn

U.S. GMO Policy Hurting Exports, Costing Jobs, As China Rejects US GMO Corn

Health concerns aside, U.S. GMO policy is damaging the U.S. economy and costing jobs. China just announced they were rejecting U.S. GMO corn in favor of Brazilian corn, draining hundreds of millions of dollars out of the U.S. economy.

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