Archive for the ‘News’ Category

New Study Proves Organic Produce is Healthier than Conventional

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

“Is organic produce more nutritious than conventional produce?”

If you believe this is a rhetorical question, you are not alone.

A major new study from the United Kingdom published conclusive evidence demonstrating organic crops and the food made from them are nutritionally superior to their conventional counterparts. This landmark study corrects many shortcomings of earlier studies and puts to rest any doubts about the benefits of organic.

“This is a ground-breaking study [that] … should greatly help to dispel consumer confusion about the benefits of organic,” said Dr. Jessica Shade, Director of Science Programs for The Organic Center (TOC). “The nutritional differences between conventional and organic crops have always been a much debated topic,” said Shade. “This significant study reevaluates the issue from a more inclusive, statistically accurate standpoint and strongly shows that organic fruits and vegetables have definite health benefits to conventionally grown products.”

An international team of experts led by Newcastle University analyzed 343 studies in the largest research effort of its kind. They found organic crops and organic crop-based foods are up to 60 percent higher in a number of key antioxidants than conventionally grown crops. They also demonstrated conventional foods have greater frequency and concentrations of pesticide residues and toxic heavy metals than organic crops. This landmark report is to be published in the July 15 issue of the prestigious British Journal of Nutrition.

Every Mouthful Counts

Shade states the results of the study have meaningful real-world implications since the antioxidants found in organic crops have been shown to reduce risk of serious chronic diseases.

“Based on the findings of this study, if an individual were to switch from a conventional to an organic diet, they could have a 20-40 percent increase in antioxidants without a simultaneous increase in calorie intake. In other words, for the same amount of food, eating organic delivers a significantly higher dietary intake of healthy antioxidants,” said Shade.

Currently, dietary recommendations include consuming five servings of vegetables and fruits. Based on this study’s findings, beneficial antioxidants found in five servings of organic produce are equal to about one to two additional servings of conventionally grown produce, but without the exposure to pesticide residues and heavy metals.

The Newcastle study found significantly lower instances of pesticide residues and lower levels of Cadmium – a highly toxic metal – in organic crops. Specifically, the study found conventional crops were four times more likely to contain pesticide residues than organic crops. Exposure to pesticides has been found to affect brain development, especially in young children, and pose a greater risk for pregnant women and men and women of reproductive age. The study also found organic crops had on average 48 percent lower cadmium levels than conventional crops. Cadmium can cause kidney failure, bone softening and liver damage. It can accumulate in the body, so even low levels of chronic exposure are dangerous.

Refuting Earlier Studies, Clearing Up Confusion

Professor Charles Benbrook, one of the authors of the study and a research professor at the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources at Washington State University, said, “The findings of this study strongly support the existence of health benefits stemming from consumption of plant-based organic food and beverages. Our results are highly relevant and significant, and will help consumers sort through the often conflicting information on the nutrition of organic and conventional plant-based foods.”

The study from Stanford University released in 2012 set off a heated debate in the scientific and health worlds when it claimed organic foods were no healthier than non-organic. The Stanford report followed a 2009 study commissioned by the UK Food Standards Agency that found no substantial nutritional benefits or differences between organic and non-organic foods.

“Where the other studies had failed …the key reason for the success of the Newcastle study in …identify[ing] concrete statistical differences between organic and conventional crops comes down to time and numbers,” said Shade. Since the publication of both studies, there has been more research on organic crops, thus more data to draw from. The Newcastle study analyzed 343 studies, with about 100 of those studies published in the last five years; the Stanford study analyzed around 200 research papers, and the earlier UK study looked at just 46 publications.

A recent survey by the Organic Trade Association (OTA) found eight out of ten U.S. families now purchase organic products. In nearly half of those families, concern about their children’s health is a driving force behind that decision.

“Parents are becoming more informed about the benefits of organic,” said Laura Batcha, CEO and Executive Director of OTA. “[The Newcastle] study will do much to educate consumers even more and help them to make the best choices for their families.”

UC Santa Barbara Scientists Discover Potential of Cinnamon to Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

Friday, June 6th, 2014

According to a new study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease – “Interaction of Cinnamaldehyde and Epicatechin with Tau: Implications of Beneficial Effects in Modulating Alzheimer’s Disease Pathogenesis” – the compound responsible for giving cinnamon its sweet, bright smell could potentially play a role in delaying the onset of or warding off Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, a neurodegenerative disease that progressively worsens over time as it kills brain cells. No cure has yet been found, nor has the major cause of Alzheimer’s been identified.

However, two compounds found in cinnamon –– cinnamaldehyde and epicatechin –– are showing some promise in the effort to fight the disease. According to Roshni George and Donald Graves, scientists at UC Santa Barbara, these compounds have been shown to prevent the development of the filamentous “tangles” found in the brain cells that characterize Alzheimer’s.

Responsible for the assembly of microtubules in a cell, a protein called tau plays a large role in the structure of the neurons, as well as their function.

“The problem with tau in Alzheimer’s is that it starts aggregating,” said George, a graduate student researcher. When for the protein does not bind properly to the microtubules that form the cell’s structure, it has a tendency to clump together, she explained, forming insoluble fibers in the neuron. The older we get the more susceptible we are to these twists and tangles, Alzheimer’s patients develop them more often and in larger amounts.

The use of cinnamaldehyde, the compound responsible for the bright, sweet smell of cinnamon, has proven effective in preventing the tau knots. By protecting tau from oxidative stress, the compound, an oil, could inhibit the protein’s aggregation. To do this, cinnamaldehyde binds to two residues of an amino acid called cysteine on the tau protein. The cysteine residues are vulnerable to modifications, a factor that contributes to the development of Alzheimer’s.

“Take, for example, sunburn, a form of oxidative damage,” said Graves, adjunct professor in UCSB’s Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. “If you wore a hat, you could protect your face and head from the oxidation. In a sense this cinnamaldehyde is like a cap.” While it can protect the tau protein by binding to its vulnerable cysteine residues, it can also come off, Graves added, which can ensure the proper functioning of the protein.

Oxidative stress is a major factor to consider in the health of cells in general. Through normal cellular processes, free radical-generating substances like peroxides are formed, but antioxidants in the cell work to neutralize them and prevent oxidation. Under some conditions however, the scales are tipped, with increased production of peroxides and free radicals, and decreased amounts of antioxidants, leading to oxidative stress.

Epicatechin, which is also present in other foods, such as blueberries, chocolate, and red wine, has proven to be a powerful antioxidant. Not only does it quench the burn of oxidation, it is actually activated by oxidation so the compound can interact with the cysteines on the tau protein in a way similar to the protective action of cinnamaldehyde.

“Cell membranes that are oxidized also produce reactive derivatives, such as Acrolein, that can damage the cysteines,” said George. “Epicatechin also sequesters those byproducts.”

Studies indicate that there is a high correlation between Type 2 diabetes and the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease. The elevated glucose levels typical of diabetes lead to the overproduction of reactive oxygen species, resulting in oxidative stress, which is a common factor in both diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. Other research has shown cinnamon’s beneficial effects in managing blood glucose and other problems associated with diabetes.

“Since tau is vulnerable to oxidative stress, this study then asks whether Alzheimer’s disease could benefit from cinnamon, especially looking at the potential of small compounds,” said George.

Although this research shows promise, Graves said, they are “still a long way from knowing whether this will work in human beings.” The researchers caution against ingesting more than the typical amounts of cinnamon already used in cooking.

If cinnamon and its compounds do live up to their promise, it could be a significant step in the ongoing battle against Alzheimer’s.

Fight Food Fraud, Buy Honey MELT®

Monday, April 14th, 2014

Free of added sugars, Honey MELT is delicately sweetened with only pure, organic wildflower honey, sourced from Brazil and tested for authenticity.

Honey ranks at the top of the list of the most prevalently adulterated foods in the world. Americans consume more than 400 million pounds of honey each year, but just 149 million pounds were produced in the United States last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Most of the honey available on store shelves is imported.

The majority of adulterated honey originates from China and Asian countries traditionally known as laundering points for Chinese honey, such as India and Vietnam. Adulterated honey is blended with water, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, other sweeteners (some legal, others illegal), and possibly harmful ingredients like illegal antibiotics and heavy metals.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has for several decades postponed developing national standards for filtration and enforcing inspections of imported honey. The FDA recently drafted guidelines recommending products containing honey with added sweeteners (e.g., sugar, corn syrup, etc.) should be labeled as “blends” and not pure “honey”. However, since the labeling guidelines would not be mandatory, nor require verification through testing, its impact on the consumer is in doubt.

According to Food Safety News, consumers’ odds of buying pure honey improve when buying brands labeled as organic. Most organic honey is produced in Brazil.

Mark Jensen, president of the American Honey Producers Association states, “it is pretty safe to assume any ultra-filtered honey on store shelves [found nearly everywhere under a wide range of brand names] is Chinese honey … it’s even safer to assume it entered the country uninspected and in violation of federal law… the ultra-filtration process does nothing but cost money and diminish the quality of the honey.”

“It’s no secret to anyone in the business the only reason all the pollen is filtered out [in the ultra-filtration process] is to hide where it initially came from and the fact is in almost all cases, that is China,” according to Richard Adee, whose 80,000 hives in multiple states produce 7 million pounds of honey each year. “Honey has been valued by millions for centuries for its flavor and nutritional value and that is precisely what is completely removed by the ultra-filtration process.”

According to Wenger of Golden Heritage, “There is a significant difference between filtration, which is a standard industry practice intended to create a shelf-stable honey, and ultra-filtration, which is a deceptive, illegal, unethical practice.”

http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/11/tests-show-most-store-honey-isnt-honey/#.U0XCsfldWSo

MUST SHARE: The “Natural” Effect

Friday, February 14th, 2014

A very important advertising campaign called Only Organic has recently been launched by Organic Voices, a non-profit backed by some of the biggest names in the industry including Stonyfield, Nature’s Path, Annie’s and many others.

While educated organic consumers will watch this video and get a laugh, the reality is this is no laughing matter.

Why?

“Natural” is an almost meaningless term and is the most abused marketing term in the food world. Consumers have been unfairly manipulated for many years.

The FDA does not object to literally hundreds of chemicals, persistent pesticides, growth hormones, antibiotic residues, and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) when labeling foods as “natural”, “all natural”, and “100% natural” – and they can be very heavily processed. Using the terms “natural”, “all natural”, and “100% natural” increases purchasing intent and confuses people into believing these products are as healthy as organic.

Millions of people are fooled by the “natural” claim; “natural” doesn’t mean natural. Only Organic means no GMOs, no toxic pesticides, no growth hormones or antibiotics, and regulated processing techniques. People deserve to know the truth about their food.

Share this video with your friends and family.

Tangible Benefits of Choosing Organic Confirmed!

Friday, December 13th, 2013

What do organic, grass-fed milk and MELT® Organic have in common? Both have naturally ideal Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratios of 2 to 1. Unlike conventional dairies, cows raised organically have access to grass, which naturally provides more nutrient dense milk. Melt Organic does so through the Perfect Blend of organic oils we carefully choose for our luscious butter improvement spreads.

In addition, neither organic milk nor MELT Organic benefit from agricultural programs that subsidize genetically modified (GM) grains such as soybean or corn. Unlike most margarines and cooking oils, MELT contains NO soy or corn oils and is Non-GMO Verified.

Why is organic milk twice the price of conventional milk? The answer: federal subsidy programs distort the market by affecting the availability and price of conventional milk and the GM grains used for livestock feed. Politicians panic at the notion of the Farm Bill expiring because they expect it will result in a doubling of the price of conventional milk.

If you could choose between conventional milk or organic, grass-fed milk for the same price, which would you buy for your family:

Conventional Milk  

Lower levels of Omega 3s

Mediocre farming practices:

Added hormones (rBST)                 VS

Antibiotic residues

Feed lots

Higher food safety risk (e. coli)

Cheap, GM, nutrient-poor diet

Organic, Grass-Fed Milk

Higher levels of Omega 3s

More sustainable farming practices:

No added hormones

No antibiotic residues

Organic diet, including grass

Lower food safety risk

Tangible Benefits of Choosing Organic
A recent study from Stanford called into question the nutritional benefits of organic produce; however, criticism of this study focused on its flawed methodology and its lack of addressing the well-documented evidence demonstrating the negative effects of increased exposure to pesticides. This study also ignored the noteworthy negative impacts of introducing the armory of chemicals used to grow conventional produce into the environment.

While this study may have confused some into believing the differences between organic and conventional produce are insignificant, new research from Washington State University (WSU) concludes organic milk has quantifiable nutritional advantages over conventional milk.

In the first large-scale study to compare milk from organic and conventional dairies across the U.S., researchers found significantly higher levels of heart-healthy Omega 3s in organic milk and an “optimal” ratio of Omega 6 and Omega 3s of approximately 2.3 to 1. In comparison, conventional milk was found to have a ratio of Omega 6 and Omega 3s of 5.8 to 1, a 2.5-fold increase over organic milk. Averaged over 12 months, organic milk contained 25% less Omega 6s and 62% more Omega 3s than conventional milk.

The difference in levels of Omega 3s is primarily due to diet: organically raised cows eat less corn and grains and more grass, which is much more nutrient-dense and translates into more nutrient-dense milk.

Over the last century, consumption of Omega 6s in Western diets has dramatically increased, while omega 3 intakes have fallen. This shift is due to increasing consumption of foods containing nutrient-poor oils and grains (e.g., soy, corn, safflower) high in Omega 6s and low in Omega 3s. As a result, the American diet generally has intake ratios of Omega 6 to Omega 3 of 10 to 1 or 15 to 1, instead of a more optimal ratio of 2 to 1. Omega 3 nutritional deficiencies, caused in part by high levels of Omega 6s in the diet, contribute to a wide range of developmental and chronic health problems.

According to the WSU study, switching to whole-fat organic milk and reducing intake of foods high in Omega 6s (e.g., soy, corn, safflower oils) can decrease the Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio among adult women by ~80% of the total decrease needed to reach a target ratio of 2.3, making organic milk the better choice.

Those benefitting most could be people predisposed to heart disease, young children and women of childbearing age, so drink more whole-fat organic milk and eat MELT Organic every day.

http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0082429
http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2022432964_organicmilkxml.html

The “Paleo Diet”: Real or Fad?

Saturday, September 21st, 2013

Zeal for “healthy eating” is almost on par with religion and politics for many people. Take the Paleo diet as an example: the Paleo diet is one of America’s fastest growing dietary programs, yet how scientifically based is it? The Paleo diet is based on the idea of abandoning modern agricultural diets because they make us ill; instead we should eat like our Paleolithic ancestors from more than 10,000 years ago. Intuitively, it makes sense to harken back to our ancestors for answers to our most difficult chronic disease-related questions, like digestive disorders, obesity, diabetes type 2, and heart disease. However, what if the true diet of our Paleolithic ancestors is virtually non-existent today due to Neolithic farming practices that long ago altered vegetables, fruits, seeds, and nuts, and our common meat sources like beef, poultry, and eggs? Is the Paleo diet nothing more than a modified Neolithic, farm-based diet?

Dr. Christina Warinner is an Archeologist at the University of Oklahoma and the University of Zurich’s Centre for Evolutionary Medicine. Her area of specialization is health and dietary histories of ancient peoples using bone biochemistry and ancient DNA. Through examination of the scientific evidence, Dr. Warinner de-mystifies several myths promoted by Paleo diet enthusiasts due to a lack of basis in archeological reality.

Myth #1: Paleolithic people evolved to eat meat and consumed large quantities of it.

Humans have no known anatomical, physiological, or genetic adaptations to meat consumption, yet humans have many adaptations to plant consumption. For example, carnivores make their own vitamin C. Since vitamin C is found in plants, carnivores must synthesize their own vitamin C since they do not consume plants. Humans cannot make their own vitamin C and must consume plants in order to acquire this essential nutrient. Humans also have longer digestive tracks than carnivores in order to digest plant matter and have molars to shred fibrous plants. On the other hand, humans do not possess carnassials, which are specialized teeth used to shred meat. While humans have some genetic adaptations to animal consumption, it’s limited to consuming milk not meat.

Further, the primary sources of meat today are from domestic cattle with much higher fat content than the lean, small game that would have been eaten by Paleolithic people. Paleolithic people ate organ meat and bone marrow, two important sources of nutrients. Native peoples in the Arctic ate a lot of meat because of long periods where plant matter wasn’t available; however, people in temperate and tropical regions ate plants as a large portion of their diets.

Myth #2: Paleolithic people did not eat whole grains or legumes.

Stone tool evidence from 30,000 years (20,000 years before the agricultural age) includes tools similar to mortar and pestles to grind up seeds and grains. Fossilized dental plaque allows recovery of plant microfossils and other remains today. Myriad plant remains have been found in the dental calculus of Paleolithic people and includes grains (e.g., barley), legumes, and tubers.

Myth #3: Foods listed under the Paleo diet are what Paleolithic people ate.

In charts of any Paleo diet book, images are shown of domesticated produce as a part of a Paleo diet that were radically altered from their wild counterparts to suit human needs such as increasing size, decreasing toughness, toxin load, latex, spines and seed content. In other words, produce in any grocery store or farm stand is the product of agricultural domestication dating back to the Neolithic transition. Vegetables, fruits, nuts and berries listed as “Paleo foods” are human inventions.

Food quantities for Paleolithic peoples were also much smaller overall. For example, a large amount of wild broccoli would have been necessary to approximate our domestic variety. Plants collected were tough, woody and fibrous and contained toxins along with beneficial phytochemicals. Meat sources were very lean and included eating the organs and marrow. It is virtually impossible for everyone to eat a truly Paleolithic diet based on foraging – the global population is simply too large.

Myth #4: There is one singular Paleo diet.

When referring to Paleolithic diets, it is important to speak of them in the plural. Throughout the world, Paleolithic diets were widely variable based on climate, region, locally available foods and season. When more plants were available, more were eaten (e.g., temperate and tropical regions); when fewer plants were available, fewer were eaten (e.g., Arctic region). Seeds and fruits were available during different times in the year; and herds migrate and fish spawn on seasonal cycles. People had to move from resource patch to resource patch with periods of high mobility and sometimes over long distances.

What can we learn from our Paleolithic ancestors?

Eating a diet rich in species diversity is important for consuming the vital nutrients we require for healthy life. Today’s trends in American diets are in the opposite direction because nearly all processed foods contain wheat, soy, or corn. Additionally, nearly all non-organic soy and corn is genetically modified.

We evolved to eat fresh foods when they are in season with their highest nutritional content.

We evolved to eat whole foods in their complete package with fiber and roughage. By decoupling whole food from the nutrients inside, we trick our bodies and override the mechanisms that evolved to signal fullness and satiation. For example, one 34 oz soda is equivalent to 8.5 feet of sugar cane. While no Paleolithic person could consume that much sugar cane, the same sugar content can now be consumed in 20 minutes.

Agree or Disagree? A.M.A. Classifies Obesity as a Disease

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

The New York Times recently reported on the American Medical Association, the nation’s largest physician group, recently classifying obesity as a disease. The vote of the A.M.A. House of Delegates went against the conclusions of the association’s Council on Science and Public Health, which studied the issue over the last year.

Do you agree with the A.M.A.’s decision?

Obesity, particularly childhood obesity, is of great concern to us at Melt® Organic headquarters. We welcome opportunities that raise awareness of obesity so long as they emphasize the fundamental role diet plays in creating obesity and metabolic disorders.

Proponents of the A.M.A.s designation believe classifying obesity as a disease will:

  • Induce physicians to pay more attention to the condition and spur more insurers to pay for treatments;
  • Provide a new definition that helps in the fight against Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, which are linked to obesity;
  • Bring more attention to obesity as a nationwide problem;
  • Help improve reimbursement for obesity drugs, surgery and counseling;
  • Encourage physicians to take obesity more seriously and counsel their patients about it;
  • Reduce the stigma of obesity stemming from the widespread perception that it is simply the result of eating too much or exercising too little.

Opponents argue:

  • Obesity should not be considered a disease primarily because the measure typically used to define obesity, the body mass index, is simplistic and flawed.
  • Some people with a B.M.I. above the level that usually defines obesity are perfectly healthy while others below it can have dangerous levels of body fat and metabolic problems associated with obesity. Some people could be over-treated because their B.M.I. is above a line designating them as having a disease, even though they are healthy.
  • Because of existing limitations with using B.M.I. to diagnose obesity in clinical practice, it is unclear whether recognizing obesity as a disease, as opposed to a ‘condition’ or ‘disorder,’ will result in improved health outcomes.
  • No specific symptoms are associated with obesity; obesity is more a risk factor for other conditions than a disease in its own right. Proponents argue obesity fits some medical criteria of a disease, such as impairing body function and is a “multimetabolic and hormonal disease state” that leads to unfavorable outcomes like Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
  • “Medicalizing” obesity by declaring it a disease would define one-third of Americans as being ill and could lead to more reliance on costly drugs and surgery rather than lifestyle and dietary changes. For example, two new obesity drugs – Qsymia from Vivus, and Belviq from Arena Pharmaceuticals and Eisai – entered the market in the last year. Qsymia has not sold well in part because of poor reimbursement and concerns that the drug can cause birth defects, which resulted in restrictions placed on distribution. Those restrictions are now being relaxed. Belviq went on sale only about a week ago, so it is too early to assess its performance in the marketplace.

Melt Touted as Player in Idaho’s Food Processing Industry

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

“. . .what better way to dress up our Idaho potatoes than with Melt® Organic Buttery Spread, headquartered in Boise. The Melt products are produced and distributed by Prosperity Organic Foods, a company originally founded in Hailey that is both health and environmentally conscious. The Melt buttery spreads are certified organic, non-GMO, kosher, eco-social and made with Fair for Life certified Virgin Coconut Oil, and taste like real butter. The company recently made a deal with Whole Foods to distribute in its stores nationwide.” (excerpt from Food Processing in Idaho, Expansion Solutions Magazine, January, 2013)

This article cites major food processors in Idaho through the eyes of a dinner party, starting with the cheese course, as Idaho ranks third in the country for total cheese production. Of course Idaho continues to be #1 for its famous potatoes, growing 29% of all spuds, with dominant companies J.R. Simplot Company and Idahoan. But Idaho is also home to two of the nation’s largest cheese producers – Sorrento Lactalis and Glanbia are located in southwest Idaho. Plus Idaho recently saw the successful opening of Chobani’s second processing plant – a $300 million high-capacity production facility in southwest Idaho. Chobani, a New York based company,and market leader in Greek yogurt, was attracted by Idaho’s strong dairy production and tax incentives. Learn more about other food processing giants in the beverage sector, including wine – 43 vineyards with 1600 planted acres – and beer – 14 breweries – and potato vodka. Plus, Idaho produces a large amount of high-quality beef – a $1.8 billion industry – and is the #1 producer of trout – supplying 72% of the US market. See the complete article HERE.

Prosperity Organic Foods has recently seen significant expansion of its breakthrough new Melt® Organic buttery spreads—a line of luscious, all-natural spreads made from healthier fruit- and plant-based organic oils.  Both Melt and Honey Melt have gained wide distribution at Whole Foods, Albertsons, H-E-B, Fresh & Easy, The Fresh Market, Ingles, Jewel-Osco, Wegmans, and Winn-Dixie along with regional chains that specialize in natural/organic products and now are available in nearly 2,000 stores nationwide. Both varieties recently won Progressive Grocer’s Editor’s Picks for best new consumer products of 2012, while Melt Organic was featured on Dr. Oz as the alternative for those who crave butter.”

Read More HERE

Melt Recognized as Consumer Products Company of the Year – Silver Stevie Award!

Friday, December 7th, 2012

 

Prosperity Organic Foods, Inc. was named a Silver Stevie award winner for Consumer Products Company of the Year (fewer than 11 employees) at the 9th Annual Stevie® Awards for Women in Business. Gold, silver, and bronze Stevie Award winners were announced during the gala event at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York on Friday, November 9.

The Stevie Awards for Women in Business honor executives, entrepreneurs and the companies they run – worldwide.  The Stevie Awards have been hailed as the world’s premier business awards. More than 1,200 entries were submitted this year for consideration in multiple categories, including Executive of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year and Communications Campaign of the Year.  More than 130 business professionals judged the finalists.

“I am honored that Prosperity Organic Foods was chosen as a silver Stevie Award winner,” said Prosperity Organic Foods President and CEO Meg Carlson (below in photograph). “Melt is an incredible line of products and we have an amazingly dedicated team moving it forward. We continue our mission to reach each and every butter lover seeking a luscious buttery spread that is truly good for you.”

Prosperity Organic Foods has recently seen significant expansion of its breakthrough new Melt® Organic buttery spreads—a line of luscious, all-natural spreads made from healthier fruit- and plant-based organic oils.  Both Melt and Honey Melt have gained wide distribution at Whole Foods, Albertsons, H-E-B, Fresh & Easy, The Fresh Market, Ingles, Jewel-Osco, Wegmans, and Winn-Dixie along with regional chains that specialize in natural/organic products and now are available in nearly 2,000 stores nationwide. Both varieties recently won Progressive Grocer’s Editor’s Picks for best new consumer products of 2012, while Melt Organic was featured on Dr. Oz as the alternative for those who crave butter.

 

 

7 Things You Need to Know About Pesticides in Your Food

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

By any measure, organic foods are entering the mainstream American diet – and with good reason. Organic foods are grown without the use of toxic synthetic pesticides, antibiotics, artificial hormones, or genetic engineering. They depend on cultivating healthy soil to grow healthy plants to produce healthy animals.

Headlines referencing a scientific review from Stanford University recently trumpeted that organic isn’t worth extra money. That same review also found a five-fold difference in pesticides and a three-fold difference in multi-drug resistant bacteria (plus significantly higher healthy omega-3 fats in organic food). The review didn’t even look at differences related to the use of artificial hormones or genetic engineering – or of artificial colorings, preservatives, and sweeteners in processed foods.

Perhaps you have seen Genetic Roulette, the documentary on the very real dangers of Genetically Modifed Organisms (GMOs)? It’s quite illuminating and if you haven’t watched it yet, you should – the alarmingly serious effects of eating Roundup-ready crops are discussed at length as well as the trend for increasing amounts of pesticides used on GM crops. It’s free to watch until the end of October.

NUTRIENTS
Organic foods have higher levels of nutrients and phytochemicals generally by 5 to 15%, and in some cases 30% or even 100% higher levels than conventional produce.

In the recent Stanford University review, which claimed that organic produce isn’t more nutritious than conventional, only half the studies compared the same varieties of fruits and vegetables grown in similar locations, which is the ideal way to conduct nutrient comparisons.

Organically grown plants have more beneficial compounds than conventional produce because of two key factors: the stronger natural defenses of organic plants, and a dilution effect in conventional plants from using nitrogen.

Organic food is less likely to cause food poisoning. Both organic and conventional foods can be a source of food poisoning out¬breaks. However, in an organic system, there’s a much higher level of microbial biodiversity with more naturally beneficial microbes in the system and soil. The biologically rich community of organisms that naturally occur either out-competes the pathogens or uses them for lunch. Pesticide use in conventional agricul¬ture reduces microbial biodiversity, both in the soil and on the surfaces of the plant, which allow pathogens to flourish; in addition, pathogens feed on nitrogen so it’s a vicious cycle that drives up pathogen levels.

PESTICIDES
Organic foods are nearly pesticide-free. Although organic foods are grown without using synthetic pesticides, they can pick up traces blown in the air from conventional farms or from water or packing materials in processing plants. The Dietary Risk Index (DRI) shown in the chart below measures pesticide residues found in conventional versus organic produce and shows that people get what they pay for.

Imports present the greatest risk to pesticide exposure in produce. Approximately 80% of the risk of pesticide exposure from food is from imports and only about 20% is from domestically grown food. Today, the highest-risk fresh fruits and vegetables almost across the board are imported. Americans are exposed to these mostly from December through April. This does NOT include pesticide exposure from pesticide-producing proteins present in GMO corn and GMO soy.

The recent Stanford University review found conventional produce is more than five times more likely than organic produce to have any pesticide residue. The study didn’t go a step further and consider that when pesticides are found on conventional produce, the pesticides are often more toxic, present at higher levels, and come as mixtures of different chemicals. The study also didn’t include the large body of literature about the toxic effects of some of these pesticides.

GMO crops have led to dramatic increases in overall uses of herbicides and pesticides. A study published in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Sciences Europe shows genetically engineered crops have led to an increase in overall pesticide use by 404 million pounds from the time they were introduced in 1996 through 2011. The crops were initially a hit with farmers who found they could easily kill weed populations without damaging their crops. But in recent years, more than two dozen weed species have become resistant to Roundup’s chief ingredient glyphosate, causing farmers to use increasing amounts both of glyphosate and other weedkilling chemicals to try to control the so-called ”superweeds.”

Today’s children, from infancy up to age 5, in the US have lost more than 16 million IQ points from exposure to organophosphate pesticides, according to another recent analysis. They’re exposed to these pesticides almost entirely through our food supply.

Today, almost all of us carry synthetic pesticides in our blood – pesticides that get there through our food. This is true even in babies at the moment of birth. A study with the Environmental Working Group analyzed umbilical cord blood – and found pesticides in every baby tested. To be more specific, 21 different synthetic pesticides were present in babies’ blood. We still have much to learn about their health effects, but higher levels of exposure have been linked to lower IQ, memory problems, developmental problems, and ADHD.

Choosing organic food can drop a child’s organophosphate pesticide exposure almost overnight. In another study, suburban Seattle children had their urine tested multiple times for evidence of organophosphate pesticides; it was present in all samples, suggesting exposure above what the EPA set as a safe level. Then the children were switched to mostly organic food where the pesticides disappeared. They were virtually undetectable in morning and evening urine samples for five days. Then the children were switched back to their typical suburban diet and the levels found in their urine shot back up.

CONCLUSION
Choosing organic – and non-GMO – is a choice for decreasing toxic pesticides in our air, water, and farms – as well as on our plates and in our children. Every bite of food is an investment in our bodies or a debt that will be repaid later. Good food – organic food – is a nutritious – and certainly more delicious – investment in the future of your family.

 

Nutrition Action Letter. October, 2012. Going Organic: What’s the payoff?.

Benbrook, C. 2012. Impacts of genetically engineered crops on pesticide use in the U.S. the first sixteen years. Environmental Sciences Europe 24:24.

Greene, A. October, 2012. Why Going Organic Matters For Your Family.

Why Melt® Organic Spreads are Certified Non-GMO by the Non-GMO Project

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

We are proud to support the efforts of the Non-GMO Project and believe in their mission and philosophy. We are also pleased to announce that Melt and Honey Melt are certified non-GMO with the Non-GMO Project. Why does this matter?

Monsanto Safety Statement on Genetically Modified foods:

“There is no need for, or value in testing the safety of GM foods in humans. So long as the introduced protein is determined safe, food from GM crops determined to be substantially equivalent is not expected to pose any health risks. Further, it is impossible to design a long-term safety test in humans.”

On December 7, 2010, the Dr. Oz Show aired an episode on the GMO debate. Monsanto declined to participate in the debate panel, instead issuing the safety statement above.

With phrases like, “no need for or value in testing”, “substantially equivalent”, and “impossible to design a long-term safety test in humans”, I have no consumer confidence in products invented and manufactured by Monsanto.

For context, no regulatory authority requires chronic (i.e., long-term) animal feeding studies to be performed for edible GMOs and formulated pesticides. The biotech industry (e.g., Monsanto) has conducted several studies consisting of 90-day rat feeding trials. The study period of 90 days is too short for adequately evaluating the potential effects of GMOs on health, even though these studies are repeatedly used to assert their safety.

Moreover, the studies conducted by the biotech industry focus on one single active ingredient, such as glyphosate in Roundup, instead of the total chemical mixtures that are actually used in agriculture, thus under-representing the potential toxic effects on environmental pollution and human health.

A disturbing new study published by the academic journal Food and Chemical Toxicity is the first to document the long-term deleterious effects (over a two-year period) of consuming GM Roundup-tolerant corn and of Roundup, the most widely used herbicide in the world (Séralini et al, 2012):

• In female rats, all treated groups died 2 to 3 times more than controls and more rapidly; the same results occurred in 3 male groups fed GMOs. Females developed large mammary tumors almost always more often and earlier than controls. The pituitary was the second most affected organ because the sex hormonal balance was modified by GMO and Roundup treatments.

• In treated males, liver congestions and necrosis were 2.5 to 5.5 times higher than controls. Significant and severe kidney nephropathies were also generally 1.3 to 2.3 times greater. Males presented 4 times more large palpable tumors that occurred 600 days earlier than the control group.

• Underscoring the inadequacy of 90-day trials, the first large detectable tumors occurred at 4 and 7 months into the study in males and females, respectively.

• The effects described above occurred at the lowest doses studied, i.e., most observed effects were not proportional to the dose of treatment but had a threshold effect at the lowest doses tested.

• The effects described above occurred in residual levels of Roundup formulations found in contaminated drinking water falling well within authorized, regulated limits.

Americans have the right to question GM foods, an infant science being forced into the food supply, when U.S. studies on the effects of GM foods are limited to 90-day trials on rats and are overwhelmingly funded by Monsanto.

What Can You Do To Protect Your Family?

The Institute of Responsible Technology offers a non-GMO buying guide for grocery shopping (download as a pdf or on your iPhone). Read more about it at the Institute of Responsible Technology website.

What are “Bad” Fats? 5 “Bad” Fats to Avoid

Monday, September 17th, 2012

This is one place where you won’t find anyone labeling high quality, organic sources of saturated fat – like virgin coconut oil – as “bad” fat. No, indeed the true “bad” fats, as we see define them, are described below:

Hydrogenated oils: In essence, hydrogenated oils are fake saturated fats, where long chain polyunsaturated fats (found in high quantities in corn, soy, and safflower oils) have been artificially converted into long chain saturated fats through a laboratory process. Not only do long chain fatty acids make higher demands on the body for utilizing them, the body is not able to easily transform these fake saturated fats with “trans” bonds versus naturally occurring saturated fats with “cis” bonds. Hydrogenated oils precipitated the dramatic increase of seed oil consumption in the American diet at the expense of quality forms of saturated fats and Omega 3s. For a more thorough discussion, we recommend reading Dr Mary Enig’s book (2000), “Know Your Fats: The Complete Primer for Understanding the Nutrition of Fats, Oils, and Cholesterol.”

Animal fats from factory farmed sources: You are what you eat and the animals we consume are not any different. Think about it: if cows, pigs, and poultry are fed diets of mostly corn and soy (GMO or not), the nutritional profile of their diet is very poor as well as the food products we get from them, which lack vital minerals, vitamins, and quality forms of dietary fat, like Omega 3s. This is in addition to the ethical issues associated with factory farming.

Oxidized fats: Oxidized fats are usually fats high in polyunsaturated fatty acids (e.g., flaxseed, corn, soy, canola, safflower oils) that have been exposed to enough heat to cause molecular changes like polymerization, double-bonding, and creating free radicals. Eating oxidized fats places a burden on the body and contributes to many chronic inflammatory diseases. Many mistakenly believe that oils high in polyunsaturated fats are “healthy” to use in cooking (e.g., safflower, corn, soy), when in fact they create toxic by-products that cause disease. Another unintentional source of oxidized fats is fish and flax oil gel caps. Often the oils in these gel caps are already rancid and should not be consumed. Only liquid forms of fish, cod, and flaxseed oil should be eaten, and only if stored in the refrigerator!

Oils high in Omega 6s: Americans in general consume too many oils high in Omega 6s (e.g., corn, soy, safflower oils), which can contribute to inflammatory disease as well as an Omega 3 deficiency. Both Omega 6s and Omega 3s use the same mechanisms for uptake in the body, so eating a diet high in Omega 6s out-competes Omega 3s from being absorbed properly. Omega 3 deficiencies have been linked to heart disease, arthritis, weight gain, cancer and inflammatory diseases. The ideal ratio for Omega 6s to Omega 3s in one’s overall diet is between 4:1 to 2:1. Melt Organic has a ratio of Omega 6s to Omega 3s of 2:1.

Plant fats from genetically modified organisms (GMO) sources: We feel strongly about certifying Melt Organic and Honey Melt non-GMO by the Non-GMO Project because information is coming to light that suggests we should approach GMOs with caution.

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