Know What's in Your Food

Promoting awareness and change about the food we eat, and where it comes from.


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The Bees Are Back!

Honey bee on Sedum autumn joy (Hylotelephium t...

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A few years ago I had the most beautiful roses in my neighborhood. I consistently used a product called Bayer All In One Advanced Rose Care. In addition to that, I had used Tru Green Chem Lawn for my yard and I had a local pest control company come and spray my yard and the outside of my house on a regular basis. I learned how systemic pesticides such as Bayer All In One Advanced Rose Care can harm honey bees. You can read my blog post about that by clicking here.  To the shock of my neighbors I cut down my roses and I stopped using the Bayer product, but I kept using the lawn and pest control companies. I had not seen a bee in my yard since I started using the Bayer product. About three years later, my dog Paulie became very ill. His ideal weight is 15lbs and he got down to about 8 lbs.  He had severe gastrointestinal issues. I took him to the vet. The vet was concerned that he had cancer or something else that was terminal.  I would have to pay $3,000.00 for the testing to find out. Unfortunately, I didn’t have that kind of money. The vet told me that even if it were cancer, there was nothing he could do. For the next 11 months he was so sick, I really didn’t know if he would be alive the next morning when I woke up. I had taken several times to the vet. We had tried different foods, diets, and B-12 shot to stimulate his appetite, but nothing seemed to work. He wasted away and his hair began to fall out. Then, something changed, he started to slowly put back on weight and his energy increased.  During this year period, I stopped using the lawn and pest company. I didn’t know what was wrong with Paulie, but I am glad he was recovering. I started wracking my brain to try to think of what could have caused his illness. I have two other dogs that were perfectly fine during this time. All three live in the same house, all three stay in the same fenced in back yard, and they all three eat the same food. But there is one thing that Paulie does do that my other two fur kids don’t do…. he loves to chew on sticks. We don’t have too many sticks that are in our yard, but if he finds one he loves to gnaw on it. I can’t prove, but I am convinced, that Paulie ate a stick that was contaminated with some toxin from the companies and products I was using in our backyard. 

Paulie

Paulie is 14 years old, but he still looks great. He is curious, smart and has lots of energy. I had a hard time thinking that all the junk that was putting in my yard to make it look good was really poisoning the bees and my beloved fur kids. It has been 6 years since I stopped using the Bayor product and 3 years since I stopped the lawn and pest companies. This morning I came out to find, for the first time in 6 years, these buzzing little beauties.

bees on flower

Just a few weeks ago, I started a worm farm and a compost bin in my back yard. Both are doing well. My husband, as I write, is putting cornmeal gluten on the lawn to control the weeds. I have been taking small steps every year to improve our environment and the food we eat.  I am so happy to see the bees return  to my yard. It lets know that my yard is healthy. I took this photo with my cell phone. It is hard to see the bee, but he is there. His wings are blurry from buzzing. If I had my better camera it would have turned out much better, but I am sharing anyways because I am excited.


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Nature’s Path Is On The Right Path…

vegetarian poptarts

Not too long ago I did a post about the unsavory ingredients in Kellogg’s Wild Strawberry pop-tarts. I wanted to show that there are some products, that while they are not whole foods, they can be alright to consume every now and then. Nature’s Path has such a product. Let me say up front, I do not get paid in any way for talking about their product. I reviewed the ingredient list, which is much shorter than Kellogg’s.

Nature's Path Strawberry Ingredients

The first thing I noticed is, Nature’s Path tells you up front their product is vegetarian. It doesn’t contain animal products including insects that are used to make carmine food coloring.  I like the fact that it is also labeled non-gmo and is non-gmo verified.

My concern was the use of palm oil. Palm oil is found in a lot of foods. Food companies use it in place of trans fats. The problem with palm oil is it is harmful to the rainforest.  I contacted customer service to Nature’s Path and asked them about their use of palm oil. They assured me the palm oil they used wasn’t harmful to the environment. Their palm oil comes from a sustainable source. I asked them if they would be willing to put it in writing. They said they would be more than happy too. They sent me  a response in email within a couple of hours. Below a copy of the email.

“Thank you for your comments on Nature’s Path Organic Toaster Pastries. We take each comment seriously and we endeavor to always provide a good quality product. Nature’s Path is committed to producing quality organic foods, using the best ingredients available, while adhering to strict quality control procedures.

At Nature’s Path, we are dedicated to providing consumers with healthy, great tasting organic foods. Our family-owned company is committed to producing products which support the development and sustenance of organic agriculture. We aim to do this in a way that minimizes our ecological footprint while striving to maintain social, environmental and financial integrity.

Nature’s Path uses a variety of organic oils in moderation in our products. Palm oil is a dietary oil of vegetable origin; it is essentially free of cholesterol. It is a healthy, trans-fat free, non-genetically modified oil, high in phytonutrients. It is easily digested, absorbed and utilized in normal metabolic processes. It is a naturally occurring source of the antioxidant Vitamin E constituents, tocopherols and tocotrienols.Our supplier guarantees that our palm oil comes from long established organic palm plantations and small scale farms, located in an agricultural area of the Amazon delta near Belem in Brazil – and that these farms are cultivated in a sustainable & organic manner. Our supplier has re-establish forest on 185,000 acres of previously deforested lands, which consequentially led to the rehabilitation of 7 previously endangered animal species. It is their company policy to never replace forest with plantations. All of the organic production is done in accordance with Brazilian, USDA/NOP, and European standards and is verified by the Brazilian certifier IBD. Additionally, our product supplier is in the final stages of certification with RSPO Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil , is certified as an organic supplier and meets the stringent IBD Certification that has environmental and sustainable requirements: IBD . They have been approved as one of the first EcoSocial projects in Brazil, a seal issued by the IBD Program for fair relations in the trade of socially and environmentally certified products (and governed by rigid standards and requirements that are not easily met). Our supplier has implemented the Integrated Management System, which qualified them for triple certification (ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems, ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems and OHSAS 18001 Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series) for all production processes. And they are the only palm oil company in the world that holds all three of these certificates.Because we are an organic company from the outset (going back several decades), we work diligently to increase sustainable agriculture and provide healthy, delicious organic products both locally and globally. We care deeply about our Earth we all share, the communities we operate in, the organic family farmers we provide markets for, and the customers we serve. At Nature’s Path Foods we also donate annually to endangered species, habitat conservation and environmental education. We have donated to groups such as the Amazon Conservation Team , Wildlife Trust , World Wildlife Fund & many others dedicated to environmental and social sustainability.

Your email tells us that you are passionate about your health and wellness. If you would like to get more involved and share your opinion with us, please accept our invitation to join our research panel, The Cereal Bowl .

Please visit Nature’s Path for more information on our company and our products.

Thank you for being a valued Nature’s Path customer.”

Kind regards

Laara
Consumer Services
Nature’s Path Foods
9100 Van Horne Way
Richmond BC V6X 1W3
or 2220 Nature’s Path Way
Blaine WA 98230

Wow!! 🙂 They put far more in writing than what I had asked them to do. They did it promptly as well. This tells me this is a company with nothing to hide. They are open with their ingredients list,  they have customer service department that is educated about their products, and willing to follow-up with their customers. The same can’t be said for other food companies I have talked to. Once again, I receive no compensation or gifts in any form from Nature’s Path. I just wanted to show that there are a few decent companies out there.


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Honey Bees Are Not Just About Honey

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(Photo credit: Mike_tn)

The honey bee is responsible for 1/3 of the food we eat. These beautiful buzzing creatures pollinate many of the foods we eat such as apples, alfalfa, blueberries, cucumbers, kiwifruit, pears, plums, some citrus fruits, broccoli, onions, lettuce and a several others.

Since 2005 the honey bee has been in gradual decline all around the world. Some bee keepers are losing up to 55% of their bees each year. The normal bee loss is considered to be between 5-10% per year.  While there are debates about what is causing the decline of the honey bee, the focus has been narrowed down to the use of pesticides in crops.  In particular the use of neonicotinoids.  Neonicotinoids are systemic pesticides that live within the plant for the duration of the plant’s life. Bayer is a company that produces a large amount of neonicotinoid pesticides.  The chemical in neonicotinoids that has been keepers most concerned is clothianidin.

Honey bee on Dandylion

Honey bee on Dandylion (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to James Frazier, PhD., professor of entomology at Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences,

 “Among the neonicotinoids, clothianidin is among those most toxic for honey bees; and this combined with its systemic movement in plants has produced a troubling mix of scientific results pointing to its potential risk for honey bees through current agricultural practices. Our own research indicates that systemic pesticides occur in pollen and nectar in much greater quantities than has been previously thought, and that interactions among pesticides occurs often and should be of wide concern.”

In an article for the New York Times, Eric Mussen, an apiculturist at the University of California, Davis, said analysts had documented about 150 chemical residues in pollen and wax gathered from beehives.

“Where do you start?” Dr. Mussen said. “When you have all these chemicals at a sublethal level, how do they react with each other? What are the consequences?”

Bayer Advanced All-In-One Rose & Flower Care Systemic Pesticide

Bayer Advanced All-In-One Rose & Flower Care

It may seem like the systemic pesticides are in the hands of big agriculture, but they can be found in our own backyards. Bayer makes this systemic pesticide for rose care. This pesticide is a systemic pesticide that is active in the roots, stems, pedals, and pollen for up to 6 weeks with one application. I used this product several years ago in my own yard. It works like a charm for keeping your roses bug free and fertilized at the same time. I have stopped using it due the concern of systemic pesticide may have on honey bees. It was only last year that I saw a bee in my back yard. It makes me wonder if the effects of these systemic products last much longer than 6 weeks.

Bee and Shadow with Sunflower

Bee and Shadow with Sunflower (Photo credit: cobalt123)

What You Can Do to Make Difference:

  • Call your state representative and ask them to ban systemic pesticides.
  • Refrain from using systemic pesticides in your own yard.
  • Use organic pesticides and fertilizers in your yard.
  • Plant flowers that are bee friendly in your yard.
  • Learn more about honey bees by watching the film, Vanishing of the Bees.

Sources: pesticide Action Network (PAN), New York Times, California Country Magazine