Organic news

Organic Pharmacy NYC

The Organic Pharmacy

The Organic Pharmacy is a British organic body care and beauty company who make their products from organic ingredients whenever possible, which is over 95% of every item they make. Their range includes skin care, cosmetics, shampoos and hair care, a small male skin care range, and a large organic pharmacy made up of a highly effective and comprehensive range of herbal tinctures and ointments, and homeopathic tablets. Each boutique has an in-store homeopath and pharmacist, as well as an aesthetician.

So when the I heard that the Organic Pharmacy was opening their first New York location not far from my home in the Village, I was excited to try them.

It’s as good as you’d imagine, but more so…

There are wonderful organic skin care products. There are sophisticated organic perfumes. There’s a very full range of natural cosmetics, with a makeup artist on hand to help select the right products for your style. There’s a stress-measuring device (which wasn’t working when I visited, but apparently can measure if you’re deficient in minerals, vitamins or anything else via the flow of electrons through your sweat).

And then there’s the star of the show at this location, in my opinion. And that would be Karen, who is the lady who gave me a facial.

She’s an aesthetician, of course, and had a lot of great advice about caring for my skin, and how to use the fantastic products most effectively. But equal to that was her personal sense of healing medicine.

I’ve had the pleasure to receive some pretty extraordinary massages and skin treatments over the years, and Karen is definitely up there with the very best. Which means that basically during the 30 minute facial, I almost fell into a deep, deep sleep, only prevented by the fact that there was a store opening event going on with members of the press and publicists etc. And that the day after, my skin is very noticeably more radiant, the pimples have healed, and the texture is wonderful and hydrated.

So if you’re in New York, visit the store on Bleecker Street and have a facial with Karen. You’re welcome.

And if you’re not, then treat yourself to the Organic Pharmacy products over the counter or online at Barneys New York, and you’ll still get a lot of these wonderful results.

Either way, your skin will smell wonderful, feel hydrated, and you’ll be delighted you did.

Organic food… for your pooch!

organic dog food


Our little furry friends are mammals, just like us. So why does it seem unusual to feed your dog organic healthy food? Why shouldn’t the food you feed your dog or your cat be good enough for you to eat, too?

While it’s perhaps over-indulgent to spend time seasoning your dog’s dinner, it’s nothing short of sensible to feed your pets organic food that’s good for them. Interested in saving money on vet bills? Just like human health, your pet’s health rests on a foundation of good food and exercise.

If you have time, it’s good to get in the habit of making your own pet food from scratch. But like feeding your family a balanced vegan diet, creating a balanced meal for your pets takes time and knowledge.

Enter The Honest Kitchen, a San Diego pet food company you can trust.

What they do is this… they offer a dehydrated, raw, vegan vegetable mix with added supplemental nutrition. It’s dehydrated at low temperatures, unlike dried kibble foods, which are baked at high enough temperatures to make them go brown, destroying most of the original nutrition from the ingredients. Kibble is very highly processed fast food that’s convenient for humans to scoop and go. The Honest Kitchen raw dog food is very minimally processed food. It’s very similar to what you’d make in your own home kitchen, given the time and the freshest organic vegetables.

It contains sweet potatoes, cabbage, spinach, pumpkins, celery and kelp, which is a sea vegetable. It also contains fruit, including banana and coconut, and dietary supplements, including Vitamins D3 and E, amino acids, and choline chloride. Ingredients are grown in America where possible, and while this product isn’t 100% organic, it does contain a high proportion of fresh organic produce.

The main difference between your home-made vegetable dog food and The Honest Kitchen dog food is that it has the convenience of kibble, but a ton more nutrients and flavor.

What you do is this… mix their dried food with water to reconstitute, then simply boil some animal protein, (for example, organic chicken), then dice the meat, and mix about half veggies to half meat.

That’s it! Super healthy, super delicious, and… irresistible!

Monsanto pulling out of Europe


Monsanto, one of the world’s biggest and best known genetically modified crops companies, is effectively pulling out of Europe.

The news is a major blow to the nascent British GM industry which ministers have been championing this year as fears grow about food security.

Monsanto, whose name is synonymous with GM crops, confirmed that it is withdrawing all of its EU applications for approval for new crops.

The decision is understood to affect as many as 10 applications for approval for new GM crops. It is understood that Monsanto is pulling all of its applications for crops in frustration at delays over clearing existing crops at EU level.

It does not affect clearance for an existing crop grown from GM seeds in Portugal and Spain.

Monsanto currently sells only one biotech seed product in Europe — a biotech corn called the European corn borer which is modified to be resistant to a destructive pest. It accounts for less than one per cent of the corn grown in the EU.

A company source pointed to the fact that the EU has not approved a new GM crop for cultivation since 1998, adding that it “currently has suspended the progression of cultivation files towards decisions for political reasons”.

The source added: “As the EU today is effectively a conventional seed market we have been progressively de-emphasising cultivation of biotech crops in Europe.

“Amongst other things, this means we are no longer seeking approval to commercialise biotech seeds in the EU. We intend to withdraw pending regulatory applications for commercial cultivation of new biotech crops in the EU.”

A Monsanto spokesman told The Daily Telegraph: “Monsanto´s business in Europe is very strong and growing. In order to better serve farmers in Europe we will be investing several hundred million dollars in Europe over a decade to expand our conventional seed production and breeding.

“In parallel, biotech crops are highly successful in the rest of the world. In order to fully support both of these success stories, we will no longer be pursuing approvals for cultivation of new biotech crops in Europe.

“Instead, we will focus on enabling imports of biotech crops into the EU and the growth of our current business there.”

Monsanto is planning to invest hundreds million dollars in Europe through the end of the decade including €225 million ($300 million) in corn production plant expansions that are already under way in France, Hungary,

Romania and Turkey, creating more than 150 new full-time jobs and many more seasonal jobs.

The news comes just as the Government, led by Environment secretary Owen Paterson and Science minister David Willetts, lead a major push to persuade Britons to eat more GM food.

By Christopher Hope, Senior Political Correspondent, The Daily Telegraph UK, July 18, 2013

The GM dream…

Organic lettuces

“The Genetically Modified dream makes it harder to feed the world. There’s the constant claim that GM crops are just one tool in the toolbox for the future of farming. In fact, Genetically Modified food is the cuckoo in the nest. It drives out and destroys the systems that international scientists agree we need to feed the world. We need farming that helps poorer African and Asian farmers produce food, not farming that helps Bayer, Syngenta and Monsanto produce profits.”

Peter Melchett from The Soil Association

March Against Monsanto


These marches are in every State in the USA. Take a look at their listings page for details of a march in your area…

Express your opinion peacefully, and come together on Saturday for a wonderful and important day of non-violent marching, and enjoying our democratic right of freedom!

Good Bee News!!


Europe will enforce the world’s first continent-wide ban on widely used insecticides alleged to cause serious harm to bees, after a European commission vote on Monday.

The suspension is a landmark victory for millions of environmental campaigners, backed by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), concerned about a dramatic decline in the bee population. The vote also represents a serious setback for the chemical producers who make billions each year from the products and also UK ministers, who voted against the ban. Both had argued the ban would harm food production.

The vote by the 27 member states of the European Union on whether to suspend the insect nerve agents was supported by 15 nations, but did not reach the required majority under EU voting rules. The hung vote hands the final decision to the European commission, which will implement the ban. “It’s done,” said a commission source.

Tonio Borg, health and consumer commissioner, said: “Our proposal is based on a number of risks to bee health identified by the EFSA, [so] the European commission will go ahead with its plan in coming weeks. I pledge to do my utmost to ensure that our bees, which are so vital to our ecosystem and contribute over €22bn annually to European agriculture, are protected.”

Friends of the Earth’s head of campaigns, Andrew Pendleton, said: “This decision is a significant victory for common sense and our beleaguered bee populations. Restricting the use of these pesticides could be an historic milestone on the road to recovery for these crucial pollinators.”

The UK, which abstained in a previous vote, was heavily criticised for switching to a “no” vote on Monday.

“So much for the precautionary principle,” said Joan Walley MP, chair of parliament’s green watchdog, the environmental audit committee, whose investigation had backed a ban and accused ministers of “extraordinary complacency”. She said the vote was a real step in the right direction, but added: “A full Commons debate where ministers can be held to account is more pressing than ever.”

Greenpeace’s chief scientist, Doug Parr, said: “By not supporting the ban, environment secretary, Owen Paterson, has exposed the UK government as being in the pocket of big chemical companies and the industrial farming lobby.” On Sunday, the Observer revealed the intense secret lobbying by Paterson and Syngenta.

The environment minister, Lord de Mauley, said: “Having a healthy bee population is a top priority for us but we did not support the proposal because our scientific evidence doesn’t support it. We will now work with farmers to cope with the consequences as a ban will carry significant costs for them.”

Syngenta, which makes one of the three neonicotinoids that have been suspended, said: “The proposal ignores a wealth of evidence from the field that these pesticides do not damage the health of bees. The EC should [instead] address the real reasons for bee health decline: disease, viruses and loss of habitat.”

Bees and other insects are vital for global food production as they pollinate three-quarters of all crops. The plummeting numbers of pollinators in recent years has been blamed on disease, loss of habitat and, increasingly, the near ubiquitous use of neonicotinoid pesticides. A series of high-profile scientific studies has linked neonicotinoids – the world’s most widely used insecticides – to huge losses in the number of queen bees produced and big increases in “disappeared” bees – those that fail to return from foraging trips.

The commission proposed the suspension after the EFSA concluded in January that three neonicotinoids – thiamethoxam, clothianidin and imidacloprid – posed an unnacceptable risk to bees. The three will be banned from use for two years on flowering crops such as corn, oil seed rape and sunflowers, upon which bees feed.

A spokesman for Bayer Cropscience said: “Bayer remains convinced neonicotinoids are safe for bees, when used responsibly and properly. As a science-based company, Bayer is disappointed that clear scientific evidence has taken a back-seat in the decision-making process.”

Prof Simon Potts, a bee expert at the University of Reading, said: “The ban is excellent news for pollinators. The weight of evidence from researchers clearly points to the need to have a phased ban of neonicotinoids. There are several alternatives to using neonicotinoids and farmers will benefit from healthy pollinator populations as they provide substantial economic benefits to crop pollination.”

Neonicotinoids have been widely used for more than decade and are less harmful than some of the sprays they replaced, but scientific studies have increasingly linked them to poor bee health.

Many observers, including the National Farmers’ Union, accept that EU regulation is inadequate, as it only tests on honeybees and not the wild pollinators that service 90% of plants. The regulatory testing also only considers short-term effects and does not consider the combined effects of multiple pesticides.

The chemical industry has warned that a ban on neonicotinoids would lead to the return of older, more harmful pesticides and crop losses. But campaigners point out this has not happened during temporary suspensions in France, Italy and Germany and that the use of natural pest predators and crop rotation can tackle problems.

“It is imperative that any alternative chemicals to be used in their place must first pass the same tests failed by the neonicotinoids,” said Dr Christopher Connolly, a bee expert at the University of Dundee. “The recent findings have highlighted an urgent need for more rigorous safety testing protocols.”

In Brussels, the countries that voted against the ban were: the UK, Czech Republic, Italy, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Austria and Portugal.

Ireland, Lithuania, Finland and Greece abstained.

Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Spain, France, Cyprus, Germany, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia and Sweden voted in favour.

Article by Damian Carrington for The Guardian (UK), Monday 29 April, 2013

UK’s Sainsbury’s and M&S end ‘Frankenfeed’ ban


Photo by Ysanne Spevack / Words by Sean Poulter

Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s and the Co-op yesterday ended bans on giving ‘Frankenstein Feed’ to farm animals producing meat, milk and eggs.

The three retailers were the last of the big food chains to be holding out against the use of controversial GM crops on their farms.

The change means that the vast majority of meat, milk and eggs sold by Britain’s supermarkets will come from animals raised on a GM diet. Alarmingly, none of these products will be labelled as coming from GM-fed animals in what critics call a disaster for consumer choice.

GM crop farming has been shown to harm bees, butterflies and other insects in UK trials and on farms across the US, where many have become blighted with superweeds.

In 2011, a team of doctors in Canada found that toxins implanted into GM food crops to kill pests were reaching the bloodstreams of women and unborn babies.

Tesco is ending its ban on the use of GM soya for chickens producing meat and eggs. Along with most other retailers, Tesco already allows GM feed to be given to other farm animals.

The stores claim the reason for the U-turn is not a sudden conversion to GM, but rather they and farmers are finding it increasingly difficult to find supplies that are non-GM.

Biotech firms such as Monsanto have ensured that 80 per cent of the soya grown in the US and Brazil is genetically modified.

For shoppers who refuse to buy meat, milk and eggs from animals fed on GM, the stores will offer organic alternatives.

Sainsbury’s has also promised that food for its premium Taste the Difference range will continue to come from animals not fed on GM.

A spokesman for Sainsbury’s said: ‘It has become increasingly difficult to source guaranteed non-GM feed in the short term. So from this Monday the fresh chicken sold in our By Sainsbury’s and Basics ranges will be from birds that have been given feed which we cannot guarantee to be GM-free.’

This same policy will come into effect for chickens producing eggs for the chain from May. M&S is dropping a total ban on the use of GM soya and corn to feed chickens for meat and eggs, cows producing milk and beef, and pigs.

It said: ‘This change is absolutely necessary because there is now a much reduced supply of non-GM feed available to UK farmers.’

Waitrose is now the only large retailer to have a total ban on GM feed for chickens producing meat and eggs

The Co-op said: ‘We have looked for alternative ways to source non-GM feed, but the limited supplies of guaranteed non-GM feed available, and the potential increased costs to farmers and customers means this is not feasible.’

But Peter Melchett from the Soil Association said: ‘The idea that there is a shortage of non-GM animal feed is a myth peddled by companies selling GM feed.

‘The fact is that 20 to 25 per cent of Brazilian soybean production is free from genetic modification for the 2012-2013 crop – more than enough to supply the whole of the demand from Europe.

‘China and India soybean production is 100 per cent non-GM.’

Pete Riley from the group GM Freeze, said the retailers, ‘could have retained their non-GM policies by increasing prices paid to farmers, however farmers and consumers appear to come a very poor second to profits and share dividends’.

Waitrose is now the only large retailer to have a total ban on GM feed for chickens producing meat and eggs. It allows it for most other livestock.

Martin Humphrey of the Organic Trade Board says: “This is an issue that has been brewing for years, but in the light of ‘horsegate’ simply can’t be ignored. It’s going to be increasingly difficult to segregate GM and non-GM food and retailers are taking a pro-active approach.”

First published 12 April 2013, in the Daily Mail, UK

Fast Food a ‘Threat to Humanity’

Bolivia’s President Evo Morales slammed western fast food as “a threat to humanity” as he accused multinational firms of seeking to block the development of his country’s staple food. On February 20, 2013 Morales said US companies had led a campaign to stop the United Nations declaring 2013 as the International Year of Quinoa, which the Bolivian leader and UN chief Ban Ki-moon launched at the UN headquarters.

Grain-like quinoa is packed with vitamins and proteins and has been grown in the Andes for 7,000 years. But its cultivation was long banned by European colonizers. Now Morales and many experts are pushing quinoa as a potential answer to global food shortages.

The left-wing Bolivian leader slammed capitalist “fast food” for causing cancer and other diseases, in a speech to the UN General Assembly to launch the commemorative year.

“The fast food of the west is a great harm to humanity,” the left-wing leader stormed in a speech in which he said capitalism had been a prime cause of climate change.

“International companies opposed with great force the announcing of the international year of quinoa. They were led by the United States,” he said.

“These companies are trying to make sure that the year of quinoa will be a failure because it will drive up the price and make the product less available. Major international food companies seek to control food production and dominate global markets,” Morales said.

“They impose their customs and their foods. They seek profit and to merely standardize food, produced on a massive scale, according to the same formula and with ingredients which cause cancers and other diseases.”

Morales vaunted quinoa as “a food for current generations and future generations” because of its health benefits and the fact that it can be grown in arid, often freezing conditions.

More than two thirds of the approximately 38,000 tons of quinoa now grown each year in Bolivia is exported – most of that to the United States and Europe. Peru, which produces more than 40,000 tons, and Ecuador are also major growers.

UN leader Ban said that quinoa is “versatile and delicious” but did not get involved in Morales accusations against food multi-nationals.

“I hope this international year will be a catalyst for learning about the potential of quinoa for food and nutrition security, for reducing poverty – especially among the world’s small farmers – and for environmentally sustainable agriculture,” Ban told the assembly.

UNITED NATIONS, Feb 20, 2013 (AFP)
Written by Rory Mullholland, in Paris.

Woman and Home Magazine

OrganicFoodee has just been voted one of Britain’s 100 Best Food Blogs! It’s in the special Christmas December issue of ‘Woman and Home’ magazine. Very excited and chuffed, thank you to everyone who voted for us!

On a personal note, I’m delighted to be welcomed back to Britain with this lovely award. The timing is absolutely fabulous…

xx Ysanne

Killing badgers is immoral

British voters are on the brink of saving their natural heritage from a shocking, unscientific and brutal attack by the UK Government. It is poised to cull one of their most beloved protected species: badgers. There is also talk of extending the cull to more British wildlife, including wild deer and domestic cats and dogs.

Shadow Environment Secretary Mary Creagh said: “There is widespread concern about the government’s decision to press ahead with a badger cull, despite their own official advice that it will cost more than it saves and will spread bovine TB in the short term as badgers are disturbed by the shooting.”

“Ministers should listen to the scientists and can this cull which is bad for farmers, bad for taxpayers and bad for wildlife.”

With the legendary Queen guitarist, Brian May, at the helm of the public outcry, the British people have signed petitions and sent letters to the Government in such great numbers, that it looks likely the planned cull of badgers may be averted.

The House of Commons is deciding about a debate to re-examine the scientific evidence for and against the cull. The scientific community meanwhile is strongly against it, as it would at best only reduce bovine TB by 16% over a 9 year period, which means it would not make sense financially.

Organic farmers and scientists are united in their belief that the proposed cull would not benefit the UK dairy industry or any other sector of the agriculture industry.

Badgers are a protected species, and are well-loved.

SIGN Brian May’s petition HERE.

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