The Price of Cheap Food

first_img Facebook Twitter Grain producers are facing a similar situation. The recent Ag Census indicated a continued loss of farmland, yet demand for corn, soybeans, and other field crops continues to grow. To increase yield on an ever shrinking land base, farmers must use technology. This, however, is under fire by non-farmers. It is common for those who oppose biotechnology in grain production to be in full support of a new housing development, strip mall, or big box store that covers hundreds of acres of prime farmland with concrete. The first is disease. PEDv is a relatively new virus that is spreading unchecked across the US and is having an impact on pork production.  The cause and transmission of the disease are still unknown and, to date, no cure has been found. The industry and the government are committing millions of dollars into research to find the answers to PEDv, but this disease will be an issue producers will have to deal with for the foreseeable future. However, the losses from the disease, while devastating to individual producers, have not been a major factor in pork production. This could change if the spread and death loss increases in the coming months. The Price of Cheap Food By Gary Truitt – Jun 22, 2014 Facebook Twitter At some point, these diametrically opposed forces are going to clash. Either farmers will be allowed to expand production or consumers — all consumers, both those who can and who cannot afford it — will see their food bills increase significantly. An issue that is also hampering an increase in pork production is the inability of producers to expand because of local permit and zoning issues. Ray Slach, of West Branch Iowa, has requested a permit to expand his existing 2,400 head of hog confinement feeding operation. If approved, the new facility would house up to 4,880 hogs. Consumers in the area, while complaining about the high price of pork, are trying to block the expansion. “If he keeps building more and more there will be a high concentration of factory farms near waterways,” said David Goodner, a farm and environment organizer for the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement.  This scenario is common across the state of Iowa and across much of the Midwest. “We have over 10,000 hog farms in Iowa,” said Paul Petitti, permit engineer for the Department of Natural Resources. “It’s not uncommon for farmers to put up one barn and put up a second barn within a couple years.” SHARE Home Commentary The Price of Cheap Food This raises the question: how can farmers continue to produce the low cost food that consumers want when their resources are continually being limited by those same consumers? Some consumers are uneasy with confined pork production facilities, yet are unwilling to pay the higher prices a different type of production process would involve.   The “not in my backyard” mindset is also at work here as producers are willing to expand production which would result in lower food prices, but local communities are opposed to expanding production in their area. By Gary Truitt SHARE According to the USDA, in the month of May, the average retail price of pork increased to an all time high of $4.09 per lb.  That is up 54.6 cents from a year ago and up 14.9 cents from the old record set the month before. This is just the beginning of what will be a long stretch of sticker shock for consumers in the pork section of the meat case. For pork producers, this is hog heaven with some profit back in pork production at long last.  Iowa State University estimates the typical hog sold during May turned a profit of $74.13 per head. This was the third consecutive month above the pre-2014 record.  Eager to cash in on these profits, pork producers are trying to increase production, but two factors are standing in their way. Previous articleNew Officer Team Takes Helm for Indiana FFANext articleDiscovery Park Center Awarded $12 Million DOE Grant Gary Truittlast_img read more

Possible vCJD case in UK may signal more to come

first_img Though a single case can’t be the basis for connecting a novel PrPSc type to BSE, “it will be important to see whether other similar cases occur in the United Kingdom and other BSE-exposed countries,” the researchers wrote. The researchers, who reported their findings in the December 2007 issue of Archives of Neurology, found that the 39-year-old woman carried the VV (valine-homozygous) version of the prion protein gene (PRNP), a type previously thought to confer protection against vCJD. The authors wrote that it wasn’t clear if the PrPSc typing points to a BSE cause of the patient’s illness or if the finding represents another form of sporadic CJD. In early 1999 the patient described started having visual symptoms, followed by a host of other neurological problems, such as memory and gait impairments, according to the report. Polymerase chain reaction testing revealed that the patient had the VV variant of the PRNP gene. The patient died 14 months later. Jun 12, 2006, CIDRAP News story “Study implies broader risk for vCJD in UK” Will Hueston, DVM, PhD, director of the University of Minnesota Center for Animal Health and Food Safety in St. Paul, told CIDRAP News that it’s too soon to say whether the DNA findings from the woman are associated with BSE. “I think that neurologists are probably attempting to be more cautious,” he said. “This is most likely not BSE, but they [the researchers] want to be very clear that similar cases should be thoroughly evaluated.” UK National CJD Surveillance Unit surveillance statistics Simon Mead, the study’s lead author, said the findings shouldn’t cause alarm, according to a Jan 5 New Scientist report. “The final conclusion remains open. It is waving the flag for neurologists to watch for other cases,” said Mead, who is at the Medical Research Council Prion Unit at University College London. Mead S, Joiner S, Desbruslais S, et al. Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, prion protein gene codon 129VV, and a novel PrPSc type in a young British woman. Arch Neurol 2007 Dec;64(12):1780-74 [Abstract] See also: Past research has linked vCJD to eating meat products contaminated with brain and spinal cord material from cattle infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), or mad cow disease. Normal prion proteins in the brain are corrupted after contact with the BSE agent, eventually causing death in both cattle and humans. BSE, vCJD, and sporadic CJD—a rare disease of unknown cause that closely resembles vCJD—are all prion diseases, also known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. The results of the study could also signify another variant of CJD, which is already known to occur in various forms, “but they don’t know what box to put it in,” said Hueston, adding that classifying prion disease types is often difficult. The authors of the 2006 study suggested their findings might mean that people who are infected with vCJD and have a VV type may have a prolonged incubation period, during which the disease could spread either via blood donations or from contaminated surgical instruments used on the individuals during the asymptomatic phase of the illness. In 2006, another group of British researchers analyzed DNA from three surgical samples that had previously tested positive in immunohistochemical studies of vCJD prevalence in the UK (though the patients had no clinical signs of the disease). Genotype analysis of the patients’ PRNP at codon 129 found that two of the samples were of the VV type, providing the first evidence that patients from this subgroup could be infected. (DNA could not be extracted from the third sample.) Previously, people who carried at least one copy of the V variant of PRNP were thought to have no risk of contracting vCJD. Studies in transgenic mice are under way to explore transmission characteristics related to the woman’s case, according to the report. Cases of vCJD began surfacing in the United Kingdom in 1996, in the wake of a BSE epidemic in cattle. According to the most recent update from the National CJD Surveillance Unit (NCJDSU) based at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh, Scotland, the number of patients in the UK who have died of confirmed or probable vCJD stands at 163. Until the case described, all vCJD patients who had been tested had the MM (methionine-homozygous) version of PRNP. Jan 9, 2008 (CIDRAP News) – A British woman who died of a brain disease suggestive of variant Creutzfeld-Jacob disease (vCJD) had a genetic marker not seen in any previous vCJD patients, raising the possibility that her illness represented a new form of the disease that could signal a new wave of infections, according to a recent research report. Mead told New Scientist that patterns of prion disease seem to vary among people depending on the prion gene variant they have, and incubation period could be one aspect in which the variants differ. Experts have said CJD is known to have a long incubation period, perhaps as long as 50 years. Brain autopsy findings included severe gray- and white-matter degeneration and extensive prion protein deposits in the cortex and white matter, which the authors wrote is atypical for sporadic CJD. Molecular analysis of the pathologic prion protein (PrPSc) from the woman’s cerebellar tissue showed a novel type of PrPSc that was similar in some, but not all, respects to type 4, which is seen in vCJD.last_img read more

DASPA seeking to promote healthy living among employees

first_imgBusinessHealthLifestyleLocalNews DASPA seeking to promote healthy living among employees by: Dominica Vibes News – September 12, 2016 316 Views   no discussions Share Share Tweetcenter_img Sharing is caring! The Dominica Air and Sea Ports Authority (DASPA) is planning a health fair as part of initiatives to promote healthy living among its employees.This new campaign on health and wellness will focus on non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which are not passed from person to person. The 4 main types of non-communicable diseases are cardiovascular diseases (like heart attacks and stroke), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructed pulmonary disease and asthma) and diabetes.Health Educator of the Ministry of Health, Mignon Shillingford Rolle revealed during the DASPA In Touch’ radio program on Thursday 8 September 2016 that non-communicable diseases are the most dormant health problem in Dominica and the most leading cause of death, illness and disability.Rolle said statistics indicate that the leading causes of death in Dominica from 2009 to 2013 are cardio-vascular diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer. “So the first one is cardio-vascular diseases, two diabetes, three hypertension, four cancer of the prostate and that’s for our men -the leading cause of cancers among men in Dominica, then we have five to seven heart disease, and heart failure, then we have chronic lower respiratory disease which is number eight, and nine and ten is cancer of the stomach and digestive organs, so what you will see all of these are non-communicable diseases,” Rolle informed.DASPA’s Human Resource Manager, Cynthia Talbert said the company found out, in monitoring its over four hundred employees’ activities, that medicals, lack of productivity and absenteeism costs close to a million dollars in loss of revenue on an annual basis and this is of concern to management.“We have decided that there needs to be a way we can try to address that issue, and we are embarking on partnerships with various organization and agencies,” Talbert said.These include the Ministry of Health, Dominica Cancer Society, Dominica Diabetes Association, Drug Prevention Unit, Jolly’s Pharmacy, and the Blood Bank among others “because these non-communicable diseases at DASPA is what is affecting us greatly and when we try to address these issues we want to look at how we can increase the level of productivity”.The health fair is scheduled for 10 October 2016 at the Woodbridge Bay Port and a number of companies and organizations have been invited to partner with DASPA.“We want to try to make it fun and not mandatory for the employees, but we want to see how we can have them in an all-inclusive way to try to participate in the different aspects of health information and awareness,” Talbert indicated.During the fair, employees will be exposed to information regarding food portions, food use, alcohol intake, cancer and how to live a healthy lifestyle among other pertinent subject areas.In addition, the decision to host the fair is also in keeping with International Health Regulations of 2005, DASPA’s Chief Executive Officer, Benoit Bardouille said.“As we know that DASPA is in involved in cargo operations, in trade, and movement of passengers and as a result of that we too have to be part and parcel of it”.“So from a health standpoint, we have to now seek ways and means in terms of ensuring that we can reduce some of the threats, the disease threats and other health risks that we have,” Bardouille stated.The World Health Organization statistics indicate that non-communicable diseases kill thirty-eight million people each year. Almost three quarters of NCD deaths, twenty-eight million, occur in low- and middle-income countries. Sharelast_img read more