Does organic food need to be more regulated?

Marion Nestle: I think there do need to be tighter regulations because organics are more expensive than conventionally grown foods.  And the only reason that consumers are willing to pay more for them are . . . is that they believe that organic foods are better – either better for the environment, better for people, better for everybody.  And so it’s extremely important that the integrity of the organic standards be maintained.  And they are under enormous pressure and under constant attack, because as large . . .  Because they make so much money; because larger . . . larger and larger companies have started going into organics; and when large food producers go into organics, they’re used to a system in which you look for the lowest common denominator.  You try to cut corners and cut the costs as much as you can, in every way that you can so that you can sell the product at the lowest price possible and still make money.  And with these large producers coming in, they would like to weaken the standards.  They would like to make it possible to have a larger collection of pesticides on the list of allowed pesticides for example.  Or if the cost of organic feed becomes more than twice the cost of non-organic feed, it’s okay to feed organic animals non-organic food.  That kind of thing.  And those kinds of pressures have been put forward by the companies, by the Department of Agriculture.  And in at least one case Congress has overridden the Department of Agriculture’s Organic Standards Board in saying that things need to be allowed that the Board prefer not be allowed.  That’s not a good idea.

If you charge more for organic food, the quality should match the price.

The pagan origins of three Catholic practices

A few traditions in the Roman Catholic Church can be traced back to pagan cults, rites, and deities.

Photo by Josh Applegate / Unsplash
Culture & Religion
  • The Catholic rite of Holy Communion parallels pre-Christian Greco-Roman and Egyptian rituals that involved eating the body and blood of a god.
  • A number of Catholic holidays and myths, such as Christmas, Easter, and Mardi Gras, graph onto the timeline of pre-Christian fertility festivals.
  • The Catholic practice of praying to saints has been called "de-facto idolatry" and even a relic of goddess worship.
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Surprising Science

The idea that Alzheimer's is a form of diabetic disease has been gaining currency in medical circles for almost ten years. The accumulated evidence is now so strong that many specialists are now comfortable referring to Alzheimer's as type 3 diabetes.

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The digital economy benefits the 1%. Here’s how to change that.

A pragmatic approach to fixing an imbalanced system.

  • Intentional or not, certain inequalities are inherent in a digital economy that is structured and controlled by a few corporations that don't represent the interests or the demographics of the majority.
  • While concern and anger are valid reactions to these inequalities, UCLA professor Ramesh Srinivasan also sees it as an opportunity to take action.
  • Srinivasan says that the digital economy can be reshaped to benefit the 99 percent if we protect laborers in the gig economy, get independent journalists involved with the design of algorithmic news systems, support small businesses, and find ways that groups that have been historically discriminated against can be a part of these solutions.