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This item first appeared on HuffingtonPost.com.


I've been told by many that you haven't experienced a mango until you've had one from India. But until this week, you'd have had to travel pretty far to get one.

Indian mangoes were barred from the U.S. because they can harbor an insect pest -- the mango seed weevil. And because those evil weevils aren't found in the United States, we wisely didn't let any of the possibly infested Indian mangoes in.

The pest is hard to get at -- its larvae burrow into the developing mango and take up residence in the seed. They complete their life cycle there, then find their way out through the flesh...

To the Editor:

It is distressing that the USDA, by attempting to legally define "organic", has granted legitimacy to the concept that so-called "organic" food is any safer or better than conventionally produced foods (Regulators Nearing Tougher Standard for Organic Food, pg. B13, 3/6/00).

By excluding genetically modified crops and irradiated foods from being classed as organic, USDA is supporting the myth that such conventionally produced or treated foods are less safe or nutritious than those that qualify for an organic label. It is thus giving government sanction to an unscientific dichotomy between conventionally-produced and other foods.

The USDA should be encouraging the use of any technologies that can improve the efficiency of food production and the...

Would you pay a premium to keep your family from getting the food-borne illnesses that sicken 48 million Americans and kill 3,000 more each year?

You probably just thought, "yes, of course."

What if it the technology to do so were endorsed by the World Health Organization and the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and it meant you could cook your hamburger as rare as you like without concern?

Now, you might have probably thought, "Even better!"

Actually, that technology already exists. But the same environmental groups that give a "health halo" to the meaningless process that produces...

Following several recent outbreaks of foodborne illness from salad greens in the U.S., the fresh produce industry is looking for ways to more reliably ensure that its lettuce and spinach are safe for consumption.

A recent study published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology examines one such method: electron-beam irradiation. Researchers from the collaborative study that included Texas A&M University inoculated samples of iceberg lettuce and baby spinach with either poliovirus or rotavirus two viruses that humans can contract from contaminated food. Electron-beam irradiation was then applied to the greens, successfully inactivating the viruses and significantly...

This press release from ABC News's John Stossel announced his scheduled one-hour show for Friday, March 8, 2009 -- with the final paragraph mentioning his interview of ACSH's Dr. Ruth Kava:

This Friday at 10 p.m. ET, I have another "20/20" special, "You Can't Even Talk About It." We tackle touchy taboos, like:

AMERICA NEEDS TO DO LESS FOR ITS SENIOR CITIZENS. You thought Bernie Madoff ran a Ponzi scheme? Medicare makes Madoff's look small. Maybe we should call Medicare: "Bernie Madoffcare." When Medicare was created, seniors didn't live as long, and medicine offered fewer wonderful but expensive treatments. Now Medicare is heading towards bankruptcy. Government has promised seniors $34 trillion more than it has funded. It amounts to generational theft, says...

An interstate outbreak of botulism has occurred, comprising two cases in Indiana and two in Texas, with others under investigation in California, Hawaii, and Ohio. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report has a posting dated July 30, 2007 describing the outbreak. It says that the illnesses are due to botulinum toxin type A associated with Castleberry's hot dog chili, and that this is the first outbreak involving a commercially canned product since 1974. The limited, voluntary recall has been extended by Castleberry to approximately ninety brands of human and dog foods that were distributed to forty-nine U.S. states.

This event has not received all the publicity it deserves, and it seems likely that some of what...

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it will make fundamental revision to its proposed national standards for organic foods. Its backtracking is in response to thousands of written comments that indicated dissatisfaction on the part of organic adherents. Proponents objected to the fact that the proposed rule did not, for example, forbid the use of either genetically engineered products or food irradiation. The new rule will, presumably, disallow these processes.

USDA will thus ignore the scientific evidence that such processes are safe, and instead enforce a belief system promoted by many with near religious fervor rather than focus on food safety and wholesomeness.

Proponents of organic agriculture focus on how food is produced and handled to...

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it will make fundamental revision to its proposed national standards for organic foods. Its backtracking is in response to thousands of written comments that indicated dissatisfaction on the part of organic adherents. Proponents objected to the fact that the proposed rule did not, for example, forbid the use of either genetically engineered products or food irradiation. The new rule will, presumably, disallow these processes.

USDA will thus ignore the scientific evidence that such processes are safe, and instead enforce a belief system promoted by many with near religious fervor rather than focus on food safety and wholesomeness.

Proponents of organic agriculture focus on how food is produced and handled to...

The summer of 2008 has not been very good for the organic food industry. Below is a compendium of this summer's news items, followed by my remarks.

June 20. The season starts with news of a Which? report that a panel of 120 taste testers found no differences between organic and conventional strawberries although the former cost two to three times as much. (Which? is the UK equivalent of Consumer Reports.)

July 6. Researchers at Bristol University in the UK...

"This was worse than labor" read the opening line of an Associated Press piece yesterday. What caused this mother of two such pain was not the repeated slamming of her fingers in a car door or an accidental fall on her tailbone. She was recalling her recent experience with the foodborne bacterial pathogen, salmonella. The source of the outbreak, which has afflicted over 300 individuals in five states, is not one of the usual suspects. It is thought to be Roma tomatoes.

Coronet Foods, supplier of the suspected tomatoes, has said that tests turned up no contamination at its processing plant, but they suspended purchasing and...