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Terms in this set (14)
What are the requirements of the USDA Certified Organic designation?
-Prohibits use of toxic and persistent chemicals in favor of more earth friendly practices. (E.g., crop rotation, planting cover crops, releasing beneficial insects, adding composted manure)
-Field must be free of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers for 3 years before a certified organic crop can be grown on it
-Use of proper manure-composting techniques to prevent against foodborne illness
-Organic eggs, meats and dairy products must be from animals that are given 100% organic feed; severe confinement is forbidden; no antibiotics or growth hormones are administered to the animals
Are organic foods more nutritious than conventional foods?
-Organic products are not higher in vitamins and minerals than non-organic products
Are organic foods 100%
free of pesticides? What are some ways that people can reduce the amount of pesticides that they consume besides eating only organic foods?
-Organic food may not be 100% free of pesticides b/c they are pervasive in the environment
-"Natural" pesticides may be used (Natural does not = organic; organic just means you have to follow USDA standards)
What are the requirements for a manufacturer to use the terms, "100% organic", "organic" and "made with organic ingredients" on their package labels?
-100% organic: must contain only organically produced ingredients
-Organic: must consist of at least 95% organically produced ingredients
-Made with organic ingredients: must contain at least 70% organic ingredients
What are some reasons that people choose organic foods?
-Damage to soil, water and air from conventional farming
-Health consequences of pesticides in food and the environment
-Concern about genetically modified foods
What is the difference between organic food and local food? What are some of the benefits of buying local foods?
-Organic foods may still travel great distances to reach consumer
-Organic food may be grown on large, industrial farms
-With organic foods, concerns about fuel utilized to produce and transport foods
-Concerns about disappearance of small farmers
-Local may be organic but may not be certified
-Fresher, may taste better
-Nutrient content may be higher b/c does not travel long distances
-Supports local economy
What is biotechnology/genetic engineering? What are the uses of biotechnology? What is a
transgenic or GM crop? What are some of the crops in the US that are grown using
-Genetic engineering involves the direct, intentional manipulation of the genetic material of living things in order to obtain some desirable trait not present in the original organism; through GE, we can isolate the gene for a specific characteristic and insert it into the DNA of another organism
-A transgenic crop plant contains a gene or genes which have been artificially inserted instead of the plant acquiring them thru pollination
-Frequently GE crops: Cotton, soybeans, corn; altered for herbicide tolerance and insect resistance
What are some concerns about biotechnology? What is outcrossing? Why doesn't the FDA
require that products using biotechnology be labeled as such?
-Concerns include potentially disrupting natural ecosystems, creating new diseases and allergies and generating harmful effects through outcrossing (breeding transgenic plants w/one another)
Why is bovine growth hormone used? Why do humans not absorb active bovine growth
hormone? Is all milk in the US from cows that are treated with bovine growth hormone? Can
organic milk be labeled as "bovine growth hormone free"? Why or why not?
-Bovine growth hormone given to cows to increase milk production by 10-25%, increase lean tissue and decrease feed requirement
-Bovine growth hormone is destroyed by the pasteurization process, so it does not impact humans who consume milk from cows treated w/the hormone.
-Organic milk is from cows not given the bovine growth hormone
What is cloning? Does the FDA require labeling of products from clones or their offspring?
-Cloning is the process of making a genetically identical organism through nonsexual means
-The FDA does not require labeling of products from clones
Understand the different types of biofuel and their pros and cons.
-Carbohydrate biofuels: the cellulose in sugarcane and corn can be converted into ethanol; in the future, scientists hope to be able to replicate the same process w/grasses, cornstalks and wood chips
-Algae biofuel: possibly more ideal than carbohydrate biofuels b/c it grows rapidly, is not picky about water quality, doesn't require nutrient-rich land (so there is little competition w/food production) and lowers carbon dioxide greenhouse gases
What is the difference between organic agriculture and sustainable agriculture?
-Many sustainable agricultural practices are not required for USDA Organic Certification, e.g.:
• Cultivating bird populations
• Planting plants to attract beneficial insects
• Use of no pesticides, not even those "natural pesticides" allowed in organic farming
• Solar power
• Gathering rain water
Effects of large-scale conventional farming + solutions
• Conventional farming depletes soil of nutrients
• Fertilizer runoff causes algae overgrowth
• Pesticides and herbicides kill insects and native plants
• Loss of land, environmental destruction (deforestation)
-SOLUTIONS: organic, sustainable, locally grown produce
Effects of large-scale meat production + solutions
-Manure results in soil and water pollution
-Animals are fed grain (1/5 of all cropland in the US is used to produce grain for livestock)
-Energy intensive (Takes 8 pounds of grain to produce one pound of weight gain in a cow)
-Greenhouse gas (The amount of pollution produced by a cow is comparable to that by a car in a day)
-SOLUTIONS: eat less meat and, if eating meat, find locally/sustainably-raised, grass-fed meat
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