Slug poison found in one in eight of England’s drinking water sources

The Guardian – Wednesday 10th July

2012’s record rainfall was heaven for the slug population, which thrived in the wet summer. This led to extreme overuse of metaldehyde, a key chemical used to kill slugs. The run-off from fields and gardens has wound up in one in eight drinking water sources across the country. Although the levels of the chemical in the water isn’t immediately damaging to human health, it’s not something we want in our drinking water. But sadly, it’s impossible to clean out.

This story is reminiscent of a recent Friends of the Earth study that found glyphosate, the main chemical in Monsanto’s Round-up, in the urine of city dwellers in 18 European countries. We are being inundated with chemicals largely used in industrial farming. In the US, the allowable levels of glyphosate in food crops may be raised, and in the case of metaldehyde, agricultural businesses are being ‘encouraged’ to self-regulate its use.

We think it might be time to re-read Silent Sprint. See our summer reading list for Best Books on Sustainable Food.

Ban packed lunches, head teachers urged

BBC News – Friday 12th July

Michael Gove is recommending free school lunches for all primary school pupils, ensuring that everyone gets fed and receives a fundamental level of nutrition. With diseases like scurvy and rickets on the rise in children, this can only be a good thing. Let’s hope the £3bn cost doesn’t infringe on the actual implementation of this.

The government commissioned food report on the school lunch is also recommending that packed lunches be banned from schools, in order to get students eating the healthy hot lunches provided at school. This is bound to make for a good discussion at the dinner table. The report argues that only 1% of packed lunches meet the same nutritional requirements of the school dinner. However, some of us here at the SFT remain unconvinced that school dinners provide a healthier option for their children. While school dinners have come a long way, thanks largely to Jamie Oliver, not every school is doing a stellar job of it. Which makes it difficult for those of us who do care about our food to have a choice in what goes into our children’s bodies, if we can’t pack a lunch for them.

Monsanto is losing the press

Mother Jones – Wednesday 10th July

An interesting piece on the growing coverage that Monsanto is getting for the increasing failure of its genetically engineered crops, to resist the insects and weeds they were built to resist. That’s the great thing about natural selection – our genome is changing all the time and sooner or later, it generally manages to outwit our best efforts to tame it and use it to our own devices. The rise of resistant superweeds and superbugs is inevitable and it’s leading to higher use of chemicals on these GM crops, not lower. Chemical companies are booming at the moment; it’s not quite what we were promised with GM. Hmmm… maybe time to start thinking outside the box?

The GM safety dance: What’s rule and what’s real

Grist – Wednesday 10th July

We had planned to commission a series of articles for the SFT website looking in a practical and objective way at the arguments made for and against GM technology. Then Grist got there before us, so rather than double-up on content, we’re just telling you all to read this article. It’s real, it makes sense, it’s important. Follow the subsequent articles for some much needed common sense thinking on the GMO issue.

Photograph by Carl Lockey

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