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Organic News - 22 April

Organic News - 22 April

FARMING

EU Parliament votes to restrict use of world’s biggest selling herbicide

Last week, the European Parliament voted to re-authorise glyphosate, but with significant restrictions. What does the vote mean for the world's biggest selling herbicide? Soil Association policy director, Peter Melchett, believes these restrictions are a dramatic blow to the future of glyphosate.

The Ecologist (15 April 2016)

The Soil Association campaigns to keep glyphosate out of Britain's bread

Organic Farming is good for business

The BBC’s Worldwide Business Report visits policy director Peter Melchett’s farm and discovers that organic farming is not only better for the environment and the public, but it’s good for business too.  Greater labour needs provide job opportunities and whilst labour costs may be higher, there are no or much lower costs for fertilisers and chemicals.  Most non-organic dairy and arable farms in the UK are currently operating at a loss whilst the organic farms are still getting a fairer price for their products. 

BBC World Service (20 April 2016)

Thinking of converting your business to organic? Find out more.

HEALTH

Government must cut antibiotic use on farms through formal targets

Shadow Defra Secretary Kerry McCarthy accused Defra ministers of failing to act on the emerging public health crisis believed to be caused in part by the overuse of antibiotics in farming. Speaking at the Antibiotics and Farming Conference, she pointed out that the level of antibiotics used on UK pigs and poultry is ‘at least 3 ½ times higher’ than in the Netherlands.   Ms McCarthy has urged the Government to set targets to reduce routine and preventative antibiotic use, in line with other European countries.

Farmers Guardian (17 April 2016)

The Soil Association is a member of the Alliance to Save our Antibiotics, which campaigns against the overuse of antibiotics in farming

Global antibiotic use in farm animals

60% of all antibiotics sold globally are for animal use, and in many cases there is little or no surveillance of this use. Drugs are administered when animals are sick, but also to prevent the spread of disease and in some cases, to promote growth. Emma Rose of the Alliance to Save Our Antibiotics discusses the link between human resistance and overuse of antibiotics in farm animals.

BBC World Service (16 April 2016)

ENVIRONMENT

Brexit would risk 40 years of environmental progress

The Environmental Audit Committee published a new report this week detailing how EU environmental law has been vital in improving and protecting the UK’s environment. These laws have improved air quality, reduced sulphur dioxide emissions and held the government to account on air pollution. Without them, air pollution may slip down the Government’s priority list.

Huffington Post (19 April 2016)

Microbes essential for healthy ecosystems threatened by climate change

A study published this month has found soil microbes, essential for our ecosystem’s reliance to environment change, are less adaptable than first thought. Climate change reduces the diversity and function of microbes, and to compound the problem, a warming planet encourages permafrost to melt, encouraging the release of CO2 and methane.  New tools have allowed a surge in research into microbial ecology but some key microbes may be extinct before a solution is found.

Alternet (12 April 2016)

Find out why organic is good for the planet

FOOD

Catering Mark contributes to healthier eating habits outside the home 

Awarded to schools, nurseries, workplaces, cafes and hospitals across the UK, the Catering Mark contributes to healthier eating habits outside the home. The Catering Mark helps boost the local economy and shows caterers are concerned about the provenance of their food. Journalist Marianne Landzettel explores the reasons why over 8000 schools, and 75 universities, 40 hospitals and 60 care homes have chosen to achieve a Catering Mark.

In Good Tilth (April 2016)

Learn about the Soil Association’s Food for Life Catering Mark scheme, which provides caterers with independently verified evidence of their achievements