Safe Food and Sustainable Agriculture

Canned Food Seals in BPA

There are traces of the worrisome chemical BPA in a wide variety of canned foods from supermarket shelves, found a new study. BPA is also present in products packaged in plastic and in one sample from the deli counter.

The study, which was the first to measure levels of BPA in grocery store foods in the United States, suggests that food -- especially canned food -- might be one major route that BPA uses to get into our bodies.

The chemical, also known as bisphenol A, has been linked to all sorts of health concerns, including heart disease, cancers, and developmental problems. One new study linked higher levels of BPA exposure with lower levels of sperm in men.

The amounts of BPA found in the food samples were far lower than recommended limits, but that shouldn't necessarily offer much comfort, said lead researcher Arnold Schecter, a public health physician at the University of Texas School of Public Health in Dallas.... Read more »

Alberta premier makes travel plans for Fort Chipewyan

EDMONTON – Premier Ed Stelmach announced Thursday he will visit Fort Chipewyan after University of Alberta student advocates presented him with a round-trip ticket.

It will be Stelmach's first trip to the northern Alberta hamlet, where some residents insist they are being poisoned by oilsands contaminants.

Students from Stand With Fort Chipewyan delivered a $220 plane ticket just one day after Stelmach announced he will spend $84,000 to travel to India with his wife. Elders from the Mikisew Cree Nation joined students for the ticket presentation.

"He is advocating, obviously, for the wrong Indians -- no pun intended," said George Poitras, former chief of the Mikisew Cree Nation.

"He is spending $80,000 plus to go to India, I think it is a very sad commentary on his priorities."... Read more »

High exposure to BPA linked to low sperm count

CHICAGO – Chinese factory workers exposed to high levels of the plastics chemical BPA had low sperm counts, according to the first human study to tie it to poor semen quality.

The study is the latest to raise health questions about bisphenol-A and comes two weeks after Canada published a final order adding the chemical to its list of toxic substances.

Whether the relatively low sperm counts and other signs of poor semen quality translate to reduced fertility is not known. Study author Dr. De-Kun Li, a scientist at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, Calif., noted that even men with extremely low sperm counts can father children.

But Li said finding that BPA may affect sperm is troubling because it echoes studies in animals and follows his previous research in the same men that linked BPA exposure with sexual problems.... Read more »

Manipulate food prices to fight obesity: panel

An expert panel commissioned by the Heart and Stroke Foundation is urging governments to slap a tax on sugared soft drinks, subsidize the poor to eat fruit and vegetables and give farmers incentives to grow more fresh produce, in a novel new take on Canada’s obesity epidemic.

The price of food has a proven impact on weight, and economic sticks and carrots should be invoked to combat the growing weight crisis, the panel concludes in a 79-page report.

The group’s fiscal-policy approach to the obesity issue is bound to generate controversy. Its lead author insists, however, that the soda-tax and other proposals do not represent nanny-state intervention into diet and behaviour.

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Many popular baby foods high in sugar: Study

CALGARY — Many popular baby and toddler snacks found on supermarket shelves are too sugary, new research suggests.

A University of Calgary study examined 186 food items sold for children — including cereal bars, cookies and fruit snacks. Of those, more than half had an "excessive proportion," or more than 20 per cent, of calories coming from sugar.

Forty per cent listed sugar — or a variant such as corn syrup or dextrose — in the first four ingredients of the label.

Many parents mistakenly assume that baby and toddler specialty items are held to a higher standard and are healthier for children to consume than adult food, said culture and communications professor Charlene Elliott, who led the study funded by the Centre for Science in the Public Interest Canada.

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