Today’s Food Newsbits: House Passes Food Safety Bill, Is Organic Food Healthier?

 

Late yesterday, the US House of Representatives passed the much-discussed Food Safety Bill. According to Nation’s Restaurant News, the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009, or H.R. 2749, passed by a vote of 283 to 142. In an effort to deter the rampant foodborne illnesses that have swept through the country in the last few years, the bill covers a number of food safety initiatives, including regulations for food manufacturers and rules for food chain record keeping.

Commenting on the bill’s passage, Dawn Sweeney, president and chief executive of the NRA, said the association “applauds chairman emeritus John Dingell, D-Mich., chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and ranking member Joe Barton, R-Texas, for their leadership and collaborative approach to reform our nation’s food safety system. We are pleased with the legislation’s focus on prevention, increased resources and risk-based approach to targeting those resources.”

The bill was delayed earlier this week after a number of Republicans voiced their concerns over the “burden” it would place on farmers and small food businesses.

A recent study by the Food Standards Agency has revealed that organic foods aren’t necessarily healthier than their traditional counterparts. The study examined ‘nutrient levels found in crops and livestock from both types of farming and also the health benefits of eating organic food’.

Surprisingly, the assumption that organic foods are ‘healthier’ is widespread, but ultimately, an apple is an apple. The advantage to eating organic food stuffs is the lack of unhealthy preservatives, pesticides, and genetically-modified enhancers. Nutrient levels between the two, however, generally remain the same. While many organic advocates are disheartened by the research, I feel it’s important to eliminate these organic myths. You can still gain weight from eating organic foods, you can still increase your bad cholesterol levels. You can even become an organic couch potato. You just won’t ingest the outrageous amount of additives, chemicals, and hormones that have somehow made their way into our traditional food chain. That’s enough for me.

Eat smart, people! Know what you’re putting into your body!

~Jennifer Heigl

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