Fruit and Vegetable Prices Are Rising

Grocery shoppers may soon need more green in their wallets to afford their next salad.

The cost of fresh produce is poised to jump in the coming months as a three-year drought in California shows few signs of abating, according to an Arizona State University study set to be released Wednesday.BN-CJ559_calipr_G_20140415104036

The study found a head of lettuce could increase in price as much as 62 cents to $2.44; avocado prices could rise 35 cents to $1.60 each; and tomatoes could cost 45 cents more at $2.84 per pound. (The run-up in produce prices is in line with other projections showing that overall food cost gains are expected to accelerate this year.)

The latest projections were compiled by Timothy Richards, an agribusiness professor at ASU’s W.P. Carey School of Business. He studied the drought’s effect on farmland and consumer purchasing trends to determine the eight fresh fruits and vegetables likely to see the largest price increases this spring and summer.

And the price increases may already be happening. Grocery prices rose by 0.5% for the second-straight month in March, according to the Labor Department’s consumer-price index, released Tuesday. It was the largest two-month gain in the food-at-home category since 2011. Fruit and vegetable prices rose 0.9% last month, after a 1.1% gain in February. Meat and dairy prices are also increasing. Meanwhile, overall consumer prices rose just 0.2% last month, as broader inflation in the economy remains tepid.

California is the largest domestic producer of each of the products Mr. Richards identified, ranging from grapes to peppers. And in the case of avocados, it’s the only state with a significant crop.

 

READ MORE: http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2014/04/15/attention-shoppers-fruit-and-vegetable-prices-rising/?mod=WSJ_hpp_MIDDLENexttoWhatsNewsFifth

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RoundUp Tainting our Food: Monsanto Misleads on Glyphosate-Tainted GM Crops

Elizabeth Renter
Infowars.com
April 14, 2014

Photo by Viriditas, Wikimedia Commons

If you believed Monsanto, you would think conventionally-grown crops have higher levels of toxic glyphosate than GM varieties. Not surprisingly, you would be wrong. Despite Monsanto’s assurance that their GM crops are safe, a recent analysis in Food Chemistry revealed that not only do GM crops “take up and accumulate” dangerous pesticides during the growing season, but that Monsanto’s research to the contrary is completely misleading.

According to the researchers on that project, Thomas Bohn and Marek Cuhra, genetically modified foods contain “extreme levels” of pesticide residues, glyphosate and its principal breakdown product Aminomehtylphosponic acid (AMPA).

For the study, the researchers tested three different soybean samples for nutrients and various compounds including pesticides, glyphosate, and AMPA. Those three samples included: organic soybeans, GM soybeans, and conventional (non-GM) soybeans. None of the organic or conventional soybeans showed residues of glyphosate or AMPA. The GM soybeans, however, had residues averaging 9.0 mg/kg, an amount that surpasses many vitamins in the crop.

So how is this possible, considering Monsanto has always said pesticide contamination is worse in conventionally grown crops when compared with their Roundup-ready GM varieties? Not surprisingly, it seems the “truth” simply depends on who’s telling it.

In 1999, Monsanto said glyphosate levels in conventionally grown soybeans measured up to 16-17 mg/kg, which would be an alarmingly-high rate. But, these residues were present because of a pre-harvest pesticide spraying.

Read: Glyphosate-Ban Demanded in Brazil

Monsanto has also said that residue levels up to 5.6 mg/kg found in GM-soy are extreme and “far higher than those typically found”. In other words, they are outside the norm, according to the GM-giant. But seven of 10 of the tested GM samples in the latest study had glyphosate far higher than this “extreme level”.

It’s likely true that glyphosate contamination is actually increasing as time passes. This is because the number of glyphosate-tolerant weeds in GM-fields are increasing and so farmers are having to apply more pesticides than ever, in both higher concentrations and more frequent applications.

The toxicity of RoundUp has in part been underestimated because regulatory agencies are only testing the safety of claimed active ingredients. This despite the listed “inert” ingredients in RoundUp having disastrous consequences when combined and sprayed liberally on foods.

With the prevalence of GM foods and the use of RoundUp at alarming levels, we are only beginning to fully understand the effects. In 2012, a study indicated glyphosate’s presence in the urine of all tested men. Most recently, a study has even found that chronically sick people have even more glyphosate in their urine than healthy people.

The chemical is inside us and there is evidence it is leading to fertility problems, cancer, mental illness, and more.

This article first appeared at NaturalSociety.com.

Fukushima radiation levels underestimated by five times – TEPCO

RT
Sat, 08 Feb 2014 02:25 CST
Fukushima nuclear workers

TEPCO has revised the readings on the radioactivity levels at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant well to 5 million becquerels of strontium per liter – both a record, and nearly five times higher than the original reading of 900,000 becquerels per liter.

Strontium-90 is a radioactive isotope of strontium produced by nuclear fission with a half-life of 28.8 years. The legal standard for strontium emissions is 30 becquerels per liter. Exposure to strontium-90 can cause bone cancer, cancer of nearby tissues, and leukemia.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. originally said that the said 900,000 becquerels of beta-ray sources per liter, including strontium – were measured in the water sampled on July 5 last year.

However, the company noted on Friday that the previous radioactivity levels had been wrong, meaning that it was also likely reading taken from the other wells at the disaster-struck plant prior to September were also likely to have been inaccurate, the Asahi Shimbum newspaper reported.

The Japanese company has already apologized for the failures, which they said were a result of the malfunctioning of measuring equipment.

TEPCO did not mention the radioactivity levels of other samples of both groundwater and seawater taken from between June and November last year – which totaled some 140.

However, the erroneous readings only pertain to the radiation levels measured in water – readings taken to measure the radiation levels in air or soil are likely to have been accurate.

In the basement of the station, the drainage system and special tanks have accumulated more than 360,000 tons of radioactive water. The leakage of radioactive water has been an ongoing problem in the wake of the accident at the Fukushima-1 nuclear power plant.

TEPCO also said on Thursday that 600 liters of contaminated water – which had 2,800 becquerels of beta-ray sources per liter in it, leaked from piping leading to a tank at the Fukushima nuclear plant.

A record high level of beta rays released from radioactive strontium-90 was detected at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant beneath the No. 2 reactor’s well facing the ocean, according to the facility’s operator who released news of the measurements mid-January.

TEPCO measured the amount of beta ray-emitting radioactivity at more than 2.7 million becquerels per liter, Fukushima’s operator said as reported in the Japanese media.

In March 2011, an earthquake triggered a tsunami that hit Japan’s coast, damaging the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The catastrophe caused the meltdown of three nuclear reactors at the facility, leading to the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.

The water used to cool the reactors has been leaking into the soil and contaminating the ground water ever since. Some of the radioactive water has been escaping into the Pacific Ocean.

Scientists Confirm Fukushima Radiation in California Kelp

Mikael Thalen
Infowars.com
February 7, 2014

Scientists analyzing kelp off the coast of San Diego confirmed the presence of cesium this week, a radioactive isotope directly linked to the Fukushima Daiichi power plant.

kelpscPart of the ongoing “Kelp Watch 2014″ project, government and academic institutions have begun receiving results from samples of Bull Kelp and Giant Kelp collected along the California coast. Despite attempts by the media to downplay the ongoing disaster, the discovery has only confirmed the continued build up of radiation in West Coast waters.

“We’re trying to figure out how much is there and how much is getting into the ecosystem,” said Dr. Matthew Edwards, a professor from San Diego State University. “Things are linked a little more closely than sometimes we’d like to think. Just because it is on the other side of the world doesn’t mean that it doesn’t effect us.”

The discovery coincides with statements made by researchers at the Institute for Cross-Disciplinary Physics and Complex Systems in Spain, who predicted the early 2014 arrival of Fukushima radiation along the North American West Coast.

Although scientists claim the levels of cesium are safe, the public’s distrust has only grown given the government’s continued denial of other issues related to radiation.

Currently, more than 70 U.S. sailors involved in the USS Ronald Reagan’s 2011 Fukushima rescue efforts have been stricken with ailments such as brain tumors, thyroid cancer and leukemia. Despite the clear connection to Fukushima, the federal government has continued to deny any link.

Following the recent discovery of radiation levels over 1,400% above normal on a California beach, thought to be from naturally occurring thorium in the sand, government officials rushed to call the levels completely safe. Independent experts quickly refuted the claim, even warning that children playing in the sand were at risk.

Given radiation’s ability to bio-accumulate in sea life, many fear that the massive animal die-off along the west coast is related to the continued consumption of radioactive isotopes. Sea stars and sardines have been especially effected, with other strange anomalies such as the discovery of “never before seen” conjoined gray whale calves off the coast of Northern Mexico, sparking increased worry as well.

While the government attempts to reassure the public that there is absolutely no risk whatsoever, tens of millions of doses of Potassium Iodide have been quietly purchased by the Department of Health and Human Services as well as the Pentagon.

With experts predicting a 40 plus year cleanup at Fukushima, the likelihood of increased cesium in the Pacific Ocean seems inevitable.

This post originally appeared at Story Leak

Fracking is depleting water supplies in America’s driest areas, report shows

Suzanne Goldenberg

The Guardian

February 6, 2014

California drought / Image via Flickr, tanyaboza

California drought / Image via Flickr, tanyaboza

America’s oil and gas rush is depleting water supplies in the driest and most drought-prone areas of the country, from Texas to California, new research has found.

Of the nearly 40,000 oil and gas wells drilled since 2011, three-quarters were located in areas where water is scarce, and 55% were in areas experiencing drought, the report by the Ceres investor network found.

Fracking those wells used 97bn gallons of water, raising new concerns about unforeseen costs of America’s energy rush.

Read more

19 more volcanoes in Indonesia placed on alert

The Jakarta Post,
Tue, 04 Feb 2014 09:26 CST
Indonesian Volcanoes

© The Jakarta Post

The government has raised the status on another 19 volcanoes in the country to alert level – the second-highest category – in the wake of the Mount Sinabung eruption in North Sumatra that killed 16 people on Saturday.

Besides the 19 new additions, three volcanos have been on high alert status since last year. They include Lokon and Karangetang in North Sulawesi and Rokatenda in East Nusa Tenggara.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) issued the raised status on Monday for the 19 volcanoes, which are scattered across the archipelago, but has yet to call for the evacuation of populations living nearby.

The 19 volcanoes are Kelud, Ijen, Bromo, Semeru and Raung in East Java; Lewotobi Perempuan in East Nusa Tenggara; Ibu, Gamkonora, Dukono and Gamalama in North Maluku; Soputan in North Sulawesi; Sangeang Api in West Nusa Tenggara; Papandayan in West Java; Dieng in Central Java; Seulewah Agam in Aceh; Talang and Marapi in West Sumatra; Anak Krakatau in Banten; and Kerinci in Jambi.

Indonesia is among the world’s most seismically active countries, situated on the Pacific Ring of Fire, an arc of volcanoes and fault lines encircling the Pacific Basin. The 19 volcanoes are among about 127 active volcanoes in Indonesia.

Mt. Sinabung has been sporadically erupting since September.

Though the alert level for the 19 volcanoes had been raised, Sutopo called on nearby residents not to panic.

“Volcanoes erupt in stages, they won’t suddenly erupt. Their activity can be categorized from normal to waspada [alert] to siaga [high alert] to awas [danger, the highest level],” he said on Monday.

He said that the BNPB was now keeping an eye on Mount Kelud, whose status was raised to alert following intensified volcanic activity.

The BNPB decision to raise the status of Mt. Kelud had triggered panic among local residents.

Local officials in Kediri have issued a warning to people living close to Mt. Kelud to stay outside a 2-kilometer radius set by the The Center for Volcanology and Geological Disaster Mitigation (PVMBG).

On Saturday, at least 16 people were killed and three others severely injured due to pyroclastic clouds emitted by Mt. Sinabung.

Previously, the volcano’s ongoing eruptions had claimed the lives of 31 evacuees from various illnesses such as depression, asthma and hypertension.

Rescuers had to halt operations due to fears of further eruptions. Currently, the evacuation zone is between 5 and 7 km on the southeast slope of the volcano.

Sixteen villages had to be evacuated following the eruptions.

Meanwhile, responding to the BNPB report, Coordinating Minister for People’s Welfare Agung Laksono called on people living close to the volcanoes to remain calm.

“[The raising of the alert status] is to raise awareness among government officials and members of the public so that they can anticipate the worst from the early stage,” Agung said as quoted by Antara news agency.

Agung said that the population in a disaster zone should heed government instructions to evacuate in the event of a volcanic eruption.

“We ask for cooperation from residents. If the local government decides to evacuate their neighborhood they have to follow the procedures,” Agung said.

The country has been battered by a string of natural disasters in recent months.

Authorities in a number of disaster-prone regions have been warned about the potential for worsening disasters, including landslides and floods, due to heavy rains nationwide.

In West Java, the PVMBG advised that people living in landslide-prone areas in Ciramba and Mekarmulya subdistricts, Cikalong district, Cianjur, should be relocated.

In Jombang, East Java, 14 people were buried by a landslide on Monday. Seven bodies have been recovered, while the other seven remain missing.

In Semarang, a landslide displaced 32 families from the Tangkil Baru residential complex in Sukorejo subdistrict, Gunungpati district, whose houses were destroyed.

Last week, sections of the Java’s northern coastal highway were inundated by floodwaters causing a major traffic disruption.

In East Java, the flooding disrupted traffic from Situbondo to Surabaya.

The flooding also inundated a section of the northern coastal highway connecting Semarang and Jakarta, causing massive traffic jams in some areas.

Fukushima radioactive fallout in Alaska – wildlife health implications

Doug Dasher
globalresearch.ca
Mon, 27 Jan 2014 12:16 CST
 
Scientists present links between unusual Alaska seal deaths and Fukushima fallout – Skin lesions, hair loss, lethargy – ‘Pulsed release’ when built-up radionuclides were set free as ice melted – “Wildlife health implications” due to radiation exposure discussed

Alaska Marine Science Symposium (pdf), Jan. 20-24, 2014 (emphasis added): 2011 Fukushima Fall Out: Aerial Deposition On To Sea Ice Scenario And Wildlife Health Implications To Ice-Associated Seals (Dr. Doug Dasher, John Kelley, Gay Sheffield, Raphaela Stimmelmayr) –

On March 11, 2011 off Japan’s west coast, an earthquake-generated tsunami struck the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant resulting in a major nuclear accident that included a large release of airborne radionuclides into the environment. Within five days of the accident atmospheric air masses carrying Fukushima radiation were transiting into the northern Bering and Chukchi seas. During summer 2011 it became evident to coastal communities and wildlife management agencies that there was a novel disease outbreak occurring in several species of Arctic ice-associated seals. Gross symptoms associated with the disease included lethargy, no new hair growth, and skin lesions, with the majority of the outbreak reports occurring between the Nome and Barrow region. NOAA and USFWS declared an Alaska Northern Pinnipeds Usual Mortality Event (UME) in late winter of 2011. The ongoing Alaska 2011 Northern Pinnipeds UME investigation continues to explore a mix of potential etiologies (infectious, endocrine, toxins, nutritious etc.), including radioactivity. Currently, the underlying etiology remains undetermined. We present results on gamma analysis (cesium 134 and 137) of muscle tissue from control and diseased seals, and discuss wildlife health implications from different possible routes of exposure to Fukushima fallout to ice seals. Since the Fukushima fallout period occurred during the annual sea ice cover period from Nome to Barrow, a sea ice based fallout scenario in addition to a marine food web based one is of particular relevance for the Fukushima accident. Under a proposed sea ice fallout deposition scenario, radionuclides would have been settled onto sea ice. Sea ice and snow would have acted as a temporary refuge for deposited radionuclides; thus radionuclides would have only become available for migration during the melting season and would not have entered the regional food web in any appreciable manner until breakup (pulsed release). The cumulative on-ice exposure for ice seals would have occurred through external, inhalation, and non-equilibrium dietary pathways during the ice-based seasonal spring haulout period for molting/pupping/breeding activities. Additionally, ice seals would have been under dietary/metabolic constraints and experiencing hormonal changes associated with reproduction and molting.