Digest – News: Salmon synergy, Whole Foods less whole, rotation’s right

Slammed by synergism: Researchers expose juvenile coho salmon to combinations of commonly-used agricultral pesticides. For two-thirds of the pesticide combinations, they find that the effect of the combination is greater than the sum of the impacts of the individual pesticides (i.e. the combo has synergistic effects). The authors conclude that risk-assessments that use factors derived from single pesticide studies probably underestimate the health impact of chemical mixtures. (Environmemental Health Perspectives, full article here)

Meat the locals: Demand for humanely- and locally-raised meat continues to grow despite the recession, with several North Carolina farms seeing their sales increase at a rate of 20% per year. But the lack of local processing facilities continues to be a barrier to growth. (Asheville (NC) Citizen-Times)

Or they could have just asked an organic farmer: A 10-year study by the USDA's Agricultural Research Service finds that for farmers planting in soil already high in nitrogen, synthetic fertilizer is not worth the money. They're much better off rotating nitrogen-loving crops like corn with crops that take up less nitrogen and have shallower root systems, like onions. (Science Direct)

The Big Green light: Whole Foods agrees to sell off 31 stores to pacify the Federal Trade Commission, which had blocked a merger between WF and Wild Oats because it would over-concentrate the natural foods market. (Critics of the FTC's actions argued that this market shouldn't be considered as separate from the (unnatural?) supermarket industry, in which Whole Foods is a tiny player.) (USA Today; analysis at the WSJ blog)

Two-legged animals attack: The Animal Agriculture Alliance says attacks on assorted fast-food outlets are on the rise. (Brownfield)

Six of the nation's largest baby bottle manufacturers say goodbye to BPA (Washington Post - thanks, Jack!)

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez orders the nationalization of Cargill (CNN)

Dairy will use manure gas to fuel its trucks and generators (California Air Resources Board)


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