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News Notes


  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published proposed rules for the National Organic Program on December 16, 1997. The proposed rules are available for public comment for at least 90 days. After closing the public comment period, the USDA will address all comments and draft the final rule. The National Organic Program will be based on these final rules. The proposed rules are available on the USDA web site at http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop. Copies also are available from the Organic Trade Association at (413) 774-5563.
  • Disease-causing E. coli bacteria have a better chance of surviving in frozen hamburgers than in refrigerated patties. According to the Environmental Tox Newsletter, storing ground beef at temperatures between 28°F and 36°F, instead of -4°F, may help reduce the spread of pathogens in food. The greatest reduction of E. coli populations occurred when the meat was held at 59°F for four hours, then reduced to 28°F for five weeks.
  • Don't discard the whey from your yogurt or cottage cheese. It may look like water, but it's not. It contains B vitamins and minerals and is low in fat, so it is worth stirring the whey back into the yogurt or cottage cheese, reports the August 1997 issue of UC Berkeley Wellness Letter.
  • Like some of their owners, many of California's domestic horses are getting a bit plump as a result of too much food and not enough exercise. "One of the contributing factors to this increasing obesity among pleasure horses is simply their owners' lack of understanding of what a horse's nutritional needs are," says Jan Roser, a UC Davis associate professor of animal science and an authority on horse fertility and reproduction.
  • Many owners also tend to buy a lot of protein-rich alfalfa hay and oat feed, and load up their animals with supplements and additives, she says. Overfed horses are at greater risk for developing colic, foot disease and chronic fatigue. Roser recommends that horse owners educate themselves on proper equine nutrition and consult their veterinarians for advice on their animal's nutrition requirements.