Samuel Fromartz

Samuel Fromartz is author of the recently published Organic, Inc.: Natural Foods and How They Grew. See excerpts and background at his website.

Name that calf

Cough up a little dough for a cute cause

The birth of an organic calf on Dec. 12 wouldn't be news, except for the fact that it was the first organic calf born on the nation's first organic dairy research farm at the University of New Hampshire. Now, for a price, you can name the cute little heifer -- a worthwhile expense, if you follow the research money in organic ag.

Cook that chicken!

Consumer Reports finds chicken riddled with bacteria

I didn't catch this two-day-old story until now, but it's causing me to reheat my homemade chicken broth to boiling. Consumer Reports found a stunning 83 percent of all chickens it tested harbored campylobacter or salmonella, the leading bacterial causes of foodborne disease. And that was up from 49 percent of chickens tested just three years ago. Even more troubling, it found much of the bacteria was resistant to antibiotics. Why is this an issue? Because the Centers for Disease Control estimates 40,000 people get sick and 600 die each year from salmonella. Campylobacteriosis is estimated to affect over 1 million persons every year, or 0.5% of the general population.

Chew on this organic commentary

Reflections on the state of organic from an old pro

Bob Scowcroft, executive director of the Organic Farming Research Foundation and a longtime presence in the world of California -- and national -- organic farming, published a provocative essay recently on where organic came from and where it's headed. He discusses the hidden history that brought organic regulations into the USDA (which I also talk about in Organic Inc.) and suggests where organic needs to go. Most of all, he provides a much-needed perspective on the debates engulfing the organic world right now, which are leading some consumers to question its worth: