Natural and organic grocer Whole Foods Market will open a 42,000 square foot store in South Edmonton next year as well as one in Calgary as part of a broader expansion into Western Canada. See the Edmonton Journal story here. Whole Foods has been in Canada for more than a decade. It currently has 10 stores in BC and Ontario. Whole Foods was founded in 1980 in Austin, Texas. They say they are the leading natural and organic food retailer. They have been on Fortune magazine's list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For since the list began in 1998.
Whole Foods Market has announced details on its next round of expansion in the Canadian market, including its first move into the province of Alberta. COTA’s latest market intelligence report concluded that Alberta was Canada’s fastest growing market for organic sales. In November, Whole Foods opened its tenth location in Canada with its first store in Ottawa. Company executives were subsequently quoted in the media that they planned an expansion of 30 new stores in Canada in coming years.
According to the latest data on organic farming and sales released this past week at BioFach, the global organic market in 2013 reached 72 billion U.S. dollars (approximately 55 billion euros), led by the U.S. market with sales of $35.1 billion (24.3 billion euros). Germany was next, with 7.6 billion euros, followed by France, with 4.4 billion euros. China, for which there were official market data for the first time, logged in with 2.4 billion euros in sales. Two million organic producers—a new high—were reported in 2013. The countries with the highest numbers of producers were India, Uganda, and Mexico. Meanwhile, a total of 43.1 million hectares were organic at the end of 2013, up almost 6 million hectares compared to the previous year. These and more statistics are included in The World of Organic Agriculture 2015, published and available for purchase from IFOAM-Organics International and the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture. The Canadian Chapter was written by Matthew Holmes of the Canadian Organic Trade Association and Marie-Eve Levert.
The rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is commonly attributed to the overuse of antibiotics in livestock. Antibiotics are fed to livestock at low levels on a regular basis to enhance growth. They then enter the environment via animal urine, which eventually makes its way through soils and into waterways. Once antibiotics are present in the environment, they can lead to even more antibiotic resistance in bacteria. A new study has demonstrated that antibiotics are dispersed into the environment via air, as are antibiotic-resistant bacteria from feedlots, increasing chances of human exposure through inhalation. Particulate matter was collected from feedlots, with air samples collected upwind and downwind. Samples were tested for the presence of antibiotics and for antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Results showed that all samples collected downwind of feedlots contained significantly more antibiotics and antibiotic-resistant bacteria, including some that are known to infect humans.
In the Netherlands, the Dutch Parliament has passed a law to ban the sale of glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup to private parties which is expected to go into effect in late 2015. While the Dutch Lower House had initiated the law to ban glyphosate from non-agricultural use years ago, Monsanto’s grip on the government “overrode” the motion at the time. Glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, has been linked to many health risks including different forms of cancer, nervous system damage and birth defects among many other issues. The Netherlands now joins Russia and Mexico as the latest country to ban Monsanto’s Roundup.
Researchers from Abraxis LLC and Boston University have found residues of the herbicide glyphosate in food products, including honey and soy sauce, purchased in the Philadelphia, PA, metropolitan area. In their study, they tested honey, pancake and corn syrup, soy sauce, soy milk and tofu. Of the 69 honey samples analyzed, 41 (59%) had measurable glyphosate concentrations. Even more surprisingly, five of the 11 organic honey samples (45%) contained measurable glyphosate concentrations. The results also showed that honey from countries that permit GM crops contained far more glyphosate than honey from countries which limit or prohibit GM crop cultivation, with levels in the U.S. by far the highest.