Haagen-Dazs said bees are responsible for 24 of its 60 flavors, including strawberry, toasted pecan and banana split.
Haagen-Dazs is donating $250,000 to two universities to fund research into the bee colony collapse disorder (CCD). They are also trying to raise consumer awareness of the problem by launching a new flavor called Vanilla Honey Bee. They plan to use part of the sales from this flavor to help the honeybees.
Should you be concerned about the disappearance of bees?
If you are fond of being alive – whether that includes the occasional indulgence of ice cream or not -- then the answer is a resounding Yes.
It’s astounding to consider the fact that an entire one-third of the U.S. food supply is dependent on the pollination from bees. Some 100 different kinds of crops need honeybees to transport pollen between flowers, prompting fertilization and jump-starting the production of seed and fruit. This goes way beyond flavored ice cream – alarming as that may be for some – but if Haagen-Dazs’ PR stunt has the effect of making a few more folks sit up and pay attention, then that’s a good thing.
The Honey Bee – Master Creator
In addition to pollinating U.S. food crops worth billions of dollars per year, they also pollinate flowers, trees, and other flowering shrubs, which adds to the beauty of nature in general. They’re also one of the most prolific workers, when it comes to creating a wide variety of useful and delicious things, such as:
- royal jelly
Bee pollen, for example, is often referred to as a Superfood – one of nature’s most completely nourishing foods. It contains nearly all nutrients required by your body. About half of its protein is in the form of free amino acids that are ready to be used directly by your body and can therefore contribute significantly to your protein needs.
What’s Killing the Bees?
Several potential causes for the “colony collapse disorder” have been culled out, including:
- Micro-organisms that compromise the immune system (as seen in humans whose immune systems have been suppressed by cancer or AIDS)
- High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), frequently used for feeding by certain bee farmers
As of April 2007, 25 percent of all bee colonies in 27 U.S. states had died. If this trend is not reversed, it has the potential to ignite famine throughout the world.
The French Experiment
Two pesticides in particular, Imidacloprid and Fipronil, sold under the names of Gaucho (Bayer) and Regent (BASF), came under close scrutiny in Europe when French beekeepers claimed they caused their bee colonies to collapse.
Beekeepers progressively won legal battles to suspend the use of Gaucho and Regent on various crops, starting in 1999 with the government moratorium forbidding the use of Imidacloprid on sunflower seeds. In 2004 it was banned for use on maize (corn), and Fipronil was also suspended from use on all crops.
2005 was therefore an important year for French beekeepers, and according to the 2005 French Imidacloprid Ban Update, issued by MDRGF.org, honey harvest for that year improved in certain regions of France for the first time in a dozen years.
German GM Findings
Meanwhile, a German study found compelling evidence that GM crops are changing the genetic makeup of the bees. When bees were released in a GM rapeseed crop, then fed the pollen to younger bees, scientists discovered that the bacteria in the guts of the young ones mirrored the same genetic traits as found within the GM crop itself.
The inevitable agricultural and economic catastrophe that will result from GM crops is a stark reminder of how complex, fragile and interdependent our biosystem really is. The loss of one plant, one animal, one species, can cause potentially devastating repercussions that can wreak havoc on the entire system for years, decades, or worse -- permanently.
Genetic modification is playing fast and loose with this system, with no real idea what the results will be. It's taking parts out of a smoothly-functioning machine and replacing them with new, untried, and untested parts.
Voting with your pocketbook is perhaps the only answer available here, by avoiding GM foods like the plague that they truly are.
These two articles in particular can show you the way around GM foods:
How do you Know if Your Food is Genetically Modified?
The GMO Food Guide
For your convenience, download this Non-GMO Shopping Guide, which uses information from the Center for Food Safety and Institute for Responsible Technology that you can get for free.
Canaries in the Coal Mine
The fact that the French have seen a small reversal in their bees’ survival rates after banning certain pesticides is heartening. And clearly, the German findings are a stern warning to us all about the danger of GMO’s.
However, I truly believe there’s more than one thing going on here. Just as you are bombarded with toxic chemicals from the air you breathe, to the soil your food is grown in, to the toiletries you use and the water you drink, bees are the true canaries in the coal mine, showing us what’s in store for you and me if we don’t clean up our act on several fronts.
I am relatively convinced that another major contributor to this disorder is that the bees are reacting to the epidemic increase in cell phone use, which also coincides rather precisely with the decline in the bee population.
It took from 1984 to 2004 to reach the first billion cell phones and then only 18 months to get to the second billion, nine months to the third, and we will hit four billion cell phones by the end of this year.
Wireless broadcasts are loaded with information containing packets, which resonate at various frequencies (depending on the source), and can cause biological effects when the frequency is the same, or similar to, the biological system of the organism. In the case of the bees, it appears to disrupt intercellular communication and cause disorientation of the magnetite in their bodies that they use to orient themselves to the earth. They can’t find their way back to the hives and they die because they don’t have the capacity to store much nutrition in their body, because they require food from the hive.
Wireless technology is also being linked to the death of migratory birds.
Maybe it’s time to realize we live in a fragile, interconnected balance with everything around us.