Another Reason to Eat Organic

2010 11 13 Birds_2.JPG
Creative Commons License photo credit: Keith Laverack

And A Little Bird Shall Teach Us…

Guest Blog by Sylvia Onusic, Ph.D.

Today I was talking with Aase Wiborg, Team Leader in the Seafood Department at Wegmans Grocery Store in State College, PA about farmed fish and shellfish, in particular a Belize farmed shrimp which Wegmans sells.   When I found her, she had just emerged from checking the freezer in her department.

Wegmans is an upscale provider of a variety and diversity of foods, which range from industrial foods to organic and local. The company originated in New York and spread throughout northeast USA.  They sell hundreds of kinds of cheeses, grass fed meats, even olive oils from Italy with the DOP “Protected Designation of Origin” certification, a European-based system which ensures quality.

Aase is a native of Norway and passionate about food.  She started out working part-time in the Wegmans Seafood Department several years ago.  One of her many duties during her career at Wegmans included “trying” to encourage a small bird which had taken up residence in Wegmans store during the winter, to return to the Great Outdoors. Night after night, in vain, Aase attempted to lure the bird outdoors.  The problem was that overnight the bird would nibble on organic vegetables and fruits.  It especially liked the mushrooms and apples, but never touched the industrial produce. Smart bird!

The little bird had a lesson to teach us, something like the “yellow canary” that miners used to tell them if the air in the coal mines was safe.  If the canary still lived and chirped on its perch when the miners came up to the mine, they knew the air was clean and it was safe to enter. On the other hand, if the bird was nowhere to be seen, and feet up on the bottom of the cage, they ran for their lives.

Sylvia P. Onusic, Ph.D

Sylvia P. Onusic, Ph.D

Sylvia P. Onusic holds a BS in foods and nutrition, and a PhD in Health Education and Wellness, and has completed studies to qualify for RD (Registered Dietitian). She was a home economics teacher for many years.  Her concentration is in holistic nutrition with a focus on the evolution of food and the human body in relation to food allergies and disease.  Sylvia is the mother of two teenage sons, one on whom has celiac disease. She has several food allergies as well.


  1. We love Wegmans. I grew up in Allentown,PA and shop there whenever I get home, specifically to buy the shrimp from Belize. My mother brought me 5 bags when she visited in Sept. and she couldn’t believe how fresh they were, no fishy smell. We are going home in a couple of weeks and we plan on grocery shopping while we are there. If you ever have an opportunity to shop there, it is a experience! I keep hoping they will build a store close to me, Southeast of Boston, in case your listening Wegmans.

  2. Susan Roth says:

    So what about the shrimp? Although I find the story of the bird interesting, I would like to know why buy foreign farm raised shrimp? Maybe there was a previous story I missed since this is my first visit to the site, but I do not know the significance of Belitz shrimp. What did I miss here, or was that not part of the story? Susan

Speak Your Mind