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ORGANIC BYTES #28
Food and Consumer News Tidbits with an Edge!
2/19/2004 By Organic Consumers Association

Please forward this publication to family and friends, place it on websites, print it, and post it. Knowledge is power.

IN THIS ISSUE:

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"What you ask is who you are, and what shapes our lives are the questions we ask, refuse to ask, or never think of asking....." Sam Keen

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OCA FILES FORMAL COMPLAINT ON FRAUDULENT ORGANIC LABELS
On February 18, 2004, The Organic Consumers Association (OCA), on behalf of its national network of 500,000 consumers and 350 natural food stores, coops, and organic businesses, submitted a formal Complaint to the USDA's National Organic Program (NOP) against the California-based company, Bayliss Ranch, and the organic certifier, Quality Assurance International (QAI), for illegally counting ordinary water in Bayliss Ranch's water extracts as "organic." This scheme enables Bayliss Ranch's customers--manufacturers of food and body care products for Consumers such as Avalon. Nature's Gate, and Jason's--to make fraudulent claims that their body care products are "70% organic," by counting the ordinary water in the Bayliss extracts as the primary "organic" content of the products. This practice threatens to undermine consumer confidence in the USDA organic label, which assures consumers that products claiming organic status are truly at least 70% organic WITHOUT counting water as "organic." Sign the petition to the USDA: http://www.organicconsumers.org/bodycare/links2.cfm

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MAD COW BOMBSHELL
The New York Times reported on Feb. 17 that researchers in Italy have discovered a new strain of Mad Cow Disease that could be responsible for infecting hundreds of Americans and Europeans with a fatal brain wasting disease called "sporadic CJD" or Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. U.S. Government scientists and the beef industry have previously admitted that 300 Americans are dying every year of so-called "sporadic CJD," but have denied that these cases, and hundreds like them in Europe, are caused by eating infected meat products. Dr. Pierluigi Gambetti, director of the National Prion Disease Pathology Surveillance Center, said the discovery of a new strain of Mad Cow Disease closely resembling sporadic CJD in humans underlines the need for more stringent testing of cattle in North America for Mad Cow Disease. http://www.organicconsumers.org/madcow.htm

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FEDERAL COURT SLAPS DOWN DEA BAN ON HEMP FOODS
A federal appeals court has ruled that hemp foods are safe and legal to consume. Three years ago, when the Drug Enforcement Agency called for a ban on hemp food products, 100,000 consumers and natural food companies, and even the Canadian government, wrote letters opposing this decision. Subsequently a lawsuit was filed against the DEA by the hemp industry, natural food companies, supported by public interest groups such as the Organic Consumers Association. Hemp seed, oil, and nuts are a rich source of protein, dietary fiber, minerals, iron, vitamin E, and a near perfect composition of essential fatty acids - Omega 3 and 6. http://www.organicconsumers.org/Toxic/hemp_seed.cfm

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MONSANTO BIOPIRATES STEALING INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE
The European Patent Office (EPO) has approved a patent which gives the Monsanto Corporation "ownership" rights over a traditional variety of wheat cultivated in rural communities in India for generations. Rainer Osterwalder of the EPO claims that authorities don't have the legal power to be able to stop corporations from committing "biopiracy". "Sometimes the office cannot prevent that indigenous knowledge is used for a patent, and then the indigenous people can not use it anymore. Science is often one step ahead of the laws." http://www.organicconsumers.org/Patent/biopirates.cfm

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MENDOCINO JUST DAYS AWAY FROM LANDMARK VOTE
March 2 marks the day when voters in Mendocino County (CA) will choose whether or not their county will become the first in the U.S. to legally ban genetically engineered crops. The biotech industry is using its financial and political clout to try to stifle the voices of Mendocino consumers and farmers, but the OCA predicts a victory for the people. Stay tuned for the vote results... http://www.organicconsumers.org/ge/mendocino-gmos.cfm

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GENETICALLY ENGINEERED WHEAT GENERATES GRASSROOTS RESISTANCE
Monsanto, the corporation that brought us Agent Orange, DDT, Bovine Growth Hormone and PCBs, has engineered wheat to withstand applications of the company's toxic Roundup herbicide. Scientists from the University of Manitoba recently released a report stating that "Under current conditions the release of Roundup Ready wheat in Western Canada would be environmentally unsafe." Monsanto's GE wheat would lead to an increase in the use of glyphosate herbicide, a widely-used chemical now being linked to increased growth of fungal plant pathogens, known as fusarium head blight (FHB). FHB has already caused tens of millions of dollars in losses for wheat farmers on the eastern prairies of Canada. Consumers in Japan, South Korea and Europe - some of the biggest international consumers of wheat - have indicated they do not want an engineered version of the crop. http://www.organicconsumers.org/monlink.html

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KRAFT & GE WHEAT
FDA officials are completing their perfunctory review of Monsanto's application for Roundup Ready wheat. Food companies, especially Kraft, have publicly expressed concerns about consumers rejecting products with engineered ingredients, especially the new engineered wheat. If Kraft, the largest food company in the U.S., rejects wheat, it will send a clear message to farmers not to grow it. Call Kraft CEO Roger Deromedi at Kraft Foods Headquarters at 1-847-646-2000 or their consumer hotline at 1-800-323-0768.

Please tell Kraft:
-You are concerned about the health, environmental and economic risks posed by the new genetically engineered wheat and other genetically engineered food, and -You'll avoid Kraft products that have genetically engineered ingredients

Please ask Kraft to:
-Pledge not to use the new genetically engineered wheat
-Stop using genetically engineered ingredients in its products -Live up to its promise to do more to ensure a safe food supply http://www.Krafty.org

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WE NEED TO TALK
Interested in sharing your thoughts and ideas with thousands of other like-minded folks locally and around the world? Register free for OCA's new online web forum and chat center. The OCA website has been getting 4-6 million hits every month, so we decided it's time to open up the communication channels and let everyone share their ideas, post articles, comment on related issues, and come together with others who share your concerns. Start talking with others in the organic consumers community right now! http://www.organicconsumers.org/chat/index.php

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Help others learn about food safety, organics, and related topics. Place a link on YOUR website to http://OrganicConsumers.org Banners for your use http://OrganicConsumers.org/logos.htm

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NOTE TO CO-OP AND NATURAL FOOD STORE SUBSCRIBERS:
Organic Bytes is a great tool for keeping your staff and customers up to date on the latest issues. Feel free to forward this email to your staff and print for posting on bulletin boards and staff break tables. You are also welcome to use this material for your newsletters. There's an attractive print-friendly PDF version of this available for free download at http://www.organicconsumers.org/organicbytes.htm

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ORGANIC BYTES is a publication of:
ORGANIC CONSUMERS ASSOCIATION
6101 Cliff Estate Road
Little Marais, MN 55614
Phone: (218) 226-4164 Fax: (218) 353-7652

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For additional daily environmental and political news, visit:
http://www.ens-newswire.com

http://www.planetsave.com

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