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Organic Bytes #51
Food and Consumer News Tidbits with an Edge!
2/25/2005
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IN THIS ISSUE

  • STOP FACTORY DAIRY FARMS FROM LABELING THEIR PRODUCTS AS ORGANIC
  • DUMPING FRANKENFOODS ON THE POOR
  • CLONED BEEF ON AMERICA'S DINNER PLATES
  • SUPPORT TILLAMOOK CHEESE AGAINST MONSANTO INTIMIDATION
  • YET ANOTHER STUDY FINDS ORGANIC FOOD IS HEALTHIER
  • HEALTHY & ORGANIC FOODS FOR STUDENTS
  • HEALTHY & ORGANIC FOODS FOR HOSPITAL STAFF & PATIENTS
  • RATTLING THE CHAINS: RESTAURANT NEWS TIDBITS
  • VIVA CUBA!

 

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STOP FACTORY DAIRY FARMS FROM LABELING THEIR PRODUCTS AS ORGANIC
The battle to safeguard organic standards is coming to a head next week (March 1-3) at the meeting of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) in Washington, D.C. The board will be addressing the issue of livestock standards, specifically the controversy surrounding "factory dairy feedlots" marketing their products as "organic." Ignoring USDA organic standards that require regular access to natural pasture for cows, intensive confinement feedlots with thousands of cows in Idaho, Colorado, and California are currently labeling and selling their products as organic. Wisconsin's Cornucopia Institute has filed a formal complaint against several of these factory farm operations, including Horizon Organic, the largest organic dairy brand in the U.S. Horizon is owned by Dean Foods, the nation's largest dairy conglomerate. It is important that the NOSB hear from as many consumers as possible on this issue. Studies have shown that grass-fed cows are healthier, and that their meat and dairy products are nutritionally superior to grain-fed cows reared in feedlots. Take action here: http://www.organicconsumers.org/nosb.htm

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DUMPING FRANKENFOODS ON THE POOR
World Food Programme (WFP) food aid shipments, predominantly from the United States, have been found to be heavily contaminated with Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), including Starlink, a genetically engineered (GE) variety of corn banned for human consumption worldwide. Starlink corn, which is gene-spliced with an insecticidal protein, was registered for animal feed use in the U.S. in 1998, despite protests from scientists that it would inevitably contaminate human food supplies. As predicted, in 2000 Starlink contaminated a full 10% of the U.S. corn harvest, prompting complaints from hundreds of U.S. consumers who suffered allergic reactions after eating Starlink-tainted corn taco shells and other products. Recent tests have found 80% of food aid corn sent to Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala contains GMOs which are prohibited in these countries. Julio Sánchez from Centro Humboldt in Nicaragua said it's outrageous that the WFP would purchase GE corn from the U.S. that is not fit for human consumption, jeopardizing the health of vulnerable populations like pregnant women and children, while contaminating indigenous corn fields and seed banks. Sanchez added that there are massive amounts of surplus non-GE corn produced by nations other than the U.S. that should be used for food aid instead. Learn more...

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CLONED BEEF ON AMERICA'S DINNER PLATES
According to semen brokers, cloned animals will begin to enter the U.S. food supply in less than eight months. Thousands of units of semen from cloned bulls have been exchanging hands among ranchers. Ranchers say it's eerie how similar the cloned animals are to the originals. "Every wrinkle--everything about them, even the disposition and character--are the same," said Larry Coleman, a cattle rancher who sells semen from clones of his prize bull for $700 a vial. Learn more...

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SUPPORT TILLAMOOK CHEESE AGAINST MONSANTO INTIMIDATION
Tillamook, an Oregon-based nationwide distributor of cheese, has announced it plans to require that all of its dairy farmers stop injecting their cows with Bovine Growth Hormone, a drug banned in Europe and most industrialized countries. In response, Monsanto, the producer of the controversial genetically engineered animal drug, rBGH (recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone), has threatened to sue Tillamook. Tillamook's farmers will vote on banning rBGH at their meeting Monday, Feb. 28 at 10:00 a.m. Please contact Tillamook as soon as possible and tell them to stay rBGH-free.
Take action here: http://www.organicconsumers.org/rbgh/tillamook.cfm

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YET ANOTHER STUDY FINDS ORGANIC FOOD IS HEALTHIER
The Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences has released a new study showing that lab animals raised on organic produce had stronger immune systems, slept better and were slimmer than those raised on conventional produce. Dr. Kristen Brandt, one of the lead scientists in the study said they can’t say specifically why there were developmental variations between the two groups of rats, but "the difference was so big that it is very unlikely to be random." Learn more...

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HEALTHY & ORGANIC FOODS FOR STUDENTS
A number of schools around the U.S. are finding that offering healthy and organic food choices to children not only curbs obesity, but also increases students' abilities to concentrate. What's more, healthier salad bars and lunch items are actually proving to be more affordable for school districts than conventional hot lunch lines. In the U.S., public schools are paid state and federal dollars according to the number of meals served, and those districts that are providing students salad bar and organic options are seeing school lunch participation increase dramatically, sometimes even doubling--as in the case of Hopkins, Minnesota, where two fresh fruits and six fresh vegetables are offered daily, along with whole grain breads, organic milk, and an assortment of foods made from scratch. Food service directors attribute part of the success of the healthy salad bars to the fact that students simply like the freedom to choose what goes on their plates. Learn more...

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HEALTHY & ORGANIC FOODS FOR HOSPITAL STAFF & PATIENTS
Providing healthy and flavorful foods on a limited budget in a hospital cafeteria is not easy, but Deane Bussiere, a chef at the Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz, CA, is proving it can be done. Using the same budget that once provided unhealthy fare such as instant mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese, Bussiere has transformed the cafeteria into a successful purveyor of organic foods, ranging from gorgonzola bread pudding to winter root-vegetable medley soup. A portion of the hospital grounds has been turned into a vegetable garden for local schools to teach kids how to grow their own food while supplying the hospital cafeteria with fresh organic ingredients. Learn more...

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RATTLING THE CHAINS: RESTAURANT NEWS TIDBITS

STARBUCKS -- A recent survey revealed that consumers in the UK view the Starbucks coffee corporation as being "arrogant, intrusive and self centered." The survey of 8,000 participants was launched by Starbucks to explore why the coffee chain has lost roughly $15 million per year since opening stores in the UK. The feedback indicated that many British coffee drinkers refuse to patronize Starbucks due to what they perceive as "unethical" business practices. Starbucks has responded to these consumer concerns by hiring a new UK public relations firm. Learn more...

McDonalds -- A lawsuit has been settled by McDonalds that will require the fast food chain to pay $7 million to the American Heart Association for public education on trans-fats. BanTransFats.com initially launched the lawsuit, alleging that McDonalds had misled its customers. In September of 2002, McDonalds announced it would be lowering trans-fats in its cooking oils within five months. Two and a half years later, the transition to healthier oils has yet to occur. Learn more...

KFC -- The NAACP, Def Jam Records, and celebrities including Pamela Anderson and Paul McCartney are speaking out against (Kentucky Fried Chicken) KFC for its cruel and inhumane treatment of chickens. Ongoing undercover documentation from the poultry slaughterhouses where KFC sources its chickens have consistently shown the birds being inhumanely beaten and abused, including being boiled alive to remove the feathers. Learn more...

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VIVA CUBA!
The Organic Consumers Association is happy to announce our new Cuba project with an opportunity to join a Research Delegation to Cuba, in collaboration with Global Exchange. As you know, Cuba is one of the world¹s leader¹s in organic agriculture and sustainable development. In addition to learning more about the Cuban organic agriculture experience and the opportunity to build bridges between our communities, the OCA is also sponsoring Cuba House Parties and much more. Click here to find out more: http://www.organicconsumers.org/cuba.htm

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NOTE TO CO-OP AND NATURAL FOOD STORE SUBSCRIBERS:
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ORGANIC BYTES is a publication of:
ORGANIC CONSUMERS ASSOCIATION
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Little Marais, MN 55614
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