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ORGANIC BYTES
Organic & Food News Tidbits with an Edge
Issue #19 8/25/2003

By Organic Consumers Association

IN THIS ISSUE:
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
CANCER COKE & PESTICIDE PEPSI
KEEP YOUR FRANKENSEEDS OUT OF OUR COUNTY
MONSANTO FINED $700 MILLION
MONSANTO'S BULLYING IN MAINE BACKFIRES
GOVERNMENT WITHOUT A BRAIN
GOVERNMENT WITH A BRAIN
FOOD REVOLUTION ON WHEELS
HOT, HOT, HOT!
TAKE ACTION

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"Mexicans are being forced to swallow the destruction of our number one food source [corn], and the health and environment of the people who depend on it, because governments around the world stand back and allow the US to force their trade and biotechnology corporations' interests on other countries." Lisa Covantes, Mexico Greenpeace, part of a group of activists blockading a shipment of US corn entering Mexico August 18, 2003
http://www.organicconsumers.org/ge/ge_maize_protest.cfm

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CANCER COKE & PESTICIDE PEPSI
Pepsi and Coca Cola are under fire in India, since a consumer watchdog group discovered dangerous levels of pesticides in the companies' beverages. New Delhi's Center for Science and the Environment tested 12 Pepsi and Coca Cola products and released a report stating that "each sample had enough poison to cause --- in the long term --- cancer, damage to the nervous and reproductive systems, birth defects and severe disruption of the immune system." The report has stirred consumer resentment to the point where citizens are taking part in "smash the bottle" street protests. Hoping to ease the concerns within their $1.2 billion market in India, the two companies have shifted the focus of their advertising campaigns, including full page newspaper ads reading "The safest thing you are likely to drink today is a Pepsi." http://www.organicconsumers.org/foodsafety/pepsi_pesticides.cfm

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KEEP YOUR FRANKENSEEDS OUT OF OUR COUNTY
Looking to be the first GMO-free zone in the nation, residents of Mendocino County in California have launched a ballot initiative that would ban genetically engineered crops in the county. Stores will still be allowed to stock foods with GE ingredients, but keeping the county clean of GE crops will protect local conventional and organic farmers from being contaminated by drifting GE pollen. The initiative will likely appear on the ballot in March 2004.
http://www.organicconsumers.org/ge/mendocino_gmo_free.cfm

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MONSANTO FINED $700 MILLION
Monsanto has been fined a hefty $700 million in a class action lawsuit against the company for poisoning Alabama residents with PCBs. The fine will be used to clean up the land and water around one of Monsanto's former chemical facilities in Anniston, Alabama. It will also provide money and prescriptions to over 20,000 people, most of them low-income African-Americans, who have developed negative lifelong health impacts from the toxic pollutants. Monsanto's PCBs have caused everything from severe brain damage to cancer and death. http://www.organicconsumers.org/Toxic/monsanto_pcbs.cfm

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MONSANTO'S BULLYING IN MAINE BACKFIRES
Support is growing for the small family owned Oakhurst Dairy, which is being sued by the $5 billion Monsanto Company for labeling their products as rBGH-free. Realizing that the results of the lawsuit could set a precedent for rBGH labeling on a national scale, dairy producers, concerned consumers and even Ralph Nader are donating time and money to the lawsuit. Oakhurst says they have the right to let their consumers know that there are no artificial growth hormones in their milk. Monsanto claims consumers shouldn't need to know whether or not the company's chemicals are in their milk or not. http://www.organicconsumers.org/rbgh/monsanto_sues.cfm

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GOVERNMENT WITHOUT A BRAIN
The USDA has announced an interim rule that will allow for controversial "biopharm" crops, genetically engineered to create industrial chemicals and/or pharmaceuticals, to be grown as close as a mile from food crops such as corn. According to the Campaign to Label Genetically Engineered Food, since corn pollen is known to be able to travel well over a mile, "the USDA's rules will inevitably lead to industrial chemicals and pharmaceutical drugs contaminating the food supply." The Organic Consumers Association is actively involved in addressing these issues via dialogue with the USDA. Take action by signing the petition for a global moratorium on GE Foods. http://www.organicconsumers.org/petition1.htm

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GOVERNMENT WITH A BRAIN
As economic disparity in the U.S. continues to increase, so does the gap between those that have access to organic and locally grown produce and those that do not. Low-income urban areas are becoming notorious for their lack of fresh produce. Corner convenience stores prefer to stock dry and canned goods, which have much longer shelf lives. The state of Connecticut is demonstrating one way in which these problems can be mitigated. Connecticut's Farmers Market Nutrition Program provides food coupons to low-income residents that can only be used at local farmer's markets. This program insures a strong state agricultural economy while bringing healthy produce to those who don't have access or can't afford it. http://www.organicconsumers.org/organic/low_income_organic_foods.cfm

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FOOD REVOLUTION ON WHEELS
In West Oakland, CA, the nonprofit group People's Grocery is demonstrating another way of bringing fresh, local organic produce to inner city neighborhoods. Dubbed the "Mobile Market", volunteers drive a solar powered refrigerated truck through inner city neighborhoods, selling fresh organic produce to residents in low income neighborhoods. Grants to the group help pay for the truck and offset the higher prices of the organic produce. http://www.organicconsumers.org/organic/low_income_organic_delivery.cfm

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HOT, HOT, HOT!
Predictions of how climate change will damage global agriculture are already proving true. So say scientists working on an advance crop yield forecasting system through the European Commission. Thanks to this year's relentless heat wave in Europe, crop losses have been eerily fitting those predicted by computer models. "It's dangerous to push these things under the carpet because we need to start planning now for the impacts of climate change," said Dr. Jorgen Olesen of the Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences. http://www.organicconsumers.org/corp/climate_change_crops.cfm

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TAKE ACTION
If any of the issues above spark your desire to take action, please visit OCA's Action Center for instant faxes, petitions, volunterring and donation opportunities. http://www.organicconsumers.org/action.htm

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FOR MANY MORE FOOD ISSUE DAILY HEADLINES: http://www.organicconsumers.org/log.html

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