Organic news tidbits with an edge.
Issue 1:October 7, 2002
By Organic Consumers Association
to the first issue of ORGANIC BYTES, a nonprofit information project
designed to give you the latest developments on food issues. This
free bi-weekly newsletter provides up to date information on organic
and genetically engineered foods, irradiation, factory farms,
fair trade, labeling and more, in a convenient and accessible
format. ORGANIC BYTES is a project of the Organic Consumers Association.
As always, we want to receive any feedback you may have (contact
info below). Enjoy the news!
"USDA ORGANIC" GRADE B ORGANIC?
Starting October 21, you will begin to see labels on organic products
that say "USDA Organic." Sounds like good news, right? Not so
fast...It would be nice to think that the Feds have finally established,
once and for all, stringent national criteria, which conscious
U.S. consumers can seek and trust when purchasing their fine edibles.
But let's not forget that G.W. Bush is in office and that Bush's
USDA appointees ultimately have the power to determine whether
or not we have strict or loose organic standards]. While foods
bearing the "USDA Organic" label are certainly better and safer
than their chemically-laden and genetically engineered counterparts,
USDA Organic ignores or downplays important issues like humane
treatment of animals, fair prices for small family farmers, social
justice for farmworkers, food miles, supporting local producers,
biodiversity, etc. In short, look for the USDA Organic label,
but go further: support local or regional farmers and producers,
emphasize whole foods, avoid wasteful packaging, and buy Fair
Trade or fairly-traded.
about it on the Organic Consumers Association website http://organicconsumers.org/organic/gradeB092902.cfm
MILK? GET CANCER
The results of a recently released study conducted by Harvard
Medical School are bringing the American Dairy Association and
the USDA to a state of panic. This extensive study indicates that
there is likely a direct connection between consuming rBGH-tainted
milk and cancer risk. Researchers monitored 1,000 test subjects
and found that those who drank the most milk had higher levels
of the hormone IGF-1. Since cows injected with Monsanto's controversial
genetically engineered recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone contain
significantly higher levels of IGF-1, this is bad news for Monsanto
and the factory style dairy farms injecting their cows with rBGH
across the country. IGF-1, a potent tumor promoter, is known to
increase the risk of prostate, colon, lung and breast cancer.
The results of this research amplify previous studies that have
suggested negative health impacts from ingesting rBGH-tainted
milk and dairy products. rBGH is a genetically engineered hormone
injected into 15% of US dairy cows to force them to give more
milk. It is banned in every industrialized nation in the world,
except for the U.S. Read all about it! Reuters: Sept.10, 2002
TO LOSE MONEY ON THE FARM: GE FOODS
Genetically engineered crops are causing an economic disaster
for farmers in the U.S. So says a new report released by Britain's
Soil Association. The report is a massive compilation of data
showing GE crops have cost American taxpayers $12 billion in farm
subsidies in the past three years. "Within a few years of the
introduction of GM crops, almost the entire $300 million annual
US maize exports to the EU had disappeared, and the US share of
the soya market had decreased," the report said. In addition,
the study says that GE crops have lead to an increased use of
pesticides, while resulting in overall lower crop yields.
about it! Reuters: Sept. 17, 2002 http://www.organicconsumers.org/patent/exposed091702.cfm
TO MAKE MONEY ON THE FARM: ORGANIC FOODS
The September 30 issue of Newsweek highlights the economic boom
of organic foods. The issue underlines some new statistics about
this flourishing market: 40% of consumers now buy organic at least
occasionally, and sales are expected to top $11 billion this year.
The organic food market is increasing by an astounding 15-20%
each year. Organic dairy is growing at an average rate of 98%
every two years. According to the article, consumers are buying
organic for better health, a cleaner environment AND flavor. "Sophisticated
chefs have responded in droves, many now serving only fresh, seasonal
food from small local growers," stated the Newsweek piece. The
article also discusses the ever-growing problem of toxic pesticides.
"There is no question they're killing off wildlife, endangering
farmworkers and degrading the soil and water that life itself
depends on," wrote Newsweek. So can organics save the day? According
to Newsweek, "an organic ethic could be the very key to our survival."
about it! Newsweek: Sept. 30, 2002 http://www.organicconsumers.org/Organic/newsweek092302.cfm
In late September, Starbucks was hit hard by protests held at
over 300 of its designer coffee shops around the world. Why all
the hoopla? While Starbucks celebrates record profits, the farmers
that supply the company with coffee beans are undergoing an economic
crisis. Starbucks reaps its profits by paying around 50 cents
for a pound of coffee and selling it for around $11. In the meantime,
some 25 million coffee farmers and their families are struggling
to afford food and unable to buy medicine. The Organic Consumers
Association, Global Exchange and thousands of concerned consumers
have been pressuring Starbucks to help alleviate this problem
via Fair Trade certified coffee. Fair Trade offers farmers a minimum
of $1.26 per pound of coffee and supports sustainable agricultural
practices. Starbucks touts a socially-responsible image and claims
to already be a supportive of Fair Trade coffee. In actuality,
only 1/10 of 1% of the company's total annual purchases of coffee
beans are actually Fair Trade.
about it! Alternet: Sept 20, 2002 http://www.organicconsumers.org/Starbucks/091702_fair_trade.cfm
DISABLE THE LABEL PUT BUCKS ON THE TABLE
It shocks most consumers to hear that 70% of foods on U.S. grocery
store shelves contain genetically engineered ingredients. These
controversial GE foods slip unbeknownst into consumers' shopping
carts, simply because there's no law that states they need to
be labeled as such. That may be changing soon in Oregon, as it
is the first state in the U.S. to get a GE labeling initiative
on the ballot. The GE giant, Monsanto, fears labeling will result
in lowered sales of its products, so they've formed a coalition
to help influence the vote. Monsanto and its allies plan on spending
an astronomical $6 million to fight this Oregon initiative. Ironically,
the message of their costly campaign is that labeling these products
for consumers will be too expensive. They've titled their multi-million
dollar campaign "The Coalition Against the Costly Labeling Law".
Whether or not voters get suckered by this gold-plated brainwashing
campaign will be determined in November's election.
about it! Post Dispatch Washington Bureau: Sept.15, 2002 http://www.organicconsumers.org/gefood/monsantovsOregon.cfm
MANY MORE FOOD ISSUE DAILY HEADLINES, click here: http://www.organicconsumers.org/log.html
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