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Alert of the Week Ban Factory Farms Spreading Deadly Flu

Despite years of warnings by public interest organizations such as the Organic Consumers Association and the Humane Society of the U.S., new evidence indicates drugged-out animals on intensive confinement factory farms are incubating deadly viruses that could set off a deadly epidemic.

A dangerous and rapidly spreading strain of influenza, which combines genetic material from pigs, birds and humans in a way researchers have not seen before, has killed over 150 people in Mexico, infecting thousands, and has spread to over a dozen countries, including the United States.

The World Health Organization warned early this week that the outbreak could reach global pandemic levels and raised the threat level to 4 (with 6 being the highest panedemic alert level). The last major global pandemic, the 1918 flu epidemic, killed 20-50 million people.

Despite company denials, a number of Mexican and
U.S. news outlets are pointing to Virginia-based
Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pig producer
($12 billion in annual sales), as a likely source
of the deadly outbreak. Smithfield sells pork and
operates massive hog-raising operations in 40 nations,
including Perote, Mexico, in the state of Veracruz,
where the outbreak originated. For months, local
residents and workers in Mexico have complained of
pollution, contamination, and illnesses from the
Smithfield plant. For years, Smithfield has been
criticized in the United States for polluting rural
communities, endangering public health, and exploiting
workers and farmers.

CAFOs, such as Smithfield, cram thousands of pigs
together inside unhygienic disease-ridden factory
farms, injecting pigs with powerful vaccines to keep
them alive, thereby putting enormous pressure on
swine viruses to evolve into more virulent pathogens
such as the H1NI virus. In the case of Smithfield’s
million pig operation in Veracruz, Mexico (as in
many regions in North America, Asia, and across the
world), massive poultry operations located nearby
thes pig CAFOs incubate bird viruses that can then
recombine with swine viruses, as well as human flu
viruses, endemic among typically exploited and unhealthy
pig and poultry workers.

Filthy and disease-ridden factory farms for pigs and chickens, maintained by exploited and often unhealthy farm workers, kept in operation only with massive injections of animal drugs, are a biological time bomb set to explode. Hopefully the current H1N1 Swine Flu epidemic will not kill millions of us. Unfortunately scientists warn us that it is not a question of if, but rather when, a future swine/bird/human virus will kill millions–unless we shut down the CAFOs and transform the current insane global industrial/factory farm agriculture system into a chemical and drug-free organic system, whereby local and regional organic farms produce healthy food for local and regional markets.

Please take action today.

Learn more and Take Action in OCA’s Swine and Bird Flu Center

Related Web Video of the Week Bird and Swine Flu – Viruses of Our Own Hatching

Many experts believe that the bird flu virus that triggers the next human pandemic may come from filthy, crowded factory farms.



Tips of the Week How To Avoid Swine Flu

Swine flu has now spread across Mexico and into Europe, Latin America and several U.S. States, including California, Texas, and New York. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have provided the following tips for staying healthy through the pandemic.

1) Wash your hands frequently and for at least 20 seconds each time.

2) Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.

3) Viruses and bacteria can live two hours or longer on surfaces like cafeteria tables, doorknobs, and desks.

4) Swine Flu cannot be spread through pork products, but you should void close contact with sick people.

5) If you have flu-like symptoms, contact your doctor as documentation of the disease spread is important as well as medical advice on dealing with the illness.

6) The symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.

7) If you get sick with influenza, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

8) Learn about homeopathy for influenza here.

Grassroots Victory of the Week rBGH Labeling Bill Vetoed

In Organic Bytes #168 the OCA called on readers to contact Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius and urge her to veto a bill that could restrict U.S. dairy companies from properly labeling their milk products as free from genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST). Last week, Sebelius vetoed the bill saying, "The Bill before me provides for changes in dairy labeling that could make it more difficult to provide consumers with clear information. The milk labeling provisions negatively impact a dairy producer’s ability to inform consumers that milk is from cows not treated with recombinant bovine growth hormone." A special thanks to all of our readers for taking part in the OCA action alert.

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We Are Making Positive Change

The Organic Consumers Association is one of the few nonprofit organizations that provides you with success stories, nearly every week, showing you how your financial donations are directly bringing about positive change. These success stories are due to the involvement and donations of our supporters. In order to continue bringing positive change in the realms of health, social justice, and sustainability, we need your contributions. If you are unable to donate, please help spread the word about OCA to friends, family and colleagues. Please donate today!


Web Forum Posting of the Week Clarification on How to Avoid MSG

OCA Web Forum User "Tater_Chip" posted this question and response: "Due to the recent email from OCA (Organic Bytes #170) covering MSG I was very alarmed to learn that whey protein, especially in isolate and hydrolyzed form are basically forms of this substance. I just purchased Solgar "Whey to go" at my local health store, Mount Hope Foods. Does anyone know the relationship/safety of whey protein powders, since they are associated with MSG?"

Response: "I got a phone call today from Solgar. They told me that their processes do not create MSG because they use no sodium. So even though free forms of glutamic amino acids are in the formula, there is nothing for them to bind with to make the dangerous form of MSG. Now this may not be the case with cheap formulas widely available. In my opinion, I would check for sodium content on the nutrition label. If it has sodium, it could bind with the glutamic acids and form MSG unintentionally. At any rate, it is something to watch our for when buying protein powder. This rule of thumb can actually apply to other protein powders as well – not just whey. You must watch out for it in soy especially, but it may also be in pea protein powder….."

Post Your Questions and Comments at OCA’s Web Forum

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LOCAL [[State]] NEWS OF THE WEEK [[State]]–Get Involved Locally

  • Learn more about OCA related action alerts and other news in [[State]] here.
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Headlines and Articles of the Week


Headlines 1) Buying Organic is Well Worth the Cost Even When Times are Tough:
“Organic food is now the fastest growing segment of U.S. agriculture. In 2007, the value of retail sales from organic food was estimated at more than $20 billion.  The industry is expected to grow at a rate of 18 percent per year until 2010, making organic food sales one of the fastest growing sectors in the generally sagging U.S. economy…”
2) Farming Chemicals Cause Kidney Failure for Thousands of Farmworkers:
“More than 3,000 workers at a sugar plant owned by Nicaragua’s most powerful company have died from chronic renal failure since 1990 and a victims’ group says another 5,000 workers have since developed the condition for the company’s use of agrochemicals…”
3) Eleven North Sea Islands Become Living Laboratories for a Waste-free Environment:
“The islands from six countries will follow a “cradle-to-cradle” philosophy, which calls for using renewable energy and products made from materials that can be endlessly reused or organically decomposed…”
4) Aspartame/NutraSweet: The History of the Aspartame Controversy
5) James Hansen: Coal-Fired Power Plants Are Death Factories–Close Them!
Let OCA sift through the media smog and bring you the top new and analysis of the day. The OCA website has 10 or more news articles posted each day, and a library of over 40,000 articles covering issues including health, justice, food and farming, politics, and the environment. Bookmark