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ORGANIC BYTES #82 - Health, Justice and Sustainability News Tidbits of the Week


ORGANIC BYTES #82
Health, Justice and Sustainability News Tidbits with an Edge!


5/26/2006

Subscribe to this Bi-weekly Email Newsletter: http://www.organicconsumers.org/organicbytes.htm

Written and edited by Craig Minowa and Ronnie Cummins

IN THIS ISSUE

  • ALERT: BOYCOTT ORGANIC DAIRY FEEDLOTS & TELL USDA NOT TO LOWER STANDARDS
  • CONGRESS PONDERS LEGISLATION REQUIRING ID CHIPS IN ALL U.S. FARM ANIMALS
  • MILK FROM COWS INJECTED WITH GENETICALLY ENGINEERED HORMONES MAKES TWINS
  • STARBUCKS UNDER FIRE FOR USING RBGH MILK & NOT SERVING UP FAIR TRADE COFFEE
  • EPA'S SCIENTISTS CONDEMN EPA
  • THE THINGS THEY DIDN'T TELL YOU ABOUT ETHANOL
  • FUNDING FOR ORGANIC FARMERS RIVALS THE COST OF A WHITE HOUSE PARTY
  • QUICK TIDBITS

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ALERT: BOYCOTT ORGANIC DAIRY FEEDLOTS & TELL USDA NOT TO LOWER STANDARDS
The Organic Consumers Association's (OCA) call for a boycott of Horizon and Aurora organic milk is resonating among consumers across the country and generating significant media coverage. Horizon Organic (owned by food giant Dean Foods) and Aurora are currently taking advantage of loopholes in organic regulations by purchasing the majority of their milk from intensive confinement dairy feedlots where the cows have little or no access to pasture. At their recent shareholders meeting in Dallas, Dean Foods executives expressed alarm over the public relations and investor fallout they are currently facing. Besides recommending that conscientious shoppers boycott Horizon and Aurora products, OCA is asking consumers to keep flooding the USDA with email letters calling for mandatory pasture access for cows on organic farms, as well as an end to the unethical practice of continuously importing calves from conventional farms to organic dairies. The USDA is accepting public comments on this issue until June 12. Over 40,000 OCA members and supporters have already taken the time to comment on this important issue, but we need thousands more to turn up the heat. Please take action now: http://www.organicconsumers.org/nosb2.htm

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image parody
by Michael Gibbs
CONGRESS PONDERS LEGISLATION REQUIRING ID CHIPS IN ALL U.S. FARM ANIMALS
Congress is debating a controversial program called the National Animal Identification System (NAIS). The system would require tagging or implanting all farm animals with radio frequency devices and registering those animals with a federal government tracking system. The plan would require every owner of even a single livestock animal to register their home with a national tracking system, including Global Positing Coordinates (for satellite tracking) and implant or tag every animal with a radio frequency device (RFID). Large-scale livestock producers say NAIS would help them control an outbreak of disease by allowing individual animals to be tracked to their origins. Small-scale farmers say the registration fees, RFID expenses and administrative bureaucracy of the system would drive them out of business. OCA supports the principle of being able to track animal diseases back to the source in order to protect public and animal health, but any national program needs to be designed so as to not harm small farmers and must insure the privacy of farmers and animal owners. Take action:
http://www.organicconsumers.org/rd/nais.cfm

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MILK FROM COWS INJECTED WITH GENETICALLY ENGINEERED HORMONES MAKES TWINS
New research shows that consumers of hormone-tainted dairy products are five times more likely to have fraternal twins than vegans. In a report published in the current issue of the Journal of Reproductive Medicine, researchers linked recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) with this rise in twin birth rates. The study shows how rBGH, a synthetic growth hormone used to increase milk production in dairy cattle, increases ovulation in humans and persists in the body after entering via digested food, particularly milk. Monsanto's controversial hormone has been banned in almost every industrialized country in the world, due to scientific evidence indicating that the milk from injected cows contains more pus, antibiotic residues, and IGF-1, a potent cancer tumor promoter. Consumers can avoid dairy products that contain rBGH by purchasing organic dairy products or by looking for labels on natural products that say rBGH or rBST-free.

Learn more: http://www.organicconsumers.org/2006/article_512.cfm

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STARBUCKS UNDER FIRE FOR USING RBGH MILK & NOT SERVING UP FAIR TRADE COFFEE
A National Week of Action pressuring Starbucks will be taking place June 19th-25th. The OCA and its allies are calling on Starbucks, the largest coffee distributor in the world, to discontinue serving milk from cows injected with Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH) and ensure that at least 5% of their coffee is certified Fair Trade. Global coffee prices have plummeted, pushing millions of small coffee farmers into desperate poverty. Fair Trade coffee guarantees farmers are paid a fair price for their crops. While Starbucks plasters their store walls with photos of Fair Trade coffee farmers, Fair trade & organic represents only a very small percentage of their total coffee sales (about 3.7%). Starbucks continues to post record annual profits by exploiting the world's coffee farmers. Starbucks rarely offers certified Fair Trade coffee as their coffee of the day, nor has it followed its own policy of brewing Fair Trade coffee, on demand. Join OCA and its allies to leaflet Starbucks cafes in your neighborhood.
Take Action: http://www.organicconsumers.org/Starbucks/

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image parody
EPA'S SCIENTISTS CONDEMN EPA
In an unprecedented move, EPA's own scientists are lashing out against the agency, saying the profits of the pesticide industry are taking priority over measures to protect public health. A union of over 9,000 EPA scientists has submitted a letter to the EPA's Administrator, Stephen Johnson, indicating that due to industry pressure, the "integrity of the science upon which agency decisions are based has been compromised." In particular, the scientists are concerned about a group of organophosphate pesticides they believe should no longer be allowed on the market due to their harmful effects on children, infants and fetuses. Specifically, the letter references 20 toxic pesticides that were developed from nerve gases after World War II, many of which are still available for purchase at most gardening centers. The EPA has not responded to the letter.
Learn more: http://www.organicconsumers.org/2006/article_540.cfm

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THE THINGS THEY DIDN'T TELL YOU ABOUT ETHANOL
In the wake of ever-escalating gasoline prices, the ethanol craze has officially taken hold. Congress has approved $5.7 billion in federal tax credits to support the ethanol market, in addition to the $10 billion U.S. corn farmers annually receive in subsidies. While the corn-industry-lobbying-machine has President Bush predicting ethanol will replace gasoline, the science behind corn-based ethanol seems to suggest this alternative fuel may be more about politics than an actual solution. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, it takes the equivalent of three barrels of oil to create four barrels of corn-based ethanol. Couple that with the fact that ethanol gets lower miles per gallon than gasoline, and the corn-based solution begins to show its true colors. But other nations are demonstrating that plant-based ethanol fuels can help meet our energy needs. Brazil makes ethanol from sugar-cane, which is almost eight times more energy efficient to produce than the US corn-based fuel. Crops with high cellulose or sugar content that can be easily grown in the U.S., such as sugar beets, hemp or switch grass, make much more efficient fuels. But, in the U.S., where special interests, not the public seem to govern federal policy, it appears the immediate future of U.S. automotive fuel is going to the highest bidder: genetically engineered corn.
Learn more: http://www.organicconsumers.org/2006/article_461.cfm

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FUNDING FOR ORGANIC FARMERS RIVALS THE COST OF A WHITE HOUSE PARTY
Congress has passed an amendment to the Agricultural Appropriations Bill that will increase federal funding for organic agriculture research from $1.8 million per year to $5 million (as a reference point, eight times that amount was spent on Bush's last inaugural party). Although this allocation is better than nothing, organic subsidies and program funds are ridiculously small, given the USDA's annual $90 billion budget and the $25 billion in annual crop subsidies allocated to chemical intensive farms and genetically engineered crops. According to the Organic Consumers Association's National Director, Ronnie Cummins, "Since organics represent 2.5% of all grocery sales, $15 billion in annual sales, we deserve at least
2.5% of all USDA program monies." Learn more: http://www.organicconsumers.org/2006/article_534.cfm

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QUICK TIDBITS


Scientists have screened more than 16,000 varieties of soybeans and have found two non-genetically engineered Chinese breeds that do not contain the protein linked to allergies. Nearly ten percent of children have allergies to mainstream soybean products, including infant formulas. Crop scientists at the University of Illinois and the USDA believe these allergy-free soybeans will have a major beneficial impact on the food market. "We are releasing this information with no patents so that companies and breeders involved with soybeans can incorporate these two lines as quickly as possible," said lead researcher Theodore Hymowitz. http://www.organicconsumers.org/2006/article_526.cfm
The largest study ever conducted on the relationship between sleep and weight gain was presented yesterday at the American Thoracic Society International Conference. In the report, scientists analyzed the sleeping patterns of nearly 70,000 women over the course of 16 years. The study revealed that women who sleep too little (5 hours or less per night) are at risk of major weight gain. In comparison to sound sleepers, women who sleep only 5 hours per night are 32 per cent more likely to experience major weight gain - defined as an increase of 33 pounds or more.
http://www.organicconsumers.org/2006/article_545.cfm

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ORGANIC BYTES is a publication of:
ORGANIC CONSUMERS ASSOCIATION
6771 South Silver Hill Drive
Finland, MN 55603
Phone: (218)- 226-4164 Fax: (218) 353-7652
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Subscribe: http://www.organicconsumers.org/organicbytes.htm