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ORGANIC BYTES Issue 10
March 30, 2003


ORGANIC BYTES ~~~ Organic news tidbits with an edge!

By Organic Consumers Association

IN THIS ISSUE:
A WICKED CASE OF THE JITTERS
QUICK FACTS TO GET BUZZED ON
THE FINE LINE BETWEEN FOOD AND DRUGS
TITILLATING TIDBIT
SPEAKING OF ADDICTION
SEEING THE FOREST FROM THE GE TREES
GENETICALLY ENGINEERED QUOTES- AN ODE TO SCIENCE AND PROGRESS WARDROBE SLAVERY

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A WICKED CASE OF THE JITTERS
Last week activists and concerned consumers across the U.S. gave coffee
giant, Starbucks, a wicked case of the jitters. As the company held its
annual shareholders meeting in Seattle, activists protested outside
while Starbucks headquarters were inundated with faxes, emails and phone
calls. The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) brewed up more than 2,000
faxes and emails, urging CEO Orin Smith and Starbucks shareholders to
actually practice the business ethics the company so proudly wears on
its sleeve. Ronnie Cummins, national director of OCA, said "Despite
repeated pledges, Starbucks is still loading up its coffee drinks with
rBGH (recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone)-tainted milk, and buying
coffee and chocolate produced under exploitative labor conditions, and
in the case of cocoa plantations in Africa, workers who are actually
slaves."

Learn more about OCA's Starbucks Campaign:
<http://www.organicconsumers.org/starbucks>

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QUICK FACTS TO GET BUZZED ON
-Caffeine is an addictive drug, affecting 90% of all Americans,
stimulating the brain in a manner similar to the amphetamines cocaine
and heroin.

-Starbucks currently has over 6,000 coffee shops in 18 countries,
serving over 20 million people every week and reporting revenues of
nearly $3.3 billion in 2002. In contrast, the average family farmer
growing coffee for Starbucks makes $500 to $1,000 per year.

-Fair Trade coffee provides small family farmers with a fair wage and
most of it (85%) is organic and shade grown.

(Sources: Kim Keidat-Biomedical Chemist with CQ Network Inc., Starbucks
Corporate website, Global Exchange, Transfair USA)

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THE FINE LINE BETWEEN FOOD AND DRUGS
It's legal for companies like Starbucks to sell billions of dollars
worth of caffeine drugs each year, but trying to sell a health food
product containing a drug-free hemp seed can land you in jail. As of
February 6, 2003, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) made it
illegal to sell foods containing hemp seeds. Most hemp seeds used in
food products contain no THC, the drug found in Marijuana. Proponents of
hemp seeds are now saying they're ready to challenge this DEA ruling.
For example, Wild Oats supermarkets are continuing to stock hemp-seed
products, claiming they can prove there is no THC in their foods.
According to John Roulac, a hemp seed granola bar entrepreneur,
legalization of industrial hemp would relieve struggling family farmers
while invigorating health and the nation's economy. "It doesn't require
pesticides or herbicides, its fibers are stronger than [those of] trees
and its seed is considered among the most nutritious in the world
because of its protein and good fat ratios," he said. "Hemp never needs
weeding because it grows faster than any weed. It's probably the best
rotation crop in the country from a biological standpoint."

Read all about it:
<http://www.organicconsumers.org/clothes/032703_dea_hempfoods.cfm>

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TITILLATING TIDBIT
Today, the drug war budget is over $20 billion, three times the
environment budget, 50 percent more than the energy budget and
approaching 30 percent of the entire agriculture budget. (Source: Santa
Fe New Mexican 3/13/2003)

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SPEAKING OF ADDICTION...
Scientists are now claiming that fast food is actually addictive,
offering evidence that over-consumption of calories leads to a dampening
of the sense of fullness. They speculate that such a diet in children
leads to a lifetime of obesity (sixty percent of US adults are now
overweight). The Washington Post recently stated, "Fast food's marketing
strategies, which make perfect sense from a business perspective,
succeed only when they induce a substantial number of us to overeat."
For example, to capture a larger share of the market, in the
mid-Eighties, Taco Bell began slashing prices. This drew in the
customers, but didn't lower revenues. Within seven days, the average
check was right back to where it was before: customers were simply
buying greater quantities of food. Competitors followed suit, until
prices were as low as they could go-and then the franchises had to look
for a new gambit to increase revenues. They found it in super-sizing. As
a result, the average American waistline is growing faster than ever.
"Big Food has trained us to think that oceanic drinks and gargantuan
portions are normal" writes the Washington Post.

Read all about it:
<http://www.organicconsumers.org/foodsafety/fastfood032103.cfm>

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SEEING THE FOREST FROM THE GE TREES
Adopting a policy that is the first of its kind, Kinko's announced on
March 11 that it will not align itself with suppliers that use
genetically engineered trees. The goal of GE tree research is to replace
the vast, complex web of life found within a natural forest with a
severely impoverished, simplified fiber-production plantation. Some
applications would also increase pesticide use, polluting water
supplies; and any application is likely to create irreversible
contamination of native forests with GE pollen. The Organic Consumers
Association salutes you.way to go, Kinko's!

Read all about it: <http://www.organicconsumers.org/ge/kinkos032103.cfm>

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GENETICALLY ENGINEERED QUOTES- AN ODE TO SCIENCE AND PROGRESS

The mostexciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new
discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' (I found it!) but 'That's funny ...' Isaac
Asimov (1920 - 1992)

For a list of all the ways technology has failed to improve the quality
of life, please press three. Alice Kahn

If you don't learn to laugh at trouble, you won't have anything to laugh
at when you're old. Edgar Watson Howe

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WARDROBE SLAVERY
The Daewoosa factory which produced garments for JC Penney and Sears was
recently discovered to have 251 immigrant workers toiling in conditions
Attorney General John Ashcroft is calling "nothing less than modern-day slavery."
They lived in 36-bed dormitories and were fed inadequate meals. Pay was
routinely withheld. Attempts to strike for back pay were met with
brutality. The workers, mostly women from Vietnam and China, were lured
with promises of good wages into paying thousands of dollars to get
these jobs-then found they could not make enough to repay the debt.
Thickening the plot, Daewoosa is on American Samoa, which makes it
legally part of the US. Exporters out of this country need pay no
tariffs, and can put "Made in USA" labels on the clothing. The great
distance, however, means there is virtually no chance of a labor
inspection, ever. Although officials claim American Samoa has learned
its lesson and will not allow such exploitation again, Charles Kernaghan
of the National Labor Committee is not convinced. "There's no way out of
this without laws," he said. "It will never be cleaned up by
corporations monitoring themselves." JC Penney has agreed to pay back
wages to the Daewoosa workers, but the others, including Sears, so far,
have not.

Read all about it:
<http://www.organicconsumers.org/clothes/sears031403.cfm>

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

ORGANIC BYTES is a publication of:
ORGANIC CONSUMERS ASSOCIATION
6101 Cliff Estate Road
Little Marais, MN 55614
Phone: (218) 226-4164, Fax: 218-353-7652

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