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ORGANIC BYTES #108: 5/4/2007

Health, Justice and Sustainability News Tidbits with an Edge!
Written and edited by Craig Minowa and Ronnie Cummins

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IN THIS ISSUE

Bag of GroceriesALERT OF THE WEEK: TELL CONGRESS WE WANT COUNTRY OF ORIGIN LABELS ON OUR FOOD

Concerns over long distance food transportation (food miles) and global warming, compounded by recent food poisoning scandals, linked to contaminated pet, poultry, and pig food ingredients from China, have taken away many Americans' appetites for cheap imported foods.

Shocked at media reports that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is inspecting approximately one-percent of all imported food, health-minded consumers are demanding that Congress implement mandatory Country of Origin Labels (COOL) labels on food. Federal farm policy theoretically requires Country of Origin Labeling for food.

Reacting to polls indicating that 80% of American consumers want to know where their food is coming from, Congress incorporated COOL into the 2002 Farm Bill. COOL was supposed to go into effect in September 2004. Unfortunately, corporate agribusiness, Wal-Mart, and the supermarket chains bribed an ethically-impaired Congress with millions of dollars to block implementation of COOL labels.

As a result, Americans are buying billions of dollars of imported foods without knowing it. In order to promote health and sustainability, and to save North American family farms, we need to restore our right to know where our food is coming from.

Tell Congress we want Country of Origin Labels for both conventional and organic food, and we want it now: www.organicconsumers.org/rd/cool.htm

Donate Now!We rely on your donations to continue our work on these important issues!
www.organicconsumers.org/donations.htm

PRODUCT PLUNDER OF THE WEEK:
PET FOOD CONTAMINATION MOVES INTO USA MEAT SUPPLY

KFC DinnerThe pet food poisoning scandal that has prompted the largest recall of pet foods in history has spread into the livestock and meat sector.

This week, the USDA admitted that the contaminated food ingredients that have killed thousands of pets across the U.S. were also used to feed hogs and chickens that have already been processed and eaten by several million Americans.

Over three million chickens and pigs have consumed the tainted food. Although there have been no government studies done on the toxicity of this contamination, the FDA claims the risk is low.

It�s important to note that organic animal feed was not contaminated in this latest incident, underlining the obvious point that pet owners and meat eaters should give preference to safer, more nutritious organic products (find organic pet foods here).

Learn more: www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_5017.cfm

QUICK FACTS OF THE WEEK: MORE REASONS TO BUY LOCAL

Each year, the average American consumes 260 pounds of imported food.
Source: www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_4897.cfm

WEB VIDEO OF THE WEEK:
COMEDY CENTRAL PARODIES THE RBGH CONTROVERSY

ColbertComedy Central's Colbert Report takes a hilarious look at the rBGH controversy. Although the synthetic hormone has been banned in most nations, due to its links to endocrine disruption and cancer, it is still widely used in the U.S..

Monsanto recently filed a formal complaint with the FDA demanding that dairies that have banned the use of rBGH should not be able to label their products as "rBGH-free."

Learn more at OCA's "Millions Against Monsanto" campaign and watch the short Colbert web video here (Note: Mr. Colbert's humor is irreverent and for adult audiences. Viewer discretion is advised.): www.comedycentral.com/motherload/index.jhtml?ml_video=85569

Large FootTIP OF THE WEEK: FIVE WAYS TO REDUCE YOUR ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT WHEN SHOPPING

This month's issue of E Magazine includes interviews with leading advocates for ecological shopping, including OCA's Environmental Scientist Craig Minowa. Here are five quick tips for becoming a green shopper:
  1. Switch to environmentally friendly cleaning supplies. The use of conventional cleaners exposes your family and our environment to some very nasty toxic chemicals.
  2. If you buy only one or two organic items, make them milk and meat. Most conventional milk and meat are produced on factory farms that feed their animals massive amounts of pesticide and fossil-fuel intensive conventional corn, at the same time creating massive manure lagoons that contaminate local ground water.
  3. Be as conscious about the packaging as you are about the product. The production and disposal of packaging takes a heavy environmental toll. You can eliminate 1,200 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) every year by simply reducing your waste by 10%. While you're at it, bring your own shopping bags.
  4. Buy local and regional, or at least USA-grown, whenever possible, to reduce energy and pollution from long transportation. But of course some products are not produced in the US.. For overseas products, look for the organic and Fair Trade label.
  5. Buy in bulk. If you regularly buy a certain product, consider buying it in bulk. It usually has less packaging, is more affordable, and requires fewer trips to the store.
www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_5006.cfm

ORGANIC BYTES READERS TALK BACK:

IS THE FDA GOING TO START REGULATING VEGGIE JUICE AND HOLY WATER?

Image ParodyQUESTION FROM READER: "I'm confused about your stance on the FDA's new Guidance Document pertaining to alternative health care products. I've seen an alert from another group that seems to suggest the sky is falling, but the OCA's stance in your previous issue of Organic Bytes seems mellow in comparison. Can you please elaborate?"

ANSWER FROM OCA: There is only one group that has launched an alert on this issue, while all other health freedom groups have taken a more reserved stance. After much research and discussion with our allies in the alternative health world, it is the opinion of the OCA that although this FDA Guidance Document deserves attention, it does not change any laws that are already in place, and, in fact, serves as a distraction from some of the more important issues currently going on in regards to alternative health care regulations.

Read an in-depth review of this controversy: www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_4988.cfm

Inquisitive Reader

WHY HAVEN'T I RECEIVED YOUR ORGANIC BYTES EMAILS?

QUESTION FROM READER: "I used to get Organic Bytes regularly, but lately it seems to arrive only sporadically. What's up?"

ANSWER FROM OCA: As our Organic Bytes subscriber list has grown larger, we have run into more problems with getting blocked by various spam filters. The best way to guarantee you'll receive each issue is to add ronniecummins@organicconsumers.org to your email address book. Thanks!

Learn more about how to guarantee Organic Bytes will land in your inbox: www.organicconsumers.org/whitelist.cfm

ALERT: IT'S TIME TO PHASE OUT THE POISONOUS PLASTIC PVC

PVCPolyvinyl chloride is the most toxic plastic on the planet, yet it is one of the most widely used plastics in the U.S. The World Health Organization classifies it as a carcinogen; so many businesses are voluntarily phasing it out. From production to disposal, PVC plastic releases poisonous chemicals that can cause cancer and birth defects.

The good news is safer alternatives are available… we don't have to use PVC in our kid's toys or shower curtains. Unfortunately, Target lags behind Wal-Mart and other major retailers in phasing out this unnecessary and dangerous plastic.

Join a coalition of groups from around the country fighting for safe and healthy communities at a national PVC Day of Action on May 24th to urge retail giant Target to phase out PVC. The May 24th day of action will take place in conjunction with Target's annual shareholder meeting. Putting together an event is fun and easy, and can be as small as you and a friend or as big as dozens of people outside of your area Target. We'll help you set it up.

Get involved and sign up now: www.organicconsumers.org/rd/pvc.htm

Donate Now!We rely on your donations to continue our work on these important issues!
www.organicconsumers.org/donations.htm

messages from our supporters:

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Please forward this publication to family and friends, place it on websites, print it, duplicate it and post it freely. Knowledge is power!

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ORGANIC CONSUMERS ASSOCIATION
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