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Organic Bytes #126: 1/17/2008

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

Put the Natural Back in Meats Labeled As "Naturally Raised"

Polls indicate that the average consumer believes meat labeled "Naturally Raised" comes from animals that have spent their drug-free lives freely roaming the pastures of a family farm, eating grass and hay, and being (at least somewhat) humanely slaughtered.

sick cow
Cow suffering from rBGH provoked mastitis infection. The FDA allows milk contaminated with pus and a potent cancer tumor promoter called IGF-1 to be sold to consumers.

A 2007 Consumer Reports survey found that 83% of consumers assume a "naturally raised label means "it came from an animal raised in a natural environment."

In stark contrast, the USDA, bowing, as usual, to pressure from corporate agribusiness, has released a standard for "Naturally Raised" meats that is so weak and misleading it would apply to a cloned animal, weaned on pig or cow blood plasma, raised in the confines of a factory farm, and fed a steady diet of genetically engineered grains.

The public comment period on this labeling standard only lasts until January 28, so take action now before yet another fraudulent label becomes as ubiquitous as corporate lobbyists on Capitol Hill.

Take action: www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_9692.cfm
Alert Update of the Week

Consumers May Lose Right to Know if
Non-Organic Milk Is Free of Monsanto's Controversial Bovine Growth Hormone

Two months ago, the OCA alerted Organic Bytes readers that the Pennsylvania Agriculture Department (PDA) was moving to ban rBGH-free labeling of milk and dairy products from 16 companies. If Pennsylvania, one of the top dairy producers in the U.S., successfully bans such labeling, other states will likely follow.

Thanks to a massive outcry from the public, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell intervened on the issue in December and temporarily stopped the implementation of the rule.

But in the face of this public scrutiny, Pennsylvania's Secretary of Agriculture, Dennis Wolff, has announced the PDA is forcing the rule forward, and that it will take effect February 1st.

No wonder millions of consumers are switching to organic dairy products, which ban Bovine Growth Hormone and other genetically engineered ingredients.

Take action: www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_9685.cfm

Donate Now!We need your support today to protect the rights of organic consumers and family farmers.

www.organicconsumers.org/donations.htm
Web Program of the Week

Organic Genetically Engineered Food?

Deconstructing Dinner Even if you're not from the Northland, Canada's #1 highest rated food podcast is worth a listen to. The weekly program Deconstructing Dinner covers just about every issue that you read about in Organic Bytes and can be listened to on your ipod or computer. Listen to this week's program to hear about the future path of organics. If big agribusiness has its way, it won't be long before you can buy "organic genetically engineered food."

Listen: http://cjly.net/deconstructingdinner/podcasts.htm
grainSustainability News of the Week

The Top Agricultural Breakthroughs of 2007

Although the biotech industry and our indentured corporate mass media would have us believe that recent scientific advances in food and farming are derived from genetic engineering and chemicals, according to UK-based GM Watch, the real breakthroughs in farming in 2007 came from organic and sustainable agriculture:

  1. In 2007 a deluge of new scientific studies from a wide variety of institutions indicate that in comparison to genetically modified (GM) crops, organic agriculture can better feed the world, reduce global warming, provide greater nutrition, and boost the economy. Digesting new research on the topic, the United Nations announced that organic agriculture is the best way to feed the world and help stabilize the climate.
  2. A wide range of new, non-GM crops over the last year are bringing hope to farmers around the world. Some of these include:
    • A wheat variety that can withstand high salinity in soil,
      thereby opening up vast tracks of land previously considered "dead".
    • Non-GM corn and rice varieties that can tolerate droughts.
    • Indian farmers find traditional cotton varieties to be
      much more stress-resistant than GM cotton.
    • Iron fortified non-GMO maize strain reduces anemia rates in children.
    • Discovery of non-GM variety of allergen-free peanut.
Learn more: www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_9572.cfm
Health News of the Week

What Happens Within the First Hour of Drinking a Cola?

Source- Dr. Mercola: www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_9665.cfm

Despite Consumer Opposition FDA Approves Food from Clones

cloned sheep illustrationOn January 15, the FDA announced its final approval of meat and milk from cloned animals. OCA's action alerts on this issue last year generated tens of thousands of letters to the FDA, but the agency has not changed its mind.

OCA's biggest concerns with this issue are the lack of proof regarding the safety of cloned food as well as issues relating to sustainability and animal welfare.

On a sustainability level, a healthy population of any animal or plant requires genetic diversity to prevent an entire population falling to one disease outbreak, for example.

In regards to animal welfare, the majority of cloned cattle and other animals are born with painful birth defects.

The upside of this announcement is that it will likely be several years before any of these food products hit the market, due to high costs of cloning. In addition consumers can avoid food from cloned animals by purchasing certified organic foods, which ban cloned ingredients.

For more information on cloning see the OCA website: www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_9699.cfm
Activist Highlight of the Week

Mother of Four Becomes Leading Expert on Additives and Allergies

Robyn O'BrienDespite spending most of her life believing food allergies were some kind of psychosomatic fabrication, Robyn O'Brien was forced into acknowledging otherwise when she became the mother of four children with adverse reactions to various foods. Motivated by the desire to better understand how to keep her kids healthy, O'Brien began researching the ever-tangling history of food allergies, synthetic ingredients and the ties between the industrial food complex and the U.S. government.

Last year, O'Brien launched what has now become one of the most popular web resources for parents of children with food sensitivities. The fact that major media outlets, such as ABC, CNN and the New York Times, see O'Brien's work as an important news story is no mystery considering one out of every three American children has allergies, asthma, ADHD or autism.

Speaking about O'Brien's single-minded research, noted activist Erin Brockovich said of her new friend and colleague "Frankly, I think it takes a little bit of being crazy to make a difference in this world."

Learn more: www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_9671.cfm
Related Tip of the Week

Ten Food-Based Steps to Take to Protect Your Family's Health

  1. healthy familyReduce consumption of processed foods.
  2. Eat food with ingredients your grandmother would have used.
  3. Purchase organic eggs and of course other organic products.
  4. Cook with olive oil instead of butter, margarine or vegetable oil.
  5. Avoid conventional soy and corn products
    (most of it is genetically engineered).
  6. Avoid meat raised with antibiotics and/or synthetic hormones.
  7. Avoid exposing kids under 12 months to non-fermented soy.
  8. Consume organic foods during first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
  9. Look for organic milk or milk labeled as being made without rBGH.
  10. Thoroughly research any vaccines you are considering.
Source: www.allergykids.com
typingTHIS WEEK'S HOT TOPICS IN OCA'S WEB FORUM

OCA's new web forum now has over 1,500 members! Have you joined the action yet? If not, here is a ranking of the hottest topics in the forum this week.

  1. Poll: Vaccines: Are They Good? Are They Bad?
  2. Chemtrails
  3. 'Clone-free' Milk Could Get Label
  4. Electromagnetic Radiation
  5. Meats Enhanced With Even More Chemicals
Click here to read more and join in the discussions: http://organicconsumers.org/forum/index.php (to join in discussion with one of the specific topics above, simply cut and paste the words into the search box at the top of the forum web page).

OCA LogoFind out What's Happening in Your State

Only the OCA provides a nationwide network with health, justice and sustainability news on global, national, and local levels. Check out the new state pages on our website to find news and events near you.

We want your help in keeping the state pages as relevant and up to date as possible. We are striving to organize or publicize 50 new state campaigns each month, but we can't do that without your help. You can help by becoming a writer for OCA. Please email us campaign updates. You can also send us ideas for campaigns if you are not sure how to write them up for the site, and we will work with you to develop a campaign update.

Email your ideas to OCA by clicking here.

Please visit your local OCA webpage today by choosing your state in the dropdown menu in the left-hand navigation bar and clicking on the "Become a news scout" link on your state page. www.organicconsumers.org

Support Our Supporters

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