Organic Bytes #132: 4/11/2008
IN THIS ISSUE
- Alert: Put Organic Back Into "Organic" & Natural Back Into "Natural"
- Web Video: The World According to Monsanto
- Earth Week Goodies
- Call Congress Today! Support Organic and Safer Pest Management!
- Tell Cargill and ADM to Stop Supporting Child Labor Abroad
- Quick Tidbits
- UN Says Oil, Climate Change and Biofuels Producing Global Unrest
- Quote: The Silver Lining Around the Cloud of Higher Food Prices
- Breaking Chains: Share Your Stories With Us!
Health, Justice and Sustainability News Tidbits with an Edge!
Written and edited by Craig Minowa and Ronnie Cummins
Put Organic Back Into "Organic" and Natural Back Into "Natural"
The OCA Has Filed Cease and Desist Letters to the Following Companies Who Are Currently Misleadingly Labeling Their Products:
- Jason Pure, Natural & Organic
- Avalon Organics
- Nature's Gate Organics
- Kiss My Face Obsessively Organic
- Juice Organics
- Giovanni Organic Cosmetics
- Head Organics
- Desert Essence Organics
- Ikove Organic
- Stella McCartney CARE 100% Organic
- Estee Lauder
In response to OCA's recent alert regarding our discovery of the carcinogen 1,4-Dioxane contaminating a wide variety of leading personal care products misleadingly labeled as "organic" or "natural", many of our readers have contacted us wondering how they can best contact these companies to express their frustrations (read more about the study and see a complete list of products here).
Literally, tens of thousands of consumers have purchased expensive products from offending companies, thinking they were paying extra for a product that was truly natural and safe for their families, whose cleansing and moisturizing ingredients were made from certified organic, not conventional or petrochemical, material.
As indicated in the previous issue of Organic Bytes, the OCA has issued Cease and Desist letters to not only the companies who tested positive for Dioxane with misleading organic brand claims, but also brands with organic brand claims that may have tested clean, but regardless use petrochemical compounds and/or no organic material in major cleansing and moisturizing ingredients.
We would like to invite our readers to write a brief letter to these companies whose products you may have used, expressing your concerns,to help develop evidence in a lawsuit that will be filed on Earth Day if companies do not commit to cleaning up or dropping their organic claims. OCA requests that you include your address, and take action here, where you can read the slightly longer letter specifying which companies are at issue and why: www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_11457.cfm
The World According to Monsanto
The infamous company that has forced PCBs, Agent Orange, biotech crops and rBGH on the world has more control over global politics, laws and the future of food and water than most people realize. Watch this investigative video that analyzes the inner workings, history and scandalous secrets of one of the world's most powerful corporations--Monsanto.
We need your support today to continue our work fighting for health, justice and sustainability! www.organicconsumers.org/donations.htm
Earth Week Goodies
Earth Week is just around the corner (April 19-26), and the OCA wants to make sure you have your eco-toolbelts equipped with all of the necessary materials to help educate people and move the country toward positive change. Whether you are attending an Earth Day event, throwing an environmentally focused house party, or just bringing some helpful reading materials to leave on the office break-room table during Earth Week, the OCA has a full menu of green goodies for you to print, copy and circulate:
- Find local Earth Week events. Go to organicconsumers.org and choose your state in the dropdown menu on the left. When you arrive at your OCA state page, click on the "Events" link on the top right.
- Print, copy and hand out OCA's fact sheet (PDF) on how children are affected by pesticides in foods. The statistics come from U.S. government agencies, and are quite shocking: organicconsumers.org/organic/wic-faq.pdf
- Facts and Myths About Biofuels: Can Ethanol and Biodiesel Save the World?
- The OCA and hundreds of organizations around the world are sounding the alarm on this dangerous fraud. Download and print this handout: organicconsumers.org/BiofuelsFacts5.pdf
- Give Peace and Peas a Chance: Organic foods, the war in Iraq and global climate change are all intimately related. Download and print this handout: organicconsumers.org/GlobalWarming5.pdf
- Consumer tips for avoiding misleadingly labeled "organic" and "natural" personal care products laden with synthetic ingredients: organicconsumers.org/bodycare/CCad05.pdf
- Spread the word about your Earth Week events. Add to OCA's events listings: organicconsumers.org/state/statecontribute.cfm#Events
The Death of Pesticide Laws
Support Organic and Safer, Less-Toxic &
More-Environmentally Friendly Pest Management!
A provision in the Farm Bill would prevent Conservation Programs from regulating or banning the use of harmful pesticides. This could mean that Organic Programs, Integrated Pest Management programs, and other programs that ban certain pesticides would not be able to receive federal conservation dollars.
Please Call Congress ASAP! salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/642/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=23882
From the International Labor Rights Forum
The House Committee on Agriculture is currently debating a provision in the Farm Bill which would provide U.S. Corporations with a voluntary process to demonstrate to consumers that their products are harvested without forced labor or the worst forms of child labor.
Huge agricultural corporations like Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland are aggressively lobbying to cut this provision from the Farm Bill.
This provision is a major step forward in ending forced and child labor around the world and we cannot let business lobbyists stop it!
Take action to stop agriculture imports produced with child labor here: salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/642/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=24177
A 22-year-old Virginia woman is close to dying, and doctors believe the human form of Mad Cow Disease is killing her. The Portsmouth Health Department is looking into the case. New Variant Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease (nvCJD), which has already killed hundreds of Europeans, comes from eating infected meat.
Read the article and learn more at OCA's Mad Cow USA "Stop the Madness" campaign: www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_11422.cfm
Five Philadelphia schools have spent the past two years with a candy ban and healthier foods in the vending machines, and the results are eye-opening.. The number of kids who became obese during the two-year experiment was half the number of kids who became obese in schools that didn't make those efforts.
Read the article and learn more about kicking junk foods out of your kid's school at OCA's Appetite for a Change Campaign. www.organicconsumers.org/afc.cfm
UN Says Oil, Climate Change and Biofuels Producing Global Unrest
Last week, the United Nations sounded the alarm on the global climate change as it relates to the out of control rise of food prices around the world. Here are some of the new statistics reported by Sir John Holmes, the UN's emergency relief coordinator:
- Food and fuel prices have risen 40% on average globally since last summer.
- Staple foods have seen price increases of 80% in three years.
- Climate Change has doubled the number of global disasters from an average of 200 a year to 400 a year, which is exacerbating food shortages.
- In the last three months, rising food prices have spawned riots and protests in Egypt, Haiti, the Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Mauritania, Mozambique, Senegal, Uzbekistan, Yemen, Bolivia and Indonesia.
- According to the World Bank, 33 countries face unrest due to increasing food prices.
The Silver Lining Around the Cloud of Higher Food Prices
"Higher food prices level the playing field for sustainable food that doesn't rely on fossil fuels."
-Source: Michael Pollan, author of In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto, speaking to the New York Times about how rising fuel costs will likely stimulate increased demand for less processed and locally grown foods, because they will be more affordable.
Share Your Stories With Us!
The Organic Consumers Association wants to hear from consumers about working for or being a customer of any of the world's largest food service companies, SYSCO, Sodexho, Compass, and ARAMARK.
These companies serve millions of people daily, and have a major impact on our planet's environment. SYSCO alone made $35 Billion in sales last year, making it the country's largest food distributor. We're encouraging these companies to begin buying and selling organic foods. We want to know just how green they really are, and we need your help!
If you have had personal experiences with any of these companies or know people who have, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Update on the Campaign to End Farmworker Abuse in Florida
From the Coalition of Immokalee Workers Tuesday, April 15th, in Washington, DC, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions will be investigating why extreme labor abuse continues to be part of business as usual in the U.S. and what can be done to end the long nightmare of farmworker exploitation.
Let Congress Know We Want Action to Stop Farmworker Exploitation: Sign the Petition: salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/642/petition.jsp?petition_KEY=947
This tomato picker has a few words for the tomato eater: www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZ3YnV3rFbA
Support Green Jobs Investment
There's a new bill in the California State Senate that would invest three BILLION dollars in green jobs, education for high school students, and investments in clean energy businesses! Even better, it specifically focuses on California's most disadvantaged communities to receive green career education, training, and job opportunity.
Support Our Supporters
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Eden Foods Offers OCA Customers 15% Discount
Eden Foods is one of the few national organic food producers who goes beyond the USDA Organic Standards. Although Eden Foods is USDA certified, their products do not bear the USDA seal, because they say the USDA standard really represents a "minimum standard" that Eden Foods goes far beyond.