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ORGANIC BYTES

Organic & Food News Tidbits with an Edge
Issue #20 9/17/2003
By Organic Consumers Association

IN THIS ISSUE:
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
FARMERS AND CONSUMERS DERAIL THE WTO
HOLD THE WATER
GE COTTON BITES
WEIRD FUN NEWS OF THE WEEK
THE WHEAT, THE WHOLE WHEAT, AND NOTHING BUT THE WHEAT
KRAFTY KRAFT RUNNING SCARED ON GE CORN
TOO MUCH OF A BAD THING
KUDOS TO YOU AND YOU AND YOU AND YOU!
SEEDS OF DECEPTION
TAKE ACTION

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"Although I go before you, please comrades, maintain firm in the struggle." Last written message from Lee Kyung Hae, a Korean farm leader, who stabbed himself and died after climbing to the top of a police barricade in Cancun Mexico on September 10 with a sign that read "WTO Kills Farmers," part of a mass demonstration against the World Trade Organization.

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FARMERS AND CONSUMERS DERAIL THE WTO
As the Fifth Ministerial meetings of the World Trade Organization in Cancun Mexico come to a close, media outlets around the world are broadcasting the news that little to nothing was accomplished, thanks to a rightfully belligerent coalition of developing nations known as the G23. Led by African nations who staged a walkout from the talks, Brazil, India and China and the 23 nation coalition essentially refused to negotiate, in protest of the $1 BILLION PER DAY that the wealthy nations of the North spend on farm subsidies---subsidies, mainly to corporate agribusiness and factory farms, that are making it impossible for farmers in the poor nations of the world to compete in the global market. The lack of consensus among WTO member nations themselves resulted in extra media attention on the protesters outside, including the OCA and its 20 person delegation of organic farmers and consumers. Many of the rallies and street marches this past week were dedicated to Lee Kyung Hae, a Korean farm leader who sacrificed his life on the Cancun police barricades to bring global attention to the fact that thousands of farmers and rural villagers are literally dying all around the world due to the policies of the WTO.
http://rose1dev.devcloud.acquia-sites.com/old_articles/corp/cancun_winning.cfm

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HOLD THE WATER
The OCA spearheaded a major press event in Washington DC last week as members of the natural products industry gathered at a national trade show called Expo East. OCA's press conference focused on the fraudulent practice of a number of leading body care corporations who are advertising their products as "organic" by including water as an organic ingredient. Covered by a variety of media, including the Washington Post, Indy Media, and Mothering Magazine, the press event preceded a meeting of the Personal Care Task Force (PCTF), a committee of industry leaders that are slowly hammering out organic body care standards for recommendation to the USDA. OCA was also in attendance at the PCTF meeting, announcing that it is currently working with Rutgers University on a scientific analysis of diluted hydrosols. The results of the study will finally reveal specifically how much added water is being included as a so-called "organic" ingredient in these products. Stay tuned. http://rose1dev.devcloud.acquia-sites.com/old_articles/bodycare/

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GE COTTON BITES
In India the financial figures for the 2002 cotton growing season have finally been crunched. Although Monsanto convinced many of India's farmers that buying the more expensive GE cotton seeds would result in higher yields and better cotton, the reverse is actually true. Crop yields for GE cotton were 5 TIMES LESS than traditional Indian cotton and the income from GE cotton was 7 TIMES LESS than conventional cotton due to Monsanto's cotton having lower quality short fibers. As a result of the insurmountable deluge of debt accrued from paying more for the GE seeds and having a cruddy crop, more than 70 Indian farmers have committed suicide in the last three months. http://rose1dev.devcloud.acquia-sites.com/old_articles/ge/bt_cotton.cfm

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WEIRD FUN NEWS OF THE WEEK
How does a farming community protect itself from becoming another urban suburb? Ask the Ottawa County Planning Commission in Michigan. In order to protect themselves from urban sprawl, the county is now distributing brochures to potential new residents with scratch 'n' sniff stickers that smell like...well...uh...er...manure. Mark Knudsen, director of the county's planning and grants department said, "The whole purpose is that people should not move into a rural area unless they're willing to accept and embrace the practices that happen on a farming operation." Apparently the county has been receiving an annoying number of calls from new residents who have moved into this rural farming area from the city, complaining about the sound of tractors and the smell of animals.
(Source: Holland Sentinel 9/17/2003)

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THE WHEAT, THE WHOLE WHEAT, AND NOTHING BUT THE WHEAT
Japan has announced to the US that if GE wheat is approved here, it is likely they will completely discontinue importing wheat from American farmers. This makes up a total of 2.5 million tons of US grown wheat each year---enough to put thousands of family farmers out of business. Tsutomu Shigeta, executive director of Japan's Flour Millers Association told reporters this is strictly a "business matter", based on Japanese consumers' dislike of genetically engineered foods. Similarly, South Korean officials gave the US similar warnings in May. In the meantime, Monsanto continues to test its new GE wheat in fields across the US, despite staunch farmer opposition throughout North America. http://rose1dev.devcloud.acquia-sites.com/old_articles/ge/japan_wheat.cfm

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KRAFTY KRAFT RUNNING SCARED ON GE CORN
The OCA, along with the GE Food Alert (GEFA) network has just received results from our laboratory analysis of Kraft foods. We've been watching Kraft closely for more than two years, since we found illegal and likely allergenic traces of Starlink corn in their Taco Bell products (a genetically modified corn that the USDA has deemed unsafe for human consumption). The most recent test results reveal Kraft is sourcing its corn ingredients from GE-free suppliers. Of the 7 products we tested, only one of them tested positive for GE ingredients at a level unacceptable by European standards. The OCA and GEFA have been pressuring Kraft to go GE free, based on its market influence as one of the world's largest distributors of food products. Although Kraft has not yet stated that they are going GE free, many of their ingredient suppliers have, including Azteca, the world's largest corn mill. Underlining the success of the global anti-GE foods movement, all major food companies in Europe have already removed genetically engineered ingredients from their foods, including Unilever, Nestle, Novartis, McDonald's, and all major supermarkets. In the U.S. partial bans on Frankenfoods have been announced by a number of companies including Frito-Lay (corn), McDonald's (potatoes), and Gerber (baby foods). Although Kraft is remmoving GE corn from its products, they are still using milk in their dairy products from cows injected with Monsanto's recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone. http://krafty.org/

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TOO MUCH OF A BAD THING
Scientists are trying to raise public attention about the fact that global overuse of Monsanto's Roundup herbicide is leading to weed resistance. "Farmers are planting too many Roundup Ready crops," said Stephen Powles, an expert on weed resistance at the University of Western Australia. Mark VanGessel, a weed scientist at the University of Delaware spoke of the Roundup (glyphosate) pesticides saying, "My gut reaction is that we do need to limit the use of glyphosate-resistant crops." In response to the issue that farmers are purchasing and applying a toxic chemical that is no longer working, Monsanto spokesperson Greg Elmore said people are overreacting. In other Roundup news, Denmark officially banned the pesticide this month, saying the toxic chemical is not breaking down in the soil and, as a result, is polluting their water at a level that is 5 times what is considered safe for the environment and human health. http://rose1dev.devcloud.acquia-sites.com/old_articles/ge/weed_resistance.cfm

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KUDOS TO YOU AND YOU AND YOU AND YOU!
While the GE market collapses, organics and Fair Trade are exploding! Ben & Jerry's is testing a new line of organic ice cream in San Francisco. The 7-Eleven store chain is now stocking organic chips. Price Chopper Supermarkets is releasing a line of 20 of their own organic products, including veggie burgers, chips, and soymilk. Dunkin' Donuts will be selling Fair Trade espresso beverages at every one of its stores (which is way more than Starbucks can say). It's true, money is power, and the current market trends are revealing that consumers, like you, are wielding their hard earned cash in an increasingly ethical manner. Put simply, if you want to buy it, they'll provide it. The food revolution is powered by two main fuel sources---your heart and your pocketbook. Your ethics, intelligence and commitment are impacting everything---from your family's health, to a clean environment, to a strong and sustainable economy-----from the healthy worm in the pesticide free soil to the small family farmers who can proudly help pay for their kid's college tuition. In short, we're all making this a successful and positive Movement together. Keep up the good work! http://rose1dev.devcloud.acquia-sites.com/old_articles/organic/organic_growth.cfm

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SEEDS OF DECEPTION
More good news--- there's a great new book out, serving as a sort of Silent Spring of GE foods. Although just freshly released, the book is receiving a landslide of national acclaim and rave reviews. The most effective activist/consumer is an educated one, so check out Jeffrey Smith's "Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies about the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Foods You're Eating" http://rose1dev.devcloud.acquia-sites.com/old_articles/ge/seeds_of_deception.cfm

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TAKE ACTION
If any of the issues above spark your desire to take action, please visit OCA's Action Center for instant faxes, petitions, volunteering and donation opportunities. http://rose1dev.devcloud.acquia-sites.com/old_articles/action.htm

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FOR MANY MORE FOOD ISSUE DAILY HEADLINES: http://rose1dev.devcloud.acquia-sites.com/old_articles/log.html

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