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Organic Bytes #43
Food and Consumer News Tidbits with an Edge!
11/12/2004

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IN THIS ISSUE:

  • EPA WILL USE POOR KIDS AS GUINEA PIGS IN NEW STUDY ON PESTICIDES
  • BIODEMOCRACY SPREADS IN CALIFORNIA
  • HOW TO BUY GOVERNMENT APPROVAL OF CARCINOGENIC PESTICIDES
  • BOYCOTTING PRODUCTS MADE IN THE USA
  • U.S. JUNK FOOD INDUSTRY TARGETS DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
  • HEFTIER PASSENGERS INCREASE AIRLINES COST
  • SCHOOLS OFFER PRIZES TO HEALTHY EATERS
  • AVALON CONTINUES LABELING LIES
  • MONSANTO & BAYER'S FRANKENCROPS CONTAMINATING ORGANIC CANOLA
  • COMPOST HAPPENS

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EPA WILL USE POOR KIDS AS GUINEA PIGS IN NEW STUDY ON PESTICIDES
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), led by Bush appointees, plans to launch a new study in which participating low income families will have their children exposed to toxic pesticides over the course of two years. For taking part in these studies, each family will receive $970, a free video camera, a T-shirt, and a framed certificate of appreciation. In October, the EPA received $2 million to do the study from the American Chemistry Council, a chemical industry front group that includes members such as Dow, Exxon, and Monsanto. The EPA's Linda Sheldon says the study is vital, because so little is known about how small children's bodies absorb harmful chemicals. As of press time, none of the EPA's employees are offering to have their own children take part in this research project. The Organic Consumers Association is calling on the nation's citizens to demand the EPA forgo this project before its scheduled launch in early 2005. Sign petition by clicking here and forward this email to family and friends... http://rose1dev.devcloud.acquia-sites.com/old_articles/epa-alert.htm

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BIODEMOCRACY SPREADS IN CALIFORNIA
California's Marin County has joined Mendocino and Trinity counties in banning genetically engineered crops. Despite a barrage of biotech propaganda across the state, including charges that "outside agitators" (i.e. the Organic Consumers Association) are meddling in California farm policy, Marin voters turned out in record numbers on November 2 and approved the ban by a landslide 69%-31% margin. "Marin County's ban has inspired organic consumers across the nation and prepared the ground for future statewide legislation that will stop Monsanto and the biotech bullies dead in their tracks," according to Ryan Zinn, California Campaign Coordinator for the Organic Consumers Association. Elsewhere in Northern California, the Arcata City Council is preparing to pass a GE ban, while San Francisco County legislators will likely soon be voting on a similar measure. Despite the Marin victory, GE-Free ballot initiatives failed to pass in Butte, San Luis Obispo, and Humboldt counties. Activists in these and a dozen other California counties, however, have vowed that "the battle has just begun." Learn more...

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HOW TO BUY GOVERNMENT APPROVAL OF CARCINOGENIC PESTICIDES
Although banned in Europe, atrazine, a dangerous corn pesticide linked to cancer and endocrine disruption, continues to be used on millions of acres of farm land across the U.S. While environmental organizations have long lobbied the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ban the toxic chemical, biotech giant Syngenta, the producer of atrazine, has enlisted former Republican vice-president Bob Dole as a spokesperson for atrazine. Atrazine has recently gained further bad press due to studies showing that it causes deformities in frogs. In addition, Syngenta has recently sunk over a quarter of a million dollars into lobbying the EPA to keep the pesticide legal. The EPA has responded by re-registering atrazine as legal and safe. Learn more...

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BOYCOTTING PRODUCTS MADE IN THE USA
Two recent market studies indicate that consumers overseas are increasingly boycotting products made in the U.S. International sales of brand name U.S. products from companies like Microsoft, McDonalds, Nike and Coca-Cola, for example, have steadily dropped over the last two years. According to the global advertising agency DDB Worldwide, this reduction is due to an increase in anti-American sentiment. Learn more...

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U.S. JUNK FOOD INDUSTRY TARGETS DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
The World Health Organization (WHO) is being accused of succumbing to pressure from U.S. junk food companies by burying a report regarding the obesity epidemic. The report pushes for limitations on advertising of high sugar, fat and salt content foods, particularly to Third World nations, who serve as a new and potentially massive market for the junk food transnationals. Learn more...

 

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HEFTIER PASSENGERS INCREASE AIRLINES COST
The weight of an average American is increasing at a rate of one pound per year. A new government study claims that airlines may need to increase ticket prices to compensate for this added cargo. Over the last decade, the average passenger put on an additional ten pounds of weight, causing the airlines to spend an additional $275 million annually just to pay for the 350 million gallons of fuel needed to carry this extra weight. Learn more...

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SCHOOLS OFFER PRIZES TO HEALTHY EATERS
Schools in Buffalo, NY are launching a new incentive based program to get kids to eat healthier. Students who choose healthy foods in the lunch line like fruits and vegetables, over junk food alternatives, will be awarded prizes at the end of the week. School administrators are hoping the process will show kids that it can be fun to have a healthy diet. The program will be launched in the district's 56 schools in January. Learn more...

 

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AVALON CONTINUES LABELING LIES
In the last issue of Organic Bytes, we shared the news that a leading natural body care company, Avalon, had announced that they would be removing the false "70% Organic Ingredients" labels from their body care products, due to their recognition that most of that "organic" ingredient percentage was actually plain tap water, dutifully certified as organic by the nation's largest certifier, QAI. The OCA has been pressuring Avalon to do this very thing since March of 2003. Unfortunately, in the last couple of weeks, Avalon has launched a new holiday marketing campaign, which, once again, focuses on their fraudulent claim of being 70% organic. Avalon claims this marketing push is an attempt to liquidate their old product line, which will not be labeled "70% organic." In short, until Avalon's new product line hits the shelves, those little purple labels still spell "70% certified organic fraud."

Learn more...

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MONSANTO & BAYER'S FRANKENCROPS CONTAMINATING ORGANIC CANOLA
A thousand organic farmers in Saskatchewan have filed a class action lawsuit against biotech giants Monsanto and Bayer. The farmers are seeking compensation for organic canola fields being contaminated by genetically engineered canola seed. V Monsanto argues that the case should be dismissed, claiming it's an "inappropriate" use of the court's time. Learn more...



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COMPOST HAPPENS
San Francisco has established a successful citywide composting system that's saving homeowners and businesses thousands of dollars in trash pickup fees while reducing waste input into landfills by as much as 19%. Food wastes from restaurants and homes are placed in green waste bins which are then collected and shipped out of the city for use as organic fertilizer in California vineyards. Food scraps make up an estimated 12% of the nation's waste. Kate Krebs, executive director of the National Recycling Coalition says that while it has become common practice to recycle aluminum, glass and paper, recycling of food waste is "the new frontier." Learn more...


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