ORGANIC BYTES #103

Health, Justice and Sustainability News Tidbits with an Edge!

2/22/2007 - Written and edited by Craig Minowa and Ronnie Cummins

Subscribe to this twice-per-month newsletter

IN THIS ISSUE

ALERT OF THE WEEK: DEMAND A NEW "TRUTH-IN-LABELING" STANDARD FOR VITAMINS AND SUPPLEMENTS

nutri-con campaignYour favorite vitamin and supplement brand may label itself as "food-based" or "natural", but the overwhelming majority of today's supplements are actually laced with synthetic chemicals, genetically engineered ingredients, or even nanoparticles. The FDA, in accordance with the wishes of the large pharmaceutical companies who supply the feedstocks for 90% of all dietary supplements, allows vitamin companies to label their products as "natural," "food-based," or even "organic," even if these supplements are composed of 90% synthetic ingredients, including genetically modified organisms. The Organic Consumers Association (OCA), along with the Naturally Occurring Standards Group, is launching a new "truth in labeling" campaign that will enable consumers to distinguish between those vitamins and supplements that are truly natural or organic, and those that simply claim to be.

In a nutshell, the new Naturally Occurring Standard (NOS) will allow consumers to know whether a vitamin/supplement product:

  • Contains synthetic ingredients.
  • Contains genetically engineered ingredients.
  • Only contains ingredients found in nature.
  • Only contains ingredients that are sustainably harvested and fairly-traded.
  • Is organic.

In order to make clear to the $20+ billion supplements industry that consumers want truth-in-labeling for vitamins & supplements, please sign our petition: www.organicconsumers.org/nutricon/nutripetition.cfm.
And stay tuned to the Nutri-Con section of the OCA website for further developments.

questionable vitaminsHOW "NATURAL" OR "ORGANIC"
ARE YOUR VITAMINS & SUPPLEMENTS?

OCA is building an expansive database of companies that meet strict NOS standards for being 100% naturally occurring and organic. To find out if your favorite vitamin/supplement is truly natural, please submit that company's name when you sign the Nutri-Con petition (see above). We will be posting an online database over the next two months, listing how the various companies rank. Learn more: www.organicconsumers.org/nutricon/nutripetition.cfm

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

REMINDER OF THE WEEK:
FDA STILL ACCEPTING COMMENTS ON APPROVAL OF CLONED FOODS

Resist Cloning!The FDA is accepting public comments on their controversial proposed regulations that would allow milk, eggs and meat from cloned animals on the market, without labeling or safety testing. One major concern for organic consumers is the fact that it's impossible to determine via laboratory testing whether a particular meat or animal by-product came from a cloned animal or its offspring. In other words, as the FDA approves conventional milk, eggs and meat from cloned animals, these same clone foods could find their way into foods labeled as "organic", even though foods from cloned animals cannot technically be labeled "organic". According to a report by Jim Riddle, former Chair of the National Organic Standards Board, labeling of cloned animals and their products is essential in order to "prevent entry of cloned animals, their progeny, and products into the organic food system." Learn more & take action: www.organicconsumers.org/rd/clones.htm

PRODUCT PLUNDER OF THE WEEK:
CHILDREN'S PLASTIC LUNCH BOXES

Plastic Lunch BoxLast week, documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act were released that show the U.S. government's Consumer Protection Safety Commission (CPSC) concealed evidence indicating dangerously high levels of lead in children's plastic lunchboxes. Back in 2005, the nonprofit Center for Environmental Health made national news when their investigations found high levels of lead in children's vinyl lunchboxes. The CPSC immediately countered that report by saying its own studies revealed no problems. On the contrary, documents released last week show the agency's own tests actually found lead contamination up to 16 times higher than what is allowed in lead paint. The government's motivation for a cover-up that threatens the health of the nation's children is unclear, but an allied group of state Attorney Generals is being organized to ultimately remove these lunchboxes from the marketplace. Learn more: www.organicconsumers.org/afc.cfm

Tip: The lunchboxes to avoid are made of PVC. These are typically the squishy plastic type of "bag" boxes. You can also order a lead lunchbox testing kit from the Center for Environmental Health: www.testyourlunchbox.com

TIP OF THE WEEK:
ENDING BOTTLED WATER ADDICTION WILL SAVE MONEY & ENVIRONMENT

plastic water bottlesBOTTLED WATER ISN'T NECESSARILY CLEANER

According to the San Francisco Chronicle and lawsuits from the Environmental Law Foundation, 40% of bottled water is really just repackaged tap water. Maybe that's a good thing, considering federal standards for tap water are actually higher than those for bottled water.

BOTTLED WATER AND OIL

Supplying Americans with plastic water bottles for one year consumes more than 47 million gallons of oil, according to the Container Recycling Institute. That's enough to take 100,000 cars off the road and 1 billion pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Add in the additional amount of oil it takes to ship the bottles thousands of miles from extraction source to recipient, and your drink of H2O could be categorized with the "Hummers" of the world.

BOTTLED WATER AND BIODEGRADABILITY

Buddha's bones turned to dust a long time ago. But if he had been a bottled water drinker, that plastic would still be lying around. It takes two minutes to drink a bottle of water, but it takes thousands of years for that piece of plastic garbage to go away.

SOLUTION

Buy a water filter and a non-plastic water container of your preferred size. Fill it up in the morning before you go to work or school. Do a quick online search, and you can also find affordable portable water filters for when you are traveling. You'll save yourself and the environment a lot of expense.

Planting Peace LogoPLANTING PEACE

Frustrated by the inability of Congress to pass a resolution opposing President Bush's policies in Iraq, state legislators across the country are pushing forward with their own resolutions. Resolutions denouncing Bush's Iraq Escalation have been introduced in over twenty states. Vermont, California and Iowa have each had a chamber approve a resolution rejecting Bush's escalation. Constantly increasingly military spending means less federal resources are available for our states and local communities for sustainable agriculture, health, education, and other vital programs. The horrors of Hurricane Katrina proved that the states need the National Guard here for the inevitable disasters of the urgent climate crisis. Ultimately, we need to break our addiction to oil to bring an end to oil wars.

Please write your state legislators to urge them to "plant peace" and pass anti-war resolutions.

For more information on anti-war organizing, go to OCA's Planting Peace page and visit our Planting Peace ally VotersForPeace: www.VotersForPeace.org

QUICK TIDBIT: MONSANTO FINED FOR FALSE ADVERTISING

Spraying PesticidesA French court has fined the U.S. biotech behemoth Monsanto for falsely advertising its pesticide Roundup as non-toxic. Monsanto's ads claimed the product is biodegradable and leaves the soils clean after use. In actuality, the chemical, which is one of the most commonly used pesticides in the U.S, is deemed by the European Union as "dangerous for the environment" and "toxic for aquatic organisms". Learn more: www.organicconsumers.org/monlink.cfm

medicinal plantsGOOD NEWS OF THE WEEK: WILD MEDICINAL PLANTS TO BE PROTECTED UNDER NEW GLOBAL STANDARD

A much needed global standard for wild medicinal plant harvesting was launched at the World Organic Trade Fair last week. Over 70,000 species of plants are traded internationally every year, and 80% of these are harvested from the wild. Due to unchecked harvesting practices, many of these plants are in danger of extinction through over-harvesting and habitat loss. The new standard, known as the International Standard for Sustainable Wild Collection of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (ISSC-MAP) is already eagerly being embraced by many retailers around the world to ensure plants used in medicine and cosmetics are not over-exploited. Consumers can expect to see products with this labeling as early as Winter of 2007. Learn more: www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_4216.cfm

SUSTAINABILITY NEWS OF THE WEEK:
SENATE POISED TO CUT SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE PROGRAM FUNDING

US SenateLast week, the Senate passed a resolution that would immediately end funding for a federal program crucial to sustainable agriculture. The Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas (ATTRA) program was designed to provide farmers with information on how to integrate sustainable practices into their own farms. This successful federal program has become one of the most successful and cost-effective tools used by farmers to make their agricultural operations safer for human health and the environment. Beginning early next week (Feb. 26) Congressman Boozman (R-AR) will begin circulating a sign-on letter to request the continued funding of ATTRA. Call your representative and senator and ask them to sign onto Congressman Boozman's letter. Learn more and take action: www.organicconsumers.org/farm.cfm

HEALTH TIP OF THE WEEK:
AMLA: MEDICINAL FOOD & SOURCE OF HIGH QUALITY VITAMIN C

Amla berrysThe Amla berry (Emblica officinalis) is a traditional food and medicine that inspires awe in the mind of the serious herbalist due to its many known nutritional and medicinal benefits and uses. Amla berries have the highest amount of naturally occurring vitamin C of any ripe fruit in the world used as a traditional food. Numerous studies conducted on Amla fruit suggest that it has anti-viral properties and also functions as an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agent. Learn more: www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_4242.cfm

We rely on your donations to continue our work on these important issues!

Donate Now!
www.organicconsumers.org/donations.htm

messages from our supporters:

Ode Magazine

HOW IS THE NATURAL FOODS INDUSTRY
GOING "BEYOND ORGANIC"?

From natural food companies promoting ecological restoration and economic justice to micro-credit, a Nobel-prize winning solution to poverty; from U2's Bono on Africa, terrorism, and God to the top 40 organic products; from Eve Ensler's calls for women in power to socially responsible investing. Find out why leading thinkers have described Ode as “essential reading” and "a way of life."

Get Ode for yourself and give a subscription as a gift through our
special offer. Smile, laugh and cry with Ode. Find out more now.

Botani OrganicNATURALLY OCCURRING
VITAMIN & MINERAL SUPPLEMENTS

All ingredients are wild-crafted or cultivated without the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Our patented room temperature vacuum extraction process ensures full-spectrum formulas that preserve the "raw" plants vital essence, while achieving the highest possible naturally occurring vitamin potency. We never "boost" our potencies by using so-called "food-bases" or "food-cultures" which contain unspecified amounts of synthetic USP vitamins and minerals. Learn more: www.alohabay.com/botani/index.html

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

ORGANIC BYTES is a publication of:

ORGANIC CONSUMERS ASSOCIATION
6771 South Silver Hill Drive
Finland, MN 55603
Phone: 218-226-4164 Fax: 218-353-7652

Subscribe: www.organicconsumers.org/organicbytes.htm

xaxa&memid;