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Organic Bytes #125: 1/04/2008

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

'USDA Organic' Personal Care Sales Explode

bursting forth

image parody

Although the figures for 2007 indicate records sales for "organic" personal care products, the majority of those products were not certified under the USDA's National Organic Program. It has been two years since the OCA and Dr. Bronner's sued the USDA and forced the agency into agreeing to allow personal care products that meet USDA food grade organic standards to bear the 'USDA Organic' seal. USDA organic is still the gold standard for body care products, and OCA anticipates a major expansion of new USDA Organic personal care products in 2008. As a reminder to conscientious consumers, if you don't see the green 'USDA Organic' seal on a personal care product, it may not be as "organic" as it claims to be. If the product holds the USDA seal, it has met the stringent organic standards established for food. If it does not have the seal and claims to be organic, read the ingredient label to be sure you are comfortable with any of the synthetic ingredients that are likely hiding in the product.

Learn more at OCA's "Coming Clean Campaign":
Success Story of the Week

Caribou CoffeehouseCaribou Joins Starbucks in Phasing out Bovine Growth Hormone

It's official: This week, the world's largest coffee purveyor, Starbucks, went rBGH-free. The Organic Consumers Association has been pressuring Starbucks to dump rBGH-derived dairy products the past six years. Not to be outdone by its competitor, Caribou Coffee, the second largest coffehouse operator in the U.S. announced it is also beginning to phase out rBGH from its products.

Learn more:
Please Donate to the OCA!Almost There!

OCA's Donation Drive Goes Into Overtime

Thanks to all who took part in OCA's end of the year donation drive. Our goal was to generate $75,000 in December to help support our work in 2008. We've decided to extend the donation drive one more week, as we are just $5,000 short of making our goal.

If you haven't already done so, please donate today:
Product Plunder of the Week

Splenda Goes to Court

Splenda AdA federal court has rejected a request for summary judgment in a lawsuit launched by the Sugar Association against Splenda. The plaintiff alleges Splenda, a Johnson & Johnson company, is falsely advertising to consumers with its marketing slogan "Made from sugar so it tastes like sugar". Splenda is the synthetic compound sucralose, discovered in 1976 by scientists in Britain seeking a new pesticide formulation. The artificial sweetener is made by replacing hydroxyl groups in the sugar molecule with chlorine.

There are no long-term studies of the side effects of Splenda in humans. The manufacturer's own short-term studies showed that sucralose caused shrunken thymus glands and enlarged livers and kidneys in rodents. But in this case, the FDA decided that because these studies weren't based on human test animals, they were not conclusive. As a result, Splenda is now one of the most ubiquitous ingredients in low calorie processed foods.

Learn more:
Sustainability News of the Week

Solar CellSolar Power Gets Affordable

A new company in California's Silicon Valley has begun production on a new electricity generating solar cell that many are considering to be revolutionary. The company, Nanosolar, prints the solar cells on aluminum film in an inexpensive process that will supposedly make solar power as affordable as electricity from coal. Nanosolar says its order books are already full until 2009.

Learn more:
Web Videos of the Week

OCA National Director Speaks Out on 'Farms not Arms'

Ronnie CumminsRonnie Cummins is the director of the Organic Consumers Association. Here he speaks at a Farms not Arms press conference in New York about the need to understand how the war is impacting the environment, social justice, organics and the sustainability movements. In this excerpt, Cummins focuses on the necessity for these various movements to join together into a united coalition.


Vanishing of the Bees

Dying BeeWow! We receive a lot of submissions of that would like their work to be featured in Organic Bytes, but this is honestly one of the best trailers we've seen in a while. As you've probably read about previously in Organic Bytes, vast numbers of bees are literally disappearing all around the world. This movie analyzes why this mysterious phenomenon is taking place and how dramatically it could impact the world's food supply in the short term. As a note, the producers are also seeking donations to bring the movie to a wider audience.

View this breath-taking trailer here:

"II Shop therefore I Am"The Story of Stuff

This is one of those life-changing web videos that you finish watching and just want to forward to everyone you know. Whether you are eight years old or 80 years old --- whether you are an environmentalist or a skeptic --- this entertaining 20 minute video will give you a holistic perspective on how hyper-consumerism is accelerating just about every global problem you can think of.


This 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. Online COmmunity graphicVaccines (Poll): Are They Good? Are They Bad?
    Should They Be Required By Law?
  2. Synthetic-free Vitamins
  3. Do You Believe Al Gore?
  4. Chemtrails
  5. Electromagnetic Radiation (emr)
Click here to read more and join in the discussions: (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).

Find Out What's Happening in Your State

OCA LogoOnly 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 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.

Support Our Supporters

Organic Garlic Spread, Olive Oil & Toasted Nuggets

Garlic GoldSavor mouthwatering, chef-inspired gourmet garlic condiments, handmade with love from the freshest organic ingredients, on all of your dishes.  Appreciate "real garlic flavor, not a stored one, with a wonderful crispy crunch," as world renowned foodie, David Rosengarten, describes us. Experience the delicious health benefits of garlic with your meals. Learn more about Garlic Gold's special offer here.

For a limited time, Garlic Gold is making an exceptional online-only offer. You can get a gift basket of our celebrated gourmet garlic product line at a 20% discount, and free shipping if you order two! Learn more here.

Himalayan SaltHimalayan Salt Crystal Lamps

Three hundred million years ago, a vast primordial ocean covered the area that would become the Himalayan mountain range. The salt of that unpolluted ocean was preserved as large crystal formations, which now yield the purest salt on earth.

Aloha Bay's Himalayan Salt lamps emit negative ions. These ions cleanse the air by removing dust, pollen, dander, and cigarette smoke. They also offset the harmful radiation produced by computer monitors, TVs, and other electrical devices.

Learn more:

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Knowledge is power!

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