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Organic Bytes #134: 5/8/2008

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

Monsanto, Cargill, and ADM
Rake in Billions on World Food Crisis

Image Parody

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Monsanto, Cargill, and Archer Daniels Midland are making a mint off corn and soy-based biofuels, while rapidly monopolizing the market, and hoarding future reserves of crop seeds and germ plasm, wheat, rice, soy, corn, and other grains.

While a billion people go hungry, and food riots threaten global stability, these Biotech and Food Giants are raking in record profits, along with Wall Street speculators, who have shifted their greed from sub-prime mortgages to increasingly scarce natural resources and food.

Learn more:
Frankenfoods Alert of the Week

Genetically Engineered Candy for Mothers Day?

disgruntled MotherThis Mothers Day may be the last time you can buy mainstream non-organic candy for Mom on Mothers Day that isn't made from genetically engineered (GE) sugar.

Sugar in most conventional foods will soon come from newly approved biotech sugar beets unless we act now to stop it.

In just a few weeks, US farmers are poised to plant their first GE sugar beet crops, Monsanto's Roundup Ready sugar beets. 

Over half the sugar in processed foods comes from sugar beets (the rest is supplied by sugarcane), and since ingredients from GE crops are not labeled in the U.S., once food producers start using GE beet sugar in their candies, cereals, breads, baby foods and other products, there will be no way for us to know if we are eating GE sugar unless we buy organic foods, since GE ingredients are banned in organic products.

Take action now:

Donate Here To Help OCA Fight For Health, Justice & Sustainability

Donate Now!Support OCA with your stimulus check. During a recession, non-profits need private donor help more than ever.
Consumer Tip & Alert

Hazardous & Unlabeled Nanotech Pesticides in Consumer Products

Nanotech IllustrationAn important lawsuit was filed last week against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by the International Center for Technology Assessment calling for 200 consumer products to be removed from the market, because they contain dangerous nanoparticle pesticides.

The EPA is illegally allowing a wide variety of consumer products to be infused with nanoparticle-sized silver, supposedly for its enhanced "germ killing" abilities. Nano-silver is now laced into products including children's toys, personal care products, household appliances, cleaners, clothing, cutlery, and coated electronics.

According to George Kimbrell, staff attorney for ICTA, "Nano-silver is leaching into the environment, where it will have toxic effects on fish, other aquatic species and beneficial microorganisms."

Learn more about nanotechnology, take action, and see a comprehensive list of everyday products containing nanotech here:
Web Forum Topic of the Week

Whole Foods Market: The Good and the Bad

Whole Foods MarketAfter publishing our blurb in the last issue of Organic Bytes regarding tips for educated shopping at Whole Foods market, we received a slew of emails from our readers.  It was a pretty even mix of those who have had long standing concerns with various Whole Foods Market practices and those who feel the retail chain is doing a good job. 

To further stimulate debate, we cordially invite you to post your thoughts, experiences and opinions about Whole Foods Market in OCA's web forum. There are currently over 2,000 OCA bloggers engaged in thought-provoking conversation on the web forum, so if you're not yet signed up, take 30 seconds to do so, and join the discussion, or just read what other folks are saying:
Lesson of the Week

How to Read Labels on Plastic Containers & Products

Plastic type symbolsUnfortunately, the average consumer is buying more and more products packaged in plastic. It's getting harder and harder to find non-plastic containers. So what should the educated consumer do?

Obviously, buying products packaged in tin, glass or aluminum increases recyclability and reduces toxins like BPA in our diets. But if you have to buy plastic, what's the best option? We all know those little numbers on plastic products identify the specific type of plastic. But which ones are less toxic? Which ones are really getting recycled as compared to those that get thrown into the bins destined for the waste dump or underdeveloped countries? 

Learn more by using this handy guide:

Videos of the Week

Vanishing of the Bees

Dead Bee in CageWe've highlighted this movie in Bytes before, but we strongly feel this is truly a "canary in the mine" issue. This movie, which is nearing completion, analyzes why millions of bees are dying around the world and how dramatically it could impact the world's natural environment and food supply. The producers are in need of donations to complete the film and are currently eligible to receive matching funds from a foundation that will double donations.

View this breath-taking movie trailer here:

What Would Jesus Buy?

Reverend BillyFrom producer Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) comes a serious docu-comedy about the new religion of rampant consumerism. The movie follows Reverend Billy and the "Church of Stop Shopping Gospel Choir" as they embark on a cross-country mission to save Christmas from the Shopocalypse: the destruction of humankind from consumerism, over-consumption and the fires of eternal debt! Reverend Billy, as you may recall, was a grassroots leader in OCA's "Frankenbucks" campaign against Starbucks.

View the trailer and get the newly available DVD:
Product Plunder of the Week

Take Back the Filter

Brita Water FilterYou probably didn't know that Brita, America's #1 water filter, is owned by Clorox. Brita helps its customers feel good about filtering water without buying untold numbers of plastic bottles. Indeed, the Brita filter option is much better than purchasing bottled water.

With that said, the U.S. version of the Brita filter is currently designed to be disposable. Hundreds of thousands of plastic Brita filters needlessly flow into U.S. landfills, while in Europe, the same company is providing those cartridges in a recyclable form. As a result, Brita is currently being pressured by consumers and to change its policies.

Learn more about how you can send in your used Brita filters to pressure the company to make the green shift:

Special State News and Alerts

Support Our Supporters

If You Eat Organic, Shouldn't You Sleep Organic?

Lifekind MattresesWhat is an organic mattress? A typical “chemical” mattress is made primarily from crude oil and natural-gas derivatives like polyurethane, Styrofoam, polyester, dyes, chemical fire retardants, and many other chemicals that can produce serious health conditions (see

Organic mattresses are made without these harmful chemicals in the only organic Eco-Factory™ in North America, and have also been independently tested and certified by the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute.

Lifekind® mattresses and foundations are simply the safest and most healthful mattresses you can buy. They're all made by hand using pure certified organic cotton, 100% natural rubber, and Naturally Safer™ wool. No fire retardants, no chemical treatments, and no synthetic components.

Visit or call us at 800-284-4983 for more information and to receive a free catalog.

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.

As a subscriber to Organic Bytes, you can enjoy a discount rate on any
Eden Foods products by clicking here.

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Knowledge is power!

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