April 29, 2009
Organic Bytes #171
In This Issue
- Alert of the Week: Ban Factory Farms Spreading Deadly Flu
- Related Web Video of the Week: Bird and Swine Flu - Viruses of Our Own Hatching
- Tips of the Week: How To Avoid Swine Flu
- Grassroots Victory of the Week: rBGH Labeling Bill Vetoed
- Web Forum Posting of the Week: Clarification on How to Avoid MSG
- Headlines and Articles of the Week
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Alert of the Week
Ban Factory Farms Spreading Deadly Flu
Despite years of warnings by public interest organizations such as the Organic Consumers Association and the Humane Society of the U.S., new evidence indicates drugged-out animals on intensive confinement factory farms are incubating deadly viruses that could set off a deadly epidemic.
A dangerous and rapidly spreading strain of influenza, which combines genetic material from pigs, birds and humans in a way researchers have not seen before, has killed over 150 people in Mexico, infecting thousands, and has spread to over a dozen countries, including the United States.
The World Health Organization warned early this week that the outbreak could reach global pandemic levels and raised the threat level to 4 (with 6 being the highest panedemic alert level). The last major global pandemic, the 1918 flu epidemic, killed 20-50 million people.
Despite company denials, a number of Mexican and
U.S. news outlets are pointing to Virginia-based
Smithfield Foods, the world's largest pig producer
($12 billion in annual sales), as a likely source
of the deadly outbreak. Smithfield sells pork and
operates massive hog-raising operations in 40 nations,
including Perote, Mexico, in the state of Veracruz,
where the outbreak originated. For months, local
residents and workers in Mexico have complained of
pollution, contamination, and illnesses from the
Smithfield plant. For years, Smithfield has been
criticized in the United States for polluting rural
communities, endangering public health, and exploiting
workers and farmers.
CAFOs, such as Smithfield, cram thousands of pigs
together inside unhygienic disease-ridden factory
farms, injecting pigs with powerful vaccines to keep
them alive, thereby putting enormous pressure on
swine viruses to evolve into more virulent pathogens
such as the H1NI virus. In the case of Smithfield's
million pig operation in Veracruz, Mexico (as in
many regions in North America, Asia, and across the
world), massive poultry operations located nearby
thes pig CAFOs incubate bird viruses that can then
recombine with swine viruses, as well as human flu
viruses, endemic among typically exploited and unhealthy
pig and poultry workers.
Filthy and disease-ridden factory farms for pigs and chickens, maintained by exploited and often unhealthy farm workers, kept in operation only with massive injections of animal drugs, are a biological time bomb set to explode. Hopefully the current H1N1 Swine Flu epidemic will not kill millions of us. Unfortunately scientists warn us that it is not a question of if, but rather when, a future swine/bird/human virus will kill millions--unless we shut down the CAFOs and transform the current insane global industrial/factory farm agriculture system into a chemical and drug-free organic system, whereby local and regional organic farms produce healthy food for local and regional markets.
Please take action today.
Learn more and Take Action in OCA's Swine and Bird Flu Center
Related Web Video of the Week
Bird and Swine Flu - Viruses of Our Own Hatching
Many experts believe that the bird flu virus that triggers the next human pandemic may come from filthy, crowded factory farms.
Tips of the Week
How To Avoid Swine Flu
Swine flu has now spread across Mexico and into Europe, Latin America and several U.S. States, including California, Texas, and New York. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have provided the following tips for staying healthy through the pandemic.
1) Wash your hands frequently and for at least 20 seconds each time.
2) Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
3) Viruses and bacteria can live two hours or longer on surfaces like cafeteria tables, doorknobs, and desks.
4) Swine Flu cannot be spread through pork products, but you should void close contact with sick people.
5) If you have flu-like symptoms, contact your doctor as documentation of the disease spread is important as well as medical advice on dealing with the illness.
6) The symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.
7) If you get sick with influenza, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
8) Learn about homeopathy for influenza here.
Grassroots Victory of the Week
rBGH Labeling Bill Vetoed
In Organic Bytes #168 the OCA called on readers to contact Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius and urge her to veto a bill that could restrict U.S. dairy companies from properly labeling their milk products as free from genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (rBGH or rBST). Last week, Sebelius vetoed the bill saying, "The Bill before me provides for changes in dairy labeling that could make it more difficult to provide consumers with clear information. The milk labeling provisions negatively impact a dairy producer's ability to inform consumers that milk is from cows not treated with recombinant bovine growth hormone." A special thanks to all of our readers for taking part in the OCA action alert.
We Are Making Positive Change
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Web Forum Posting of the Week
Clarification on How to Avoid MSG
OCA Web Forum User "Tater_Chip" posted this question and response: "Due to the recent email from OCA (Organic Bytes #170) covering MSG I was very alarmed to learn that whey protein, especially in isolate and hydrolyzed form are basically forms of this substance. I just purchased Solgar "Whey to go" at my local health store, Mount Hope Foods. Does anyone know the relationship/safety of whey protein powders, since they are associated with MSG?"
Response: "I got a phone call today from Solgar. They told me that their processes do not create MSG because they use no sodium. So even though free forms of glutamic amino acids are in the formula, there is nothing for them to bind with to make the dangerous form of MSG. Now this may not be the case with cheap formulas widely available. In my opinion, I would check for sodium content on the nutrition label. If it has sodium, it could bind with the glutamic acids and form MSG unintentionally. At any rate, it is something to watch our for when buying protein powder. This rule of thumb can actually apply to other protein powders as well - not just whey. You must watch out for it in soy especially, but it may also be in pea protein powder....."
Post Your Questions and Comments at OCA's Web Forum
Headlines and Articles of the Week
1) Study of the Week: Cats Fed Irradiated Food During Gestation Develop Severe Neurologic Disease
According to Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, cats fed an irradiated diet during gestation developed a severe neurologic disease. Cats that were returned to a normal diet recovered slowly so that by 3-4 months they were neurologically normal...
Read full study
2) When Times Get Tough, the Tough Get Resilient
Discovery of a new movement that puts you psychologically, economically and environmentally in fighting shape for the coming storms...
3) Scientist Warning of Health Hazards of Monsanto's Herbicide Receives Threats
"There are reports coming our of Argentina of attempts to intimidate the lead researcher of the study showing that Roundup - the glyphosate herbicide developed by Monsanto, could cause brain, intestinal and heart defects in fetuses..."
4) USDA Head Vilsack Promises to Push Harder for Genetically Engineered Frankenfoods & Crops
"If there was any question about how the Obama administration would get behind agricultural biotechnology, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is removing any doubt. In fact, he says he's going to do a better job than the Bush administration. Just back from the G8 summit in Italy, Vilsack pledged today to bring a "more comprehensive and integrated" approach to promoting ag biotech overseas..."
5) USDA's Historic Actions to Assist Minority Farmers
"I have never seen a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) like this one. At the very beginning of the Obama administration, Tom Vilsack, the Secretary of Agriculture, has developed initiatives to address the extensive and infamous civil rights problems at USDA..."
LOCAL [[State]] NEWS OF THE WEEK
[[State]]--Get Involved Locally
- Learn more about OCA related action alerts and other news in [[State]] here.
- Join [[State]] discussion groups in our forum.
- Post events in [[State]] on our community calendar.
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