Archive for September, 2010

Targeting: The National Marine Fisheries Service, The US Senate and the US House of Representatives, and The New England Fisheries Management Council

The Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance (NAMA) along with supporters from around New England are launching the ‘WHO FISHES MATTERS’ campaign. If we truly care about our oceans and our fisheries, then “WHO” fishes matters! Our goal is to ensure fleet diveristy and prevent excessive consolidation for the well-being of our fishing communities and marine ecosystem. The New England Fisheries Management Council has made clear that consolidation is a priority in order to reduce total catch. However, a Council vision for who stays and who goes is absent.

We learned from the experience of US farm policy that consolidation without a vision resulted in large-scale factory farming corporations driving out family farmers and degrading the land based environment, biodiversity, and security of the food system in this country. As it did this, it also destroyed the fabric and vitality of farming communities in the heartland.

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This article from the Huffington Post September 30, 2010 was written by the Organic Consumers Association’s Political Director, Alexis Baden-Mayer. To take action to stop Frankenfish, please click here.

10. Frankenfish Aren’t Animals, They’re “Animal Drugs”

Obama’s FDA is regulating genetically engineered salmon, a genetically modified organism (GMO) that is the first of its kind, not as an animal, but as an animal drug.

Source: FDA’s Guidance for Industry #187 Regulation of Genetically Engineered Animals (PDF)

Normally, a veterinary drug would be used for health purposes, but there’s no therapeutic benefit associated with jacking up an Atlantic salmon with the genes of a Chinook salmon and the eel-like ocean pout to make it grow twice as fast. On the contrary, genetic engineering increases the poor salmon’s mortality, disease and deformity.

Source: American Anti-Vivisection Society

So, why would the FDA treat a the first genetically engineered animal for human consumption like a drug? The idea came from the biotech industry. They knew that the FDA’s animal drug process would keep companies’ “proprietary” information secret, while limiting public participation and downplaying food safety concerns. Genius.

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A major reason why consumers shop for products that are certified organic is to avoid the hazardous and unlabeled Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), toxic chemicals, and now the most recent, and likely most dangerous hi-tech poison of them all: nanotechnology. Nanotechnology is now a multi-billion dollar Frankenstein monster industry churning out a vast menu of untested and unlabeled products containing tiny nanoparticles including non-organic vitamin supplements, food packaging, processed foodcosmetics and sunscreens.

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Basque Country: Food Sovereignty and Cooperative Production

May 21-29, 2011

This tour offers a unique opportunity to get to know Basque Country through the eyes of local Basque farmers, who will invite you into their homes to share meals at their tables and shed light on the experience of the Basque people, and their food culture. A strong sense of autonomy and community shapes much of Basque life, including their system of food production. This tour will explore a variety of food cooperatives in the region, as well as the well known Mondragón Cooperative: Humanity at Work.

Set against a back drop of the beautiful Spanish Pyrinees Mountains, our Basque hosts will show you their unique food traditions from the sea to the farm and explain the ways in which food sovereignty is part of a broader struggle for regional sovereignty. This tour will introduce you to local Vía Campesina members and the local people who are developing alternative models of food production and community self-sufficiency in the Basque Region.

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Mali & Senegal: World Social Forum and African Alternatives to the Green Revolution, Jan 31 – Feb. 12, 2011

West Africa is an important global hub of resistance to corporate control of the food system and the struggle for Food Sovereignty. This amazing way to experience Mali, Senegal, and the World Social Forum in Dakar, with a local guide and translator to show you around, will give you a taste of local food, politics and the global food system. You will become familiar with large-scale efforts like, the Green Revolution in Africa that promote increased corporate control of seeds and land. You will see the impacts of genetically modified crops and what local farmers and citizens have to say about it.

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We stand at a pivotal moment on Earth. The ocean’s are heating up and becoming more acidic because of human-induced global warming. Phytoplankton, the irreplaceable foundation of the ocean’s food chain are dying off. Wild fish populations are crashing, not only because of global warming, but because we are allowing out-of-control, “profit at any cost” industrial fishing corporations to wreck havoc. And now the coup de grace. The Obama Administration is poised to approve the first genetically engineered fish for human consumption, GE salmon, while the FDA is still aiding and abetting the force-feeding of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to the public, wielding the fouled Bush-Quayle Era doctrine of “substantial equivalence” of GMO and natural foods like a club, legally blocking adequate safety testing and labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

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In the very country where Mahatma Gandhi composed the strains of non-violence to win freedom, there’s a symphony that’s being orchestrated by one man – and it’s all about sustainability.

I hadn’t heard about him till a few days ago. Living in our ivory towers, very often oblivious to what happens outside of our own world, cocooned in a safe and comfortable island of family, friends and comfortable living, what happens outside is very often sadly overlooked, never mind how important and how revolutionary it is. We tell ourselves it should be different, we try – but it’s never quite enough and living far out of our comfort zone needs a lot more dedication. Sitting out on our terrace one evening, watching the dogs play, my husband’s cousin who had just wound up working in Singapore and was back in India announced that he was going to attend a four-dayPeter Proctor workshop. The name rang a bell, vaguely – but I had no idea what exactly it was all about. Then he went on to tell me about the work this incredible man was doing and I was amazed.

In our own small way in our pocket-sized garden, we practice organic gardening – letting the neem tree leaves that fall keep the soil pest-free, spraying the plants and fruit trees with tobacco and crab apple flower solutions. What Peter Proctor was doing however, was starting a revolution – quietly and effectively at the grassroots level of agricultural India. Why did this man come all the way from New Zealand braving the heat and dust of rural India to start a movement that would take on the might of multinationals and their juggernaut on its way to control everything we eat and drink? Why would a man who is partially deaf, with one glass eye, an opera buff, who doesn’t particularly like spicy Indian curry come halfway across the world to try and save debt-ridden Indian farmers from the clutches of corporations like Monsanto?

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CAPE TOWN, Aug 27 (IPS) – Civil society organisations have reacted with outrage to claims that the international campaign against genetically modified (GM) crops is partly responsible for food shortages and food insecurity in Africa.

“Food insecurity in developing regions such as Africa is partially a result of the anti-GM campaign,” David King, director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at Oxford University in Britain, said during the 15th World Congress of Food Science and Technology held between Aug 22-26 in Cape Town, South Africa.

King added that, “many African countries have the idea that food that is not good enough for Europeans, is not good enough for Africans.

“In Europe, people might have a choice between conventional and genetically modified products. In Africa, this is not the case. Here, any food that is available is great.”

South African organisations that oppose the genetic modification of food, such as the South African Freeze Alliance on Genetic Engineering (SAFeAGE), have condemned King’s statements.

“Africa’s food insecurity has nothing to do with the anti-GM campaign,” said Fahrie Hassan, media spokesperson at SAFeAGE.

It has in large part been caused by economic policy measures with strict conditions imposed on countries seeking loans from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund since the 1980s, he argued.

“Many governments of developing countries were forced to tell their farmers they should farm cash crops, which are predominantly meant for the export market, instead of focusing on subsistence farming for local use,” he added.

“In addition, European countries and the U.S. dump their food surpluses onto African markets while heavily subsidising their own farmers,” Hassan added.

Mariam Mayet, director of the non-profit African Centre for Biosafety (ABC), said that, “malnourishment in Africa is not just a result of food shortage, but of poverty. It does not matter how much food is available, if you don’t have money to buy it you are stuck.

“In addition, the plants the GM industry wants to produce in Africa are mainly cash crops that are not just meant for the export market but are to be used to feed pigs and cows in Europe and China and as bio-fuel and cooking oil.

“These crops are not meant to feed African people, thus they will not contribute to food security,” she added.

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The Consumers Union (CU) presented its comments on genetically engineered (GE) salmon labelling at a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hearing and said the salmon could prove dangerous to consumers. The union also said it disagrees with the FDA’s assertion that genetic modification (GM) does not inherently comprise a “material” difference under the law and with FDA’s definition of what makes up a “material” difference.

Aquabounty Technologies Inc’s AquAdvantage Salmon mature twice as fast and grow almost twice as big as wild Atlantic salmon as its DNA is injected with the genes of Pacific salmon and an eel-like fish. Tests have shown their meat is safe for human consumption, and the FDA thus far has sided with the company’s product.

Regardless, CU believes that GE salmon should be labelled as such so consumers can know whether they are purchasing a GE animal.

The union found in a nationwide poll that 95 per cent of respondents said they thought food from GE animals should be labelled and 78 per cent strongly agreed.

The independent panel of veterinary scientists hired by the FDA to conduct the hearing this week urged the FDA to run further studies of the GE salmon before authorising its sale in stores.

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Organic food sales have taken off in China after a series of safety scares, including the disclosure that one in 10 meals is cooked using oil dredged from the sewer.

Police inspect illegal cooking oil in Beijing

Police inspect illegal cooking oil, better known as ‘drainage oil’, seized during a crackdown in Beijing Photo: AFP/GETTY

The Chinese now consume more than twice as much organic food as health-conscious Japan.

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