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Archive for the ‘Health Issues’ Category

THE TRUE COST OF FOOD video is part of the Sierra Club True Cost of Food campaign which  is spreading the word about hidden costs in mass-produced food and about alternatives that are kinder to the planet and better for us.

See the video.

Learn more about The True Cost of Food campaign.

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In the 1990s, Monsanto found an ingenious way to sell large quantities of its broad-spectrum toxic herbicide RoundUp to farmers. The company’s scientists gene-spliced corn, soy, cotton, and canola with foreign DNA, enabling these “Frankencrops” to survive massive doses of RoundUp. Farmers could now repeatedly spray their fields with RoundUp, killing weeds but not the crop. Unfortunately, the collateral damage of heavy RoundUp spraying includes groundwater pollution, toxic residues in crops, and destruction of essential soil microorganisms. The Genetically Modified (GM) crops themselves create herbicide-resistant Superweeds and spread genetic pollution to organic and non-GMO crops as well as plant relatives. Last but certainly not least, Monsanto’s GM foods have been linked to serious health damage – not only for animals, but humans as well.

Today, a major portion of cropland in the US is sown with Monsanto’s “RoundUp Ready” corn, soy, cotton, canola, and sugar beets. Eighty percent of these GM crops are then sold as animal feed to the nation’s 125,000 factory farms or Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) that produce most of the non-organic meat, dairy, or eggs sold in grocery stores or served in restaurants, schools, and hospitals. The other 20% of Monsanto’s Genetically Modified Organisms are laced into non-organic processed foods (soy lecithin, corn or sugar beet sweeteners, cooking oils, etc.) that are found in every grocery store aisle.

There is a direct correlation between our genetically engineered food supply and the $2 trillion the US spends annually on medical care, namely an epidemic of diet-related chronic diseases. Instead of healthy fruits, vegetables, grains, and grass-fed animal products, US factory farms and food processors produce a glut of genetically engineered junk foods that generate heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer. Low fruit and vegetable consumption is directly costing the United States $56 billion a year in diet-related chronic diseases.

Monsanto’s GM crops are highly profitable for the food industry, turning cheap, federally subsidized, genetically engineered crops and GE-fed animals into cheap, ubiquitous, junky foods. But from the standpoint of public health and environmental sustainability, Monsanto and their factory farm collaborators are nothing less than merchants of disease and death.

A critical mass of consumers would turn away from GMOs and Factory Farmed meat, dairy, and eggs – if they knew what they were eating. Please join and support OCA in our new Truth-in-Labeling campaign.

 

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On Tuesday, January 4, President Obama signed the Food Safety Modernization Act into law, marking the end of the bill’s tumultuous road to passage and the beginning of what may prove to be another lengthy road to correctly implement and fund its provisions.

As reported in a number of previous blog posts, the bill – if funded – will be the first major overhaul of food safety regulations in nearly a century.  It provides the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with the authority to increase risk-based inspections, require mandatory recalls of tainted food, and more effectively trace foodborne illness outbreaks to their source.

For nearly two years, NSAC and other family farm advocates at the grassroots and in DC helped lead efforts to win small and mid-size farm amendments to the legislation. The bill is far from perfect, but several NSAC-backed amendments assure protections and size-appropriate alternatives from cumbersome, one-size-fits-all regulations for smaller farms and processors and for local and regional food systems, as well as some protections for wildlife and natural resource conservation and for organic farming.

Read more about this.

 

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The Director of Food Services at Rodale, Inc. talks about the challenges of sourcing sustainably, what every farmer should know about selling direct to chefs, and serendipity.

By Amanda Kimble-Evans

 

“In the last two years especially there have been tremendous strides in sustainable commercial kitchen equipment, environmentally friendly disposables, availability of organic foods and so on.”

~ Leah Nichols

How did you get into the food service industry and what led you to Rodale, Inc.?

I grew up on farms and had a grandmother who was a queen in the kitchen. Her extended family used to get together to make German sausage and other things, so food was always a big part of family life and something I loved. My aunt and Mum worked for a food service company when I was young and I started out with a temp job in food service when I was in high school. It just got in my blood and I could never escape the kitchen no matter how hard I tried.

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In the January 5th post below, Eliot Coleman, the Maine farmer, educator and author of seminal books on organic farming, gave this parting advice:  “Vote with your dollars.”  He firmly believes that the entire agricultural cycle begins with individuals deciding what they will and won’t eat.  “You’re in charge.”

Here’s an organization that is taking this to a new level:

We are a network of people who want our spending to make a difference.

Carrotmob asks businesses to compete: Who will make the biggest change to their business in order to improve the world? The winner gets a reward: Our network will show up and spend money to support them. We can entice businesses to make social and environmental improvements if we give them a financial benefit for doing what we want. It’s the opposite of a boycott. Today we do community campaigns, and when enough people join we’ll have the power to change the largest companies in the world.

Learn more by watching Carrot Mob’s two videos.

 

 

 

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A study of food bought from a French supermarket, to form part of a balanced diet, showed an alarming number of chemical residues. Photograph: PAIn a single day, a 10-year-old child in Europe may be exposed throughfood to 128 chemical residues of 81 different substances. Forty-two of these substances are classified as “possibly or probably carcinogens“, and five as “certainly carcinogens”. No fewer than 37 substances areendocrine disruptors (ED).

This is the conclusion of a study published this month by a partnership of environmental groups based in France and Belgium: Générations Futures, the Health and Environment Alliance (Heal), Réseau Environnement Santé (RES) and WWF-France. The authors of the study bought food in supermarkets in Oise, north of Paris, and in the French capital, sufficient to give a typical 10-year-old three meals a day and a snack. The food was not organic but was consistent with a balanced diet.

The authors then asked independent laboratories to analyse the food, checking for possible residues of pesticides, dioxins, heavy metals,plasticisers (phthalates, bisphenol A or perfluorinated compounds [PFC]) and for food additives.

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Herbicide-loving alfalfa and sugar beets, Monsanto’s new GMOs (genetically modified organisms), have been blocked by the courts because Bush’s USDA failed to consider their environmental impacts, including whether they would contaminate organic crops. Obama’s USDA has a plan to get Monsanto’s new GMOs out of the courts and into the fields. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, former biotech governor of the year, calls the plan “coexistence.” The Organic Consumers Association calls it “contamination” and we say, “Hell no! No new GMOs!”

 

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“If you put a label on genetically engineered food you might as well put a skull and crossbones on it.”
Norman Braksick, president of Asgrow Seed Co., a subsidiary of Monsanto, quoted in the Kansas City Star, March 7, 1994

“Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food. Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the FDA’s job.”
Phil Angell, Monsanto’s director of corporate communications, quoted in the New York Times, October 25, 1998

After 16 years of non-stop biotech bullying and force-feeding Genetically Engineered or Modified (GE or GM) crops to farm animals and “Frankenfoods” to unwitting consumers, Monsanto has a big problem, or rather several big problems. A growing number of published scientific studies indicate that GE foods pose serious human health threats. The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) recently stated that “Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food,” including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. The AAEM advises consumers to avoid GM foods. Before the FDA arbitrarily decided to allow Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) into food products in 1994, FDA scientists had repeatedly warned that GM foods can set off serious, hard-to-detect side effects, including allergies, toxins, new diseases, and nutritional problems. They urged long-term safety studies, but were ignored.

Federal judges are finally starting to acknowledge what organic farmers and consumers have said all along: uncontrollable and unpredictable GMO crops such as alfalfa and sugar beets spread their mutant genes onto organic farms and into non-GMO varieties and plant relatives, and should be halted.

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We live in a world of monoculture crops, slim farmer margins, and consumers suffering from obesity and other diet-related health problems. But reviving traditional food cultures based on diverse and locally available foods can help both the farmers, consumers, and the environment.

Two co-operatives in the Begnas and Rupa lake watersheds in Kaski, Nepal are demonstrating how small farmers can reclaim important links in the food value chain, while also continuing to produce local and traditional foods, make money and protect biodiversity and improve nutrition and health.

See the video.

 

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The former United States ambassador to France suggested “moving to retaliation” against France and the European Union (EU) in late 2007 to fight a French ban on Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) corn and changes in European policy toward biotech crops, according to a cable released by WikiLeaks on Sunday.

Former Ambassador Craig Stapleton was concerned about France’s decision to suspend cultivation of Monsanto’s MON-810 corn and warned that a new French environmental review standard could spread anti-biotech policy across the EU.

“Country team Paris recommends that we calibrate a target retaliation list that causes some pain across the EU since this is a collective responsibility, but that also focuses in part on the worst culprits,” Stapleton wrote to diplomatic colleagues.

President George W. Bush appointed Stapleton as ambassador to France in 2005, and in 2009, Stapleton left the office and became an owner of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team. Bush and Stapleton co-owned the Texas Rangers during the 1990s.

Monsanto is based in St. Louis.

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