“Help support organics”

An Open Letter to the Organic Community from Ronnie Cummins

After 45 years of hard work and grassroots struggle, the organic community has built up a $30 billion organic food and farming industry and community. But 10% annual growth isn’t enough to avert the public health, environmental and climate crisis ahead – a crisis caused in large part by industrial agriculture. The first step toward an Organic Alternative is to pass truth-in-labeling laws. It’s time to support the Nov. 6th California Ballot Initiative (Proposition 37) to require labels on genetically engineered foods and to ban the routine industry practice of marketing GMO-tainted foods as “natural” or “all natural.” The outcome of this ballot initiative will determine whether GMO foods are labeled – not only in California, but across the entire United States and Canada as well.

Today I’m asking the organic community – in California and nationwide – to approach the managers of the retail stores, CSAs, restaurants, or farmers markets where you regularly buy your organic food and ask them to endorse Prop 37, educate their consumers and financially support Prop 37. We have thousands of volunteers, but we need more. Please be a part of this historic initiative!

Sign up to volunteer here

Read Ronnie’s open letter here

Reprinted to support the organic way and the dedicated work of Ron Cummings Organic Consumers.org

Congressional push Remove antibiotics from Food – Comp. Med Assoc.

From the Rep. Slaughter Antibiotics in Food Survey
The information supplied by the food industry, Rep. Slaughter, the only microbiologist serving in Congress, is urging consumers and the Congress to act now.

Editor’s comment: Beware of companies using antibiotics routinely in stock feed for “growth” of the stock when shopping. Congress must strengthen US laws in order to fight the excessive use of antibiotics in our meats and poultry production. Excessive antibiotics can make humans more prone to the growing threat of superbugs by decreasing our immune systems and intestinal flora.

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of foodsafetynews

 

“Protect family -read bar codes”

I am going to watch those bar codes a LOT more now… I am busy reading the ingredients.. Boy.. shopping is a full time job!!!

ALWAYS READ THE LABELS ON THE FOODS YOU BUY–NO MATTER WHAT THE FRONT OF THE BOX OR PACKAGE TURN IT OVER AND READ THE BACK—CAREFULLY!

With all the food and pet products now coming from China , it is best to make sure you read labels at the grocery store and especially Wal-Mart when buying food products. Many products no longer show where they were made, only give where the distributor is located. It is important to read the bar code to track its origin.

How to read Bar Codes … interesting!

This may be useful to know when grocery shopping, if it’s a concern to you.

GREAT WAY TO “BUY USA & CANADA ” AND NOT FROM CHINA!!

The whole world is afraid of China-made “black hearted goods”.
Can you differentiate which one is made in Taiwan or China ?
If the first 3 digits of the barcode are 690, 691 or 692, the product is MADE IN CHINA.
471 is Made in Taiwan .

This is our right to know, but the government and related departments never educate the

public, therefore we have to RESCUE ourselves.

Nowadays, Chinese businessmen know that consumers do not prefer products “MADE IN

CHINA”, so they don’t show from which country it is made.

However, you may now refer to the barcode – remember if the first 3 digits are:

690-692 … then it is MADE IN CHINA
00 – 09 … USA & CANADA
30 – 37 … FRANCE
40 – 44 … GERMANY
471 … Taiwan
49 … JAPAN
50 … UK

BUY USA & CANADIAN MADE by watching for “0” at the beginning of the number.
Support the USA.

Health Tip of the day submitted by JS
Image courtesy of  http://goo.gl/sLbZF

“A recipe for a quality life”

It is about Quality in
buying food, preparation, companions,work and service = quality life

75 per cent of Americans are focused on eating more whole grains

What is a whole grain?
A whole grain is a grain unprocessed and straight from Mother Nature.
They include: amaranth, barley, brown rice, bulgar wheat, couscous, millet, oatmeal, popcorn (seed), quinoa, sorghum and triticale (a hybrid of rye and wheat whole oats, whole rye, wild rice (a blend of seeds) and whole wheat.

To be a whole grain it must still contain the bran and germ, when it is processed the brain and germ are removed, leaving behind the white endosperm. This causes many nutrients to be left behind.
To try to make up for the bleeding of nutrients through processing, companies will throw in a sprinkle of vitamins and call their product “enriched”. There is nothing enriching about this scam. 25% of their original protein content and 17 other essential nutrients are usually lost.

Whole grain breads pack more protein, fiber, vitamins (B vitamins and vitamin E), and minerals (magnesium and iron), as well as some antioxidants not found in junk foods.

The U.S. government recommends that half of your daily grains servings should be whole grains. That’s at least three servings of whole grains per day.

Even desserts can be made more nutritious using whole grains and a natural sugar.

Help Finding whole grain products

Until recently, finding whole grain products was difficult. Is this product whole grain, or simply refined flour with caramel coloring? Does 100% wheat mean it’s whole grain? What does multigrain really mean?
Help from the whole grains council
The Whole Grains Council is helping consumers to find and eat more whole grains
Look for the Whole Grain Stamp, a special packaging symbol now on hundreds and hundreds of popular products. Check out the list of “Stamped Products” here on our website.
At Restaurants, using our list of food outlets that offer at least one whole grain choice at every meal.
For Foodservice, using our new foodservice list. If you run a restaurant or cafeteria, you need to know where you can buy bulk containers of whole grains – not the usual consumer-size products. We can help.

It is about Quality in
buying food, preparation, companions,work and service = quality life

Excerpts courtesy of  http://bit.ly/kc3eEY

Excerpts courtesy of  http://bit.ly/kwtfW6

Image courtesy of  http://bit.ly/lbiS1e

“Scientists unlock chocolate genes”

Don’t mess with Mother Nature
Researchers have found the genes that code for the production of the cocoa butter in Theobroma cacao, needed to make sweets, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics.
Studying the genes of Mother Nature’s finest crop cacao, researchers are finding ways to make the best chocolate in the world “better”. Better means, increased disease resistance and increased profitability to the grower.

Researchers have found genes that code for the production of cocoa butter, a substance highly prized in chocolate making, confectionery, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. Most cocoa beans are already about 50 percent fat, but these 84 genes control not only the amounts fat produced, but quality of the cocoa butter.  Altering these genes might produce chocolate with better flavors, aromas and even “healthier” chocolate by influencing the production of flavonoids, natural antioxidants and terpenoids, hormones and pigments.
The team sequenced the DNA of a variety of Theobroma cacao, considered to produce the world’s finest chocolate. The Maya domesticated this variety of Theobroma cacao, Criollo, about 3,000 years ago in Central America, and it is one of the oldest domesticated tree crops. Today, many growers prefer to grow hybrid cacao trees that produce chocolate of lower quality but are more resistant to disease.
“Fine cocoa production is estimated to be less than 5 percent of the world cocoa production because of low productivity and disease susceptibility,” said Guiltinan, professor of plant molecular biology.
The researchers report in the current issue of Nature Genetics “consumers have shown an increased interest for high-quality chocolate made with cocoa of good quality and for dark chocolate, containing a higher percentage of cocoa, while also taking into account environmental and ethical criteria for cocoa production.”

Author: Mary Wolken, PhD., Ex. Dir CMA

Resources

Excerpts and Image courtesy of http://bit.ly/hrSLjG

Immediate Moratorium On Genetically Modified Foods

Press release health advisory

aaenvir med logo
aaenvir med logo

From the American Academy Of Environmental Medicine

Immediate Moratorium On Genetically Modified Foods May 19, 2009

The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) today released its position paper on Genetically Modified foods stating that “GM foods pose a serious health risk” and calling for a moratorium on GM foods. Citing several animal studies, the AAEM concludes “there is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects” and that “GM foods pose a serious health risk in the areas of toxicology, allergy and immune function, reproductive health, and metabolic, physiologic and genetic health.”

– Dr. Amy L. Dean, D.O. Public Relations Chair Member, Board of Directors American Academy of Environmental Medicine 734-213-4901 environmentalmed@yahoo.com

The AAEM calls for:

* A moratorium on GM food, implementation of immediate long term safety testing and labeling of GM food.
* Physicians to educate their patients, the medical community and the public to avoid GM foods.
* Physicians to consider the role of GM foods in their patients’ disease processes.
* More independent long term scientific studies to begin gathering data to investigate the role of GM foods on human health.

“Physicians are probably seeing the effects in their patients, but need to know how to ask the right questions,” said Dr. Jennifer Armstrong, President of AAEM. “The most common foods in North America which are consumed that are GMO are corn, soy, canola, and cottonseed oil.”

The AAEM’s position paper on Genetically Modified foods can be found at http:aaemonline.org/gmopost.html.

AAEM is an international association of physicians and other professionals dedicated to addressing the clinical aspects of environmental health. AAEM The American Academy of Environmental Medicine was founded in 1965, and is an international association of physicians and other professionals interested in the clinical aspects of humans and their environment. The Academy is interested in expanding the knowledge of interactions between human individuals and their environment, as these may be demonstrated to be reflected in their total health. The AAEM provides research and education in the recognition, treatment and prevention of illnesses induced by exposures to biological and chemical agents encountered in air, food and water.

More information is available at .aaemonline.org.

Resources

Text courtesy of http://www.aaemonline.org/pressrelease.html

Image courtesy of http://media.nowpublic.net/

"FEDS sue over sale of inferior meat for school lunch program"

Bad meat for school lunches
Bad meat for school lunches

Do not mess with the Federal Government or the Humane Society of America-This time both are the good guys.

U.S. Department of Justice Joins Suit Filed by Humane Society of the United States on Behalf of American Taxpayers

A federal district court in Los Angeles unsealed a major False Claims Act lawsuit filed by The Humane Society of the United States against the two companies—Hallmark Meat Packing and Westland Meat Company Inc.—responsible for the downed animal abuse scandal last year in Chino, Calif. The HSUS’s investigation into the mistreatment of animals too sick or injured to walk, which exposed abuses at the country’s second largest supplier of ground beef to the National School Lunch Program, led to the largest meat recall in the nation’s history.
The U.S. Department of Justice for joining The HSUS in seeking to hold federal meat suppliers accountable when they fail to provide humane treatment of animals in accordance with federal law,” said Jonathan R. Lovvorn, vice president & chief counsel for animal protection litigation at The HSUS. “The meat industry should take notice that if they defraud federal agencies and the American taxpayers by abusing animals, there will be serious consequences for their inhumane and reckless actions.”

The suit wants to hold Hallmark Meat Packing and Westland Meat Company Inc.accountable for the downed animal abuse scandal last year in Chino, Calif. In the HSUS’s investigation into the mistreatment of animals too sick or injured to walk exposed abuses at the country’s second largest supplier of ground beef to the National School Lunch Program this led to the largest meat recall in the nation’s history.

Sounds yummy for our childrens tummies-not so much.

Resources

Excerpts courtesy of HSUS.org

Meat Supplier Faces $150 Million Lawsuit for Using Sick and Injured Animals in the Federal School Lunch Program 5/1/2009.

Image courtesy of images google.com

Healthier Produce – Organic vs. Conventional

“The Organic Center published a comprehensive survey of 97 peer-reviewed studies addressing this question. Conclusive comparative studies of vegetables are difficult — weather, soil type, the variety and harvesting practices all come into play. The review narrowed the studies to only those that had controlled for these features. They found that organic produce usually ranked higher in four antioxidant categories (total phenolics, total antioxidant capacity, quercetin, and kaempferol), vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Phosphorus.

Conventional produce often ranked higher for total protein and nitrates. (Note that nitrates are undesirable, so the authors considered higher nitrate levels to be a nutritional deficit.) Beta-carotine and potassium levels were about equal. The authors also found that the magnitude of the difference was generally much larger in favor of organics. When the organic sample had a higher nutrient level than its conventional counterpart, the magnitude of this difference was greater than 20% in 42% of the samples and greater than 30% in almost a quarter of the samples. For the same nutrients, when conventional produce ranked higher, the difference was greater than 20% in only 15% of the samples and over 30% in only 6% of the samples. Although the protein levels were higher in conventional samples in an overwhelming majority of cases, they were higher by more than 20% in only 17% of the cases. Condensing all of the data into ratios and finding the average, the authors found that the organic produce contained an average of 25% more of the nutrients included in the study than conventional produce.

For a copy of the Organic Center study click link below. www.organic-center.org/science.nutri.php?action=view&report_id=126

A quote from Are Organic Vegetables More Nutritious, published by The Organic Center:
“The nutrient density of many common foods has declined gradually over time in both the U.S. and the U.K…. Declining average nutrient levels in the U.S. food supply have been brought about by what agronomists have labeled the ‘dilution effect,’ first coined in an important review article published in 1981… The remarkable increases in per acre crop yields brought about over a half-century through advances in plant breeding, the intensity of fertilizer and pesticide use and irrigation are well known. However, few are aware that this achievement has come at a cost in terms of food nutritional quality.”
– Lizzy Koltai
http://fullbellyfarm.com/newsletter.html

Full Belly Farms is a model for healthy sustainable organic farming practices.

World Food Crisis and Politics

FarmPolicy.com July 15, 2008

Keith Bradsher and Andrew Martin reported in today’s New York Times that, “At least 29 countries have sharply curbed food exports in recent months, to ensure that their own people have enough to eat, at affordable prices.

“When it comes to rice, India, Vietnam, China and 11 other countries have limited or banned exports. Fifteen countries, including Pakistan and Bolivia, have capped or halted wheat exports. More than a dozen have limited corn exports. Kazakhstan has restricted exports of sunflower seeds.

“The restrictions are making it harder for impoverished importing countries to afford the food they need. The export limits are forcing some of the most vulnerable people, those who rely on relief agencies, to go hungry.

Bradsher and Martin explained that, “The new restrictions are just an acute symptom of a chronic condition. Since 1980, even as trade in services and in manufactured goods has tripled, adjusting for inflation, trade in food has barely increased. Instead, for decades, food has been a convoluted tangle of restrictive rules, in the form of tariffs, quotas and subsidies.

“Now, with Australia’s farm sector crippled by drought and Argentina suffering a series of strikes and other disruptions, the world is increasingly dependent on a handful of countries like Thailand, Brazil, Canada and the United States that are still exporting large quantities of food.”

From a political perspective, the Times article noted that, “Powerful lobbies in affluent countries across the northern hemisphere, from Japan to Western Europe to the United States, have long protected farmers in ways factory workers in Detroit could only dream of.

“The Japanese protect their rice industry by making it nearly impossible for imported rice to compete. The European Union severely limits beef and poultry imports, and Poland goes further, barring soybean imports as well.

“… Today’s crisis actually makes that more difficult for them. Food protests in places like Haiti and Indonesia that rely heavily on imported food have convinced many nations that it is more important than ever that they grow, and keep, the food their citizens need.”

The Times article indicated that, “The current dispute over food exports highlights choices that nations have confronted for centuries.

“One relates directly to trade: Is it best to specialize in whatever food grows best in a country’s soil, and trade it for all other food needs — or even, perhaps, specialize in services or manufacturing, and trade those for food?

Food Futures Prices Rise
“Corn and soybean prices pushed deeper into record territory before easing Friday as rain again soaked the Midwest and traders locked in profits ahead of a planting report next week.

“The early gains followed a sharp run-up in commodity prices over the previous two days, and came as oil futures touched a new high just shy of $143 a barrel.”

“Corn for December delivery nudged the all-time high up a penny to $7.96 bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade before pulling back to settle at $7.87, down one cent from the previous close.

“Soybeans for November delivery hit a new record of $15.77 a bushel on the CBOT before falling back to settle at $15.595, down 2 cents. Wheat prices also ended lower, with the September contract tumbling 30.75 cents to $9.12 a bushel on the CBOT,” the article said.

Higher feeding costs have also caused some market observers to keep a keen watch on livestock inventories, a variable that also has an impact on food prices.
Ms. Etter explained that, “On June 2, Secretary of Agriculture Edward Schafer said in a speech on food security at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome that biofuels contributed 2% to 3% of the overall increase in global food prices over the past year. The secretary’s report relied on data supplied by Edward P. Lazear, chairman of the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers.

“Ten days later in testimony before the Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee, USDA chief economist Joseph Glauber said biofuels contributed up to 10% of the overall increase.

“Now, members of Congress want to know why there are two sets of numbers and whether the government used more benign numbers in Rome as a way to downplay the role biofuels have played in pushing up food prices.”

The Journal item continued with this analysis: “It turns out that Mr. Glauber’s number is higher because he looked at the overall impact on food prices of corn-based ethanol and soybean-based biodiesel. The White House analysis looked at the impact of only corn ethanol.

“That makes a difference. In the past year the price of soybeans, one of America’s biggest crops, has soared as more of the beans were used for biodiesel and since fewer acres of beans were planted last year to accommodate more acres of corn for corn-ethanol.

“A USDA spokesman, Jim Brownlee, says Mr. Schafer was not aware of a different number when he spoke in Rome.

“Because Mr. Schafer used the White House data in his speech, he should have used the word ‘ethanol’ instead of ‘biofuels’ because the numbers he used were only pertaining to corn ethanol.

“Mr. Brownlee says he probably used the word ‘biofuels’ accidentally. ‘When I read that I thought, ‘oops’, he meant to say ethanol,’ he recalls. Mr. Schafer used the word ‘biofuels’ nine times in his speech and during a question-and-answer session with reporters.

“The issue of measuring the total impact biofuels have had on global food prices has become a political thicket. Interest groups, armed with an array of studies, have gone to war over the issue.”

In other news regarding biofuels, David Irvin reported yesterday at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Online that, “Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., said Congress must think through more deeply the unintended consequences of energy policy before making sweeping changes to current policy.

“‘I think it is right for us to set ambitious goals for renewable fuels, but we have to be cautious of the consequences and make sure that what we are doing is being thoughtful of the other industries that suffer those consequences,’ Lincoln said. The U. S. Department of Agriculture says the government’s ethanol policy has not caused a significant amount of food-price inflation. ‘We don’t think conditions today warrant changes,’ Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer told a group of reporters and editors in Washington earlier this month, Bloomberg News reported. Corn prices rose about 80 percent in the last year, and with recent floods in the Corn Belt, the cost of a bushel of corn is now hovering above $7. That matters to meat producers like Springdale-based Tyson Foods Inc., because it uses corn and soybeans to feed millions of chickens every week. Tyson will absorb $600 million of extra grain expense this year, the company has said. It also matters to consumers, because the price of meat is rising on retail shelves as manufacturers cope with the commodity inflation. Even food banks have been affected, one Springdale minister said. To what degree ethanol production affects the price of corn — and food — is a matter of debate. But the issue will almost certainly fuel a political clash after the new president takes office, as the meat industry works this year in the halls of Congress to get rid of subsidized ethanol in the United States.”

Price issues are also fostering debate about acreage in the Conservation Reserve Program.

The Associated Press reported on Friday that, “Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the Senate’s second-ranking Democrat, praised Department of Agriculture officials for their work in the flooding’s aftermath, saying they were doing everything they could to help the state in the face of legal restrictions that limit aid.

“One unanswered question is whether the government can make Conservation Reserve Program acreage, now set aside for preservation, available for earlier haying and livestock grazing to those affected by the floods.

So much for conservation

“The Agriculture Department may modify rules for the program to allow such activities even earlier than usual when there has been flooding.”

And a Dow Jones news article from Friday (posted at DTN, link requires subscription), reported that, “U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer said Friday a decision regarding early release of land out of a government conservation program is expected in the ‘next couple of weeks,’ possibly in time for fall planting.

“‘We’ve got to make a decision in the next couple of weeks and we will do so. To get the ground prepped (for winter wheat), we’ve got to start soon,’ Schafer said.”

The article explained that, “Farmers who enrolled acres in the conservation reserve program commit for that land to be out of production for a set number of years, and those who take it out early usually face penalties. With rising food prices and millions of acres of farmland flooded in the Midwest there have been calls to open that land.

“If the decision is made soon, it would allow for planting of winter wheat this fall. Even though corn and soybeans have been affected by spring flooding, opening the land to winter wheat plantings would allow livestock producers to use some of that for feed, Schafer said.”

http://www.farmpolicy.com/?p=820#more-820

Keith Good June, 30, 2008