Teens Turning to Organic Food
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A wide-ranging study of teen consumption trends states that more teens are choosing organic food than were choosing organic two years ago.
Minneapolis-based Piper Jaffray & Co. recently released its 26th semi-annual “Taking Stock with Teens” consumer research report. The study found that 39 percent of teens ate organic food compared with 33 percent two years ago.
“This trend is likely to support ongoing demand for organic groceries, as teens age into young adults and establish independent households,” the report predicts. According to the research, 35 percent of teens said they were eating more organic food than a year ago. The survey did not break down purchases by type of food.
MONSANTO CROSSES FINGERS BEHIND BACK, PROMISES TO BE GOOD
Last June, a three-judge panel at the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C., issued a ruling that organic farmers are not entitled to bring a lawsuit to protect their crops from contamination by Monsanto’s GMO pollen drift “because Monsanto has made binding assurances that it will not take legal action against growers whose crops might inadvertently contain traces of Monsanto biotech genes.” The assurances were made anonymously on Monsanto’s website. Even if Monsanto doesn’t sue organic farmers for the crime of letting their crops become contaminated with wind-borne GMO pollen, the organic farm crops are still being contaminated, which ruins them for sale or export as organic food.
BIG FOOD WANTS GMO EDIBLES TO CARRY ‘NATURAL’ LABEL
The Grocery Manufacturers Association, which represents some of the largest food and beverage manufacturers and spent millions to defeat the GMO labeling laws in California and Washington, is seeking approval to label foods containing GMO ingredients “natural,” according to a December 5 letter the GMA sent to the US Food and Drug Administration.
Now, anything that exists in nature can be called “natural,” including asbestos, strychnine, cyanide, and sewage sludge. About the only thing you can think of that doesn’t exist in nature is a genetically modified organism—created by scientists shuffling genes around from creature to creature in ways nature won’t do or, if nature has thought of doing, has rejected as stupid. There is nothing in this wide world less “natural” than GMO foods.
FORMER CONVENTIONAL FARMER TURNS TO ORGANICS
Farmer Jerry Rosman used to be one of the agribusiness guys. He believed in the GMO hype. He made a point of buying the latest and greatest products coming down the GMO pipeline. That is, he did until he lost his business.
After long research, Rosman discovered the reason his pigs couldn’t reproduce: genetically engineered corn. The sows produced sacs of water—false pregnancies—instead of piglets.
As a result, he’s become an organic farmer and proponent of organic foods. He says pigs are the canary in the coalmine of GMO toxicity because they’re fed diets that consist of large percentages of it, and their digestive systems are analogous to our human systems.
Here’s a link to a full-length interview of Rosman talking about what happened. He backs up what he says; including (in the second video) what happens to researchers who tell the truth.
See the interview here:
WHOLE FOODS DROPS CHOBANI YOGURT: COWS FED GMO FEED
GMO Inside, a campaign of national non-profit Green America, has issued the following statement:
“We applaud Whole Foods’ decision to drop Chobani yogurts from its shelves. GMO Inside first sounded the alarm about the presence of GMO feed in the milk found in Chobani products in summer, 2013. Since then, 20,000 consumers have taken action to urge Chobani to drop GMOs from its supply chain, and posted comments on Chobani’s Facebook page.”
Tell Chobani to get GMOs out of their dairy operations here: http://action.greenamerica.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=11496
ORGANIC PRODUCTS FOR MOMS AND MOMS-TO-BE
A truly excellent line of non-toxic, organic, and human friendly body care products for moms and babies is available from the following company: http://www.earthmamaangelbaby.com/
BANNED IN 160 COUNTRIES, BUT NOT THE U.S.
Dr. Joseph Mercola’s website offers the following information about a drug used in American meat production that’s banned in 160 other countries around the world. Here’s what his site has to say:
“Ractopamine is a beta agonist drug that increases protein synthesis, thereby making a meat animal more muscular. This reduces the fat content of the meat and increases the profit per animal.
“Beta agonist drugs, as a class, have been used in U.S. cattle production since 2003. Ractopamine is administered in the days leading up to slaughter, and as much as 20 percent of it can remain in the meat you buy.
“Animal research has linked ractopamine to reductions in reproductive function, birth defects, increase of mastitis in dairy herds, and increased disability and death. FDA records show ‘death’ is the most-often reported side effect.
“The Center for Food Safety, together with the Animal Legal Defense Fund recently sued the FDA, maintaining it is illegally withholding records pertaining to ractopamine’s safety.
“The only type of meat I recommend eating is organically-raised, grass-fed or pastured meats and animal byproducts.”
The Man Who Saved the Earth
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Literally “saved the earth,” if by earth you mean the soil. And maybe the rest of the earth, too, although it’s still too early to tell.
The era was the late 1930s and early 1940s. American farms were undergoing massive change as chemical companies churned out mineral fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and other toxins meant to make the farmer’s life easier, the crops more productive, and the bottom lines fatter. This was the era when DDT was considered the salvation of the family farm. Agricultural chemicals were a godsend. Bankers wouldn’t even loan money to farmers unless their harvest was guaranteed by the use of chemicals.
This was the year, 1942, in the darkest days of WWII, when Jerome Irving Rodale launched Organic Farming and Gardening magazine. In it, he decried the use of agricultural chemicals, especially pesticides. He sent out solicitations for subscribers to 10,000 farmers and received not one subscription in return. A few gardeners subscribed—mostly older folks who had gardened naturally in Europe and had come to America to escape the Nazis.
Predictably, the establishment vilified Rodale. People called him a crackpot, a quack, a fraud, and worse. And when, eight years later in 1950, he launched Prevention magazine and founded the natural vitamin and food supplement industry, the medical establishment joined in the vilification.
The attacks on him personally, his integrity, and his sanity hurt the man deeply, but he was convinced that the nature of health is found in the health of nature. Nature knows best, he said. He studied what was known about the soil and its living creatures—especially the microorganisms—and what chemical agriculture was doing to the soil. By impoverishing it with chemicals instead of recycling organic matter back into the soil, he said, this natural treasure had been laid waste. He’d seen what happened when the prairies were plowed up and the organic matter depleted—the Dust Bowl and the horrible dust storms that blanketed North America in the 1930s. The soil is a living organism made up of a huge diversity of tiny organisms, he said, and the proper way to farm (or garden) was to blow the life in the soil aflame by adding back the organic matter that farming depleted.
Now, from the perspective of more than 70 years of organic farming and gardening, we can see that he was exactly right. His methods of composting and organic farming leave the soil in better shape after each crop is harvested from it than before the crop was planted. Simply by recycling organic matter, eschewing the use of mineral fertilizers and toxic chemicals, and using tillage or mulches instead of herbicides to control weeds and biodiversity to keep insects in check, his ideas and their prescience have been validated.
There was a time when the American Medical Society flatly declared J.I. Rodale’s ideas to be quackery. For all of us who eat organic and reap the benefits to our health, the drug-based practice of mainstream medicine—for all its value—seems woefully incomplete, while Rodale’s vision of a clean agriculture and proper nutrition as preventive of disease seem ever more important.
‘NATURAL’ VANILLA FROM GMO YEAST—YEAH, RIGHT
Friends of the Earth sends this report:
Natural vanilla flavor comes from a vanilla bean, right?
Maybe not for long–a new genetically engineered ingredient, straight out of a petri dish, is about to enter our favorite foods, from ice cream to birthday cake.
Synbio vanilla–produced by a form of extreme genetic engineering called “synthetic biology”–is stranger than science fiction, but government regulators will still let food companies call it natural.
So we’re asking major ice cream companies like Haagen Dazs, Dreyer’s, Edy’s, Baskin Robbins and others not to use this experimental genetically engineered vanilla in their products.
The truth is, this new vanilla doesn’t even come from a plant. Instead, it is made in labs using synthetic DNA and genetically engineered yeast which exists nowhere in nature. There’s nothing natural about genetically engineered yeast that excretes vanilla flavoring.
What’s worse, the FDA hasn’t even bothered to test this laboratory creation as a new product. Instead the agency will likely approve it as “Generally Regarded As Safe.”
As the first major use of synthetic biology in our food, synbio vanilla could set a dangerous precedent and open the floodgates to allow more synthetic, genetically engineered ingredients labeled as natural.
And if this wasn’t bad enough, this new synbio vanilla could speed rain forest destruction, and harm sustainable farmers and poor communities that rely on rain forest-raised vanilla beans to survive.
BIG ISLAND BANS BIOTECHS AND GMO CROPS
The mayor of the Big Island of Hawaii, Billy Kenoi, has signed Bill 113 into law. The bill prohibits biotech companies from operating on the Big Island and prohibits farmers from growing any new, genetically modified crops there.
Hawaii is joining Mexico, which last summer banned (on an interim basis) the planting of all genetically engineered corn, and Italy, which last July became the ninth European country to ban planting of Monsanto’s GMO corn.
REPORT DOCUMENTS ESCAPE OF GMOS INTO ENVIRONMENT
A “transgene escape” report from Testbiotech—the Institute for Independent Impact Assessment of Biotechnology, based in Germany–documents case studies where genetically engineered plants have spread uncontrolled into the environment.
“In some instances from North and Central America,” the scientists write, “we can assume that transgenes from species such as bentgrass, oilseed rape, and cotton have already escaped permanently into the environment of wild populations. In other cases, such as corn, rice, and poplar, there is a high likelihood that this will happen in the near future,” the report states.
The report makes several recommendations:
“Most importantly,” it says, “measures should be put in place immediately
to stop any further uncontrolled spread of genetically engineered plants into the environment as far as possible. Comprehensive regulation should be established to strengthen the precautionary principle and the release of genetically engineered organisms should not be allowed if they cannot be retrieved from the environment.”
To read the full report, visit this website:
CAVEAT EMPTOR, EARTHBOUND FARM FANS
WhiteWave has announced its purchase of organic vegetable producer Earthbound Farm for $600 million, according to the Cornucopia Institute. In a press release, the Institute offered the following analysis:
“WhiteWave’s management is the same team that built the Horizon dairy label in its early years with virtually all their milk coming from giant ‘organic’ factory farms, with as many as 10,000 cows living in their own filth. (One such operation was eventually shut down, through the USDA certification process, after a legal complaint by The Cornucopia Institute.) WhiteWave still depends on giant dairies in the West, some milking thousands of cows, for a large percentage of its milk production.
“This is the same company and management that, after buying ‘organic’ soybeans from China, took over the Silk soymilk product line and converted it from 100 percent organic to virtually no certified organic products—replacing
organic with ‘natural’ products.
“This new acquisition even gives corporate lobbyists at WhiteWave a direct conduit to the important National Organic Standards Board via John Foster, an employee of Earthbound and an NOSB member.
“In addition to Horizon and Silk, WhiteWave manufactures myriad conventional products distributed outside of the organic channels. For example, the company, which professes allegiance to health and the environment, makes International Delight nondairy coffee creamer, a product with ingredients that no nutritionist would recommend be part of any healthy diet.”
FDA TO PHASE OUT ROUTINE ANTIBIOTIC USE ON FARM ANIMALS
The New York Times is reporting that the Food and Drug Administration has put in place a major new policy to phase out the indiscriminate use of antibiotics in cows, pigs and chickens raised for meat, a practice that experts say has endangered human health by fueling the growing epidemic of antibiotic resistance.
“This is the agency’s first serious attempt in decades to curb what experts have long regarded as the systematic overuse of antibiotics in healthy farm animals, with the drugs typically added directly into their feed and water,” the newspaper reports. “The waning effectiveness of antibiotics—wonder drugs of the 20th century—has become a looming threat to public health. At least two million Americans fall sick every year and about 23,000 die from antibiotic-resistant infections.
“The change, which is to take effect over the next three years, will effectively make it illegal for farmers and ranchers to use antibiotics to make animals grow bigger. The producers had found that feeding low doses of antibiotics to animals throughout their lives led them to grow plumper and larger. Scientists still debate why. Food producers will also have to get a prescription from a veterinarian to use the drugs to prevent disease in their animals,” the Times reports.
WHY EXACTLY DO WE NEED A GMO APPLE?
USDA: Do not approve the genetically engineered Arctic Apple. That’s the word from Friends of the Earth.
If approved, unlabeled genetically engineered apples could contaminate conventional and organic foods including fruit slices, juice, baby foods, and applesauce—products predominantly consumed by children and babies, who are at increased risk for any adverse health effects.
GMO apples may contaminate nearby organic and conventional apple orchards and could potentially cause valuable export markets to reject U.S.-grown apples, as has happened in the past when wheat and rice crops were found to be contaminated by GMOs. This product is unnecessary and poses numerous risks to apple growers, the food industry, and consumers. The USDA should not approve this genetically engineered apple.
The Why of It
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Last evening, driving over the hills of Sonoma County, I was struck by the beauty of the sunset. The sun had slipped below the horizon, but the western sky was glowing with a pure golden-orange light. It was so beautiful that I felt a rush of gratitude just to have been given the gift of life and the ability to appreciate such beauty. And I felt gratitude for the fact that the world could be so beautiful. And finally, gratitude for whoever or whatever created this world, seeding it with beauty and with creatures who can appreciate it. What a gift it all is.
That kind of gratitude and appreciation of nature is what opens the door for farmers and gardeners to practice organically. They feel a responsibility to be wise stewards of the earth and its creatures, plant and animal.
And those of us who eat organic food are supporting these wise stewards, even as we are being wise stewards of our own bodies and those of the children and adults we feed.
Life, and a beautiful world in which to live it, is a precious gift to us from a loving universe. Organic growers protect and cherish this gift as they intensify the life force of the soil, the plants, and the animals by farming and gardening organically.
This is not some airy-fairy idea. Organic farming and gardening is hard work—harder than solving problems by spreading poisons according to the directions on the label. It’s where the wisdom comes in. By farming and gardening organically, the practitioner constantly learns from nature and begins to comprehend her. The organic farmer or gardener is in a school that lasts his or her entire life.
We who eat the products of the organic farm or garden miss the toil in the soil and get the fun part—the full belly, the good taste, the superior nutrition, the cleanliness of the food.
What do conventional farmers, food processors, and those who eat those products get? Read on.
GMOs LINKED TO GLUTEN DISORDERS
Genetically modified foods such as soy and corn may be responsible for a number of gluten-related maladies including intestinal disorders now plaguing 18 million Americans, according to a new report.
The report was released by the Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT), and cites authoritative data from US Department of Agriculture and US Environmental Protection Agency records, medical journal reviews, as well as international research.
“Gluten sensitivity can range in severity from mild discomfort, such as gas and bloating, to celiac disease, a serious autoimmune condition that can, if undiagnosed, result in a four-fold increase in (the chance of) death,” said Jeffrey M. Smith, executive director of IRT in a statement released on its website.
The GMO-related damage was linked to five different areas: intestinal permeability, imbalanced gut bacteria, immune activation and allergic response, impaired digestion, and damage to the intestinal wall.
The IRT release also indicated that glyphosate, a weed killer sold under the brand name ‘Roundup’ was found to have a negative effect on intestinal bacteria. GMO crops contain high levels of the toxin at harvest.
“Even with minimal exposure, glyphosate can significantly reduce the population of beneficial gut bacteria and promote the overgrowth of harmful strains,” the report found.
Dr. Tom O’Bryan, internationally recognized expert on gluten sensitivity and celiac disease, says that “the introduction of GMOs is highly suspect as a candidate to explain the rapid rise in gluten-related disorders over the last 17 years.”
Internist Emily Linder also offered some backup for the report’s findings. She removed GMOs from her patients’ diets and found that recovery from intestinal diseases was faster and more complete. “I believe that GMOs in our diet contribute to the rise in gluten-sensitivity in the US population,” Dr. Linder said in the release.
STUDY LINKING GMOs AND DISEASE RETRACTED FROM JOURNAL
The journal Food and Chemical Toxicology has fulfilled its threat to retract a paper claiming that genetically modified (GMO) corn causes serious disease in rats, after the authors refused to withdraw it, according to a press release from Nature magazine.
The retraction came as no surprise. Earlier this month, the journal’s editor-in-chief, Wallace Hayes, threatened retraction if Dr. Séralini, the lead researcher, refused to withdraw the paper. Séralini and his team stand by their results, and allege that the retraction derives from the journal’s editorial appointment of biologist Richard Goodman, who previously worked for biotechnology giant Monsanto for seven years.
“The magazine reviewed our paper more than any other,” says co-author and physician Joël Spiroux de Vendômois, who is also president of the Paris-based Committee for Research and Independent Information on Genetic Engineering (CRIIGEN), which collaborated in the study. The retraction is “a public-health scandal”, he says.
Goodman, however, denies any involvement in the decision to retract the paper.