|Alert Update of the Week:
U.S. Government To Electronically Track Your Animals
| Last week’s Organic Bytes featured an alert targeting the USDA on the pending National Animal Identification System (NAIS). Over 12,000 people have taken action, rejecting the NAIS program as a threat to family-scale and sustainable farms and ranches. Great job!
| Web Video of the Week:
| This short 7 minute video will give you a brief overview of USDA’s Big Brother National Animal Identification System and why it should be stopped.
|Good News of the Week:
European Countries Continue Ban on Genetically Engineered Crops
| Although more than 70% of the non-organic food in American supermarkets contains genetically engineered ingredients, massive opposition to GMO crops in Europe has basically kept them off the market (except for imported animal feed). According to the majority the EU, biotech crops pose unacceptable risks to human health and the environment—despite industry, U.S. Government, and many trade officials’ insistence that they are perfectly safe. This week, France’s Environment Minister Jean-Louis Borloo announced that his country, along with several other European nations, would be renewing its ban on all genetically engineered (GE) crops, including Monsanto’s GE corn (MON 810), which is the only biotech crop allowed for human consumption in the EU. According to Borloo, “The basis of the safeguard clause, which tackles open-field cultivation of the Monsanto 810 maize, is on risks considered as severe for the environment…”Learn more
| Related Facts of the Week:
Genetically Engineered Crops Creating More Pesticide Addiction in U.S.
| According to a recent (December 2008) global summary report from the Worldwatch Institute:1) The U.S. leads the world, by far, in genetically engineered crop production and consumption.
2) The widespread planting of crops genetically engineered to resist specific pesticides (which allows farmers to apply more pesticides to their
crops) has created 15 new species of plants known as “superweeds” that are resistant to commonly used pesticides. In 2008, these superweeds were discovered on hundreds of thousands of acres of U.S. farmland.
3) Due to the presence of these new superweeds, GM crop production has already led to a $60 million annual increase in pesticide use in the U.S.
Most of that money goes to the same companies that developed the GM crops that were supposed to reduce pesticide use in the first place.
| Organic Transitions Essay of the Week:
Getting Prepared for the Great Collapse: Dmitry Orlov
| Moving way beyond OCA’s ongoing campaign to press the Obama Administration and industry to drop “business as usual” and green the economy—before it’s too late—Orlov reminds us, with brilliant historical analysis and humor, that it probably is too late, and we’d better start comparing “best practices” for collapsing societies, to guarantee our collective survival in the coming catastrophic times.Read Orlov’s essay
| Organic Bytes Readers Talk Back:
Yoplait Dumps Monsanto?
| Note from Organic Bytes Reader: “Thank you very much for the latest issue of Organic Bytes (#161). I am always anxious to read it. I am writing in reference to your story about Yoplait’s decision to stop using rBGH in their Yogurt. The title of the newsletter announces this article with the phrase “Yoplait Dumps Monsanto”, but Yoplait continues to use another controversial Monsanto product - Aspartame - in its low-fat yogurt (which is one of the reasons I don’t eat it!). Because of this fact, I find the announcement “Yoplait Dumps Monsanto” pretty misleading. I’m sure it was not intended that way - but some clarification would be greatly appreciated in the future.”Response from OCA: Thanks for your thoughtful response. You are certainly correct, and we apologize for the misleading headline. Although the G.D.Searle chemical company developed aspartame back in 1965, Monsanto bought Searle in 1985 and then sold it later. The headline “Yoplait Drops Monsanto” is indeed incorrect since in late 2008, Monsanto announced it would be selling Posilac, which is the rBGH drug, to Eli Lilly. So, technically speaking, the headline should indicate Yoplait is dumping Eli Lilly. As always, we thank you and our readers for pointing out any mistakes in our reporting. We also thank you, again, for pushing Yoplait to dump rBGH and aspartame!
Post your questions and comments about Organic Bytes in OCA’s Web Forum
| Web Forum Posting of the Week:
If It’s Certified Organic, is It Organically Shipped?
| OCA Web Forum User ‘Michael’ posted the following question. Over 9,000 people have viewed the question and many have replied:“When I buy organic apples from Chile the certification says that they were “organically grown”. Does that also mean they were organically shipped? The reason I ask is that I have traveled quite a bit to and from other parts of South America. It seemed to me that they were spraying a lot of stuff, including luggage, with pesticides then wrapping it in plastic before loading it on the airplane. It occurred to me that they might be doing something similar with the organically grown fruit they ship from there. Is there some way to get assurance that they do not do this?”
Read more and join the discussion
| Headlines and Articles of the Week:
| 1) Buying Organic is Well Worth the Cost Even When Times are Tough:
“Organic food is now the fastest growing segment of U.S. agriculture. In 2007, the value of retail sales from organic food was estimated at more than $20 billion. The industry is expected to grow at a rate of 18 percent per year until 2010, making organic food sales one of the fastest growing sectors in the generally sagging U.S. economy…”2) Farming Chemicals Cause Kidney Failure for Thousands of Farmworkers:
“More than 3,000 workers at a sugar plant owned by Nicaragua’s most powerful company have died from chronic renal failure since 1990 and a victims’ group says another 5,000 workers have since developed the condition for the company’s use of agrochemicals…”
3) Eleven North Sea Islands Become Living Laboratories for a Waste-free Environment:
“The islands from six countries will follow a “cradle-to-cradle” philosophy, which calls for using renewable energy and products made from materials that can be endlessly reused or organically decomposed…”
4) Aspartame/NutraSweet: The History of the Aspartame Controversy
5) James Hansen: Coal-Fired Power Plants Are Death Factories—Close Them!
Let OCA sift through the media smog and bring you the top new and analysis of the day. The OCA website has 10 or more news articles posted each day, and a library of over 40,000 articles covering issues including health, justice, food and farming, politics, and the environment. Bookmark OrganicConsumers.org