Tag Archives: organic

The Big Organic Sellout?

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People should have certain expectations when it comes to farmers and companies that sell organic products and food.  We all seem to have this mystical image of the original concept being lead by ‘back-to-the-lander’ types with pony tails and a patch of marijuana tucked away in their back yard somewhere.

Fast-forward to the present and you’ll have to quickly acknowledge that if you did have this vision, it’s wrong.

This story (http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_22449.cfm) illustrates how several companies – including Whole Foods, Organic Valley and Stonyfield Farm (now owned by Danone) have surrendered to Monsanto – the anti-thesis of organic – by announcing that they will pursue a life of ‘co-existence’ with Genetically Engineered (GE) foods.

And just like that, ‘organic’ risks being seen as a big marketing scam.  The entire effort of generations of people that do not want to risk having their crops and services contaminated by Monsanto’s poisonous approach to farming is now put at risk by a single decision.

Here’s the rationale as to why it all happened:

The Organic Inc. CEOs (ie. those from Whole  Foods, Stonyfield and Organic Valley) are tired of activist pressure, boycotts, and petitions. Several of them have told me this to my face. They apparently believe that the battle against GMOs has been lost, and that it’s time to reach for the consolation prize.  The consolation prize they seek is a so-called “coexistence” between the biotech Behemoth and the organic community that will lull the public to sleep and greenwash the unpleasant fact that Monsanto’s unlabeled and unregulated genetically engineered crops are now spreading their toxic genes on 1/3 of U.S. (and 1/10 of global) crop land.

In order to eliminate any confusion about what’s in your food, the article we cited comes to a conclusion that we support:  truth-in-labeling.  It’s the only way to differentiate real food from modified food and it has to start immediately.

In the US, Dennis Kucinich (D, Ohio) has introduced a bill in Congress calling for mandatory labeling and safety testing for GMOs.  The chances of this being successful are slim.

With this in mind, the other opportunity is to keep applying the pressure:

The Organic Consumers Association, joined by our consumer, farmer, environmental, and labor allies, has just launched a nationwide Truth-in-Labeling campaign to stop Monsanto and the Biotech Bullies from force-feeding unlabeled GMOs to animals and humans.

You can also petition Whole Foods here:  http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_22309.cfm

In Canada, most of the information that I’m able to find is stale, but I’m hoping you can help by providing some additional links in the comments.  I do know that there is CBAN and they are encouraging Canadians to get their MP to support Bill C-474, a requirement to assess the economic impact of GE use with food production.

More information can be found here:  http://www.cban.ca/Take-Action/Act-Now

Click here to see how your MP voted on the original submission of the Bill.

ADHD Caused by Pesticides?

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It looks like another blow to the manufacturers of pesticides and other oil-based derivatives to grow our food:

http://edition.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/05/17/pesticides.adhd/index.html?hpt=T2

This is an extremely compelling argument to go local and buy organic.

Now, how long do you think it will be before dozens of ‘pundits’ start slamming the merits of the study?  It’s probably already happened.

Copy of story posted below:

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Is enough being done to protect us from chemicals that could harm us? Watch “Toxic America,” a special two-night investigative report with Sanjay Gupta M.D., June 2 & 3 at 8 p.m. ET on CNN.

(Health.com) — Children exposed to higher levels of a type of pesticide found in trace amounts on commercially grown fruit and vegetables are more likely to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder than children with less exposure, a nationwide study suggests.

Researchers measured the levels of pesticide byproducts in the urine of 1,139 children from across the United States. Children with above-average levels of one common byproduct had roughly twice the odds of getting a diagnosis of ADHD, according to the study, which appears in the journal Pediatrics.

Exposure to the pesticides, known as organophosphates, has been linked to behavioral and cognitive problems in children in the past, but previous studies have focused on communities of farm workers and other high-risk populations. This study is the first to examine the effects of exposure in the population at large.

Organophosphates are “designed” to have toxic effects on the nervous system, says the lead author of the study, Maryse Bouchard, Ph.D., a researcher in the department of environmental and occupational health at the University of Montreal. “That’s how they kill pests.”

The pesticides act on a set of brain chemicals closely related to those involved in ADHD, Bouchard explains, “so it seems plausible that exposure to organophosphates could be associated with ADHD-like symptoms.”

Health.com: Seven stars with ADHD

Environmental Protection Agency regulations have eliminated most residential uses for the pesticides (including lawn care and termite extermination), so the largest source of exposure for children is believed to be food, especially commercially grown produce. Adults are exposed to the pesticides as well, but young children appear to be especially sensitive to them, the researchers say.

Video: Study: ADHD linked to pesticides

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Detectable levels of pesticides are present in a large number of fruits and vegetables sold in the U.S., according to a 2008 report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture cited in the study. In a representative sample of produce tested by the agency, 28 percent of frozen blueberries, 20 percent of celery, and 25 percent of strawberries contained traces of one type of organophosphate. Other types of organophosphates were found in 27 percent of green beans, 17 percent of peaches, and 8 percent of broccoli.

Although kids should not stop eating fruits and vegetables, buying organic or local produce whenever possible is a good idea, says Bouchard.

Health.com: 5 reasons you can’t concentrate

“Organic fruits and vegetables contain much less pesticides, so I would certainly advise getting those for children,” she says. “National surveys have also shown that fruits and vegetables from farmers’ markets contain less pesticides even if they’re not organic. If you can buy local and from farmers’ markets, that’s a good way to go.”

A direct cause-and-effect link between pesticides and ADHD “is really hard to establish,” says Dana Boyd Barr, Ph.D., a professor of environmental and occupational health at Emory University. However, she says, “There appears to be some relation between organophosphate pesticide exposure and the development of ADHD.”

This is the largest study of its kind to date, according to Barr, who researched pesticides for more than 20 years in her previous job with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention but was not involved in the study.

Bouchard and her colleagues analyzed urine samples from children ages 8 to 15. The samples were collected during an annual, nationwide survey conducted by the CDC, known as the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

Health.com: Do you have adult ADHD?

The researchers tested the samples for six chemical byproducts (known as metabolites) that result when the body breaks down more than 28 different pesticides. Nearly 95 percent of the children had at least one byproduct detected in their urine.

Just over 10 percent of the children in the study were diagnosed with ADHD. The kids were judged to have ADHD if their symptoms (as reported by parents) met established criteria for the disorder, or if they had taken ADHD medication regularly in the previous year.

Health.com: The link between drugs, alcohol and ADHD

One group of pesticide byproducts was associated with a substantially increased risk of ADHD. Compared with kids who had the lowest levels, the kids whose levels were 10 times higher were 55 percent more likely to have ADHD. (Another group of byproducts did not appear to be linked to the disorder.)

In addition, children with higher-than-average levels of the most commonly detected byproduct — found in roughly 6 in 10 kids — were nearly twice as likely to have ADHD.

“It’s not a small effect,” says Bouchard. “This is 100 percent more risk.”

To isolate the effect of the pesticide exposure on ADHD symptoms, the researchers controlled for a variety of health and demographic factors that could have skewed the results.

Still, the study had some limitations and is not definitive, Bouchard says. Most notably, she and her colleagues measured only one urine sample for each child, and therefore weren’t able to track whether the levels of pesticide byproducts were constant, or whether the association between exposure and ADHD changed over time.

Health.com: What if my child begins showing ADHD symptoms?

Long-term studies including multiple urine samples from the same children are needed, Bouchard says. She suspects such studies would show an even stronger link between pesticide byproducts and ADHD.

EPA spokesman Dale Kemery said in a statement that the agency routinely reviews the safety of all pesticides, including organophosphates. “We are currently developing a framework to incorporate data from studies similar to this one into our risk assessment,” Kemery said. “We will look at this study and use the framework to decide how it fits into our overall risk assessment.”

Kemery recommended that parents try other pest-control tactics before resorting to pesticide use in the home or garden. Washing and peeling fruits and vegetables and eating “a varied diet” will also help reduce potential exposure to pesticides, he said.

“I would hope that this study raises awareness as to the risk associated with pesticide exposure,” Bouchard says. “There’s really only a handful of studies on this subject out there, so there’s room for more awareness.”

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Death of the Bees & GMOs

Full Story Here.

North America needs bees. They are the most prolific pollinators of fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes. Without them, anywhere from 30 to 40% of our food production will be at risk. If these numbers are hard to fathom, imagine 1 out of every 3 people around you not eating.

The article provides very specific descriptions as to how certain excuses made by mainstream media simply don’t wash.

The conclusions are posted here:

The proof is obvious that one of the major reasons of the bees’ decline is by the ingestion of GMO proteins. This is problematic, as there is such an increase of indigestible foods in humans and bees. The situation of colon cancer in humans is somewhat similar in occurrence. This is only a theory but leaves one to wonder what are we eating en mass. The external or complementary good of the bee is obviously a rise for a global concern. The long-term economical and environmental impact has yet to be completely understood.The Ecological Impact of horizontal gene transfer and increase of rampant disease is not fully examined and if so, is kept silent by these Conglomerates. The Economic impact of the bee colony collapse would mean inflation, scarcity of agricultural commodities, and ultimately the collapse of North American agriculture.

The Environmental Impact of scarcity and increased demand for resources, will beyond doubt have severe repercussions for our long-term food security. The bio-diversity of the bees causes positive economic and ecological externalities. The negative externalities have yet to be fully grasped or understood.

Organic crops: still relatively untouched
The truth is that organic farming is relatively untouched as the bee crisis is concerned. Organic farming maintains the diversity of the eco-system and preserves the quality of the foods produced. The economic impact that the scarcity of bees will potentially have on our society as a whole is very worrisome. In the end, only our children will fully realize; that it was greed that destroyed our beautiful blue planet.

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The Future: Cuba Goes Organic without Fossil Fuels

A cool article about how Cuba has converted its agricultural industry without the use of fossil fuels:
http://www.i-sis.org.uk/OrganicCubawithoutFossilFuels.php

I think this is a classic example of how sanctions (economic and political) just can’t beat the piss out of a determined population.

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