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Food and Farming

Revealed: Rightwing Groups Plot to Ditch EU Safety Standards on Food and Drugs

Organic Consumers Association - 3 hours 21 min ago

An unprecedented drive to lobby ministers to ditch strict EU safety standards in order to secure a US trade deal is being drawn up by a transatlantic group of conservative thinktanks, it has emerged. Organisers of the self-styled “shadow trade talks”, which are set to include 10 leading rightwing and libertarian groups from the UK and the US, are preparing to push their “ideal free trade agreement” that would allow the import of US meats, drugs and chemicals banned in Britain.

Categories: Food and Farming

Americans Are Buying More Food at Walmart

Organic Consumers Association - 9 hours 21 min ago

Walmart on Thursday said food sales had grown to their highest level in five years, as they expand their grocery business both in stores and online by adding more organic produce. The company is also testing grocery delivery in New York, and has taken aggressive steps to compete with Amazon.com, which is the process of buying Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion, as well as with European discounters like Aldi and Lidl, which are ramping up their presence in the U.S.

Categories: Food and Farming

The 'Hot' Health Benefits of Chili Peppers

Organic Consumers Association - 9 hours 21 min ago

Known for their hot flavor, chili peppers (Capsicum annuum) are primarily used for culinary purposes, as a spice added to various dishes and sauces. The chili is a fruit pod of the capsicum pepper plant belonging to the nightshade family (Solanaceae). Cayenne, jalapeno, habanero and serrano peppers are some of the most popular varieties of chili peppers.

Categories: Food and Farming

How Long Does It Actually Take to Bake Chicken?

Organic Consumers Association - 9 hours 21 min ago

Chicken has been a staple food throughout the world for thousands of years. It’s absolutely easy to cook, and can be paired with just about any ingredients to whip up a tasty and filling meal. What’s more, organic pasture-raised chickens are rich in high-quality protein, and are also excellent sources of vitamins and minerals.

Categories: Food and Farming

3 Reasons Why Millions Still Support Trump

Organic Consumers Association - 9 hours 21 min ago

It's incomprehensible to many of us that people could support a president who, in Bernie Sanders' words, "is compulsively dishonest, who is a bully, who actively represents the interests of the billionaire class, who is anti-science, and who is trying to divide us up based on the color of our skin, our nation of origin, our religion, our gender, or our sexual orientation." 

Categories: Food and Farming

The No-Till Gardening Revolution: Why Farmers Are Putting Down Their Plows

Organic Consumers Association - 9 hours 21 min ago

Whether it’s done with a shovel, a hoe, a pick or a plow, the goal of tilling is to turn over the upper layer of the soil, bringing fresh nutrients to the surface, while burying weeds. Tilling has been the hallmark of agriculture, since its inception, with the plow being the most intensive tool to this end. But 10,000 years after we started doing it, humans are finally starting to question whether digging up the Earth is the smartest way to make her produce for us.

Categories: Food and Farming

My Turn: Consumer Reports Is Off-Base on Natural Medicine

Organic Consumers Association - Sat, 02/17/2018 - 21:17

When it comes to health and nutrition, Consumer Reports lags behind. It took the magazine many years before it included natural and organic foods in its reviews, and to acknowledge they often taste better, and are better for you. When it comes to natural vs. conventional medicine, they sadly remain in the Dark Ages. The current article, “How ‘Natural’ Can Hurt You,” is filled with misinformation.

Categories: Food and Farming

'He's a Hypocrite': Broward County Official Slams Trump Ahead of Visit to Site of School Massacre

Organic Consumers Association - Sat, 02/17/2018 - 14:17

The vice mayor of Broward County, Florida added his voice to the growing criticism of President Donald Trump ahead of the president's planned visit to the area on Friday, accusing Trump of "hypocrisy." Trump is expected to visit the town of Parkland, where 17 people were killed and 14 were injured in a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Wednesday.

Categories: Food and Farming

The Precautionary Principle Asks "How Much Harm Is Avoidable?" Rather Than "How Much Harm Is Acceptable?"

Organic Consumers Association - Sat, 02/17/2018 - 14:17

In 1980, a government scientist discovered that breast milk in the US was so contaminated with DDT, PCBs and other industrial poisons that, if it were cow's milk, it would be subject to ban by the US Food and Drug Administration. After two more decades of failed "chemical regulation," a 2001 study showed that babies everywhere in the world were drinking industrial toxicants in breast milk. 

Categories: Food and Farming

A $60 Billion Industry Is Shockingly Unregulated

Organic Consumers Association - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:00

Face wash, lipstick, makeup, and nail polish often carry labels like "tested" and "clinically-proven." Cosmetics like these are big business in the US, constituting about a $60 billion market.

But how does the cosmetics industry regulate the safety of its products?

In the US, the FDA oversees cosmetics. But unlike drugs (which must get approval before they can be sold), cosmetics do not. As a result, companies that use or sell unsafe ingredients usually only get in trouble if they get caught.

Categories: Food and Farming

Dangerous Kids' Makeup Must Carry Warnings, New Proposal Requires

Organic Consumers Association - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:00

Congressman Frank Pallone called on the FDA to investigate Claire’s Stores, Inc., and Justice Retail following reports that tremolite asbestos, a known human carcinogen, was found in cosmetic products marketed to girls and young women. 

Categories: Food and Farming

WEN Case Spurs Call for Beauty Product Regs

Organic Consumers Association - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 15:00

Despite tens of thousands of complaints about its cleansing conditioner for hair, an FDA investigation, and a $26 million payout to affected consumers, WEN by Chaz Dean and its parent company are still selling that product online and through QVC.

Two retailers of makeup geared to teens, on the other hand, voluntarily pulled their products from their shelves after a parent paid to have the products tested and found that eyeshadows and face powder contained traces of asbestos, which causes cancer.

Why the difference? Companies that make or sell beauty and personal care products can choose how to respond to consumer complaints, lawsuits, and government warnings -- something lawmakers in Congress are hoping to change.

Categories: Food and Farming

The Proposed Federal FY 2019 Budget Would Greatly Harm Families Who Need Food Assistance, So What Can We Do About It?

WhyHunger: Grassroots Action Network - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 10:55

Stay vigilant.

By now most people have heard about the asinine proposal in the federal FY 2019 Budget by the Trump Administration to cut SNAP benefits and peoples’ food choices that would further stigmatize those in need of food and suggests that the government can best decide on how you should feed your family.

WhyHunger joined the anti-hunger community who quickly called out the many things wrong in the proposal and raised questions about efficiency, logistics and cost. Not to mention the negative impacts on the millions of seniors, children, working families and individuals who are already struggling and rely on SNAP because they are in need of food. It also would remove dignity and choice. It would stop families from being able to purchase culturally appropriate food and nutritious food, replacing it with “boxes” of processed food – no fruits or vegetables. It would take critical purchasing power out of local food and farm economies by extracting SNAP monies used at farmer’s markets, mom-and-pop shops, rural grocers, etc. We could continue to list the dire implications, but there’s really no need. Access to nutritious food is a basic human right. Right? Anything opposite of that is ridiculous, yet here we are.

And as ridiculous and illogical as this SNAP proposal is, it still requires our attention because it is dangerous and reflects the overall agenda of the Trump Administration. An agenda that attacks the poor and working families, an agenda that is serious about making changes to the USDA and an agenda that is supported and being reiterated by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. There are many things that need our attention, including the 2018 Farm Bill, so we must stay vigilant.

WhyHunger and organizations across the country are coming together to organize and build resistance. In a recent call, what stood out for me is what Ricardo Salvador of the Union of Concerned Scientists said regarding this Administration: “They introduce very extreme ideas and socialize it. There’s outrage now but then later, something not as extreme, but still very damaging will be introduced and it will seem okay.”

For instance, while the “boxes” dominated the headlines this week, another part of the proposed 2019 Budget is the plan to cut SNAP by more than $200 billion over the next 10 years, that’s nearly 30%! Maybe that won’t get approved, but maybe a cut of $50 billion will? Whatever it is, it will be too much and detrimental to our most effective anti-poverty program that actually needs more funding.

Trolling, gas lighting, whatever you want to call it – the fact is that these outrageous ideas have very real implications for very real people. So, what can we do about it? How can we help ourselves and support our neighbors and fellow human beings against this madness?

  • Stay Vigilant. Don’t get complacent. Know what’s going on with policies that affect our lives every day and read beyond the headlines.
  • Organize. We can build power and movements in our communities by connecting with grassroots organizations and coalitions. Examples of emergency food providers who organize and how they do it can found here.
  • Think Intersectional. Proposed cuts to health care, housing and energy assistance, disability benefits, student loans and other basic assistance will make it even harder for the millions of low- and moderate families struggling pay their rent, put food on the table, and get health care. We must look beyond just SNAP and help support the fight to protect other essential programs as well.
  • Use Your Voice. Tell your elected officials in the Senate and House year round what they should advocating for and supporting.
  • Vote. Those elected officials that aren’t representing your interests or standing up for basic human rights? Vote them out. Elect people that actually care about people and planet.

As we learn about new actions, petitions and initiatives that fight hunger and poverty, and the harmful policies that perpetuate them, we’ll share them so stay tuned.

The post The Proposed Federal FY 2019 Budget Would Greatly Harm Families Who Need Food Assistance, So What Can We Do About It? appeared first on WhyHunger.

Categories: Food and Farming

Denmark Leads the Way in Organic Food Wares

Organic Consumers Association - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 07:56

If you’re like an increasing number of people in the world and have dedicated yourself to trying to eat organically as much as possible, Denmark is the place to go.

A new report from the Swiss research centre FiBL has revealed that Denmark’s supermarkets have the highest percentage of organic food produce in the world.

Categories: Food and Farming

French Wine Study Shows Humans Can Taste Pesticides

Organic Consumers Association - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 07:56

The results of the first ever study on the ability of humans to recognize the taste of pesticides in wine have been published in the Food and Nutrition Journal.

Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini and the chef Jérôme Douzelet’s study involved 195 blind tests carried out by professionals from the wine and culinary industry.

Categories: Food and Farming

Legislation Introduced to Help Strengthen Organic Farming

Organic Consumers Association - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 07:56

According to Senator Susan Collins, organic farming is one of the fastest growing sectors in American agriculture, but federal investment hasn't been keeping pace with the growth.

Senator Collins, along with Senator Bob Casey from Pennsylvia, have introduced the Organic Agriculture Research Act of 2018.

"What the act would do is provide some funding for research into organic farming methods and help offset part of the cost that the state uses to certify farms as complying with USDA standards for organic farming," said Senator Collins.

Categories: Food and Farming

The Scourging of Julian Assange

Organic Consumers Association - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 07:56

Julian Assange’s latest attempt to have his outstanding UK arrest warrant dropped has failed in what stands as one of the most blatant and cruel examples of the British legal system being wielded as an instrument of persecution against a man whose only crime is speaking truth to power.

Categories: Food and Farming

Lawsuit Demands EPA Vacate Dicamba Registration

Organic Consumers Association - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 07:56

New details are emerging from a lawsuit calling for EPA to vacate the registration of Monsanto's dicamba herbicide.

Originally filed in January 2017, the lawsuit's newly released briefs claim EPA ignored key requirements of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and violated the Endangered Species Act when it registered Monsanto's XtendiMax herbicide, designed to be sprayed over the top of dicamba-tolerant crops.

It also argues that the agency was inappropriately influenced by Monsanto during the registration process.

Categories: Food and Farming

America's Voting Machinery Is Hackable, Falling Apart and Privatized—and the GOP Doesn't Care

Organic Consumers Association - Fri, 02/16/2018 - 07:56

Democrats in Congress have issued what may be their most alarming report ever about the vulnerability of America’s voting machinery to sophisticated adversaries and the limited abilities of government at every level to stop Election Day chaos.

The “Congressional Task Force on Election Security Report,” from the party’s foremost experts on cyber threats in the House, gives new details on Russian hacking of the 2016 election and how the response across many layers of government was often poorly coordinated and marginally ineffective.

Categories: Food and Farming

New Map Reveals Which Countries are Most Likely to Survive Climate Change

Wine And Water Watch - Thu, 02/15/2018 - 10:59
New Map Reveals Which Countries are Most Likely to Survive Climate Change

Author: Fran Whittaker-Wood

Published: Wednesday, 03 January 2018

Climate change is real, and it’s happening. But will you survive it?

Melting ice caps, record high temperatures and rising sea levels are just some of the telltale signs.

Climate change is one of the most pressing crises facing humanity. Caused by an immense and continual buildup of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in our atmosphere as a result of human activity, climate change is already causing a series of alarming environmental events.

Once snowy landscapes are slowly melting away to leave an uninhabitable and baron wilderness, rising sea temperatures are killing thousands of miles of coral reef and marine life, while freak weather events are becoming more common and costing affected nations billions of pounds. For example, early estimates suggest that 2017’s hurricane Harvey caused between £48 billion and £134 billion worth of damage.

These serve as a worrying indication of the catastrophic effect that climate change could have on our planet in the future if nothing is done to tackle the phenomenon.

Whilst it’s clear that no single corner of the globe is safe from the changes that are happening to our climate, we wanted to find out which countries are the most (and least) at risk of the effects of climate change.

To answer this question, we looked at data from the University of Notre-Dame’s ND-Gain Index. This report analyzed 181 countries on their vulnerability to climate change and how ready they are to adapt to a warming planet, based on factors such as healthcare, food supply and government stability.

We also scrutinized how much carbon dioxide all 181 countries emit every year to give an indication of each nation’s contribution towards climate change. This allowed us to compare a country’s likeliness to survive changes to the global climate against their responsibility for the phenomenon.

So which country is the most likely to survive climate change?

The answer is Norway, thanks to its low vulnerability score and high readiness score. The nation’s Nordic neighbours also fared well, with Finland (3rd), Sweden (4th), Denmark (6th) and Iceland (8th) landing 5 out of the 10 top spots for survivability. So we should all flee to the countries of northern Europe and the north Atlantic to live out our final days should our planet become uninhabitable.

Interestingly the UK and US did not make the top 10, ranking 12th and 15th respectively. Both these nations were named amongst the 10 countries most likely to survive climate change in our 2015 version of this map, but an overall worsening of their vulnerability and readiness scores led to this slip in rank.

Even more surprising is China’s position in the ranking – 59th. Despite arguably being the world’s biggest contributor towards climate change – emitting a massive 9,040 metric tons of CO₂ into the atmosphere every year – the country is somewhat sensitive to the effects of a warming planet. This is largely due to the nation’s growing population which is putting a strain on China’s natural resources and public services. Rather ironically, China’s vulnerability to climate change therefore means that they may eventually reap what they sow.

And who are the biggest losers? At the other end of the scale, it comes as no surprise that the world’s poorest and least developed nations have the lowest chance of surviving climate change. Countries in sub-Saharan Africa fill the bottom 10 spaces for survivability, with Somalia being named the country least likely to survive climate change. Chad, Eritrea, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo also fared badly, owing to their unstable governance, poor infrastructure, lack of healthcare and a scarcity of food and water.

These findings serve as a stark reminder of the need for wealthier, more established countries to support the world’s most vulnerable nations. This is particularly true given that many of the world’s richest economies contribute the most to climate change but are in fact the least likely to be affected by it, whilst impoverished countries who hold little responsibility for the phenomenon are left suffering the most. To put this into perspective, Eritrea emits just 0.01% of the total carbon dioxide that the US does each year – a mere 0.6 metric tons of CO₂ compared to 4,997 tons of the greenhouse gas.

Whilst it’s true that climate change will impact the entire global community in some way, this map clearly shows which countries are likely to be the most (and least) affected. The pressure is now mounting for global leaders to come up with an effective solution to stop climate change before it is too late and nations begin to succumb to the disastrous consequences of a warming world.

Categories: Food and Farming

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