Monday, November 23, 2009

Food Safety & Good News (updated 12/15 with news from Food & Water Watch))

Read very Good news below, coming from California, Hawaii, France, and Ireland -

First - quite important "food safety enhancement" House and Senate bills 510 & 2749. P
lease read the updated info in Nov. 10 post just below. Skim down to the red text if you have to, but please read it, it's very important.
Photos above & below, Island grown squash and sweet carrots , Linda Degnan Cobos

So, some good news about "Monsanto Laws" and small farmers targeted by them comes in the form of California's new AB 541, signed into law last year by Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and supported by organizations across the political spectrum. The law not only begins to protect farmers, but also demonstrates there is a real need for such protection.

Food & Water Watch has an action alert about antitrust hearings the Obama Aministration is said to have scheduled to examine the corporate control of food.
Read about that here.
For a great article on family farmers, Monsanto, and our food safety, read this well researched 2008 article from Vanity Fair - here. More on these difficulties faced by small US farmers here and here.
This just in from our friend Becky Bolt -
France's Supreme Court has ruled that Monsanto has given false information about the safety of it's best-selling weed-killer, Roundup.
France's highest court upheld two earlier convictions against Monsanto - by the Lyon criminal court in 2007, and the Lyon court of appeal in 2008.
Background from the BBC: “French environmental groups had brought the case in 2001 on the basis that glyphosate, Roundup's main ingredient, is classed as "dangerous for the environment" by the European Union.”

More good news - Read about Hawaii's 2009 ban on GMO taro, and the Sept. '09 U.S. ruling banning GMO sugar beets. More about the many GMO crops grown in Hawaii, from Scientific American magazine, here, it will blow your mind.
Ireland has a new ban on GMO crops. Go here for more on that.

To get a updated list showing what products in your market have genetically modified ingredients, click here. We'll also be bringing more little GMO-free shopping booklets to the SJI Co Op soon.

To find the list of national & local businesses who have pledged to avoid GMO beet sugar, & to sign up, go here.

Becky's also turned us on to a wonderful local SJI Facebook page she is a member of & we've joined, Gogo Green, for local info & all things eco, including a discussion page.
Thanks, Becky, and thanks for the use of your great Farmers Market photos!

Palace Theater manager Aaron King made a local viewing of "Food, Inc." on the big screen possible last month. He's also sent us a note about a "CSI: Miami" television show episode that recently aired, titled "Bad Seed"(places to watch it here). The plot's all about food safety, veggie laws, and then it's some kind of crime solving thriller - that's kind of amazing. Who woulda thunk it? Thanks, Aaron!
Speaking of the Palace - Troy Roush, a farmer who spoke so movingly in the movie "Food, Inc" (which is now available on video at Big Store) was kind enough to write back to a question we sent to the ACGA (American Corn Grower's Association) about movie popcorn and genetic modification. (The ACGA is a great organization, you can join - they could use your support). Troy wrote us back a very nice note, saying "I was in the popcorn business for a number of years and at the time I stopped growing (two years ago) there was no GM popcorn being grown and the talk was there wouldn't because popcorn is used for direct human consumption and widely exported to countries (Europe mostly) that would not accept GMO popcorn." Troy said that popcorn has a gene that makes cross-pollination with field corn impossible - it can't be contaminated by field corn. and now this gene has been patented by seed co. Hogemeyer, so, as Troy says, " there is no way around eating popcorn that is not "patented", even though it is not GMO and the Indians showed us how to grow the stuff in the first place."

On a related subject - if you use soy products (movie popcorn 'butter' is one) and you don't want to eat or use genetically modified soy products, call & write the companies you buy from, and tell them.
91 percent of all soy grown in the world is now genetically modified. (Maybe you noticed the word organic disappearing off the soy milk and tofu you see at the market). The genetic modification to soy is the addition of a pesticide (Bt) right into the plant, and a gene making the soy resistant to heavier doses of glyphosate herbicide.
Yum yum.
There are also some troubling things happening around the growing of soy in some of the major producing counties. For example, Paraguay.)
Not too good for the earth or us. Let's do something about that.