News bites, December 2006
This article was originally published in December 2006
Pasture for organic cows
Consumers, farmers and other stakeholders in organic standards are weighing in on how they want pasture access for organic cows and livestock defined. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reportedly has received 80,000 comments during a public comment period for an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking about pasturing. PCC Natural Markets’ comments are posted on our Web site, pccnaturalmarkets.com, under Issues and Actions/Organics. The draft Proposed Rule is now reported to be nearly ready. (Organic Trade Association)
Hershey acquires organic chocolate company
Another independent organic food company has been swallowed up by a mega-corporation. The Hershey Company has acquired the assets and operations of Dagoba Organic Chocolate as part of its focus on the high-growth premium chocolate category. (Just-food.com)
Cocoa farmers strike
Cocoa farmers across the Ivory Coast of Africa have gone on strike, holding back and hoarding their crops to protest low prices and high export taxes. Authorities are offering 40 cents a pound; farmers want 57 cents per pound. Farmers also want the government to cut the cocoa export tax so buyers can pay farmers a higher price. Cocoa taxes are the main source of government revenue and have been used to buy arms and military equipment during a civil war that erupted after a failed coup four years ago. (Associated Press)
Precautionary Principle resolution
Good news from the Washington State Public Health Association. It unanimously adopted a resolution supporting policies for safer chemicals and endorsed the Precautionary Principle as a tool to prevent harm from Persistent Bioaccumulative Toxic chemicals (PBTs). The resolution is expected to raise awareness about the Precautionary Principle among public health professionals and support efforts to ban highly hazardous chemicals. (Institute of Neurotoxicology and Neurological Disorders)
Pecans may help reduce the risk of heart disease. A study published in the journal Nutrition Research shows that eating just a handful of pecans each day seems to reduce the oxidation of fats in the blood — an unhealthy process similar to rusting. The research from Loma Linda University suggests that the vitamin E content and beneficial phytonutrients of pecans slow down the oxidation process. (United Press International)
Cloned meat and milk?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reportedly will issue a plan by the end of this year declaring meat and milk from cloned animals safe to eat. There’s no provision preventing the sale of milk and meat from cloned animals to consumers — nor is there any requirement that they’ll be labeled.
According to the Center for Food Safety, cloning scientists admit that even seemingly healthy clones are likely to carry genetic abnormalities and that they could pose risks to health and safety, but virtually no studies have studied this. So far, the National Milk Producers Federation is opposing cloning. (Center for Food Safety)
Stop prospecting in parks
A public comment period on a measure that would allow commercial “bioprospecting” in our national parks will close on December 15. The proposed measure would allow corporations to extract and profit from natural resources and wildlife on millions of acres in our national parks.
The Edmonds Institute and others are urging the public to comment to stop commercialization of these public lands, arguing that parks were established to protect them from exploitation. If you wish to comment, visit www.parksnotforsale.org. (Edmonds Institute)