THE READER
June 2005

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Cover

Customer Comments

GM Report

Board Report

Community Reinvestment Fund Recipients

Produce News: Summer Fruits are Here

Book & Housewares News

Deli News: Transitioning to the Off-Site Kitchen

Juice Bar & Bakery News:
All About Cheesecake

Heath & Wellness News: Taking Care of Your Skin Under the Sun

Specials Information

Avoiding Food-Borne Illness this Summer

Recipes & Drink Recommendations

Producer Profile: West Star Farms

Camping Foods for Families \

The Wonders of Dried Fruit

Newsbites

Community Calendar

NEWSBITES

information gathered from the Organic Consumers Association and Millenniumassessment.org

USDA will allow misleading organic label claims to continue
In a controversial move, the USDA has announced that it will not monitor or police “organic” label claims on body care products nor allow companies that use certified organic ingredients to display the “USDA Organic” label. This complete turnabout in policy essentially gives the green light to unscrupulous companies to label non-organic body care products as organic, whether they are or not, while penalizing companies that have gone to the trouble and expense to source certified organic ingredients. This USDA ruling contradicts a previous 2002 directive that stated that if a body care product contains certified organic ingredients, it could be labeled as such. The new directive will likely reduce the demand for organic ingredients and feed stocks from organic farmers by hundreds of millions of dollars. Sign petition to the USDA here: http://www.organicconsumers.org/bodycare/action.cfm



UK schools going organic
Due to overwhelming pressure from parents of school-age children in the U.K., Prime Minister Tony Blair has announced the establishment of a new government based “School Food Trust,” wherein junk foods will be removed from schools while organic “made-from-scratch” meals will be instituted. According to Blair, “If changes are made it will only be a matter of months before British health, education and farming could be affected for the better. It could be one of the biggest food revolutions that England has ever seen.”
Report details degradation of ecosystems

The recently released Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Synthesis Report stated, “Over the past 50 years, humans have changed ecosystems more rapidly and extensively than in any comparable period of time in human history, largely to meet rapidly growing demands for food, fresh water, timber, fiber and fuel. This has resulted in a substantial and largely irreversible loss in the diversity of life on Earth.”

In 2000, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan directed that the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment be initiated to determine the current state of ecosystems worldwide, what factors contributed to this state, and its affect on humans, as well as the projected future of these ecosystems. The Assessment was also designed to outline ways to improve the environment and use its resources in a sustainable manner. Over 1350 experts in 95 countries contributed to the resulting report.
One of the major findings in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment Synthesis Report was that two-thirds of the ways in which the environment helps humans are being “degraded or used unsustainably, including fresh water, capture fisheries, air and water purification, and the regulation of regional and local climate, natural hazards, and pests.” The first two of these resources, the report said, are already being used more quickly than they can be replenished.

A second major finding was evidence that “accelerating, abrupt and potentially irreversible changes” are increasingly probable. Examples of such changes include outbreaks of disease, ocean “dead zones,” the introduction of non-native species into ecosystems, and climate change.

The Assessment recommends involving the people and groups who will be affected by decisions affecting an ecosystem; providing incentives for businesses that enhance or sustainably use natural resources; and education about ecosystems and the consequences of their degradation.

To read the full report, see www.millenniumassessment.org.