SALT REDUCTION IN PROCESSED FOODS COULD SAVE U.S. BILLIONS
The results of a study released recently by Stanford University of Medicine and the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System demonstrates the best ways to get Americans to consume less salt. Research has indicated that a ten percent decrease in American’s salt intake would reduce thousands of heart attacks and strokes over the course of several decades, thus saving the U.S. government an estimated $32 billion in healthcare costs. Researches determined the most effective approach to cutting Americans’ salt intake is to work with the U.S. food industry to reduce salt in processed foods; the authors of the study hope cooperation with the food industry will help reduce overall salt intake by ten percent.

Consuming too much salt is a major cause of high blood pressure, and high blood pressure is a risk factor for strokes and heart attacks. Dr. Thomas Frieden mentions in the study that 75 percent of Americans eat more than the suggested amount of salt per day. Frieden also added that if the food industry does not cooperate voluntarily, new regulations may need to be imposed on the industry.

A similar program in the United Kingdom has successfully reduced the amount of salt content in food by up to 30 percent since 2003.
For more information see, www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6205EQ20100302.


WATCHDOG CALLS ON USDA TO BOOST TRANSPARENCY IN ORGANIC GOVERNANCE
In a move to protect the growing organic industry from undue corporate influence, The Cornucopia Institute released a letter in early June calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to collaborate with the organic community on pending appointments to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB).

The Cornucopia Institute and other organic advocates have long been concerned that representatives from corporate agribusiness have obtained a disproportionate influence on rulemaking at the USDA. The Cornucopia Institute is voicing its concern that the voices of consumers and farmers who have built the organic industry are being marginalized. Rebecca Goodman, a certified organic dairy farmer from Wonewoc, Wisconsin said, “Those serving on the NOSB would most ideally be producers and consumers who are on the front line of implementing and reviewing the rules, not those who would appear to have a financial interest in the outcome of the rules implemented.”

For more on NOSB appointees and to read The Cornucopia Institute’s letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, click on www.cornucopia.org/2010/06/watchdog-calls-on-usda-to-boost-transparency-in-organic-governance/.


CSPI TO SUE MCDONALD’S IF IT CONTINUES USING TOYS TO MARKET JUNK FOOD TO CHILDREN
A nutrition watchdog group will sue McDonald’s if the fast-food chain continues to use toys to promote Happy Meals. According to the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), using toys to lure small children into McDonald’s is unfair and deceptive marketing and is illegal under various state consumer protection laws. In late June, CSPI served McDonald’s a notice of its intent to sue, fulfilling a legal requirement of several states in which CSPI might bring the lawsuit. CSPI’s notice letter says that McDonald’s toy-related promotions violate state consumer protection laws in Massachusetts, Texas, the District of Columbia, New Jersey, and California.

“McDonald’s use of toys undercuts parental authority and exploits young children’s developmental immaturity—all this to induce children to prefer foods that may harm their health. It’s a creepy and predatory practice that warrants an injunction,” said CSPI litigation director Stephen Gardner. For the full story from CSPI, see www.cspinet.org/new/201006221.html.


UCS URGES NEW POLICIES TO ADVANCE BIOFUELS INDUSTRY
In a recent report, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) urged the federal government to adopt a suite of new policies to advance production in the biofuels industry. According to the UCS, advanced cellulosic biofuels, made from grasses, woodchips, wastes and other non-food sources, release dramatically less pollution than gasoline or corn ethanol. UCS claims in their report, “The Billion Gallon Challenge,” reforming production tax credits for biofuels and providing new loan guarantees, investment tax credits and other financial incentives would spark investment in cellulosic biofuels, cut oil consumption, reduce global warming pollution, and ultimately save taxpayers money.

Congress set mandates for cellulosic biofuel production when it passed the national Renewable Fuel Standard in 2007, but according to UCS, production is falling short due to the financial crisis and misguided policies. Increasing production of cellulosic biofuels would reduce U.S. oil dependence and curb the heat-trapping emissions that cause climate change.

Excerpted from the Union of Concerned Scientists; to read the full press release and “The Billion Gallon Challenge,” click on www.ucsusa.org/news/press_release/new-federal-policies-needed-biofuels-0407.html?utm_source=SP&utm_m....


EWG’S CANCER PREVENTION TIPS
In response to the recent report from the President’s Cancer Panel that recognizes the significance of environmental influences on cancer risk, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) put together nine simple ways to reduce exposure to environmental risks. The EWG’s tips are as follows:

  1. Filter your tap water.
  2. Seal outdoor wooden decks and play sets.
  3. Cut down on stain- and grease-proofing chemicals.
  4. Stay safe in the sun.
  5. Cut down on fatty meat and high-fat dairy products.
  6. Eat EWG’s Clean 15 (Find EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides at www.foodnews.org).
  7. Cut your exposures to BPA.
  8. Avoid carcinogens in cosmetics (Find EWG’s cosmetic safety database at www.cosmeticsdatabase.com).
  9. Read the warnings.

Tips excerpted from EWG; for more information and for a link to the report from the President’s Cancer
Panel, see www.ewg.org/healthyhometips/cancer_prevention_tips?utm_source=toxresend&utm_medium=email&utm_content....