Food & Water Watch releases National Smart Seafood Guide 2010
Food & Water Watch released their annual National Smart Seafood Guide and encouraged consumers to “get smart about the food you’re eating, whether it’s from the Gulf or the Pacific, New England or the South.” Food & Water Watch analyzed over 100 different fish and shellfish to create the only guide assessing not only the human health and environmental impacts of eating certain seafood, but also the socio-economic impacts on coastal and fishing communities.

The guide offers special tips, such as eating a variety of seafood to reduce exposure to contaminants and help minimize pressure on the most popular fish choices. The guide addresses the following questions about different seafood options: Where is this seafood from? Is it caught or farmed locally? How is this fish caught? How is this fish farmed? Is this seafood associated with any contaminants?

To get the guide go to www.foodandwaterwatch.org/fish/seafood/guide/.


Food security advocates emphasize food sovereignty

Food system change is in the wind, or at least so it seemed in New Orleans in October, when over 1,000 people from 42 states, five Canadian provinces, and half a dozen other countries gathered together to celebrate and dissect “Food, Culture, and Justice” at the 14th annual conference of the Community Food Security Coalition (CFSC). Attendees flocked to workshops in which strategic planning, community engagement, capacity building and empowerment were discussed.

The CFSC is expanding its vision: defining food security in the context of “food sovereignty,” the right of peoples to define their own food and agriculture systems in contrast to having food largely subject to international market forces; and its mission: strategizing to regain control of the food and farm system in the U.S.

One of the major challenges food sovereignty advocates face is building infrastructure to support a food production, processing, and marketing system that is parallel to the current for-profit, industrial agriculture complex and can handle similar tasks. Knowledge, political will, and financial support will all be needed to strengthen the outline, as food system analyst Ken Meter of Crossroads Resource Center in Minneapolis told participants in a workshop on building local power by using a sports analogy:

“We know how to construct a great baseball infrastructure in this country: we organize Little Leagues, we build neighborhood baseball diamonds, find good coaches, and we support college sports. Small towns and cities host town and minor league teams. All this leads up to the Big Leagues. We call this the ‘Farm’ System. Couldn’t we do the same for food and farmers?”

For more from Foodlinks America, see tefapalliance.org/blog/archives/680#more-680.


USDA National Organic Standards Board meeting—agribusiness and the organic community come together in the end on most issues
The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) concluded its four-day semiannual meeting in Madison, Wisconsin, in late October with votes and decisions on several issues impacting the organic industry. The meeting began with a comprehensive progress report by USDA deputy administrator Miles McEvoy who heads the National Organic Program (NOP).”We continue to be impressed by the ambitious agenda McEvoy has put forward and the eminently qualified team he has assembled, of dedicated veterans and new recruits, in the rapidly growing program,” said Mark A. Kastel, Senior Farm Policy Analyst at The Cornucopia Institute.   

Cornucopia helped organize dozens of egg farmers and marketers, joined by retailers and consumers, who traveled to Madison, from as far away as Seattle, to passionately appeal to the NOSB and the NOP to aggressively enforce the requirement for access to the outdoors in the poultry industry.

The board, impressed and sympathetic, and especially respectful, of the many farmers who traveled to testify, committed to refine their proposal by their next meeting for strict stocking densities and other benchmarks that will assure organic livestock production meets the letter of the law and consumer expectations.

The NOSB also decided not to proceed with efforts to raise the profile of the “made with organic” label that is part of the USDA organic system. “We were concerned that a more prominent, front label, message concerning made with organic ingredients, including the proposal for language that would say the products were ‘certified to USDA standards’ would have created a cheaper ‘organic light’ actually jeopardizing the continued growth of truly organic products,” said Will Fantle, Codirector for The Cornucopia Institute.

On organic hops, the NOSB voted unanimously “to require organic beer to include 100% organic hops beginning January 1, 2013.” Organic hops producers and brewers turned out a strong contingent arguing in favor of the resolution during two days of public hearings on various organic issues.

For the full story from The Cornucopia Institute, see www.cornucopia.org/2010/11/passion-and-some-tense-moments-at-the-usda-national-organic-standards-boa....


Court restores consumers’ right to know which dairy products are rBGH-free in Ohio
Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter, Ohio Ecological Food and Farming Association Executive Director Carol Goland and Ohio Environmental Council Director of Agriculture released the following statement in late September: “Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit struck down a significant part of a pending rule in Ohio that would restrict the information consumers get about whether milk was produced with the artificial growth hormone rBGH. Today’s decision, the result of a lawsuit filed by the International Dairy Foods Association and the Organic Trade Association, threw out a part of the rule created by the Ohio Department of Agriculture that essentially prohibited labeling dairy products as ‘rBGH-free.’ The court also rejected a portion of the rule that had placed severe restrictions on other types of labeling that referred to the use of rBGH.

“This means that farmers in Ohio will be able to label their milk as produced from cows that were not treated with rBGH, and that consumers will still be able to use this information when they purchase dairy products.

“Today’s ruling will hopefully encourage dairy producers that have already gone rBGH-free to label their products accordingly. We also hope that the state of Ohio has learned that attempts to restrict milk labeling are a waste of time and money.

“Because much of the milk produced in Ohio is sold across state lines, this ruling is a victory for consumers in Ohio and throughout the U.S.”

To view the statement online and for more from Food & Water Watch, see www.foodandwaterwatch.org/press/press-releases/court-restores-right-to-know-in-ohio-and-throughout-t....


To save bees, 13-year-old tries to become Paul Newman of honey
It all began when 11-year-old Henry’s mother left him alone for just a few minutes sitting next to a stranger on a plane.
Henry began a conversation that would change lives. The man was a local beekeeper and told Henry about bees and the worldwide crisis of colony collapse disorder. A natural born activist and entrepreneur, Henry decided right then and there to go into business and donate a portion of his profits to The Foundation for the Preservation of Honey Bees.

Henry’s parents were skeptical but supportive and soon the family farm had hives and honey everywhere. More than they knew what to do with in fact, and so Henry’s mother started mixing up batches of honey with blends of spices.

“Let’s face it, there is just so much honey you can eat in tea and on toast,” she said. “We had to broaden the use of our honey so we came up with Stingers™—a line of spicy honey for cooking and barbecuing. You see, I liked the idea of raw pure honey and no preservatives so this was perfect, we even put it on ham sandwiches.”

Now Henry and his family sell The Grumpy Grandpa Blend™, a combination of raw honey, cayenne pepper and garlic. “It’s really good on apples,” Henry exclaims. And Phoebe’s Fireball™, a chipotle and cinnamon combination named after his 10 year-old cousin, who Henry reveals is “...just a little bit bad.”

At first people were a bit confused about how to use the Stingers™ so Henry’s mom posted recipes. And Henry filmed a couple infomercials in the family kitchen and posted them on YouTube. “We put bee facts on all the labels to try and teach kids more about bees,” says Henry who writes all the labels himself and is currently working on adding a section to his website telling kids what they can do to help the bees.

“You know we will only last 7 years once the bees are gone, so we’ve got to ‘Give Bees A Chance.’”

To try Stingers™ or help Henry help the bees go to www.henryssweetmiraclehoney.com and to read the press release, see www.world-wire.com/news/1010150001.html.


Proposed truck standards would dramatically lower oil consumption and save truck operators money
Proposed fuel efficiency and global warming pollution standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks released in late October by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would establish the first-ever standards for these vehicles. Because trucks are among the largest fuel consumers in the country, these standards would help reduce U.S. oil dependence, cut global warming pollution, and provide significant economic benefits to truck operators and the public at large, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

“These trucks represent only 4 percent of vehicles on the road, but they consume 20 percent of the fuel,” said Don Anair, a senior analyst in UCS’s Clean Vehicles Program. “These first-ever standards would provide truckers with clean, fuel-saving technology that would save them money at the pump. Meanwhile, all Americans would benefit from cleaner air and less dependence on oil.”

President Obama called for the new truck standards in May and also ordered DOT and EPA to move forward on separate passenger vehicle standards. A joint September DOT and EPA analysis concluded that a standard of 60 miles per gallon by 2025 would save consumers the most money at the pump.

Brendan Bell, Washington Representative for UCS’s Clean Vehicles Program, said the two standards together would transform the U.S. transportation sector. “The Obama administration is delivering on its promise to cut America’s oil dependence,” he said. “We’re finally putting technology and innovation to work creating jobs, saving money at the pump, and cutting carbon pollution. Whether you make trucks, drive trucks, or just drive by them on the highway, these new standards will deliver benefits that make a difference for everyone.”

For the full story from UCS, see www.ucsusa.org/news/press_release/proposed-truck-standards-0464.html.