CALIFORNIA VOTERS HEAVILY FAVOR GE LABELING INITIATIVE, POLL SHOWS
In a statewide poll released in late September, more than 60 percent of registered California voters support a November ballot initiative called Proposition 37 to require disclosure on the label whenever fresh fruits and vegetables and processed foods have been produced with genetically engineered ingredients.
“This poll is consistent with other research showing that the vast majority of Californians, Republican, Democrat, young, old and from every conceivable background believe it’s their right to know what’s in the food they buy,” Environmental Working Group president Ken Cook said. “However, there are some who no longer believe giving the customer what they want is somehow good for business. Companies like Kellogg, Nestle and Coca-Cola have allied themselves with multinational pesticide corporations in an effort to deny their customers the information they clearly want—as this poll shows.”
The survey, commissioned by the University of Southern California and the Los Angeles Times, polled more than 1,500 voters from all backgrounds, age groups and geographic areas. In related news, more than 2,100 public health, environmental, labor, consumer organizations, food makers, elected leaders, academics, chefs and faith-based groups from across California have endorsed Prop 37.
For more from Environmental Working Group, see www.ewg.org.
CENTER FOR FOOD SAFETY RELEASES NEW GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOOD LABELING LAWS MAP
Center for Food Safety (CFS) has announced the release of its new, interactive Genetically Engineered (GE) Food Labeling Laws map detailing the powerful, growing presence of laws requiring information on GE content in consumer food products around the world. Global food policy research conducted by CFS confirms that 61 countries, including member nations of the European Union, Russia, China, Brazil, Australia, Turkey, and South Africa require standards of mandatory GE food labeling. The United States is not included on the list of governments providing open, accurate information on the source of foods on grocery shelves.
Despite polls consistently showing up to 90% of Americans favor GE food labeling, efforts supporting labeling in the U.S. have been unsuccessful to date. In November 2011, CFS filed a groundbreaking legal petition with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration demanding the agency require GE labeling. Currently, over 1 million people have joined the petition. Additionally, twenty states have considered bills requiring labeling for or prohibiting GE food over the past three years. On November 6th, California’s Prop 37 will give voters the opportunity to join the citizens of 61 nations across the globe who have the information and the lawful power to choose whether GE foods will be a part of their daily diet.
A link to the map can be found at truefoodnow.org.
NEW REPORT OFFERS PRIMER ON THE DANGERS OF ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE AND ITS ORIGIN IN OUR FOOD SUPPLY
There is more to our meat than meets the eye: overuse of antibiotics in factory farm animals is leading to the spread of antibiotic-resistant (AR) bacteria, a trend that deteriorates the effectiveness of antibiotic drugs needed to save human lives. A new report released by the national consumer advocacy group Food & Water Watch, “Antibiotic Resistance 101: How Antibiotic Misuse on Factory Farms Can Make You Sick,” provides an overview of the growing threat to public health and examines the pervasiveness of AR bacteria in the U.S. meat supply.
The report defines the problem of antibiotic resistance and how industrial agriculture has accelerated it by routinely giving low doses of antibiotics to healthy animals over long periods of time to promote growth and prevent disease caused by the cramped, unsanitary conditions of factory farms. This practice, known as subtherapeutic use, creates AR bacteria that then enter the food supply.
The report explains how AR bacteria spread from livestock to consumers, farmers and the environment, as well as how the FDA currently regulates antibiotics. It concludes with recommendations for tackling antibiotic resistance.
To view the report, go to www.foodandwaterwatch.org/pressreleases/superbugs-on-the-factory-farm.
FOOD DAY AIMS TO FIX BROKEN FOOD SYSTEM: Health, Animal Cruelty, Environmental Pollution, Farmworker Justice Among 2012 Priorities
The American diet does more harm than it should to human health, the environment, to food and farm workers, and to animals raised for food. That’s why the second annual Food Day aimed to raise consciousness on these and other food-related issues and inspire Americans from all walks of life to take action.
Despite problems in the food supply, organizers of Food Day, which is spearheaded at the national level by the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), say that there are reasons to be optimistic that when Americans agitate for change, they can change corporate practices. CSPI cites the organizing efforts of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, which recently secured the commitment of fast-food chain Chipotle to participate in the farmworkers’ Fair Food Program. The burrito giant now became the 11th major restaurant chain to commit to buying tomatoes from sources that pay fair wages and treat workers humanely. Nonprofit groups are also winning battles to get trans fat out of the food supply, get sugary drinks out of schools, and pass laws requiring that farm animals are raised humanely.
For a full run down of the event, see www.cspinet.org.
U.S. BIOMASS HAS HUGE POTENTIAL FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY
Non-food crops, farm residues and waste—collectively known as “biomass”—have the power to dramatically increase our nation’s renewable energy supply, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) concluded in a report released in October.
The report, “The Promise of Biomass,” shows nearly 680 million tons of biomass could be made available for fuel and electricity on an annual basis by 2030. That is enough electricity to meet one-fifth of nationwide demand.
“We see major potential for clean power and fuel from these renewable resources,” said Jeremy Martin, a senior scientist at UCS and author of the report. “But it is important to focus on the right kinds of resources, and the scale at which they can be utilized that balances energy and environmental needs.”
This summer’s disastrous drought showed the impact changing weather conditions can have on our food supply, a problem only exacerbated when that food is used for fuel as well. According to the report, to avoid trading our fossil fuel problems for problems in our food system and forestlands, limits must be placed on the amount of land devoted to producing energy crops.
To read the full story, see www.ucsusa.org.