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Blog Posts: January 2008

January 31st, 2008

Consumer Victories Sweeping the Nation!

We’ve been pretty busy over here at Food & Water Watch. As many of you have probably been following, a dangerous trend has started with states trying to take away labels that tell consumers whether or not dairy products have been produced with rBGH, a genetically engineered growth hormone. This attempt to make it illegal for dairies to label their milk as rBGH,Free started in Pennsylvania, and has been followed by New Jersey, Ohio and Indiana. 

Well, due to tens of thousands of emails, faxes, and phone calls from our activists around the country, weve stopped this trend dead in its tracks, with victories in three of the four states, with our most recent victory coming Tuesday!

Indiana representative Bill Friend introduced a bill that would have made the rBGH,Free labels illegal, and last week the vote passed out of committee with unanimous approval. This is when we heard about the bill, and set our activist network into action. Through our activists, and the joint efforts of many allies and organizations on the ground, as of this week every member of the Indiana General Assembly had been contacted by their constituents!  It was this effort, which turned the tide from what seemed like a grim situation last week, to a victory today, when Representative Friend pulled his bill, saying he,  “didn’t want to cry over spilled milk.”  This was met with audible cheers from folks on the floor, who knew they had fought for consumers and won. I think we can attribute this victory to the amazing grass roots pressure we were able to mount over the last week. So while this may not be the last well see of these bills,  we’ve held Indiana for another day!

On January 17th, we had a similar victory, when Governor Rendell of Pennsylvania announced the state was rescinding an earlier rule that would have forced dairies to stop labeling their milk as rBGH,Free by February 1, 2008. Citing once again the overwhelming consumer opposition to this rule. Even earlier in the month the State of New Jersey announced at a milk hearing that they would not pursue limiting these labels on dairy products.

The bottom line is consumers have a right to know what‚ in their food, and dairies have a right to tell them.  Consumers overwhelmingly want more labeling not less, so it‚ unwise for any state or elected official to try to take these labels away. While Ohio is still on the fence, we hope that theyre learning from the trend of consumer milk labeling victories that are sweeping the nation, and until they make a decision, our dedicated consumer activists will continue to keep the pressure on.

You can do your part by contacting your State Governor, and asking them to protect consumers right to know.

 

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January 16th, 2008

Mmmmm, Cloned Cheeseburgers

So the FDA has officially declared the meat and milk from cloned animals to be safe for consumption. But what‚ this? USDA is urging the industry to continue a voluntary moratorium on sales of milk or meat from cloned animals.  Could they possibly have our best interests at heart (read food safety)? Not really. This delay is all about marketing transitions, allowing we the consumer to get used to the idea of ingesting frankenburgers (that wont be required to be labeled. ) And they neglected to ask for the moratorium to apply to milk or meat from the offspring of clones.

Besides, there are economic reasons, too. Consider the cost of creating a clone: $10,000 to $20,000 per cow. That‚ a lot more expensive than ordinary cows, which is why producers will likely use clones offspring for meat instead.

And yet, ethical and health concerns remain. Studies of cloned animals detail very low survival rates; the success rate of live, healthy animals through the cloning process is less than 5%. And at this time, there is little scientific information on the effects of eating meat or drinking milk from cloned animals or their offspring.  But the FDA says not to worry, since in their words most cloned animals seem to ‚grow out” of the problems they experience early in life.  Feeling reassured yet?

The good news is that some big companies like Dean Foods Co. and Hormel Foods Corp. have said they will not sell milk or meat from cloned animals due to consumer anxiety. Which makes business sense because in a recent industry survey, 62% of consumers said they would be ‚very unlikely” or ‚somewhat unlikely” to buy animal products from cloned animals anyway.  And since the government wont require food from cloned animals to be labeled, food companies that are worried about a consumer backlash are going to have to declare themselves clone,free.

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January 11th, 2008

Happy New Year!

Welcome to Issue 24 of SnackCast. Happy new year from Food & Water Watch! The Food & Water Watch podcast will be back on Friday, February 1st, when it will return to its normal weekly schedule. In the meantime, you can continue to check out our blog, and you can also tune into a great podcast with National Catholic Reporter Tom Fox interviewing Patty Lovera, our assistant director, about the safety of our food supply.

Wishing you a good start to 2008!

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January 9th, 2008

Food & Water Watch Can Help You Find Your Water Footprint

. . . while sipping an rBGH free latte?

It’s just a week into 2008 and already we’ve seen reason to celebrate‚ thanks to the work of Food & Water Watch activists
and the work of many of our allies, on January 1, Starbucks Coffee Co. officially went rBGH-free! This means that when you order a latte or any drink with milk in it, you can rest assured that none of the cows that produced that milk were treated with the artificial hormone r-BGH. Now that’s a reason to raise your glass!

What’s your water footprint?
  • 1 lb plastic = 24 gallons of water
  • 1 lb cotton > 100 gallons of water
  • Average American = 1,189.3 gallons of water per day.

That’s no drop in the bucket. Calculate your water footprint today at H2O Conserve.

We’re also happy to share with you today a brand new website called H2O Conserve that shows us how to do something about our 1,000-plus gallon-a-day habit. We’ve worked with our friends at Johns Hopkins University, GRACE, and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility to create this one-of-a-kind online tool to calculate your “water footprint.” Be sure to try out this useful new tool!

Here’s some more of what you can expect from Food & Water Watch in 2008:

  • We’ll press for more labeling of foods so that we know where our food is coming from and how it’s produced, in order to make better choices about what we feed our families;
  • We’ll campaign around the country to upgrade and improve our nation’s public water systems so everyone has access to clean, affordable water;
  • We’ll work to stop the Bush administration from parceling out our shared oceans to wealthy corporate interests;
  • We’ll continue to expose the myth of bottled water purity and work with college campuses and restaurants to choose healthy public tap water instead of the corporate-controlled bottled water.

You can stay up to date on all our campaign by signing up here.

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