February, 2008 | Food & Water Watch
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Blog Posts: February 2008

February 29th, 2008

Oh Where Does the Water Go?

Ever wonder how much of California’s water is being bottled and sold by water corporations? Assembly Bill 2275, recently introduced in the California legislature, would require companies to disclose how much water they are taking for private profit and label where the water is coming from. If you are a California resident, you can help us pass the bill by contacting your assembly member.

In an era of climate change and increasing scarcity of clean water, Food & Water Watch is working to protect our water as a public trust. Shouldn’t we be able to know from where and how much of it is being bottled by Nestle, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, and others for the benefit of their shareholders?

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Add Your Voice

More than 600 people have already told their Congress member to support the Water for the World resolution. If have not already added your voice please do so today. Help us break the 1000 mark!

On February 29, Food & Water Watch will sponsor a congressional briefing to get Congress to pay attention to the global water crisis. We are using this opportunity to highlight the Water for the World Resolution introduced by Rep. Schakowsky in December 2007. No one can survive without water, but today as many as 1.4 billion people struggle daily without access to an adequate water supply and 2.5 billion people lack access to improved sanitation.

The resolution addresses the global water crisis and prioritizes
communities currently without reliable access to this vital resource.
Water is a fundamental human right, and access to water can mean the
difference between life and death, sickness and health, cyclical
poverty and economic development.

This is your chance to make a difference.

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February 25th, 2008

What's in Your Meat? Could be a downer…

Welcome to Issue 26 of SnackCast. This week USDA recalled 143 million pounds of meat — the largest recall in U.S. history. In this issue Tony Corbo, a senior lobbyist on the food campaign for Food & Water Watch, talks about the events that led up to this massive recall, and the potential impacts it could have on consumer’s health and food security.

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February 22nd, 2008

The Food Inspector in You

The Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Company fiasco — the largest meat recall in U.S. history — most certainly has you worried. Let’s not even mention the fact that the last year and a half has been chock full of non-stop reminders of numerous food safety problems. Let’s see, there was:

It’s no wonder we want to know more about the derivation of our food.

Of course this bad news has us worried. In 2007, the Food Marketing Institute, a trade group of food retailers and wholesalers, reported that the number of shoppers confident that food at the grocery store was safe had dropped to 66 percent from 82 percent the previous year. (Just 43 percent were confident about getting safe food at restaurants.) In a GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media survey taken in November, only 50 percent of respondents said they were confident that there were adequate food safety regulations in place.

So, what are you waiting for? Take your food safety questions to USDA’s very own Karen. We’re certain that she’ll be just as helpful as the other USDA officials.

But seriously folks, it’s a sad state of affairs when The Washington Post runs headlines like “New Food Inspector: YOU“, but it’s not too far from the truth. Feel better about your food. Peruse our food safety articles.  And be sure to use the Eat Well Guide to find safe meat in your area and support local farmers. You too can become the New Oxford American Dictionary’s 2007 word of the year — “locavore,” a term for a person who seeks out locally produced food.

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February 20th, 2008

Wanna Be a Video Star?

Have you got love for tap water? Were challenging college students from around the US to declare their love for tap water — and get it on film. Breaking the bottled water habit means not only recognizing the health, environmental and economic costs of bottled water but also building renewed confidence in tap water that is safe and affordable.

Show your love for tap water by participating in the I Heart Tap Water Video Contest!

Simply produce a 30 second to 3 minute video that includes the following three elements:

  1. A declaration of your love for tap water
  2. Some discussion about bottled water consumption
  3. Make the case for why your school or any campus should give up bottled water

In case youre not quite feeling motivated enough ponder this. The winner gets fifteen hundred smakeroonies!! So be creative, have fun, and show us your love for tap water. Oh, and be sure to submit your video to us by April 14. To get started, watch this promo video:

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February 15th, 2008

I Heart Tap Water

Welcome to Issue 25 of SnackCast. SnackCast is back from vacation, just in time for Valentine’s Day! This week Food & Water Watch challenged students across the country to declare their love for tap water in the I Heart Tap Water video contest — a part of the Take Back the Tap campaign that encourages college students to promote and protect tap water on campuses. Annie Weinberg, an organizer at Food & Water Watch talks about the campaign and the different activities taking place at college campuses right now.

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February 14th, 2008

How Do I Love Thee?

Valentine‚ Day is fast approaching, and were sure that you plan on buying flowers for your sweetie. Did you every stop to think about where those flowers came from?

Turns out that industrial flower farms abound, particularly in the Lake Naivasha region of Kenya, the largest supplier of flowers to the European market. I know youve seen the recent news about the violent outbreaks in this region, and yet so many seem more concerned about the fate of the flower farms instead of the people. Go figure.

In any event, it turns out that the plethora of flower farms in the Lake Naivasha region pose a number of serious ecological problems for Kenya‚ rivers and for the lake, including loss of water, an unsustainable increase in the population because of the laborers they have attracted, and the overuse of pesticides and fertilizers.

The people who made it possible for you to have those pretty flowers were more than likely low,wage workers who were exposed to pesticides in the production processes. These flower workers suffer from work,related health problems, many of which result from pesticide exposure.

The pesticides applied on the flower farms eventually end up in Lake Naivasha and in the groundwater, endangering the area‚ people and wildlife, including hippos, fish, and birds. Take, for instance, the fact that numerous bird and fish species are disappearing from the area. (Lake Naivasha used to be ‚one of the world‚ top ten sites for birds, with more than 350 recorded species.) Plant life has vanished, and the local hippopotamus population has decreased from 1,500 in 2004 to 1,100 in 2006.

We Americans may be thinking to ourselves that were really not affected by all of this. However, we have our own flower farm issues, like the demise of the Indiana cut flower industry, to contend with. This sad reality is brought to you by USAID, when they began promoting flower cultivation in Colombia as a substitute for coca production in 1965. Although these imported flowers are less expensive for American consumers, they come at a steep price to both Colombian workers and American growers.

But how do you responsibly express your love? Start with purchasing cut flowers that are both domestically and responsibly grown. Go one better by purchasing flowers cultivated by growers in your region. If you cant locate a verifiable source for domestically grown cut flowers, consider giving potted plants, instead of bouquets, as gifts. Visit the United Farm Workers of America‚ website to find nurseries that have been endorsed for fair treatment of workers.

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