November 25th, 2008
The Food and Drug Administration has finally decided to come to terms with the fact that melamine is something of a problem. As of last week, all dairy products have been banned from China unless an importer can prove the products are free of melamine contamination. While being a step in the right direction, this is clearly another example of too little, too late. The ban should have been imposed ages ago, and it does not cover all of the products that have been shown to be contaminated with melamine, such as the eggs found in Hong Kong. Nor does it address the possibility that meat, pork, and chicken may soon be added to that list due to livestock being fed contaminated feed.
FDA claims that it has been aware of the contaminated milk-related illnesses in China back in September 2008 , which was two months after the first cases were reported and receiving international attention. Instead of instituting a ban in September, however, they imposed some arbitrary standard for a safe level of melamine, which allowed unsafe products to still make it onto U.S. grocery shelves. Only now have they begun to do something, and yet it still is not enough, and only barely begins to address the problem. Which begs the question, how much more melamine will it take for the FDA to actually do its job? Read the full article…
November 21st, 2008
According to an article in the Globe and Mail, Nestlé handed out souvenir bags containing disposable bottles of flavored water to elementary school kids in honor of Toronto’s Waste Reduction Week. (The
eco-awareness event is put on by the Recycling Council, with the help of
corporate sponsors including the Swiss-multinational chocolate giant and
If that’s not ironic, we don’t know what is.
But the schoolkids saw right through Nestlé’s cynical contradiction-in-terms. They flooded the recycling council with letters, asking, “Isn’t it strange to talk about not wasting when you gave us a water bottle to waste?” Many of the fourth- and fifth-graders stated that they were prepared to boycott all Nestlé products if the company did not respond. Read the full article…
November 20th, 2008
Spoiler Alert: Back in the good old days of the Cold War, everybody‚ favorite secret agent, James Bond, fought villains like Dr. No, an evil scientist out to sabotage U.S. missile tests, and Mr. Big, a Soviet agent using pirate treasure to finance espionage in America. But as Bond‚ friend Mathis tells him in Quantum of Solace, “When one is young, it‚ easy to tell the difference between right and wrong. As one gets older, the villains and heroes get all mixed up.”
The reference is to a shady new Bond villain — agent of the Quantum organization — Dominic Greene. In public, Greene is a leading environmentalist whose organization, Greene Planet, buys up large tracts of land for ecological preserves. But behind the scenes, Greene has another agenda. As he says to his co-conspirators, “This is the most valuable resource in the world and we need to control as much of it as we can.” Read the full article…
Want a new way to teach your kids and students about farmed fish? Food & Water Watch has just come out with a new animation, “Fishy Business,” available online as a fun and easy-to-use resource for parents and educators to teach their children about the potential dangers of fish farming. The animation describes in detail the process of fish farming. Specifically, it shows the effects of pollution, overfishing, and the cramped and unhealthy conditions in fish farms, as well as how fish feed is altered with antibiotics and growth hormones. Parasites and disease that are present as a result of the farming can also be spread to wild fish. The animation describes a variety of other problems also caused by this practice, in a way that is comprehensive, without being overwhelming , making it an ideal educational tool. Read the full article…
November 18th, 2008
Campuses across the country compete for placement on the cutting edge of climate action. Washington University of St. Louis’ recent switch away from bottled water consumption demonstrates an easy green initiative propelling the institution toward a more sustainable learning environment.
Kicking the bottle, the Washington Bears united with the city of St. Louis in celebrating award-winning tap water. Just this August, Food & Water Watch joined St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay in providing 5,000 reusable drinking water bottles to city employees, banning the purchase of bottled water by city departments, and issuing a call for a federal trust fund for water infrastructure. Read the full article…
Update: Fish & Tips has been released. Get your copy! The holiday season is approaching, which means that it‚ time to look for new ways to spice up old traditions. And just in time for the holidays, Food & Water Watch is releasing its very own sustainable seafood recipe cookbook entitled “Fish & Tips.” The recipes featured are provided by fishermen, chefs, and some of our best submissions from our recent “Get Cookin Recipe Contest,” and are all meant to be cooked using sustainable seafood recommended from our Smart Seafood Guide.
While it may be hard to imagine the holidays with seafood, consider this: at the first Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims and the Native Americans actually ate seafood along with their turkey. Whole Foods is putting that concept into practice by having their very own “Shrimpsgiving”, a period of special prices on their seafood, specifically shrimp, so that consumers can have a variety of options for the holiday season. Keep in mind, however, that not all of the offerings at Whole Foods are fair game in terms of sustainability. Read the full article…
November 17th, 2008
Imagine a farm in the ocean that produces fish containing PCBs and other toxins, and dumps chemical-laden waste directly into surrounding waters. Does that sound organic to you? According to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), a commission of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, fish from these “factory farms of the sea” should be able to carry the USDA Organic label. In fact, this week the board is meeting in Washington, DC to recommend allowing fish from open water aquaculture operations to be certified as organic.
But organizations within the organic, ocean conservation, consumer and food safety communities oppose this proposed decision because the principles and practices behind open water aquaculture, growing tens of thousands of fish in cages anchored to the seafloor – are simply incompatible with basic organic standards. Read the full article…
November 13th, 2008
Meet us at the Pacific Marine Expo in Seattle between November 20-22! We will be there handing out free seafood guides and magnets and getting
the word out about important fish issues.
Pacific Marine Expo is the largest commercial marine tradeshow on the West Coast. Serving all aspects of the market, including commercial vessels owners, commercial fishermen, boatbuilders and seafood processors, this annual event covers it all. If you make your living on the water, or provide services to those who do, this is your show.
-Food & Water Watch
November 10th, 2008
During their last days in power, President Bush and his administration are evidently uninterested in improving their image or even maintaining it. It seemed fathomable, after multiple indications of failure, that the administration would acknowledge the incompetence of its deregulatory doctrine and, like the public, accept the need for regulation. Unfortunately, that’s nowhere near the case. Instead, they’ve decided to blatantly ignore consumer interest and have one last push at passing rules to further weaken our health, safety, and environmental protections.
Like frat boys ending a party at full drunken force, it looks like they are rushing to do as much as damage in as little time as they can. Perhaps they have learned something in the course of their eight years of experience — they’re attempting to set these policies up in a way that will make it difficult for the incoming administration to reverse them. If they pass a rule by December 22nd and it takes effect before Inauguration Day, the new administration will not be able to revoke it without creating a new rule, which often takes months.
In the coming weeks, Food & Water Watch will be working hard to minimize the damage the administration is expected to inflict on the public and the environment. Stay tuned for opportunities to help and take action on one important issue now: urge the USDA to protect our food labels.
November 6th, 2008
Just when it seemed that the melamine scare couldn’t get any worse, we find out that the problem may be far deeper than we imagined. Eggs sold in Hong Kong, imported from mainland China, have been found to have twice the FDA‚ supposed “safe limit” of melamine. How did it get there? Apparently through contaminated feed , which means that beef, chicken, pork, and fish may also be at risk. However, U.S. and European agencies have yet to do something about it.
While Hong Kong authorities are responding by expanding their testing of products to include pork, fish, and offal products, the same sort of initiative has yet to be seen in the U.S.. And in Europe, while authorities admit to being aware of the situation, they still have not issued any sort of alert to consumers. In this they are showing an astonishing degree of willful irresponsibility, shockingly similar to FDA-backdated (and long overdue) recall of the contaminated Koala‚ March cookies. Read the full article…