May 31st, 2011
By Rich Bindell
If you’re one of the over 200,000 Italian Americans who can vote back in Italy, please take note: the people of Italy have called for a nation-wide referendum on critical issues relating to the management of water. On June 12 and 13, Italian electors will be called to vote on referenda pertaining to the privatization of water. Two of the demands within the referendum are in regard to water management and water supply. Read the full article…
May 27th, 2011
By Rich Bindell
While this weekend is supposed to encourage us to pause and think about those who have served or continue to serve our nation, it’s not unlikely that you could end up grilling out at someone’s house over the next few days. Since Memorial Day weekend is the kick-off for summer for many of us, it’s the perfect time to discuss the USDA’s big change to their refrigerator magnet of recommended cooking temperatures for meat. Well, it’s not that big, actually; technically it’s more of an update for pork.
The USDA is changing the recommended cooking temperatures for all thick, whole cuts of pork (roasts, chops, from 160 degrees to 145 degrees with a resting time of three minutes. That means that the thickest part of the meat has to reach 145 degrees and then have three minutes of rest time. This will allow for safe meat consumption, which really means that it will properly kill the pathogens and be microbiologically safe. Read the full article…
If you’re part of the movement to stop fracking — a dangerous method of natural gas extraction — you can now keep track of its progress across the country.
Food & Water Watch has created a map that tracks local measures against hydraulic fracturing, as well as statewide efforts to stop or restrict it. It designates exactly where shale gas plays are located throughout the nation and which communities have been successful in taking action to protect their water and their environment by passing resolutions, ordinances or bills against fracking. Mapping the Movement also shows pending measures.
As the movement to ban fracking grows stronger, we want to encourage activists to share information on its progress with as many people as possible. So, if you know of an effort against fracking not listed here, please tell us about it so we can include it in the map.
The movement is getting bigger and it’s moving fast. Even shareholders of Exxon-Mobil and Chevron want to disclose more information about the risks of fracking. Let’s keep the momentum moving in the right direction and ban fracking!
May 25th, 2011
By Rich Bindell
Necessity might be the mother of some inventions, but certainly not all of them. In other words: just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Perhaps, we should leave room for difference of opinion on the definition of necessity. For some, it seems to reflect the notion that Mother Nature just isn’t quite efficient enough.
Take meat, for example. We’re used to getting meat from actual animals that are raised on farms (or hunted, depending upon where you’re from) and that are born from the wombs of their mothers. Apparently, this is no longer necessary, thanks to the work of biologist and tissue engineer Vladimir Mironov from the Medical University of South Carolina, who believes that we might soon be able to “grow” our own meat. Mironov is involved in the bioengineering of “cultured” or “in-vitro” meat or, as I am calling it, “In-meatro.” Is Mironov another scientist who humbly desires to help solve global hunger or is he blinded by the thought of becoming more efficient than nature? Read the full article…
May 23rd, 2011
Seafood lovers, pay close attention…
Approximately 80 percent of all seafood consumed in the U.S. is imported, and about half of that comes from fish farms. Instead of picturing your fish being caught by fishermen on a boat, it might be more accurate to imagine instead that they are being raised in a factory fish farm in China or Indonesia and shipped to the U.S. in boxes.
Raising fish in the crowded conditions of a factory fish farm leaves them susceptible to disease, so many foreign fisheries use antibiotics (some approved, some not), the residues of which can sometimes contain cancer-causing drugs. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report, basically saying that the FDA, which oversees the safety aspect of seafood as it relates to these residues, is having trouble doing so due to their “limited” capacity to properly manage their inspection program. GAO recommended more funding to reinforce the program and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), is vowing to fight for it. Read the full article…
By Wenonah Hauter
Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter calls out 147 Members of Congress for "shameful kowtowing" to the meat industry.
Last Wednesday, 147 Members of Congress proved once again that the meat industry can buy public policy. The trade associations for big meat, which are major campaign contributors, have been pitching a hissy fit that they won’t be able to squeeze every penny out of livestock producers. They wrote to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack asking him to conduct “a more thorough economic analysis” of the proposed fair farm rules (GIPSA) that would give livestock producers a fighting chance when they contract or sell to the consolidated meat industry. This action by the Members is nothing more than yet another obstruction to implementing a rule first proposed in the 1921 Packers and Stockyards Act because of the abusive practices of the meat industry that have continued and worsened through the decades. This rule would eliminate “undue” preference in livestock marketing to the biggest producers. Read the full article…
May 19th, 2011
The Food & Water Watch Factory Farm Map has created quite a buzz over the last several months, and now it’s won an Interactive Media Award (IMA). Created by our friends at New Signature, the Factory Farm Map has taken home IMA’s coveted Best in Class award under the Advocacy category, a rather high honor of which we are very proud. We would like to congratulate our food team for their hard work and New Signature for their creativity in designing a compelling media experience that allowed us to share very detailed information about factory farm statistics that reinforces our messaging on the U.S. food system.
The Factory Farm Map is an interactive resource that charts the concentration of factory-farmed animals across the country and illustrates the geographic shift in where and how food is raised in the U.S. Our researchers analyzed data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Census using information from 1997, 2002 and the most current census, 2007, for beef and dairy cattle, hogs, broiler meat chickens and egg-laying operations.
The map continues to be an annual labor of love for many people here at Food & Water Watch and we are very happy for everyone involved that this interactive map has seen such tremendous success.
Congratulations to all involved!
Food & Water Watch and 138 other groups around the world have sent a letter to the UN Missions opposing the “the increasingly widespread lobbying of the United Nations by transnational water corporations,” according to a news article by AFP.
A new report prepared for the Council of Canadians, A Review of Private Sector Influence on Water Policies and Programmes at the United Nations, scrutinizes the growing corporate influence over the international body. Read the full article…
May 17th, 2011
A few Chinese farmers found out the hard way that using a growth accelerator could cause watermelon carnage.
The Associated Press reported that approximately 20 farmers in Jiangsu province have witnessed 115 acres of watermelons exploding like land mines, thanks in part to their overuse of a growth accelerator called forchlorfenuron, which caused the fruit to burst. Back in the United States, 80’s comedian Gallagher might be worried about losing his job.
China Central Television said the farmers were all first-time users of forchlorfenuron, which is legal in China and even used on grapes and kiwis in the U.S. While the report suggests that the farmers didn’t use the chemical correctly, the situation highlights a growing concern for Americans: China’s frequent misuse of chemicals — both legal and illegal — in food that might be exported to the U.S. thanks to free trade deals. Read the full article…
May 16th, 2011
The Ontario Power Generation in Canada wants to start storing nuclear waste in Lake Huron. Photo provided by Msoccer29. Front page photo provided by the SeaWiFS Project, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center and ORBIMAGE.
Our friends at the Council of Canadians, headed by our board chair Maude Barlow, today warned that a proposed nuclear waste repository on Lake Huron is a serious threat to the Great Lakes.
“Extreme caution is needed when nuclear waste and freshwater are involved,” says Barlow. “Water breaches from deep geological repositories have occurred in the past and we don’t want to see that happening on the shores of Lake Huron.”
What’s more, even though the facility is only 70 kilometers (43 miles) from the U.S., residents here will not have the chance to comment. Public hearings in Canada are expected to be held in 2012 and the facility could open in 2013 and start receiving waste by 2018.
For more detail, read the full press release. For more on preserving the Great Lakes as a commons resource, read the report, Our Great Lakes Commons: A People’s Plan to Protect the Great Lakes Forever.