Blogs | Food & Water Watch - Part 108
Victory! Farm Bureau case challenging EPA’s right to share factory farm data dismissed. more wins »


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October 20th, 2010

Does Your Organic Beer Contain Non-Organic Hops?

An old Czech proverb says, “The government will fall that raises the price of beer.” What about the government that lowers the standards of its ingredients?

For awhile it seemed as if organic hops wouldn’t get any respect from USDA’s National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). The agency has been allowing hops — one of the main ingredients used to make beer — to remain on a list of non-organic ingredients permitted to be included in foods that are certified organic. In other words, it would be okay to use non-organic hops and still call your beer organic. But all those who hold beer as dear said, “Not so fast!” Read the full article…

October 18th, 2010

Is Walmart Really Going Local?

If you’re wondering if Walmart’s latest announcement is a sign of changing times — if a giant megastore is capable of truly making a renewed commitment to sustainable practices within an industrial food production model — you are not alone. When the largest retailer of food in the United States says they want to adjust its business model to adapt to consumer priorities like sustainability, it’s worth keeping an eye on.

It’s certainly possible that this is just a case of corporate greenwashing — that is, Walmart is merely hijacking a message that clearly appeals to consumers. But isn’t getting more local, sustainable produce sold in any grocery store a good thing? It depends how it’s done, and what you call local and sustainable.

When it comes to claims about sustainability, the devil is always in the details: how will Walmart define their standards for sustainability? How will they measure the environmental stewardship of their local suppliers? And perhaps the most critical questions — will the company offer fair prices to local farmers? Or will they lock them into financially destructive contracts that involve expensive upgrades or expansions of their farms to meet large-scale demand?

Walmart’s Executive Vice President for Corporate Affairs Leslie A. Dach said, “When we do this on Walmart’s scale, we can deliver a global food supply that improves health and livelihoods around the world.” But Walmart’s scale is a big part of the problem in our food system. It’s going to take more than marketing campaigns to fix that.

-Rich Bindell

October 15th, 2010

An Oregon County Shuns the Bottle

Multnomah County, Oregon, which includes the city of Portland, took back the tap by passing a resolution prohibiting the purchase of bottled water with county funds. Members of the Multnomah Country Board of Commissioners were unanimous in their decision to ban the bottle. The county even joined Food & Water Watch’s national campaign to Take Back the Tap.

Members of the Multnomah Country Board of Commissioners voted unanimously against the bottle to save money and the environment. The county also joined Food & Water Watch’s national campaign to Take Back the Tap.

Commissioner Barbara Willer, who led the effort, was motivated by a desire to see the county save money and to protect the environment from unwanted waste and pollution. She punched her point home by reminding people just how costly bottled water can be when she said, “Buying bottled water is more expensive than buying gas.” Read the full article…

October 12th, 2010

Large-Scale is the Problem

Maybe we haven’t learned anything from the Great Egg Recall of 2010; at least not enough–not yet. The egg farm mentioned in William Neuman’s New York Times article, and many farms like it, try to adjust their large-scale models of production to address unhygienic conditions and other problems that arise from being so big.

The factory farm model confines thousands of animals into a closed environment that is condusive to the spread of diseases like E. coli and salmonella.

Read the full article…

October 8th, 2010

Is the FDA Anti-Consumer?

The debate over GE salmon has uncovered many questions about the FDA’s approval process and about the data AquaBounty provided to the FDA to prove that the fish is safe to eat. A few reader comments from GE salmon proponents have suggested that critics of GE salmon, and the FDA process that governs its approval, are not supportive of technological advances. As one commenter put it, “Why are you guys anti-science?” Read the full article…

October 6th, 2010

Default Set to Misleading

The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) won its lawsuit against Eco Canteen, Inc., a company that distributes reusable stainless steel canteens. A U.S. District Court in western North Carolina awarded IBWA a permanent injunction against Eco Canteen for what was deemed false and misleading advertising — their TV commercials claimed that steel containers were safer than plastic bottles. Read the full article…

October 4th, 2010

Mislabeled in Ohio

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit overruled part of an Ohio labeling ban. The ban would have prevented producers from labeling their milk as "artificial hormone-free."

Last week, Ohio’s Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals re-instituted the right of dairy processors to label their products as “rbGH-free,” “rbST-free,” or “artificial hormone free,” if their cows aren’t treated with those substances. The ruling overturned a statewide ban —the most restrictive milk regulation in the U.S. — that prevented dairy processors from identifying their products as artificial hormone-free. Read the full article…

September 30th, 2010

Another Round in the Battle Against the Bottle

CNBC’s Power Lunch provided a forum today for yet another debate on the subject of bottled water versus the tap, following a special segment called Liquid Assets. Food & Water Watch Senior Legislative and Policy Analyst Mitch Jones squared off against International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) President and CEO Joe Doss in front of program hosts Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, Sue Herera and Tyler Mathisen.

Food & Water Watch Senior Legislative and Policy Analyst Mitch Jones squares off against International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) President and CEO Joe Doss on CNBC’s Power Lunch. In our opinion, Jones wins.

Read the full article…

Agribusiness in the Ocean?

Interview with Marianne Cufone

Marianne Cufone is the Fish Program Director for Food & Water Watch. One of the main fish program campaigns examines catch share programs—or catch and trade—and the impact they have on our food supply, fishing communities and the environment. Read the full article…

Is Water Pricing a Solution or Just a Myth?

Treating water like a commodity will not help us address the challenges we face of meeting the growing demand for water in the future. Priceless: The Myth of Water Pricing Reform, a Food & Water Watch report, refutes the idea that managing demand by raising residential water rates will, alone, help conserve and protect this vital resource. Read the full article…