Blogs | Food & Water Watch - Part 109
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February 23rd, 2010

Farm to School Needs More Support

It seems the Obama administration is starting to take some steps toward addressing the childhood obesity epidemic.  The President recently requested the inclusion of an additional $1 billion in funding for child nutrition programs in the national budget. This commitment preceded the unveiling of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Lets Move” initiative, a national push for improving nutrition and increasing exercise for American children. With all this focus on the issue, one potential solution seems to be receiving less than its deserved share of attention: Farm to School programs. Read the full article…

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February 18th, 2010

Two options for tap water at Vancouver Olympics: One is free, the other is Dasani

Image: javcon117

Metro Vancouver recently took on the task of promoting the consumption of tap water over bottled water and is now battling it out with Coca-Cola at the Olympic games.

As one of the Olympics biggest official sponsors, Coca-Cola, who claims their bottled water “doesn’t compete with tap water,” is of course throwing a huge tantrum over this reality: they are now going to have to compete with tap water. You know, the same tap water that they use to fill their Dasani bottles. Maybe Coca-Cola should just stick with making Coke instead of re-packaging tap water from the local bottling plant in Vancouver and trucking it in to the Olympics.

Read the full article…

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February 12th, 2010

Fishmeal Certification Program Takes the Green-washed Cake

Image by sethappleton

For several years now, proposed certification of one fishery after another has been causing international controversy for the Marine Stewardship Council. Likewise, one company after another have signed on to source farmed shrimp from Global Aquaculture Alliance’s Best Aquaculture Practices, despite the fact that their labor and worker health standards are sub-par according to the Solidarity Center (check out pages 14-16 in that last link to find out more). But this latest news of a fishmeal certification program really takes the cake—the green-washed cake, that is. Read the full article…

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February 4th, 2010

"Fragrance" or Foe?

The cosmetics industry is a lightly-regulated, moneymaking machine. It encourages women to buy products to look better, thinner, tanner, softer, and generally more ‚attractive”. Unfortunately, these products are filled-to-the-brim with chemicals. We know some of these chemicals are harmful. That‚ bad enough, but even more frightening is that many chemicals or formulations do not have to be disclosed because they are considered ‚trade secrets.” Such is the case with the ingredient listed as ‚fragrance.”

Fragrance is rarely made up of just one chemical. It‚ a veritable toxic soup of many. In an attempt to demonstrate transparency, the European Union‚ International Fragrance Association (IFRA) just released 3,163 chemicals that were used in fragrance formulations in 2008. Read the full article…

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February 2nd, 2010

Farmed Blue fin tuna awash in San Diego

Ironically, as blue fin tuna populations have dropped dramatically around the world, Imperial Beach in San Diego was unexpectedly awash with them last week as “disoriented” fish struggled in the surf and some were beached on the shore.

Blue fin tuna are prized by sport fishermen and high-end sushi restaurants in Japan and the United States. A 35 pound individual can net up to $5,000 on the market and some adults weigh hundreds of pounds. But despite the fish‚ popularity and a shared directional deficiency with Zoolander , the blue fin does not lead a glamorous life. Read the full article…

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January 29th, 2010

The Real Farmville

Farmville, the virtual farming game on Facebook.com, has recently become an online phenomenon with millions of active players. The game portrays an idyllic farming community where players can create small, personalized farms with options to harvest anything from tomatoes to Clydesdales (for horse hair).  They also have the ability to send messages and assist in the maintenance of a friend’s farm, which adds the extra appeal of social networking.

With the current consolidation of the industry by large factory farming corporations, could this perpetuation of the small farm ideal actually be detracting from some real issues? What would it look like if Farmville portrayed the real problems facing small to medium organic farming operations?

Perhaps, Joe farmer would log on to harvest his crops, say half a field of delicious looking strawberries. He clicks on a few plots to sell his bounty when, abruptly, a message pops up to inform him that there is no one to buy his strawberries. “Sorry, Farmer Joe, but due to current labor and international trade laws, foreign growers are able to pay their workers a mere fraction of minimum wage and import strawberries at half your price.” Flabbergasted and frustrated Joe farmer moves on. Read the full article…

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January 28th, 2010

Turning Trash into More Trash

The bottled water industry tries very hard to convince consumers that buying their product is fine, because all those empty bottles are recyclable. What they don’t address is exactly what plastic bottle recycling often entails.

Check out this video from National Geographic for a closer look at the process plastic bottles go through in order to produce polyester clothing in China.

As the video shows us, plastic bottles are collected in various locations, like here in the US, or over in Europe. Then, the plastic bottles are shredded up, packaged in cellophane, boxed up into giant presents of plastic goodness (a valuable commodity, of course) and sent on a 7,000-mile trip to China. The plastic then goes through an unimaginably complex process involving boiling, rotating, drying, melting, spinning, bonding, tearing, packaging, scraping, threading, weaving, looping, and brushing until the polyester textile is made. But never fear, the stylists are very economical while cutting out the templates prior to the polyester being sewn–they wont create anymore waste than necessary. Phew! Read the full article…

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January 27th, 2010

Target Hits the Mark with a Phase-out on Farmed Salmon!

With an overload of sketchy news stories about corporations trying to control our food and water resources, pieces of good news on food safety can seem few and far between. But today, there is great news , the ever-popular Target has eliminated farmed salmon from its more than 1,700 stores across the United States. All sushi containing farmed salmon will be phased out by the end of this year. In its place, theyll be offering wild Alaskan salmon. Read the full article…

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January 20th, 2010

Most smoke "flavorings" are toxic

Here‚ some unfortunate news about the smoked seafood you may be eating. If it’s not actually being smoked over a fire, the “flavor of smoke” you taste probably comes from a chemical‚ and it might be toxic.

This month, the European Food Safety Authority released a report reviewing 11 common “smoke flavorings” that are used in place of traditional smoking techniques for seafood. Their conclusion: only two of the 11 were non-toxic. Eight of the flavorings posed some health concern; one of these eight had the potential for genotoxicity, or damage to the genetic material of cells. (One didn’t have enough data for assessment.) Read the full article…

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Gates Foundation, Great Frustration

By Tim Schwab

The Gates Foundation’s new pick for the head of the foundation‚ agricultural development program, Sam Dryden, the gene-slinging, globe-trotting biotechnology pioneer, is nothing less than a public declaration of what many of us long suspected: the Gates Foundation‚ billion-dollar agricultural development effort, mainly focused in Africa, is being rooted in the shallow and infertile promises of genetically modified crops.

Having already plowed enormous sums of money into biotechnology as a tool for agricultural development, the Gates Foundation appointment of Dryden bolsters the organization‚ longstanding tacit endorsement of genetically modified agriculture as the solution to world hunger. Read the full article…

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