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We were first introduced to Food & Water Watch during an effort to maintain local control of the publicly owned water system in our area. We have continued to support the efforts of FWW as they lobby for the best interests of the people of this planet.
Published on December 26, 2010 - Fact Sheets: Local governments across the country have uncovered a smart way to reduce costs and improve the performance of their water systems: They are exiting management contracts with private water companies and bringing water services under public control. A number of cities and towns have saved millions of dollars by running their water utilities with public employees instead of private contractors. For these communities, public operation is a much better deal.
Published on December 10, 2010 - Fact Sheets: Choosing the best fish to eat can be complicated. In many cases, the more you know, the more questions arise: Is this wild or farmed? Local or imported? Produced in an environmentally responsible way? High in mercury? Tainted with antibiotics and chemicals? In light of these questions, there is a demand for straightforward guidance on seafood. To address the sustainability questions surrounding fish, a number of certification programs have developed sets of standards and labels to evaluate and then market “environmentally friendly” or “sustainably produced” fish. But what do these labels really mean? We examined various seafood certification programs and unfortunately, these labels do not always represent what you might expect.
Published on December 08, 2010 - Fact Sheets: Food companies throughout the entire food chain are rapidly consolidating, leaving just a handful of powerful middlemen between 2 million American farmers and more than 300 million consumers. One of the most critical links in the food chain that has suffered the effects of this consolidation is the retail sector. A smaller number of grocery stores and supermarkets are exerting more and more control over which foods reach the mass market and the prices families pay at the checkout case. As food retail companies grow larger, so too does their influence on food processors and manufacturers, encouraging consolidation up the food chain, all the way to farmers growing crops and raising livestock.
Published on December 07, 2010 - Reports: Choosing the best fish to eat can be complicated. People browsing seafood counters or restaurant menus may wonder whether certain fish are both safe and sustainable. In many cases, the more a person knows, the more questions arise: Is this wild or farmed? Local or imported? Produced in an environmentally responsible way? High in mercury? Tainted with antibiotics and chemicals? In light of these questions, there is a demand for straightforward guidance on seafood. To address the sustainability questions surrounding fish, a number of certification programs have developed sets of standards and labels to evaluate and then market “environmentally friendly” or “sustainably produced” fish.
Published on December 06, 2010 - Fact Sheets: St. Louis should retain public control of its valuable water resources. The city’s well-run water division provides quality drinking water to about 370,000 people and has never violated a water quality regulation in more than a century of testing. The city should not risk jeopardizing the commendable operation by transferring control to a private company like Veolia.
Published on December 04, 2010 - Issue Briefs: The U.S. government is currently exploring ways to boost seafood production through aquaculture (i.e., fish farming). Certain types of fish farms have been associated with serious environmental, economic and cultural concerns, including industrial-size finfish facilities in the ocean and international coastal shrimp operations. But some methods of shellfish farming could provide an alternate means to help supplement our seafood supply. Carefully located, well-designed oyster, mussel and clam farms could help achieve the goal of expanding U.S. seafood production, while also providing food for health-conscious, environmentally concerned consumers.
Published on November 30, 2010 - Reports: Over the last two decades, small- and medium-scale livestock farms have given way to factory farms that confine thousands of cows, hogs and chickens in tightly packed facilities. Farmers have adopted factory-farming practices largely at the behest of the largest meatpackers, pork processors, poultry companies and dairy processors. The largest of these agribusinesses are practically monopolies, controlling what consumers get to eat, what they pay for groceries and what prices farmers receive for their livestock. This unchecked agribusiness power and misguided farm policies have pressed livestock producers to become significantly larger and adopt more intensive practices. Despite ballooning in size, many livestock producers are just squeezing by because the real price of beef cattle, hogs and milk has been falling for decades.
Published on November 29, 2010 - Fact Sheets: A new wave of water privatization formed in the wake of the recent financial crisis. With municipal budgets in the red, various cities and towns across the country considered auctioning off their water and sewer systems to generate funds. But the sale or lease of water assets is not a smart way to balance budgets. Privatization could further weaken public finances, jeopardize water resources and saddle generations of consumers with debt.
Published on November 29, 2010 - Reports: Confronted with daunting budget shortfalls following the recent economic downturn, various cities and towns across the country have considered cashing out their water utilities to generate revenue. But rather than ease fiscal pressures, the sale or lease of water assets would likely further weaken a locality’s long-term financial health and saddle consumers with debt.
Food and Agriculture Biotechnology Industry Spends More Than Half a Billion Dollars to Influence CongressPublished on November 17, 2010 - Issue Briefs: Since 1999, the 50 largest agricultural and food patent- holding companies and two of the largest biotechnology and agrochemical trade associations have spent more than $572 million in campaign contributions and lobbying expendi- tures, according to a new analysis by Food & Water Watch. The companies and trade associations have hired a bevy of well-connected lobbying shops — including at least 13 former members of Congress and over 300 former congres- sional and White House staffers — to promote genetically modified food and agricultural products.
Food and Agriculture Biotechnology Industry Spends More Than Half a Billion Dollars to Influence CongressPublished on November 17, 2010 - Fact Sheets: Since 1999, the 50 largest agricultural and food patent-holding companies and two of the largest biotechnology and agrochemical trade associations have spent more than $572 million in campaign contributions and lobbying expenditures, according to a new analysis by Food & Water Watch. The companies and trade associations have hired a bevy of well-connected lobbying shops — including at least 13 former members of Congress and over 300 former congressional and White House staffers — to promote genetically modified food and agricultural products.
Published on November 14, 2010 - Fact Sheets: California’s Pacific salmon, once abundant, are in grave danger.
Published on November 09, 2010 - Reports: U.S. poultry farmers have used drugs containing arsenic, a known poison, to control the common disease coccidiosis for decades. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the arsenic-based drug roxarsone as a feed additive in 1944. The chicken industry discovered that roxarsone promoted growth, increased feed efficiency (pounds of chicken produced from each pound of feed), and improved flesh pigmentation as well. Between 1995 and 2000, 70 percent of broiler chicken producers used roxarsone feed additives.
Published on November 04, 2010 - Issue Briefs: Expanding ways to feed the world’s growing population is a persistent topic of discussion. One company, AquaBounty Technologies, is claiming to have a new method to help feed the world — a genetically engineered (GE) salmon that grows faster than a non-altered fish. While an increase in fish production could provide more protein to an expanding world in need of more food, a closer look at this GE salmon reveals that the costs likely far outweigh any benefits. The claim is a nice talking point for the company and a booster for the product, but analysis shows that alleviating hunger is not the primary intent of the GE salmon. Furthermore, the costs associated with bring- ing it to market, including the need for more feed to support rapid growth, its inferior nutritional profile as compared to wild salmon, and potential threats to wild salmon populations from escapes, make the likelihood that it will help feed the world a highly dubious proposition. Like other GE foods before it, GE salmon will not likely contribute to food security. And, while certain forms of fish farming may help alleviate food insecurity in some places, farmed fish do not need to be genetically engineered.
Published on October 23, 2010 - Fact Sheets: The Renew America’s Water campaign is asking Congress for legislation that would create a dedicated source of federal funding to repair and improve America’s water infrastructure. Today, America’s aging, leaking pipes are in dire need of repair and municipalities across the country lack adequate funding to do so. The Renew America’s Water Fund would finance repairs for existing systems. It would also provide incentive to improve water management by supporting new, more sustainable methods such as green infrastructure. Investing federal money in America’s water infrastructure programs will improve water quality, protect the environment, create good jobs and ensure safe, reliable water for generations to come.
Published on October 18, 2010 - Issue Briefs: In years past, children coming off the school playground would run inside to line up in front of a drinking fountain. Today, many students are flocking to vending machines instead, where they shell out money to buy water in plastic bottles. Meanwhile, school water fountains are now often broken or shut off. This trend in schools mirrors a broader trend: As municipal water systems in the United States, built many years ago, are aging and in need of renovation, the bottled water industry is using glitzy corporate marketing campaigns to convince American consumers that packaged water is superior to water that comes out of the tap. Today, as more people are buying water out of plastic bottles, tap water infrastructure is falling into disrepair, and public sources of drinking water are disappearing.
Published on September 29, 2010 - Fact Sheets: Fact Sheet: In many regions across the United States, rising water demand is straining available supplies. In theory, increasing water prices to drive down consumption appears to be a neat and easy solution, but it alone is no panacea for our country’s water management challenges. Communities need effective strategies to promote sustainable water use, encourage conservation and renew our valuable water infrastructure.
Published on September 29, 2010 - Reports: America’s rising water demand risks exhausting available supplies. Developing effective strategies is necessary to address scarcity, improve water efficiency and encourage conservation while strengthening U.S. water infrastructure. To tackle the tension between dwindling supplies and growing demand, many economists, market-oriented environmentalists and think tanks have advocated for market-based pricing of household water rates — essentially charging consumers more for water to encourage conservation. Most U.S. residential water rates are low, so raising these rates has a certain logical appeal. But this simple-sounding proposition is not so simple.
Published on September 26, 2010 - Issue Briefs: Throughout the United States, regional fisheries are being forced to comply with new regulations that are dramatically changing the fishing industry and the livelihoods of fishermen. These regulations have been pitched as a way to end overfishing, motivate resource stewardship, and increase productivity, profits and long-term stability for fishermen. These controversial management tools, officially called “catch shares“ or “individual fishing quotas” (IFQs), are similar in approach to the widely criticized cap-and-trade programs meant to resolve air pollution problems. “Catch-and-trade” systems are being heavily promoted by the federal government, despite much opposition and concern, as a way to better manage and monitor fisheries in the United States.
Published on September 23, 2010 - Issue Briefs: In 2009, bottled water sales in the United States declined for the second year in a row, according to the Beverage Marketing Corporation. U.S. bottled water revenues went down 5.2 percent and the volume of water sold went down 2.5 percent. Pepsi's Aquafina sales declined by 10 percent, Coca Cola’s Dasani went down by 7.9 percent, and Nestle Waters North America’s leading brand, Poland Spring, declined by 6.4 percent. This fall in sales may be bad news for the bottled water industry, but it is good news for the environment.