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Tag Archive: Genetically Modified Organisms


Italy to Ban Monsanto GMO Corn with 80% Public Support

Christina Sarich

by
Natural Society
July 20th, 2013

corn in hand 263x164 Italy to Ban Monsanto GMO Corn with 80% Public SupportFirst India gives Monsanto a run for their ill-gotten money by refusing their patent applications, and now Italy, with the help of three Italian ministries, will try to undo Monsanto. A decree has been signed which will ban Monsanto’s MON810 maize, one of the two genetically modified crops currently legally grown in Europe and sold commercially. The decree is not yet binding as it has to be published in the official gazette, but the public stands behind the three Italian ministers who put forth the document with a resounding 80% against GMO and Monsanto, as evidenced in a public survey.

The agricultural ministry rightfully addressed one of many problems with Monsanto’s GMO crops, stating that they have a ‘negative impact on biodiversity.’ The ban was also signed by the health and environment ministries. That makes three. The ministries stated:

“Our agriculture is based on biodiversity, on quality, and those we must continue to aim for, without games that even from an economic point of view would not make us competitive.”

The three ministries have also notified the European Commission and other states in the EU about this important precedent-setting move to oust Monsanto from the world food supply monopoly that the company is currently trying to browbeat the world with. The ministries have also requested a scientific basis for the final decision from the European Food and Safety Authority – Europe’s version of the FDA, the country’s food safety watch dog.

 

Read More Here

 

 

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Crossroads News : Changes In The World Around Us And Our Place In It

Corporate Assault on Our Lives And Our Health  :  Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) – Research

Is The End of Monsanto Near? Prop 37 Succeeding as Nations Ban GMO Crops

Anthony Gucciardi
NaturalSociety

endofmonsanto 235x147 Is The End of Monsanto Near? Prop 37 Succeeding as Nations Ban GMO CropsIs the end of Monsanto within reach? It has certainly been a rough couple of weeks for the mega corporation as the real dangers surrounding GMOs are being brought to the attention of consumers on a global scale like never before. It all started with the monumental French study finding a serious link between the consumption of Monsanto’s Roundup-drenched GMOs and massive tumors. Being called the ‘most thorough’ research ever published on the real health effects of GMOs, the study led to even larger victories.

After the study not only did France call for a potential worldwide ban on GMOs pending the results of their in-depth analysis, but Russia’s major consumer rights organization announced a ban on both the importation and use of Monsanto’s GMO corn.

Prop 37 Can Label Monsanto Out of Existence

And now, the Proposition to label all GMOs in the state of California is showing massive success. If Prop 37 passes, it won’t just affect California. It is very likely that other states will not just take note, but adopt similar legislation. Through this legal mechanism, we can essential label Monsanto out of existence.  This is possible when considering that the average consumer is actually opposed to GMOs and heavily in favor of proper labeling.

In a major Los Angeles Times poll, registered California voters in favor of labeling outnumber pro-GMO voters by more than a 2-to-1 margin. Altogether, a whopping 61% of those polled reported supporting the Prop 37 labeling initiative. Only 25% reported opposing it.

If GMO-containing products are properly labeled, the simple fact of the matter is that less people will buy them. As of right now, very few people are even aware of what they are putting in their mouth. In fact, if the public knew that they were consuming GMOs which were linked to massive tumors and organ failure, the overwhelming majority would abandon such products. Without labeling, however, they have no idea. The same can also be said for other ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup and aspartame.

As Yes on 37 campaign manager Gary Ruskin explains:

“Monsanto, DuPont, and Coca-Cola do not want Californians to know what’s really in their food and drinks, because they fear consumers will turn away from their genetically engineered ingredients and pesticides that go with them.”

If they knew they were eating mercury in the HFCS and consuming an artificial sweetener with over 42 associated diseases, then major change would occur – change that includes forcing manufacturers to abandon these ingredients in order to stay profitable. And after all, Monsanto’s number one goal is profit. This is a company that has been caught running ‘slave-like’ working conditions in which ‘employees’ were forced to buy only from the company store and were not allowed to leave the area or their pay would be withheld.

If Monsanto’s profits were to plummet, their political reign would likely follow as well. Without an endless amount of cash to throw at crushing Prop 37, already contributing $4 million to fuel anti-labeling propaganda in California, the corporation’s massive grasp on the world of science (continually censoring studies and funding pro-GM research) and politics would virtually cease to exist.

It is essential that we ensure the passing of Prop 37 in a bid to generate the literal end of Monsanto. Once consumers actually know that they’re putting genetically modified creations into their body, real change will occur within the food supply.

Explore More:

  1. Leaked: US to Start ‘Trade Wars’ with Nations Opposed to Monsanto, GMO Crops
  2. France Maintains Key Ban on Monsanto’s GMO Maize Crops
  3. Report: Nature May Soon Overcome Monsanto as ‘Super Rootworms’ Destroy Crops
  4. Monsanto’s Top 7 Lies About GMO Labeling and Proposition 37
  5. Outrageous: Agent Orange Maker Monsanto Seeks Return to Vietnam for GMO Crops
  6. Fake Eco-Friendly Corporations Shell out Millions of $ to Stop GMO Labeling (Infographic)

Environmental

France slaps ban on Swiss pesticide as bee threat

by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP)

The French government on Friday slapped an immediate ban a pesticide made by Swiss giant Syngenta used in rapeseed cultivation that has been found to shorten bees’ lifespan.

The agriculture ministry had signalled at the beginning of the month that it planned to ban Cruiser and Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll said Syngenta failed to provide satisfactory information to call into doubt findings on the pesticide.

France’s National Food, Environment and Work Safety Agency (ANSES) issued a damning report on the pesticide after the journal Science published a French study demonstrating the harmful effects on bees of broad-spectrum insecticide thiamethoxam, found in Cruiser.

Le Foll said the ban “takes effect immediately,” and affected only Cruiser OSR which is used on rapeseed seeds when the plant is harvested in August.

Related Links
Farming Today – Suppliers and Technology

Australia prices carbon for greener economy

Published on Jun 30, 2012 by

Australia has begun putting a price on pollution, charging companies for their carbon emissions. The government says the carbon tax will promote a greener economy and help fight climate change. Prime Minister Julia Gillard has hailed the move. But critics say the law will stifle industry and increase the cost of living. Al Jazeera’s Andrew Thomas reports from Sydney.

Nature evades the best efforts of GMOs

By Willa Anderson,
(NaturalNews) While many of the plants are modified to increase crop yield, it is hardly the main change that has been made to the genetic structures of the plants over the practice’s thirty year history. Often industry leaders try to present genetic modification as being in the line of defense against “global food shortages,” but their primary use is in increasing the profitability of agricultural giants, such as Monsanto. A brief wine menu of GMO practicesOne of the more well-publicized “edits…

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Cyber Space

The U.S. is Nosy: Twitter Releases First Transparency Report

Twitter has released its first biannual transparency report detailing which governments asked for the most info over the past six months.

By Sarah Jacobsson Purewal, PCWorld

In honor of American independence, Twitter has released its first ever transparency report. The Twitter Transparency Report includes data from January 1, 2012 through June 1, 2012, and Twitter says it plans to update the information twice a year.

The transparency report is pretty much what it sounds like–Twitter’s attempt to be transparent about which governments are requesting information from Twitter, what percentage of those requests produced some or all information, and how many accounts were specified in those requests. Such requests, as Twitter points out, are typically connected with criminal investigations.

Not surprisingly, our very own United States is the nosiest government, with 679 requests in the past six months, targeting almost 1000 user accounts. The United States’ requests accounted for 80 percent of all requests (out of 23 countries). The second nosiest government was Japan, with 98 requests in the past six months, targeting almost 150 user accounts.

Twitter notes that it does not comply with every government request for a variety of reasons. For example, the report states, Twitter does not comply with government requests that do not identify a specific Twitter account, seeks to narrow overly-broad requests, and may not comply with a request if a Twitter user challenges the request after being notified. Twitter says it notifies users of requests for their account information, except when prohibited by law.

Twitter’s Transparency Report is at least partially motivated by Google’s Transparency Report, which the company has been posting for about two years. In its blog post announcing the report, Twitter notes that the report is “inspired by the great work done by our peers @Google,” and that the main goal of the report is to “shed more light on government requests received for user information, government requests received to withhold content, and DMCA takedown notices received from copyright holders.”

The Transparency Report also gives information on the number of “formal government requests” Twitter has received to remove or withhold content on Twitter.

This chart shows the number of removal requests by court order and by government agencies, the percentage of instances in which some or all content was removed (0 percent in every case, during the past six months), and the number of accounts specified. Twitter apparently only received six removal requests in the past six months, which is good news–it means governments are not outright censoring social media (though they may, of course, be secretly censoring it).

The Report also shows the number of copyright takedown notices Twitter received in the past six months:

According to Twitter, the company receives a large number of “misfiled, non-copyright complaints” through its web form, and so does not comply with every request.

Follow Sarah on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+.

Feds Crack Down on Data Brokers

By Julie Sartain, NetworkWorld

J. Elizabeth Hill, a nurse living in San Diego, recently received a Gmail message from her nephew. Pasted inside was an article about soldiers in Afghanistan and the discrepancies regarding the ammunition they use.

Nine days later, Hill received via snail mail at her home address a catalog for a company that sells magnum semi-automatic air pistol revolvers, border patrol survival knives, self-cocking crossbows, armor-piercing “performance ballistic alloy” ammunition rounds, Israeli-issue gas masks, plus lots of other survival gear and military surplus items.

“I have never owned, fired, or even handled any type of weapon,” Hill says, “And I have never visited a website connected to the military, war, or weapons of any kind. In addition, this is the first and only email I have ever received that mentioned these types of keywords. Does this mean my name will start showing up on lists of potential terrorists?”

Hill has good reason to be concerned. There are nearly 200 companies out there that collect and sell your personal information. And there’s very little you can do if that information is flat-out wrong or gives a false impression of who you are.

In fact, it’s perfectly legal for online data brokers to collect information about you from any number of sources and then to aggregate and sell that information. The Interactive Advertising Bureau says personal information on Internet users is worth $31 billion a year, up 22% from last year.

However, there is a glimmer of hope.

Last month, for the first time ever, the Federal Trade Commission stepped in and spanked a data broker, in this case it was Spokeo, to the tune of an $800,000 fine for selling personal information to employers and job recruiters without taking steps to protect consumers under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

The FTC also sent warning letters to six unidentified mobile app makers notifying them that their background screening apps may be violating federal statutes. The collecting of personal information is not at issue in these cases, it’s the use of that information for employment screening, housing, credit or other purposes that fall under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Where Spokeo crossed the line, according to the FTC, is that it failed to maintain reasonable procedures to verify who its users are and that the information would be used for a permissible purpose; that it failed to ensure the accuracy of consumer reports and that it failed to provide proper user notice. Also, Spokeo was posting endorsements of its service on news and tech websites, but those endorsements were written by Spokeo employees, according to the FTC.

Spokeo has agreed to change its practices and the FTC settlement should have a ripple effect throughout the industry. But the fact remains that these companies can legally gather whatever information they can about you, and there’s not much you can do about it.

Who Are These People?

“Most of these broker sites are actually search engines that scatter little Pac Man bots through cyberspace collecting every scrap of data that’s ever been recorded anywhere in the world. They justify this privacy intrusion by labeling it as a safety measure; that is, a way to check out your babysitters to ensure that no secret child corrupters are watching your children. Others claim it’s a fast way to connect with old friends,” says Jack Stratton, independent IT consultant and former Novell systems analyst.

For example, a Spokeo.com ad says, “Find a lost relative or contact an old school chum.” USA People Search’s marketing materials say, “Some people do people searches to try and reconnect with an old friend or family member. Others may be looking for criminal, marriage or other types of public records. Fortunately for users of USA-People-Search.com, information from bankruptcy records to divorce records, and everything in between, is easily accessible with a click of the mouse.”

Alexandra Senoner, head of corporate communications & public affairs at 123people.com puts it this way: “123people is a vertical search engine dedicated to people search. Based on a proprietary technology, it empowers users to find information on themselves, friends, relatives, or people of public interest by searching across more than 200 international, regional, and local data sources such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter; news sites, blogs, company websites, local sources such as white pages, videos, email addresses, Wikipedia results, and many more.”

According to Sarah A. Downey, an attorney at Abine, an online privacy company, “There are over 180 different data brokers and that doesn’t include those companies that sell criminal records and employment history for employment background checks. Many of these brokers are co-owned or affiliated and share databases. For example, Intelius owns the information and controls the opt-out requests for about 70% of the data broker industry. And Confi-Chek owns Veromi.com, CriminalSearches.com, PrivateEye.com, EnformionUSA-People-Search.com, PublicBackgroundChecks.com, and PeopleFinders.com, among others.”

Three of the largest data brokers are Acxiom (claims 32 billion data records), Lexis Nexis (boasts 500 million unique consumer identities), and Intelius (advertises millions of customers).

Where Do They Get This Information?

“Information comes from a variety of sources,” Downey says. “Some are voluntary submissions such as warranties, rebates, sweepstakes, online accounts, and social networks; but some of these sources are unavoidable because they’re part of everyday life; for example, voter registrations, marriage and business licenses, birth and death certificates, property and title records, bankruptcies, liens, judgments, criminal records, apartment leasing information, mortgages, and utility company bills. And then, some data brokers get your information from other data brokers, which just perpetuates the exploitation. It’s like that game of gossip: one incorrect piece of information can end up on a lot of different websites.”

Cha-ching of scraping: Data brokers digging up & selling your digital dirt

Alan Webber, principal analyst and partner at Altimeter Group, LLC. “These sites simply use information that is already publicly available, but generally difficult to obtain from a logistics perspective. I would not call it exploitation, but these sites do expose the fact that there is a lack of control in how personal information is made available and used.”

“We obtain our data from public sources, some online and some offline,” says Jim Adler, chief privacy officer and general manager of data systems at Intelius. “Online data comes from data that’s available to search engines, but the information is only as reliable as the public records.”

“One of these sources is your email account,” Downey adds. “Google has every email you’ve ever sent or received, every conversation you’ve had in Gchat, every video you’ve watched on YouTube, and every Google search you’ve ever done. Under Google’s new privacy policy, this information is now stored in one common profile for you. It’s a massive amount of personal information that’s tough to put into perspective.”

Read Full Article Here

 

 

Ridiculous Claims of Respecting Your Privacy After Violating It

Does anyone else shake their head in irritated bewilderment when privacy is quoted as the reason you cannot be told how your privacy has been invaded?

By Darlene Storm, Computerworld

Does anyone else shake their head in irritated bewilderment when privacy is quoted as the reason you cannot be told how your privacy has been invaded? The most recent example of such ridiculous reasoning comes from mobile phone service providers who happily collect and store your data for law enforcement to tap, but refuse to tell you the details of how your location information was otherwise shared with the government or advertisers.

Pro Publica reported that four different people requested their own geo-location data from the four largest cell phone providers, but all four mobile carriers refused to release it because:

Verizon: “Verizon Wireless will release a subscriber’s location information to law enforcement with that subscriber’s written consent. These requests must come to Verizon Wireless through law enforcement; so we would provide info on your account to law enforcement— with your consent— but not directly to you.”

Sprint: “We do not normally release this information to customers for privacy reasons because call detail records contain all calls made or received, including calls where numbers are ‘blocked.’ Because of an FCC rule requiring that we not disclose ‘blocked’ numbers, we only release this information to a customer when we receive a valid legal demand for it.”

AT&T: “Giving customers location data for their wireless phones is not a service we provide.”

T-Mobile: “No comment.”

Of course each wireless provider also had a response about releasing the same information to law enforcement, but they all do it. In fact, selling cell phone surveillance records is a big money-making business for mobile phone companies which have special divisions and manuals to assist law enforcement in nabbing our location data without requiring a warrant.

Read Full Article Here

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Survival / Sustainability

safe

Easy guide to create a home security safe room for emergency preparedness and survival

by: JB Bardot

(NaturalNews) The Red Cross and other disaster relief agencies advise having supplies and disaster plans in place for survival during hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and other unexpected emergencies. Creating a home security safe room can save your life, sustaining you for days afterwards. It can be overwhelming setting up a home security safe room, and many people avoid doing so as a result. Here are some simple guidelines to help you get started and manage this task.

Location

Choose an easily accessible room, closet, hallway or basement with no windows and where all doors can be closed off. It may not be perfect, just do the best you can. Pick a space preferably that has a closet, cupboards or an available storage area. Add shelves and anchor them to the wall. Make sure the room is large enough to accommodate anyone who might be in the house during emergencies, including pets. Add a pet door and train your cats and dogs to use it so they come to you during an emergency.

Read Full Article Here

Wildfires happen every year, each with varying degrees of damage. Just because
your home is outside of common wildfire regions doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider
these simple tips to prevent your home from being more of a fire hazard.

Tale of Two Homes – Wildfire

Uploaded by on Jul 14, 2008

This wildfire campaign presents California homeowner stories from the 2007 wildfires and is designed to combat the myth that only the “lucky” homes survive when wildfire strikes.

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Whistle Blowers

US officials pursue Julian Assange

Published on Jul 2, 2012 by

The evidence that the US is pursuing to have Wikileaks founder Julian Assange extradited to America is becoming more obvious. Assange still awaits in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for political asylum to South America, but while he remains trapped, democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein has issued a statement to an Australian newspaper demanding that the whistleblower be prosecuted. Trevor Timm, an activist for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, joins us with more on the hunt for Assange.

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Activism

Thousands gather in LA to rally against Wal-Mart

Published on Jul 2, 2012 by

Labor activists and union workers from across California are trying to put a stop to Wal-Mart.

Press TV’s Ross Michael Frasier reports from Los Angeles.

 

 

OWS plans mass resurgence in Philadelphia

Published on Jul 2, 2012 by

The Occupy Wall Street movement has been fairly quiet these last few months, but on July 4 the movement is expected to reawaken. In Philadelphia, the event dubbed “The National Gathering” is expected to draw thousands from the different Occupy movements across the country. RT’s Kristine Frazao tells us more.

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Articles of Interest

Australia counts down to pollution, mining taxes

by Staff Writers
Sydney (AFP)

Australia said Friday the world expects it to do its part to reduce pollution linked to global warming as the nation counts down to controversial new taxes on carbon emissions and mining profits.

Hard-fought levies on corporate pollution and so-called “super profits” of iron ore and coal mining take effect Sunday after years of heated debate and campaigning which cost former prime minister Kevin Rudd his job.

The conservative opposition has warned that key resources industries, whose exports to fast-growing Asia helped Australia dodge recession during the financial crisis, face ruin under the new tax regime.

Opposition leader Tony Abbott has vowed to repeal both the mining and pollution taxes if he wins office in elections due in 2013.

Some 350 entities, many of them power generators and coal miners, will be liable to pay the Aus$23/tonne (US$23.1/tonne) pollution tax in its first year, according to the government’s Clean Energy Regulator.

The carbon levy is expected to bring in Aus$4.0 billion in the 2012-13 financial year, increasing the cost of living per household by about Aus$10 per week but funding a raft of compensation measures including tax cuts.

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said the tax was an essential step in transforming Australia’s economy.

“We are the highest polluter per person of greenhouse gases among the advanced economies, we’re in the top 20 greenhouse gas emitters internationally,” he said Friday.

Combet added that Australia’s major trading partners, including China and South Korea, were introducing mitigation measures such as emissions trading schemes and “other countries are taking action as well”.

“The international community expects Australia to play its fair part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.

Australia is the world’s biggest exporter of the iron ore and coking coal used in steelmaking, and the second-biggest exporter of thermal coal used in power stations.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard described the passage of the tax in November as the result of 37 political inquiries and “years of bitter debate and division” which saw her replace Rudd in a party-room coup.

Also instrumental in Rudd’s downfall was an ambitious plan to levy the “super profits” of Australia’s booming mining sector at 40 percent, a watered-down version of which will also kick in on Sunday.

Intense lobbying by mining giants including BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Xstrata against Rudd’s tax saw him axed in favour of Gillard who scaled it back to just the iron ore and coal industries and lowered the rate to 30 percent.

It is expected to bring in net revenues of Aus$3.0 billion in 2012-13.

Related Links
Climate Science News – Modeling, Mitigation Adaptation

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[In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit, for research and/or educational purposes. This constitutes ‘FAIR USE’ of any such copyrighted material.]

Food Safety

 

 

 

Antibiotic-Free Meat Map Launched for Consumers

Coinciding with the new “Meat Without Drugs” campaign announced this week, tech start up Real Time Farms launched a crowd-sourced map to help consumers locate meat from animals raised without antibiotics.

realtimefarm_iphone.jpgThe FixAntibiotics Food Finder allows shoppers to look up retail locations, farmers markets, farms, and restaurants sourcing antibiotic-free meat using their zipcode or by zooming into a geographic area.

Real Time Farms also asks users to add to the database if they know of another location that is not listed on the map.

“This campaign, as with so many things, comes down to people voting with their wallets because government is seen as moving too slowly,” said Real Time Farms, in a blog post on Thursday.

 

Read Full Article Here

 

 

 

Illness in Louisiana Brings E. coli O145 Outbreak Count to 15

One new illness in Louisiana has brought the case count to 15 in the ongoing E. coli O145 outbreak in the southern U.S. and California, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A 21-month-old girl died on May 31 after falling ill to the outbreak strain.

The source of the outbreak remains unknown as state and federal health officials continue to investigate the outbreak, but experts believe it originated in food. Four people have been hospitalized.
o145map.jpg

Artificial and Natural Trans Fats: They Are Different

June 21, 2012 By

By now, almost everyone has heard about trans fats and how unhealthy they are. In fact, studies have shown that trans fat consumption causes at least 30,000 deaths in the United States every year. The government has not set an upper limit on trans fat consumption because there is no safe intake amount.

But there are two kinds of trans fat: natural and artificial. Natural trans fats occur naturally in dairy products and meat, made by a enzymatic process in the guts of ruminant animals. Artificial trans fats are man-made by bubbling hydrogen through polyunsaturated oils, making it a solid. And scientists think that natural trans fats are good for you.

 

 

Read Full Article Here

 

 

 

E.coli In Aberdeen SD Drinking Water Prompts Boil Water Advisory

E.coli levels in the drinking water supply for the city of Aberdeen, SD have reached dangerous levels, prompting city officials to issue a boil water advisory.

Aberdeen residents should not drink tap water without boiling it first. Before it is safe to drink, the water needs to boil for a full minute. “Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, and food preparation until further notice,” the advisory states.

Boiling kills E.coli and other dangerous bacteria that cause serious, sometimes life-threatening illness. Most at risk are small children, the elderly, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems. Symptoms of an E.coli infection include abdominal cramps, diarrhea that is sometimes bloody, nausea and headaches. Residents who develop these symptoms should seek medical attention.
 

Read Full Article Here

 

 

 

 

 

Food Safety Scandals Fuel Urban Gardening in China

Food safety concerns and increasing incomes are sparking growth in urban gardening and farming among Chinese consumers, according to China Daily.

“More urban residents, many of whom are young people between the ages of 25 to 35 living in metropolises such as Beijing, are growing vegetables and herbs on their balconies or rented farmland in the suburbs, and turning to Taobao, a major online shopping service provider in China, to start their apartment gardens,” the paper reported Monday.

According to China Daily, online searches for the Tabao have jumped 280 percent in the past year — indicating that a growing number of people are looking to buy seeds and tools to start vegetable patches.

The paper features Xue Ling, 26, who says she has been planting vegetables on the small balcony of her apartment since 2010.

 

 

Read Full Article  Here

 

 

Multistate Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Live Poultry from Missouri Hatchery

At least 66 people have fallen ill in 20 states in a Salmonella Montevideo outbreak linked to live poultry from a Missouri hatchery, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Monday. Sixteen people have been hospitalized while one infected person in Missouri has died, though Salmonella infection was not considered a contributing factor to the person’s death.

The number ill by state are as follows:
Alaska (1 illness), California (2), Colorado (1), Georgia (1), Illinois (1), Indiana (8), Iowa (2), Kansas (10), Kentucky (1), Massachusetts (1), Missouri (22), Nebraska (5), Nevada (1), New York (1), North Carolina (1), Ohio (1), Oklahoma (4), South Dakota (1), Vermont (1) and Wyoming (1).
Epidemiological and laboratory evidence have linked this outbreak to Estes Hatchery in Springfield, Missouri.
montevideo-map.jpg

India to Implement Standards for Street Food

For the first time, street food vendors in India will soon be required to meet a set of sanitation regulations, announced the government Tuesday.
Street food is a popular option in India because it’s convenient and cheaper than offerings at hotels and restaurants.  But at the majority of stands it’s also unsafe.
One study found that, out of 50 random samples of street food taken in 2010, 47 of them – approximately 90 percent  – were contaminated with foodborne pathogens. Cooked foods were no exception, suggesting mishandling after preparation.

Raw Scraped Tuna Salmonella Outbreak Grows Again; 390 Now Ill

According to the CDC, the Salmonella Bareilly and Salmonella Nchanga outbreak linked to raw scraped tuna has grown again. Now 390 people in 27 states and the District of Columbia have been sickened by the contaminated product; that’s an increase of 74 new cases from the last update in May. Kansas is now part of the outbreak. Forty-seven people have been hospitalized in this outbreak.

A raw tuna product called Nakaochi Scrape imported by Moon Marine USA Corporation was recalled as the source of this outbreak. Lab tests conducted by public health laboratories in Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Wisconsin have isolated the outbreak strains of Salmonella from 95% of the samples taken from intact packages of that product. And in April 2012, the FDA inspected the Moon Fishery facility in India that supplied the raw tuna and found violations of their HACCP plan, which did not contain the necessary critical control points.

The numbers of new cases has declined since the peak in April 2012. The outbreak may continue for several months because some facilities may have the frozen product in their freezers and continue to serve it, since it has a long shelf-life. If you order any sushi product that contains raw ground or scraped tuna, ask the establishment if it is part of this recall.

Outbreak of Gastroenteritis at George Mason University

On June 21, 2012, according to the Fairfax County Health Department, 40 teens and young adults at the George Mason University Campus became ill with gastroenteritis. They are members of a summer camp group affiliated with the Congressional Awards Foundation. Twenty-one of the students were hospitalized.

The Health Department believes that viral gastroenteritis is the cause of these illnesses. The government is investigating whether or not food was the initial cause of the illness, but they  think the virus spread person-to-person.

George Mason University has cleaned the dorm rooms where the patients were staying and is working with state and local officials to investigate the outbreak.

 

 

Read Full Article Here

 

 

 

 

American Medical Association Calls for Testing of GMO Foods

At their annual convention in Chicago this month, the American Medical Association passed a resolution calling for mandatory testing of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and genetically engineered (GE) foods. The organization did not call for labeling of these altered foods, as many groups want, although 19 doctors did sign a statement calling for labeling.

That statement said:

“In the face of scientific uncertainty, labeling is a common risk management tool and one that could help track any potential adverse health effects. Our support of labeling also takes into consideration the fact that consumers want to know whether there are genetically engineered ingredients in their food, and they have a right to know. We stand with the 90% of Americans who want mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods.”

Other organizations that have passed resolutions calling for labeling of GE foods include the American Nurses Association, the California Medical Association, and the British Medical Association. Groups that endorse the California Right to Know Ballot initiative include Physicians for Social Responsibility, the American Medical Students Association, and the American Public Health Association.

 

 

Read Full Article Here

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Recalls

 

 

 

Ground Bacon Recalled: May Contain Cardboard and Plastic Pieces

A Los Angeles-based firm is recalling approximately 1,350 pounds of its ground smoked bacon because the food may contain pieces of cardboard and plastic.

The company – Square-H Brands, Inc. – issued a voluntary recall of the ground bacon product Thursday after the problem was discovered at a distribution facility in Hawaii. The product had been shipped there for further distribution, but inspectors from the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) discovered pieces of plastic and cardboard in the food.

BaconBitsBody.jpg

Officials speculate that the problem occurred while the product was being transferred from a cardboard and plastic holding container to the grinder.
The product subject to recall is called “Coarse Ground Smoked Bacon Ends and Pieces” and was distributed in 25 lb. cases. It was packaged April 25 before being distributed to the Hawaii facility for further distribution and use in other products.

Sprouts Recalled for Potential Salmonella Contamination

A Florida-based company is recalling 433 cases of alfalfa sprouts because they may be contaminated with Salmonella bacteria.

Leasa Industries Co. of Miami, FL issued the voluntary recall Wednesday after testing by a buyer revealed the presence of Salmonella on the company’s Living Alfalfa Sprouts.
The product subject to recall is sold in 6 oz. plastic containers bearing the label “LEASA Living Alfalfa Sprouts.” Packaging bears a UPC code of 75465-55912, located on the side of the label that wraps around the container. It is also marked with an expiration date of 7/2/12, located on the side of the plastic container itself.

Leasa.jpg

The company’s alfalfa sprouts are sold to retailers and to food distributors, but the recall notice does not specify where the affected sprouts were distributed.
The company’s website says that “major clients include Publix Supermarkets, Winn-Dixie Stores, Wal-Mart Supercenters, Sedanos Supermarkets [and] Sysco Food Service,” although the recall notice did not say which if any of these companies may be carrying the recalled product.

Senate Passes Farm Bill

Legislation includes study on food recall insurance for farmers

In a rare show of bipartisanship, the Senate passed the farm bill on Thursday by a vote of 64 to 35. The bill, which sets the nation’s agriculture and nutrition policy for the next five years, would end direct payments for commodity crop farmers, but ramp up subsidized crop insurance to save nearly $24 billion over 10 years.

strawberry-field-iphone.jpgDuring three days of debate over dozens of amendments, the Senate touched on food safety a few times.

As Food Safety News reported Wednesday, Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and John Kerry (D-MA) succeeded in repealing a 2008 farm bill provision that mandated a catfish inspection program at the U.S. Department of Agriculture — even though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates seafood. Echoing concerns raised by the Government Accountability Office, Kerry and McCain argued that the program was duplicative, wasteful, and was not likely to yield a food safety benefit.

Due to opposition from livestock groups, the Senate did not consider a controversial proposal by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) that would have mandated federal welfare standards for egg-laying hens.

“While I am disappointed that my amendment establishing a national standard for the humane treatment of egg-laying hens was not considered, I remain committed to this issue and will look for other opportunities to advance that legislation,” said the senator, after the farm bill passed Thursday.

But Feinstein did succeed on an amendment directing USDA to conduct a study on the feasibility of crop insurance to cover losses for producers affected by, but not responsible for, food safety recalls.

Carrot Juice Recalled for Botulism Risk

Los Angeles-based juice company Health Choice Island Blends, Inc. is recalling all sizes of its Liquid Gold Carrot Juice because they have the potential to be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum.

The juice was distributed in four container sizes – 128 oz., 64 oz., 32 oz. and 16 oz – in California and sold to wholesale produce companies.
The product comes in plastic see-through containers in gallon, half-gallon and quart sizes. It bears a white label with the name “Liquid Gold” and a picture of carrots and a glass of carrot juice, and UPC code 7 63213 00130.
No illnesses have been linked to the consumption of this product to date.
Anyone who purchased the affected product is urged to return it to the place of purchase or discard it.
carrotjuicelabel.jpg

Eggs Recalled in Germany for Dioxin Contamination

June 21, 2012 By

More than 250,000 eggs are being recalled in the Lower Saxony area of Germany after testing found excessive levels of dioxin. Contaminated feed may be the source of the chemical.

Product details:

  • Manufacturer: 0-0356091-DE
  • Expiration date: 14/06/2012
  • Stamp number: 0-0356091-EN

 

Read Full Article Here

 

 

 

Euphoria Fancy Food Inc. Recalling Uneviscerated Fish

Euphoria Fancy Food Inc. of New York is recalling dried bream that was uneviscerated. Uneviscerated fish may be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum spores, which can cause a serious and sometimes fatal foodborne illness.

Product details:

  • Dried bream
  • Un-coded, 7.5-ounce vacuum packed plastic bag
  • Sold nationwide
  • UPC number is 7 930042 250954
  • Product of Russia

Read Full Article Here

 

 

 

Dole Recalls Thousand Cases of Bagged Salads for Listeria

Due to possible Listeria risk, Dole Fresh Vegetables is voluntarily recalling 1,077 cases of bagged salads, most of which are likely not on shelves any longer.

The products being recalled are Kroger Fresh Selections Greener Supreme coded N158 211B 1613 KR04 with Use-by date of June 19 and UPC 11110 91039, Kroger Fresh Selections Leafy Romaine coded N158 111B KR11 with Use-by date of June 19 and UPC 11110 91046 and Wal Mart Marketside Leafy Romaine coded N158111B with Use-by date of June 19 and UPC code 81131 02781.

Dole Fresh Vegetables said it is coordinating closely with regulatory officials and that to date no illnesses have been reported in association with the recall.

The Product Code and Use-by date are in the upper right-hand corner of the package and the UPC code is on the back of the package, below the barcode. The salads were distributed in six U.S. states (Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia).

“This precautionary recall notification is being issued due to an isolated instance in which a sample of Marketside Leafy Romaine salad yielded a positive result for Listeria monocytogenes in a random sample test conducted by the State of North Carolina,” said Dole in a release.

The company said no other Wal Mart Marketside, or Kroger Fresh Selections salads are included in the recall.

 

 

Read Full Article Here

 

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Articles of Interest

 

 

 

Microbe Found in Salt Could Lead to Salmonella Vaccine

The Baltimore Sun reported Thursday that a team of University of Maryland School of Medicine scientists have spent years researching and developing salt crystals harboring microbes that could act as carriers vaccines for pathogens such as Salmonella or typhoid.

The microbe, Halaorchaea, could be grown to combat a number of diseases around the world. The team leader, Shiladitya DasSarma, first targeted Salmonella after receiving a $100,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to do so.

Organic Standards Protection Act Introduced in Congress

Bags of Produce Marked 100% OrganicRepresentatives Lois Capps (D-CA) and Richard Hanna (R-NY) have introduced the Organic Standards Protection Act to the U.S. House of Representatives to give the National Organics Program authority to make sure that foods labeled with the organic seal quality for that designation.

The Organic Trade Association and the National Organic Coalition support this bill.

The legislation would:

  • Grant the USDA the authority to stop the sales of products labeled “certified organic” when they are not organically produced or grown.
  • Streamline the recordkeeping requirements of the 1990 Organic Foods Production Act. All organic producers and certifiers would be required to maintain records and sent them to the USDA.
  • A fine of up to $10,000 per incident would be levied for those who continue to label their products organic after the USDA has revoked their certification.

The USDA does not currently have investigative authority over the organic certification program. The National Organic Program cannot stop the marketing or labeling of organic products when they have been treated with pesticides or herbicides at this time. The bill would give the program embargo and stop sale authority.

Read Full Article Here

Former BPI Employee Plans to File Suit Over LFTB Backlash

“Pink Slime” heading back into the news.

A former Beef Products Inc employee plans to file a civil lawsuit in response to the national frenzy over lean finely textured beef (LFTB), now widely known to consumers as pink slime.

webst9197.pngSioux City, Iowa-based Rauttnee Publishing Company announced it will hold a press conference on Tuesday to detail the suit to be filed by former BPI Environmental Health and Safety Officer Bruce Smith.

The company will be handing out copies of the lawsuit as well as copies of Smith’s new book, titled “Pink Slime Ate My Job.” According to an online business profile, Rauttnee Publishing Company was launched by Smith in 2004.

Study: Norovirus Infection Rates Correlate with Google Search Trends for Symptoms

norovirusstomach2-406.jpgTrends in Google internet searches for norovirus symptoms strongly correlate with rates of norovirus infection, suggesting internet searches could serve as reliable surveillance tools for diseases prone to seasonal variations, according to a study conducted by researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Google Labs in Tel-Aviv, Israel.

The study, published in the July 2012 edition of Clinical Infectious Diseases, tracked rises and falls in Google internet searches for certain keywords and phrases related to gastroenteritis, such as “diarrhea,” “vomiting,” and “stomach virus,” that could indicate a norovirus infection. Norovirus is the most common cause of gastroenteritis in the U.S., responsible for an estimated 21 million illnesses a year.

The researchers then compared the Google data to trends in lab-confirmed norovirus infections around the nation. If the searches matched up with the rates of confirmed cases, the researchers would uncover a new method of tracking the activity of norovirus, a pathogen with very scarce amounts of surveillance up until now.

The result? The searches and the known cases matched up almost perfectly.

“I think we were surprised at just how strong the correlation was,” said Benjamin Lopman, epidemiologist at the Division of Viral Diseases at the CDC and one of the study’s co-authors. “Even having to rely on general search terms, they still match up very well with the actual outcome.”

Red Meat Allergy Likely Caused by Tick Bites

A few years ago, doctors in the southern United States started noticing an odd phenomenon: people were becoming allergic to red meat, seemingly out of the blue. What in the environment was causing this response? The answer, surprisingly, turned out to be ticks.
The researchers who figured this out came upon the answer serendipitously. Thomas Platts-Mills and his colleagues had been studying a cancer drug called Erbitux that was causing severe allergic reactions in patients – but only in southern states. The team had concluded that these people were carrying an antibody that responded to sugars in the drug.
In their findings – published in 2008 – the researchers noted that the sugars in Erbitux, which is derived from mouse cells, are also present in beef, pork and cow mllk.

lonestar tick.jpg

So the following year when it came to light that otherwise healthy people were developing meat allergies – also in the South – the team began testing samples of their blood and found that they possessed the same Immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies as the cancer patients who had reacted to Erbitux.
Since people were reporting a 3-5 hour delay between ingesting meat and having a reaction, scientists guessed that the sugars triggering the response were stored in the fat of the animal, which takes longer to digest than protein or carbohydrates. That would explain why the reaction wasn’t immediate like most other food allergies.
But the big mystery remained: Where were these antibodies for alpha-gal (the sugars found in Erbitux and red meat) coming from?
“We thought initially that it was a parasite,” says Dr. Scott Commins, an assistant professor of medicine at UVA working on the project under Platts-Mills. “So we screened for all kinds of crazy parasites.”
Then, in August of 2009, the answer quite literally came to Platts-Mills when his own IgE to alpha-gal levels suddenly spiked days after he was bitten repeatedly by ticks while on a hike in the woods.
Out of curiosity, the researchers began asking patients if they had been bitten by ticks before their meat allergy developed.

House Budget For USDA Bans Spending on Horse Slaughter

A House committee vote may have closed the barn door before horse slaughter will ever be resumed in the United States.
The powerful Appropriations Committee has by voice vote agreed to again ban federal funding for USDA inspections of horse slaughter facilities. In a deal last year, President Obama and Congress agreed to lift that ban, an action that had led to proposals for horse slaughter facilities in Missouri and New Mexico.
The ban comes in the form of a successful amendment to the fiscal year 2013 Agricultural Appropriations Bill brought by Rep. Jim Moran, D-VA. The appropriations bill now goes to the floor for a vote by the full House.
“When more than 80 percent of the American population opposes this practice, it is high time that we put an end, once and for all, to industrial horse slaughter, Moran said. “Horses hold an important place in our nation’s history and culture, treasured by all for their beauty and majesty. “

blindhorse_406x250.jpg

Moran says horses “deserve to be cared for, not killed for foreign consumption.”
The Northern Virginia Democrat argued that it made no sense to have cut USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service budget by $9 million, and then continue to require the food safety agency to add the inspection of horsemeat for foreign consumption to its duties.
Moran said to add inspections for horsemeat for export could only be achieved at the expense of inspections for poultry, pork and beef being consumed by U.S. citizens.
It was the removal of similar language advanced by Moran last year in a House-Senate conference committee that led to lifting of the ban. Theoretically, that could still happen this year.
The last three horse slaughter facilities in the U.S. closed more than five years ago after Congress initiated the original ban in 2006. Only USDA-inspected meat processed in the U.S. may be sold across state or national boundaries.
The two groups with horse slaughter business plans have each requested USDA inspection services.  Both groups want to slaughter horses for the human consumption export market, and neither can do business without USDA inspection services. The companies planning to implement horse slaughter are:
– Unified Equine Missouri, a company headed by Wyoming lawmaker Sue Wallis, which has plans to convert a closed beef-packing plant to accommodate horse slaughter in town of Rockville, MO.
-Valley Meat Co. in Roswell, NM – owned by Rick De Los Santos – also wants to convert its former beef facility into a horse packing plant.

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[In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit, for research and/or educational purposes. This constitutes ‘FAIR USE’ of any such copyrighted material.]

 

 

Published on Jun 10, 2012 by

For over 20 years, Hawai’i has been the global center for the open-field testing of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s), including pharmaceutical crops. Over 5,000 experimental tests have been conducted by Monsanto, Dow, Dupont/Pioneer, Syngenta and BASF that spray chemicals on an almost daily basis on our most valuable lands. They are supported by tax-breaks, and beneficial relationships with landowners, regulators and politicians. We estimate GMO companies own or lease 40,000 — 60,000 acres that are sprayed with over 70 different chemicals.

A new vision for Hawai’i would promote small farms that grow chemical-free produce, employ our youth and restore the indigenous ahupua’a system. Hawai’i has less than 3,000 acres of certified organic farmland, which is 0.27% of Hawaiian farmland.

Kamehameha Schools is Hawaii’s largest private landowner. Despite Kamehameha’s public statements about sustainability and conservation, they lease substantial amounts of land to multi-national biotech firms, including Monsanto, Dow, Dupont/Pioneer and Syngenta for GMO open field tests and seed corn production.

Kamehameha is the only institution with the land, capital and resources to reduce our food imports, that are now over 90%, and ensure that Hawai’i does not run out of food in case of natural disasters or rising oil prices.
____________________________________________
Presented by Hawai’i GMO Justice Coalition with support from
Organic Consumers Association & Millions Against Monsanto

Music by K. Mcleod (Incompetech)

Select images from Cameron Brooks Photography

Mahalo:
Anthony Palazzolo
Dr. Hector Valenzuela
Kala Alexander
Makana
Poka Laenui
Cat Summers
Jay Hanamura
Anthony
Mike
Thanh & Xuan

 

 

 

 

For over 20 years, Hawai’i has been the global center for the open-field testing of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s), including pharmaceutical crops. Over 5,000 experimental tests have been conducted by Monsanto, Dow, Dupont/Pioneer, Syngenta and BASF that spray chemicals on an almost daily basis on our most valuable lands. They are supported by tax-breaks, and beneficial relationships with landowners, regulators and politicians. We estimate GMO companies own or lease 40,000 — 60,000 acres that are sprayed with over 70 different chemicals.

A new vision for Hawai’i would promote small farms that grow chemical-free produce, employ our youth and restore the indigenous ahupua’a system. Hawai’i has less than 3,000 acres of certified organic farmland, which is 0.27% of Hawaiian farmland.

Kamehameha Schools is Hawaii’s largest private landowner. Despite Kamehameha’s public statements about sustainability and conservation, they lease substantial amounts of land to multi-national biotech firms, including Monsanto, Dow, Dupont/Pioneer and Syngenta for GMO open field tests and seed corn production.

Kamehameha is the only institution with the land, capital and resources to reduce our food imports, that are now over 90%, and ensure that Hawai’i does not run out of food in case of natural disasters or rising oil prices.

Watch HI GMO Justice’s film, “Stop Monsanto From Poisoning Hawai’i: Genetic Engineering Chemical Warfare”:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZgrOFjhzdg

Environmental

Toxic fears in Malaysia over rare earth plant

Published on Jun 3, 2012 by

Activists have launched a court case against Australian mining firm Lynas in Kuantan, on the east coast of Malaysia.

The Australian company has decided to operate a rare earth refining plant there, but residents in the area are worried about the impact of radiation from the waste created by the refining process.

Production has been delayed at the plant, which can potentially meet up to 20 per cent of global demand for the minerals – used to make high-tech gadgets like smartphones.

Local community and activists say the plant, tipped to be the world’s biggest rare earth processing facility, will generate radioactive waste.

The company says the raw material and residue have low levels of radiation, and that it will recycle some of the waste into fertiliser.

Al Jazeera’s Florence Looi reports from Gebeng.

Safe’ Levels of Arsenic in Drinking Water Found to Compromise Pregnant/Lactating Mothers, Offspring

ScienceDaily (May 31, 2012) — Exposure to arsenic in drinking water at the level the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) currently deems as safe in the United States (10 parts per billion) induces adverse health outcomes in pregnant and lactating mice and their offspring, concludes a study led by Joshua Hamilton of the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) and Courtney Kozul-Horvath at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth.


The team is part of the Dartmouth Superfund Research Program on Toxic Metals.

Pregnant and/or breastfeeding mothers who consumed low levels (10 ppb) of arsenic in their drinking water, the scientists found, exhibited significant disruption in their lipid metabolism, leading to diminished nutrients in their blood and in their breast milk. As a result, their offspring showed significant growth and development deficits during the postnatal period before weaning. Birth outcomes such as litter size and length of gestation were unaffected.

“The pups were essentially malnourished; they were small and underdeveloped,” Hamilton says. Once the pups were switched to milk from a mother who had not consumed arsenic, their growth deficits reversed, although only the males fully caught up with the pups that had had no arsenic exposure.

The U.S. EPA recently lowered the Maximum Contaminant Level for arsenic to 10 ppb in public water supplies — a regulated level that is considered “safe” for a lifetime of exposure — yet concentrations of 100 ppb and higher are commonly found in private, unregulated well water in regions where arsenic is geologically abundant, including upper New England (Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine), Florida, and large parts of the Upper Midwest, the Southwest, and the Rocky Mountains.

“This study raises a couple of issues. First, we have to think again about whether 10 ppb arsenic as a U.S. drinking water standard is safe and protective of human health,” says Hamilton, who is the MBL’s chief academic and scientific officer and a senior scientist in the MBL Bay Paul Center.

Read Full Article Here

US, European nuclear and coal-fired electrical plants vulnerable to climate change: study

 

Warmer water and reduced river flows in the United States and Europe in recent years have led to reduced production, or temporary shutdown, of several thermoelectric power plants. For instance, the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant in Alabama had to shut down more than once last summer because the Tennessee River’s water was too warm to use it for cooling.

A study by European and University of Washington scientists published today in Nature Climate Change projects that in the next 50 years warmer water and lower flows will lead to more such power disruptions. The authors predict that thermoelectric power generating capacity from 2031 to 2060 will decrease by between 4 and 16 percent in the U.S. and 6 to 19 percent in Europe due to lack of cooling water. The likelihood of extreme drops in power generation—complete or almost-total shutdowns—is projected to almost triple.

“This study suggests that our reliance on thermal cooling is something that we’re going to have to revisit,” said co-author Dennis Lettenmaier, a UW professor of civil and environmental engineering.

Thermoelectric plants, which use nuclear or fossil fuels to heat water into steam that turns a turbine, supply more than 90 percent of U.S. electricity and account for 40 percent of the nation’s freshwater usage. In Europe, these plants supply three-quarters of the electricity and account for about half of the freshwater use.

While much of this water is “recycled,” the power plants rely on consistent volumes of water, at a particular temperature, to prevent the turbines from overheating.

Reduced water availability and warmer water, caused by increasing air temperatures associated with climate change, mean higher electricity costs and less reliability.

While plants with cooling towers will be affected, results show older plants that rely on “once-through cooling” are the most vulnerable. These plants pump water directly from rivers or lakes to cool the turbines before returning the water to its source, and require high flow volumes.

The study projects the most significant U.S. effects at power plants situated inland on major rivers in the Southeast that use once-through cooling, such as the Browns Ferry plant in Alabama and the New Madrid coal-fired plant in southeastern Missouri.

“The worst-case scenarios in the Southeast come from heat waves where you need the power for air conditioning,” Lettenmaier said. “If you have really high power demand and the river temperature’s too high so you need to shut your power plant down, you have a problem.”
  Read Full Article Here

Greenland’s current loss of ice mass

by Staff Writers
Potsdam, Germany (SPX)


File image.

The Greenland ice sheet continues to lose mass and thus contributes at about 0.7 millimeters per year to the currently observed sea level change of about 3 mm per year. This trend increases each year by a further 0.07 millimeters per year. The pattern and temporal nature of loss is complex.

The mass loss is largest in southwest and northwest Greenland; the respective contributions of melting, iceberg calving and fluctuations in snow accumulation differing considerably. This result has been published by an international research group led by the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences in the latest issue of Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 1 June 2012.

The result was made possible by a new comparison of three different types of satellite observations: measurements of the change in gravity by changes in ice mass with the satellite pair GRACE, height variation with the laser altimeter on the NASA satellite ICESat and determination of the difference between the accumulation of regional atmospheric models and the glacier discharge, as measured by satellite radar data.

For the first time and for each region, the researchers could determine with unprecedented precision which percentage melting, iceberg calving and fluctuations in rainfall have on the current mass loss.

“Such an increase in mass loss in the northwest after 2005 is partly due to heavy snowfall in the years before”, says GFZ scientist Ingo Sasgen, head of the study. “The previous mass gain was reduced in subsequent years. Similarly in eastern Greenland: In the years 2008 and 2009 there was even a mass increase”.

As the researchers were able to show, this was not due to decreased glacier velocities, but because of two winters with very heavy snowfall. Meanwhile, the loss of ice mass continues here. For all studied regions the melting and calving periods between 2002 and 2011 are extraordinarily high compared to those of the last five decades.

The work was created in the framework of the Helmholtz Climate Initiative REKLIMof the Helmholtz Association and the EU project ice2sea. Due to the study, the researchers can get a little closer to understanding the current developments of the Greenland ice sheet.

Ingo Sasgen: “We now know very well how calving glaciers and melting contribute to the current mass balance, and when regional trends are largely caused by rainfall variations. And we also know where our measurements must be improved.”

One such area is north-western Greenland, where the comparison of data indicates an abrupt increase in the calving rate, which was detected by the radar data inadequately.

The REKLIM/ice2sea scientists want to find out what causes this increase and if it has a continuous or episodic character.

A necessary prerequisite is a sufficiently long time series of measurements that is to be created by the continued precise gravity measurements in the context of the new satellite mission GRACE-FO (Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment – Follow On).

Ingo Sasgen et al., “Timing and Origin of Recent Regional Ice-Mass Loss in Greenland”, Earth and Planetary Science Letters (EPSL), doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2012.03.033, Volumes 333-334, 1 June 2012, Pages 293-303

Related Links
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Beyond the Ice Age

Brazil farmers in legal feud with Monsanto over GM soy

by Staff Writers
Campo Novo De Parecis, Brazil (AFP)

Illegally smuggled into Brazil 14 years ago, transgenic soy has proved a boon to domestic farmers and now accounts for 85 percent of total production.

But five million Brazilian farmers are now locked in a legal feud with US biotech giant Monsanto, the GM soy seed manufacturer, and are refusing to pay crop royalties.

In the mid-1990s Monsanto began commercializing its genetically modified soy in the United States.

Monsanto’s soy seeds are spliced with a bacterium’s gene that makes the plants immune to the company’s popular herbicide Roundup, which farmers can then use to kill weeds while the soy plants flourish.

The first transgenic soy seeds were illegally smuggled into Brazil from neighboring Argentina in 1998 and their use was banned and subject to prosecution until the last decade, according to the state-owned Brazilian Enterprise for Agricultural Research (EMBRAPA).

The ban has since been lifted and now 85 percent of the country’s soybean crop (25 million hectares or 62 million acres) is genetically modified, according to Alexandre Cattelan, an EMBRAPA researcher.

Last year, Brazil was the world’s second producer and exporter of soybean, behind the United States.

Sales of GM soy — which is used for animal feed, soybean oil or biofuel — reached a whopping $24.1 billion and made up 26 percent of Brazil’s farm exports last year. China is the main customer of Brazilian soy.

But four years ago, five million big and small Brazilian producers filed a lawsuit against Monsanto, accusing the US chemical giant of unduly collecting two percent of sales of their annual harvest.

Since 2003-2004, Monsanto has demanded that producers of transgenic soy pay it two percent of their sales as crop royalties, Neri Perin, a representative of big producers, told AFP.

Lawyers for the producers say this means that their clients end up paying twice for the seed.

“Monsanto gets paid when it sell the seeds. The law gives producers the right to multiply the seeds they buy and nowhere in the world is there a requirement to pay (again). Producers are in effect paying a private tax on production,” said lawyer Jane Berwanger.

In April, a judge in the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, Giovanni Conti, ruled in favor of the producers and ordered Monsanto to return royalties paid since 2004 or a minimum of $2 billion.

Monsanto appealed and a federal court is to rule on the case by 2014.

In the meantime, the US company said it was still being paid crop royalties.

At the same time, transgenic soy cultivation is spreading like wildfire across Brazil, despite protests from environmentalists who say it leads to increased deforestation and from experts who say it results in less farm jobs.

“Transgenic soy occupies 44 percent of land under grain cultivation but represents only 5.5 percent of farm jobs,” said Sergio Schlesinger, a researcher who slammed the advance of soybean monoculture in his book “the grain that grew too much.”

He said this highly mechanized monoculture requires little labor and leads to the expulsion of thousands of farm workers.

After its initial ban on GM soy, the Brazilian government is now investing in research to develop this type of technology.

Transgenic soy is now grown in 17 of the country’s 26 states, with the largest production in Mato Grosso, Parana and Rio Grande do Sul.

Although still the largest exporting country, the United States has lost the dominant position it once had in the global soy trade. Brazil, Argentina, China and India have all become major players as the world’s demand for soy as food, vegetable oil, and animal feed has continued to increase.

Given the amount of available arable land and water resources in Brazil, experts expect this South American giant to eventually become the number one soybean-producing nation.

Related Links
Farming Today – Suppliers and Technology

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Cyber Space

Microsoft Just Made the Internet a Little More Private for Everyone

Internet Explorer 10 will ship with Do Not Track settings turned on by default. That’s good news for you and me; not so good for the online ad industry.

By Dan Tynan, ITworld

Break out the champagne and put on your party hats: A software heavyweight just struck a major blow for the concept of Privacy by Design.

Microsoft has elected to release Internet Explorer 10.0 with Do Not Track as the default setting. Microsoft Chief Privacy Officer Brendon Lynch blogged about the decision here. He said, in part:

We believe that consumers should have more control over how information about their online behavior is tracked, shared and used. Online advertising is an important part of the economy supporting publishers and content owners and helping businesses of all shapes and sizes to go to market. There is also value for consumers in personalized experiences and receiving advertising that is relevant to them.

Of course, we hope that many consumers will see this value and make a conscious choice to share information in order to receive more personalized ad content. For us, that is the key distinction. Consumers should be empowered to make an informed choice and, for these reasons, we believe that for IE10 in Windows 8, a privacy-by-default state for online behavioral advertising is the right approach.

While both Chrome and Firefox have Do Not Track capabilities built in, they’re turned off by default. Microsoft is making its mark by turning that setting on. Safari also blocks tracking cookies by default, but who outside of the Mac universe uses Safari?

The online advertising industry reacted about the way you’d expect — by implying that if we don’t all let advertisers follow us around the Web jotting down every site we visit and what we do there, the “free” Internet will shrivel up and die.

The Digital Advertising Alliance, a consortium of online ad networks and data gatherers that has been pushing for self-regulation of Web tracking for the past several years (and was apparently blindsided by Microsoft’s announcement), issued a vigorous response. Here’s the money quote:

The DAA is very concerned that this unilateral decision by one browser maker – made without consultation within the self-regulatory process – may ultimately narrow the scope of consumer choices, undercut thriving business models, and reduce the availability and diversity of the Internet products and services that millions of American consumers currently enjoy at no charge.

DAA spokeshuman Stu Ingis went on to tell the Wall Street Journal’s Julia Angwin that online advertisers support “consumer choice, not a choice made by one browser or technology vendor.” Essentially he’s saying that by making IE 10 private by default Microsoft is taking the choice out of users’ hands.

Which is, of course, utter horse manure. Microsoft is in fact giving users a choice – a choice to use a browser where privacy is the default setting. It’s the advertising industry that’s make the decision for consumers about whether they will be tracked by making that the default setting for the vast majority of Web surfers.

But before I get any further into this, let’s get a few things straight, shall we?

1, When advertising groups say they support Do Not Track (DNT), what they really mean is they support “Do Not Target Me With Ads But Continue To Hoover Up All My Anonymous Web Behavior” (or DNTMWABCTHUAMAWB for short). They’re still collecting data on users, they’re just not delivering ads to you based on that data. In other words, they remove the key benefit of tracking (more relevant ads) while keeping the primary threat (creating a profile of your online habits).

Some members of Congress are calling on the FTC to draw up rules that explicitly block data collection as well as ad targeting, something the tracking companies are resisting.

2. The DAA does represent most of the major US companies in the whole Web tracking ecosystem. But they represent less than a quarter of the companies listed in Evidon’s database of some 800 Web trackers. So even in the best case scenario, many of the smaller no-name companies that are tracking me are wholly unaffected by the DAA’s voluntary program.

The fact is, some people – even diehard privacy types — will choose tracking over not tracking in some instances. For example, I installed Abine’s Do Not Track Plus several months ago in my primary browser, and I’ve probably shut it off for individual sites more often than I’ve kept it on. Why? Because DNT+ prevented me from sharing that page on Facebook or Twitter, or kept me from being able to log in to leave Comments, or inconvenienced me in some other way. That’s because Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Disqus, and all the others are also Web trackers that can capture big chunks of your Web surfing history. A better option in this instance is probably Ghostery, which offers more fine grained blocking of advertisers, trackers, and widgets.

Bottom line: If tracking really is so essential to the “free Internet,” as the ad industry claims, then what’s the problem? Won’t people naturally choose to be tracked in order to get access to all those relevant ads and free content? I think we all know the answer to that, which is why the DAA is so spooked by Microsoft’s decision.

Facebook May Welcome Preteen Members

By Sharon Gaudin, Computerworld

Speculation is flying that Facebook executives may be developing technology that would enable kids under the age of 13 to join the site with parental supervision.

Intetrest by Facebook in lowering the minimum age to under 13 years old to join the world’s most popular social network was first reported in the Wall Street Journal. The network is reportedly testing ways to link a child’s Facebook page to his or her parents’, along with tools that would enable parents to decide who their children can “friend” and what apps they can use.

A Facebook spokesman told Computerworld that the company is investigating this complicated issue, but has not made any decisions.

“Many recent reports have highlighted just how difficult it is to enforce age restrictions on the Internet, especially when parents want their children to access online content and services,” said the spokesman. “We are in continuous dialogue with stakeholders, regulators and other policymakers about how best to help parents keep their kids safe in an evolving online environment.”

“That would certainly drive up subscribers,” said Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research. “But I don’t know how valuable they would be, since kids under 13 don’t have much purchasing power.”

However, Kerravala noted that many kids now lie about their age to join the social network and this might curb that problem to some extent. And it also would draw kids in and get them connected earlier so they’re loyal users when they get old enough to have more money to spend, increasing the power of Facebook’s ads.

“The problem for Facebook is the under-13 set might find something else to use when they hit 13,” he added. “The idea may be to get them connected now.”

Any such move would mean that Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has had a change of mind.

In May 2011, Zuckerberg, speaking to the world’s top Internet leaders during the closing keynote at the e-G8 Internet forum in Paris, said he wasn’t interested in working to get younger users on the site.

“We’re not trying to work on the ability for people under the age of 13 to sign up,” Zuckerberg said. “That’s just not on the list of things for us to figure out right now.” However, he did say that he’d like to look more deeply into the issue at some point in the future.

If Facebook is working to include younger users, it may be because of competition from Google+, which in January widened its potential user base by lowering its age requirement from 18 to 13 years old.

Google+ executives did not mention moving to add users under the age of 13.

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Survival / Sustainability

EatTheWeeds: Episode 06: Peppergrass, Lepidium Virginicum

Uploaded by on Feb 11, 2008

http://www.eattheweeds.com/peppergrass-potent-pipsqueak/

Learn how to recognize and use the wild food peppergrass, Lepidium virginicum springtime salad ingredient, pot herb, and spice from http://www.eattheweeds.com

 

EatTheWeeds: Episode 07: Pokeweed, Phytolacca americana

Uploaded by on Feb 11, 2008

http://www.eattheweeds.com/can-be-deadly-but-oh-so-delicious-pokeweed-2/

Learn with Green Deane how to recognize and prepare pokeweed, a controversial spring green and wild food from http://www.eattheweeds.com


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Articles of Interest

U.S. N.R.C. Considering Giving 80-year Operating Licenses to Nuclear Power Plants

By Karl Grossman

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission will be holding a meeting this week to consider having nuclear power plants run 80 years—although they were never seen as running for more than 40 years because of radioactivity embrittling metal parts and otherwise causing safety problems.

“The idea of keeping these reactors going for 80 years is crazy!” declares Robert Alvarez, senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies and former senior policy advisor at the U.S, Department of Energy and a U.S. Senate senior investigator. He is also an author of the book Killing Our Own: The Disaster of America’s Experience with Atomic Radiation. “To double the design life of these plants—which operate under high-pressure, high heat conditions and are subject to radiation fatigue—is an example of out-of-control hubris, of believing your own lies.”

“In a post-Fukushima world, the NRC has no case to renew life-spans of old, danger-prone nuke plants. Rather, they must be shut down,” says Priscilla Star, director of the Coalition Against Nukes.

“This is an absurdity and shows the extent to which the NRC is captured,” says Jim Riccio, nuclear policy analyst at Greenpeace. “Nuclear regulators know that embrittlement of the reactor vessels limits nuclear plant life but are willing to expose the public to greater risks from decrepit, old and leaking reactors. As we learned from Fukushima, the nuclear industry is willing to expose the public to catastrophic risks.”

Nevertheless, on Thursday at its headquarters in Rockville, Maryland, the NRC is to hold a meeting with the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy and the Electric Power Research Institute, which does studies for the nuclear industry, “to discuss and coordinate long-term operability research programs,” says the NRC, which could lead to it letting nuclear plants run for 80 years.

For more than a decade, the NRC has been extending the operating licenses of nuclear plants from 40 years to 60 years. And just as the NRC has never denied a construction or operating license for a nuclear plant anywhere, anytime in the U.S., it has rubber-stamped every application that has come before it for a 20-year extension of the plant’s original 40-year license. It has now approved 60-year operating licenses for 73 of the 104 nuclear power plants in the U.S.

When the NRC in 2009 OK’d extending the operating license to 60 years of the oldest nuclear plant in the U.S., Oyster Creek in New Jersey, Jeff Titel, president of the New Jersey Sierra Club, declared: “This decision is radioactive. To keep open the nation’s oldest nuclear power plant for another 20 years is just going to lead to a disaster. We could easily replace the plant with 200 windmills that will not pose a danger.” With the same General Electric design as the six Fukushima nuclear power plants, the plant is 60 miles south of New York City.

The first nuclear plants given permission by the NRC to operate for 60 years were the two Calvert Cliffs plants located on the western shore of Chesapeake Bay near Lusby, Maryland, 45 miles southeast of Washington, D.C. That came in 1999. The NRC license extension program is “blind to how these machines are breaking apart at the molecular level…they embrittle, crack and corrode,” said Paul Gunter, then with the Nuclear Information and Resource Service and now director of the Reactor Oversight Project of the organization Beyond Nuclear. The NRC in its “rigged game” is driving the nation toward a nuclear disaster, said Gunter. “The term ‘nuclear safety’ is an oxymoron. It’s an inherently dangerous process and an inherently dangerous industry that has been aging.”

Read Full Article Here

Mother Nature Doesn’t Quit

By Jim Hightower

Rather than find ways to cooperate with the natural world, America’s agribusiness giants reach for the next quick fix in a futile effort to overpower nature. Their attitude is that if brute force isn’t working, they’re probably not using enough of it.

Monsanto, for example, has banked a fortune by selling a corn seed that it genetically manipulated to produce corn plants that won’t die when sprayed with the Roundup toxic weedkiller. Not coincidentally, Monsanto also happens to manufacture Roundup. It profits from the seed and from the huge jump in Roundup sales that the seed generates. Slick.

But Mother Nature, darn it, has rebelled. So much of Monsanto’s poison was spread in the past decade that weeds naturally began to resist it. As a Dow Chemical agronomist explained, “The real need here is to diversify our weed management systems.”

Exactly right! We need non-chemical, sustainable systems that work with nature and without genetically altered crops.

But, no, the Dow man didn’t mean that at all. He was calling for more brute force in the form of Dow’s new genetically altered corn seed that can absorb Dow’s super-potent 2,4-D weedkiller, which it markets under the “Enlist” brand name. Use this stuff, he says, and nature will be defeated.

Wrong. Nature doesn’t quit. The weeds will keep evolving and will adapt to Dow’s high-tech fix, too. By pushing the same old thing relentlessly, says an independent crop scientist, agribusiness interests “ratchet up [America’s] dependence on the use of herbicides, which is very much a treadmill.”

It’s time to start listening to the weeds — and cooperating with Mother Nature. To advance this common sense approach, a national coalition is backing a California “Right to Know” initiative requiring the labeling of genetically altered foods. To help, go to the Organic Consumers Association at http://www.OrganicConsumers.org.

This article was published at NationofChange at: http://www.nationofchange.org/mother-nature-doesn-t-quit-1338824786. All rights are reserved.

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[In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit, for research and/or educational purposes. This constitutes ‘FAIR USE’ of any such copyrighted material.]

 

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Corporate Watch.org

MONSANTO

A Corporate Profile
www.monsanto.com

 

Who, Where, How Much?


Start protecting yourself and  your  family. Be  aware  educate  yourself  about the  companies  that  make the  products  you  consume

 

NON-GMO SHOPPING GUIDE AND OTHER HELPFUL INFORMATION

Non-GMO Shopping Guide

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Environmental

Mexican Farmers Block Monsanto Law to Privatize Plants and Seeds

By Occupy Monsanto

“The proposed modifications promote a privatizing model that uses patents and “Plant Breeders’ Rights” (PBR) to deprive farmers of the labor of centuries in developing seed.”

Article image

Progressive small farmer organizations in Mexico scored a victory over transnational corporations that seek to monopolize seed and food patents. When the corporations pushed their bill to modify the Federal Law on Plant Varieties through the Committee on Agriculture and Livestock of the Mexican Chamber of Deputies on March 14, organizations of farmers from across the country sounded the alarm. By organizing quickly, they joined together to pressure legislators and achieved an agreement with the legislative committee to remove the bill from the floor.

What’s at stake is free and open access to plant biodiversity in agriculture. The proposed modifications promote a privatizing model that uses patents and “Plant Breeders’ Rights” (PBR) to deprive farmers of the labor of centuries in developing seed. The small farmers who worked to create this foundation of modern agriculture never charged royalties for its use.

Although the current law, in effect since 1996, pays little heed to the rights of small farmers, the new law would be far worse. Present law tends to benefit private-sector plant breeders, allowing monopolies to obtain exclusive profits from the sale of seeds and other plant material for up to 15 years, or 18 in the case of perennial ornamental, forest, or orchard plants–even when the plants they used to develop the new varieties are in the public domain.

The legislative reform would extend exclusive rights from the sale of reproductive material to 25 years. Further, it seeks to restrict the rights of farmers to store or use for their own consumption any part of the harvest obtained from seeds or breeding material purchased from holders of PBRs.

The proposed law would also include genetically modified organisms (GMOs) among the plant varieties covered, converging with the so-called Monsanto Law (Law of Biosecurity and Genetically Modified Organisms). This is an absurd inclusion, since GMOs are created by introducing genetic material from non-plant species.

GMOs cannot be considered a distinct variety, because they do not result from the genetic variability that underlies natural selection. They are the result of manipulation through biotechnology that crosses the boundaries between species and realms. Another absurdity is the private appropriation of genetic information from live organisms, even those altered with genes of other species.

The proposed law would create a “Monsanto Police,” by giving the National Service for the Inspection and Certification of Seeds the authority to order and conduct inspection visits, demand information, investigate suspected administrative infractions, order and carry out measures to prevent or stop violations of PBR, and impose administrative sanctions, which are increased by the proposal. It would have a government agency promote PBRs held by individuals or corporations.

Holders of PBRs already gain exclusive rights to exploit plant varieties and material for their propagation. The bill under consideration would extend those rights over the products resulting from use of monopolized plant varieties so that, for example, a special license would have to be obtained to use the variety in foods for human consumption or industrial uses.

Read Full Article Here

Obama Leaves Monsanto in Charge of Ending Hunger in Africa

By Alexis Baden-Mayer, Esq., Political Director
Organic Consumers Association, May 23, 2012

At the Group of 8 (G8) meetings this past weekend, President Obama and the leaders of the rest of the world’s richest nations abandoned their governments’ previous commitments to donate $7.3 billion a year to end hunger in Africa, after disbursing only 58 percent of the total pledge of $22 billion and giving less than 6 percent in new money they pledged three years ago.

Instead, rich nations will leave the problem in the hands of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition where private corporations will invest $3 billion over 10 years — Monsanto has committed $50 million — beginning in three countries, Tanzania, Ghana and Ethiopia. (Human-rights activists have questioned the inclusion of Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, noting that his authoritarian government has jailed dissidents and banned media access to hunger zones. The Committee to Protect Journalists said in a letter to President Obama that the Ethiopian government “routinely downplays the extent of the crisis by denying journalists access to sensitive areas and censoring independent news coverage.”)

The main U.S. spokesperson for the New Alliance is USAID administrator Rajiv Shah. OCA opposed Dr. Shah’s appointment because of his work for the Gates Foundation and his position as a board member of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), which actively promote expensive and unsustainable technologies like genetic engineering.

Ronnie Cummins, Director of the Organic Consumers Association, issued the following statement in response to the news:

“Study after study has shown that organic, agro-ecological farming practices on small diverse farms can boost yields in Africa and the developing world from 100-1000% over the yields of chemical-intensive or genetically engineered mono-crop farms. To help the world’s two billion small farmers and rural villagers survive and prosper we need to help them gain access, not to genetically engineered seeds and expensive chemical inputs; but rather access to land, water, and the tools and techniques of traditional, sustainable farming: non-patented open-pollinated seeds, crop rotation, natural compost production, beneficial insects, and access to local markets. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) reduce crop yields, and increase pesticide use, even according to USDA statistics. Bill Gates, Monsanto, and Barack Obama may believe that genetic engineering and chemical-intensive agriculture are the tools to feed the world, but a look at the fatal harvest of modern agribusiness tells a different story. Not only can climate-friendly, healthy organic agriculture practices feed the world, but in fact organic farming is the only way we are going to be able to feed the world.”

OCA political director Alexis Baden-Mayer prepared the following notes for a talk she gave at the Occupy G8 People’s Summit, critiquing the New Alliance:

Contrary to the talking points of President Obama and the other leaders of the G8 nations, the problem of feeding the world isn’t about the need to produce more food, it’s about stopping the way wealthy countries are subsidizing their richest farmers, grabbing up the best land in Africa, speculating on food commodities in their financial markets, wasting food, diverting crop production to livestock feed and biofuels, and ratcheting up the costs of farming by encouraging the use of expensive and unsustainable GMO seeds, pesticides and fertilizers.

The world already produces more than 1 1/2 times enough food to feed everyone on the planet. That’s enough to feed 10 billion people, the population peak we expect by 2050.

70 percent of this food is produced by 3 billion small-scale food producers worldwide.

Nevertheless, 1 billion people on the planet are chronically hungry, and 70% are farmers.

If the G8 actually cared about ending hunger, they’d:

Stop Industrial-Scale Food Producers from Wasting the World’s Resources

35 percent of the food produced worldwide feeds meat and dairy animals. If humans switched to all-plant diets, all that agricultural land could produce 50 percent more human food, because feeding crops to animals that then become meat is a highly inefficient way to transfer plant energy to people.

10 percent of global vegetable oil is being diverted to biodiesel.

6 percent of global grain is being diverted to ethanol.

30 to 50 percent of food intended for human consumption in the world gets wasted.

Stop Wall Street from Gambling on Hunger, and End Speculation in the Food Markets

The share of the food market owned by speculators, uninvolved in the food production process, has risen from 12% in 1996 to 61% today. The 4 biggest grain buyers, including ADM, Bunge, Cargill and Louis and Dreyfus, dominate 75- 90% of the trade in grain worldwide generating profits in the realm of $2 to 3 billion a year.

Read Full Article Here

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Cyber Space

‘ACTA could turn honest citizens into criminals by mistake’

Published on May 31, 2012 by

The controversial ACTA anti-piracy agreement has been dealt a blow by the European Parliament. Three key committees have voted against the treaty, citing concerns over its legality. ACTA sparked Europe-wide protests, with activists saying online freedom of speech is being put at risk.

Rick Falkvinge from the Swedish Pirate Party says the treaty is confused at best.

FISA: US under total surveillance

Published on May 31, 2012 by

On Thursday, US lawmakers discussed whether or not the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act should be renewed. FISA gives government the power to monitor phone calls, emails and other forms of electronic communication. Critics believe that FISA can now be used to target citizens all in the name of homeland security. Andrew Blake, RT’s web producer, joins us with more on the controversial legislation and discusses other legislation such as CISPA, SOPA and PIPA.

MegaUpload case to be dismissed?

Published on May 31, 2012 by

One of the biggest copyright infringement cases in history just took a turn. MegaUpload’s founder Kim Dotcom has taken steps to throw out the case where his company allegedly got rich off of the piracy of copyrighted movies, music and media. The defense is now arguing that the website can be held accountable for its users. Liz Wahl has more.

WikLeaks Founder Assange Loses U.K. Extradition Appeal

The Vancouver Sun

Britain’s Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can be extradited to Sweden, but put his deportation on hold to give his lawyers a final chance to reopen the case.

The court, which handed down its decision after an 18-month legal marathon, rejected Assange’s argument that the Swedish prosecutor who issued the arrest warrant over sex crime allegations was not entitled to do so.

Julian Assange

© unknown
Julian Assange

“The request for Mr Assange’s extradition has been lawfully made and his appeal against extradition is accordingly dismissed,” Supreme Court president Nicholas Phillips said as he delivered the ruling to a hushed courtroom.

The seven judges were split five to two but their majority ruling was that the prosecutor was a rightful judicial authority, and therefore allowed to issue the warrant for the Internet whistleblower.

But in a new twist, Assange’s lawyer Dinah Rose asked for 14 days to consider whether to apply to reopen the case, on the grounds that the judgment referred to material that was not mentioned during the last hearing in February.

The judge granted the request, which is highly unusual in the three-year history of the Supreme Court.

“With the agreement of the respondent, the required period for extradition shall not commence until 13th June 2012,” the Supreme Court said in a statement.

Assange, a 40-year-old Australian national, was not in the central London court for the judgment. One of his supporters, journalist John Pilger, said he was “stuck in traffic” with his mother, who flew in from Australia for the verdict.

The Swedish lawyer for the two women who accuse Assange of rape and sexual assault said he would be extradited eventually.

“The decision was what we expected . . . It’s unfortunate that it has been delayed further, but he will ultimately be extradited,” Claes Borgstroem told AFP.

Assange is at present wanted for questioning over the sex crime allegations, but Borgstroem said he expected an indictment perhaps within a month after he gets to Sweden.

Australia said it would closely monitor the case and added that consular officials were available to help him if he wished.

“The Australian government cannot interfere in the judicial processes of other governments but we will closely monitor the proceedings against Mr Assange in Sweden,” said a spokeswoman for Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs.

Assange, whose website enraged Washington by releasing a flood of state and military secrets, has been living under tight restrictions on his movement for 540 days, including wearing an ankle tag and reporting daily to police.

He has said he fears his extradition would eventually lead to his transfer to the United States, where U.S. soldier Bradley Manning is facing a court-martial over accusations that he handed documents to WikiLeaks.

Outside court, Assange’s principal lawyer Gareth Peirce confirmed that the extradition was stayed while his legal team considers whether to apply to reopen the case, although the judgment still stands.

The point in question is the interpretation of the Vienna Convention on the law of treaties, “which was never addressed in the hearing, one way or another, by either side,” Peirce added.

If Assange fails to have the case reopened in Britain, he still has the option of a last-ditch appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

The white-haired Assange does not deny that he had sex with two WikiLeaks volunteers in Sweden while attending a WikiLeaks seminar, but insists the sex was consensual and argues there are political motives behind the attempts to extradite him.

Assange’s mother Christine told Australian television ahead of the judgment: “It’s a 24-hour nightmare because we know he is not safe and the biggest governments in the world are gunning for him.”

The former computer hacker has been fighting deportation since his arrest in London in December 2010 on the European arrest warrant issued by Sweden.

The Supreme Court is his final avenue of appeal under British law, after two lower courts ruled he should be sent to Sweden for questioning.

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Survival / Sustainability

Permaculture with Jack Spirko Part 1 – 6

Introduction

Published on May 28, 2012 by

This is the first video in a long series on the basics of permaculture, during this series we will be covering the ethics, principals of design, earth works and more. In this video though I just want to explain why I am doing this series and how permaculture relates to modern survival thinking.

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Activism

New Face of Terror: FBI creates bogeyman out of Occupy

Published on May 29, 2012 by

From disorganized slackers to terrorists – the Occupy movement has seen its media image go from bad to worse over its nine months of existence. Protesters now even face accusations that they pose a threat not just to Corporate America, but to the country as a whole. But activists say it’s all just scaremongering to stifle the movement.

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Articles of Interest

Privacy Group Wants Google’s Driverless Cars Kept off the Road

By Sharon Gaudin, Computerworld

A privacy group is calling on the California Assembly to keep Google’s self-driving cars off the road.

Consumer Watchdog, a non-profit privacy group, sent an open letter to the Assembly today urging members to defeat a bill, SB 1289, that would allow Google’s self-driving cars on California’s roads unless the bill is amended to provide “adequate” privacy protection for the cars’ users.

The letter (download PDF) asks legislators to ban all data collection from Google’s autonomous cars.

“While we don’t propose to limit the ability of the cars to function by communicating as necessary with satellites and other devices, the collection and retention of data for marketing and other purposes should be banned,” wrote Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog, and John Simpson, privacy project director. “Unless the bill is amended, once again society will be forced to play catch-up in dealing with the impact of the privacy invading aspects of a new technology.”

Google has been pushing ahead with its research into developing autonomous automobiles that can be sold commercially.

Earlier this month, the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles gave Google the state’s first license for driverless cars. It was also the first autonomous vehicle license ever issued in the United States, according to the Nevada DMV website.

“The cars have a number of sensors, such as cameras, lasers and radar, to monitor road conditions and improve the technology,” said Chris Gaither, a Google spokesman in an email to Computerworld. “For our testing purposes, the cars log data about their performance — how fast they’re going, where they are, where they detect obstacles, etc. — as well as data from the equipment on the car.”

Gaither noted that he could not say what, if any, data would continue to be collected from the cars once testing is over and they are being sold commercially. “It would be premature to speculate,” he added.

The letter was sent to Assembly Speaker John A. Perez, who has not replied to a request for comment.

According to Gaither, Google’s driverless cars have logged more than 200,000 miles so far.

Last month, Google executives went to Detroit looking for partners in the company’s efforts to develop the vehicles. Anthony Levandowski, head of Google’s self-driving car project, told an audience there that the company would like to get such cars on the road within the next decade.

A Google spokesman told Computerworld last month that the company has been reaching out to automakers but is keeping its options open.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon’s RSS feed. Her email address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

See more by Sharon Gaudin on Computerworld.com.

BYOD: Time to Adjust Your Privacy Expectations

By Tom Kaneshige, CIO

BYOD: Time to Adjust Your Privacy ExpectationsSome employees thought they were pretty sneaky downloading confidential data from corporate computers to thumb drives days before they turned in their resignations and bolted to a competitor.

More often than not, they didn’t get away with it. Armed with forensic computer analysis–namely, the USB port registry–managers confronted these employees during the exit interview.

What gives managers the right to pursue legal action or at least ask for those incriminating thumb drives back? The answer: a smorgasbord of protective polices with employees’ signatures on them, including the confidentiality non-disclosure policy, the ethics policy, the conflict of interest policy, the authorized use of computers policy.

“The BYOD fact pattern isn’t that dramatically different, and policies can be written to provide that type of protection for the employer,” says Brent Cossrow, partner at Fisher and Phillips, a law firm specializing in labor and employment law.

He adds: “Given the business interest that could be in jeopardy, there are employers who would take a look at how their computers were used in a certain time period. If a BYOD policy was written in a certain way, it could provide support for that examination.”

[Slideshow: 10 Coolest Tech Devices to Bring to Work]

Cossrow’s practice area is employee defection and trade secrets, and so he helps companies navigate the murky legal waters that BYOD, or bring-your-own-device, stirs up. An employee-owned BYOD smartphone or tablet blurs the line between personal and work use. Compared to the thumb drive, a BYOD can easily store trade secrets either locally on the device or via a cloud storage service.

At the center of the legal debate is an employee’s expectation of privacy. Cossrow says the smartest companies will craft a detailed, customized BYOD policy that works in harmony with existing protection policies. Among the more restrictive regimes, employees would have to sign away their expectation of privacy with a BYOD smartphone or tablet that’s being used in conjunction with corporate computers.

Without an expectation of privacy, employees should assume they have no privacy on their personally owned BYODs.

For employees, it may get even worse. “I think we’re going to see case law evolve over time with companies wanting to do more ambitious and extensive searches of personal data on those devices,” Cossrow says.

A Legal Precedent?

On the upside, BYOD employees have at least one legal precedent in their workplace privacy corner, Stengart v. Loving Care Agency.

In December 2007, Marina Stengart resigned from Loving Care Agency in New Jersey and sued for gender discrimination. Just before resigning, Stengart communicated with her attorney via a personal, password-protected Yahoo email account on a company computer.

This use case blends personal and work actions on a single device, a precursor to BYOD.

Loving Care Agency hired a computer forensics expert who burned a forensic image of the computer, which uncovered HTML screen shots of the personal emails. A trial judge ruled that the emails were not protected by attorney-client privilege because a policy stated that emails were company property.

Stengart and her attorney took the matter to the New Jersey Superior Court, and the appellate judge reversed the decision. The judge held that those personal communications were protected. A big win for employee privacy, right?

[Slideshow: 15 Ways iPad Goes to Work]

Many factors played in the reversal, such as Stengart’s sophistication of computers. While the employee handbook might state that an employee waives the expectation of privacy, this doesn’t mean that the employee has a knowledge of how HTML files are created and whether or not a password will protect access to those files.

The Stengart v. Loving Care Agency case, though, has a big flaw for BYOD employees: The reversal toward employee privacy rights was anchored in the attorney-client privilege.

“It’s not likely that the same quality of protection would be available for non-privilege communication under those facts,” Cossrow says. “How broadly will Stengart be used? We’re going to see different types of [BYOD] policies, and they’re going to be tested in court over time.”

The BYOD Policy

BYOD policies are subject to state and federal laws, which can vary depending on the type of industry a company serves.

As stated earlier, a BYOD policy should work in harmony with existing protection policies. BYOD policies can be written to provide some protection against certain risks and some policies allow companies to inspect the BYOD in an exit interview.

BYOD employees better know what they’re signing, which often entails giving up their expectations of privacy.

“The art to this BYOD employment practice is defining the ground rules on which these devices can be used,” Cossrow says.

“If the employer is saying that you do not have an expectation of privacy with a personal device that you use in conjunction with corporate systems, this lets the employee know the device could be subject to a search or a review.”

Tom Kaneshige covers Apple and Consumerization of IT for CIO.com. Follow Tom on Twitter @kaneshige. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline and on Facebook. Email Tom at tkaneshige@cio.com

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[In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit, for research and/or educational purposes. This constitutes ‘FAIR USE’ of any such copyrighted material.]

Health

Monsanto found guilty of poisoning in pesticide case

Published on Feb 13, 2012 by

http://www.euronews.net/ A court in the French city of Lyon has ruled US pesticides maker Monsanto was responsible for the poisoning of a farmer who had used one of their products on his crops. Paul Francois says he suffered neurological problems including memory loss, headaches and stammering after inhaling Monsanto’s Lasso weedkiller in 2004.

His lawyer, Stephane Teyssier, described the ruling as “historic”. “The tribunal has ordered an expert opinion, so we will see what comes of that in relation to compensation.”

Satisfy your bacon craving with crispy organic turkey chips and avoid the risk of pancreatic cancer

By JB Bardot,
(NaturalNews) The meat-eaters among you may truly believe that bacon makes everything better; and folks from Iron Chefs to everyday-Joe’s will pay up to $35 a pound for gourmet bacon cuts. However, these delectable pieces of smoked pig are highly processed with numerous toxic chemicals such as nitrites, sodium nitrate, and other products that cause cancer. In particular, your risk ofpancreatic cancer increases two-fold after eating processed meats such as bacon and sausages, reports the British…

Teenage diabetes more than doubles

By J. D. Heyes,  
(NaturalNews) In another sign that America is losing its battle of bulging waistlines, new data indicates that the teenage diabetes rate has doubled, as other health risks have also remained dangerously high. Researchers with the American Diabetes Association, as well as other groups, said the number of teens with diabetes or pre-diabetes soared from 9 percent to 23 percent over the past decade. In addition, researchers said, other cardiovascular-related risk factors such as high blood pressure…

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Holistic Health

The overwhelming evidence of the healing power of food…

Uploaded by on Oct 24, 2007

Think there’s not enough research on food and nutrients? Think again! In this week’s UltraWellness Blog, Dr. Mark Hyman details the latest studies on the healing power of food — and explains why you shouldn’t always believe everything you read when it comes to medical research. For more, see http://www.ultrawellness.com/blog

 

 

The role of pure water in detoxification

By PF Louis, 
(NaturalNews) We need to hydrate with pure water to retain our physical and mental health. All our tissues’ cells need to be hydrated to function properly. Would you believe that most of us are dehydrated? It’s not just your five or so quarts of blood serum that contain water. Your organs’ cells contain water. Your brain and nerve tissues are 80 percent water. Severe dehydration leads to mental derangement and death. Most of us, perhaps 75% of the population, suffer from mild dehydration, which…

Ten ways to use apple cider vinegar in DIY remedies

By Willow Tohi, 
(NaturalNews) If time is a teacher, one thing we know is that apple cider vinegar is good stuff. The Babylonians used it as a tonic in 5000 B.C. so its been around for a while. It was also used in ancient Egypt (3000 B.C.) and by Samurai warriors in Japan (1200 B.C.), so it’s grandfathered in – doesn’t need a double-blind study to prove its effectiveness. Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has so many uses. It ranks as one of the top natural remedies for healing the body – from whatever ails it! It’s medicinal…

Carnosine provide broad-range cellular protection to fight vascular injury and extend lifespan

By John Phillip, 
(NaturalNews) Most allopathic medical practitioners would argue that the process of aging is nothing more than a normal process whereby cells deteriorate at a predetermined rate controlled by genetically determined commands and heredity. Standing in stark opposition is a rapidly growing body of research and documented evidence to indicate that aging is a product of many varied lifestyle choices including physical activity, smoking, and most importantly, the type of diet we regularly consume. In…

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Pet Health

Morning Dog Breakfast Routine: Noreen’s Kitchen

Published on May 16, 2012 by

Greetings! Here we are sharing how we feed the dogs their daily breakfast. This is the homemade dog food that we recently made for them and we discuss the supplements that we add to it.

We hope this inspires you to provide a homemade or better pet food for your pet made from whole nutritious ingredients.

Gone to the Dogs Again! Beef and Liver Dog Food: Noreen’s Kitchen

Published on May 29, 2012 by

Greetings! During this past weekend, it was time to replenish our supply of homemade dog food. This time I have done a variation on my last recipe. I have used organic brown rice, ground beef, peas and carrots a dozen beaten eggs with their shells an 2 pounds of good quality liverwurst broken up in the mix. I got 6 foil pans out of this batch which will be enough for about 1 month of morning feedings.

Next time I plan on making a different variation using ground turkey, canned salmon, oats and sweet potatoes. The dogs love fish and sweet potatoes, I think the turkey will round that out nicely.

I hope you give this a try for your dogs and I hope they love it!

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Positivity Mind and Body

Deepak Chopra : Physical Healing, Emotional Wellbeing

Uploaded by on Jun 20, 2011

How we can be liberated from stress, burn out, depression, immune dysfunction, relationship pressures and other emotional and physical illnesses.

Deepak Copra is a New York Times Best Selling author, Founder of the Chopra Foundation and a Gallup Senior Scientist. He has written more than 50 books. Time magazine heralds him as one of the top 100 heroes of the century.

This talk was filmed at Dartington Hall, as part of the Tagore Festival 2011.
In Collaboration with
Resurgence Magazine
http://www.resurgence.org/
and Schumacher College
http://schumachercollege.org.uk/

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Articles of Interest

Killer pain relief

By Craig Stellpflug, 
(NaturalNews) We strive to lower the smallest fever, mask, block, and interfere with pain, artificially combat swelling, medicate hypertension, diabetes, and body cholesterol. What we are failing to see is that these are all normal body responses to identify and correct what is wrong and bring balance and healing. Bottom line, pain is not so friendly but it is our friend. It warns us when we are injured to help us pay attention to the wound. Pain signals us to bring outside assistance, like avoiding…

Federal government says it’s okay to lie about pomegranate juice, but not to tell the truth

By J. D. Heyes,
(NaturalNews) Do you remember our recent story (http://www.naturalnews.com) about Coca-Cola getting away with advertising one of its drinks as “Pomegranate Blueberry,” even though it only contained a measly 0.3 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively, of each of those juices? Well, we now learn that the federal government not only sanctions lying about ingredients in drinks, but will punish companies who try to tell the truth about those same products. To recap: Beverage company Pom Wonderful…

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[In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit, for research and/or educational purposes. This constitutes ‘FAIR USE’ of any such copyrighted material.]

Food Safety

AFDO Issues Guidance on Cottage Foods

With so many state lawmakers willing to throw out the rulebook when it comes to cottage foods, the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO) has decided it’s time to draw the line.
The 116-year-old AFDO has published a 20-page “guidance document” with “consensus opinion of best practices and limitations on this somewhat controversial matter.”

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AFDO says it developed the guidance document for state and local food safety regulators to help them with management of food safety issues associated with cottage food operations.  AFDO Food Committee, consisting of food protection officials from around the country, drafted the document.
AFDO defines cottage food as products made in a home kitchen for direct sale to consumers.    The FDA Food Code, adopted by most state and local jurisdictions, prohibits the sale of food prepared in a home kitchen from being sold in any food establishment, retail food store, or to any wholesale food manufacturer.

Controversy Continues As Comment Period Closes for HIMP

The comment period for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s proposal to expand the HACCP Based Inspection Models Project (HIMP) closed on Tuesday with strong support from the chicken and turkey industries and more strong criticism from federal poultry inspectors.

HIMP1_iphone.jpgBoth the National Chicken Council and the National Turkey Federation filed comments in favor of the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) rule, which would expand the HIMP pilot beyond the 20 poultry plants already operating under the program.

“The National Chicken Council (NCC) and our members believe a statistically valid, scientifically-based approach to poultry processing will improve food safety and better protect public health,” said NCC in their comment filed online Tuesday.

The HIMP model, which has been utilized in 25 chicken and poultry plants since 1998, reduces the number of FSIS inspectors on duty and largely turns over physical inspections to company employees, while allowing plants to speed up their lines to 175 birds per minute, over the current 140 bpm limit. FSIS says expanding HIMP would modernize an outdated inspection system, save taxpayers around $90 million over three years, and prevent 5,200 foodborne illnesses, mostly from Salmonella, annually

In their comments, NCC called HIMP a “successful pilot program” and said the industry could safely handle faster line speeds: “We are confident the increased line speeds allowed under the proposed rule have been demonstrated over several years to be safe for workers in the broiler chicken industry.”

The National Turkey Federation also strongly supported HIMP in its comments posted on regulations.gov on Tuesday, calling the inspection scheme “the logical next step in modernization of the nation’s food safety system.”

“The proposed rule is a modern, sensible approach that will allow the food safety inspectors to focus on public health,” NTF President Joel Brandenberger said. “The proposed rule will lead to a revamped inspection system that allows the federal inspectors to shift to prevention-oriented inspection systems and redeploy its resources in a manner that better protects the public from foodborne diseases.”

The USDA also estimates that the modernization plan would save the poultry industries $250 million annually, by allowing them to speed up their processing lines.

But union representing federal food safety inspectors, Food & Water Watch, and the Government Accountability Project (GAP), a whistleblower group, have all been extremely critical of HIMP and have helped organize opposition, including the release of documents and affidavits from inspectors that they believe illustrate major flaws in the model.

GAP’s Food Integrity Campaign on Tuesday released more affidavits criticizing HIMP.

“In total, six federal inspectors with HIMP-plant experience have come forward at risk to their professional lives,” said Amanda Hitt, director of GAP’s Food Integrity Campaign (FIC). “That’s a huge number, considering the HIMP pilot is only in a few plants – there’s not that many federal inspectors who have this kind of firsthand knowledge.”

Local Health Departments Test Food Ahead of Presidential Conventions

Local health departments in Tampa, Florida and Charlotte, North Carolina have begun testing food at restaurants near the sites of their respective presidential conventions months ahead of each conventions’ start date.

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With funding from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, county health inspectors in Florida’s Hillsborough County (host of the Republican National Convention) and North Carolina’s Mecklenburg County (the Democratic National Convention) will be testing food samples for possible contaminants, including “substances that might be used by terrorists,” according to a report published by the Charlotte Observer.

And  The BS  and Coverup Continues!!!!!

Just  look at this  article published  by  Food Safety News  and  tell me  if  you  feel  comfortable  eating radioactive anything  simply  because  they  say  it is  within safe  limits.   Since  when is  radioactivity safe?  Is this a  joke?  Because  truly  I  do not find it in the least  bit amusing!!

Bluefin Tuna With Elevated Radioactivity Still Safe

Movement of a little radioactivity in migrating Bluefin tuna might be a first, but it is not a threat to food safety.
Researchers from Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences and Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station claim to be the first scientists to document radioactive material in the sea being moved by biological migration.
It means that while air and water did not move radioactivity from Japan to California, it has arrived in the muscle of the big tuna.  Their study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

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Bluefin tuna are believed to have passed through waters made radioactive by the earthquake and tsunami damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, on March 11, 2011, before migrating the Pacific Ocean to California in August 2011.
When the Bluefin arrived in California waters, the researchers said tests from 15 tuna samples showed elevated levels of radioactivity, but at amounts well within safety limits.  The two radioactive substances found were cesium-134 and cesium-137.

Tuna brings radiation from Japan to US shores

9:07 AM Tuesday May 29, 2012

The levels of radioactive cesium were 10 times higher than the amount measured in tuna off the California coast in previous years. Photo /AP

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The levels of radioactive cesium were 10 times higher than the amount measured in tuna off the California coast in previous years. Photo /AP

Across the vast Pacific, the mighty bluefin tuna carried radioactive contamination that leaked from Japan’s crippled nuclear plant to the shores of the United States 9,650 kilometers away the first time a huge migrating fish has been shown to carry radioactivity such a distance.

“We were frankly kind of startled,” said Nicholas Fisher, one of the researchers reporting the findings online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The levels of radioactive cesium were 10 times higher than the amount measured in tuna off the California coast in previous years. But even so, that’s still far below safe-to-eat limits set by the US and Japanese governments.

Previously, smaller fish and plankton were found with elevated levels of radiation in Japanese waters after a magnitude-9 earthquake in March 2011 triggered a tsunami that badly damaged the Fukushima Dai-ichi reactors.

But scientists did not expect the nuclear fallout to linger in huge fish that sail the world because such fish can metabolize and shed radioactive substances.

One of the largest and speediest fish, Pacific bluefin tuna can grow to 10 feet (3 meters) and weigh more than 450 kilograms. They spawn off the Japan coast and swim east at breakneck speed to school in waters off California and the tip of Baja California, Mexico.

Five months after the Fukushima disaster, Fisher of Stony Brook University in New York and a team decided to test Pacific bluefin that were caught off the coast of San Diego. To their surprise, tissue samples from all 15 tuna captured contained levels of two radioactive substances ceisum-134 and cesium-137 that were higher than in previous catches.

To rule out the possibility that the radiation was carried by ocean currents or deposited in the sea through the atmosphere, the team also analyzed yellowfin tuna, found in the eastern Pacific, and bluefin that migrated to Southern California before the nuclear crisis. They found no trace of cesium-134 and only background levels of cesium-137 left over from nuclear weapons testing in the 1960s.

The results “are unequivocal. Fukushima was the source,” said Ken Buesseler of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, who had no role in the research.

Bluefin tuna absorbed radioactive cesium from swimming in contaminated waters and feeding on contaminated prey such as krill and squid, the scientists said. As the predators made the journey east, they shed some of the radiation through metabolism and as they grew larger. Even so, they weren’t able to completely flush out all the contamination from their system.

“That’s a big ocean. To swim across it and still retain these radionuclides is pretty amazing,” Fisher said.

Pacific bluefin tuna are prized in Japan where a thin slice of the tender red meat prepared as sushi can fetch $24 per piece at top Tokyo restaurants. Japanese consume 80 per cent of the world’s Pacific and Atlantic bluefin tuna.

The real test of how radioactivity affects tuna populations comes this summer when researchers planned to repeat the study with a larger number of samples. Bluefin tuna that journeyed last year were exposed to radiation for about a month. The upcoming travelers have been swimming in radioactive waters for a longer period. How this will affect concentrations of contamination remains to be seen.

Now that scientists know that bluefin tuna can transport radiation, they also want to track the movements of other migratory species including sea turtles, sharks and seabirds.

-AP

Urgent Warning: Fukushima Estimate of Situation

28May2012

By Maj. Gen. Albert N. Stubblebine (US Army, Ret.)

Estimate of Situation about Fukushima, Japan, focusing on the immediate threat to the Northern Hemisphere emanating from the highly radioactive ruins of the 5 Fukushima nuclear reactors.

Natural Solutions Foundation, an international NGO (non-governmental organization), released a 27 minute public service Estimate of Situation about Fukushima, Japan focusing on the immediate threat to the Northern Hemisphere emanating from the highly radioactive ruins of the 5 Fukushima nuclear reactors.

Gen. Stubblebine’s prognosis is dire: “When the highly radioactive Spent Fuel Rods are exposed to air, there will be massive explosions releasing many times the amount or radiation released thus far. Bizarrely, they are stored three stories above ground in open concrete storage pools. Whether through evaporation of the water in the pools, or due to the inevitable further collapse of the structure, there is a severe risk.

“United States public health authorities agree that tens of thousands of North Americans have already died from the Fukushima calamity. When the final cataclysm occurs, sooner rather than later, the whole Northern Hemisphere is at risk of becoming largely uninhabitable.”

General Stubblebine details in his riveting video the amounts of radioactive materials that will be propelled across the Pacific and across the United States if the Fukushima reactor structures (especially Spent Fuel Pool Number 4) collapse. With over 15,000 ‘spent fuel rods’ on the site, the Fukushima reactors have accumulated one of the largest stockpiles of these dangerous, intensely radioactive materials on the planet. No remediation work is being done at the site; there is no official remedial planning or disaster preparation. No private remediation, or public discussion of the need for it, is permitted by the Government of Japan under its new suppression of nuclear discussion laws.

The Natural Solutions Foundation joins seventy Japanese NGOs(1) in calling upon the Secretary General of the United Nations and Prime Minister of Japan last month to coordinate emergency action to shore-up critical structures now at imminent risk of collapse. It has been variously estimated(2), that a relatively mild earthquake (i.e., 5.0 or greater on the Richter Scale) will collapse the previously damaged Spent Fuel Rod holding tank of Unit No. 4, containing 85 times the amount of radioactive Cesium137 contained in Chernobyl’s now-entombed reactor. An estimated 1Million Europeans are believed to have died as a direct result of that radiation emission following the nuclear explosion of Chernobyl.

The US Government’s statistics document an excess death rate of 20,000 US residents, mostly healthy infants, in the first 9 months following the multiple nuclear events at Fukushima. .
As a humanitarian, strategist, intelligence analyst, father and grandfather, General Bert understands that doing nothing is, quite simply, not an option.

Following his incisive Estimate of Situation, General Bert’s free public service video outlines four simple steps you can take to protect yourself and your family.

Please visit http://www.GeneralBert.com to access this urgent warning and subsequent updates without cost. And please share this link with all your circles of influence.

The Trustees of the Natural Solutions Foundation, the largest health freedom organization in the world, urge your participation in disseminating this message since the mainstream media has remained curiously silent in the United States on this massive increase in radiation. The lack of information is, however, a matter of State policy in Japan where it is now a felony offense to discuss negative aspects of either nuclear power or the Fukushima situation in particular.

# # #

1.    http://www.naturalnews.com/035788_Fukushima_United_Nations_radiation.html
2.    http://www.naturalnews.com/035789_Fukushima_Cesium-137_Plume-Gate.html

The video is also available without charge at www.GeneralBert.com.

Also visit Natural Solutions Foundation for more information.

You’ll Probably Accidentally Eat This Toxic Food Today

  • Ronnie Cummins with the Organic Consumers Association, Pamm Larry, founder of LabelGMOs.org and Dave Murphy, founder of Food Democracy Now, discuss the California Right to Know Campaign—a ballot initiative to get labeling for genetically engineered foods voted into law on November 6, 2012
  • Extending through May 26, a broad coalition of farmers, health groups, and organic food manufacturers, will attempt to raise one million dollars to support the California labeling initiative. Donations can be made online, via regular snail mail, and over the phone, and the first one million dollars raised during this Money Bomb Against Monsanto campaign will be matched by another million dollars!
  • The genetically engineered food industry is based on lies. Genetically engineered foods are NOT substantially equivalent to conventional foods. They do NOT produce increased yields. And they are NOT more nutritious. On the contrary, they’re substantially different from anything mankind has ever consumed before; hundreds of studies have demonstrated organic farming outproduces genetically engineered crops by as much as 100 to 1; and genetically engineered foods have been shown to be significantly devoid of valuable nutrients

Read Full Article Here

 

Published on May 8, 2012 by

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/05/15/california-gmo-… Internationally renowned natural health physician and Mercola.com founder Dr. Joseph Mercola together with Pam Larry, Northern California Director of LabelGMOs.org, Dave Murphy, founder of Food Democracy Now and Ronnie Cummins, Director, Organic Consumers Association, discuss about labeling GMO’s in giving the consumer the right to know and choose what type of food they will consume.

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Recalls

After Eight Expansions, How Big is the Diamond Pet Foods Recall?

Update (May 29, 3:30 p.m. Eastern): U.S. Food and Drug Administration spokeswoman Laura Alvey has told Food Safety News that the Salmonella contamination found at Diamond’s Meta, Missouri plant is not from the same strain as that of the Gaston, South Carolina plant. The contamination at the Missouri plant comes from Salmonella Liverpool, while the South Carolina plant — connected to all products except those in the most recent recall expansion — has been contaminated by Salmonella Infantis.

Alvey also said that the Missouri plant has now been included in the FDA’s ongoing investigation into the Diamond Pet Foods Salmonella outbreak and recall.

This article was originally published before the FDA had named the Salmonella strain found at the Missouri plant.

With Diamond Pet Foods on May 18 announcing yet another expansion of its recall of dry pet foods, pet owners again consulted food labels and continued sharing stories of pet illnesses allegedly resulting from Salmonella-contaminated kibble. For some writers covering the recall, the story was already frustratingly familiar.

dog-empty-bowl-350.jpgAs the Christian Science Monitor noted days later, the addition of Diamond Naturals Small Breed Lamb & Rice formula was the recall’s eighth expansion, with it now encompassing at least nine brand names and numerous formulas.

This latest expansion also included the first contaminated product made at a facility in Meta, Missouri instead of the original facility linked to the outbreak in Gaston, South Carolina. Diamond also has a production facility in Lathrop, California.

On Tuesday, FDA spokeswoman Laura Alvey told Food Safety News that the contamination at the Missouri plant came from Salmonella Liverpool, not the Salmonella Infantis from the South Carolina plant that triggered the outbreak and recall.

Alvey went on to say that the Missouri plant was now included in the FDA’s ongoing investigation into Diamond.

Pet owners reporting illnesses worldwide

Pets are only rarely tested for gastrointestinal bacteria such as Salmonella, making it impossible to estimate the number ill from the outbreak. Regardless, the FDA does know of two clinically confirmed Salmonella infections in dogs from the same household where they were served a recalled brand.

On the day of the most recent recall expansion, the Calgary Herald in Alberta reported that two cats in a Montreal animal shelter died after eating recalled cat food. Around that same time, another human case was reported in Nova Scotia, bringing the confirmed human cases to 17: 15 in the U.S. and 2 in Canada.

The human cases have occurred in Missouri (3 illnesses), North Carolina (3), Pennsylvania (2), Ohio (2), Michigan (1), Alabama (1), Virginia (1), Connecticut (1), New Jersey (1), Quebec (1), and Nova Scotia (1).

Microbiologist and eFoodAlert author Phyllis Entis has been chronicling her readers’ stories on her website and has been contacted by readers in Ireland and France who reported sickening their dogs after feeding them Taste of the Wild, one of the recalled brands.

On May 21, the public health arm of the Singapore government released a consumer advisory on the recall. Four of the nine affected brands are sold in Singapore.

“This stuff is all around the world,” Entis said. “There are a lot of countries where this product might be, but Diamond — to the best of my knowledge — has not released a list of countries.”

On eFoodAlert, Entis compiled her own list of places Diamond products are likely distributed, which includes countries in Europe, Asia, Australia and South America.

“The sloppiest recall I’ve ever seen”

Since 2005, Susan Thixton has been writing about pet food problems in the U.S. on her website TruthAboutPetFood.com. She’s covered numerous pet food recalls in that time, including the melamine outbreak of 2007 that involved the recall of more than 90 brands.

But when it comes to disorganization, she said, Diamond’s recall surpasses them all.

“This has got to be the sloppiest recall I’ve ever seen,” she told Food Safety News.

From the initial one-brand recall on April 6 to the latest expansion, the Diamond recall has been plagued by hiccups such as corrections to production codes and best-by dates.

What’s more, the company seems to make — and then correct — the same mistakes with successive expansions. Thixton detailed these maneuvers on her website in a post titled “Sloppy, Sloppy, Sloppy.”

Read Full Article Here

Chicken of the Sea Recalls Korean Oysters

Chicken of the Sea Internationalof San Diego, CA is recalling several product codes of oysters imported from Korea and sold under the Chicken of the Sea, Pacific Pearl and Ace of Diamonds brands.

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No illnesses have been reported in connection with the canned oysters, and no other codes of oysters or any other Chicken of the Sea products are affected by the recall, which was based on findings by the FDA of unsanitary conditions in the processing of shellfish at specified plants in Korea.

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Articles of Interest

Egg Standards Bill Introduced in Senate

Infighting among animal agriculture and animal rights groups continues

Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and a bipartisan group of seven other senators introduced a bill late last week to set federal housing standards for egg-laying hens, again sparking protest from both pork and beef producers, as well as other animal rights activists who are now calling it the “rotten egg bill.”

white-egg-iphone.jpgThe measure, which mirrors a bill recently introduced in the House, is based on a landmark deal struck between the Humane Society of the United States and United Egg Producers, would double the space allowed to each of the nation’s approximately 280 million egg-laying hens, which HSUS has advocated for years, and also give the egg industry regulatory certainty across state lines.

The compromise has the support of American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), as well as several consumer groups and state egg associations, but it’s not clear whether the coalition will have a strong enough coalition to put it into law, especially since other powerful agricultural interests and some animal rights groups are actively fighting the proposal.

After Feinsten introduced the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012 — with Sens. Richard Blumenthal, (D-CT) Scott Brown (R-MA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR) David Vitter (R-LA), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) — the Humane Farming Association expressed “outrage” over the move.

Read Full Article Here

Facility Profiling: A Benefit or Putting Food Makers in the Cross Hairs?

Is voluntary submission a trial, or a precursor to mandated submission?

Opinion
FDA would like food/feed facilities to voluntarily submit additional profile information through the Food Facility Registration Module – and wants to know what you think.
In a Federal Register Notice, FDA announced the opportunity for public comment on the information collection provisions of FDA’s program of voluntary submission of food facility profile information and new electronic form (FDA 3797).

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The voluntary profile information is intended to help FDA determine whether a firm is high-risk or non-high-risk, and, from that, determine the frequency at which the firm would be inspected. Additionally, FDA noted that submission would benefit a food facility by enabling FDA to prepare for an inspection in advance “through interaction with better-informed investigators and potentially reduced inspection time.”
Firms will be offered the opportunity to complete or update a food/feed facility profile after electronic registration with FDA and anytime they access the Food Facility Registration Module. Owners, operators, or agents in charge of domestic or foreign facilities that manufacture/process, pack, or hold food for human or animal consumption in the United States may also submit or update information at any time through a direct URL (to be provided by FDA).
The proposed information, to be submitted in English only, includes:
• the facility type (e.g., manufacturer/processor, repacker/ packer, or warehouse/holding facility);
• the products and hazards (e.g., biological, physical, chemical) and preventive control measures associated with those products, where either there is a regulation in place requiring identification of hazards and preventive control measures (e.g., seafood and juice), or the firm, as a matter of its own business practices, voluntarily identifies hazards and implements preventive control measures;

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[In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit, for research and/or educational purposes. This constitutes ‘FAIR USE’ of any such copyrighted material.]