Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Top U.S. Dairy Bans Milk From Clones

The largest U.S. dairy company, Dean Foods, has adopted a policy statement banning milk from cloned cows. This is a potentially significant step, since the Food and Drug Administration in December released its recommendation to allow food from cloned animals.

Dean Foods, with more than $10 billion in sales, is by far the largest dairy company in the nation. So even if the FDA allows cloning to go ahead, this policy may put the brakes on the development of clones, at least in the dairy industry.

Dean Foods "Position Statement: Milk From Cloned Cows" reads:
Based on the desire of our customers and consumers, Dean Foods will not accept milk from cows that have been cloned. If the FDA does approve the sale of milk from cloned cows, we will work with our dairy farmers to implement protocols to ensure that the milk they supply to Dean Foods does not come from cloned cows.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expected to conclude that milk from cloned cows is safe. Our decision not to accept this milk is based on meeting our consumers' expectations. We see no consumer benefit from this technology.

Numerous surveys have shown that Americans are not interested in buying dairy products that contain milk from cloned cows and Dean Foods is responding to the needs of our consumers.

read more (ChewsWise.com)

Monsanto Fined for False Advertising

A French court has fined the U.S. biotech behemoth Monsanto for falsely advertising its pesticide Roundup as non-toxic. Monsanto's ads claimed the product is biodegradable and leaves the soils clean after use. In actuality, the chemical, which is one of the most commonly used pesticides in the U.S, is deemed by the European Union as "dangerous for the environment" and "toxic for aquatic organisms".

read more (OrganicConsumers.org)

Delivery service grows into a big fresh food market

By Donna Christopher, DANBURY NEWS-TIMES CORRESPONDENT, February 9, 2007

Wheatgrass juice tastes expectedly like you'd imagine; it tastes like grass. However, a refreshing surprise comes with it, at least it did for me. After trying just a few sips, my breath felt sparkling clean, and the sensation remained even after several hours had passed.

My experience with wheatgrass was at the Organic Connection in Brewster, N.Y., where a juice bar features all kinds of interesting beverages to sample. A tastier concoction, "John's Jungle Juice," made from cucumber, apple, celery, lemon and kale, is among them, at this recently opened store.

There are also fresh foods prepared in a commercial kitchen on the premises, all made with organic ingredients, with the exception of wild salmon. Entrees include gluten-free noodles and salads, and are offered at a deli counter to eat in or take out. There's also a wide variety of fresh organic foods.

read article...

Oscars for Al Gore Global Warming Film

Former vice president Al Gore used the success of his documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth" to expand his efforts to educate people about global warming - and to tell a few jokes.

The film turned Gore's road show about climate change into a film that won Academy Awards for best documentary and best song.

"My fellow Americans," Gore said Sunday. "People all over the world, we need to solve the climate crisis. It's not a political issue, it's a moral issue. We have everything we need to get started with the possible exception of the will to act. That's a renewable resource. Let's renew it."

read more (FoxNews.com)

Food Giants' Endless Appetite for Profit

In recent years, a number of notable books have shined a light on the darker side of our new food obsession. Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation, Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma and Peter Singer's The Way We Eat, among many others, showcase how the decisions we make at grocery stores or restaurants affect us and the planet. But very few books address the policies that shape the food supply and influence eating habits in this country, policies that make some foods cheap or expensive, that bring us "fresh" asparagus from Argentina, and that arguably have led to our current epidemics of obesity, diabetes and other health problems brought on by our food choices.

Michele Simon's new book, Appetite for Profit aims to address this oversight. Simon is the founder of the Center for Informed Food Choices and Research and Policy Director for the Marin Institute, and Appetite for Profit helps illuminate the many ways that food companies -- from General Mills to McDonald's -- market the unhealthiest foods to boost their profit margin and fight any attempts to reverse this trend.

read interview with Michele Simon (Alternet.org)

Coke Thwarts Health Messages in New Orleans

When the City of New Orleans decided to educate its residents about the importance of eating healthfully, experts decided to include both positive messages as well as a stronger "anti-junk campaign." The television and radio ads convey the message "Don't Buy Junk", using dark humor, such as this billboard, which shows tubing from a soda can being injected into an arm. (This is the strongest ad of its kind I've seen.) But after the folks from Steps to a Healthier New Orleans placed four billboards around town, they were asked by the city health department to take them down. Apparently, a representative from Coca-Cola complained loudly to both the New Orleans city council president and the city health director, both of whom caved to the pressure.

read more (InformedEating.org)

Technical Briefing about Indian Point Leaks

Friday, March 2, 2007

1:30pm and 6:30pm

Willcox Gym, Pace Pleasantville campus

Learn facts about the leaking of tritium, strontium-90 and other radioactive isotopes from Indian Point Nuclear Power facility. Presenters from NRC, DEC, DOH and nuclear power experts will speak on hydrogeology of site, public health issues and ecological impacts; followed by Roundtable Discussion that will include the Congressional delegation and other elected officials.

A evening Roundtable Panel and Town Meeting will be held for members of the public who are unable to attend the earlier meeting at same location from 6:30pm to 8:30pm.

more info....(Clearwater.org)

Jazz Sundays at Organic Connection

What a great afternoon at Organic Connection yesterday. The roof was rocking and the tables were knocking with the Diamond Jubilators filling the store with their friendly, jazzy music. Come along next Sunday afternoon for a enjoyable, musical (& organic) time for all ages.

Exciting, enjoyable and uplifting times to be had on two Sunday afternoons per month at Organic Connection. The Diamond Jubilators will be playing their jazzy style of musical activation. Come along and enjoy music that will have you smiling and singing. 2:30pm - 4:30pm. This Sunday, March 4th.

By the way, the Diamond Jubilators are an 'organic' band; all members of the band are strong proponents (and consumers) of organic foods. Great fuel for great music!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Delivery service grows into a big fresh food market

By Donna Christopher, DANBURY NEWS-TIMES CORRESPONDENT, February 9, 2007

Wheatgrass juice tastes expectedly like you'd imagine; it tastes like grass. However, a refreshing surprise comes with it, at least it did for me. After trying just a few sips, my breath felt sparkling clean, and the sensation remained even after several hours had passed.

My experience with wheatgrass was at the Organic Connection in Brewster, N.Y., where a juice bar features all kinds of interesting beverages to sample. A tastier concoction, "John's Jungle Juice," made from cucumber, apple, celery, lemon and kale, is among them, at this recently opened store.

There are also fresh foods prepared in a commercial kitchen on the premises, all made with organic ingredients, with the exception of wild salmon. Entrees include gluten-free noodles and salads, and are offered at a deli counter to eat in or take out. There's also a wide variety of fresh organic foods.

The pristine market has an open ceiling, painted black, and cinnamon-colored linoleum floors that appear as though they are wood. At 3,000 square feet it's a fairly large establishment. Meanwhile, the location, at 981 Route 22, means it's just minutes from the I-84 and I-684 interchange -- easily accessible from Fairfield, Putnam and Westchester counties.

Organic Connection, open since November, is owned by local residents Ian Diamond, of South Salem, N.Y., and David Richard, of Ridgefield. Its niche, said Diamond, is that 98 percent of the food sold there is organic. A market mainstay is its selection of fresh fruits and vegetables, which are visible in colorful abundance along a long wall just inside the entrance.

It's the store's "centerpiece," said Richard, pointing out some of the unusual choices among the apples, citrus fruits, broccoli, leafy vegetables, onions and potatoes. There are purple top beets and purple cauliflowers, and both contain "antioxidants" that are good for you, he said.

Groceries include artisan cheeses and various cuts of meat such as, beef, pork, lamb, bison and whole chickens and turkeys, as well as turkey breasts and chicken breasts. The poultry comes from an organic farm in Pennsylvania. It's organic because the farm uses organic feed, does not use growth hormones or antibiotics on its animals, and does not keep them caged.

The market also features different breads, such as one that's organic and gluten free.

The breads are multigrain, Richard explained, and are made from sprout grains, meaning the dough itself contains "the actual sprouts of the wheat plant," rather than flour. Other products include wheat past and "cultured" butter, which Richard calls "outstanding"

The market sells every bean and nut imaginable. There are green French lentils and raw and roasted nuts, plus combinations like garlic pine nuts and curry cashews. Items are stored in clear bulk bins for easy self-service.

"We've had a wonderful response from customers," said Diamond.

Both owners are genial, informative and eager to impart information on the benefits of eating "whole" foods that are produced without artificial pesticides or fertilizers.

Diamond, 47, comes from Melbourne, Australia. In his 20s he managed a health food store, then started his own. In the 1980s he opened an organic wholesale company that exported foods to Europe and the U.S. He moved here a decade later. Four years ago he began an organic food home delivery business based in South Salem, a precursor to the new market. Both businesses now run out of the Brewster location.

Richard, 51, grew up in Chicago, where his father started a health food store in 1963 and eventually expanded to a dozen stores in the Chicago suburbs. His father also started a national food and supplement company. In the early days, Richard remembers few people embraced "health food" as part of their diet. "It took a while to catch on. I started working at my dad's store when I was 9. Some days there was only one customer."

His father, he related, would tout the benefits of eating healthy to his customers and family. His mother, he remembered, switched to a healthy diet after going on a three-day fast. "She used to suffer from food allergies. My father was a biochemist and had some basis for making his statements. It's better for you," he said.

Still, as a kid, he "rebelled" a little and would use his allowance to buy candy. By high school, though, "I realized better eating made you feel better. I ate natural food. I was healthier. Then in my 30s I started eating organic food."

For many years Richard worked in health book publishing. His company is called Vital Health Publishing & Enhancement Books. Richard moved east from Chicago to be near New York, "the publishing capital of the world," and settled in Ridgefield four years ago.

"I always had this dream (of opening) a new generation of health food store, which sold mostly the food," said Richard. "Hippocrates said, 'Let food be your medicine.' We carry supplements and herbs, but a majority of our store is food and we believe it's the healthiest food around."

The store sells certified organic food, which Diamond explained is produced according to "legally regulated USDA standards." For crops this means they were grown without the use of conventional pesticides and artificial fertilizers "with no chemicals." For animals, it means they were raised without the use of antibiotics and growth hormones.

The owners research their suppliers, he said. They attend about three trade shows a year, sampling various products around the country and inquiring about growing methods and farm sources. "We both worked in the health industry a long time and know the people with the highest quality of standards and integrity," said Diamond.

Suppliers are often small-scale farmers or farm co-ops in the regional area. Milk and yogurt at the market, for instance, comes from Evans Farmhouse Creamery, which is a family dairy farm in upstate Norwich, N.Y. Organic pork comes from a pig farm in Tillsdale, N.Y. The cheeses are handmade in "small batches" at a farm, that has its own herd of sheep and cows and are "high quality and delicious," Richard said.

Customers are often baby boomers, people who "try to stay healthy, young and fit and are concerned with the environment." They buy organic food to "avoid putting chemicals" into their body, he explained.

Such issues are important to Ken Weinstein, 43, a music publicist from North Salem, N.Y., who along with his wife, a homemaker, switched to organic eating when they started their family. Their children are 7 and 3.

"The place is great. We shop here all the time," he said, picking up a can of refried beans to place in a basket. The couple previously were clients of Diamond's home-delivery business. Weinstein was thrilled when the market opened near where he lives. "It's great. We're in here all the time. We are bombarded by chemicals every day and try to keep the amount we take in our bodies down."

The market's owners and their 15 employees eat organically and try to maintain healthy lifestyles, Richard said. "We all eat the food and live the philosophy and all that entails, from drinking clean water, to breathing fresh air and supplementing the diet with nutrients when appropriate, and moderate exercise." They care about the benefits organic agriculture has on "our earthly environment," he said.

"It's like nature's own recycling program. Waste products go back in the soil, whether it's turning under the silage from the crops or manure from the animals, or compost from food scraps that were eaten." The result he said is soil kept fertilized by "as natural means as possible" without synthetic pesticides or harmful herbicides.

Joy Perlow, 46, is a manager at Organic Connection. Initially she changed her diet ten years ago, when she was trying to figure out which food, if any, was causing her to have migraines. "I was trying to find a trigger but changed my diet, in general. I started eliminating food and that led to switching entirely to organic foods," she said, adding she no longer has headaches.

Market employee Tara Schapers, 36, eats healthy, too. She's the one who offered the wheatgrass, which is sold in trays at the store. It's actually the "blades of grass" of the plant before it sprouts into wheat, and very nutritious.

Organic Connection is open seven days a week, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Home delivery service is available. For more details, call (845) 279-2290 or visit www.organicconnection.net.

The store is on Route 22 (also Route 6 & 202) in Brewster, just off the interchange for I-84 & I-684. The address is 981 Route 22, Brewster, N.Y.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Study proves school meals help learning

By Anushka Asthana, The Observer , Jan.21, 2007

Children who ate healthy school meals instead of packed lunches scored higher marks in tests, were less disruptive and concentrated longer in the classroom.

A study involving thousands of pupils and hundreds of parents and schoolteachers has confirmed the theory that transforming a child's diet improves how they learn and behave.

Two years after Hull City Council (UK) offered free, nutritionally balanced lunches to all young children in primary and special schools, the city is experiencing calmer classrooms, where children are more enthusiastic and more confident socially.

'There has been a significant impact in all areas of children's schooling:from behaviour, social relationships, health and learning,' said Professor Derek Colquhoun, director of the Institute for Learning at Hull University. The study also revealed better punctuality and attendance. 'Children were more relaxed, more alert, more calm and less irritable.'

Everything You Need to Start a School Wellness Council

Bill to label food products from cloned animals is introduced in the Senate

Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) announced today that she will introduce a Senate bill, the Cloned Food Labeling Act, to label all foods from cloned animals should the FDA approve such products for sale. The move follows similar bills introduced at the state level in California and Massachusetts.

According to the Senator's press release, "I am strongly opposed to the FDA approving meat and milk products from cloned animals for human consumption. If cloned food is safe, let it onto the market, but give consumers the information they need to avoid these products if they choose to. We need to let Americans, many of whom find this repugnant, speak with their dollars and choose the food that they feel confident is safe."

USDA Violated Law in GE Alfalfa Seed Case, Judge Rules

By Andrew Pollack, New York Times, Feb. 14, 2007

A federal judge ruled yesterday that the Agriculture Department violated the law by failing to adequately assess possible environmental impacts before approving Monsanto's genetically engineered alfalfa.
Judge Charles R. Breyer of Federal District Court in San Francisco said the agency had been "cavalier" in deciding that a full environmental impact statement was not needed because the potential environmental and economic effects of the crop were not significant.

read more...(New York Times)

Organic challenges conventional farming yields in long term field trials

Since 1981, the Rodale Institute has conducted the longest-running scientifically controlled comparison of organic and conventional crop production systems in the United States. When it comes to drawing conclusions from this research, timing is everything. What looked good in the short term doesn't look so good now. From this point in time, it's the organic farming practices that now stand out for multiple long-term benefits, and for increasing yield potential.

read more (The New Farm)

Organic Artisan Cheeses

Organic Connection proudly offers the most discerning selection of quality, organic cheeses from artisan cheesemakers.
What are the important features for consideration?

  • Certified Organic - all except one of our cheeses;
  • Raw Milk - preferred, as it retains the beneficial enzymes of the milk; must be aged more than 60 days;
  • Artisanal - made either "on farm" or in hand batches;
  • Exceptional Flavor - it's exciting that organic artisan cheeses are flavor superb!

We have delicious raw milk, cave-aged cheeses from Clover Mead Farm in the Adirondacks.
We have superb raw milk goat cheeses from Berle Farm of Hoosick Falls, NY.
We have incredible authentic, organic cheeses from Europe - parmigiano from Parma; Brie, Muenster & Roquefort from France; Gouda from Holland.
And we have also have a herd (five, no less!) of organic sheep cheeses from Italy.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Cloned Animals

With the advent of cloned livestock, yet another biotech science experiment may soon find its way to the American dinner table. In December 2006, the FDA essentially told the public that the meat and milk from cloned livestock are safe for human consumption. FDA's action flies in the face of widespread scientific concern about the risks of food from clones, and ignores the animal cruelty and troubling ethical concerns that the cloning process brings. What's worse, FDA indicates that it will not require labeling on cloned food, so consumers will have no way to avoid these experimental foods.

A public comment period is open now through April 2 -
Send your letter to FDA today!

Watch the Not Milk? parody video

Low-level Emergency at Indian Point

By Greg Clary, The Journal News, Feb. 8.

County officials on both sides of the Hudson want Indian Point to clean its river water filters more often than the nation elects a president.

The nuclear plants had to declare a low-level emergency Monday when leaves and branches clogged up an intake structure that channels water from the Hudson through the plant to cool nonradioactive machinery. The company has a state permit to use the water.

Divers sent into the icy waters Tuesday cleaned the debris off the lower sections of a large trash screen, which had become plugged enough that water wasn't getting in during low tide early Monday.

Though the problem affected the nonradioactive portion of the plants, if it had continued, it could have forced the shutdown of Indian Point 3.

Global Warming Myths and Facts

MYTH: The science of global warming is too uncertain to act on.

FACT: There is no debate among scientists about the basic facts of global warming.

MYTH: Global warming is just part of a natural cycle. The Arctic has warmed up in the past.

FACT: The global warming we are experiencing is not natural. People are causing it.

MYTH: We can adapt to climate change - civilization has survived droughts and temperature shifts before.

FACT: Although humans as a whole have survived the vagaries of drought, stretches of warmth and cold and more, entire societies have collapsed from dramatic climatic shifts.

Organic Farming Increases Yields in Developing Nations

A new study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology indicates that low-income farmers in developing nations who adopt sustainable organic farming practices increase crop yields by an average of 79%. In addition, the healthier soil allows the crops to better withstand drought. Sustainable farmers save additional money by using less water, eliminating pesticides and chemical fertilizers, and by avoiding high-priced genetically engineered seeds.

The study adds to the ever-growing body of scientific evidence that sustainable farming practices are key to feeding and preserving decent livelihoods for the 40% of the world's population who are still farmers or rural villagers.

learn more...

Monday, February 5, 2007

rGBH in milk

A new book by Dr. Samuel Epstein, one of the world's leading scientific authorities on genetically engineered rBGH milk, offers readers an air-tight case against the use of Monsanto's synthetic hormone. Epstein's previous works have played a major role in influencing other nations to ban rBGH milk, including all of Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. Is it time for the U.S. to finally acknowledge the dangers of this product?

In this book, Epstein offers significant evidence of interlocking conflicts of interest between Monsanto and the White House, regulatory agencies, and the American Medical Association and American Cancer Society. He also details evidence of Monsanto's white collar crime; the suppression and manipulation of information on the veterinary and public health dangers of rBGH milk.

Cotton Production

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The Importance of Organic Cotton

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We have an excellent range of organic cotton t-shirts, sweatshirts & socks from Ecolution. Not only are these clothing a better choice for our environment, but look, quality and feel are excellent.

Mercury Vapors from Dental Fillings

After watching this video, you'll never let your dentist put a mercury filling in your mouth or your child's mouth again. In this video, the International Academy of Oral Medicine & Toxicology shows how hot liquids and chewing cause different amounts of mercury vapors to be released from amalgam fillings. These mercury vapors are well above what the EPA deems safe.