Wednesday, December 11, 2013


Tell Home Depot and Lowe's: Stop selling bee-killing pesticides.  
As a beekeeper, I know the important role bees play in pollinating much of the food we all consume and enjoy. Keeping bees in an urban area, I and fellow beekeepers have experienced dramatic bee die-offs in the past two years.

These deaths are increasingly being linked to a class of neurotoxic pesticides called neonicotinoids. At the same time we have seen a large increase in the sales of neonicotinoids to home gardeners by stores like Home Depot and Lowe's -- which have thousands of locations across the country.

That's why I started my own campaign on, which allows activists to start their own petitions. My petition, which is to Home Depot and Lowe's, says the following:

Immediately remove neonicotinoid pesticides from your shelves and stop selling them at all of your stores. I also urgently request that you cease purchasing plants from nurseries that use neonicotinoid pesticides in the potting soil.
Sign the petition: Tell Home Depot and Lowe's to stop selling bee-killing pesticides.

Bees are essential to our food system and they've been dying off recently at alarming rates. Last winter, over a third of all honey bee colonies in the United States died, and domestic honey production for 2013 is projected to be the lowest ever recorded.

With the widespread and growing use of neonicotinoids in agriculture for commercial purposes and in home gardens, bees are exposed to residues on plants or in nectar and pollen. A growing body of research shows that there are devastating consequences for bees from the use of these pesticides, the most dangerous of which is an increased susceptibility to deadly parasites and viruses.

The sad fact is that I cannot sustain my beekeeping business at the current loss rate. Many beekeeping businesses have collapsed across the nation, with many more on the verge.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency is taking its time in dealing with the issue, but with bee die-offs increasing, we can't afford to wait. That's why I'm calling on Home Depot and Lowe's -- two of the largest retailers of neonicotinoid pesticides nationwide -- to take responsibility for the harm caused by the products they market to customers and immediately stop selling neonicotinoid pesticides.

With strong grassroots pressure we can put a spotlight on these companies' role in killing bees and persuade them to take neonicotinoid pesticides off the shelves of their stores nationwide.
Will you join me and add your name to my petition to Home Depot and Lowe's demanding that they stop selling bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides?

Thank you for your support.

Philip Smith



Frozen chicken breastChicken tumbling to add water – a widespread industrial practice

Tumbling chicken fillets in large cement-mixer-like machines to take in water is legal – as long as it is correctly labeled
Felicity Lawrence          The Guardian,                 
Chicken fillets are 'tumbled' in cement mixer-like machines to bulk them up with water. Photograph: Alamy
The industrial practice of tumbling chicken fillets in large cement-mixer-like machines so that they take up water is widespread. In some cases chicken meat undergoes a further process in which more water is injected into it.
A Guardian investigation 10 years ago exposed Dutch manufacturers using the technology to adulterate chicken meat with heavily disguised beef waste.
Companies in Germany and Spain were extracting proteins by hydrolysis from beef and pig hides and even from cattle bones and selling them in powder form to be mixed with water – the added proteins lock water into the flesh so that it does not flood out when the chicken is cooked.
The companies making the protein powders had found ways of extracting the protein so the DNA was hard to detect. The FSA had to work with laboratories to develop new methods of testing to establish which species were being used. It was this work that led to tests able to detect horse DNA in beef.
Efforts to police and stop the adulteration of chicken – which spanned a global chain from Britain, to Holland, Germany and Spain – broke down between the different jurisdictions. The UK authorities called for an EU limit on how much water could be added to chicken, but no action was agreed in Brussels. It remains legal to add water and additives to bind it in, even protein of other species, so long are they are declared on the label.
There is no evidence that supermarket frozen chicken makes use of added animal proteins, but the technology of adding water and other additives has spread to the high street.
Industry sources say the recession has given new impetus to adulteration of chicken. The price of grain to feed livestock has been at record highs, partly as a result of increased global demand and partly because extreme weather associated with climate change has affected crops. As a result, inflation in meat has been running at rates significantly higher than headline inflation. While the cost of the raw material and the fuel needed to keep the global meat supply chains operating has risen, wages have been stagnating and consumers have less money to spend.
Supermarkets have responded by promoting discount ranges, though paying for water may not be such a bargain.
SOURCE:  guardianUK


UK’s first ‘social supermarket’ opens to help fight food povertyUK's first 'social supermarket' opens to help fight food poverty

Community Shop in Goldthorpe gives local shoppers access to surplus food from supermarkets for up to 70% less
Community Shop customers will not only get access to cheaper food, but will also be offered social and financial support. Photograph: Murdo Macleod
Britain's first "social supermarket" opens its doors on Monday, offering shoppers on the verge of food poverty the chance to buy food and drink for up to 70% less than normal high-street prices.
If successful, the Community Shop, in Goldthorpe, near Barnsley, south Yorkshire, which is backed by large retailers and supermarkets, could be replicated elsewhere in Britain.
Community Shop is a subsidiary of Company Shop, Britain's largest commercial re-distributor of surplus food and goods, which works with retailers and manufacturers to tackle their surpluses sustainably and securely.
It sells on residual products, such as those with damaged packaging or incorrect labelling, to membership-only staff shops in factories. The new project goes one step further, located in the community for the first time and also matching surplus food with social need.
Membership of the pilot store – in Goldthorpe, an area of social deprivation – will be restricted to people living in a specific local postcode area who also get welfare support.
Individuals who shop at Community Shop will not only get access to cheaper food, but will also be offered programmes of wider social and financial support, such as debt advice, cookery skills and home budgeting.
The scheme is being supported by retailers, brands and manufacturers, including Asda, Morrisons, Co-operative Food, M&S, Tesco, Mondelez, Ocado, Tetley, Young's and Müller. All are diverting surpluses to the pilot.
Company Shop hopes to open Community Shops in London and beyond next year should the pilot prove successful and sustainable.
Sarah Dunwell, director of environment and social affairs at Company Shop, said: "With many families facing tough times in Barnsley, Company Shop wanted to do more to match surplus stock with people who really need it.
"I was delighted to help develop and deliver the UK's first social supermarket. Industry surplus is hard to avoid, but what Community Shop shows is that if we all work together we can make sure that surplus food delivers lasting social good."
Source:  guardianUK

Monday, December 9, 2013


gmos kill1 263x164 Boosting GMO Rejection: Help Bangladesh Stop GMO’sBoosting GMO Rejection: Help Bangladesh Stop GMO’s

Elizabeth Renter
December 8th, 2013
Updated 12/08/2013 at 2:08 am

The people of Bangladesh are facing a serious problem as their government recently approved the commercial cultivation of genetically modified eggplant. Now, they need your help.
Eggplant is one of the most popular vegetables in Bangladesh, used in curries, fried, pickled, and even mashed. It’s known there as brinjal or aubergine and is truly a staple. The new GMO eggplant has been altered by injecting bacterial genes that create a toxin to control the Fruit and Shoot Borer (FSB), a common pest on brinjal. That toxin is Bacillus thuringiensis, better known as Bt. It’s used in nearly all GMO varieties and fingered as the culprit behind major organ disruption, particularly in the liver in kidneys.
While the Bangladehi government, and others who support GMO crops, believes the Bt is necessary for controlling pests, others see the lack of success with other pest-controlling GMO creations – along with all of the dangers that come along. When they say these GM-crops perform better than the conventional crops, again, they are wrong. Several studies have shown GMO crops to perform worse than their conventional and less-harmful counterparts, even transforming otherwise benign pests into major crop-damaging threats.

Understandably, the people of Bangladesh are not pleased. They want their government to rescind its approval and take GMO eggplant away. They’ve created a petition online and you can help them get their government’s attention:
As I’m writing this post, the petition has 900 supporters. With readers from Natural Society chipping in and spreading the word, I imagine we can help them reach into the thousands.
Petition writer Farida Akhter calls for help:
“Bt brinjal has been rejected for the many risks it poses to human health, biodiversity and environment, in countries like India and Philippines. This has been done after independent analyses of the data and claims presented by the crop developers. Bangladesh should not take up an irresponsible and irreversible experiment on its citizens by approving Bt brinjal especially when safer alternatives can be promoted with farmers.
We urge the government to be “responsible to science and responsive to society” as has happened in other countries where this Bt brinjal was sought to be pushed by the profit-hungry biotech industry, where the decision was against the introduction of Bt brinjal. Bangladesh should also ensure that its citizens do not become lab rats in an unaccountable experiment – we are urging the Government to annul the approval that has been given for commercial cultivation.”
Show your support for global GMO-annihilation by signing and sharing in their fight.

Read more:
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gmofruit1 263x164 Groundbreaking New Study Links GMO to Leukemia: When Will Monsanto Stop Lying to Us?Groundbreaking New Study Links GMO to Leukemia: When Will Monsanto Stop Lying to Us?

Christina Sarich
July 15th, 2013
Updated 07/15/2013 at 1:30 pm

There are lots of ‘scientists,’ otherwise known as the academics on Monsanto’s payroll, who keep spouting the preposterous statement that there is no real science to back up the claims that GMO are bad for our health, but yet another study says otherwise.
Recently published in the Journal of Hematology & Thromboembolic Diseases, the study underscores the potential ‘leukemogenic’ properties of the Bt toxin biopesticides used in almost all GMO foods that are currently planted on more than 3.9 million acres of crops in the US. Many of these crops are shipped to other countries who have not yet banned GM foods from their imports, so the prevalence of their use on US soil affects the whole planet.
Just a few months ago, references to GMO were made by scientists in France who conducted a study that pinpointed Monsanto’s genetically engineered corn, called NK603, as a major cancer-causing agent. Rats developed cancerous tumors the size of ping-pong balls. The study was called into question; however by academics under Monsanto’s reign.
Now, the study states that the biopesticides engineered into crops like corn, soy, sugar cane, etc. carry what is known as Bacillus Thuringiensis (Bt), also called Cry-toxins, which contribute to all sorts of health problems including:
  • Blood abnormalities
  • Hematological malignancies (blood cancers), i.e. leukemia
  • Suppression of bone marrow proliferation
  • Abnormal lymphocyte patterns
Furthermore, Bt toxins used in prevalent GMOs can target mammalian cells, particularly of the erythroid lineage (red blood cells) which results in damage to the cells that is significant enough to start as anemia, and end up as cancer. Also, Cry toxins were found to be capable of exerting their damaging effects even when suspended in distilled water, and did not require alkalinization through an insect’s physiological form to become activated. Put simply, this means that while Cry toxins may have been developed to kill bugs, they kill us.
How can these studies keep being denied? Scientist Michael Spector recently gave a profound Ted Talks speech about the danger of scientists denying the problems with GMO food. Another scientist, Dr. Theirry Vrain also gives a TED Talks lecture on the true damage that GMOs can do, even though they were once looked to as a positive, viable option to increase world food supply. Monsanto-funded studies, however, continue to spew ‘science’ about the benign nature of GMOs. When will this corporation stop lying to the masses?
Maybe this is why the World Health Organization still says GMOs are completely safe:
“GM foods currently available on the international market have passed risk assessments and are not likely to present risks for human health. In addition, no effects on human health have been shown as a result of the consumption of such foods by the general population in the countries where they have been approved. Continuous use of risk assessments based on the Codex principles and, where appropriate, including post market monitoring, should form the basis for evaluating the safety of GM foods.”

Read more: 

Sunday, December 8, 2013


'Rank Hypocrisy': WTO Deal Bows to Wealth, Squashes the Poor

US and EU called out for protecting their own subsidies while demanding world's poorest citizens be pushed back into starvation

- Jon Queally, staff writer
Food sovereignty campaigners protest against the WTO in Bali, Indonesia this week. (Twitpic / @JHilary)In announcing a final agreement in Bali, Indonesia on Saturday morning, head of the World Trade Organization Roberto Azevedo, said: "For the first time in our history, the WTO has truly delivered."
"There is a rank hypocrisy at the heart of the WTO that cannot be glossed over. The USA and EU continue to channel billions in subsidies to their richest farmers, yet seek to destroy other countries’ right to protect their poorest citizens from starvation. The WTO is an institution that has lost any claim to legitimacy. No amount of spin from Bali can disguise that fact." –John Hilary, War on Want
Unfortunately, say critics, what the deal is certain to "deliver" is more pain and suffering for the world's poorest people and farmers at the expense of the world's largest and most powerful nations and corporations.
Anti-poverty groups and food sovereignty advocates across the world were pushing off pronouncements like Azevedo's, saying that the agreement is a failure when it comes to fairness, poverty reduction, environmental protections, and the alleviation of hunger across the globe.
Among those slamming the final deal, director of the World Development Movement (WDM) Nick Deardensaid the Bali agreement is designed to serve the interests of "transnational corporations not the world's poor."
"Here in Bali," he continued, "social movements, trade unions and campaign groups have supported the efforts of developing countries to get a deal which moves the agenda away from a pro-corporate charter and towards something that asserts the rights and needs of the majority of the world's population."
And John Hilary, executive director of the UK-based War on Want, slammed the deal:
Any suggestion that there is a deal to celebrate from the WTO talks in Bali is absurd. The negotiations have failed to secure permanent protection for countries to safeguard the food rights of their peoples, exposing hundreds of millions to the prospect of hunger and starvation simply in order to satisfy the dogma of free trade. It is time to end the WTO charade once and for all, and focus instead on undoing the harm it has already caused across the world.
There is a rank hypocrisy at the heart of the WTO that cannot be glossed over. The USA and EU continue to channel billions in subsidies to their richest farmers, yet seek to destroy other countries’ right to protect their poorest citizens from starvation. The WTO is an institution that has lost any claim to legitimacy. No amount of spin from Bali can disguise that fact.
Maude Barlow, speaking on behalf of the Council of Canadians, expressed equal outrage:
This was not a historic win for developing countries at the WTO. They scrape by with modest and temporary protections for food security policies that should be completely excluded from corporate trade rules, which are still biased in the interests of corporations and rich countries. The bargain, if you can call it that, also came at the high price of agreeing to a trade facilitation agreement that further locks in a neo-colonial trading system that has condemned much of the world to poverty.
It is unfortunate that some countries will leave Bali with a vain hope that further negotiations will conclude the WTO’s so-called development agenda over the next year. The reality is rich countries like Canada, the United States and Europe have abandoned the idea completely and are focused on moving their corporate agenda as far as it can go in transatlantic and transpacific free trade deals, as well as a highly secretive international services agreement being negotiated on the outskirts of the WTO in Geneva by a small cabal of developed countries.
Though the so-called "peace clause" was agreed to, as previous Common Dreams reportingindicated, the compromise does almost nothing to protect the world's poor over the long-term. In fact, critics warn, the so-called "compromise" sets up a ticking clock by which the poorest nations will be forced to throw their small farmers under the bus in the name of global capitalism.A street market in the old quarters of Delhi. India sought safeguards, at the WTO, from US agricultural surpluses. (Photograph: Ahmad Masood/Reuters)
As French economist and food sovereignty campaigner Maxim Combes tweeted:
  1. Bali package is formally adopted!
@EUmissionWTO @Trade_EU @WTODGazevedo guarantee rights for TNCs and developed countries, not for people or for the planet

And Dearden added, "The aggressive stance of the US and EU means that we have moved only a little, and shows again that the WTO can never be a forum for creating a just and equal global economic system."
Dearden and Hilary were not alone in indicating that the WTO should be thrown overboard entirely if trade policies are ever to serve humanity and not just the bottom lines of transnational corporations (TNCs). As Pablo Solon, Executive Director of Focus on the Global South, tweeted:
The Bali Package is a severely imbalanced text that benefits only the developed countries and their TNCs

And Mary Ann Manahan, Solon's colleague at FGS, added:
Yet again, WTO has failed to protect food security & peoples interests. There is a Bali deal. Corporations is having a field day!