Sustainable Food News – GM Corn Ban, Superbugs & Antibiotics in Meat & School Lunch Video
By Analiese Paik
Russia Bans GM Corn
The ripple effects of last week’s French GM corn feeding study revealing significant negative impacts on the rats’ health are being felt around the world. In addition to the immediate response by the French government ordering their National Agency for Health Safety (ANSES) to investigate the finding, Russia has suspended the importation and use of the Monsanto GM corn tested in the study according to the Wall Street Journal. The WSJ article noted that Russia prohibits the planting of GM corn, just as the European Union does, but it does import the grain from the US.
Monsanto has responded to the study on its website, essentially casting doubt on the scientific methods employed and therefore the results.
“This study does not meet minimum acceptable standards for this type of scientific research, the findings are not supported by the data presented, and the conclusions are not relevant for the purpose of safety assessment.” Source: http://www.monsanto.com/newsviews/Pages/monsanto-responds-to-french-rat-study.aspx
California Right to Know has jumped on this news and is using it to fuel support for Proposition 37, the GMO labeling referendum that citizens will vote on in November. Hopefully their strong campaign will be buoyed by this news enough to negate the effects of the No on 37 campaign being financed by Big Food to “Stop the Deceptive Food Labeling Scheme.” Um, isn’t it deceptive not to label?
I’m waiting for the next ripple to be felt from the French study. China grows too much GM soy in S. America to consider banning another GM crop. Who do you think will be next?
Superbugs & Antibiotics in Meat
Trader Joe’s Union Square store in Manhattan yesterday received a petition from Consumers Union’s Meat w/out Drugs campaign signed by over 500,000 consumers asking them to get antibiotics out of their meat and poultry. Factory farms feed antibiotics to pigs, steer and chicken to make them grow faster and to prevent them from getting sick in the confined space they live in. We’re talking about a large amount of antibiotics here – 80% of the antibiotics produced in this country are fed to livestock, not people, according to the FDA. Scientists are warning that superbugs (think MERSA and other antiobiotic-resistant bacteria that’s sickening and killing people) are directly associated with the routine use of antibiotics in factory farming and are a threat to human health. Watch this quick video from Meat w/out Drugs to learn how antibiotics in farm animals translate into antiobiotic-resistant superbugs in humans.
Action: Choose chicken, beef, pork and lamb that’s been humanely raised, preferably on pasture, and that has not been administered antibiotics. The next time you’re in Trader Joe’s, let them know that you want them to get rid of the drugs in their meat as a matter of public health. Visit Meat w/out Drugs to sign the online petition asking Trader Joe’s to source and sell only meat and poultry raised without antibiotics.
“We Are Hungry” Parody Pokes Fun at School Lunch Reform
“Tonight, we are hungry, set the policy on fire” (that would be the Health Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010). Those are the lyrics in this hysterical and revealing YouTube video parodying Fun’s smash hit song, “We Are Young.” C’mon you know the tune: “Tonight, we are young, so let’s set the world on fire, we can burn brighter than the sun.” The video’s message, from kids who eat school lunch and aren’t happy about the reforms, is that the new guidelines are producing lunches that leave them hungry and under-fueled for class and after school sports. The drama of kids passing out in class and on the gym floor, and others returning to school after buying junk food from convenience stores, is quite entertaining.
I found the video on NPR where they covered the changes in federal school lunch guidelines that are making them “leaner and greener”, but unappealing to some children. The bottom line, according to the article, is that kids used to loading up on calorie dense foods or having second portions of pizza, nuggets, and burgers are now looking at filling up on fresh vegetables and fruits instead. The Act restricts lunch calories to 850 at the high school level and mandates serving more fresh fruits and vegetables according to experts quoted in the story. Nobody likes change, and asking a child to eat vegetables and fruits who is not used to eating them is bound to set off a rebellion of sorts. These children will no doubt adjust to the changes over time and grow into the healthy, productive adults we all wish them to be.