Aug 19, 2016

Everywhere: Forrest Gump, Food of the Sea, and Consumer Beware | Organic Consumers Association

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From: "Organic Consumers Association" <>
Date: Aug 13, 2016 9:05 AM
Subject: Forrest Gump, Food of the Sea, and Consumer Beware

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'Food of the Sea'

Small fishing boat on the ocean
Remember that scene in "Forrest Gump?" Where the leading character, played by Tom Hanks, and his buddy, Bubba, rattle off the many ways to eat shrimp?
'You can boil it, broil it, bake it, sauté it. You can make shrimp kababs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. You can pan fry it, deep fry it, stir fry it. And then there's shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad . . . ".
So much shrimp.
Indeed, Americans love shrimp. On average, we consume about 4.10 pounds of it a year, compared with only 2.8 pounds of canned tuna and 1.84 pounds of salmon. Most of that shrimp is imported from countries in Southeast Asia, where it's produced using chemicals and drugs not approved in the U.S.
Shrimp may be the most popular seafood in the U.S. But would we eat as much of it if we fully understood the food safety, environmental and ethical issues associated with its production?
Martha Rosenberg, writing for OCA, tells us what shrimp production is like today (filthy fish farms), where most of our shrimp comes from (not the U.S.) and how labels tell us very little about either the source or the production methods behind the shrimp we buy—much less what chemicals lurk in our favorite "food of the sea."
That "gulf shrimp" you thought you were buying, from honest shrimpers like Forrest Gump and Bubba? Buyer beware!
Read the essay

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Tom's Foolery

Two jesters with fools masks in a parade
UPDATE: Well, that was quick. No sooner did we launch this action alert, than the folks at Colgate-Palmolive, majority owner of the Tom's of Maine brand, call us to say that they had removed the misleading page on their website. We can't force every company to go organic. But we can hold them accountable for misleading consumers. Power to the consumer!
Tom's of Maine, that homespun brand from the quaint little state of Maine, wouldn't lie to you about its toothpaste, would it?
Yes, it would. It turns out that the popular brand, now owned by Colgate-Palmolive, is lying to you about quite a few things, including the biggest lie: that Tom's of Maine toothpaste is organic (it's not).
If you're a conscious consumer who cares about everything you put in your mouth, including toothpaste, you might at some point have gone online to search for organic toothpaste. If you did, you might have been woefully misled. Guess what happened when we googled "organic toothpaste?" Several Tom's of Maine toothpaste products popped up. Strange, given that Tom's of Maine doesn't even use organic ingredients in its toothpaste, much less does the brand offer a certified organic toothpaste.
So why did Tom's of Maine show up in our searches for "organic toothpaste?"
Because on its company website, under the title "How to Identify Organic Toothpaste," Tom's makes a number of false and misleading claims clearly intended to imply that its own brand of toothpaste is organic, even though it isn't. (Here's the webpage. We also archived it here, on August 10, 2016, in case the company removes the lies after it hears from consumers and OCA's lawyers).
The company even mentions us, the Organic Consumers Association—in a clear attempt to insinuate that OCA endorses Tom's of Maine.
Tom's of Maine built its reputation on being an independent, honest, ethical (no animal testing) brand. But in 2006, Colgate-Palmolive bought a controlling 84-percent interest in the company. We all know what happens when the big, greedy, unethical (Colgate tests its products on animals) big guys buy up the little guys—nothing good.
We don't like being used. We also don't think it's fair to brands like Dr. Bronner's, whose toothpaste does contain organic ingredients, that Tom's of Maine can lie about its toothpaste being organic when it doesn't even contain organic ingredients. And we especially don't like it when brands falsely imply their products are "organic."
TAKE ACTION: Tell Tom's of Maine: Your toothpaste is not organic. Stop misleading consumers!
Read OCA's letter to Tom's of Maine
Post on Tom's of Maine Facebook
Tweet @Tom's of Maine. Use the hashtag #notorganic
Call Tom's of Maine 212-310-2000

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Ratchet Up the Revolution!
We're overdue for a revolution. Not the violent kind. But possibly the messy kind.
Revolutions by nature are messy. Because they happen from the bottom up. They happen when the rank and file have had enough. When we've been pushed so far to the edge that we switch off our electronic distractions, get out of our chairs, step out into the streets and do something.
We're fairly certain that the next revolution will aim to topple (unless we can reason with) corrupt, greedy, out-of-control corporations. Because they are at the root of so many of our environmental and societal disasters.
We're also fairly certain that you will lead the revolution—the #ConsumerRevolution.
Let's face it. Corporations exist to make money. As long as their CEO salaries are healthy and their shareholders are happy, they have no reason to change the way they do business. Even if the way they do business pollutes, makes people unhealthy, harms animals, abuses workers, contributes to climate change—or all of the above.
That makes it our job to make sure corporations stop profiting unless they start treating us, and our ecosystem, with respect.
We can do this. We can force major changes in the marketplace—changes that will regenerate our soils, our health, our economies and our communities.
Over the coming months we will make some big announcements, and roll out some big campaigns designed to create real and meaningful change. But these plans, these campaigns, will go nowhere without you. Please join, and support, the #ConsumerRevolution.
Donate to the Organic Consumers Association (tax-deductible, helps support our work on behalf of organic standards, fair trade and public education)
Donate to the Organic Consumers Fund (non-tax-deductible, but necessary for our GMO labeling legislative efforts)
Support OCA's Regeneration International Project (tax-deductible, helps support our work on behalf of organic, regenerative agriculture and climate change)

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'Unbroken Ground'

Boots walking along the ground
"I've always believed that we need a revolution in this society. Revolutions start from the bottom. They never start from the top. At the bottom are these little small farmers and fishermen. They're committed to the same things we are, to doing something different. People who are willing to break the paradigm." – Yvon Chouinard, founder, Patagonia
A film about food—from a clothing company?
In this film produced by Patagonia, four pioneers talk about regeneration. About the importance of soil. About the need to reinvent food.
And, it seems, like so many others these days, about the need for a revolution.
We couldn't agree more. It's time for a #ConsumerRevolution. And it's up to us to start it.
Watch the video

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'In Plain Sight'

Polar bear underwater
The human brain is 95 percent water. Water makes up more than two-thirds of human body weight. Seventy-one percent of Earth's surface is covered with water.
Water is life. We are at its mercy, vulnerable to its scarcity.
If you believe the headlines, we're running out of water: "New NASA Data Show How the World Is Running out of Water," Washington Post, 2016; "Water Crisis in Brazil: Why the Largest City in the Americas Is Drying out," Humanosphere, 2015; "Brazil's Olympics Water Crisis Is a Constant Reality for Locals," The Weekly Magazine, 2016; "Indian Water Crisis Shuts Down Multiple Power Plants," POWER Magazine, 2016; "Hurricane Drought Hits a New Record," Scientific American, 2016.
But how can that be? True, only 2.5 percent of Earth's water is freshwater, of which only a small proportion is actually available to meet the needs of humans and animals. (Some of it is locked up in glaciers and ice, for example). Still, the amount of water on the planet today is the same as it's always been. So if none of the planet's water has disappeared, how can we be "running out?"
Regeneration International's Alex Groome recently talked to Judith D. Schwartz about her new book, "Water in Plain Sight: Hope for a Thirsty World," which introduces unlikely, revolutionary and simple solutions to inspire a re-framing of the way we think about, and are challenged, by water. Here's what we learned.
Read the blog post
Buy "Water in Plain Sight: Hope for a Thirsty World," by Judith Schwartz.
Support OCA's Regeneration International Project (tax-deductible, helps support our work on behalf of organic, regenerative agriculture and climate change)

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Cuban flag superimposed on an open, raised hand
Once again, the Center for Global Justice and Vía Orgánica (a project of OCA) have teamed up to sponsor a 10-day trip to Cuba. The theme of this year's trip, which will run from November 20 – 29, is "Organic Agriculture and Cooperatives in Cuba."

Two decades ago, Cuba was the first country to convert from industrial agriculture to organic agriculture. Today Cuba is converting a major part of its economy to cooperatives. It's a time of tremendous change for this country, and how it's viewed on the world stage.

This year's tour is a great way to see for yourself how this island nation is striving for food sovereignty as it reorganizes its economy. You'll visit organic gardens and cooperatives, an ecological zone and a community project. You'll also have the opportunity to talk with specialists in sustainable agriculture, the Cuban economy, its health system, US-Cuban relations and more.

Havana's Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Center will host this year's travelers. The estimated cost of $1550 plus airfare (from either Miami or Mexico City) includes dormitory-style accommodations, all meals at MLK Center, translation, guide, transportation and a full program of activities. A $100 non-refundable deposit is required with your application. Full payment is due one month before departure. Limited scholarships are available
Email for applications and more info.
Learn more

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