Monday, March 31, 2014

New FDA Food Label Rules Ignore the GMO Elephant in the Room

Posted: 03/25/2014 4:01 pm EDT Updated: 03/25/2014 5:59 pm EDT

On February 27, First Lady Michelle Obama launched a media blitz to tout the FDA's proposed new rules for nutrition labels on packaged foods. Both the FDA and Mrs. Obama trumpeted the changes, the first in 20 years and 10 years in the making, as being designed to help consumers "make healthy food choices for their kids."

Changes to nutrition labels are long overdue, and it's great that Mrs. Obama is leading the charge to force food manufacturers to provide more accurate information about their products.

But conspicuously absent from the media hype was any mention of the one label that consumers have been crystal clear about wanting, the label that consumers in nearly 60 other countries have but Americans don't--a label that tells us whether or not our cereal or soda or mac & cheese contains genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Under the proposed new rules, food manufacturers will be required to list more realistic (as in larger) serving sizes, and display the calorie count in large, bold type. The new labels will also provide a more detailed breakdown of the types of sugar contained in products. And instead of listing vitamins A and C, new labels will list vitamin D and potassium because, the FDA said, it has evidence that people are not consuming enough of these nutrients to protect against chronic diseases.

Nothing wrong with these changes. But when is the last time you read a petition demanding the FDA list vitamin D on labels? Or a news article about tens, or hundreds of thousands of consumers clamoring for a more accurate breakdown of the sugar content in their foods?

What consumers really want to know is whether or not their food has been genetically engineered. 

And anyone who's paying attention knows that this issue--labeling of GMOs--has for the past two-and-a-half years dominated the public discourse around food policy and labeling.

In 2007, on the campaign trail in Iowa, then-Senator Barack Obama told supporters "We'll let folks know if their food has been genetically modified, because Americans should know what they're buying." 

He has not honored that campaign promise.

In 2012, during the high-profile California Proposition 37 campaign, a citizens' initiative that would have required mandatory labeling of GMOs in foods, nearly 208,000 people signed our petition to Michelle Obama asking her to remind President Obama of his campaign promise, and to support GMO labeling. Mrs. Obama did not respond.

Proposition 37 was defeated by a mere 1 percent, only after the biotech and food companies spent more than $46 million to defeat it. 

A similar scenario played out in Washington State in 2013, where I-522, another citizens' ballot initiative, was also defeated by 1 percent. Industry spent a total of $70 million to defeat those two initiatives, $12 million of which was illegally laundered.

 Industry has spent millions more lobbying state legislators and Congress to prevent state and federal laws requiring the labeling of GMOs in our food. The Grocery Manufacturers Association, a multi-billion dollar lobbying group, has even drafted a that would preempt states from passing such laws.

In 1992, the FDA cleared the way for GMOs to enter the U.S. food supply, unlabeled, and without independent, pre-market safety testing. 

We have Michael Taylor, a former Monsanto lobbyist-turned-Deputy Commissioner for Policy for the FDA (1991 to 1994), to thank for that decision.

The genetic engineering and food industries claim that GMO foods are safe. Hundreds of medical professionals and scientists dispute that claim. But no one disputes the fact that in order to grow GMO crops, farmers are required to use a stunning array of increasingly toxic pesticides and herbicides. And they must use them in increasing amounts, as weeds and pests build up tolerances.

Scientists have sounded the alarm that these chemicals pose a serious threat to our kids.

 In addition to counting calories, shouldn't we be counting the chemicals our kids are ingesting? 

Or at the least, shouldn't food companies be required to tell us if the foods we're eating were produced from GMO crops drenched in pesticides and herbicides?

Polls reveal that 80-93 percent of Americans want GMOs labeled. Congress, the FDA and the Obama Administration refuse to respond. Meanwhile industry spends millions to deprive consumers of this basic information.

If Mrs. Obama is serious about the health and nutrition of our nation's kids, it's time for her to stand up for consumers, stand up to industry, and demand truth and transparency when it comes to labeling the GMOs in our food.

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50 Amazing Ways To Use Coconut Oil

MAR 31 


For years, coconut oil has had a bad name, lumped in with unhealthy saturated fats.

 People steered away from it and other high fat foods. The problem with throwing coconut oil in the same category as butter, margarine, and shortening is this oil is far healthier than it appears. 

The saturated fats in coconut oil come from medium chain triglycerides. These shorter fat chains are easily put to use by the body and are not simply stored away as fat. 

This means coconut oil boosts energy levels, raises good cholesterol, and balances out blood sugar without the weight gain, cholesterol, and other health risks that come from other saturated or trans fats.

Coconut oil doesn’t stop there. It’s antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-parasitic, and antiviral. 

It also aids in the absorption of vitamins and minerals. These immune boosting properties make it the perfect oil to use in a million ways.

1. Massage Oil – Coconut oil soothes tired and sore muscles. Add a few drops of essential oils for more effect.

2. Athletes Foot – The powerful antifungal properties of coconut oil make it perfect for any fungal infection. Add a few drops of oregano or tea tree oil for more antifungal power.

3. Acne – Coconut oil gently fights the bacteria that cause acne. Dab it directly on the offending pimples and watch them shrink.

4. Cleanser –
Coconut oil makes an effective and gentle cleanser to remove the grime of the day.

5. Lice – Coconut oil kills and removes this pesky problem.

6. Stretch Marks –
Prevent and soften stretch marks from pregnancy with coconut oil for soft and supple skin.

7. Warts and Moles –
Rub oil into area and cover with a bandage. Rub in fresh oil and place a new bandage each day.

8. Moisturizer –
Coconut oil is an excellent way to soften and hydrate dry, rough, or damaged skin.

9. Face Scrub –
Mix coconut oil with baking soda, sugar, or cinnamon and oatmeal for the perfect face scrub and exfoliator.

10. Dandruff –
Massage coconut oil into the scalp to ease symptoms of dandruff, both itching and flaking.

11. Curb Appetite –
Take a spoonful before meals to curb appetite so you don’t overeat.

12. Wrinkles –
Rub into lines, creases, and wrinkles to rehydrate skin and soften those wrinkles away.

13. Sore Throat –
Dissolve a spoonful in your mouth and let it slowly roll down the throat. This will coat and protect the throat, boost the health of mucus membranes, and fight any infection.

14. Ring Worm –
Rub coconut oil onto affected area to kill the fungus that causes unsightly ringworm. Add tea tree oil to clear the infection even faster.

15. Lip Balm –
Coconut oil hydrates and protects lips. Coconut even offers some protection from the sun, about an SPF 4.

16. Cold Sore –
Coconut oil has antiviral properties that will help the body get rid of the virus that causes cold sores. Rub it on when needed and add a drop of oregano oil to speed healing.

17. Lubricant – Coconut makes an all-natural personal lubricant for intimate moments without chemicals, but it should not be used with condoms as oils tend to compromise the integrity of your protection.

18. Gum Removal – Coconut oil gets the sticky stuff out of hair, carpet, and anywhere else it doesn’t belong.

19. Pet Health –
Coconut oil can do a multitude of things for pets, both topically and internally. It improves breath, makes for a shiny coat, eases joint problems, cleans ears, gets rid of fleas, and much more.

20. Stys/Pink Eye – Rub a small amount of coconut oil on the sty or around the eyes to get rid of these painful and annoying infections quickly.

21. Earaches –
Earaches, swimmer’s ear, and ear infections clear up fast with a few drops of coconut oil mixed with garlic oil.

22. Cradle Cap –
Coconut oil is gentle and safe for infants and helps ease the itching, pain, redness, and flaking associated with cradle cap.

23. Diaper Rash –
Coconut oil can help heal mild diaper rash gently and effectively.

24. Bruises –
Rub coconut oil into bruised skin to speed healing and watch the bruises fade fast.

25. Age Spots – Coconut oil has beneficial effects on any skin blemish. Use it to help fade age spots with powerful antioxidants.

26. Shaving Cream – Coconut oil keeps the razor gliding smoothly while leaving skin smooth and soft.

27. After Shave – Don’t want unpleasant bumps and rashes after shaving? Coconut oil soothes sensitive skin and promotes healing.

28. Toothpaste – Mix 1 part coconut oil with 1 part baking soda and add a couple drops of peppermint oil. This makes a refreshing, natural toothpaste that whitens and cleans without added preservatives, fluoride, sweeteners, or other chemicals.

29. Chicken Pox –
Ease the itch and encourage healing with dabs of coconut oil. It also works on poison ivy, poison oak, mosquito bites, and other insect stings or bites.

30. Yeast Infections –
Coconut oil fights these fungal infections internally and externally.

31. Makeup Remover –
Coconut oil removes oil-based makeup easily, like mascara. It cleans, hydrates, and makes skin glow.

32. Conditioner –
Coconut oil conditions, strengthens, and repairs hair. Massage it in and rinse it out after ten minutes. A small amount can be rubbed in to dry hair to tame frizz.

33. Polish Furniture –
Coconut oil gives a protective shine to wood furniture. Just make sure you test it out on a small area to make sure you like the outcome.

34. Energy –
Coconut oil and its medium chain triglycerides make it an excellent energy source to improve stamina, endurance, or just to give you a boost through the day.

35. Deodorant –
Mix coconut oil with cornstarch, baking soda, and your favorite essential oils for a natural deodorant that smells fantastic.

36. Eye Cream – Reduce puffiness and dark circles with a few dabs of coconut oil.

37. Eczema – Coconut oil reduces the itchiness, pain, flakiness, and dryness of eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis.

38. Sunburn –
Coconut oil can help prevent sunburn for short exposures. When you burn, it will also speed healing and take some of the sting away. Make sure you wait until all the heat has dissipated before applying it or you trap the heat in. Wait 24 to 72 hours depending on the extent of the burn.

39. Hemorrhoids –
Coconut oil eases the pain and discomfort of hemorrhoids and encourages natural healing both internally and externally.

40. Nose Bleeds – Rub a bit of coconut oil in nostrils to fight the dry cracking that can lead to nose bleeds and pain.

41. Canker Sores –
Dab coconut oil on canker sores to kill infection and speed up healing. Coconut oil is also a far tastier way to treat canker sores than most other methods.

42. Toothaches – Coconut oil eases the pain and strengthens teeth. You can mix it with a drop of clove oil to almost instantly relieve pain.

43. Acid Reflux –
Take a small spoonful with meals to keep acid reflux and heartburn at bay.

44. Urinary Tract – Treat urinary tract infections with a spoonful of coconut oil. It may even ease the painful passing of kidney stones.

45. Nursing – Coconut oil works great to repair dry, cracked skin, including sore nipples from nursing.

46. Alzheimer’s – Some research points to coconut oil as a way to slow the progression of or prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia.

47. Bones – Coconut oil aids the body in the absorption of calcium and magnesium. Both minerals are important for strong bones and teeth.

48. Epilepsy – Coconut oil may reduce the incidence and intensity of epileptic seizures.

49. Fitness – Coconut oil boosts energy, increases metabolism, improves thyroid function, and aids healthy weight loss. It is the perfect addition to any workout or fitness regimen. Sunwarrior’s Warrior Blend includes medium chain triglycerides from coconut oil specifically to raise energy levels and increase stamina during workouts and speed recovery and healing after any exercise.

50. Cooking – Coconut oil doesn’t form harmful by-products when heated like most other oils and animal fats. Use it to replace butter, cup for cup in recipes. Sauté, cook, bake, broil, braise, and more using coconut oil as a healthier alternative.

ILL ADVISED : Mozambican government funds promotion of new variety of mango



The Agricultural Development Fund (FDA) is financing a programme to promote a new variety of mango with a high commercial value, aimed at small and medium-sized farmers in the provinces of Maputo and Inhambane in the south of the country, Mozambican news agency AIM reported.

The programme, which is expected to cost 5 million meticals a year (around US$178,000) is intended to ensure that farmers have access to good quality saplings of better varieties, to supply the internal and external markets with quality fruit and also be an alternative source of income for farmers.

The programme, which was launched last year, involves financing farmers in seven districts of Maputo province to buy 30,000 mango saplings of the “Tommy Atkins” variety.

As of this year the project also covers Inhambane province and is expected to expand into other parts of the country in the future.

“The FDA is involved in the programme through distribution of the saplings to farmers at a price with around a 40 percent subsidy,”
said Dânia Falcão, head of the FDA’s Forestry Department, who added that this programme would cover other fruits in the future, including pineapple and papaya.

The “Tommy Atkins” variety of mango, which originated in neighbouring South Africa, has potential to produce 20 tons of fruit per hectare, but at this initial stage in Mozambique local experts expect a yield of 10 tons per hectare. (macauhub)

FOUR YEARS LATER : Chinese ambassador to Mozambique formally hands over agricultural research centre......

China builds agricultural technology research centre in Mozambique

AUGUST 26TH, 2009

Maputo, Mozambique, 26 Aug – A Chinese Agricultural Technology Research and Transfer Centre is being built on the site next to the Umbeluzi Agricultural Station, in the Baone district of Maputo, reported the Notícias newspaper in Maputo on Tuesday.

The construction of the infrastructure, work on which should be completed by the first quarter of 2010, is the result of an agreement signed in 2008 between the Mozambican and Chinese governments, through the Science and Technology and Agriculture Ministries.

Under the terms of the agreement, China will build two agricultural research centres – the one in Umbeluzi and the Moamba Technology Park – an investment of US$700 million.

The centre to be built in Umbeluzi will have specific laboratories for natural and biological sciences, areas for planting several crops as well as for the development of aquiculture. (macauhub)

Maputo, Mozambique, – China’s Centre for Agricultural Research and Technology Transfer in Mozambique, located in the district of Boane, Maputo province was formally handed over by China’s ambassador to Mozambique to the country’s government, Mozambican daily newspaper Notícias reported.

The project cost over US$6 million funded by the Chinese government as part of cooperation between the two countries in the science and technology sector.

The centre, which covers an area of 52 hectares, includes administrative offices, laboratories and housing from researchers, technicians and trainees along with other facilities, as well as fields to carry out agricultural production tests, implement irrigation systems and space for livestock production.

On the occasion, Mozambique’s Science and Technology minister, Venâncio Massingue, said that the centre was an important tool for the agriculture sector, as it would focus on scientific research, training, production and technology transfer for a more effective increase in production and productivity.

In his turn, the Chinese ambassador, Huang Songfu, said that the centre was one of 14 such projects supported by China in Africa and was the first to be finished.

The centre has capacity for 40 trainees, who will stay there for three to six months at a time. (macauhub)

2014 : Prevén una caída drástica de la producción de mango en México

Los productores de mango de los municipios El Pozole y de Escuinapa prevén que el rendimiento de sus huertas caiga hasta en un 30 por ciento en esta temporada, debido a la floración tardía que se registra en la región de Sinaloa.

Esto generará graves repercusiones en ambos municipios, por lo que los agricultores, líderes de organismos agrarios y alcaldes acordaron la creación de un frente común para buscar una solución.

Durante el primer foro efectuado en el polideportivo de esta sindicatura, se expuso que el panorama para los mangueros y los empleos que se generan con esta actividad es negativo y podría producirse una crisis financiera.

El Alcalde de Escuinapa, Bonifacio Bustamante Hernández, quien también es productor de mango, aseguró que el panorama es crítico para el sector, porque se prevé que las huertas dejen de producir un 70 por ciento.

Explicó que si en las 25.000 hectáreas de mango de los dos municipios se contemplaba la generación de 300 millones de pesos, con el problema de la floración atípica se dejarían de percibir 260 millones de pesos.

Por su parte, Porfirio Salas Castillo, líder de la Confederación Nacional Campesina de Escuinapa, expresó que no se debe buscar un "apoyito" para el problema, sino un apoyo permanente, pues cada año el sector vive problemas diferentes, como la sequía, enfermedades o lluvias, lo que provoca que el productor difícilmente recupere lo invertido.

Durante los últimos cuatro años, el sector ha sido ignorado por los Gobiernos municipales y diputados locales, aseguró.


Fecha de publicación: 31/03/2014