Thursday, March 30, 2006

Organic milk companies that aren't following the standards

A recent report on organic dairy practices published by the watchdog group Cornucopia Institute showed that while many organic dairies in the U.S. are following strict organic standards, including giving animals regular access to pasture, several major players in the organic dairy sector are blatantly violating organic standards.

Two of the largest organic dairy companies in the nation, Horizon Organic (a subsidiary of Dean Foods), a supplier to Wal-Mart and many health food stores; and Aurora Organic, a supplier of private brand name organic milk to Costco, Safeway, Giant, Wild Oats and others, who together control 65% of the market, are purchasing the majority of their milk from feedlot dairies where the cows have little or no access to pasture. In addition, a routine practice on these giant dairy feedlots, many with thousands of cows, is to continuously import calves from conventional farms, where animals have been weaned on blood, fed slaughterhouse waste and genetically engineered grains, and injected or dosed with antibiotics. Certifiers endorsing these factory farm organic products include QAI and the Colorado state department of agriculture.

Get more information and sign a petition to the National Organic Standards Board to stop factory farm organics here:

I also urge you to only purchase dairy products from companies that follow the organic standards - for your health and for humane treatment of the cows. Here's theOrganic Dairy Report:

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Artificial ingredients added to organic foods

Thanks to the lobbying of large food manufacturers like Kraft, an amendment was passed to allow synthetic ingredients to be added during manufacturing of so-called "organic" foods. For details about how the amendment became law and how you can help to get this repealed, visit

Vegetarian Baby

www. has an interview with me at this link:

They also have book reviews posted of both my cookbooks in their Book section at

Happy reading!

Monday, March 13, 2006

More on mad cow

I got this release sent to me today and thought I'd share it:

For immediate release, March 13, 2006
Please contact: Jennifer Shecter, 914-378-2402
Urvashi Rangan, 914-378-2211, 646-594-0212
Reggie James, 512-657-6999

Consumers Union: Third Confirmed Case Underlines Urgent Need to Tighten FDA Animal Feed Rules, Improve USDA Surveillance

YONKERS, NY – The US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) announcement today of a third case of mad cow disease in the United States underlines the need to take additional precautions immediately, says Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports. Mad cow disease has already caused 150 deaths in the United Kingdom, apparently from eating tainted beef.

“It’s unacceptable that the American public has been waiting for more than two years for the FDA to tighten its animal feed rules,” states Jean Halloran, food policy expert at Consumers Union.

After the first case of mad cow was discovered in the United States in December 2003, then FDA Commissioner Mark McClellan said that FDA would end the practices of feeding chicken coop floor wastes, restaurant wastes, and cows’ blood to cattle, all of which FDA said at the time could potentially transmit the mad cow disease agent. However the agency never followed through.

In October 2005, the FDA proposed a different course: banning cattle brains and spinal cords from chicken and pig feed. FDA argued that this would prevent any infectious material present in cattle brains from coming back to cattle via the chicken coop floor wastes. However this proposal is still pending, and has been criticized as too weak by both industry representatives and consumer advocates.

“We shouldn’t wait for a major outbreak of mad cow disease to take greater preventive action. There is no question that we should not be feeding the remains of any mammals to food animals, and by not closing this dangerous loophole, we are exposing the American public to unnecessary risk,” adds Halloran.

Consumers Union also urges USDA to expand its surveillance program, which tests less than 1 percent of US cattle per year and to require that all cattle over 20 months of age be tested at slaughter for mad cow disease.

Consumers can minimize any risk of exposure to beef that may harbor mad cow disease by buying organic beef, says Consumers Union. Organic production prohibits any use of animal by-products in feed. Consumers can also protect themselves by avoiding the higher-risk parts of the animal such as brains, and beef cuts that combine meat from a number of animals, such as sausage, hot dogs, and hamburger.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Good Veggie Web Sites

These are my favorite vegetarian web sites: - Help, advice, and resources for vegan families. There are lots of articles, recipes, book and product reviews. - news and articles, book reviews, discussion forum, and lots of great resources and inspiration - articles, advice letters, blog, and recipes - this is a new site but looks to be very valuable as there is just not enough info out there for vegetarian pregnancy. It includes news and studies, articles, discussion forum, and recipes and lots of links to other veggie sites

Feel free to post other great sites that you have found.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

still drinking soda?

Soda is loaded with sugar and chemicals - bad for your body, bad for your teeth. Many sodas contain caffeine which kids are becoming addicted to at younger and younger ages. Sugary sports and juice drinks are not much better - although at least they don't have caffeine. If you drink soda - or more importantly if your children do, this article has some eye-opening information.

If you have young kids, give them water to drink right from the beginning. Getting your kids to enjoy and love the taste of pure water is a great gift you can give them.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Rethinking School Lunches

As childhood obesity and related disease continues to rise, it's becoming clear that we need to take measures to improve the health of our nation's kids. Most children spend a good part of their week in school or preschool, so that is an obvious place where changes can be made. Most school meals are apallingly unhealthy with entrees such as corn dogs, pizza pockets, and chicken nuggets (all loaded with sodium, fat, and chemicals) - and usually served with french fries for a vegetable.

Check out the March/April issue of Mothering Magazine where I have an article (School Food Renaissance) outlining how parents can have a say in their school's wellness policy and work toward changing the school lunch period to become another learning period in the day where children learn about good nutrition and eating habits.

I will also be hosting an online chat for Mothering on March 8, 2006 at 10 am PST (1 pm EST). The web site is and you can find more information about the chat on my site or on

On the resource page of my web site, I also list many links to organizations and programs that can help you get healthier foods into your school. Many schools around the state have already started garden-to-table and other programs. Where I live in San Luis Obispo County, there is a new group working for change called SLO Grown Kids. If you are interested in finding out what this group is doing, contact or