Friday, March 28, 2008

Walmart Brand Milk soon to be BGH Free!

Walmart and Sam's Club brand milk will soon be free of bovine growth hormones. This change is due to customer demands. Looks like Monstanto's BGH hormone will soon be off the market.

Read the full article here:

slave labor in U.S. fields

I just read the book Nobodies: Modern American Slave Labor and the Dark Side of the New Global Economy by John Bowe. I had no idea slave labor could be happening the in US - the land of the FREE! Many tomato and citrus pickers are are paid poverty wages that have barely changed in 30 years; forced to work long hours without overtime; subjected to physical abuse by supervisors, denied benefits such as sick days, paid leave, and health insurance, and are punished for organizing. Some of these workers are also forced to endure modern-day slavery. There have been six successful federal prosecutions of farm labor operations for servitude in Florida over the past decade, and a seventh was just initiated.

Some food companaies like Yum!Brands, Taco Bell, and McDonalds have been working with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) to improve farm labor conditions -- but Burger King and others still have not signed on. If they would agree to pay just 1 cent more per pound, they could make a huge difference in the lives of these workers.

To sign a petition, go to:

Monday, March 24, 2008

Are you an Angry Mom?

Are you fed up with the offerings for school meals in your district? I know for me, I would love not to have to pack my kids a lunch every day - but as long as our school continues to feature processed, frozen and reheated foods high in sodium, hydrogenated oils, and high fructose corn syrup (not to mention chemicals, preservatives, and pesticides), I don't feel I have a choice. I am on the wellness committee for my district but change is painfully slow.

There are places where things are happening however. If you haven't seen the excellent movie Two Angry Moms which is shaking up the public school lunch community, I highly recommend it -- I've already seen twice! These moms traveled around the US to find schools radically changing their lunch programs. For more info, go to .

On March 24, the producers will be featured on The Rachael Ray Show - go to their web site for more info: and the movie will be shown on March 30 at the Kent Film Festival in Connecticut, for times go to: .

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Demand for raw milk on the rise

There's an interesting article in the Boston Globe ( about more dairies selling raw milk.

It says that demand for raw milk is growing in the United States. In Massachusetts, the number of dairies licensed to sell raw milk has grown from 12 to 23 in the past two years. Also, according to the Northeast Organic Farming Association, dairies are selling more raw milk than they were just five years ago, and consumers call in every week looking for advice on where to find it.

Raw milk advocates say raw milk is healthy because it contains good bacteria, enzymes and raw fats that help to boost your immune system and aid digestion. Anecdotal and scientific reports support the health benefits. For instance, a study by researchers at the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine at the University of Basel in Switzerland found that children who drank raw milk had a lower risk of asthma and allergies.

The FDA warns that raw milk can carry disease-causing bacteria and says that drinking it is "like playing Russian roulette with your health." That's probably true if you drank raw milk from factory farmed cows living in filthy dry lots, but milk from pasture-fed cows on clean, well-run farms is full of things that your body will thrive on, like good bacteria, raw fat, cancer-fighting conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), and much more.

Raw milk can be sold for human consumption in 28 states, but only eight states allow it to be sold in stores. As a result, many people have begun to form buying clubs that buy raw milk directly from the dairy.

To find a source for raw dairy in your area, go to

Friday, March 14, 2008

This is scary . . . cancer causing ingredients in organic products

A newly released study commissioned by the Organic Consumers Association (OCA), a watchdog group overseen by environmental health consumer advocate David Steinman (author of The Safe Shopper's Bible), analyzed leading "natural" and "organic" brand shampoos, body washes, lotions and other personal care products for the presence of the undisclosed carcinogenic contaminant 1,4-Dioxane.

Ethoxylation, a cheap short-cut companies use to provide mildness to harsh ingredients, requires the use of the cancer-causing petrochemical Ethylene Oxide, which generates 1,4-Dioxane as a by-product. 1,4-Dioxane is considered a chemical "known to the State of California to cause cancer" under proposition 65, and has no place in "natural" or "organic" branded personal care products. 1,4-dioxane is also suspected as a kidney toxicant, neurotoxicant and respiratory toxicant, among others, according to the California EPA, and is a leading groundwater contaminant.

Previous studies have revealed 1,4-Dioxane is often present in conventional personal care products, but this new study indicates the toxin is also present in leading "natural" and "organic" branded products, none of which are certified under the USDA National Organic Program. The products/brands tested are listed on the attached page with the level of 1,4-Dioxane detected, if any, along with ethoxylated ingredients listed on the label.
Some of the Leading Brands Found to Contain 1,4-Dioxane:

JASON Pure Natural & Organic
Giovanni Organic Cosmetics
Kiss My Face - YIKES, that's what I use!
Nature's Gate Organics.

For full listing, go to this page:

Brands Found not to Contain 1,4-Dioxane:

All USDA Certified brands tested in this study were 1,4-Dioxane-free, including:
- Dr. Bronner's
- Sensibility Soaps (Nourish)
- Terressentials
All German Natural "BDIH" Certified brands tested were found to be 1,4-Dioxane-free, including:
- Aubrey Organics
- Dr. Hauschka

To avoid 1,4-Dioxane, check ingredient lists for indications of ethoxylation like: "myreth," "oleth," "laureth," "ceteareth," any other "eth," "PEG," "polyethylene," "polyethylene glycol," "polyoxyethylene," or "oxynol," in ingredient names. In general, avoid products with unpronounceable ingredients.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Leather Free Shoes

There are several reaons to avoid leather. First because of the animals - conditions are hideous in overseas slaughterhouses where leather comes from (primarily India and China, reports People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). There are environmental and health reasons as well —turning animal skin to leather requires a large amount of energy and a toxic mix of chemicals including formaldehyde, coal tar and some cyanide-containing finishes. The tanning process is just as pollutant-laced, and both leave chemicals in the water supply and on the hands (and in the lungs) of workers.

Animal-free vegan shoes, however, can be hard to find - especially for children, though Crocs are very popular. Here are a few resources:

There are adult vegan shoes at,,, and

For kids, try From the soft-soled adorably designed Isabooties made with synthetic Ultrasuede, to flexible pleather uppers for first-time walkers to slip-on hemp shoes in a rainbow of earth tones with recycled tire soles, the shoes seem ideal for toddlers just learning to balance who need a good deal of flexibility and “feelability” in their shoes. The site was started by a mom tired of having to hunt and pick through various websites to find a full spectrum of natural, vegan baby products. For parents of budding dancers, a vegan alternative ballet slipper can be had from the Cynthia King Dance Studio in Brooklyn, New York. The dance instructor and studio owner approached a local shoemaker when she couldn’t find an affordable outlet for vegan slippers, and now provides them to the world at

Interesting information about beef recall

There is a great article with lots of information about the recall and beef in general - plus a video of what was done to the cows at Hallmark/Westland Meat.

Does anyone else find it appalling that Hallmark/Westland Meat was named the school lunch program's "Supplier of the Year" ? If they are the best of the bunch, how bad are the other suppliers!

The article also explains that small farmers are not allowed to slaughter their beef even though the could do it in a more humane, clean way but must ship their cattle to federall inspected slaughterhouses - supposedly for the consumers safety . . .

Also, read about the link between downer cows and mad cow disease and how it is virtually impossible to trace the meat causing mad cow disease because it can take up to 30 years to show up.

Also, it reiterates what I've said before - if you choose to eat meat, go grassfed and local if possible.

Here's the link:

Monday, March 03, 2008