Here are some newsworthy items for this week:
A major food fight is brewing in California with potential consequences for all Americans, and it’s not the old-fashioned kind immortalized in movies set in school cafeterias. Proposition 37, would require stores and vendors to label genetically modified organisms (GMO) food by 2014. GMO’s, quietly introduced into American diets in 1994, include, canola, soy, sugar beets (labeled as “sugar”) and have been linked to infertility, serious allergies, weight gain and organ damage in lab animals, and cross-contamination with non-GMO plants causing potentially irreversible change. More than 40 nations, including European Union, Japan, Australia and China, have GMO labeling laws as a result of citizen demand.
When the new school year starts in a few weeks, soda will no longer be sold in Portland schools. Portland Schools will implement a new policy that applies to food and beverages sold and served by any school or school organizations. Food served on field trips, sold by sports teams and offered at events sponsored by parent-teacher organization must comply with the policy. The school district says, “The policies recognize that diet influences students’ ability to learn, and they aim to ensure that food offered at schools and school events supports students achievements.”
Federal and state health officials are warning consumers not to eat cantaloupe grown in southwestern Indiana after an outbreak of salmonella food poisoning that has led to 141 illnesses and two deaths in 20 states. Health officials have refused to name the farm connected to the outbreak, but have confirmed that it will not be shipping out any more cantaloupes for the remainder of the season. Salmonella infections result in diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps. Most people recover without treatment, but severe infections can occur in infants, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems.
CALLING ALL STUDENTS! The Real Food Challenge leverages the power of youth and universities to create a healthy, fair and green food system. The primary campaign is to shift $1 billion of existing university food budgets away from industrial farms and junk food and towards local/community-based, fair, ecologically sound and humane food sources-what we call “real food” by 2020. From mounting food crises abroad, to rising rates of diabetes and obesity at home; from the carbon emitted by agriculture to the human rights abuses in the fields; it’s clear our food system is in need of change.