abundance

Food Safety & Health

"Factory farms produce the safest, cleanest food."

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How can we ensure our food is safe and clean? Is organic food really healthier for us?

Do you go out of your way to find organic strawberries and pesticide-free produce? But do you wonder what difference it makes? This section explores the questions at the heart of figuring out the healthiest and safest food supply—safe for eaters, safe for workers, and safe for the planet.

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Take Action

06-03-13 FarmBill

For a Fairer Farm Bill

In case you haven’t heard, things are heating up on Capitol Hill around the Farm Bill, the federal policy that shapes food, farm, and nutrition policy. Now’s our time to flex our collective muscle and speak up for a fair farm bill. Will you join us?

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Food Heroes

The Nelson Family, dairy farmers in Minnesota, happy all together at sunset.

Food Hero: The Nelson Family

The Nelson Family in Minnesota used to raise their cattle conventionally, until illness and financial difficulties made the alternative path obvious. They switched to organic and selling milk though Organic Valley, a cooperative of farmers. Now they run a thriving family farm business. See them reflect on their transition and where it’s led them.

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Q & A

Question:

We often hear that the American food system is among the safest in the world. At the same time, we also hear about multi-state foodborne illness outbreaks. How does our food system compare with others internationally? If our regulations are not strict, why not?

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Michele SimonThis notion that ours is the “safest food supply in the world” is silly rhetoric dreamed up by food lobbyists and passed on to politicians who love to use it in their stump speeches to deflect government regulation. There is no evidence this is true. Americans suffer from weekly outbreaks of food-borne illness, at times even deadly, and from eating such innocent foods as melon and peanut butter. Loved ones are lost, and lives changed forever due to our lax food safety rules.

Featured voice: Michele Simon, Public Health Lawyer & Corporate Watchdog

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Question:

Are there nutritional benefits to eating organic food?

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Michele SimonThe science may be unclear on this, but that’s not why I choose to eat organic. I care about protecting the environment – the soil and water, as well as farm workers who often suffer from exposure to chemical pesticides. Also, I find buying organic produce from my local farmers market to be incredibly more fresh and tasty than conventional produce at the store.

Featured voice: Michele Simon, Public Health Lawyer & Corporate Watchdog

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Question:

Organic food detractors like to talk about manure use as fertilizer as putting the “ick” in organic. Is organic food production, especially practices like using manure for fertilizer, less safe than industrial methods?

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Michele SimonNo, not intrinsically. There are safeguards in place to be sure manure is safe to use. It’s just typical for industry to use scaremongering tactics like the ick factor to confuse the issues. And why is using chemical pesticides not “icky?”

Featured voice: Michele Simon, Public Health Lawyer & Corporate Watchdog

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Reports and Resources

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Spinning Food: How Food Industry Front Groups and Covert Communications are Shaping the Story of Our Food

We’re thrilled to announce the release of a new report that Anna has been working on with Kari Hamerschlag at Friends of the Earth U.S. and Stacy Malkan at U.S. Right to Know Network. “Spinning Food,” investigates how Big Food and agrochemical corporations are deliberately misleading the public – and reporters – on facts about industrial […]

Non-GMO Thanksgiving

Dishing up a Non-GMO Thanksgiving

How do you celebrate Thanksgiving with real food? The Non-GMO Project created a helpful graphic to keep GMOs off the table – check it out!

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Foodopoly

Blending history, reporting, and a deep understanding of American farming and food production, Foodopoly is the shocking and revealing account of the business behind the meat, vegetables, grains and milk that most Americans eat every day, including some of our favorite and most respected organic and health-conscious brands. Hauter also pulls the curtain back from the little-understood but vital realm of agricultural policy, showing how it has been hijacked by lobbyists, driving out independent farmers and food processors in favor of the likes of Cargill, Tyson, Kraft and ConAgra. Foodopoly demonstrates how the impacts ripple far and wide, from economic stagnation in rural communities at home to famines overseas. In the end, Hauter argues that solving this crisis will require a complete structural shift—a change that is about politics, not just personal choice.

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From the Blog

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Spinning Food: How Food Industry Front Groups and Covert Communications are Shaping the Story of Our Food

We’re thrilled to announce the release of a new report that Anna has been working on with Kari Hamerschlag at Friends of the Earth U.S. and Stacy Malkan at U.S. Right to Know Network. “Spinning Food,” investigates how Big Food and agrochemical corporations are deliberately misleading the public – and reporters – on facts about industrial agriculture and organic and sustainable food production.

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Stop the TPP Fast Track

If you flex your civic muscle one time this month – or even all year – now is the moment! Join us in calling on your representatives to send a loud and clear message to say no to a Fast Track for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

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Worth a Hill of Beans? (We think so.)

You may have heard already, but I'm delighted to share with you the exciting news that the Scientific Advisory Committee for the federal nutrition guidelines -- which inform everything from SNAP to school lunches -- recommended for the first time in history that Americans choose a more plant-centered diet for both health and environmental reasons.