Adventures in Ethical Consumerism

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Some very good news

Very good news stories from the US Organic Consumers Association, as usual:

Under the New World Order of the World Trade Organization (WTO), corporations now have the right to "discover" seeds and genetic materials used by indigenous peoples for centuries, and patent these materials, thereby obtaining monopoly rights to its products and profits. One such example is that of India's Neem Tree, traditionally considered a sacred tree, whose seeds have a fungicidal quality that has been common knowledge to the indigenous people of India for centuries. Despite this widespread traditional use, an American company, Thermo Trilogy, was able to obtain a patent on that process. In other words, using Neem Tree seeds as a fungicide suddenly became illegal, unless you paid Thermo Trilogy its royalties first. But last week, for the first time in history, a patent has been revoked as a matter of protecting traditional knowledge and practices. This landmark decision, made by the European Patent Office, is being celebrated in India and will likely inspire the reassessment of dozens of other similar patents.

Press release

The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) has filed a formal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding the advertising practices of Splenda. The artificial sweetener carries the slogan "Made from sugar, so it tastes like sugar," and as a result, nearly half of all consumers believe Splenda is natural, according to a survey done by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. In actuality, Splenda is made through a complex chemical process using chlorination and phosgene gas.

Letter from OCA to FTC regarding Spenda

This week, a committee of 35 scientists from 13 countries, organized by the World Health Organization, announced major concerns with increasing levels of acrylamides in food. Acrylamides are carcinogens that are now known to be created when carbohydrates are cooked at extremely high temperatures, like french fries and potato chips.


The American Medical Association has published the results of three new studies, further underlining the fact that plant based diets reduce cancer risks. A diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables offers nutrient combinations that are consistently being shown to lower risks of prostate, breast and colon cancers.



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