Category Archives: FOOD JUSTICE NOW

Beginning to end hunger: Belo Horizonte shows the way

Author: M. Jahi Chappell – reviewed by Martin Empson – July 4, 2018

A Brazilian city’s food program feeds the hungry and supports local farmers. It succeeds by empowering communities and challenging inequality.

Hunger is a real crisis for millions of people around the globe. Officially, about 11 percent of the world’s population are acknowledged to be malnourished today, but some studies suggest the figure is more than twice that. Also, as M. Jahi Chappell points out, 1 to 2 billion people suffer from “hidden hunger” — insufficient  nutrients in their diet. At the same time 600 million people suffer from obesity

These figures represent an obscenity: the madness of a food system structured around maximizing profit, while exacerbating hunger and malnutrition. The system also ensures that in the global south and the richer north, farmers, peasants and agricultural producers increasingly face crippling debts, poverty incomes and the pressure of big business, which devalues their crops and boosts incomes for supermarket chains and multinational agribusiness.

It is tempting for socialists to argue simply that the problem is capitalism and that only a socialist, post-capitalist world can feed the world’s population healthily and sustainably. M. Jahi Chappell’s important study shows that this is wrong. It is possible to build a more equitable and sustainable food system today at the same time as strengthening the struggle against capitalism. Chappell illustrates this with a detailed study of the experience of Belo Horizonte (BH), the sixth largest city in Brazil, home to about two and a half million people.

SOURCE

TOXIC FOOD is killing humanity: One-fifth of global deaths now linked to processed junk food and toxic ingredients

A new study conducted at the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington (HealthData.org) and published in The Lancet medical journal finds that a shocking 20 percent of global deaths are caused by toxic foods, junk foods, processed foods and harmful food ingredients. In essence, the study reveals that the toxic food industry is now about as dangerous as Big Tobacco.

As covered in The Guardian:

The study, based at the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, compiles data from every country in the world and makes informed estimates where there are gaps… Diet is the second highest risk factor for early death after smoking. The problem is often seen as the spread of western diets, taking over from traditional foods in the developing world.

In other words, all the toxic food ingredients, processed foods, junk foods and fast foods that we’ve been warning you about for years are now being recognized by the science establishment to be one of the leading killers of human beings across our planet. Many of these foods are saturated with glyphosate and pesticides, and an increasing number are also genetically engineered.

SOURCE

Radical Food Resistance – A call to arms against Big Food.

BY Wayne Roberts
| 43.2 Food and Resilience

This good food conversation needs to be sprinkled with words that name the dominant food system characteristic – control by dominant corporations. “Struggling against” needs to become as much part of the food ethos as “collaborating toward.”

What would this mean practically?

We would laugh out loud at the mention of, and criticize Ontario’s Local Food Act, which has not provided a dime for public purchasing of local and sustainable food, nor a penny for urban agriculture, or new and young farmers.

We would denounce the governing Trudeau Liberals for giving the kiss of death to a national food policy by handing the file to the department of agriculture, which has no officials or staff who are knowledgeable about food security or public health and which is controlled by agribusiness interests. We would also denounce the Ministry of Finance project, led by private consultant Dominic Barton of McKinsey and Company, to make factory farms and food exports the engine of Canada’s emerging economy – as well as the nearly billion dollars in so-called super-cluster grants to big corporations.

Source: Alternative Journal article

In memoriam: Shiv Chopra, former Health Canada scientist and whistleblower

Chopra was a hero of the non-GMO movement, best remembered for leading the resistance to  government and industry pressure including agro-chemical giant Monsanto to approve bovine growth hormone in Canada.

by January 14, 2018

Growing up in India during the Second World War, Shiv Chopra was shaped by two of Mahatma Gandhi’s guiding principles: “Civil disobedience becomes a sacred duty when the state becomes lawless or corrupt,” and “the first step in fighting injustice is to make it visible.”

On January 7, the former Health Canada scientist and whistle-blower who believed “we should take food out of the economic equation” quietly succumbed to cancer in a Kanata hospice, surrounded by family. He was 84. A memorial for family and friends will be held January 20 in Ottawa. A public memorial will be held in February.

Online tributes continue to pour in from all over the world in response to the loss of Chopra’s courageous voice from the front lines of food safety activism.

A microbiologist and drug safety regulator with the Bureau of Veterinary Drugs for 35 years, Chopra is best remembered for leading the resistance to U.S. government and industry pressure including from agro-chemical giant Monsanto to approve bovine growth hormone (rBGH) and other veterinary drugs of questionable human safety. Monsanto insisted on Health Canada’s approval after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration rubber-stamped the drugs for licensing.

But Chopra and fellow scientists Margaret Haydon and Gérard Lambert refused, pointing to gaps in Monsanto’s safety data. The in-house controversy hit the fan at Senate hearings at the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Forestry in 1998, where Chopra delivered unflinching – many say heroic – testimony that blew the lid off government and industry complicity in Health Canada’s drug approval process. His insistence on “my duty to speak out” made Chopra a darling of the non-GMO movement, but he refused to wear the hero’s mantle.

“Canadians owe Shiv Chopra a great deal,” Council of Canadians chair Maude Barlow said in a recent Ottawa Citizen interview.

But despite parliamentary assurances to the contrary, Chopra and his colleagues would be subjected to severe reprisals from their Health Canada bosses for going public, and would ultimately get fired for insubordination, receiving their notices in the mail on the same day in 2004.

Ian Bron, a researcher with Canadians for Accountability, says Chopra “had an ethical code that disregarded the (senior) status of others and he needed to be made an example of. Textbook stuff.”

Chopra was a model scientist who came up against systemic racism and government misconduct almost the moment he entered the civil service in 1968, filing two landmark human rights complaints alleging discrimination in the public service in 1992 and 1993, before transforming himself over the years into an anti-corruption warrior inside the health services branch.

The Senate hearings produced a list of recommendations around Health Canada’s drug approval process. But none were ever implemented, according to Chopra, who in 2014 founded the Canadian Council on Food Safety and Health to carry on his work of food safety advocacy and education.

After years of grievances and appeals, an adjudicator ordered the reinstatement of Lambert and Haydon but not Chopra. But his son Anil says that his father wasn’t really fighting to get his job back.

“The case didn’t really matter to him. I think that’s lost on a lot of people. We would say to him that he had already won,” says Anil. “You can’t undo that kind of movement, that kind of legacy. That’s what kept him going. He wanted to make sure Canada was a better place after he left.”

Source: https://nowtoronto.com/news/in-memoriam-shiv-chopra/

Tributes have been pouring in from all over the world – Friends and supporters: instead of sending flowers Dr. Chopra requested that donations be made to the Canadian Council on Food Safety and Health, a non-profit founded by Dr. Chopra to carry on his advocacy and education work around food safety, and sustainable agriculture.

Donations to CCFSH can be made as follows:

by e-Transfer sent to media@foodsovereigntycanada.com;

by cheque made out to: Canadian Council on Food Safety and Health, address 464-A Sunnyside Avenue, Ottawa, ON K1S 0S9;

by credit card

 

Powerful Food Lobby Group Loses Members Amid Industry Culture Clash – NPR

For at least the past decade, the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) has been the unrivaled voice of a vast industry, from neighborhood grocery stores to food manufacturing giants with supply chains that span the globe. Most recently, it’s been a powerful force in fighting proposals to require information about added sugar or GMOs on food labels.

Today, that colossus is teetering and facing questions about its future. Over the past six months, eight of GMA’s largest members have decided to drop their membership. Each defection was quickly revealed on the news site Politico. One industry insider says that he’s seen a list of another three companies that are considering leaving the association.

https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2018/01/05/575906151/powerful-food-lobby-group-loses-members-amid-industry-culture-clash?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=news

The Unsung Epidemic

by Robert Hunziker / January 1st, 2018

Nearly every American family has a cancer victim!

Chronic disease is the biggest epidemic ever faced. Yet, even though it touches almost every family, people are not tuned into this epidemic, as such, nor are the causes fully understood by the general public. It haunts society; it’s everywhere; it deforms, debilitates, and incapacitates. Is this the normal course of life or is something in the environment seriously amiss?

A recent Rand Corporation study says that 60% of Americans have one and 40% have multiple chronic conditions: “Nearly 150 million Americans are living with at least one chronic condition; around 100 million of them have more than one. And nearly 30 million are living, day in and day out, with five chronic conditions or more.”1

Direct link: https://dissidentvoice.org/2018/01/the-unsung-epidemic/