News bites, September 2003 | PCC Sound Consumer | PCC Natural Markets

News bites
Sound Consumer | September 2003

Horizon Organic sold

Food company giant Dean Foods is buying the Horizon Organic Holding Corp., owner of the nation's largest organic dairy in Idaho. The transaction was approved by directors of both companies. Horizon has been trying to sell its Idaho dairy operation for more than a year. The change in ownership isn't expected to change day-to-day operations. (Capital Press)

Washington asparagus

Two of Washington's three asparagus processors have announced they'll no longer be buying asparagus from Washington growers. Seneca Foods and Del Monte bought facilities in Walla Walla and Toppenish, and Del Monte says from now on it will get its asparagus from Peru. Ag groups tried to get help from Olympia but failed. (Capital Press)

Consumer privacy

Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering (CASPIAN) is calling for a boycott of Gillette products since the company failed to renounce a "smart shelf" spy system.

Gillette's "smart shelf" reportedly involves radio frequency "spy chips" hidden in the packaging of Gillette razors and other products. When packages are picked up from a shelf, the customers are secretly photographed. A second photo is taken at check out and the photos are later matched. If someone is seen picking up a product without paying for it, he or she is branded a potential shoplifter. CASPIAN says that tracking and photographing consumers without their knowledge and consent is an invasion of privacy. (

Feed plant violated BSE rule

A Tacoma feed plant, X-Cel Feeds, is admitting it violated regulations to help prevent the spread of Mad Cow disease. The 1997 Animal Feed Rule prohibits feed manufacturers from contaminating ruminant feeds with banned proteins that cause Mad Cow. The company admitted to violating the rules and is working with the FDA to correct the problem. (Center for Infectious Disease Research & Policy)

UK markets say no to GMOs

Britain's five largest supermarkets have told the government they won't sell GE foods. The stores say consumers do not want GE foods and they would only sell them if the public changed its opinions. (Reuters)

Banana on skids

"The banana plant hasn't had sex in years and experts say its days are numbered," according to Reuters. Biologists say that without genetic manipulation, the fruit no longer has the genetic diversity to fight disease and pests. Modern-day bananas are propagated by cloning or by planting stems or sucker shoots. The black specks in the fruit are ovules that don't mature into seeds. (Reuters/ MSNBCNews)

Addictive foods

Multinational food companies reportedly have known for years that some of their foods trigger reactions in the brain that cause overeating. Scientists working for Nestlé and Unilever have been investigating how snack foods encourage binge-eating and fuel obesity. The companies say they have no plans to issue consumer warnings or change their products. (London Daily Telegraph)