Issues & education announcements
Sound Consumer | March 2009
Natural meat standards
Meat has long been labeled “naturally raised” but until recently, the label has not had an official definition. The U.S. Deptartment of Agriculture has now signed off on voluntary standards, which stipulate that “naturally raised” meats are raised without growth enhancers, antibiotics or animal byproducts in the feed.
Consumer groups, including Consumers Union (CU) and Food & Water Watch, say, however, that the “naturally raised” standards aren’t stringent enough, are misleading, and fall short of consumer expectations. CU points out that the voluntary standard will allow animals that are cloned or genetically modified, and are raised in confinement without ever seeing the light of day or green pasture, in poor hygiene conditions, and on a diet laced with pesticides.
The announcement came just days before the change in federal government administrations in Washington.
Bisphenol A legislation?
In Olympia, several Puget Sound legislators are sponsoring a bill regarding bisphenol A (BPA), an increasingly controversial chemical used to make hard plastics. BPA is found in the lining inside food cans, in baby bottles, shatterproof sports bottles, microwave ovenware, cell phones, CDs and DVDs, eyeglass lenses and more.
The trouble is that BPA often leaches out, especially when subjected to heat. Studies have implicated BPA, an estrogen-like substance, in reproductive and developmental disorders, cancer, obesity and hyperactivity. A new study at Yale University’s medical school found that when monkeys were exposed to BPA at levels approximating what the Environmental Protection Agency says is safe, parts of their brains associated with memory and learning didn’t function normally.
The proposed bill in Olympia, SB 5282, would prohibit the sale of sports water bottles that contain BPA, or any liquid or food in a bottle, cup or can containing BPA if designed for children under 3 years of age. It also calls for assessments of alternatives to BPA for cans or other food containers by 2012.
PCC supports passage of this bill.
PCC's work on current issues that affect a sustainable food system and the health of the environment can always be found in the Issues & Education area of the Web site.