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Wise shoppers can read ingredients labels, but how do you avoid genetically engineered (GE) or "frankenfoods" if they're not marked? Greenpeace Canada has provided a handy solution: a shopper's guide called How to Avoid.

Shopper’s Guide Identifies GE Foods

Wise shoppers can read ingredients labels, but how do you avoid genetically engineered (GE) or "frankenfoods" if they’re not marked?

Greenpeace Canada has provided a handy solution: a shopper’s guide called How to Avoid Genetically Engineered Foods. You can download the guide from the Greenpeace Web site (greenpeace.ca/shoppersguide/browse.php) or buy it in booklet form at your health food store.

The guide’s categories range from beverages and canned goods to food for babies and pets. There’s even a vegetarian section on dairy and meat alternatives.

Under each category, Greenpeace has divided products into three columns: green, yellow and red. It identifies green products as those not made with any genetically engineered ingredients. Yellow products are those produced by companies committed to removing GE ingredients but have not yet completed the process. Red products are identified as likely to contain GE ingredients.

Each column provides brand names and a list of flavours or products sold under that manufacturer.

Go Green at Your Computer Screen!

Now you can find the secret to organic farming and livestock not in the great outdoors, but on the Internet. Four Web-based courses are available across Canada, thanks to the combined efforts of the Ontario Agriculture Centre of Canada and the Nova Scotia Agricultural College. These programs, offered both for credit and not for credit, provide valuable support to those who want to move into organic production.

The introductory-level courses--transition to organic agriculture, composting skills, organic field crop management and organic livestock production--offer current research, hands-on activities and on-line discussions. They include resource manuals, textbooks and computer-based quizzes. For more information, visit organicagcentre.ca, e-mail cde@nsac.ns.ca or call 902-893-6666.

Certified Organic Association of BC

Leading Herbicide Causes Mutations, Pollution Worldwide

Widespread poisoning from the herbicide atrazine is worse than suspected, and its global impact is staggering, reports the Certified Organic Association of BC.

Significant pollution from atrazine has been found in China’s Yangtze and Lio-He rivers, and its dispersion in the atmosphere has shown an impact even in the world’s most isolated areas.

Atrazine is a leading agricultural herbicide most widely used on corn, sorghum and sugarcane. Farmers also apply it to wheat to get rid of wheat stubble on fallow land after a harvest. Other targeted crops include guava, macadamia nuts, orchard grass and hay, range grasses and southern turf grasses.

In non-agricultural use, atrazine is applied to lawns, golf courses and sod farms to control broadleaf weeds and some grassy weeds. Its extensive use worldwide has resulted in major pollution in surface water, groundwater, in offshore areas and in the earth’s atmosphere.

Researchers have found this herbicide increases the potential for arsenic poisoning in human cells, which raises concern for areas where both arsenic and atrazine pollute the drinking water.

Laboratory tests with exposure levels as low as 0.1 parts per billion have produced mutations in frogs, resulting in hermaphroditic (sex organs of both genders) and demasculinized amphibians. (Altrazine can reach 40 parts per billion in rain and agricultural run-off.) On land, many atrazine-tolerant mutations have appeared in weeds, while in water, the herbicide has disrupted the endocrine systems of salmon. Tests have shown that it will inhibit the production of testosterone in rats prior to puberty.

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