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Organic news archive: October 2005

"Greenpeace is absolutely right, in its report published last week, to highlight the scandal of some supermarkets - Asda is branded the worst offender - selling threatened fish species," writes Max Hastings in The Guardian. "The world's oceans are being plundered, and nobody seems willing or able to stop the slaughter. It is striking to contrast the wave of alarm, if not panic, sweeping the world about avian flu with our indifference to the plight of fish. As long as there are fillets in the shops, we buy them. When species vanish, people shrug and eat something else." (The Guardian - 31/10/05)

Ministers have agreed to go ahead with the use of GM maize without waiting for Parliament to discuss it, in spite of assurances that MPs would debate the issue first. Caroline Flint, the junior health minister, said it was authorised owing to a technicality in the EU and the summer recess of Parliament. (The Independent - 29/10/05)

The Daily Express looks at what the Trading Standards Institute (TSI) is doing after rogue organic traders were discovered in Richmond. TSI official David Pickering says, "There are people setting out to deceive. We want to find the best way to catch them. We are trying to maintain a level playing field so consumers can have confidence." Robert Duxbury, the Soil Association's certification director, is quoted, "Each [certified] operator receives an annual inspection which is very rigorous. It is inevitable that a few will take advantage, but they are very much the exception." (Daily Express - 31/10/05)

Shoppers should boycott supermarkets to help preserve the rural way of life, the new chairman of the Countryside Alliance said yesterday. Kate Hoey, the pro-hunt MP for the inner London constituency of Vauxhall, said consumers should fight for the countryside. "People who genuinely care about the future of farming and our countryside should always try to shop at shops that are bringing in their own produce," she said. Miss Hoey added: "The demands put on local producers are really terrible, in what supermarkets want, will buy from them and what they won't. I try to avoid supermarkets as much as possible. "For those who profess to love the countryside they must realise that their actions in urban areas can help. Although it's not always possible to stay out of supermarkets, we should question where our food comes from." She also echoed prince [Charles's recent] call for more organic farming, and called on the Government to provide subsidies. "I appreciate that it can be more expensive," she said. "And that's why the Government has a role to play because with the organic industry, if it got a tiny amount of the subsidy that other elements of framing have, we could get the price down." (Daily Telegraph - 31/10/05)

The Times features an article on "wibbly-wobbly" carrots after Prince Charles urged the carrot-buying public to embrace carrot diversity. The Soil Association says it is "delighted" with his remarks. According to the Soil Association 75% of the carrots grown in Britain are of the Nairobi variety - "because it travels and stores well". (29/10/05)

Tony Blair writes about climate change. "Climate change will only be addressed through both technological development and a robust, inclusive and binding international treaty. We are working hard to achieve both." (The Observer - 30/10/05)

A Government ban on the sale or display of birds in markets, shows or fairs will take effect from 29 October as part of EU-wide measures to halt the spread of avian flu agreed last week.

Prince Charles yesterday made a plea to the UK Government and the British public to take better care of the environment. He said "If you think about your and my grandchildren, this is what really worries me. I don't want them, if I'm still alive by then, to say, 'Why didn't you do something about it, when you could have done?'" (The Daily Mail, The Times - 28/10/05)

The European Food Standards Authority has confirmed that there is no risk of humans contracting avian influenza through consumption of poultry and eggs. (Farmers Guardian - 28/10/05)

A mass cull of poultry in the UK is being prepared by Defra officials in meetings with some of the main agricultural firms involved in the clean up and disposal of hundreds of thousands of cattle, pig and sheep carcasses during the foot and mouth epidemic. Experts from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs are holding detailed discussions with contractors about the most appropriate disposal methods should the deadly H5NI form of avian flu reach Britain. Millions of chickens, turkeys and geese could be killed in an official slaughter. Some leading British vets welcomed the fact that Defra is planning ahead having learned from its mistakes in foot and mouth and bird flu outbreaks in other countries. Bob McCracken, a poultry expert and former president of the British Veterinary Association, said badly handled epidemics of avian flu in America and the Netherlands had resulted in the unnecessary culling of hundreds of thousands of turkeys and chickens. "When an outbreak is confirmed it's rather late in the day to run around trying to find contractors able to do the work. Hopefully what this means is that if it is detected in domestic poultry it will be spotted early and that should actually reduce the need for a mass cull."

But Robin Maynard, from the Soil Association, condemned any planned cull, saying Defra should be considering stockpiling a vaccine which has been used in Hong Kong rather than considering "medieval" practices like mass slaughter. Paul van Aarle, from the pharmaceutical firm Intervet, which produces the Nobilis Influenza H5 vaccine said it was an alternative to mass culling. In Hong Kong it was used in an avian influenza control programme and there have been no new bird or human outbreaks since, he said.

News of Defra's plans came as fears grew that the lethal H5NI form of avian flu had reached the heart of the European Union. German vets were yesterday carrying out tests on 35 dead wild geese and ducks discovered over the last two days in a lake in Neuwied, near Bonn. Experts are waiting for the outcome of tests to see whether the birds had been carrying the deadly H5N1 bird flu strain. In France agriculture officials ordered free range poultry farmed in more than one fifth of the country to be kept inside yesterday over concerns that migratory wildfowl could spread bird flu to the country. (The Guardian - 26/10/05)

The European Food Safety Agency has advised consumers to avoid eating raw eggs and meat to prevent the spread of bird flu. The food safety watchdog - which advises European authorities but does not have the power to issue binding recommendations - said: "We don't have any evidence that the virus can be transmitted through food. But we can't exclude it either." A spokesperson for the British Egg Information Service, which represents 85 per cent of producers, said: "We don't have avian flu in the UK. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs assess the risk as low, even now." The Soil Association also accused the agency of causing unnecessary panic. Patrick Holden said: "I think there are two viruses going around at the moment - one is avian flu and the other is the fear of avian flu. If there is good science to show raw eggs present a real public health threat, we have to take that seriously. But I am not aware of that science and I would have thought this is an over-reaction. (Daily Mail - 26/10/05)

Britons could be at the back of the queue for flu vaccines because the Government failed to pre-order stocks, it emerged last night. Chiron, a leading drug firm, said it has not been asked to provide a vaccine for victims of a pandemic should avian flu virus mutate into a human killer. Other nations are already in talks with drug firms to ensure they have reserve stocks ready. (Daily Express - 26/10/05)

GM crops can contaminate significant numbers of plants up to 50 yards away, the Government's own research has revealed. The latest results come from the four-year long Farm- Scale Evaluation Trials, funded by Defra, which have now finished. For a type of winter oil seed rape known as varietal association, they found that 77 plants per 10,000 were contaminated at 50 metres (54 yards). For the spring version of the same type of oil seed rape contamination reached 37 per 10,000 plants. Previous research has shown that GM seed can travel well beyond 50 metres with some even found as far as 16 miles away. But this is understood to be the first time that precise levels of contamination at this distance have been studied. (Daily Mail - 26/10/05)

Jamie Oliver opened the first specialist training kitchen for school dinner ladies. The kitchen is the brainchild of Jeanette Orrey, the award-winning dinner lady. She has been working with food supplier Ashlyns Organics to develop the centre at High Laver Hall, near Harlow. Gary Stokes, director of the Ashlyns Training Kitchen, said: "There has been considerable concern at the quality of meals served in schools across the country and the training kitchen is the way that those concerns can be addressed." (The Evening Standard, The Guardian, BBC News - 24/10/05; The Independent, Daily Express, Daily Mirror, Daily Mail - 25/10/05)

The Alternative Technology Centre hosts its sixth Big Green Week, 4-13 November 2005. For more information visit www.alternativetechnology.org.uk or email [email protected].

Organic food is number 8 in a list of the top 50 icons helping shape who we are. The Social Issues and Research Centre report, for finance firm Egg, also puts Jamie Oliver at number 14, and Farmers Markets at number 24. The top three are 9/11, Tsunami, and War on Terror. (The Daily Mirror - 24/10/05)

More than 300 farmers have dropped out of the government's organic farming scheme as subsidies dried up and profit margins tumbled. Since 2001, more than £21.8 million has gone to farmers to convert to organic production, while £7 million in grants has been awarded to organic producers to support infrastructure investments of around £34 million. But since the funding stopped, farmers have struggled with low returns, high supermarket prices, increasing bureaucracy and a lack of government backing. Carey Coombs, policy manager for the Soil Association in Scotland, says there has been a "high drop-out rate", particularly among hill farmers. "When the Executive was trying to encourage as many farmers to convert to organic as possible, a lot of hill farmers thought it would be an easy way to get a few quid, and quite rightly too," he said. "But it was a badly constructed scheme and we've learnt by that and we have to look forward and make sure we learn from the mistakes." (The Scotsman - 24/10/05)

As promotion of its 'Taste of Britain 2005' awards, in conjunction with Sainsbury's, The Daily Telegraph looks at the dramatic growth of the organic food market. The Soil Association's Marketing Director Martin Cottingham says there is a pattern for people buying organic: "They start with fruit and veg, graduate to eggs and dairy, then move on to processed foods. The last product tends to be meat because the price premium is higher, although some go straight to meat because of animal welfare concerns". Simon Wright, of Organic and Fairtrade Consulting, counters the argument that you might find the odd slug on organic produce: "Would you rather have a lettuce with slugs on, or a lettuce so toxic even the slugs won't eat it?". To enter the awards go to www.telegraph.co.uk/tasteofbritain (22/10/05)

The Independent considers the 'chemical timebomb in your cosmetics cabinet'. Earlier this year the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an unprecedented warning to the cosmetics industry that it was time to inform consumers that most personal care products have not been safety tested. What concerns FDA scientists is the "cocktail effect" - the daily mixing of many different types of toxins in and on the body - and how this might damage health over the longer term. On average we each use nine personal care products a day containing 126 different ingredients. Some best-selling products are analysed. (24/10/05)

The fight against junk food and dealing with the growing obesity crisis is likely to take 30 years, the new chairwoman of the Food Standards Agency said yesterday. Dame Deirdre Hutton thinks that it will take a generation because people only accept simple messages. Meanwhile, she will target companies that can do most to improve diets. She said that her mission was to shake up the ready meal and convenience food sector and "to achieve a competitive market in healthy food". (The Times - 24/10/05)

Colin and Daphne Gardiner tell the story of how they came to grow 150 varieties of apples on their farm in Wales. (The Times - 24/10/05)

Farmers have teamed up with scientists to create a farm where the cows choose when they want to be milked using automatic booths. The new parlour, developed in Holland, is already in use on several British farms. Manned by robots, the system is said to be so efficient that the farmer can even go on holiday and allow the animals to look after themselves. Joyce D'Silva, director of Compassion in World Farming, said: "This system can bring relief to the cows bulging udder, but she is under such pressure because we have bred her to produce so much milk. We are worried that this development will lead to an increase in factory farming." (The Sunday Times - 23/10/05)

Everyone in Britain is to be offered a vaccine against pandemic influenza, the Department of Health has announced, but only when scientists are able to identify the lethal strain of the flu virus responsible for a future outbreak. This should take six months. Sir Liam Donaldson, the chief medical officer, said the Government will buy 120 million doses of the vaccine, which will be enough to immunise 60 million people. However, Sir Liam admitted that a vaccine cannot be made until scientists know which virus to base it on, and that is only possible once the pandemic strain has emerged. (The Independent - 20/10/05)

Giles Henry of Oakwood Mill Farm in Selkirk, features in an article on bird flu in the Scottish national newspaper, The Herald. If the bird flu virus were to arrive in Britain, he fears he would have to bring his 1000-strong poultry flock indoors, which under current regulations would mean their eggs and meat could no longer be labelled organic. However, he is concerned his business could suffer even before bird flu arrives. He says, "You still get silly articles about 'should we be eating chicken'. You would have to get a raw carcass and drink its blood to have even a slight chance of getting bird flu." (20/10/05)

European health experts have advised consumers to cook poultry and eggs "thoroughly" to minimise the risk of contracting the bird flu that has killed 60 people in the Far East, while also stating that the H5N1 virus, which has been detected in Turkey and Romania, presents a "very low risk to human health". Scientists at the Stockholm-based European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control added that, for those not involved in farming, the threat becomes "almost non-existent". (The Independent - 20/10/05)

Compassion in World Farming has urged governments worldwide to prioritise animal welfare in countries facing avian flu outbreaks and to adhere to globally recognised standards for humane killing for disease control. (CIWF press release - 19/10/05)

On the day that an all-party parliamentary inquiry opened into the impact of supermarkets on Britain's highstreets members of the Women's Institute in Cornwall voted with their country shoe-clad feet. The WI, in what is being dubbed the housewives' rebellion, say that they will "where possible" boycott supermarkets in favour of local shops and hope to make the campaign nationwide next year. (The Times - 20/10/05)

The NFU is warning more than 300 free range poultry farmers that they must make sure everything is in place to house their birds inside if and when Defra orders them to do so. The warning could put them in conflict with hundreds of free range egg and broiler producers whose livelihoods depend on keeping their birds as runarounds. They are being backed by the Soil Association, which believes there is no need now, or in the near future, to inhouse runaround hens.

"We need to be constantly monitoring the situation but at present we don't believe bringing birds in is appropriate," said Robin Maynard of the Soil Association. "You have a situation where you are being told avian flu could reach here in a year, or five or 10. Do farmers have to keep their poultry inside all that time? If you do this you would be destroying the most successful part of the farming sector - the growth of free range and organic."

Andrew Gunther, an organic poultry producer, said moves to house birds permanently indoors were counter-productive. "My birds are resistant to the range of diseases that affect conventional flocks because their immune systems have been boosted through living outdoors. I accept that as a new strain of bird flu, special measures may be required in the short-term, but these should not be at the expense of the principles of good husbandry." (The Guardian - 19/10/05)

Every country, including Britain, should appoint a Cabinet-level minister within the next two months to co-ordinate their response to avian flu, says the United Nations' most senior bird flu expert. David Nabarro, the UN system senior co-ordinator for avian influenza, said that a senior minister needed to be given the responsibility to ensure "joined up government". (The Times - 19/10/05)

Roche, the world's only manufacturer of Tamiflu, said yesterday that it was considering granting licences to other companies to produce its antiviral drug after the emergence of avian flu in Europe. (The Times - 19/10/05)

Four out of ten small stores could be wiped out within a decade creating 'ghost towns' across Britain, it was claimed yesterday. MPs were told Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda and Morrisons are putting small rivals out of business at an alarming rate. Leaders of the UK's 50,000 convenience stores told MPs on the All-Party Shops Group, investigating the effects of supermarket expansion, that 2,000 stores are closing a year. (Daily Mail - 19/10/05)

The future viability of UK agriculture depends on the farming industry engaging with the public, government adviser Sir Donald Curry told a recent conference. "Unless we do a better job in engaging with the public, our ability to maintain a viable food production base will be lost. It is as serious as that." (Farmers Weekly news - 14/10/05)

US farm leaders and politicians have celebrated the 10-year anniversary of GM crop production at a special event at Capitol Hill, Washington as "the most promising development in modern science." (Farmers Weekly news - 14/10/05)

"I left the company because I expressed my concerns regarding the introduction of GM technology in Romania. I believed that neither Romania nor the company were ready and able to monitor and control the GM technology." Dragos Dima, former general manager of Monsanto in Romania, who left the company in 1998. (in Eco Soundings, the Guardian - 19/10/05)

A Defra commissioned report published by Exeter University's Centre for Rural Research examined the "astonishing impact that organic farming is having on England's rural economy". Of the 640 farmers surveyed, nearly half of the new organic farmers had a degree or higher qualification a far larger proportion than the general population. The report also found that organic farmers were on average six years younger than their traditional counterparts, with a much higher proportion of farmers aged 45 and under. Co-author of the report, Matt Lobley of Exeter University, says: "If you look at the population of organic farmers, far more of them come from non-farming backgrounds. They have different skills and different attitudes and are very entrepreneurial." (The Independent, 18/10/05)

A bird flu pandemic is inevitable but unlikely to strike Britain this winter, the chief medical officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, said in an attempt to talk up the government's preparedness for the infection, but talk down its imminence. He said contingency planning was based on an estimate that a new strain of flu mutating from infection in the bird population could kill about 50,000 people in the UK, compared with about 12,000 flu-related deaths in a normal winter. "But it could be a lot higher than that. It very much depends whether this mutated strain is a mild one or a more serious one," Sir Liam told BBC television's Sunday AM programme. (The Guardian - 17/10/05; also the Times; Daily Telegraph; Independent; Daily Mail; Daily Express; Mirror; Sun)

In an article about the threat posed to Britain's Christmas turkeys by bird flu, the Daily Mail claims the free-range and organic poultry industry could also be "devastated" by an outbreak: "A quarter of Britain's 120-million flock is free-range. Precautionary measures such as moving all domestic birds indoors would leave the free-range chicken and egg industry in crisis." (15/10/05)

The Independent included a 'Disappearing World' supplement focusing on 'Vanishing Britain.' Among the "fifty things your grandchildren may never see" are listed mixed family farms. John Humphrys described why he fears for the "small farms [that] are the beating heart of the countryside." (17/10/05)

Actress Sadie Frost "stays healthy by eating organic vegetables and fresh juices in the morning." (Daily Mail - 17/10/05)

The deadly strain of bird flu that killed 60 people in Asia has spread to the fringes of Europe, officials confirmed yesterday. British scientists said the virus found in Turkish poultry was the H5N1 strain that health experts fear will mutate into a human disease that could kill billions of people worldwide. The results of similar tests on dead birds from Romania are expected today. The EU health commissioner, Markos Kyprianou, urged countries to stockpile antivirus drugs to prepare for a future pandemic. He said the commission was proposing to set aside 1bn Euros (£680m) to help make and distribute antivirals and new vaccines. Mr Kyprianou said: "We have received confirmation that the virus found in Turkey is an avian flu H5N1 virus. There is a direct relationship with viruses found in Russia, Mongolia and China." He said hundreds of millions of vulnerable people in Europe, including young children should be given the standard flu jab, but sought to calm fears of an imminent human pandemic spreading across Europe. Bird flu is a potential disaster for Europe's farmers, but there is no evidence the virus has mutated into a form that passes easily between people. "We don't want to create a panic at this point," said Mr Kyprianou. (The Guardian, The Independent, Daily Mail, The Times, Daily Mirror, Daily Express, The Sun, The Financial Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Western Daily Press - 14/10/05)

Britain's chief medical officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, will warn that clean hands are the best defence against the threatened flu pandemic and regular use of an alcohol rub could save millions of lives from other hospital infections. He says: "It does keep me awake at night. It is not a matter of if a pandemic happens but of when." (The Independent - 13/10/05)

The EU has banned all bird and poultry products from Romania after tests confirmed the presence of a strain of bird flu there. Duck samples tested positive for the H5 virus, contradicting earlier findings. But there is no evidence yet that the strain is the serious H5N1 variety, which has killed 60 people in Asia. Further tests will be carried out. (BBC News - 13/10/05)

Toxic chemicals found in food can make men less fertile scientists warned yesterday in an EU-backed study published in the journal Human Reproduction. Men exposed to high levels of the pollutants called PCBs were found to be 60 percent more likely to have damaged sperm. The study showed that the chemicals were a major threat to those with existing fertility problems. The toxins are found in food such as oily fish, meat and dairy products. The study will add to fears that environmental pollutants could be to blame for growing fertility problems. (Daily Mail - 13/10/05)

The Scotsman reported on The Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution's report on pesticides, which includes a call for immediate action on introducing no-spray zones between fields to reduce the risk to residents and bystanders from the chemicals. (The Scotsman - 23/9)

Scotsman journalist Jo Ewart Mackenzie writes about Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), in an article entitled 'Think local and buy direct from growers'. CSA is described as "a simple concept couched in common sense and good old-fashioned community spirit". The CSA concept also fits with the mushrooming UK-wide interest in local, traceable food and, if embraced, would significantly help develop systems of sustainable agriculture. (The Scotsman - 28/9)

Europe has banned all imports of birds from Turkey after an outbreak of Avian flu. Authorities in Romania announced a cull of 45,000 birds in a bid to contain a virus that has struck in the Danube. Both countries are urgently conducting tests to discover if the viruses are the same strain as that which has killed millions of birds in Asia. (Daily Mail 11/10/05)

Talks on a global trade agreement were given a big boost after months of stalemate, as the US and Europe moved closer to a deal to cut drastically their multibillion dollar farm subsidies. An offer by the USA to eliminate agriculture export subsidies by 2010 and reduce trade-distorting payments by 60 per cent was welcomed by European negotiators, although officials are studying the details. Agricultural subsidies have been a crucial obstacle in the negotiations, with developing countries and non-government organisations demanding reductions in subsidies, which are worth $180bn (£102bn) to US and European farmers. (The Independent 11/10/05; The Times)

In an article on the causes of low fertility in men, pesticide exposure is listed as a cause. According to French research institute Inserm, "pesticides have a toxic effect on the testicles and other sex glands." Professor Henry Moore of Inserm says: "The biggest concern is that semen quality may not return, even when exposure to pesticides ceases." (The Independent 11/10/05)

GM crops contaminate the countryside for up to 15 years after they have been harvested, startling new government research shows. The findings cast a cloud over the prospects of growing the modified crops in Britain, suggesting that farmers who try them out for one season will find fields blighted for a decade and a half. Financed by GM companies and Margaret Beckett's Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the report effectively torpedoes the Government's strategy for introducing GM oilseed rape to this country. The study, published by the Royal Society, examined five sites across England and Scotland where modified oilseed rape has been cultivated, and found significant amounts of GM plants growing even after the sites had been returned to ordinary crops. It concludes that the research reveals "a potentially serious problem associated with the temporal persistence of rape seeds in soil." The researchers found that nine years after a single modified crop, an average of two GM rape plants would grow in every square metre of an affected field. After 15 years, this came down to one plant per square metre - still enough to break the EC limits on permissible GM contamination. (The Independent on Sunday; Daily Mail - 10/10/05)

Britons are buying more vegetable seeds than flower seeds for the first time since the Second World War. A poll by MORI also revealed that more people than ever are returning to organic gardening methods. (Sunday Mirror; Daily Mail - 10/10/05)

The school dinners provider Scolarest has published a survey showing that it is parents feeding their children junk food at home who are fuelling childhood obesity. The study shows that nearly half of children aged seven to 14 ate chocolate, cake, sweets or biscuits every day at home. (The Independent - 10/10/05)

Scotland on Sunday's Spectrum magazine published a 16-page food special looking at the very best Scottish foods, including a guide to organic producers in Scotland, where to buy organic produce, and where to eat out organically - visit www.scotlandonsunday.com/thisweek (9/10/05)

The British charity HDRA launched its new working name Garden Organic - at a nationwide organic growing campaign in Soho Square, London on 5th October 2005. Please visit www.gardenorganic.org.uk

Magnus Linklater of The Times looks at reasons why the British beef industry is in decline and the long term cost of cheap food: "There is a serious argument to be had about the long-term cost of cheap food. Until it is properly engaged, the rainforests will continue to fall, the risk of uncharted imports will grow and the time may come when the great British Food Fortnight evokes little more than a hollow laugh." (5/10/05)

The government's much-vaunted programme for improving school food has only been granted half the money it needs, according to the review panel set up by Ruth Kelly, the education secretary, after the Jamie Oliver TV series. Last spring the government promised £220m to improve food served in schools, but tough new standards, recommended by the panel in its report and agreed by Ms Kelly, will cost about £486m to implement, leaving a gap of £266m. Suzi Leather, who chaired the review panel, said: "There is clearly a gap between what [accountants] have told us about the cost and what the government has publicly committed. The cost of school meals to parents will rise, but the rise cannot be too steep, which is why we have said the secretary of state should look very hard at the impact on low-income families." (The Guardian 4/10/05. Also reported in The Times, The Sun, The Daily Telegraph, Daily Mirror, Daily Express, Daily Mail, Evening Standard, Metro London)

Jamie Oliver was quoted in Metro London "If we are subservient to the kids we will fall down straightaway. If you go to an English lesson the teachers don't say, 'What do you want kids?' because they'd say, 'Aww I want to read Viz.' The truth is, it's going to take some time and this isn't mucking about because it's got to be done properly." (3/10/05)

The Government's School Meals Review Panel report 'Turning the Tables: Transforming School Food', which is published today, concludes, "Caterers should use local, seasonal and organic foods wherever possible." (3/10/05)

Jeff Howell, columnist in the Sunday Telegraph, said, "It would be good if the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution report were the start of a fight-back against the pesticide menace. But the chemical industry has a lot of money and a lot of power, and is unlikely to be put off by a matter as trifling as public health." (2/10/05)

"School governors who defy a government ban on selling junk food to pupils could end up in court." (The News of the World - 2/10/05)

Bob Kennard of Graig Farm Organics, advises readers to buy organic Welsh Mountain mutton in The Times Food Detective column. He notes that beyond the issue of organic feed, "a non-organic sheep, because of its age, will have been exposed to chemicals for a long time. Organophosphorus dips (associated with health concerns and pollution) may have been used many times for disease, and animals may have been wormed routinely." (1/10/05)

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