Food & Nutrition

Chef José Andrés to Extend His ‘Chefs for Puerto Rico’ Campaign Through Christmas

by Gabe Ortiz – After serving more than 2 million meals in Puerto Rico following the Hurricane Maria disaster, chef José Andrés announced that his “Chefs for Puerto Rico” campaign would be winding down operations on the island and leaving only a core crew working through Thanksgiving—or at least, that’s what he thought. According to Eater, the chef’s World Center Kitchen now plans to stay through at least Christmas to focus “on remote areas and harder-hit communities—those that, according to Andrés, aren’t receiving much aid from other groups”: Last week, World Central Kitchen’s kitchen on Vieques, an island off the coast of Puerto Rico, served its 20,000th meal. And today, from the World Central Kitchen in Ponce, Andrés praised chef Ventura Vivoni for cooking more than 36,000 meals for “the often forgotten center of the island.” While it’s true that local stores and food stands are reopening to reestablish their vital roles in their local economies and communities—“an NGO...

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Saudis to Ease Yemen Siege but Millions to Still Suffer (VIDEO)

by Faisal Edroos – Saudi Arabia‘s decision to ease its blockade on Yemen does not go far enough, say aid and human rights groups, pointing to the spectre of famine that looms over the impoverished Arabian Peninsula country. The Kingdom has said it will ease its blockade on rebel-held parts of the country from Thursday, and allow “urgent humanitarian and relief materials” to pass through the Red Sea port of Hodeidah and the capital’s Sanaa international airport. Saudi Arabia, which has been conducting an air campaign in Yemen since 2015, intensified its embargo on the country on November 5, closing all of the country’s land, sea and air ports after Houthi rebels fired a ballistic missile towards the capital, Riyadh. The Kingdom said the blockade was a necessary precaution aimed at preventing weapons being smuggled into Yemen by Saudi Arabia’s regional rival, Iran. Iran has rejected allegations of arming the Houthis, calling them “malicious, irresponsible, destructive and provocative”....

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Chef Jose Andrés’ Kitchen has Served 1 Million Meals in Puerto Rico, Nearly Double the Red Cross

by Gabe Ortiz – Chef José Andrés landed in Puerto Rico more than three weeks ago and has been working nonstop to feed his fellow U.S. citizens. Initially, chefs Andrés and José Enrique were able to prepare enough nutritious meals to feed around 2,000 people daily—significant, but keep in mind a population of over 3 million is in crisis—but as their “Chefs for Puerto Rico” campaign gained steam, their efforts overshadowed even the Red Cross. Immigrants like chef José Andrés: they get the job done. Nearly a month after Maria, Andrés, World Central Kitchen and volunteers have reached a milestone in their #chefsforpuertorico campaign: As of Tuesday, they’ve prepared and delivered a million meals to residents. As a point of comparison, the American Red Cross has served more than 540,000 meals and snacks (and distributed more than 534,000 relief supplies) in the weeks since hurricanes Irma and Maria struck Puerto Rico, according to a spokeswoman for the organization. ”My...

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Oxfam to Assist Puerto Rico Victims After ‘slow and inadequate’ U.S. Government Response

by Hunter – The charitable organization Oxfam does not generally respond to humanitarian crises in America or other wealthy nations; they primarily provide relief in impoverished or infrastructure-deficient regions of the world. They are making an exception in the case of the ongoing Puerto Rico crisis, and are pinning the need for such action squarely on the Trump administration’s continued lack of action. Oxfam has monitored the response in Puerto Rico closely, and we are outraged at the slow and inadequate response the US Government has mounted in Puerto Rico. Clean water, food, fuel, electricity, and health care are in desperately short supply and quickly dwindling, and we’re hearing excuses and criticism from the administration instead of a cohesive and compassionate response. The US has more than enough resources to mobilize an emergency response but has failed to do so in a swift and robust manner. Oxfam rarely responds to humanitarian emergencies...

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CDC Survey: Obesity is Still Growing in America

by Julie Fidler – Diabetes rates also climbing. One of the largest surveys of health in the United States reveals some sobering, though not entirely unexpected news: Americans are fatter than ever. Ouch. The CDC has been asking Americans 18 and older about their health and their family members’ health every year since 1957. The National Health Interview Survey, which contains data from 2015 on more than 100,000 people, shows that more Americans had health insurance and smoked fewer cigarettes in 2015 than in previous years, but obesity and diabetes rates are still climbing. In 2015, 30.4% of Americans age 20 and older said they were obese, up from 29.9% in 2014. It’s not a huge increase, but it represents a continuation of a trend that has been going on since at least 1997, when researchers began using the current survey format. At that time, the obesity rate was only 19.4%. Source: BGR Brian Ward, health statistician...

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Poor Diet Caused Nearly Half of All Deaths in the U.S. in 2012

by Julie Fidler – Find out what to eat more of and what to avoid. A study released earlier this year reveals that some 45% of all deaths in the U.S. in 2012 were due to “cardiometabolic disease,” or CMD – all because of the average diet. CMD encompasses heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Researchers say that the largest number of diet-related CMD deaths are due to high consumption of sodium, processed meats, and sugar-sweetened drinks, and low intake of nuts and seeds, seafood omega-3 fats, and fruits and vegetables. Says first author Renata Micha, R.D., Ph.D., assistant research professor, Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy in Boston, Massachusetts: “These results should help identify priorities, guide public health planning, and inform strategies to alter dietary habits and improve health. Increased intakes of specific minimally processed foods, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish, vegetable oils, and decreased...

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USDA Report: Bee Populations FINALLY Rising After Years of Decline

by Mike Barrett – Honeybee populations may be starting to rebound. The decline in bee populations and the many threats bees face have been well-publicized. Scientists have been frantically hunting for solutions to the problem. Without bees, we lose much of our food. Without food, well …we don’t want that. Thankfully, there is a bit of good news on the conservation front: honeybee populations are finally on the rise.  A report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released August 1, 2017 shows that as of April, 2017, an estimated 2.89 million bee colonies existed across the U.S. – an increase of 3% from 2016. Beekeepers started to notice several years ago that fewer and fewer honeybee colonies were surviving the winter. On average, 28.7% of hives survived the winter months. But during the 2014-2015 winter, that number dropped 23.1% and hovered there. Source: Vox 2015 Beekeeper Survey: “We’ve Lost Almost Half Our Bee Colonies...

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Scary Dairy: You Scream, I Scream… Monsanto Roundup Ice Cream

by Jessica Corbett – Traces of “probable human carcinogen” found in samples from ten Ben & Jerry’s flavors. Ten out of 11 samples of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream tested positive for glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, the nonprofit Organic Consumers Association revealed on Tuesday. Although the amount of glyphosate detected was below the safety limit set by the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as stricter European regulators, the discovery stands out from a slew of other food producers with Roundup-ridden products—from honey and baby food to Cheerios and Ritz Crackers—in part because of the ice cream maker’s branding. Ben & Jerry’s stated mission is to produce “the finest quality all natural ice cream…with a continued commitment to incorporating wholesome, natural ingredients, and promoting business practices that respect the Earth and the environment.” OCA’s international director Ronnie Cummins accused the company of “rampant greenwashing,” writing Tuesday: The proliferation of $90 billion worth of fraudulently labeled or advertised...

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Prince Charles is Opening a ‘Holistic’ Clinic Where Patients Can Receive Care for Free

by Amanda Froelich – The Health & Wellbeing Centre will offer complementary medicine to patients for free. Prince Charles is giving back in a big way. According to the Daily Mail, Charles is creating a state-of-the-art clinic which will offer free ‘holistic’ care to patients who are referred by NHS doctors. Individuals battling everything from diabetes to cancer to obesity will be welcomed at the clinic, which is backed by the NHS and local authorities from the Health and Wellbeing Centre. The holistic health care center will be built on the grounds of Dumfries House, described as a “stately” home in Ayrshire. Through the Prince’s Charities Foundation, Dumfries House was “rescued” by Charles in 2007 when it was put on the market for £45 million by the 7th Marquess of Bute. His intention was to save it for the nation. In addition to offering complementary therapies, the center will offer fitness and education programs. At present, it is unknown...

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Reverse Robin Hood; Republicans Want To Cancel Food Stamps, Let Poor Starve, Literally

by ursulafaw – “The Bible says that ‘God helps them who help themselves,'” Mike Pence said to a Huffington Post reporter in September. When the reporter replied that the expression was not in the Bible, Pence quipped, “It’s in the Republican Bible.” This exchange was satire but Pence’s recent comment on “personal responsibility” with regard to health issues was real and the furor over government subsidized grocery assistance for the poor is a recurring controversy. This week SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) is once again the go-to doormat of the budgetary process, as it always is renewal-year in, renewal-year out. Food stamps is an emotional issue, like abortion and gun control and so just like those other two topics, vast amounts of mis-information and even dis-information exists and the program is always on the chopping block, despite the fact that in reality it is a tiny portion of the agriculture budget...

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Involuntary Manslaughter Charges for Top State Health Official for Role in Flint Water Crisis

by Andrea Germanos – Advocacy group says new charges boost call for governor to resign. Michigan’s attorney general announced Wednesday that the head of the state’s health department and four others have been charged with involuntary manslaughter for their role in the years-long Flint water crisis. Nick Lyon, director of Michigan Health and Human Services, “failed in his responsibilities to protect the health and safety of the citizens of Flint,” state AG Bill Schuette said at a press conference Wednesday. A press statement from Schuette’s office alleges that Lyon waited a year before alerting the public about the outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease as a result of the crisis, an act that led to the death of 85-year-old Robert Skidmore. He also thwarted an independent researcher from investigating the cause of the outbreak, the statement says. Lyon was also charged with misconduct in office. The others now slapped with involuntary manslaughter charges are former Flint Emergency Manager Darnell...

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Top 10 Brain Damage Causing Habits

by Amelia Kinney – Brain damage is often a result of unnecessary stress and exposure to air pollutants. You might reconsider the consequence of these seemingly innocuous habits when you learn how they can inhibit neurological function and cause the brain to age. 1. Understimulation Remember, for the most part, your comfort zone isn’t doing you any favours. Break away from your normal routine and explore, write, create and travel. Try new things that stimulate the senses. Learning new skills keeps your brain young, and should be a priority at every age. 2. Skipping Breakfast Not eating breakfast can lead to lower blood sugar levels, which ultimately deprives your brain of nutrients. If your brain isn’t given sufficient nutrition, it begins to degenerate. Eat a healthy, filling breakfast high in protein. 3. Smoking Smoking cigarettes can cause obstruction of blood flow to the brain, and also can lead to escape of...

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Days After Administration Promised not to Touch Food Stamps, Trump Budget Reportedly Will Cut Them

by Alan Pyke – Expect big cuts to SNAP, WIC, and food bank subsidies systems. “As far as I’m concerned we have no proposed changes” to the food stamps program, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue told congressmen last Wednesday. “You don’t try to fix things that aren’t broken.” Perdue’s comments, delivering during a Wednesday House Agriculture Committee hearing, seemed to signal that President Donald Trump would not seek to shrink America’s efforts to help low-income families feed themselves. Yet just five days later, a leaked budget document seems to show the White House is going back on Perdue’s commitment — contemplating some combination of policy changes and outright budget cuts for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, also known as food stamps) and other key food supports for the poor. The leaked spreadsheet lists proposed budget requests for thousands of different government line items, without any of the accompanying policy information that would...

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Michelle Obama Offers Great Question To Ask Trump: ‘What Is Wrong With You?’ (VIDEO)

by Jon Queally – After seeing one of her signature efforts go backwards under new Republican administration, former First Lady wants to know, ‘Why don’t you want our kids to have good food at school?’ With her focus on nutritious foods and making sure access to them was expanded to all children in the nation during her time in the White House, former first lady Michelle Obama is asking some serious questions now that President Donald Trump has moved to go backwards on efforts designed to promote healthier school lunches and reduce childhood obesity. Just months after former president Barack Obama left office, as Common Dreams reported earlier this month, the Trump administration issued orders that weakened standards set by the “Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act,” which Ms. Obama championed and her husband signed into law in 2010. The Obama-era statute repealed by Trump had set guidelines and added funding that would...

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USDA Rolls Back School Lunch Guidelines Championed by Michelle Obama

by Lauren McCauley – The nutrition rules were long abhorred by industry groups who now have a friend in the White House. In one of his first orders of business, President Donald Trump’s newly confirmed Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue took steps to weaken school lunch standards championed by former First Lady Michelle Obama. In an interim final rule, announced by Perdue while he visited an elementary school in the Washington, D.C. suburb of Leesburg, Virginia on Monday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is rolling back nutrition rules that were part of Obama’s Let’s Move campaign that was abhorred by food industry groups. Specifically, Perdue is postponing a regulation that would have required schools to lower the sodium content in lunches. The order has also eliminated requirements that schools serve 100 percent whole-grain rich products, and another that forbade sugary, flavored, one percent milk. As The Hill explains: “Sodium levels in...

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100 Days of Deconstruction: Part 3

by STEVEN HARPER – Across the federal government, Trump is determining the country’s fate. The first 100 days of deconstruction set the stage for 1,360 that will follow. Trump promised to be a transformational leader. It wasn’t an idle threat. He has assembled an unprecedented governmental wrecking crew. This is the third installment on Trump’s a unique combination of kleptocracy and kakistocracy that is reshaping America in ways that most of voters won’t like. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Don’t let the symbolic American missile strike on a Syrian airfield, dropping the “Mother of All Bombs” on tunnels in Afghanistan or threats directed at North Korea distract from a central fact: Trump is Putin’s President. Former ExxonMobil Chairman and CEO Rex Tillerson is a player in the resulting saga. After Trump announced his choice for secretary of state, former Russian Energy Minister Vladimir Milov said that Tillerson was a “gift for...

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Key Report: Hundreds of Native Bee Species Buzzing Toward Extinction

by JULIE FIDLER – One species is already presumed to be extinct. The Center for Biological Diversity has published a first-of-its-kind comprehensive review of more than 4,000 native bee species in North America. The report indicates that more than half the species with sufficient data are declining. Nearly 1 in 4 is racing towards extinction due to increased pesticide and other factors. Of the 1,437 species with sufficient data, the nonprofit found that 749 were declining. An additional 347 (24%) of the species are imperiled and at risk of extinction. The center presumes that the species lacking sufficient data are presumed to be at risk of extinction as well. The author of the report, Kelsey Kopec, said in a statement: “It’s a quiet but staggering crisis unfolding right under our noses that illuminates the unacceptably high cost of our careless addiction to pesticides and monoculture farming.” All of the bee...

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An Orgy of Unnecessary Cruelty

by Robert Reich – The theme that unites all of Trump’s initiatives so far is their unnecessary cruelty. 1. His new budget comes down especially hard on the poor – imposing unprecedented cuts in low-income housing, job training, food assistance, legal services, help to distressed rural communities, nutrition for new mothers and their infants, funds to keep poor families warm, even “meals on wheels.” These cuts come at a time when more American families are in poverty than ever before, including 1 in 5 children. Why is Trump doing this? To pay for the biggest hike in military spending since the 1980s. Yet the U.S. already spends more on its military than the next 7 biggest military budgets put together. 2. His plan to repeal and “replace” the Affordable Care Act will cause 14 million Americans to lose their health insurance next year, and 24 million by 2026. Why is Trump doing...

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East Chicago’s Pleas for Clean Drinking Water Go Unanswered as Trump Moves to Weaken EPA

by Mike Ludwig, Truthout | Report – Environmental justice is on the chopping block at the Environmental Protection Agency, and that doesn’t bode well for communities like East Chicago, Indiana, where the agency recently discovered that drinking water is contaminated with lead. Nearly three weeks ago, a number of East Chicago churches and community groups petitioned the EPA to take emergency action and protect the majority-Black community from lead poisoning, which can cause a long list of health problems, especially in children. As of Tuesday, the local leaders and their environmentalist allies had yet to hear back from the agency. The EPA’s inaction in East Chicago comes as Trump’s administration considers massive budget cuts that could crush the agency’s environmental justice program, which is supposed to ensure the fair treatment of low-income communities, Native communities and people of color under environmental law. The agency’s environmental justice office is slated...

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Trump, Ryan Budgets will Kill More Americans Per Year than all Muslim Extremist Attacks Combined

by Hunter – Meals on Wheels. How far do you have to get down the scale of ideological depravity before your pen lands on Meals on Wheels as the thing you need to get rid of to buy those last two more Tomahawk cruise missiles that will finally make America a super-duper-dominant world power again. That’s only one part of the Trump budget that directly targets the poorest Americans, of course. It also cuts home heating assistance, so those same seniors will have a chance to freeze to death before starving. It takes an axe to EPA efforts to clean up pollution, which will have a disproportionate effect on the air and water of those neighborhoods surrounding those worst polluters. While that will likely result in an uptick in everything from childhood asthma to cancer, the Trump budget also slashes medical research funding in an apparent effort to ensure nobody does...

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“Morally Obscene” Trump Budget Proposal Stands to Make America Cruel Again

by Deirdre Fulton – Environment, public education, worker protections, and cultural institutions all stand to lose under Trump’s “cruel” budget blueprint.   Meals on Wheels. Amtrak. Teacher training, after-school, and summer educational programs. The National Endowment for the Arts. The Appalachian Regional Commission. The National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). All these initiatives and agencies—plus many more—face cuts or wholesale elimination under President Donald Trump’s proposed “skinny budget,” officially unveiled Thursday. Meanwhile, the blueprint calls for increases in military spending, border and immigration enforcement, and money for charter and private schools. The Washington Post has a comprehensive breakdown, with graphics, here. The document was variously denounced as “an all-out assault on our planet;” “dirty and dangerous;” “cruel;” and “unacceptable.” “President Trump’s budget is morally obscene and bad economic policy,” declared Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). “It will cause devastating pain to the very people Trump promised to help...

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‘Dangerous’ and ‘Dumb’: Trump Signs Executive Order Torching Regulations

by Andrea Germanos – “It will fundamentally change our government’s role from one of protecting the public to protecting corporate profits” President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Monday that aims to slash regulations—an action, advocacy groups say, that puts lives at risk. The order—the latest of a flurry since he took office—states that “for every one new regulation issued, at least two prior regulations be identified for elimination,” fulfilling a campaign promise he made. “For fiscal year 2017, which is in progress, the heads of all agencies are directed that the total incremental cost of all new regulations, including repealed regulations, to be finalized this year shall be no greater than zero,” it adds. Trump said before signing the order: “We’ll be reducing big league,” adding “This will be the biggest such act our country has ever seen.” Advocacy groups were quick to decry the executive order as...

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Media Blackout at Multiple Federal Agencies

by Lauren McCauley – Moves come amid growing concern that Trump and his appointees will suppress scientific innovation and research to advance their own ideological agenda. Though the majority of President Donald Trump’s controversial cabinet nominations have not yet been confirmed, his so-called “beachhead” teams have arrived at their respective agencies, carrying out orders that make clear that the “War on Science” has begun. On Tuesday, BuzzFeed broke the news that scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are no longer allowed to share information about taxpayer-funded research with the public. In an email sent Monday and obtained by the news outlet, Sharon Drumm, chief of staff for the USDA’s primary in-house research arm, the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), told the department: “Starting immediately and until further notice, ARS will not release any public-facing documents…This includes, but is not limited to, news releases, photos, fact sheets, news feeds, and social...

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Oxfam: Ten Multinational Corporations Control Most Food Brands

by Dave Johnson – Take a look at Oxfam’s report, “Behind the Brands: Food justice and the ‘Big 10’ food and beverage companies.” A Food System In Crisis The Behind the Brands report explains, “For more than 100 years, the world’s most powerful food and beverage companies have relied on cheap land and labor to produce inexpensive products and huge profits. But these profits have often come at the cost of the environment and local communities around the world, and have contributed to a food system in crisis.” Explaining the campaign, the report says, “Oxfam’s campaign focuses on 10 of the world’s most powerful food and beverage companies – Associated British Foods (ABF), Coca-Cola, Danone, General Mills, Kellogg, Mars, Mondelez International (previously Kraft Foods), Nestlé, PepsiCo and Unilever – and aims to increase the transparency and accountability of the ‘Big 10’ throughout the food supply chain.” “Big Ten” Infographic The report...

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House Republicans Seek Destruction Of School Lunch Program

by Stephen D Foster Jr – The National School Lunch program that provides healthy free or reduced meals for children in need has joined Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare as yet another program Republicans want to gut in 2017. Not only do Republicans want to take Social Security away from the American people and take away healthcare for adults and children alike, they apparently also want to let children starve at school, too. For years, both parties supported the school lunch program, but Republicans have becomes so greedy and heartless that they are breaking that spirit of cooperation in order to ruthlessly take food out of the mouths of the children who need it most. The program currently costs $12.7 billion, which is a drop in the bucket considering Donald Trump just called for expanding America’s nuclear weapons stockpile, which will cost way more than a school lunch. Clearly, Trump nor...

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What’s on Your table? How America’s Diet has Changed Over the Decades

by DREW DESILVER – Americans eat more chicken and less beef than they used to. They drink less milk – especially whole milk – and eat less ice cream, but they consume way more cheese. Their diets include less sugar than in prior decades but a lot more corn-derived sweeteners. And while the average American eats the equivalent of 1.2 gallons of yogurt a year, he or she also consumes 36 pounds of cooking oils – more than three times as much as in the early 1970s. Americans’ eating habits, in short, are all over the place, at least according to our analysis of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) data. Which is about what you’d expect, judging from the results of Pew Research Center’s recent survey on food and nutrition attitudes. In that survey, 54% of Americans said people in the U.S. pay more attention to eating healthy foods today compared with 20...

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More Than Half Of New Yorkers Are One Paycheck Away From Homelessness

by Whitney Webb – A new report has found that 60% of New Yorkers could face eviction, foreclosure, or homelessness in the event of a lost job, medical emergency, or similar crisis due to a lack of emergency savings. Since the 2008 economic crisis, most Americans have seen little of Obama’s much-touted economic “recovery” in their personal lives. Considering that the so-called “recovery” involved printing millions of dollars that went directly into the pockets of the same bankers who created the crisis itself, it’s not surprising that many Americans still find themselves struggling. Throughout the nation, many families are struggling just to get by, especially in areas were wages remain stagnant and the cost of living and housing continues to climb. Many American cities are a microcosm of this larger phenomenon, perhaps none more so than New York City. However, a recent report from the Association for Neighborhood & Housing...

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Hateful Letter To Food Bank Proves We Need Food Stamps

by Wendy Gittleson – A few days before Thanksgiving, a food bank in Central Texas received a letter that was so hateful it could only have been written by a Trump supporter. Dear Foodbank: I don’t understand who these poor folks are that need food. I assume they consist primarily of illegals, who come to Texas for “free stuff.” And of course, our unemployed Africans, who find work too much trouble, especially when they can collect the equivalent of $40,000 a year on welfare, and other “benefits” offered to the unfit, the lazy, and the under-educated…and of course, the drug addicts. I expect that most who need food are marching around whining that the congenital liar, Hillary Rodham Clinton, lost the election. Too bad; How sad. I also wonder if your organization is not one of those Phoney-Baloney, so-called “charities,” designed primarily to provide a good living to its organizers. In...

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School Lunch Worker Forced to Throw Away Student’s Hot Meal Decides to Quit

by Casey Quinlan – “As a Christian, I have an issue with this.” Under a new policy introduced earlier this year, the Canon-McMillan school district in Pennsylvania bars cafeteria workers from serving students a hot meal if their families owe the school more than $25. That’s why, when a little boy in one of the district’s elementary school went over his credit limit, lunchroom staffer Stacy Koltiska was forced to toss his meal in the trash. Instead, according to district policy, Koltiska was supposed to offer the boy two slices of white bread and cold slice of cheese. After this incident, Koltiska — who worked for the district for two years — decided to quit. She says she resigned out of “moral obligation.” “There’s enough wealth in this world that no child should go hungry, especially in school. To me this is just wrong.” “As a Christian, I have an issue with this. It’s sinful and shameful...

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The Clinton Foundation Shows Off The Goods—And Wow, Are They Good

 by Mark Sumner – While the Donald J Trump Foundation is daily melting down into a quagmire of political payoffs, illegal transactions, and astonishing acts of greed, the Clinton Foundation has been doing it’s paperwork. … as questions swirl about Trump’s own Foundation, thanks to a series of investigative articles in The Washington Post that reveal Trump uses almost none of his own money to make donations, the Initiative’s annual meeting is an apt time for the Clintons to show off just how much good their Foundation has actually done. And boy, did Bill bring the receipts. … 3,600: That’s how many public commitments the Initiative’s attendees have made on stage over the last 12 years. 435 million: That’s how many people those commitments have helped. 52 million: That’s how many children have received access to education as a result of those commitments. 114 million: That’s how many people can drink clean water because of...

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Decried as Unfair, Taxes on Groceries Persist in Some States

by Elaine S. Povich – Thirteen states and many localities continue to tax the sale of groceries, even though the taxes disproportionately hurt the poor and may affect the quality, variety and even the amount of food they can afford to put on the table. The reason: The taxes provide a steady source of revenue in volatile times, making it difficult for states to get rid of them without finding a way to make up the revenue. Recent efforts in several of the states to eliminate or lower the taxes have failed. “States might be looking at getting rid of sales tax on groceries, but groceries are between a sixth and a seventh of all consumption,” said Scott Drenkard, analyst at the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan tax study group. “If you want to raise the same amount of money you might have to increase the sales tax by a full...

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Fate of Vermont’s Historic GMO-Labeling Law in US Senate’s Hands

by Deirdre Fulton – Victory in Vermont, where GMO label requirements went into effect Friday, may be ‘fleeting’ As the nation’s first GMO labeling law takes effect, food policy experts are warning that its benefits could be “fleeting,” should the U.S. Senate pass a so-called “compromise” bill this week that would nullify Vermont’s historic law as well as other state efforts in the works. Vermont’s law (pdf) requiring food manufacturers to clearly state whether a product is “produced with genetic engineering” went into effect Friday. “Vermont had the courage to say, ‘If it’s the right thing to do, what are we waiting for,'” Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin told a rally of about 150 people on the Statehouse steps. He asked supporters of the law to celebrate on social media under the hashtag#WeLabeledGMOS. “But this victory may be fleeting,” cautioned Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “The Senate will vote next week on a federal...

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Better Labels, Better Food

by Jill Richardson – Here’s an option for food manufacturers who don’t want to disclose all that sugar they use: Use less Food labels are changing. In the past, you could only see how much total sugar was in your food. That included sugars naturally occurring in healthy, whole foods — like lactose in milk — alongside extra sugars like sucrose or high fructose corn syrup, which aren’t so healthy. But the Food and Drug Administration just announced that in the near future, labels will specify the amount of added sugars in packaged products. That makes it easier to spot the sugars you should limit in your diet. Will this change America’s eating habits and health for the better? I hope so. But it might not. The new labels could benefit consumers in two ways. First, and perhaps most obviously, health-conscious eaters may read the labels and select healthier food choices....

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New Mexico Officials Accused Of Forging Applications To Deny Poor People Emergency Food Stamps

by BRYCE COVERT – Kimberly Jones knows just how hard it is to wait for emergency food stamps to come through. New Mexico is supposed to grant people in dire financial situations expedited benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) within seven days, rather than the 30 it takes to process regular applications. But it often doesn’t work out that way. At the end of last year, Jones, who was living in a hotel room because she couldn’t afford an apartment, applied for emergency benefits. But months passed without any word from the state’s Human Services Department (HSD), which oversees SNAP. Forced to decide between spending her meager income from her part-time job caring for a home-bound patient on either food or the hotel room, she spent it on the room, knowing that she needed somewhere to keep her belongings. So while she waited for help buying food, she...

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GMOs Are Complicated, And Our Food System Is Not Designed To Handle Complicated. That’s A Problem

by NATASHA GEILING – This month, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) — an independent group created by Congress — released what is, to date, one of the most extensive reviews of genetically modified crops. The nearly 400-page report looks at everything from genetically modified crops’ potential impact on human health to their impact on the environment. It’s a massive, hulking piece of scientific literature — the panel spent two years pouring over more than 1,000 existing studies on genetically modified crops, interviewing 80 witnesses, and analyzing more than 700 comments submitted by the public. The report comes at an important time in the overall debate about GMOs and their place in the American food system. In a country almost constantly polarized, an overwhelming majority of Americans think that GMOs should be labeled. According to a Pew poll, more than half of Americans believe that GMOs are unsafe. At the same time,...

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The ‘Sell By’ Dates On Our Groceries Are Causing Tons Of Food Waste

by NATASHA GEILING – The food labeling system in the United States is a complete mess. Foods can be labeled “healthy”regardless of how much sugar they contain. Foods can be labeled “Non-GMO” even when they don’t have genes, making the existence of a genetically-modified version impossible. But beyond encouraging misinformation in our food system and potentially leading consumers to make ill-informed nutritional decisions, labels can also be terrible for the environment and food security. Take, for instance, the existence of omnipresent expiration labels. Most consumers assume that these labels are guidelines for the date after which it’s unwise, or potentially unsafe, to eat that particular food product. But expiration labels basically mean nothing. There are no federal standards for expiration dates, except for baby formula, and best-by or sell-by date have no basis in science — instead, they’re a manufacturer’s best guess for when the food is likely to be...

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Costco Is Selling So Much Organic Produce, It’s Helping Farmers Grow More

by Amanda Froelich – Because the retail company can’t keep up with the demand for organics, it has launched a pilot program to help farmers buy land and grow chemical-free crops As TrueActivist has mentioned before, the future is green – that much is clear. Not only have a handful of countries expressed intention to transition completely to renewable energy within the next few decades, the trend of eating wholesome, organic food is on the rise. In fact, so many people are choosing to invest in their health, the popular retail company Costco can’t keep enough organic food stocked to meet customer demand. Believe it or not, the chain has actually surpassed Whole Foods as the top seller of organic produce. As a result, Costco has launched a pilot program to loan organic farmers money to buy land and equipment to increase the supply of the wholesome fruits and veggies. The...

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Diabetes and Prediabetes Rates in California: “A Storm is Coming”

by JULIE FIDLER – 175% increase nationally since 1980 It’s not all rippling muscles and green smoothies in California. A new analysis by University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) researchers shows a shocking number of Californians either have diabetes or are on the verge of developing it.  To be specific 55% of California adults have either diabetes or prediabetes, a condition in which a person’s blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be considered diabetic. The analysis used a predictive model based on national blood testing results and survey data of 40,000 California residents. Dr. Harold Goldstein, the report’s co-author and executive director of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, told The Sacramento Bee: “The numbers are so large that they stop you in your tracks… It’s hard to digest that the situation is as bad as it is.” The team already knew 9% of adults in the...

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Republican Proposal Would Restrict Free Meal Programs At Thousands Of America’s Poorest Schools

by ALAN PYKE – Millions of low-income American students could lose access to free school meals under a proposal circulating among House lawmakers. The measure would reverse years of progress on free meals in U.S. schools by setting a much higher eligibility bar for schools to start making meals free to all students. Thousands of schools have expanded their meal offerings in recent years as researchers expose the extent of child hunger — and the dividends that come from curing it inside schoolhouses. The changes would take away schoolwide free meals programs from more than 7,000 schools that educate almost 3.4 million students in low-income areas, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reports. Another 11,600 schools that have not yet taken advantage of the free meals option for all students would lose access to it under the proposal. Instead of using what’s called Community Eligibility, these schools would have to...

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McDonald’s Kale Salad Surpasses Big Mac in Calorie, Fat Count

by JULIE FIDLER – Over the past year or two, McDonald’s made the decision to appear to offer customers healthy menu options, but appearances can be deceiving. If you’re going to go to McDonald’s for lunch or dinner, you might as well indulge a juicy Big Mac, because the fast food chain’s new kale salads have more fat and calories crammed into it than McDonalds’ flagship burger. McDonald’s Canada’s “Keep Calm, Caesar On” crispy chicken salad. Source: McDonald’s                                                                          Canada The company is marketing the salads as healthy alternatives to McDonalds’ traditional menu. The fast-food chain touts “4 Servings of Vegetables Never Tasted So Good” for its Caesar Salad with Crispy Chicken bowl, while urging customers to “get your...

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5 Ways NOT To “Make America Great Again.” And One Way To Do It

by Paul Buchheit – Mahatma Gandhi said, “A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members.” The visions of “greatness” coming from America’s political and business and military leaders are quite the opposite, with an emphasis on the ‘exceptional’ people who would prefer to have nothing to do with the weaker members of society. 1. Let Government and the Media Ignore 90% of Us Based on a study of 1,779 policy issues, Princeton researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page concluded that “the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.” Government doesn’t listen to us, and the mainstream media fails to inform us about matters that might offend their corporate bosses. As Bernie Sanders explained, “The corporate media does everything they can to keep us entertained without addressing the real issues… don’t even know that we...

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‘This is What Consumers Want’: General Mills to Start Labeling GMOs

by Nadia Prupis – Environmental and consumer advocacy groups hailed decision by food manufacturer and called on Congress to follow suit General Mills will start labeling genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in all its food products, thanks to Vermont‘s impending GMO law and the failure of the ‘voluntary labeling’ law in U.S. Congress this week. “We can’t label our products for only one state without significantly driving up costs for our consumers, and we simply won’t do that,” wrote General Mills U.S. retail chief Jeff Harmening in a post to the company’s website on Friday. “The result: Consumers all over the country will soon begin seeing words legislated by the state of Vermont on the labels of many of their favorite General Mills food products.” The company, which manufactures huge North American brands like Betty Crocker, Yoplait, and Cheerios, among others, now joins Campbell‘s as one of the major food companies in...

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Drug Testing Welfare Recipients Is A Popular New Policy That Cost States Millions. Here Are The Results

by BRYCE COVERT & JOSH ISRAEL – In 10 states, someone who applies for welfare cash assistance through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program doesn’t just have to deal with complicated paperwork at a time when there’s a good chance she’s already in a state of financial crisis. She also has to be screened and possibly tested for substance abuse. And if she tests positive, she won’t receive benefits. Proponents of these programs argue that they’re implemented not just to save money, but to help people who may be struggling with substance abuse. But the data tells a different story. In 2015, despite lack of evidence that programs in other states accomplished their goals, three more states have implemented similar regimes. And a ThinkProgress survey of the 10 states that now have these programs in place found that they continue to be expensive and not especially effective. All...

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Humanitarian Aid Sent to Besieged Syrian Towns

Convoy moves out as Turkish President Erdogan vows to prevent Kurdish forces from creating stronghold in northern Syria At least 100 trucks of humanitarian aid have started moving towards besieged areas of Syria from Damascus, the Syrian Red Crescent and United Nations have said, in the latest delivery of supplies to trapped residents. The Syrian government has approved access to seven besieged areas, the UN said after crisis talks in Damascus on Tuesday, a week before a planned resumption of peace talks between Syria’s warring parties. The aid convoys on Wednesday afternoon started heading for Madaya, Zabadani and Mouadamiya al-Sham near Damascus, and to the villages of al-Foua and Kefraya in Idlib province in the northwest, five of the locations named by the UN.   Turkey launches attacks on Kurdish units in Syria Supplies included wheat and high-energy foods. A medical team would enter Kefraya and al-Foua, the spokesman...

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When Government ‘Saves Money’ And Gets ‘Smaller,’ We All Lose

by Dave Johnson – Many say we should “run government like a business” and “save money” by “cutting spending” and “making government smaller.” Does this work? Do We the People really save money by doing these things? Have you heard the phrase “penny-wise and pound-foolish”? How about “a stitch in time saves nine”? Maybe “eating the seed corn?” When government “saves money,” all of these snippets of time-honored wisdom, warning of what happens to those who try to “do it on the cheap,” should come to mind. Infrastructure You can “save money” by not changing the oil in your car. But have you ever seen a car that has never had its oil changed? After a while white smoke pours out the back because the rings are ruined. Other parts of the engine are also being ruined. Eventually the engine will seize up and quit and you have to either...

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Turning Our Backs

by Isaiah J. Poole – A growing number of states are booting poor people from assistance programs With the winter winds of January came a flurry of reports that several states were moving to cut thousands of people from their Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP, or “food stamp”) rolls. In New Jersey, for example, Governor Chris Christie pulled the plug on benefits to 11,000 unemployed state residents. By this spring, an estimated 500,000 people nationwide could be cut off. For most of them, the maximum benefit of less than $200 a month is all the federal aid they get. For some, it’s their entire income. These people live in states that have chosen to reinstate work requirements on able-bodied adults without children, which had been suspended since the 2008 economic downturn. It means that single adults who aren’t working at least 20 hours a week or participating in a job-training program...

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New Study Links Milk Consumption To Parkinson’s Disease

by Amanda Froelich – “Got Milk?” If so, now might be the time to ditch it. According to researchers from Shiga University of Medical Science in Japan, contaminants found in cow’s milk may increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. As TIME Magazine reports, lead researcher Robert Abbott and his team of colleagues took advantage of an environmental scandal in Hawaii in the 1980s to investigate the connection between milk consumption and Parkinson’s. Around the same time, there was also a study of heart disease among Japanese-American men being conducted. Over 8,000 men were involved, and they were followed from mid-life to death in the study. The participants provided detailed information about what they ate, including how much milk they drank. Some even agreed to donate their brains for research upon death. Abbott and his team studied 449 of the brains and recorded the density of neurons in specific areas of...

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Huge: Monsanto Going to Trial for Crimes Against Humanity

by CHRISTINA SARICH – If you’ve been waiting to finally see Monsanto – one of the most hated companies in the world – to pay for its ecocide, knowing harm of human life, and devastation of our pollinators, then you won’t have to wait much longer. Several activist groups joined by food and farming experts are suing Monsanto for their crimes against humanity. Finally, Monsanto, the US-based, transnational company responsible for introducing multiple genetically modified crops and numerous toxic chemicals into our environment – including saccharin, aspartame, polystyrene, DDT, dioxin, Agent Orange, petroleum based fertilizers, recombinant bovine growth hormones (rGBH), Round Up (glyphosate), Lasso (a herbicide used in Europe), Bt toxic plants, and more – will have to answer to the world for its reign of terror. Monsanto has acted with severe negligence, and the hubris and supremacy of a corporation given personhood, but no longer. The Organic Consumers Association...

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Nine Foods You Should Never Eat Again

by True Activist – (NaturalNews) With so much misinformation out there about food and how it affects human health, making healthy food choices for you and your family can be difficult and confusing. There are a number of specific foods; however, that you will want to avoid in almost every circumstance because they provide virtually no health benefits while posing plenty of health risks. Here are nine foods you should never eat again if you care about preserving your long-term health: 1) White bread, refined flours. By definition, white bread and refined flours in general are toxic for your body because they have been stripped of virtually all vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other important nutrients. Because of this, the body does not know how to properly digest and assimilate these so-called foods, which can lead to health problems. Refined white flour has also been bleached with chlorine and brominated with bromide,...

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Scott Walker Boots 15,000 People Off Food Stamps In Three Months

by ALAN PYKE – In just three months, 15,000 people in Wisconsin have already lost food stamps thanks to Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) decision to enforce full work requirements for the program in Milwaukee despite economic conditions dire enough to trigger a federal reprieve. Walker’s administration made the policy change in April. Since then, anyone deemed to be an able-bodied adult with no dependents to care for must prove they are working or participating in job training programs for at least 20 hours per week. Failing to meet that standard means losing Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits after three months. The 15,000 bumped from the rolls from May to July is only half the number the state predicts will ultimately lose food stamps because of the move. The 20-hour weekly work requirement is typically waived when economic conditions are too tight. Since making people hungrier doesn’t create jobs where...

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