November 2011


Try the The Wiggly Tendrils new album Gobble

See here.

Or is it a fruit?


This must-read article in The Atlantic, in drawing a structural link between the Communist Party and Wal-Mart (this is interesting since a book I just read drew a similar link between the Chinese Communist Party and the Vatican), attempts to understand and evaluate Wal-Mart’s actions on the road to environmental sustainability, and in addressing the fact that "growing numbers of Chinese were also becoming worried, even frightened and angry, about pollution, adulterated foods, and the corruption that kept local government agencies from taking remedial actions." On the food front, this is the money quote to explain why my Chinese friends do not understand why I would shop at a small local co-op:

"No wonder, then, that many in China’s burgeoning middle class, especially those with children, are seeking refuge in brand-name restaurants—particularly fast-food chains such as McDonald’s and KFC—and grocery markets such as Walmart. Walmart has several times come under fire in China for selling produce tainted with toxic chemical residues, and for mixing organic and nonorganic foodstuffs: this fall, for example, the Chongqing municipal government fined Walmart, and temporarily closed some of its stores, for mislabeling pork as organic. Still, because Walmart is a well-known multi-national corporation with so much at stake in terms of its global brand, Chinese shoppers have assumed that it will be a more trustworthy outlet. (Of course, Americans and Europeans have exactly the opposite reaction, seeking safety in small organic producers rather than big corporations.) And since the Chinese government, too, is concerned about people’s health and social stability, and its own legitimacy, it tends to see these larger, well-branded outlets as both models and responsible allies."

I have no idea what to make of this article.

See here. But for Court followers there is the most intriguing article quote: "The court scheduled five and half hours of argument instead of the usual one, a testament to the importance of the case…" 5.5 hours of oral argument?!?! "The justices will hear two hours of argument on whether Congress overstepped its constitutional authority, 90 minutes on whether the mandate may be severed from the balance of the law if Congress did go too far, and an hour each on the Medicaid and Anti-Injunction Act questions."

…yes according this Swedish article, Förvirring stoppar miljömärkning ("Confusion stops ecolabelling"). The Google Translation is below. Note that in Europe "ecological" is the equivalent of "organic."

Confusion stops ecolabelling
Published 2011-11-09 | Updated 2011-11-09

Someone at the EU Eco-label for foods is not likely to be launched in the near future. The risk of confusion is too great.

To food and agricultural products may be organic is well known. EU Eco Eco-label, formerly known as the flower, are less familiar, and does not include food.
Likelihood of confusion

The European Commission has for years wanted to change it, not least to increase the Ecolabel relevance for EU consumers.

Now, a study commissioned by the Commission has concluded that there are major problems with an eco-label for food, in addition to the ecological already.

One reason is that the risk of confusion is great, even if the Eco-label would measure in some other things that impact of the product after the primary production, ie, in processing, transportation and consumption.

It would require major information effort to sort things out.
Hard to find criteria

The investigators also note that consumers expect that an eco-label also includes requirements for animal care and reasonable compensation to the producers. That makes it even more difficult to find adequate criteria for a rating.

The greatest resistance to an Eco-label for food is as investigators of farmer, environmental and consumer organizations, the organic sector and food industry cooperative body.

They are concerned above all of the risk of a new eco erode the ecological.

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