Blog Posts: Food safety

October 2nd, 2018

A 20,000-cow Dairy Farm in Europe? No way!

by David Sánchez

Noviercas is a small village of 158 inhabitants in Northeast Spain. It is located in the province of Soria, inside a region known as the “Spanish Siberia” because of the low population density, less than 8 people per square kilometer.

This village became famous when the co-op Valle del Odieta announced last year their intentions to build a 20,000-cow factory farm in the village. It would be the biggest dairy farm in Europe and the project immediately became controversial for all the potential impacts it could bring to the area and to the farming sector.

Farmers are leading the opposition, as they estimate this factory farm would destroy 700 direct jobs, one third of the dairy farms in the region. It would produce around 368,000 tons of manure per year, the equivalent of the waste produced by a city of 4.4 million people. And the farm would consume between 4 and 6.35 million liters of water per day, more than the total consumption of the city of Soria (40,000 inhabitants). Impacts on the environment and local communities can be huge.

This farm has nothing to do with the European model of livestock farming. We have witnessed fierce resistance to previous dairy mega factory farms with 8,000 thousand cows in the UK or even actions of civil disobedience against a 1,000-cow farm in France.

We cannot allow this model, imported from the US, to come to Europe. Impacts of these huge factory farms are well documented and are reason enough to ask for a ban. Stopping this farm would be a really symbolic step against the invasion of factory farms in Europe to defend a sustainable and social model of farming.

You can read more about it here in English, Spanish and French.

We will campaign with our allies to stop this project. Stay tuned!

January 4th, 2016

To a New Year Full of Victories for Our Food and Water!

By Geert Decock

FoodandWaterEuropeRomaniaFrackdownHere at Food & Water Europe, we’re not only celebrating the New Year, but also the 10th anniversary of our sister organisation, Food & Water Watch.

Together we have grown into a powerful advocate for healthy food and clean water for all, with nearly 1 million supporters in the US and thousands here in Europe demanding that our democracy work to improve people’s lives and protect the environment. Thanks to YOU, our allies, activists and grassroots partners, we’re proving that when we bring people together, we can overcome even the most powerful corporations.

You are a wonderful part of our celebrations, and I want to share just some of the important victories you made happen right here in Europe:

Read the full article…

October 8th, 2015

GM Crops in Europe – Bans Leave Nowhere To Hide

By Eve Mitchell

Act to to Ban GM crops

What a result! Too bad about poor old England.

In a rush of requests to meet the 3 October deadline, 19 of the 28 EU Member States grabbed the chance to lodge formal requests to opt out of genetically modified (GM) crops using new powers brought into law earlier this year. This means that not only do a majority of countries want out of the GM crop experiment in all or part of their territories, but they represent over two-thirds of Europe’s population and two-thirds of our cropland.

The message is clear – we don’t want GM agriculture.

Read the full article…

September 22nd, 2015

How Far Will Cameron Push Fracking?

By Eve Mitchell

Ban FrackingPlanning just got sexy.

Well, ok, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch, but planning just took centre stage in the fight against fracking in the UK, so we need to sit up and do something about it.

I normally talk about food (cloning and GM crops and such), but I live in the UK, and I’m worried about fracking. Just when the rest of Europe is figuring out that it doesn’t work economically, the UK charges full steam ahead. Why we are risking our countryside, our farming (with its billions in food exports) and who knows what else on such a bad deal I don’t know.

Read the full article…

September 3rd, 2015

“I Believe We Should Protect our Food Supplies.” Ban Cloning Now.

By Eve Mitchell

BanCloningBlogFoodandWaterEuropeJoeStonerNoClonesBanCloningFBHere’s what Lionel Burman of Wirral said: “Eating wholesome food is important to me. I would not undermine my health by eating junk food and I would never – ABSOLUTELY NEVER – serve cloned food to my family. I believe we should protect our food supplies. Ban cloning now.”

From the Highlands of Scotland to Bishopsteignton in Devon, people tell us over and over again they simply want cloning for food banned. They have lots or reasons.

Frances Sinclair of East Kilbride says, “I won’t serve cloned food to my family because I want them to be healthy and to be respectful of nature and the natural cycles of life. Food is so important to health and well being, not only ours, but the environment’s.”

You’ve heard the stats and the logic and the rest from me already. Cloning is cruel, it’s unwanted and it’s unnecessary. Now the crucial vote in the European Parliament seeking a ban on cloning for food is set for 8 September, and parallel discussions are taking place in the European Council. We need as many people as possible to tell decision-makers to vote for a full ban on clones, their descendants and imports to keep them out of the European food chain and off your dinner table. Since the Commission wants to let food from the descendants of clones into the food chain and refuses to consider labelling it, we really do need to get this right.

Read the full article…

August 14th, 2015

Scotland’s GM Ban Calls Everyone’s Bluff

By Eve Mitchell

Act to to Ban GM crops

Act to to Ban GM crops

Having had a few days to mull over Sunday’s announcement by Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs Richard Lochhead that Scotland will invoke the EU’s new opt-out mechanism to ban genetically modified (GM) crops, the cleverness of the move continues to impress. In one sense it’s merely a reiteration of Scotland’s long-standing ban on GM crops (a position shared with Welsh and Northern Irish administrations, all of whom have devolved power – full authority over – their agriculture), but that doesn’’t tell half the story.

Formally speaking, Scotland will now ask the (pro-GM) UK Government to ask the European Commission to ask any company seeking approval for a GM crop in Europe to exclude Scotland from said approval under the mechanism introduced earlier this year. It will also use the new law to ask for an opt-out of crops already authorised or in the approvals queue. Democratically-elected governments having to go cap-in-hand to GM companies for permission not to grow their products is, of course, a democratic outrage, but it’s not the only one.

Read the full article…

June 12th, 2015

Cloning For Food: The Answer Is Still “Forget It!”

By Eve Mitchell

What We Say About CloningCloning is one of those political battles that shows how hard our political leadership can try to keep ethics at arm’s length by wearing us down until we give up. It’s been going on for years. Unlike some fights, this one is very easy to understand.

The European Parliament stands firm in supporting the public’s ethical rejection of cloning as a cruel and unnecessary process that has no place in our food system. Even official EU figures show that Europeans roundly reject clones for food. The Parliament demands a full ban on the products of cloning in the food chain.

The great cloning tug of war is still on, and we need to give the rope another good pull. Act now. Read the full article…

April 24th, 2015

More Broken Promises about Democracy over GMOs

By Eve Mitchell

We say no to GMO

Another day, another disappointment about genetically modified (GM) food to fire us up. So be it.

Followers of our GM woes here in the EU may remember that the hard-won scientific underpinning of our laws on GM food and crops have been slowly undermined over the past few years, and our confidence in our food system further eroded at each step. Non-GM animal feed can now contain up to 0.9% GM material, which doesn’t feel like “non-GM” at all, and some want to apply a similar contamination level to food now, too. The central system for authorising new GM crops now enables countries to ban (sorry, “opt out”) of approved crops, confusing the pan-EU Single Market and annoying both citizens and the GM industry in one go. Honey can now contain GM pollen, but you have no way of knowing if it’s in the jar on your table. Read the full article…

April 10th, 2015

Democracy Over GMOs – Digging in For The Long Haul

Food & Water Europe Let Me Decide Say No To GM CropsBy Eve Mitchell

Now that EU Member States can ban genetically modified (GM) crops (and they should) we’re digging in to get the next big change we need – democratic control over GM authorisations. Read the full article…

April 8th, 2015

Trust us. We’re scientists.

By Eve Mitchell

CorporateControlFoodWaterEuropeIt isn’t hard to figure out why giant drug, seed and agrichemical conglomerates play such a big role in the science surrounding their controversial products and practices.

Industry-funded studies routinely produce results favourable to industry, far more so than independent work, and companies need these favourable studies to gain regulatory approval, win market confidence or, just as often, fend off claims that their products are unsafe. The results aren’t pretty. The tobacco industry used to claim that cigarettes were good for you. Right now a cancer link to Monsanto’s world-beating weedkiller glyphosate is unfolding after decades of “science”-backed use as a “safe” product. Read the full article…

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