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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Wal-Mart' Category


Private Capital Invests in “Regenerative Organic” Agriculture

(Beyond Pesticides, April 2, 2024) There is a nascent capital investment effort in the transition to certified organic agriculture beginning to take hold across the U.S., something advocates say is critically needed to meet the current and escalating existential health threats, biodiversity decline, and climate emergency. Mad Agriculture has received early commitments from the Rockefeller Foundation, Builders Vision, and nearly a dozen other investors to contribute to the $50 million Perennial Fund II (PFII), to advance the growth of ā€œregenerative organicā€ agriculture. Forbes is reporting that PFIIā€™s primary objective is to jumpstart the organic land transition, given that this slice of U.S. agriculture makes up less than one percent of total farmland in the country relative to the European Unionā€™s nearly 10 percent of total farmland. ā€œWe commend the work of Mad Agriculture in harnessing the spirit of organic agriculture and mobilizing the private sector to invest in farmers who engage in regenerative organic agricultural practices,ā€ said Max Sano, organic program associate at Beyond Pesticides. In Rockefeller Foundationā€™s press release announcing their early commitment, Mad Capital co-founder Brandon Welch spoke on their vision: ā€œWe are aiming to build a bridge between two distant worlds that need one another to transition […]



ā€œRegenerativeā€ Agriculture Still Misses the Mark in Defining a Path to a Livable Future

(Beyond Pesticides, March 7, 2024) As the threats to health, biodiversity, and climate converge in agricultural policy and practices, the question of defining the fundamental changes necessary to reverse these existential crises takes on life-sustaining importance. Despite the existence of an organic community with governing stakeholders (farmers, consumers, conservationists, retailers, processors, inspectors, and scientists) that has evolved over at least seven decades and is codified in the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) of 1990, the term ā€œregenerativeā€ is now increasingly being advanced as a loosely defined alternative to the organic standard and label, which is transparent, defined, certified, enforced, and subject to public input. The publication AgFunderNews (AFN) last month published its updated ā€œ2024 list of agrifood corporates making regenerative agriculture commitments,ā€ a whoā€™s who of the largest food and agribusiness corporations worldwide. The list includes companies such as ADM, Cargill, Danone, General Mills, Tyson, Unilever, Walmart, and more with commitments to millions of acres in their supply chain practicing ā€œregenerativeā€ agriculture with target dates ranging from 2024 to 2050. The AFN author reporting on the ā€œregenerativeā€ trend states, ā€œ[O]ne big challenge is that ā€˜regenerative agricultureā€™ still has no set definition. While that still holds true, the bigger observation in […]



Decrease Found in Retail Sales of Plants Treated with Bee-Toxic Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, August 17, 2016) In response to dramatic scientific findings, a severe decline in bee populations, and growing public demand for bee-safe plants, a new report confirms Ā the decision Ā of Ā major retailers to phase-out Ā the sale of flowers and trees treated with the pesticides most closely associated with the decline ā€”neonicotinoids. A new report released by Friends of the Earth, analyzes plants purchased at Ā Home Depot, Ā Loweā€™s, Ace Hardware, Ā True Value Ā and Ā Walmart. Many of these major retailers have made public commitments to stop selling bee-toxic neonicotinoids and treated plants. Additionally, the states of Maryland and Connecticut have passed legislation that stops the retail sales of neonics. The report, Ā Gardeners Beware 2016, released yesterday is a follow-up to previous testing that demonstrated the presence of bee-toxic neonicotinoid insecticides in more than half of bee-attractive flowers tested. The 2016 analysis found that 23 percent of flowers and trees tested contain neonicotinoid insecticides at levels that can harm or kill bees, compared to 51 percent in 2014, indicating that stores are selling far fewer plants treated with bee-killing neonics. This reduction is likely due to changes in store policies that commit retailers to eliminate neonicotinoid use on garden plants. Retailer commitments […]



Study Finds Majority of “Bee-Friendly” Plants Sold at Garden Stores Contaminated with Bee-Killing Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, June 26, 2014) Over half of the ā€œbee-friendlyā€ home garden plants sold at garden supply centers such as Home Depot, Loweā€™s, and Walmart have been pre-treated with pesticides shown to harm and kill bees, according to a study released yesterday by Friends of the Earth, Beyond Pesticides and allies. The study, Gardeners Beware 2014, shows that 36 out of 71 (51 percent) of garden plant samples purchased at top garden retailers in 18 cities in the United States and Canada contain neonicotinoid (neonic) pesticides — a key contributor to recent bee declines. Some of the flowers contained neonic levels high enough to kill bees outright and concentrations in the flowers’ pollen and nectar are assumed to be comparable. Further, 40% of the positive samples contained two or more neonics. Gardeners Beware 2014 is a larger follow up to a first-of-its-kind pilot study co-released by Friends of the Earth, Beyond Pesticides, and other groups last August. The new study expanded the number of samples and number of locations where plants were purchased, and also assessed the distribution of neonic pesticides between flowers and the rest of the plant. ā€œOur data indicate that many plants sold in nurseries and garden […]



EPA Issues Stop Sale Order for Food Containers Laced with Nanosilver Pesticide

(Beyond Pesticides, April 3, 2014) A food container production company in New Jersey is finding out that the smallest of ingredients can have big implications for public health. Earlier this week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it had issued a stop sale order to Pathway Investment Corp., manufacturer of Kinetic Go Green Premium Food Storage Containers and Kinetic Smartwist Series Containers. In addition to the order sent to Pathway, the EPA has also issued warning letters to Amazon, Sears, Wal-Mart and other large retailers directing them not to sell these products. The reason for the order: nanosilverā€ā€an extremely small particle of silver that has been added to consumer products of all kinds during the last decade to combat bacteria, mold, and other microorganisms. Because of nanosilverā€™s properties, it is considered a pesticide and active ingredient under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), the primary federal law governing pesticide use in the United States. Under FIFRA, any product containing an active ingredient that acts as a pesticide must be registered with EPA. For public health claims associated with pesticide use, EPA requires manufacturers to show that the product Ā performs as intended and does not Ā pose “unreasonable” […]



Wal-Mart to Pay $110M for Clean Water Act and Pesticide Violations

(Beyond Pesticides, June 6, 2013) Last week Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. plead guilty in cases filed by federal prosecutors in Los Angeles and San Francisco to six counts of violating the Clean Water Act by illegally handling and disposing of hazardous materials at its retail stores across the United States, including pouring pesticides down the drain. The Bentonville, Ark.-based company also plead guilty in Kansas City, MO to violating the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) by failing to properly handle pesticides that had been returned by customers at its stores across the country. As a result of the three criminal cases brought by the Justice Department, Ā and the Ā related civil case filed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Wal-Mart will pay approximately $81.6 million for its unlawful conduct. Coupled with previous actions brought by the states of California and Missouri for the same conduct, Wal-Mart will pay a combined total of more than $110 million to resolve cases alleging violations of federal and state environmental laws. According to the Kansas City Star, the company stated that the fines and penalties would ā€œnot be material to its financial position.ā€ ā€œBy improperly handling hazardous waste, pesticides and other materials in […]



Monsanto’s GE Sweet Corn to Hit Store Shelves

(Beyond Pesticides, August 7, 2012) Like it or not, Monsantoā€™s genetically modified sweet corn will soon be arriving on grocery store shelves of the worldā€™s largest retailer, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., and will not be labeled as such. Despite an onslaught of consumer pressure, the company confirmed late last week with the Chicago Tribune that it has no objection to selling the new crop of Monsantoā€™s genetically modified (GE) sweet corn. Other retailers, including the grocery chains Safeway and Kroger, have not responded on the issue, however Whole Foods, Trader Joes and General Mills have all vowed to not carry or use the GE sweet corn. As the countryā€™s largest grocery retailer, Wal-Mart sells $129 billion worth of food a year, giving it unmatched power in shaping the food supply chain. The GE sweet corn is the first consumer product developed by Monsanto that will go straight from the farm to the consumerā€™s plate, rather than first being processed into animal feed, sugars, oils, fibers and other ingredients found in a wide variety of conventional food. It is engineered to be resistant to Monsantoā€™s Roundup herbicide, the active ingredient of which is glyphosate. The product is also designed to produce a […]



Multinationals Pushing Out Organic Fair Trade Coffee Production in Latin America

(Beyond Pesticides, January 8, 2010) Market forces driven by multinational corporations with increased market share and depressed payments for organic and fair trade coffee is threatening the organic coffee industry in Latin America. This is reversing successful efforts to improve worker and environmental protection in the production of a crop that was introduced to Latin America by Jesuit monks three hundred years ago. According to a recent Time Magazine article coffee has grown to a $70 billion a year industry, making coffee the second most valuable traded commodity after oil. Yet, small growers remain mired in poverty, where working conditions can be miserable; laboring on dangerously steep mountain sides, being exposed to dangerous pesticides and chemical fertilizers, and often going hungry for months out of the year. Organic and fair trade certified production provided a socially just response to this reality. A decade ago when coffee prices were at an all time low, many growers switched to organic for the premium price they could receive. A new article in the Christian Science Monitor highlights the unfortunate trend of growers switching back to conventional chemical-intensive methods. The Center for Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education in Costa Rica (CATIE) estimates that […]



Wisconsin Investigators Find Wal-Mart Improperly Labeled Products As Organic

(Beyond Pesticides, May 14, 2007) Wisconsin consumer fraud investigators have released the findings of a three month long look into claims that Wal-Mart has been mislabeling conventional products as organic. The stateā€™s numerous findings of improper labeling confirmed a complaint placed by the Cornucopia Institute in January. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, in a letter to Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., advised the company that ā€œuse of the term ā€ĖœWal-Mart Organicsā€™ in combination with references to a specific non-organic product may be considered to be a misrepresentation and therefore a violation” of Wisconsin state statutes. While the report did not take action beyond extending a warning to Wal-Mart, the Cornucopia Institute was pleased with the investigationā€™s outcome. ā€œThis finding is a victory for consumers who care about the integrity of organic food and farming,” said Mark Kastel, co-director of the Institute. ā€œWal-Mart cannot be allowed to sell organic food ā€Ėœon the cheapā€™ because they lack the commitment to recruit qualified management or are unwilling to properly train their store personnel. Such practices place ethical retailers, their suppliers, and organic farmers at a competitive disadvantage.” While Wisconsin has completed their investigation, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has […]



Organic Baby Food Sales Soar

(Beyond Pesticides, April 26, 2007) As concerns about the effects of pesticides in childrenā€™s food grows, sales of organic baby food have increased dramatically. Although it still only accounts for a fairly small portion of the overall baby food market, the organic baby food sector is booming. Whole Foods Market Inc. said it has tripled the space allotted to organic baby products in the past five years. Last year, Gerber Products Company rebranded and broadened its organic line, and Abbott Laboratories introduced an organic version of its baby formula. Organic baby food sales soared 21.6 percent to $116 million this past year, after jumping 16.4 percent a year earlier, according to The Nielsen Company. Meanwhile, overall baby food sales rose 3.1 percent to $3.7 billion in the same period, after being essentially flat a year earlier. The data were gleaned from U.S. grocery, drug and mass-market retailers, excluding Wal-Mart. Big companies aren’t the only ones addressing the demand for organic baby products. Two years ago, Gigi Lee Chang started Plum Organics, a line of frozen baby foods that now is a very popular line, according to Whole Foods officials. Ms. Lee Chang got the idea to start the company when […]



Wal-Mart Accused of Labeling Nonorganic Food as Organic, Again

(Beyond Pesticides, January 22, 2007) When the staff at The Cornucopia Institute, an organic watchdog group, surveyed Wal-Mart stores around the country last September, analyzing the giant retailerā€™s announcement that they would begin selling a wide variety of organic food at just a 10% mark-up over similar conventional products, they were surprised to discover widespread problems with signage misrepresenting nonorganic food as “organic.” Now, four months after informing the company of the problems, which could be interpreted as consumer fraud, and two months after filing a formal legal complaint with U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), many of the deceptive signs at Wal-Mart stores are still in place. “It is unconscionable that rather than correct these problems, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. instead responded to our concerns by attacking our comparatively modest public interest group in an effort to discredit our organization in the media,” said Mark Kastel, co-director of the Wisconsin-based Institute. “It is not as if a product recall or store remodeling would have been required to correct Wal-Mart’s deceptive consumer practices. They could have simply sent out an e-mail to store managers and corrected the problem instantly.” New store inspections throughout Wisconsin have found that Wal-Mart stores are still selling […]