Agriculture, Beverages & Food

Cigarettes may be damaging not only your own health, but also that of some of the world's poorest children. Much of Malawi's thriving tobacco industry rests on the backs of exploited children, some as young as five years old.
Policy making authority in the Bush administration on tobacco issues will rest largely with the Department of Health and Human Services, the Justice Department, the U.S. Trade Representative and, above all, the White House. Many key officials in these agencies have ties to the tobacco industry or have suggested sympathy for positions favored by the industry.
Monsanto's announcement of their plans to purchase Seminis, the largest fruit and vegetable seed producer in the world, was quickly followed by a statement that Monsanto does not intend to apply biotech to develop these seeds - at least not yet. This is a curious assertion from a dominant biotech company.
On 29 March 2001 a Canadian judge dealt a crushing blow to Farmers' Rights by ruling that Percy Schmeiser, a third generation Saskatchewan farmer, must pay Monsanto thousands of dollars for violating the Gene Giant's monopoly patent on genetically modified canola seed.
Nicaraguan banana workers have been struggling for compensation from Dole Fruit, Shell, and Dow Chemical for exposure to the pesticide DBCP. The obstacles to justice are many, including the US courts, powerful lobbies, and free trade agreements.
Excerpted from the San Francisco's Forum On Global Tobacco Control Policies. Dr. Judith Mackay looks at the ''New Opium War.''
Taco Bell will pay an extra penny for each pound of tomatoes it buys under an agreement with a group of farm workers that had been protesting the fast food chain for three years.
Environmental groups, while praising aspects of the first worldwide treaty governing trade in genetically modified organisms (GMO), criticise the scope of the agreement and worry it could be subverted by powerful free trade interests.
GENEVA (October 16, 2002) -- The United States delegation negotiating the proposed tobacco treaty, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), today continued to take positions that protect the interests of the tobacco industry rather than public health around the world. The delegation spoke out during the negotiations against a provision of the treaty that would allow a ban on the advertising of tobacco in nations whose constitutions allow one.
Uruguay has presented a 500 page document to defend itself against an international lawsuit challenging the country's tough tobacco packaging regulations. The claim was brought by Philip Morris, the global tobacco giant, at the World Bank's International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in Washington DC.