Ethical Newsletter

Fortnightly update. October 2009 #1

Join us for …

Pig Business – What is the true cost of meat?

This UK documentary by Tracy Worcester explores animal welfare conditions in the pig industry and factory farms across Europe. The film reveals that these huge meat factories overcrowd and mistreat the animals, put small farmers out of business, and pollute the water and air, endangering the health of local residents and consumers. Discussion will include conditions in Australia, as recently exposed by environmentalist and campaigner Emma Haswell in one Tasmanian piggery that is a major supplier to Woolworths.

Ethical Consumer Group September meeting – This Thursday – 8th October >> 6.30 – 7.30pm – dinner – byo ‘food and thoughts’ to share >> 8pm – 10.30pm – movie & discussion. Susan’s place, Yarraville, RSVP for further details. Nick Ray 0417 114 492 The Ethical Consumer Group meets monthly to discuss aspects of living out sustainable alternatives in a consumerist culture.————————————-

Some updates regarding Genetic Engineering …

We’re a silly bunch, introducing genetically engineered (GE) food crops – Canola in December 2008 – when as an island nation we have
potential to export GE-free food crops to the world.

Japan set to reject genetically engineered canola Australia’s canola exports are likely to be significantly impacted by the change of government in Japan. The Democratic Party of Japan has pledged to implement stringent GE labelling laws.

Hands off our rice! Today, GE rice only exists in field trials. But all that could change tomorrow as agri-chemical companies and some governments around the globe are trying to commercialise it. Keeping rice GE-free is not just about consumer choice. Rice is the world’s most important staple food – with more than half of the global population eating it every day. Sign the petition and see the video

Our Right To Know Sign the petition, calling on the Federal government to implement strict labeling of food containing genetically
modified ingredients.

The world’s greatest scam? Want to know more about why Genetic Engineering is a big deal?
See the u-tube video

Focus on Diet Soft Drinks…

How sweet it is to be loved by you! The two largest soft drinks producers in Australia, Coca-Cola Amatil and Schweppes Australia, use artificial sweeteners 950 (Ace K) and 951 (aspartame) in all of their diet soft drinks. These are chemical flavour enhancers are used as sugar substitutes.

There are concerns about the safety of all artificial sweeteners, but aspartame (which is 180 to 200 times sweeter than sugar) has probably generated the most controversy. The components – phenylalanine, aspartic acid, and methanol – when processed in the body, break down into formic acid and formaldehyde. These have been associated with retinal eye damage and birth defects.

The “new kid on the block” is Neotame (961), used in most of P&N’s non-diet softdrinks. Neotame is 13,000 sweeter than sugar. While products containing aspartame come with a warning label, legislators are yet to turn their attention to neotame, even though it is many times stronger and appears to be more toxic.

See more at ECG report ‘Artificial Sweeteners in Soft Drinks in Australia”.

Coming up…

“Shopping with a Conscience” Supermarket Tour
Our next public workshop is on the 29th October. 6pm – 8.30pm. Cost $25. Light supper provided. Meet at Footscray Baptist church,
60 Paisley Street, Footscray. Find out more at

Ethical Consumer Group ‘meet & movie’ nights
>> Thursday 12th November screening “The 11th Hour”, Nick’s place, Footscray.
Find out more at

Very Edible Gardens – workshops
Gotta give a plug for these amazing workshops! Get your hands dirty and learn about the real answers to our consumer culture.
Including worshops on Organic gardening (Oct 18), Compost & Worms (Oct 14), Chickens (Nov 11), Soil (Nov 25),
Drought-proofing your Garden (Oct 28), Weeds and Permaculture basics.
Find out more All the best food begins at home!

Sustainable Living Festival 2010
New 2 week program, 6-21 Februrary 2010, and the main event 19-21 February at Melbourne’s Federation Square.
Now is the time to submit your ideas, exhibits and events. Or join the festival volunteer team – enquiries at
Find out more

Volunteers needed to man* a stall?

We’re looking for volunteers who are interested in representing the Ethical Consumer Group at festivals and events. We often have requests to have a stall or presence at functions and haven’t up till now had resources to do this. If you’re interested in helping spread the word in this way, let me know.

* woman/person/dude

See news updates at