Monthly archives "April 2007"

Another long weekend, and Biowatch’s case

We had a phenomenal response to our pet food offering last week. For those who missed out, a reminder that we’ll only be offering this every second week at present, so you’ll need to wait until next week to stock up.

Being a long (and for some of us, very long!) weekend, many of our suppliers are taking it easy, so we’re a little short of stock this week. Regulars not available include eggs, Zeekoegat goats dairy and Organic Alive’s bread, oats, sunflower seeds, Rapadura sugar, wholewheat flour and white flour.

Hopefully we’ll be back with our full line up next week.

There are signs that the South African situation on genetically modified foods is changing for the better. The major supermarket chains in particular, under pressure from consumers, are starting to change their tune, and not simply pass the buck to government, who to date have been blindly accepting everything the biotech companies have been telling them. Pick ‘n Pay have recently announced that they will not stock the government-backed GM potato until they receive conclusive evidence that it’s safe.

In the past, government rubber-stamping was enough, in spite of the doubts. Now, thanks to consumer pressure, there’s a request for the product to be demonstrated to be safe first. If this is done honestly, we will need to see some independent trials, and not just the industry-led ones we’ve been fed so far.

Other big news on the GMO front is that Biowatch, the NGO that took on, and won, against the industry might of biotech company Monsanto, are still fighting to overturn the ruling that they’re liable for R100 000 in legal fees, in spite of their victory granting them and the public the right to information on GM crops in South Africa. The ruling would effectively bankrupt them, and prevent any other groups filing legal action on behalf of the public, due to the financial risk. Judgement was due yesterday, but has been deferred. We wish them all the best, as the right of us as the public to access relevant and important information is at stake.

Besides the safety issue, there’s of course the aspect that GM crops lead to corporate control of our food supply, and are certainly not of benefit to the small-scale farmer who provides so much of our diversity. Rest assured that the Ethical Co-op (to the best of our knowledge!) does not offer any genetically-modified products.

For our Northern suburbs customers, we now have a new collection point. This is Carla Cole, of 115 Pentz Drive, Flamingovlei, Tableview. Please contact if you have any queries. We hope you’ll find this much more convenient.

A reminder that you can comment on these, or any other issues here on our blog. To order, head on over to

The Co-op team

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We’re very excited this week to be offering a new product that’s been in great demand – pet food. With the tragedy that is the current situation in the pet food industry, it’s wonderful to be able to offer something that’s far better for your pets – Vondi’s Holistic Pet Nutrition.

The Ethical Co-op does not normally offer meat products, but has made an exception with the pet food. The latest Biophile, which is available to order, reviews Vondis, and also briefly discusses vegetarian pet food. But we recognise that most people are going to feed their cats and dogs meat products, and the alternatives are the awful foods commonly available. Vondis believe that food not good enough for human consumption is not good enough for pet consumption, and we’ve actually seen them eating the pet food they prepare! I doubt the same can be said of any other pet food brand.

Being meat, we’ve had to take extra care with our procedures. The meat is stored in a separate freezer, and is packed straight into a separate cooler box for delivery. These cooler boxes are never used for anything else, and the pet food does not come into contact with any of our other products at any stage.

We will also only be offering the pet food every second week, so there will be a week of no handling any meat products at all, and to ensure we maintain the highest cleanliness standards between orders.

To order, head on over to

The Co-op team

Fat chickens, organic farms and pet food

I’m sure most of you have noticed the change in temperature over the last few days. But it’s not only us – the chickens are also feeling colder. One of our egg suppliers, Last Thyme, thought that their chickens were ill, as they’ve been laying less and less (and less). However, all that’s happening is that they are now fattening up and growing new feathers for winter. All their energy is going into growing, rather than laying. Of course, some suppliers would be pumping up the growth hormones and whatnot to increase their laying, but not Last Thyme. So, sadly there are no Last Thyme eggs this week.

We do have a very limited supply from Esperanc though (and these too are happy chickens, certified organic, so no nasty additives either, and they roam outside for 10 hours a day), so we suggest you order fast if you want to get your hands on any eggs this week.

Another of our suppliers is putting a farm of theirs up for sale. It’s a 115 hectare organic farm producing olives, peppers, peppadews and more at Van Wyksdorp in the sub Karoo. It contains a home, outbuildings and standalone cottages, and good water from a number of boreholes.

The asking price is R2,950,000.00. Hopefully we can ensure that the farm goes to a like-minded owner, and can maintain its organic status. We have so few organic farms as it is, it would be a tragedy to see progress being reversed. If you’re interested, please contact admin (at ethical dot org dot za).

Many of us have been affected by the pet food withdrawals that are happening both in this country and internationally. There are only a few multinationals who produce almost all the pet food in the world, so it’s a huge and sometimes dirty industry that makes a lot of money. It also has most pet owners captive. The previous Biophile covered the downside of most pet foods – the most recent issue looks at what alternatives there are. Hopefully the co-op will have some good news to add on the pet food front shortly!

Biophile magazines, past and present, are all available on the site.

To order, head on over to, and to comment on these or any other topics, visit our blog,

Wishing you a warm change of season,
the Co-op team.

A long weekend

With the weekend already underway, it’s a short and sweet newsletter this week. A reminder that the site will still close for orders on Monday afternoon, when many of us will still be away on the weekend, so don’t forget to place your order early.

A new product I really could have used with the start of the weekend is the Sore muscle soak from Meadowsweet! Perhaps more useful for this weekend would have been their Stay awake herb sachet. But overall we have quite a range for you to explore in our Featured and New category this week.

As always, you can return the Camphill large bottles for T1, and the small Camphill bottles for T0.5. As of this week, we’re also paying T0.5 for any honey jars you return. If you need to know more about Talents, and what you can do with them, please contact admin (at ethical dot org dot za), or have a look on the site. We also take back cardboard boxes and the netting to tie up fruit, assuming you’ve carefully untied it, and not torn it open!

You can comment about the issues raised in this newsletter, or any other topic, on our blog,, and to order, head on over to

We wish everyone a safe and enjoyable long weekend,
The Co-op team.