Current Actions

  • Tell EPA: Please Protect U.S. Waters from Factory Farm Pollution!

    It’s been 42 years since Congress passed the Clean Water Act. But loopholes in the Act, along with attempts by big polluters (including agribusiness) to weaken the law, have left millions of acres of wetlands, and approximately 60 percent of America’s rivers and streams unprotected.

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)  wants to restore protection to those wetlands and waters—the source of drinking water for 117 million Americans. 

    Who doesn’t want to protect those waters? Big Ag.

    Tell the EPA: Please Protect U.S. Waters from Factory Farm Pollution!


    In March, the EPA, along with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, proposed the Waters of the U.S., a new rule intended to un-muddy the waters around which types of waters are, and are not, covered under the Clean Water Act. Much of the confusion stems from Supreme Court rulings, in 2001 and 2006, which called into question the legal status of waters which remain unprotected, according to EPA Administrator, Gina McCarthy.

    Despite the confusion, the Clean Water Act has been hugely successful both restoring and protecting U.S. waters. Still, according to a June 2014 report by the Environment America Research & Policy Center, more than 200 million pounds of toxic chemicals continue to flow into U.S. waterways every year.

    Factory farms, and all forms of toxic chemical-intensive industrial agriculture, are big contributors to water pollution. One reason? The Clean Water Act includes a host of exemptions for agribusiness. Those exemptions no doubt led to the shut-off of drinking water in August (2014) to all residents of Toledo, Ohio, when toxic run-off from industrial agriculture operations caused an algae bloom so toxic residents couldn’t bathe or wash dishes, much less drink the water.

    Karl Brooks, administrator for U.S. EPA Region 7, which includes Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, says the EPA’s proposed new rule doesn’t threaten the exemptions already in place for Big Ag. Still, industry opposes the rule. And lobbyists have persuaded a group of 30 Republican U.S. Senators to introduce legislation to block it.

    As if the opposition from the well-funded factory farm lobbyists and their super-lobbied senators wasn’t enough, conservative media is also trying to block the EPA’s efforts to protect our drinking water. Fox news has been spreading falsehoods about the proposed rule since it was announced. 

    That’s why the EPA needs to hear from you, right now. Tell them you support the Waters of the U.S. rule! 
  • MAINE: Tell Lawmakers You Want GMO Labeling Now!

     In 2013, Maine became the second state in the nation to pass a GMO labeling law. 

    But consumers in Maine still don’t know which foods contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs)—and they won’t, unless five nearby states, including New Hampshire, pass similar labeling laws.

    Take action: Tell Maine lawmakers you want the right to know what’s in your food now. It’s time to pass a clean, enforceable GMO labeling law!

    The GMO labeling law passed in 2013 in Maine, and a similar law passed the same year in Connecticut, contains a “trigger” clause. That clause, which says that the Maine and Connecticut laws can’t be enacted unless other nearby states also pass GMO labeling laws, makes Maine’s law totally ineffective.

    Vermont, on the other hand, has taken a stand against the biotech and junk food industries, by passing a trigger-free GMO labeling law in May, 2014. 

    As promised, Monsanto and the Big Food sued Vermont immediately after Gov. Pete Shumlin signed H.112 into law. But legal experts expect that lawsuit to go nowhere. 

    Consumers in 64 other countries have the right to know if their food has been genetically engineered. 

    It’s time Maine consumers—and lawmakers—stand up to Monsanto and demand the same rights.
  • Sign Up to Call Voters in Oregon and Ask Them to Vote YES on 92 for GMO Labeling!

    Last year this time, we were all pulling together for a GMO labeling law win in Washington State. We lost. By the thinnest of margins. And one of the big reasons we lost the battle for GMO labeling in Washington State was this: low voter turnout.

    Don’t let low voter turnout defeat GMO labeling in Oregon in November. Sign up here today to call Oregon voters and urge them to vote YES on 92!

    Calling voters in Oregon won’t cost you a dime—and it could help win this key GMO labeling battle.

    Sign up using our form on this page, and we’ll reach out to you with all of the information to get you started.

    Calling Oregon voters is easy! You’ll use a simple calling tool that allows you to spend all of your time talking to voters, rather than dialing and waiting for voters to pick up.

    Once you sign up, we’ll send you a script, and a cheat sheet.

    Want a little more information before you sign up? Watch this video.

    Let’s not lose in Oregon because we didn’t get enough voters out to the polls. We can do this—with your help.

    Thank you!

    Created On: October 1, 2014

  • TAKE ACTION! Tell the NOSB: Do Whatever It Takes to Get these Non-Organic and Synthetic Materials Out of Organic!

    When the National Organic Standards Board meets at the end of this month (October 28 - 30, 2014), the board is expected to review a number of non-organic and synthetic ingredients.

    Take action! Sign our petition to the NOSB, letting them know which non-organic and synthetic materials don’t belong in organic. Please remember to add your own comments!

    The Organic Consumers Association has fought long and hard to keep unessential non-organic and synthetic materials out of organic food and farming.

    It’s always been an uphill battle, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Organic Program (NOP) has recently made it even more difficult.

    Here’s a list of non-organic or synthetic materials that don’t belong in organic, but are being considered by the NOSB include:

    •    “whole algal flour,” a product of synthetic biology
    •    “gellan gum,” a product of “polysaccharide slime formers” that may have been modified by “targeted gene deletions
    •    “tragacanth gum,” which is not essential, as there’s an organic alternative available (organic gum arabic)
    •    “Sherry” and “Marsala,” which are not essential, as these wines can be produced from organic grapes
    •    “cyclohexylamine,” “diethylaminoethanol” and “octadecylamine,” toxic volatile amines used in package sterilization
    •    “egg white lysozyme,” which is derived from factory-farmed conventional chicken eggs and primarily used as a preservative (non-organic and synthetic substances allowed in organic aren’t considered essential if their primary use is as a preservative)
    •    “sodium acid pyrophosphate,” an acid that reacts with baking soda to act as a leavening agent and is not essential, as there are organic acids, including buttermilk, yogurt, molasses, lemon juice and vinegar, that can perform this same function
    •    “tetrasodium pyrophosphate,” an ingredient used in fake meat products to restore texture after complex processing (non-organic and synthetic substances allowed in organic aren’t considered essential if their primary use is to recreate or improve textures lost during processing)

    The NOSB is also reviewing “microorganisms.” Microorganisms are necessary for the production of fermented foods, but the listing needs to be itemized by specific use and application to ensure that it doesn’t inadvertently allow non-essential non-organic and synthetic materials:

    •    “microorganisms” should be limited to starter cultures for fermented foods, and specifically exclude microorganisms that have been genetically modified through the use of mutagenesis and the synthetic biology technique “microbial fermentation

    Under the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA), the NOSB, which consists of a 15-member citizens review panel, has the legal authority to decide which non-organic and synthetic materials are allowed in USDA Organic food. Every five years, non-organic and synthetic materials “sunset,” which means they are removed from organic, unless the NOSB votes to keep them on the National List of Approved and Prohibited Substances.

    In 2013, NOP Director Miles McEvoy changed the sunset process, making it much harder to get non-organic and synthetic materials out of organic.

    Under the sunset process in place since the first NOSB convened in 1992, it took a decisive vote of 10 out of the NOSB board’s 15 members to keep a non-organic or synthetic material in organic.
     
    Under the changes made by McEvoy, it now takes only six out of 15 NOSB members to keep a non-organic or synthetic material in organic. This violates OFPA's requirement for a two-thirds vote on all motions

    Except for “whole algal flour,” all of the materials listed above are scheduled for “sunset” in 2015 or 2016.  Clearly, we need the NOSB to reject whole algal flour, otherwise, under the revised sunset process, it’s unlikely we’ll ever get it back out.

    But what about the other materials listed above? How do we get them out of organic, under the newly revised sunset process?

    The NOSB could still act to stop McEvoy’s power grab. How? By refusing to vote. NOSB review is required by OFPA. If the NOSB won’t review or vote on a “sunset material” that material can’t get back on the National List.

    We can’t give up. We have to keep protesting McEvoy’s change to the sunset process.  He changed it and he can change it back. If he won’t, we’ve got to make sure the next NOP director will.

    Please sign our petition asking the NOSB to do whatever it takes to get unnecessary non-organic and synthetic ingredients out of organic. Please take the time to add your own comments.

  • TAKE ACTION! Get GMO Livestock Vaccines Out of Organic!
    Photo Credit: NIAID via Compfight cc

    Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) aren’t allowed in organics because they fall into the “excluded methods” category—meaning things that are excluded from organics.

    But there’s one exception to the “no GMOs in organics rule”—GMO vaccines for livestock.

    Take action! Sign our petition and add your own comments to get GMO vaccines out of organic!

    Under current law, GMO vaccines are allowed in organic, but only after they’ve been reviewed and approved by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), and with the recommendation that they be approved only in cases where non-GMO alternatives don’t exist.

    Unfortunately, the Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program (NOP) hasn't been enforcing the law. The agency admits that GMO vaccines are used in organic, even though none have been approved. In fact, not a single GMO vaccine has even been submitted to the NOSB for review.

    When the NOSB meets at the end of this month (October 28 - 30, 2014), the board is expected to vote on a proposal requesting the NOP to provide guidance on the use of GMO vaccines.

    “Guidance” isn’t enough.

    Ever since the Richard Matthews admitted, during a May 2009 NOSB meeting, that since the beginning of the program, all vaccines had been routinely allowed in organic, without a review as to whether or not they were genetically engineered, controversy has swirled around GMO vaccines in organic.

    The controversy was fueled by Matthews’ suggestion that instead of the NOP enforcing the law requiring review and approval of vaccines, on a case-by-case basis, the NOSB should just recommend a change in the law. That’s what the NOSB did. Fortunately, the NOP rejected that recommendation.

    So, what next?

    According to the NOSB Livestock Subcommittee:

    In September 2010 the NOP asked the NOSB to formally review GMO vaccines in accordance with the criteria in Section 205.600. The NOSB requested a Technical Report which would address the evaluation criteria as specified in the Act (7 U.S.C 6517 and 6518). In November 2011 the Technical Report, “Vaccines made from Genetically Modified Organisms”, was received by the NOP. This document provided some critical information to the NOSB. The NOSB conducted a review of Vaccines made with excluded methods using the Checklist and criteria as specified at 205.600. The NOSB prepared a Proposal dated April 3, 2012, for public comment and possible vote at the Public Meeting in May 2012.

    Let’s recap. Early in 2009, the NOSB admitted that GMO vaccines were being used in organic livestock, even though none had been reviewed and approved, as required by law.

    Later that same year, the NOSB recommended that all vaccines be allowed, with the caveat “that vaccines made by non-excluded methods be used before those made by “excluded [GMO] methods.”

    The NOP rejected that plan.

    In 2010, the NOP asked the NOSB to formally review GMO vaccines, which led to the publication of a technical report in 2011, and a proposal that was supposed to be voted on in May 2012.

    Now here we are, October 2014, no closer to clarity on what should be done about GMO livestock vaccines.

    It’s time for the NOSB to assert its authority to review, regulate and when appropriate, prohibit genetically engineered vaccines. The NOSB should tell the NOP to enforce the law and get GMO vaccines, none of which have been reviewed or approved, out of organic!

    And it’s time for the NOP to require that every vaccine used in organic be petitioned for review, so that the NOSB, with the help of a technical advisory panel, can determine which ones have been genetically engineered and, of those, which, if any, should be allowed in organic.

    GMO vaccines are inherently unpredictable and possibly dangerous.

    According to a review of the risks prepared by a technical advisory panel for the NOSB:

    . . . the non-pathogenic (not able to cause disease) strain present in the vaccine may mutate or combine with other genes to become pathogenic (virulent; disease-causing) after administration. … With bacterial GMO vaccines (which are predominantly administered via the mouth), there are concerns that the engineered bacteria may recombine with natural bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. … [S]hed DNA [in the animal’s feces and other secretions] could potentially infect other animals and spread the virus or bacteria … [or] recombine with naturally occurring viruses, forming altered virus strains with unpredictable characteristics.

    That doesn’t sound like something that belongs in organic.

    Please sign our petition asking the NOSB to take meaningful action to get GMO vaccines out of organic. Please take the time to add your own comments.

    Created: October 15, 2014

  • Yes! I’d like to deliver a Halloween Card to Lowe’s!

    On Valentine’s Day, tens of thousands of moms, dads, kids, activists and consumers of all ages delivered “Give Bees Some Love” cards to the managers of Home Depot and Lowe’s stores all across the country.

    Since then, Home Depot has taken (baby) steps to help prevent the sale of bee-killing plants and pesticides.

    But Lowe’s? Nothing. Yet.

    Please join thousands of people across the U.S. and Canada and help us deliver Halloween cards asking Lowe's to give bees treats, not tricks, and stop selling bee-killing pesticides. Sign up now, and closer to the date, we’ll send you a Halloween card and a step-by-step guide.

    Bees are responsible for one out of every three bites of food we eat. But they are dying at alarming rates. A growing body of science shows that neonicotinoid (neonic)  pesticides are a key contributor to bee declines.

    And it’s not just the bees. Birds, butterflies, reptiles, earthworms and soil microbes, all essential for healthy ecosystems and food production, are being harmed by neonics.

    Over a dozen retailers across the country recognize that neonics are a problem and are doing their part to start fixing it. BJ’s Wholesale Club, a store with over 200 stores in 15 states eliminated neonics from its store. Home Depot, the world’s largest home improvement retailer agreed to label all plants treated with neonics by the end of 2014 and is working with its suppliers on alternatives to protect bees.

    So what’s up with Lowe’s?

    Lowe’s isn’t listening to clear science or its customer base. Thousands of you have signed petitions, made calls and taken action on social media asking Lowe’s to be a pollinator champion and stop selling “poisoned plants” and bee-killing pesticides.

    It’s time to ramp up the pressure on Lowe’s. Can you help?

    Sign up today to deliver a Halloween card asking Lowe's to give bees treats, not tricks, and stop selling bee-killing pesticides. We’ll provide you with a printable card (or you can make your own) and everything else you need in order to scare up some action at Lowe’s this Halloween!

    Created: October 15, 2014

  • TAKE ACTION! Tell the National Organic Standards Board: Keep Organic Strong!

    The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) plays a key role in protecting the integrity of organics by keeping potentially harmful new food technologies out of organics.

    But that task has become increasingly challenging as new, and increasingly complex, food technologies are introduced. Some of these newer technologies include cloning, nanotechnology, synthetic biology and mutant microorganisms.

    Take action! Sign our petition and add your own comments in support of keeping organics strong.

    In order to address the issue of new food technologies and organics, the NOSB will tackle the issue of redefining what it calls “excluded methods” when the board meets on October 28-30 in Louisville, Ky.

    Currently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines excluded methods as: "Methods used to genetically modify organisms or influence their growth and development by means that are not possible under natural conditions or processes."

    Some of these excluded methods include cell fusion, microencapsulation and macroencapsulation (techniques genetic engineers use to insert altered genetic material) and recombinant DNA technology. Within DNA technology are gene deletion, gene doubling, introducing a foreign gene and changing the positions of genes when achieved by recombinant DNA technology—all forms of genetic engineering.

    Under current National Organic Program (NOP) rules, food or food products that use any of these “excluded methods” cannot be certified organic.

    Some organic certifiers believe the NOP policy has always been unclear.  But now, with so many new food technologies in the mix, regulators and organic certifiers have even more questions.

    As a result, the NOSB is taking another look at its definition and whether or not to revise it in order to protect organics from a slew of new technologies that don’t belong in organic.

    The current definition of “excluded methods” was written in 1995, before any genetically engineered crops had hit the market (only Monsanto’s rBGH had been approved), and before scientists created the first cloned mammal, Dolly the sheep. The use of nanotechnology or synthetic biology in food production was still science fiction.

    Advances in genetic engineering move quickly. It’s not just crops that can be modified. A whole range of processed food ingredients are now commonly genetically engineered, including vitamins, enzymes, microorganisms and cultures.

    In the U.S., no one safety-tests or even catalogues these GMO ingredients, which makes it difficult for organic regulators to know what’s out there or even what to look for. There have been questions as to how well organic inspectors and certifiers are able to enforce the “excluded methods” rule in such a rapidly changing landscape.

    According to Beyond Pesticides:

    “Having a clear definition of “excluded methods” and the limits of its application is critical to ensuring that organic food meets consumer expectations. Other urgent projects of the NOSB –including identifying vaccines made with excluded methods, protecting seed purity, and preventing the contamination of organic fields and food with genetically engineered organisms—all depend on having a regulatory definition of “excluded methods” that stands up to scrutiny.”

    Is the current definition tough enough to keep the latest Frankenfoods out of organic?

    The National Organic Standards Board wants to know. At its next meeting, the Board will consider a “Second Discussion Document on Excluded Methods Terminology,” which is a follow-up to the GMO ad hoc Subcommittee’s first “Discussion Document on Excluded Methods Terminology.”

    The public is invited to comment. Please sign the following petition and add your own thoughts.

  • Tell President Obama: Stop the Toxic Madness!

    Any day now, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is expected to approved Dow’s Enlist Duo, a highly toxic herbicide made from a combination of glyphosate (the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup) and 2,4-D (one of the chemicals used to make Agent Orange).

    The herbicide is designed to be sprayed on Dow’s new Enlist-brand GMO corn and soy crops, which were recently approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)—despite more than 500,000 public comments, a letter signed by 60 Members of Congress, and letters from medical professionals and scientists asking the agency to reject the crops.

    The USDA and the EPA have failed us. It’s time for President Obama to step in. Please send a letter to President Obama and ask him to stop the toxic madness!

    After you send your letter, please take a moment to call the White House hotline at 202.456.1111 and leave a message. You can say something like:

    "I’m calling to urge President Obama to stop the approval of Dow’s “Enlist Duo” herbicide and reverse USDA’s approval of 2,4-D-resistant corn and soybeans. Enlist Duo contains 2,4-D, a chemical that has been linked to cancer, Parkinson’s disease, endocrine disruption, and reproductive problems, and glyphosate, the focus of multiple recent studies linking the toxin to a host of illnesses. Please protect our health, and the health of the environment, by rejecting Dow’s latest request to escalate the use of this be-killing pesticide."

    The USDA admits that if the new crops are approved, the annual use of 2,4-D would jump from 26 million pounds to 176 million pounds.

    Independent scientists predict the spike in the use of 2,4-D would be even more dramatic.

    The proliferation of Roundup Ready crops caused a 527-million-pound increase in the use of glyphosate in the first 16 years, between 1996 and 2011. If farmers start growing Dow’s Enlist brand corn and soy, experts estimate the use of 2,4-D could increase by up to 50 times.

    Please ask President Obama to stop the toxic madness!

    Created: October 6, 2014

  • Sign Up to Call Voters in Oregon and Ask Them to Vote YES on 92 for GMO Labeling!

    Last year this time, we were all pulling together for a GMO labeling law win in Washington State. We lost. By the thinnest of margins. And one of the big reasons we lost the battle for GMO labeling in Washington State was this: low voter turnout.

    Don’t let low voter turnout defeat GMO labeling in Oregon in November. Sign up here today to call Oregon voters and urge them to vote YES on 92!

    Calling voters in Oregon won’t cost you a dime—and it could help win this key GMO labeling battle.

    Sign up using our form on this page, and we’ll reach out to you with all of the information to get you started.

    Calling Oregon voters is easy! You’ll use a simple calling tool that allows you to spend all of your time talking to voters, rather than dialing and waiting for voters to pick up.

    Once you sign up, we’ll send you a script, and a cheat sheet.

    Want a little more information before you sign up? Watch this video.

    Let’s not lose in Oregon because we didn’t get enough voters out to the polls. We can do this—with your help.

    Thank you!

    Created On: October 1, 2014

  • Breaking the Chains: Buy Local, Organic, Fair Made and Fair Trade

    OCA's Breaking the Chains Campaign is focusing consumers' attention on how each purchasing decision can lead to a safer, greener, and more equitable society.

    Millions of green-minded consumers around the world have broken the chains of corporate control in their own lives, by supporting organic, Fair Made, and locally (but also organic) produced products and businesses.

    It is time for consumers to come together as a single voice to break the influence of big chains, corporate agribusiness, and sweatshop-driven economies the world over. Sign our pledge to buy local, organic and Fair Made today!

    You can join the Breaking the Chains network, and become a part of this powerful force for change, by taking the Breaking the Chains Pledge, by distributing the campaign materials, and by spreading the word to family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues.

    Download the leaflet, petition, and 14 Reasons to Buy Local Foods.

    Why Break the Chains?
    The quality and range of America's daily essentials is being dictated and degraded by a powerful network of Brand Name Bullies and Big Box chains. By "outsourcing" from sweatshops in the factories and fields, by cutting corners on public health and the environment, and by sucking up billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies, business behemoths such as Wal-Mart, Monsanto, Starbucks and others have constructed a vast global shopping mall of cheap goods and conveniences, reinforced by a non-stop, 24/7 glut of multi-media distractions.

    Why Organic?
    Under its simplest definition, organic agriculture is farming without synthetic chemicals. Amidst the agricultural industrial revolution, several astute pioneers of the organic movement emerged, heralding the dangers of ecological insensitivity and calling for a return to the responsible farming methods of our past. A leader of this group, Lady Eve Balfour, provides a simple description of the counter-movement that emerged:

    The criteria for a sustainable agriculture can be summed up in one word- permanence, which means adopting techniques that maintain soil fertility indefinitely, that utilize, as far as possible, only renewable resources; that do not grossly pollute the environment; and that foster biological activity within the soil and throughout the cycles of all the involved food chains.

    Why Buy Local or Regional?
    Today, much of our food, conventional and organic alike, is traveling literally thousands of miles from farm to fork. Along the way, food loses its nutritional value, burns fossil fuels, and contributes to global warming. Local foods provide exceptional taste and freshness, strengthen our local economy, and support endangered family farms. But beware local that isn't also organic--or you could end up dining on pesticide-drenched fruits and vegetables.

    Why Fair Made - Fairly Traded, Grown, Sewn, or Manufactured?
    While local and organic food, fiber and bodycare have made great strides in recent years, family farmers and farmworkers continue to struggle to make a living, sweatshops continue to proliferate in the fields and factories, and multinational corporations are gradually conquering organic businesses.

  • Boycott Annie’s Homegrown and the Rest of the General Mills-Owned ‘Traitor’ Brands!

    The company whose mission it is to “cultivate a healthier and happier world by spreading goodness through nourishing foods, honest words and conduct that is considerate and forever kind to the planet” has sold out--to the company whose mission it is to keep you in the dark about what’s in your food.

    Tell Annie’s CEO John Foraker that you’re boycotting Annie’s until General Mills pulls out of the Grocery Manufacturers Association and supports state GMO labeling laws!

    Earlier this month (September 2014), General Mills announced it will buy Annie’s Homegrown in a deal worth $820 million.

    Annie’s CEO, John Foraker, defended the sale of the Berkeley, Calif.-based maker of natural and organic pastas, meals and snacks:

    “We felt that is was a really great time to partner up with somebody like General Mills because our mission is really making products like ours available to a much, much broader set of consumers,” said Annie’s CEO John Foraker. “And to further our mission, we want to be a bigger brand and we want to be impactful in more consumers’ lives.”

    “Somebody like General Mills”?

    As in, “somebody” who spent $2.1 million to defeat GMO labeling initiatives in California (Prop 37, in 2012) and Washington State (I-522 in 2013)?

    As in, “somebody” who belongs to the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), which not only has spent millions to defeat GMO labeling laws, but also sued the state of Vermont for passing a GMO labeling bill? And helped draft a bill in Congress that, if passed, will deny states the right to pass GMO labeling laws?

    As in “somebody” whose shareholders voted overwhelmingly to continue to use genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the company’s food products?

    Or maybe, “somebody” whose sales have taken such a beating lately, that they’re desperate to hop on the fast-moving organic food sales train.

    Turns out, General Mills’ fiscal first-quarter profits and sales were, as one reporter put it, “soggy as a bowl of cereal.”

    Will buying Annie’s make the cereal-makers profits crisp and crunchy again?

    Or will consumers let the company know, in no uncertain terms, that we won’t buy Annie’s products if the profits will go to a parent company whose mission it is to deny consumers the right to know what’s in their food?

    To be fair, Annie’s (before the buyout) donated $40,000 to Oregon’s Measure 92, an initiative to label GMOs—but that’s a pittance compared with what General Mills has spent to defeat labeling laws.

    If Annie’s wants to step up and match its parent company’s $2.1 million (so far) in donations to defeat GMO labeling laws, by donating an equal amount to pass GMO labeling laws in Oregon and Colorado, and if General Mills agrees to pull out of the GMA and support state and federal mandatory GMO labeling laws, maybe we’ll reconsider.

    Created On: September 25, 2014

  • Tell the EPA: Neonics should be banned. Don’t give Syngenta permission to spray even more of its bee-killing poisons on crops!

    Syngenta, one of the world’s top three manufacturers of bee-killing pesticides, wants the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to let it spray higher amounts of its neonicotinoid pesticide ingredient, thiamethoxam, on alfalfa, corn and wheat crops in the U.S.

    Tell the EPA: Neonics should be banned. Don’t give Syngenta permission to spray even more of its bee-killing poisons on crops!

    In a petition filed in August, but not published on the Federal Register until September 5, the pesticide-maker asks the EPA to pass an increase of 4.9 parts-per-million (ppm) of thiamethoxan. The current legal allowable level is 0.1ppm—Syngenta wants it increased to 5.0ppm.

    Syngenta’s thiamethoxan is currently used primarily as a seed treatment. The company wants the EPA to raise the allowed limits so the toxin can be sprayed widely on crop leaves.

    Of Syngenta’s 2013 annual sales of $14.688 billion, around 10 percent came from the sale of neonicotinoids, a known cause of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).

    A 2014 study by the Harvard School of Public Health says that neonics impair bees’ neurological functions. In the study’s trial, 50 percent of hives exposed to sub-lethal levels of neonics disappeared over the course of the winter, while all but one (out of twelve) of the control hives survived.

    Syngenta, along with Bayer and Monsanto, has launched an aggressive public relations campaign that paints the pesticide-makers as “concerned” about the health of bees, and actively working to protect them. The campaign aims to divert attention from neonics and other poisons, to possible other causes of bee population declines, including varro mites and climate change.

    In 2013, the European Union declared a two-year moratorium on the use of three neonics while further studies are conducted.

    This month (September 2014), Canadian beekeepers sued Syngenta and Bayer for more than $400 million in damages, alleging that their use is causing the deaths of bee colonies.

    In the U.S., the EPA has consistently refused to ban neonics, despite the scientific evidence that it is the key cause of CCD.

    Created On: September 25, 2014

  • Take the 4F ‘Factory Farm Free Friday’ Pledge!

    Every time you sit down in a restaurant, or grill a steak, scramble an egg, or drink a glass of milk at home, you’re undermining your health, and contributing to environmental contamination, global warming and animal torture.

    You’re also fattening Monsanto’s bottom line—because 90 percent of America’s non-organic animal feed comes from genetically engineered crops.

    Unless, of course, you choose meat, egg and dairy products that were not produced on a factory farm, or you eat a vegan diet.

    You can help end industrial agriculture’s cruel and unsustainable GMO-fueled factory farm system. Start today by Taking the 4F “Factory Farm Free Friday” Pledge!

    Today’s factory farm model is a disaster. And the premise on which it was founded—cheap food—has proven false.

    A system that dumps tons of untreated waste into waterways, that puts the public at risk of antibiotic-resistant “superbugs,” that contributes to poor personal health, that pollutes entire communities (usually poor and rural), that makes workers sick, that is fueled  by unsustainable GMO crops that can only be grown using increasingly toxic chemicals, and that contributes more greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere than the entire transportation industry, is not cheap.

    Someone is paying for the environmental cleanup. The healthcare costs. The government (taxpayer)-subsidized GMO crops. The extreme droughts, floods, hurricanes and temperatures caused by global warming.

    That somebody is you, the consumer.

    Thanks to the deep pockets of companies like Monsanto, Cargill, Tyson, Dow and others, and their influence over local, state and federal lawmakers, only you, the consumer, will be able to bring down the factory farm system.

    The Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, in a 2008 report, said that our current method of producing food animals in the U.S. “presents an unacceptable level of risk to public health and damage to the environment, as well as unnecessary harm to the animals we raise for food.”

    It’s time for consumers to boycott meat, egg and dairy products from factory farms. And create more demand for [organic and pastured meat, egg and dairy products produced responsibly and sustainably by farmers whose farming techniques have the power to actually reverse  global warming.

    We can do this.

    Let’s make the “Factory Farm Free Friday” Pledge a household name!

    Bring down the factory farms! Take the 4F “Factory Farm Free Friday” Pledge today!

    Created On: September 18, 2014

  • Ask Your Representative to Support the Healthy Climate and Family Security Act
    swisscan via Compfight cc

    If we’re serious about reversing, not just mitigating, global warming, we will have to address the largest contributor of greenhouse gases to the environment: industrial, factory farm, monocropping, GMO, agriculture.

    According to a recent study by the Rodale Institute, if regenerative agriculture were practiced globally, 100 percent of current, annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions would be sequestered. That’s a compelling statistic, backed up by Rodale’s Farming Systems Trial (FST), the longest-running test comparing organic and conventional cropping systems.

    That said, we also need to reduce our use of, and dependency on, fossil fuels.

    Please ask your Congress member to support HR 5271, the Healthy Climate and Family Security Act. If your Representative has already co-sponsored the bill, your letter will thank them for their support.

    Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) has introduced a bill that would require energy companies to purchase pollution permits at auction. All of the auction revenue would be returned in equal amounts to every U.S. resident with a valid Social Security number.

    HR 5271, the Healthy Climate and Family Security Act, calls for CO2 emissions reductions (over 2005 levels) of 20 percent by 2020, 40 percent by 2030, and 80 percent by 2050.

    By putting a price on carbon, the bill encourages energy conservation, energy efficiency and a shift to clean, renewable sources of energy. U.S. families will benefit both economically and environmentally from cleaner air and water and land, millions of jobs created in energy efficiency and renewable energy, and money in family bank accounts during the transition.

    Nine additional House members—Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Rush Holt (D-N.J.), Gerald Connolly (D-Va.), Matt Cartwright (D-Penn.), Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Michael Thompson (D-Calif.)—have so far co-sponsored Healthy Climate and Family Security Act.

    Please ask you member of Congress to join the list of supporters. Thank you!

    More here

    Created On: September 10, 2014

  • MISSOURI: URGENT DEADLINE: Help Stop These Dangerous Pro-Factory Farm Bills!

    Earlier this year, state lawmakers passed two bills that would make it easier for foreign companies, like China’s WH Group, a pork producer that recently bought Smithfield, to build more factory farms in Missouri. The bills would allow more foreign companies to pollute Missouri waterways in order to produce meat to ship back to their own countries.

    Thankfully, Gov. Nixon vetoed the bills.

    But now supporters of the bills, SB 506 and HB 1326, are pushing for the General Assembly to override the Governor’s veto. Use the form on this page to send your lawmakers a letter today and tell them to stop SB 506 and HB 1326!

    In the Spring, Governor Nixon vetoed SB 506 and HB 1326, two nearly identical agricultural bills that would ease foreign-owned factory farm expansion.

    The bills would also classify captive deer as “livestock,” transferring authority from the Department of Conservation to the Department of Agriculture and paving the way for the expansion of captive deer “hunting.” Chronic Wasting Disease (related to “mad cow” disease) is more prevalent in captive deer populations. An expansion of captive deer operations could put wild populations at greater risk.

    Supporters of these bills are pushing for the General Assembly to override the Governor’s veto during the upcoming veto session which opens on September 10.

    Contact your lawmakers and tell them to stop SB 506 and HB 1326 today!

    More on the Governor’s veto and the oversight of captive deer farms here.

  • Get Your Cook Organic Not the Planet Information Kit Today!

    Want to do something for the Planet?

    Head to your local farmer’s market or natural food store and choose sustainable, grass-fed beef for dinner. Or sustainably raised, free-range chicken.

    Because the fact is, that while we need to reduce our use of fossil fuels and find alternative, green technologies, we have the power, now, to drastically improve the climate.

    Just by boycotting any food – meat, dairy or eggs – that comes from a factory farm.

    OCA needs your help to spread the word about the threat that factory farming poses to our health, the environment and the animals who are needlessly confined and tortured.

    To help you do this, we’re offering a free Cook Organic, Not the Planet information kit. Fill in the form on this page to receive your kit today!

    Use the materials at local events, or just pass them out to friends and family!

    As climate activist Bill McKibben writes in his article, The Only Way to Have a Cow, "We should simply stop eating factory-farmed meat, and the effects on climate change would be but one of the many benefits."

    Get your free Cook Organic Not the Planet information kit TODAY!

    Download materials here

  • Tell Reuters: Thank you for supporting writer Carey Gillam and her reporting on GMOs!

    Reuters Reporter Carey Gillam has written about genetic engineering and food for the past 16 years. But Monsanto doesn’t always like what Gillam says, no matter how balanced or well researched. So they recently tried to pressure Reuters into removing Gillam from her beat.

    Thankfully, Reuters is standing up to the Biotech Bullies.

    Please sign our letter to Dayan Candappa, Reuters editor for the Americas, thanking Reuters for supporting Carey Gillam and her coverage of GMOs.

    Bullying is nothing new for Monsanto. The biotech industry has been bullying—and buying—the U.S. political system for years. Yet despite spending $18 million in political campaign contributions in the last two decades, they’re losing the GMO labeling battle. In May, Vermont passed the first no strings, no trigger state GMO labeling law. In November, voters in Oregon and Colorado could well pass GMO labeling initiatives there.

    So now the Biotech Bullies are trying to shoot the messengers (like Gillam), while propagating the news media with pro-GMO advertisements disguised as “factual reporting.”

    The bullies are mad. They’ve come out swinging—at the reporters who are exposing Monsanto’s lies by telling the truth. Because, let’s face it, public awareness is not exactly Monsanto’s friend.

    As Christina Sarich of InfoWars.com wrote:

    What is happening now with journalism, and the scape-goating of Gillam, is no different than what biotech has done in other arenas. Their decades-long history of contaminating this planet and its people with dangerous chemicals is well known, in part due to efforts like those of Gillam, and other writers like myself who are willing to stay staunch when shills and puppets try to take the heat off Monsanto, Dow, Bayer, etc.

    Gillam, no rookie reporter, has been singled out for her fair and objective reporting. Civil Eats, an award-winning daily news source focusing on food issues, cited Gillam in an article, "24 Women Food and Agriculture Reporters You Should Know About."

    The biotech bullies don’t want good reporters writing about GMOs. They don’t want anybody writing about GMOs—unless those writers are on Monsanto’s payroll.
    So they’re gunning for Gillam.

    Let’s tell Reuters we support their decision to stand by Gillam, balanced journalism and the right of free speech.

    Send a “Thank you and keep up the great work!” message to Reuters Editor Dayan Candappa right now.

    Thanks for taking action!

    Created on: August 27, 2014

  • Deadline September 8: Tell the USDA to reject Dow's 'Agent Orange' crops!
    Photo Credit: cdn-pix via Compfight cc

    On August 6 (2014), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), over the objections of 50 members of Congress, and more than 500,000 citizens, scientists, farmers and health professionals, moved one step closer to approving Dow’s new Enlist-brand soy and corn crops.

    We have until September 8 to convince the USDA to reject Dow’s “Agent Orange” crops. Please sign the petition today!

    Dow’s new GMO crops are engineered to withstand massive doses of Enlist Duo herbicide, concocted from a combination of 2,4-D (used to make Agent Orange) and glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup.

    The USDA has admitted that approval of Dow’s new crops will cause the use of 2,4-D to skyrocket from 26 million pounds to 176 million pounds. Scientists predict worse.
    Dow’s 2,4-D is already the seventh largest source of dioxins in the U.S. It’s been linked to a host of ills, including birth defects, infertility, allergies, Parkinson’s disease, endocrine disruption and cancer.

    It’s unconscionable that the USDA would approve these crops. Yet the agency is is on the verge of doing just that. Unless we stop it.

    Thanks for taking action!

    Created on: August 21, 2014

  • Take Action to Protect Pollinators: Ask your Congress member to sign on to this important letter to the EPA

    Bees—and other pollinators—are in trouble. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lists nearly 40 pollinator species as threatened or endangered. Monarch butterflies aren’t faring much better. In California, the Monarch population has declined by 80 percent over 15 years, in part due to the extensive use of Monsanto’s Roundup.

    Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Congressman John Conyers (D-Mich.) are urging Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy to review and revise pesticide regulations in order to protect pollinators. But they need your help today.

    Please contact your Congress member today and ask them to sign on to a letter by Reps. Blumenauer and Conyers urging EPA Administrator McCarthy to review and revise pesticide regulations in order to protect pollinators. (Fill in the form on this page to look up your Congress members).

    On June 20, 2014, President Obama issued a directive to federal agencies asking that they create a federal strategy to promote honey bee and other pollinators’ health and identify what actions can be taken to reverse pollinator decline. The directive specifically asks the EPA to assess the effect of pesticides, including neonicotinoids, on bee and other pollinator health and take action to protect pollinators.

    In their letter to the EPA, Reps. Blumenauer and Conyers reference recent findings that “systemic pesticides – including neonicotinoids – are accumulating in soils and polluting waterways and natural vegetation across the world, leading to widespread impacts on wildlife inhabiting farmland and aquatic habitats.” In addition to their connection to dramatic bee declines, the Representatives also refer to growing evidence that much of the pesticides use is unnecessary and ineffective.

    Please contact your Congress members today and ask them to sign on to a letter by Reps. Blumenauer and Conyers urging EPA Administrator McCarthy to review and revise pesticide regulations in order to protect pollinators.

    Read the Dear Colleague letter: 

    http://organicconsumers.org/documents/Dear-Colleague-Letter-8-14.pdf

    Thanks for taking action!

  • Appetite for a Change Petition

    The Organic Consumers Association calls upon School Boards to recognize the important connection between a healthy diet, a clean environment and a student's ability to learn effectively and acheive high standards in school.

    Please sign our petition asking School Boards to adopt healthier food policies in our schools!

  • Tell Condé Nast CEO Charles H. Townsend: Stop Promoting Monsanto’s Frankenfoods!

    Internal documents from media conglomerate Condé Nast, published August 5 by Gawker, reveal Monsanto’s latest public relations ploy. It involves celebrity chefs and nonprofits teaming up to promote Monsanto’s frankenfoods on TV and youtube.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Condé Nast CEO Charles H. Townsend: Stop promoting Monsanto’s Frankenfoods!
     
    After you take action on this page, call Condé Nast Associate Publisher Christopher Cormier 212-286-7030 and let him know that bribing nonprofits to promote Monsanto as a purveyor of “good, nutritious food” and “sustainable agriculture” crosses the line! Then Post on Condé Nast's facebook page.

    Gawker published an email from Condé Nast outlining plans for a Monsanto-sponsored TV panel on “food, food chains and sustainability,” featuring celebrity chef Mo Rocca. Rocca contacted Gawker the next day saying that yes, he had been pitched that project, but before he gave his answer a letter went out suggesting he was signed on. “That's not the case. I'm not involved with it,” Rocca said.

    Gawker also published a confidential memo it obtained, jointly written by Condé Nast and Monsanto, soliciting nonprofits to promote—for pay—Monsanto’s genetically modified frankenfoods.

    According to Wikipedia, Condé Nast, a division of Advance Publications, is a New York-based mass media company that reaches more than 164 million consumers across its 20 print and digital media brands, including Epicurious and Bon Appétit.

    It’s one thing if Condé Nast wants to sell its own soul to the devil. And find a celebrity to help. But luring nonprofits with cash in order to promote Monsanto’s lies? That’s crossing the line.

    It’s all part of Monsanto’s massively expensive public relations campaign to convince consumers that the Gene Giant manufactures food, glorious food. Instead of what we all know the company actually makes millions of dollars selling: chemicals, toxic chemicals.

    Thanks for taking action!

    Created On: August 6, 2014

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  • DEADLINE TOMORROW JULY 30: Help Stop ‘Agent Orange’ Crops!

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) want to approve Dow’s new Enlist-brand corn and soy crops that are engineered to resist a deadly herbicide, concocted from a combination of Monsanto’s Roundup and Dow’s 2,4-D herbicide. (2,4-D is one of the chemicals used to create Agent Orange, used by the U.S. Army to defoliate jungles and destroy food crops during the Vietnam War).

    Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) are trying to stop them. But they need your help today.

    Please contact your Congress members today and ask them to sign on to a letter by Reps. DeFazio and Pingree asking the USDA and EPA to reject Dow’s “Agent Orange” crops! (You can check the list below to see if your Congress member has already signed. Fill in the form on this page to look up who your Congress members are).

    Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) signaled it will approve Dow’s new Enlist-brand corn and soy crops, even though the agency admits that if the new crops are approved, the annual use of the herbicide 2,4-D would jump from 26 million pounds to 176 million pounds.

    In their letter to the USDA and EPA, Reps. DeFazio and Pingree argue that the agencies are ignoring the science that shows that 2,4-D-resistant crops pose “significant threats to farmers through genetic contamination and herbicide drift, which can damage neighboring crops, wild plants and pollinator habitat.”

    They conclude: “The risks of approving 2,4-D crops are simply too great to jeopardize public health, the environment and the long - term health and safety of our food supply.”

    Please contact your Congress members today and ask them to sign on to a letter by Reps. DeFazio and Pingree asking the USDA and EPA to reject Dow’s “Agent Orange” crops!

    More here and here.

    Read the Dear Colleague letter

    Congress members who have already signed:

    Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.)
    Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.)
    Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.)
    Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.)
    Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.)
    Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.)
    Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.)
    Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.)
    Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.)
    Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.)
    Rep. Sam Farr (D-Calif.)
    Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.)
    Rep. James Langevin (D-R.I.)
    Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.)
    Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.)
    Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.)
    Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.)
    Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio)
    Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.)
    Rep. Mike Michaud, (D-Maine)
    Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.)
    Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.)
    Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-C.A.)
    Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-District of Columbia)
    Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.)
    Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.)
    Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.)
    Rep. Bobby Rush (D- Ill.)
    Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio)
    Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.)
    Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.)
    Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.)
    Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-N.H.)
    Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.)
    Rep. Jackie Speier  (D-Calif.)
    Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.)

    Thanks for taking action!

    Created on: July 29, 2014

  • Tell Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.): I’m Not Too Stupid to Understand GMO Labels!

    The “experts” have spoken, and here’s what they have to say: You’re just too stupid to handle a label on your food that says “this product contains genetically engineered ingredients.”

    Tell Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), acting chair of the subcommittee on Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology, and Foreign Agriculture, that you’re not too stupid to understand a GMO label!

    Please sign our petition to Rep. Davis. Then call 202-225-2171, the main number for the subcommittee, and let them know that you’re not “misinformed” on GMOs. On the contrary, you’re well aware that Monsanto has not only failed to deliver on promises of higher yields, better nutrition, fewer chemicals and happier farmers. But the Gene Giant is also poisoning our food and fields.

    You can also let the committee know that no amount of “improved communications” or fancy public relations campaigns can outweigh the evidence produced by legitimate, independently funded scientists and medical professionals who have sounded the alarm about the negative impact of GMOs on human health and the environment.

    Please sign our petition to Rep. Davis, and call the subcommittee office at 202-225-2171. Then call your Congress member (if he or she is on the list below). Finally, let the subcommittee’s “experts” know that knowledge, not ignorance, has led you to the conclusion that GMOs are bad for your health.

    Members of the subcommittee on Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology, and Foreign Agriculture:

    Chairman: Rep. Austin Scott (GA-8): (202) 225-6531
    Ranking Member: Rep. Kurt Schrader (OR-5): 202-225-5711

    Majority members:
    Rep. Vicky Hartzler (MO-4): 202-225-2876
    Rep. Jeff Denham (CA-10): 202-225-4540
    Rep. Stephen Lee Fincher (TN-8): 202-225-4714
    Rep. Doug LaMalfa (CA-1): 202-225-3076
    Rep. Rodney Davis (IL-13): 202-225-2371
    Rep. Chris Collins (NY-27): 202-225-5265
    Rep. Ted S. Yoho (FL-3): 202-225-5744
     
    Minority Members:
    Rep. Suzan K. DelBene (WA-1): 202-225-6311
    Rep. Jim Costa (CA-16): 202-225-3341
    Rep. Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11): 202-225-7032
    Rep. Ann M. Kuster (NH-2): 202-225-5206
    Rep. Juan Vargas (CA-51): 202-225-8045
    Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18): 202-225-5441

    “Experts” who testified before the subcommittee on Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology, and Foreign Agriculture:

    Dr. David Just, professor, Co-Director, Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs: email: drj3@cornell.edu; telephone: (607) 255-2086

    Dr. Calestous Juma, professor, Practice of International Development, and Director, Science, Technology, and Globalization Project, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, John F. Kennedy School of Government, email: calestous_juma@harvard.edu; telephone: (617) 496-8127

    Dr. Olga Bolden-Tiller, assistant professor, Tuskegee University, email: obtiller@mytu.tuskegee.edu; telephone: (334) 727-8403

    Mrs. Joanna Lidback, owner, The Farm at Wheeler Mountain, email: info@farmatwheelermountain.com; telephone: (802) 525-6997

    Created on: July 16, 2014

  • Tell the USDA: We Have the Right to Know What’s in the Dangerous Poultry ‘Modernization’ Act!
    Photo: WSPA Canada via Compfight cc

    When consumers, food safety advocates and 68 members of Congress objected to a new rule that could lead to more contaminated poultry in grocery stores, and endanger the safety of workers who slaughter chickens, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) revised the rule.

    But the USDA refuses to divulge the changes it made to the Modernization of Poultry Slaughter Inspection rule until the final rule is published in the Federal Register.

    And it won’t give the public a chance to comment.

    Tell the Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack: We want to know what’s in the revised Poultry Modernization Act, and we want the agency to open a new public comment period so we can respond to the changes.

    Earlier this year, more than 100 groups (including the Organic Consumers Association) signed a letter to President Obama and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack urging them to rescind what Food & Water Watch dubbed the “Filthy Chicken Rule.”

    Hundreds of thousands of consumers also publicly opposed the rule.

    How did the USDA respond? By making “secret” changes to the rule and then working to push through a final version without public comment.

    Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) introduced an amendment to the spending bill that would have prohibited the USDA from spending any funds to implement the rule. She had this to say about the USDA’s secret changes and refusal to allow comments:

    “Secretary Vilsack is well aware of my concerns with the proposed poultry processing rule, and the detrimental effect the draft rule would have on food and worker safety, as well as animal welfare. This rulemaking process is not over and I will continue to fight. The fact is that not all stakeholders were equally engaged in this process. I remain concerned this rule drops food safety oversight from USDA into the hands of the industry itself and places workers in jeopardy. The Administration needs to address the concerns raised by myself, other members of Congress, and worker, consumer and animal welfare advocates, as they continue to finalize the rule. The Administration should also publish the revised rule now, open a 120 day comment period, and hold public meetings around the country. We need more transparency and public health stakeholders need to receive due consideration.”

    Poultry is already the most deadly source of food borne illness. And working in a poultry processing plant is already one of the most dangerous jobs in America.

    The “Filthy Chicken Rule,” written largely by Tyson Foods, is nothing more than an attempt to deregulate the poultry inspection and processing industry, to put more profit in the pockets of companies like Tyson. By allowing company employees to “inspect” chicken, and increasing the speed at which workers must process chickens, it puts both consumers and workers at risk.

    Please sign our petition, asking the USDA to give the public a chance to be heard before the “Filthy Chicken Rule” dictates conditions in slaughterhouses nationwide.  

    Created on: July 16, 2014

  • MASSACHUSETTS: Contact Your Legislators Today! Ban Factory Farm Confinement.

    Factory farming advocates such as the Massachusetts Farm Bureau have convinced many of the states’ farmers, even some who treat their animals humanely, to fight for their “right” to immobilize farm animals in cages so small the animals can’t even turn around or stretch their limbs.

    Please contact your legislators today to ask them to pass S.741/H.1456 to ban the most extreme forms of factory farm confinement.

    Massachusetts could become the tenth state in the nation to protect farm animals from the worst forms of factory farm confinement. But we have to act fast--Massachusetts has a two-year legislative session and this session ends July 31. 

    A recent TV news report revealed thousands of Mass. chickens locked in metal “battery cages” so small they can’t even extend their wings. It’s just plain cruel.

    Mass. lawmakers need to put an end to the extreme confinement of farm animals. S.741/H.1456 is commonsense legislation that would prohibit meat companies from locking pigs or calves in cages so small they can’t turn around. We’re encouraging legislators to also protect hens crammed in battery cages on egg factory farms.

    Will you make just two quick, easy calls? Your legislators’ phone numbers will appear when you enter your contact information on this page. Please follow up your call by using the form to send an email. 

    You can say:
    “I’m a constituent and voter, and I’m calling to ask my legislator to work hard to pass S.741/H.1456. The Mass. Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act would prohibit the constant confinement of farm animals in cruel cages.”

    S.741/H.1456 has 83 cosponsors among Mass.’s 200 legislators. If your representative is already a cosponsor, you’ll see a thank-you note appear on this page when you enter your contact information and you can thank them when you make your call.

    Let’s make Massachusetts the next state to get baby cows, pregnant pigs and egg-laying hens out of factory farm cages!

    Go to the Massachusetts Voters for Animals website to learn more.

    Thanks for taking action!

    Date created: June 27, 2014

  • URGENT: Stop the Filthy Chicken Rule & the Tyson Foods Anti-Farmer Act!

    The U.S. House of Representatives could soon vote on its 2015 agriculture spending bill. If Tyson Foods, the nation’s largest factory farm producer of beef, chicken and pork gets its way, the bill will help the company continue to slaughter chickens in filthy and dangerous conditions and cheat the farmers who raise animals for companies like Tyson.

    Don’t let Tyson Foods rule the roost when it comes to food safety or farmers’ rights. Please tell your U.S. Representative to VOTE YES on an amendment introduced by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) to stop the Filthy Chicken Rule, and an amendment introduced by Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) to stop the Tyson Foods Anti-Farmer Act.

    The Tyson Foods Anti-Farmer Act

    Tyson Foods says that rules written by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) will hurt consumers and “increase the price of meat products.” Tyson’s supports a provision, known as the GIPSA rider, in the agriculture spending bill to block the GIPSA rules.

    The GIPSA rules were written to protect the farmers who raise animals, under contract, for companies like Tyson Foods. That’s why we’ve renamed the GIPSA rider the “Tyson Foods Anti-Farmer Act.” Because the rider is really about protecting Tyson Foods’ ability to cheat its farmers. Specifically, Tyson Foods wants to keep the way it calculates farmers’ pay a secret and to punish farmers who complain about being treated unfairly.

    The Filthy Chicken Rule

    As much as Tyson Foods hates the GIPSA rules that would protect its farmers from abuse, it loves another USDA rule that would privatize poultry inspection, put companies in charge of their own inspections, and then increase the slaughtering line speed.

    The official name of this rule is the “Modernization of Poultry Slaughter Inspection Rule.” But Food & Water Watch calls it the “Filthy Chicken Rule” because it would almost guarantee higher levels of contaminants in slaughtered birds. First, by drastically reducing the number of government inspectors. And second, by increasing the line speeds from 140 birds to 175 birds per minute.

    Two members of Congress are taking a stand against the Filthy Chicken Rule and Tyson Foods Anti-Farmer Act with amendments to the House agriculture spending bill.

    Rep. DeLauro is offering an amendment to prohibit the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from spending any funds to implement the Filthy Chicken Rule.

    Rep. Pingree's amendment would limit the Tyson Foods Anti-Farmer Act by allowing the USDA to ensure farmers have the right to free speech and transparency in how their pay is calculated.

    Please help us pass these amendments. The best way to do that is to flood every member of Congress’s office with emails and phone calls. Your Congressperson’s phone number will appear when you enter your contact information. Thank you!

    Created on: July 3, 2014

  • Tell Home Depot, Lowe’s and Walmart: Stop selling Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide!

    A 2009 study found that Americans use about 100 million pounds of glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, annually on their lawns and gardens.

    Those numbers are projected to increase dramatically, in part because as weeds become glyphosate-resistant, they evolve into “superweeds” requiring higher and higher doses of evermore toxic chemicals. And partly because Scott’s is planning to unleash Roundup-Ready grass for both retail and commercial use.

    Tell Home Depot, Lowe’s and Walmart: Stop selling Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide! Fill in the form on this page to send each company a message, then call their corporate offices:

    Home Depot Corporate Store Support Center: (800) 654-0688, press #4
    Lowe’s Corporate: (704) 758-1000
    Walmart Corporate: (479) 273-4000, press #2 for customer service

    Walmart, Lowe's and Home Depot are among the world’s most prolific peddlers of Monsanto’s Roundup. Monsanto must be ecstatic with the hard work these home and garden giants are doing on its behalf, considering Roundup is the world's best-selling weed killer, accounting for $3 billion in annual sales.

    According to Monsanto, Roundup is as safe as aspirin. But a growing body of scientific research contradicts such claims. In April of this year, a peer-reviewed study  published by an MIT and independent scientist determined glyphosate to be “the most biologically disruptive chemical in our environment,” linking it to gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, autism, infertility, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, biodiversity loss, and the endangerment of numerous species.

    The Associated Press recently reported that Argentina’s explosion in cancer rates, the quadrupling of birth defects in Chaco, and the contamination of Santa Fe’s water supply is being widely attributed to the country’s ten year experiment with Roundup.

    And a recent pilot study revealed that, contrary to industry assertions, glyphosate accumulates in the human body, including in mothers’ breast milk.

    It’s not just human health that’s at risk. Roundup is also killing the honeybee and monarch butterfly populations.

    Tell Walmart, Home Depot and Lowe's to stop selling a product that threatens human health, endangers wildlife and pollutes our natural environment.

    Created on: June 13, 2014

  • MINNESOTA: Join Your Local School Food Working Group!

    The school district in your area is one of 10 in Minnesota moving towards more organic and non-GMO food in the lunchroom.
     
    Because you live in one of these communities, we invite you to be part of this exciting opportunity!

    Please fill in the form on this page to sign up to help your school serve more organic and non-GMO food in the lunchroom. A coordinator from the School Food Working Group will contact you with more information on how to get involved.

    We need volunteers to create a small group of citizens within each district to act as liaison between the school district and the community for this project. These citizen groups will communicate with members of the school community to help answer questions and explain the changes being made to the school food program.
     
    We know you share our passion for healthy food and healthy children, so please consider becoming part of this effort and sign up to get involved today!

    Date: June 11, 2014

  • Tell Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz: Switch to Organic Milk!

    Starbucks uses more than 93 million gallons of milk per year, according to 2011 figures (and the company has only grown since then).

    That’s enough milk to fill 155 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

    Too bad it’s not organic.

    Please sign our petition asking Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz to switch to organic milk!

    Starbucks is the largest coffee chain in the world, with 20,100 stores, and annual sales of $14.9 billion.
    Imagine the impact a company that size could have on the organic milk industry. And the role it could play in ending the abuse and unhealthy practices rampant in factory farm dairies.

    Starbucks likes to tout the fact that since it stopped buying milk that contains Monsanto’s rBGH growth hormone, it uses “GMO-free” milk.

    That may be true. But by its refusal to switch to USDA certified organic milk, Starbucks is promoting the GMO agriculture model—because dairy cows are fed a steady diet of GMO feed, including corn, soy, alfalfa, and cotton seed.

    That’s an unhealthy diet for the animals. And an unsustainable model for agriculture.

    Please join GMO Inside and the Organic Consumers Association in asking Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz to switch to organic milk!

    Created on: June 5, 2014

  • Tell the EPA: Stop Dow’s Deadly Duo of Agent Orange and Roundup Herbicides

    What’s more poisonous than Dow’s 2,4-D “Agent Orange” herbicide or Monsanto’s Roundup?

    Enlist Duo, an herbicide made of both 2,4-D and Roundup.

    Tell the EPA, Don’t let Dow poison our food with its “Deadly Duo” of Agent Orange and Roundup herbicides.

    Ignoring the public outcry and pleas by saner members of Congress, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) last week approved Dow’s new corn and soy crops, genetically engineered to withstand not one, but two poisons—a super-toxic, super-poison comprised of glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, and Dow’s 2,4-D,  made with an ingredient that was used in the Vietnam-era Agent Orange herbicide.

    Alone, each of these toxins has a rap sheet long enough to warrant a ban. Yet the so-called Environmental Protection Agency is ignoring the science. The EPA rejected  the National Resources Defense Council’s petition to take 2,4-D off the market and has so far refused pleas from Moms Across America and Thinking Moms’ Revolution to recall Roundup.

    Will EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy also allow Dow to spray its new genetically engineered herbicide-tolerant food crops with this deadly duo?

    The deck is stacked in Dow’s favor. In its review of Enlist Duo, the EPA won’t be considering any of the new evidence on the dangers of glyphosate. And it isn’t looking at the harms to human health when we’re exposed to glyphosate and 2,4-D in combination.

    The USDA admits that introduction of the new crops are approved, the annual use of 2,4-D would jump from 26 million pounds to 176 million pounds.

    Independent scientists predict the spike in the use of 2,4-D would be even more dramatic.

    The proliferation of Roundup Ready crops caused a 527-million-pound increase in the use of glyphosate in the first 16 years, between 1996 and 2011. If farmers start growing Dow’s Enlist brand corn and soy, experts estimate the use of 2,4-D could increase by up to 50 times.

    Dow is telling farmers that they need these new genetically engineered “Agent Orange” crops because Monsanto’s genetically engineered “Roundup Ready” crops are failing. (“Super weeds” have predictably developed resistance to glyphosate.)

    But Dow and Monsanto don’t want farmers to stop using glyphosate and replace it with 2,4-D. They want farmers to use 2,4-D and glyphosate.  
     
    For Dow and Monsanto, more pesticides mean more profits.

    For consumers, Dow and Monsanto’s profits mean more poisons.


  • Tell Congress: Stop the Tyson Foods Anti-Farmer Act!

    Tyson Foods Chairman John Tyson just became a billionaire. How did he do it? By screwing over farmers.

    Now, he wants Congress to make it even easier for Tyson Foods to subject farmers and ranchers to anticompetitive, deceptive, fraudulent and abusive business practices.

    Take Action: Tell Congress to stop the Tyson Foods Anti-Farmer Act!

    Congress is working on its appropriations bills. That can mean only one thing: Big corporations are cashing in on their campaign contributions. They’re looking to their indentured servants in Congress for special favors—just as they did with the now infamous Monsanto Protection Act.

    Tyson Foods, the nation’s largest factory farm producer of chicken, beef and pork (and about to get bigger) is behind a proposed policy rider to the House Appropriations Committee’s 2015 spending bill. The rider would weaken rules, written by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Administration (GIPSA), that are supposed to protect contract farmers who raise animals for the four companies that control nearly all the meat eaten in the U.S.

    GIPSA is an agency of the USDA that writes the rules intended to promote “fair and competitive trading practices for the overall benefit of consumers and American agriculture.”

    The GIPSA rider, which we’ve dubbed the Tyson Foods Anti-Farmer Act, is opposed by 168 farmer, rancher, consumer, labor, farmworker and faith organizations.

    Take Action: Tell Congress to stop the Tyson Foods Anti-Farmer Act!

    Background

    John Tyson made his money by squeezing farmers, giving them an increasingly smaller share of each consumer dollar spent on Tyson products. Farmers’ incomes have dropped, even as Tyson has watched his profit margins rise.

    A full quarter of chicken farmers experience losses every year. Tyson doesn’t even pay them enough to meet their operating costs.

    Pork and beef farmers aren’t doing well, either. Hog farmers have seen their share of the consumer dollar halved, from 50 cents in 1980 to 24.5 cents in 2009. For cattle farmers, their share has fallen from 62 cents to 43 cents.

    How does Tyson get away with this? Through vertical integration and consolidation, he’s removed competition. He can run his monopolistic enterprise like a dictator. Tyson owns and controls everything in his supply chain, from the animals to the feed to the slaughterhouse.

    Not only can Tyson decide how much to pay farmers, he can force them to farm the way he wants. Or suffer the consequences.

    Tyson farmers in Oklahoma learned this the hard way. They refused to make costly modifications to their chicken houses that Tyson wanted even though the modifications weren’t required under their contracts. Tyson retaliated by giving the farmers unhealthy chicks and substandard feed. The farmers took Tyson to court and won a $10 million jury award for violations of the Oklahoma Consumers Protection Act.

    After all that, the Oklahoma Supreme Court took the award away, saying that law didn’t cover the farmers because they weren’t consumers.

    To learn more about how Tyson screws over farmers, watch these videos from Simon & Schuster, Yahoo! Finance, and Bloomberg TV, that feature Christopher Leonard, author of The Meat Racket: The Secret Takeover of America’s Food Business.

    The USDA has tried to address the abuse of farmers by corporate dictators through the GIPSA rules—the rules Tyson and his meat empire down’t want to follow.

    Under GIPSA rules, Tyson would have to:

    •    Give poultry farmers adequate notice of plans to suspend delivery of chicks;
    •    Meet stricter criteria to require farmers to make additional capital investments in their poultry or hog farm;
    •    Provide a reasonable period of time for a farmer to remedy a breach of contract that could lead to termination of their contract; and
    •    Let farmers take disputes to court if the arbitration process outlined in the contract doesn’t adequately protect farmers’ rights.

  • Tell Scotts You’re Boycotting All Its Products until the Company Drops Plans to Sell GMO Grass

    If you see your neighbor planting grass seed you might ask them if they work for Scotts Miracle-Gro Company. This summer, some employees of Scotts will be testing Scotts Roundup Ready Kentucky Bluegrass, genetically engineered to withstand heavy applications of Monsanto’s Roundup.

    Scotts plans to have a commercial version of its GMO grass on the market next year, and a consumer version on store shelves by 2016. Both are unregulated. Neither is subject to safety testing.

    Tell Scotts You Don’t Want More of Monsanto’s Chemicals in Your Soil and Drinking Water, and that You’re Boycotting All Scotts Products until the Company Drops Plans to Sell GMO Grass.

    Please use our form to contact Scotts Chairman & CEO Jim Hagedorn, Chief Communications Officer Jim King, and a few other key executives.

    When you’ve finished, call Jim King, at (937) 578-5622, and let him know why you are boycotting Scotts products.

    Monsanto and Scotts found a way to circumvent the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulatory process, allowing them to develop and market Scotts Roundup Ready Kentucky Bluegrass without any safety testing.

    When consumers see it on the shelf, it will say Roundup Ready—but there will be no label that says the product is genetically modified.

    The product’s use will result in a dramatic increase in the amount of Monsanto’s Roundup into the environment, where it will pollute soil and water, and expose people to increasingly higher levels of toxic chemicals.

    There will be no way to prevent the grass from contaminating non-GMO lawns and parks, or pastures used by farmers to graze their animals.

    Kentucky Bluegrass seed is genetically engineered to be resistant to the herbicide glyphosate (AKA Roundup).

    Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup herbicide has recently been described by researchers as, "the most biologically disruptive chemical in our environment," and has been linked to a litany of health disorders and diseases. 

    Scotts is Monsanto's exclusive agent for the marketing and distribution of consumer Roundup. Because Roundup will kill everything except the grass engineered to stand up to it, lawns all over the country will be green, lush—and toxic.

    Tell Scotts You Don’t Want More of Monsanto’s Chemicals in Your Soil and Drinking Water, and that You’re Boycotting All Scotts Products until the Company Drops Plans to Sell GMO Grass.

    More here
     

  • Deadline Midnight May 30: Tell the EPA: Use Your Power to Stop a New Onslaught of 2,4-D ‘Agent Orange’ Toxins!

     Dow’s 2,4-D. It’s similar in composition to Agent Orange, the Vietnam-era herbicide responsible for severe illnesses in people directly exposed to it, and also in their offspring and future generations. It’s a known cause of cancer in farmers who routinely use it on their crops.

    Now, 2,4-D is about to be unleashed in greater strengths, in amounts estimated at more than 50 times what farmers are currently using.

    Deadline Midnight May 30, 2014: Tell the EPA, Don’t Approve More Cancer-Causing Agent Orange Herbicide!
    Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) signaled it will approve Dow’s new Enlist-brand corn and soy crops, genetically engineered to resist massive doses of 2,4-D. Even though the agency admits that if the new crops are approved, the annual use of 2,4-D would jump from 26 million pounds to 176 million pounds. 
    Independent scientists predict the increase would be even more dramatic. 

    But the USDA isn’t taking responsibility for paving the way for massive increases in the use of 2,4-D. Instead, the agency is passing the buck, claiming that it’s responsible only for approving the genetically engineered seeds, not the new formulation of 2,4-D herbicide that will be used on the crops. 
    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is ultimately responsible for approving a massive increase in the use of 2,4-D, say the folks at the USDA.

    Dow’s 2,4-D toxicity is already so well-documented that in April 2012, the National Resources Defense Council pressed the EPA for a ban. 

    The “super weeds” spawned by Monsanto’s first-generation of herbicide-tolerant GMOs have already drastically increased the use of 2,4-D. In 2012, farmers used nearly four times as much 2-4, D as they did in 2005. 

    It's time for the EPA to step in and do its job to protect farmers, consumers and the environment from the excessive use of dangerous pesticides.

    Deadline Midnight May 30: Tell the EPA, Don’t Approve More Cancer-Causing Agent Orange Herbicide!
    Please sign our petition. You can also submit comments at Regulations.gov
  • Tell the EPA: Don’t Let Dow and Syngenta Kill More Bees!

    The EPA is letting the chemical companies get away with murder.

    For years, the agency has done nothing to stop Bayer and Monsanto, the leading bee-killers.

    Now, the EPA is considering petitions from Dow and Syngenta to expand and increase the use of two insecticides, sulfoxaflor and thiamethoxam. Both belong to the neonicotionid class of pesticides implicated in the mass die-off of bees, known as Colony Collapse Disorder.

    Deadline May 23: Tell EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy: Don’t Let Dow and Syngenta Kill More Bees! Please sign our petition opposing sulfoxaflor and thiamethoxam.

    Now that we know that neonicotinoid insecticides play a role in Colony Collapse Disorder, the EPA should act to get these bee-killing “neonics” off the market.

    Instead, the Obama Administration’s EPA, under Gina McCarthy, is letting the chemical companies get away with murder. McCarthy has done nothing to stop top neonic manufacturer Bayer or top neonic distributor Monsanto.

    Worse yet, last year (May 2013) the EPA approved sulfoxaflor, a new neonic made by Dow. The American Beekeeping Federation, along with the American Honey Producers Association and several other national beekeeping organizations promptly sued the EPA, claiming the agency failed to adequately consider the impact sulfoxaflor will have on pollinators, and also failed to require mandatory labeling warning of the chemical’s harmful effect on bees.

    Now, the chemical companies are back knocking at the EPA’s door.

    Dow wants to expand the use of sulfoxaflor and get the EPA to allow residues of the insecticide on food. This includes corn, the nation’s largest crop, which is already soaked in neonics and alfalfa and clover, forage for bees, as well as livestock.

    Syngenta wants the EPA to allow it to use more thiamethoxam, one of the three neonics that were used in the E.U. until being linked to bee die-offs. Syngenta has asked the EPA to increase residues of thiamethoxam allowed on several crops. For alfalfa forage, Syngenta wants to go from 0.05 to 10 parts per million (ppm)—200 times the amount!

    Alfalfa is the primary honey crop in the US. It accounts for about one-third of the annual honey production by honeybees. Bees return the favor by providing alfalfa with necessary pollination. Bees are worth as much as $7 billion a year to the alfalfa hay harvest.

    Tell EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy: Stop the chemical companies that are killing the bees! Please sign our petition opposing the increased use of sulfoxaflor and thiamethoxam before the deadline at midnight on May 23.

  • Deadline: Midnight May 19: Stop Dow’s New ‘Agent Orange’ Cotton!

    According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), about 94 percent of all cotton grown in the U.S. is genetically engineered. Not all of that cotton ends up in clothes. Cottonseed oil is used in a long list of foods, including mayonnaise, salad dressings, cereals, breads and snack foods.

    Cotton is already the world’s “dirtiest” crop, due to its heavy use of pesticides. Now Dow wants to make cotton even more toxic, by unleashing a new genetically engineered cotton that resists the deadly 2,-4-D herbicide.

    Deadline May 19: Tell the USDA: Don’t Approve Dow’s ‘Agent Orange’ Cotton!

    Dow’s 2,4-D is one of the two toxins used to make Agent Orange, the deadly chemical sprayed in Vietnam during the 1960s and known to be responsible for a host of severe illnesses and birth defects.

    If the USDA approves Dow’s new 2,4-D-resistant cotton, farmers will start spraying massive amounts of 2,4-D herbicide on a crop that already accounts for more than its fair share of the global use of pesticides and herbicides.

    The deadline to tell the USDA you don’t want ‘Agent Orange’ cotton is midnight on May 19.

    Please sign our petition. You can also submit comments at Regulations.gov.

  • MINNESOTA: Tell the Department of Agriculture to Protect Bees!

    As you know, bees are vital to our food and farming. They're responsible for one in three bites of food we eat. And in monetary terms, their pollinator services are estimated at more than $19 billion.

    The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is taking proactive steps to protect bees and other pollinators by examining the role of neonicotinoid insecticides in declining bee populations.

    Deadline is today! Submit a comment to the MDA asking them to take measures to reduce or restrict the use of these bee-killing pesticides!

    The Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s review of neonicotinoids comes at an excellent time, as new legislation to protect pollinators is moving through the legislature and growing numbers of Minnesotans are calling for even stronger solutions to bee declines.

    After submitting your comment, if you haven’t already contacted your state Senator to support the bee bills, you can do so here.

    Thanks for taking action to protect the bees!

  • Tell Michelle Obama: Help Pass the Saving America’s Pollinators Act!

    Last week, First Lady Michelle Obama finished planting her sixth-annual White House Kitchen Garden. This year, she did something different. She planted a pollinator garden to attract and support 70,000 bees already gracing the presidential lawn, as well as monarch butterflies and other pollinators.

    It’s great that the First Lady is doing her part to create a habitat for bees at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. But what we really need is a ban on the toxic pesticides and herbicides that are responsible for killing off huge populations of honeybees. And Mrs. Obama is in a great position to help us achieve that.

    Please ask First Lady Michelle Obama to set an example for the nation by urging the Obama Administration and Congress to support H.R. 2692, the Saving America’s Pollinators Act.

    Last year, beekeepers reported record-breaking losses of 40-90 percent, with some beekeepers losing 100 percent of their hives. We expect to see similar, if not larger numbers this year.

    Bees are vital to our food and farming system, and they provide a critical service to our economy, accounting for $20-$30 billion annually.
    But the bees are disappearing.

    Mounting scientific evidence points to the world’s most popular class of pesticides, neonicotinoids (also called neonics), made by giant chemical companies Bayer and Syngenta, as the key precipitator of the global bee die-off, or Colony Collapse Disorder (CDC).

    The European Union has placed a two-year moratorium on neonics.  The UK’s top retailers have banned them. So has the city of Eugene, Ore.

    Yet the EPA is continues to ignore a growing body of science and has delayed action until 2018.

    The bees can’t wait that long. And neither can we.

    Please ask First Lady Michelle Obama to set an example for the nation by urging the Obama Administration and Congress to support H.R. 2692, the Saving America’s Pollinators Act.

  • One Down, One to Go: Get Antibiotics Out of Organic!

    In April 2013, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) rejected a petition to extend the deadline for allowing growers of organic apples and pears to spray their fruit with tetracycline, an antibiotic. Thanks in part to the 32,619 comments submitted by OCA supporters, growers of organic apples and pears will have to stop spraying their fruit with tetracycline after Oct. 21, 2014.

    That’s a victory. But only a partial one.

    Please sign the petition below, telling the NOSB you want them to honor the Oct. 21, 2014 deadline for ending the use of another antibiotic, streptomycin, on organic apples and pears. And be sure to add a personal comment to increase the impact of the petition.

    Last year’s vote to honor the Oct. 21, 2014, deadline for ending the use of tetracycline on organic apples and pears was close. In order for the industry to get what it wanted—an extended deadline—it needed 10 out of the 15 NOSB members to vote in favor of extending the deadline. Industry lost—and consumers won—by only one vote. (Industry needed 10 NOSB members to vote in favor of extending the deadline. But they got only nine votes).

    The nine NOSB members who voted in favor of using tetracycline on organic apples and pears were Carmela Beck of Driscoll, Wendy Fulwider of Organic Valley, Nick Maravell of Nick’s Organic Farm, Tracy Favre of Holistic Management International, Harold Austin of Zirkle Fruit Company, John Foster of Earthbound Farm, Joe Dickson of Whole Foods Market, Zea Sonnabend of California Certified Organic Farmers, and Mac Stone of the Kentucky Organic Program.

    The NOSB members who voted against using tetracycline in organic were Colehour Bondera of Kanalani Ohana Farm, Jay Feldman of Beyond Pesticides, Francis Thicke of Radiance Dairy, and all three of the NOSB’s consumer/public interest advocates, Jean Richardson, Jennifer Taylor and C. Reuben Walker.

    When the NOSB votes again this year, this time on whether to get streptomycin out of organic, will we get the votes we need, like we did last year with tetracycline? Maybe not, and here’s why.

    When the tetracycline vote took place last year, the NOSB members who voted to honor the deadline were operating under the assumption that apple and pear growers might still be able to use tetracycline under certain, extreme circumstances. That’s because they knew that after the vote took place on whether or not to extend the deadline, the NOSB planned a separate vote on whether or not to recommend to the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) that it examine whether it could use its authority to allow the use of tetracycline in emergency situations, even if the deadline for getting tetracycline out of organics had passed.

    The NOSB voted unanimously to make that recommendation to the NOP. But the NOP came back and said it has no mechanism to establish a federal emergency spray program for fire blight on organic apple and pear orchards through either the Organic Food Production Act or the USDA organic regulations.

    The NOP’s decision means that emergency or no, organic apple and pear growers can’t use tetracycline after Oct. 21, 2014.

    Now, the NOP’s Crops Subcommittee is recommending that the NOSB vote at its meeting next week (April 29 - May 2, 2014) to extend the deadline for streptomycin, instead of honoring the deadline, as it did for tetracycline.

    Given these two developments, it’s going to be tougher to get the votes we need to get streptomycin out of organics.

    Please tell the NOSB that you oppose extending the deadline for allowing streptomycin in the production of organic apples and pears. And be sure to add a personal comment to increase the impact of the petition.

  • Tell the USDA National Organic Program You Want Nutrition from Organic Food, Not Synthetic Vitamins!

    Consumers rightly choose USDA Organic products for a variety of reasons, including their nutritional value.

    But thanks to the USDA National Organic Program’s (NOP) failure to close the illegal loophole it created for synthetic nutrients, vitamins and minerals, some of the vitamins and nutrients in organic food come from synthetic sources, including genetically modified microorganisms.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell the USDA National Organic Program You: We want nutrients from organic food, not synthetic vitamins!

    A Synthetic Soup of Unnatural Nutrients

    One of the worst examples of synthetic ingredients allowed in USDA organic products is infant formula. This is the list of ingredients found in USDA certified organic Earth’s Best infant formula sold at Whole Foods Market:

    Crypthecodinium Cohnii Oil (Docosahexaenoic Acid [DHA]), Mortierella Alpina Oil (Arachidonic Acid [ARA]), Calcium Chloride, Calcium Hydroxide, Cupric Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Potassium Bicarbonate, Potassium Chloride, Potassium Hydroxide, Potassium Iodide, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Selenite, Zinc Sulfate, Taurine, Ascorbic Acid, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Beta-Carotene, Biotin, Calcium Pantothenate, Choline Chloride, Cyanocobalamin, Folic Acid, Inositol, Mixed Tocopherol Concentrate, Niacinamide, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Thiamin Hydrochloride, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D (Cholecalciferol), Vitamin E (Dl-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate), Vitamin K (Phytonadione), Adenosine-5'-Monophosphate, Cytidine-5'-Monophosphate, Disodium Guanosine-5'-Monophosphate, Disodium Inosine-5'-Monophosphate, Disodium Uridine-5'-Monophosphate.

    The list was so shocking to Whole Foods Market shoppers that they sued the retailer claiming that the sale of this product with “30 artificial ingredients” violated its promise of “nothing artificial.”

    While there are some notable differences among certified organic infant formulas (the Cornucopia Institute has a great guide to comparing organic infant formula ingredients), this list of long, barely pronounceable ingredients doesn’t vary much from one organic infant formula to the next.

    Infant formula is the worst offender, but if you start reading your labels closely, you’ll notice that many certified organic foods contain artificial nutrients.

    How did synthetic nutrients get in our organic food?

    The Organic Food Production Act (OFPA), and the regulations that implement it, are themselves very strong. But when a large company violates those regulations, the response from Congress and the USDA NOP typically has been to change the law and regulations to match company’s non-compliance—instead of enforcing the law.

    The most striking example of this occurred in 2005, when the Organic Trade Association went to Congress to overturn a federal court ruling in favor of organic blueberry farmer Arthur Harvey.

    Harvey sued the USDA, arguing that the original version of OFPA limited the National List of exemptions for non-organic ingredients to non-organics that were also non-synthetic. He told the court that Congress had not intended to allow synthetic ingredients in products certified as organic.

    The court agreed, ruling that that synthetic ingredients were being illegally approved for use in organic foods.

    But then, along came the Organic Trade Association (OTA), representing many of the large organic companies who wanted to continue using synthetic ingredients. The OTA convinced Congress to in effect reverse the ruling in Harvey’s favor, by passing a law that amended OFPA. Before the 2005 amendments, OFPA prohibited organic food companies from adding "any synthetic ingredient during ... processing." Congress changed OFPA so that it prohibits only the addition of "any synthetic ingredient not appearing on the National List during processing."

    This restored the pre-Harvey-lawsuit status quo, where companies could petition the 15-member National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), an advisory committee that recommends to the USDA NOP what can and can’t be included in organic. If a petition for a synthetic ingredient won a two-thirds vote from the NOSB advisory committee, the ingredient would be added to the National List of exemptions.

    This is bad enough. What makes it worse is that members of the OTA, and synthetic ingredients manufacturers seeking access to organic products, have resisted even going through this approval process and have instead fought for loopholes for whole categories of synthetic ingredients.

    Makers of synthetic nutrients, led by Martek (now DSM), have been the most aggressive. Martek manufactures DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) and ARA (Arachidonic Acid), two synthetic nutrients used in hundreds of organic food products, including infant formula, baby food, dairy products and more. Both nutrients have been linked to severe gastrointestinal distress, prolonged periods of vomiting and painful bloating.

    In 2006, National Organic Program staff told Martek that DHA and ARA were synthetic and weren’t allowed in organic. Martek's lawyer got the decision reversed by Bush Administration NOP director Barbara Robinson. He explained to the Washington Post, "I called Robinson up, I wrote an e-mail. It was a simple matter."

    Under the Obama Administration, the USDA National Organic Program sought to rectify the illegal situation. It required Martek to present a formal petition to the National Organic Standards Board. In 2011, the NOSB voted to add DHA and ARA to the National List of non-organic materials allowed in organic.

    So much for overturning the Bush Administration’s decision.

    At an NOSB meeting, the OCA argued that DHA and ARA were excluded from organic because they were genetically modified. DHA and ARA are the products of mutated microorganisms. The patents for DHA and ARA use mutagenesis interchangeably with recombinant DNA techniques of genetic engineering.

    Martek argued that DHA and ARA were allowed because they were created through a technique used in classical breeding. NOSB members asked NOP director Miles McEvoy to settle the issue. He told them he didn’t know if DHA and ARA were created using a technique of genetic modification that is excluded from organic. The NOSB ultimately voted to add DHA and ARA to the National List on the assumption that they weren’t the product of an excluded method (genetic engineering).

    The USDA National Organic Program still hasn’t answered the question of whether DHA and ARA are genetically modified, and it still hasn’t officially approved DHA and ARA’s use by changing the organic regulations to add them to the National List.

    DHA and ARA aren’t unique. Many synthetic nutrients used in organic are the products of genetic modification. And they come with health risks. Synthetic nutrients can disrupt normal metabolic functions with devastating side effects. Synthetic vitamin E, for instance, is linked to prostate cancer.

    The USDA National Organic Program should commit to applying the same rules to vitamins, nutrients and minerals that it follows for other non-organic materials.

    Instead, the NOP has backpedalled on the whole idea of making manufacturers of synthetic nutrients petition the National Organic Standards Board to include their ingredients on the National List. Its last action on the issue, an interim rule, reset the Bush Administration status quo and gives food processors a temporary pass to use synthetic nutrients in organic foods.

    We have to let the NOP know that this huge loophole for potentially dangerous, synthetic nutrients derived from genetically modified microorganisms is unacceptable.

    Tell the USDA National Organic Program You Want Nutrition from Organic Food, Not Synthetic Vitamins!

  • TAKE ACTION: Tell Your Representative: Don’t Support Big Food’s Bill to Kill GMO Labeling Laws!

    Monsanto and the junk food industry have finally found a few Congress members (whose campaigns have been funded by Big Ag and Big Food), to introduce their bill designed to trump states’ rights to pass GMO labeling laws and deny consumers the right to know if their food contains GMOs (genetically modified organisms). 

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Your Representative: Don’t Support H.R. 4432, Big Food’s Bill to Kill GMO Labeling Laws!

    Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) introduced H.R. 4432 on Wednesday (April 9, 2014). Pompeo and the bill’s other co-sponsors are calling it the “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act.”

    But there’s nothing safe or accurate about it.

    H.R. 4432 would modify the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act to establish a voluntary federal labeling standard for genetically engineered foods. It would specifically prohibit Congress or individual states from requiring mandatory labeling of GMO foods or ingredients.

    It would also allow food manufacturers to use the word “natural” on products that contain GMOs.

    H.R. 4432 is just one more example of industry lobbyists hijacking the political system to write laws that protect corporate profits at the expense of public health.

    Your representatives need to hear from you that this bill is an attack on consumer rights and states’ rights, and that you expect your elected officials to protect you, not corporate and shareholder profits. Please contact them today.

    Additional info

    Read the bill

    Read Rep. Pompeo’s ‘Dear Colleague’ Letter

    Learn more

  • Tell the USDA National Organic Program: Mutagenesis Doesn’t Belong in Organic!

    In order for a product to meet the criteria for USDA organic certification, neither the product nor any of its ingredients can be genetically engineered, or genetically modified. Certified organic products and ingredients also can’t be irradiated.

    So why is it that organic regulators allow the process of mutagenesis in organic—even though mutagenesis is a form of genetic modification that uses radiation?

    Tell the USDA National Organic Program: Mutagenesis Doesn’t Belong in Organic!

    What is mutagenesis?

    Mutagenesis is a method of plant breeding that involves subjecting plants to radiation, or dousing them in chemicals, in a way that scrambles their genes in order to produce new traits. The goal is to produce plants suitable for modern industrial agriculture, where crops are grown in vast monocultures with the aid of chemicals and machinery.

    Sound a lot like genetic engineering? It is.

    Mutagenesis doesn’t involve transferring the genes of one species into another. But just like genetic engineering, mutagenesis is an imprecise and uncontrolled process. The intent may be to produce a specific, desired trait. But there is no way to predict or control the unintended consequences.

    Despite those similarities, genetic engineering is regulated (albeit poorly). Mutagenesis isn’t.

    Monsanto and Dow, who compete with companies that produce plants using mutagenesis, think the lack of regulation isn’t “fair.” The U.S. National Academies of Science (NAS) says it isn’t “scientifically justified,” as mutagenesis has the potential to be just as dangerous as genetic engineering.

    How did mutagenesis come to be allowed in organic?

    The regulations governing organic are very clear when it comes to genetic engineering. They exclude “methods used to genetically modify organisms . . . by means that are not possible under natural conditions.”

    That means no GMOs in organic. It should also mean no mutagenesis in organic. So why doesn’t it?

    According to the regulations, genetic engineering doesn’t include the use of “traditional breeding.” Promoters of mutagenesis claim the process is just another form of traditional breeding, and thus should continue to be allowed in organic. Efforts to prove them wrong have so far gone nowhere. In 2013, the National Organic Program issued a memorandum interpreting the regulation's reference to "traditional breeding" to include mutagenesis.

    If we want to get mutagenesis out of organic, we have to convince the NOP to change its mind—and call for a change in the regulations governing organics.

    What are the risks associated with mutagenesis?

    Like genetic engineering, mutagenesis can cause dramatic shifts in genetically determined traits, producing unknown toxins or allergens.  Wheat Belly author Dr. William Davis blames mutagenesis, which is used to produce modern wheat—including organically grown wheat—for increases in wheat allergies and intolerances.

    Mutagenesis, like genetic engineering, also leads to increased use of pesticides—another health hazard, especially for children.

    For example, BASF used mutagenesis to engineer an herbicide-resistant wheat variety. Clearfield wheat is grown on more than 1 million acres in the US. According to a Bloomberg news report: 

    “BASF, the world’s biggest chemical company, is having success with its line of Clearfield crops. The German company made the crops tolerant of its Clearfield herbicide through chemical mutagenesis. It alters the crops’ DNA by dousing seeds with chemicals such as ethyl methanesulfonate and sodium azide, according to company filings in Canada, the only nation that regulates such crops.”

    Bloomberg reported that BASF enlists the help of 40 seed companies, including DuPont Co. and Dow Chemical Co. in the U.S., to sell Clearfield crops in markets that reject GMOs. Clearfield wheat, rice, lentils, sunflowers and canola are planted from Russia to Argentina and the U.S. without regulatory review, according to Bloomberg.

    “Without regulatory review” is bad enough. But to allow the use of mutagenesis, a process that involves “dousing seeds with chemicals,” in organic is a serious breach of consumer trust in the USDA organic certification program.

    How can you avoid food grown from mutant seeds?

    How do you know if your organic food comes from mutant seeds? You don’t. If you buy local, you can ask your local farmer.

    Alternatively, you can avoid rice, wheat, barley, pears, cotton, peppermint, sunflowers and grapefruit. These are the only mutant crops that you could potentially find in the organic section.

    More info

    More on mutagenesis

    National Organic Program Regulations

    National Organic Program memorandum on mutagenesis

  • Tell McDonald’s: Stop Toxic Pesticide Drift. Require Your Potato Producers to Reduce Pesticide Use

    UPDATE: Join the Tuesday, October 28 National Toxic Taters Day of Action! Call McDonald’s and tell them to stop buying potatoes that poison local communities!

    A Minnesota-based group calling itself the Toxic Taters Coalition says Minnesotans are tired of putting up with toxic chemicals and pesticides drifting into their yards, schools and farms—the result of the state’s potato farmers' frequent spraying of their potato crops with toxic chemicals.

    The coalition says it’s time for McDonald’s to keep the promise it made in 2009, to reduce the amount of pesticides used to produce the company’s famous fries. For the good of not only Minnesotans, but citizens everywhere who are exposed to pesticide drift from potato fields.

    Join the National Toxic Taters Day of Action! Call McDonald’s (1-800-244-6227) and tell them to stop buying potatoes that poison local communities! Here is what you can say:

    “I’m calling today with the Toxic Taters Coalition. I want to ask you to adopt sustainable practices in your potato purchasing. Please stop buying potatoes that poison local communities with regular pesticide drift. There are better ways to produce potatoes that don’t damage public health and the environment.”

    Then, use the form on this page to send a message to McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson. Tell him to stop toxic pesticide drift and require McDonald’s potato producers to reduce their pesticide use.

    When Minnesota residents living near potato fields developed serious chronic health problems, and some operators of small farms lost livestock to mysterious illnesses, a group of concerned Minnesotans suspected the problem was linked to the chemicals sprayed on potato fields. The pesticides and chemicals, they believed, were drifting well beyond the potato fields.

    Using drift catchers, the coalition found chemicals such as chlorothalonil (classified by the EPA has “highly toxic” and a “probable” carcinogen), chlorpyrifos, pendimethalin, PCNB and 2,4-D in 66 percent of air samples they tested.

    The coalition tried working with state agencies and the region’s largest potato producer, R.D. Offutt Company (RDO), to resolve the pesticide drift problem. Their efforts went nowhere.

    Now the coalition is targeting the buyer of most of the potatoes produced by RDO—McDonald’s.

    McDonald’s buys more than 3.4 billion pounds of U.S.-grown potatoes every year. As the largest buyer of potatoes in the world, the $7-billion fast food chain has the power to create change in potato-producing regions across the country, not just in Minnesota. All it has to do is require that its potato suppliers implement strategies to reduce the use of pesticides.

    Non-organic potatoes typically are grown using massive amounts of chemicals.  Potato fields are sometimes sprayed every five days at the height of the growing season. That’s why conventionally (which means, chemically) grown potatoes always make it onto the list of the top 10 fruits and vegetables to avoid if you want to avoid pesticide residue.

    The pesticides and other chemicals used to grow non-organic potatoes don’t just end up on the potatoes themselves. These toxic chemicals drift into neighboring communities, homes and schools.

    The Toxic Tater Coalition wants McDonald’s to require RDO, and other companies that supply its potatoes, to follow the lead of Idaho potato growers who have successfully used integrated pest management (IPM) strategies to reduce pesticide use. Interestingly, by implementing IPM techniques, Idaho potato growers have also increased their profits.

    Please take action today! Tell McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson: Stop Toxic Pesticide Drift. Require Your Potato Producers to Reduce Pesticide Use.

    More information here

    Watch the Toxic Taters video

    Sign the Toxic Taters Petition here

    Post on McDonald's Facebook page or call them at 800-244-6227

    Thanks for taking action!

  • (No Title)

    Thanks for the huge response to our offer of free organizing materials for March Against Monsanto events!

    You can still download all of our flyers and sticker designs in pdf format with these links:

    Millions Against Monsanto materials

    Save the Bees leaflet

    Save the Bees sticker

    Truth-in-Labeling Petition

    Buy your organic cotton Millions Against Monsanto t-shirt here

    Please visit www.march-against-monsanto.com to find a March Against Monsanto event in your area.

    Thanks!

    Questions? melinda@organicconsumers.org

  • KANSAS: Tell Rep. Pompeo: Congress Members Should Represent the People, Not Corporations

    Big Food has found a Congressman to sponsor its bill to kill GMO labeling laws. And he’s none other than your Congressman, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.).

    We need your help today. Can you call (202-225-6216) and email Rep. Pompeo today? If you live in Rep. Pompeo's 4th district, fill in the form on this page to send him a message. Please tell him that as a Kansas voter, you are outraged that he has supported a bill that tramples the rights of states to pass GMO labeling laws and the rights of consumers to know what’s in their food!

    Then can you send a letter to the editor of your local newspaper? All you have to do is edit our sample letter here with your comments and submit your letter to the editor with our easy to use form.

    Please share this alert with everyone you know in Kansas and post on Rep. Pompeo's Facebook page here.

    Last step: In case you missed it, here is an Op Ed about Rep. Pompeo written by OCA national director, Ronnie Cummins, and Kansas plant breeder and a former U.S. Department of Agriculture crop geneticist, Stan Cox. Please share it on your facebook page.

    Why would Rep. Pompeo sponsor a bill, written by the Grocery Manufacturers Association, that would preempt state and federal mandatory GMO labeling laws? When polls consistently show that up to 90 percent of Americans want those laws?

    And aren’t Republicans supposed to be pro-states’ rights?

    Maybe it’s the almost $170,000 he’s received in campaign contributions from food and agriculture industries. Or the $238,000 from Koch Industries, the billion dollar company run by the notorious Koch brothers.

    They don’t call him the Congressman from Koch Industries for nothing. This latest move by Rep. Pompeo is just one more example of a politician working to increase the profits of big business, instead of working to protect the citizens of Kansas.

    The GMA’s proposed legislation - introduced by Rep. Pompeo - calls for a federal, voluntary GMO labeling scheme, which the FDA recently said it also supports. 

    Take action today and tell Rep. Pompeo that he should be ashamed of himself for listening to Monsanto and Big Food instead of to his constituents.

  • Save Organic Standards! Tell USDA Secretary Vilsack to Reverse Rule that Weakens Organics

    Under pressure from the Organic Trade Association, representing some of the largest players in the organic and natural food segment, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has once again weakened the standards for organic.

    Tell USDA Secretary Vilsack: Save organic standards! Reverse the NOSB’s new rule that weakens organic standards.

    Without any input from the public, the USDA changed the way the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) decides which non-organic materials are allowed in certified organic. The change all but guarantees that when the NOSB meets every six months, the list of non-organic and synthetic materials allowed in organic will get longer and longer.

    The USDA’s new rule plays to the cabal of the self-appointed organic elite who want to degrade organic standards and undermine organic integrity.

    For consumers, farmers, co-ops and businesses committed to high organic standards, the USDA’s latest industry-friendly move is a clarion call to fight back against the corporate-led, government-sanctioned attack on organic standards.

    For consumers, this also means that the list of synthetic and non-organic ingredients allowed in organic will just get longer and longer, making reading organic labels and choosing among organic foods more complicated, confusing and time-consuming.

    The USDA didn’t give the public an opportunity to comment on the change, but that doesn’t mean they’re immune to public outcry.

    Please sign and share our petition to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack asking him to reverse this disastrous new rule. We’ll deliver the petition to National Organic Program Director Miles McEvoy at the next NOSB meeting Apr. 29-May 2 in San Antonio.

  • Biggest Fool in Congress? Stop Pompeo from Supporting the Food Industry’s Bill to Preempt GMO Labeling Laws!

    Big Food has found its Biggest Fool. Poltico announced this morning that Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) will introduce the Grocery Manufacturers Association’s bill to kill GMO labeling.

    April fool’s joke? We wish.

    But the joke may be on Pompeo, when consumers nationwide light up his phone lines and sign our petition with demands that he abandon plans to sell out consumers by helping Monsanto and Big Food pass a law to preempt state and federal GMO labeling laws.

    TAKE ACTION: Sign our petition to tell Rep. Mike Pompeo: Don’t be a fool. Don’t support a bill that tramples the rights of states to pass GMO labeling laws, and the rights of consumers to know what’s in their food! 

    After you take action, please call Rep. Pompeo (202-225-6216) and post on his Facebook page and let him know that you are one of the 90 percent of consumers that want a mandatory GMO labeling law. You can also let him know that a bill written by the food industry should not be used to deny states their constitutional right to pass laws governing food safety.

    The GMA’s proposed legislation calls for a federal, voluntary GMO labeling scheme, which the FDA recently said it also supports.

    Rep. Pompeo is just plain foolish if he thinks he will be reelected after he supports an industry-written law that goes against what 90 percent of consumers in this country want.

  • Tell Sen. Wyden: Don’t Fast-Track Secret Trade Agreements!

    The European Union has so far rejected U.S.-raised beef from factory farms where growth hormones are used to fatten up cattle. But U.S. corporations are pushing to open European markets to hormone-tainted beef, via an international trade agreement that is being negotiated behind closed doors.

    If the Obama Administration gets its way, that trade agreement—the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)—will be rammed through Congress, with no debate, using something called the “fast track” option.

    Please tell Sen. Wyden: No compromise! Don’t let industry and the White House bully Congress into fast-tracking secret trade agreements that undermine public health and safety! Fill in the form on this page to add your signature and personal comment.

    We’ve already told President Obama what we think of his plans to fast-track the TTIP, and its Pacific-Coast sister, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). 

    Now we need to tell Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Senate Finance Chairman, the same.

    Why Sen. Wyden? Because many Democrats in Congress have signaled that they won’t support Fast Track. But there’s a real risk that a "compromise maker" like Sen. Wyden will offer his own bill in order to siphon off more Democratic votes and allow Fast Track to move forward. Especially given the big push by the White House and corporate lobbyists to get Fast Track done.

    Despite repeated requests for access to proposals and drafts, the public and the Congress have been shut out of negotiations for these trade deals. However, more than 600 multinational corporations and industry trade groups have a seat at the negotiating table. 

    Creating a market for more factory farms here in the U.S. is just one of so many reasons these trade agreements are bad for your health, bad for the environment and bad for democracy. Please be part of the growing movement to stop them—and stop Congress from Fast-Tracking them.

  • KENTUCKY: Don’t Let Lawmakers Make it a Crime to Blow the Whistle on Factory Farms!

    Six days from the end of the state legislative session, Kentucky meat representatives snuck an ag-gag provision into a formerly pro-animal bill, HB 222. The ag-gag provision makes it a crime to apply for a job at a factory farm for the purpose of exposing animal abuse. It also bans the simple act of taking photographs without permission. 

    Don’t let Kentucky legislators criminalize whistleblowers in order to protect factory farms’ profits. Call and email your state lawmakers to stop the ag-gag provision in HB 222 today! Fill in the form on this page to look up your legislators’ phone numbers and to send them a message.

    When you call your legislator, you can say:

     “As your constituent, I am outraged that an ag-gag provision was sneakily attached to HB222. I urge you to stop the ag-gag provision, which would threaten animals and consumer safety.” 

    The ag-gag provision is a wholesale assault on many fundamental values shared by people across the state of Kentucky. Undercover investigations are often the only way to expose factory farms that are violating animal welfare, food safety and environmental laws. This provision would criminalize these investigations and perpetuate animal abuse on industrial farms. It would also threaten workers’ rights, consumer health and safety, law enforcement investigations and the freedom of journalists, employees and the public at large to share information about something as fundamental as our food supply. 

    With transparency comes accountability. That’s why the agricultural industry in Kentucky wants to criminalize those who attempt to expose their crimes, rather than address the litany of violations they might be guilty of committing. 

    In a poll commissioned by The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), 71 percent of Americans said they support undercover investigative efforts to expose animal abuse on industrial farms, and almost two-thirds oppose making such efforts illegal. Fully 94 percent of Americans believe it is important to have measures in place to ensure that food coming from farm animals is safe for people to eat. And 94 percent agree that animals raised for food on farms deserve to be free from abuse and cruelty.

    Don't let Kentucky join the growing list of states that want to keep you in the dark about what goes on at factory farms. Tell your lawmakers to oppose HB 222 today!

    Thanks for taking action!

    Why ag-gag laws are dangerous to animals, humans and the environment:

    o Animal Welfare. Ag-gag laws are a direct threat to animal welfare. We know that animals are often cruelly treated in factory farms and slaughterhouses. Documentation of this treatment not only helps educate the public about farm animal abuse, but also influences industry and government entities to make real changes for farm animals.

    o Food Safety. Ag-gag laws threaten our food supply. Various exposés of factory farms and slaughterhouses have revealed the extent to which our meat, eggs and milk are mishandled. Mishandling animal products, including mishandling farm animals while they are alive, invites health risks including salmonella, mad cow disease and other potentially fatal illnesses that may be transmitted to consumers.

    o Control over Food Choices. Ag-gag laws are a direct threat to marketplace transparency. At a time when Americans are increasingly invested in knowing more about where their food comes from and how it is made, these laws threaten our ability to control what we bring into our homes and the food we put in our bodies. All Americans should have the right to know the basic conditions under which their food is produced.

    o Workers' Rights. This legislation often seeks to criminalize the recording of sounds or images in animal facilities, no matter the content. Factory farms, slaughterhouses and meatpacking facilities are physically and emotionally difficult places to work. Farm investigations have the potential to expose serious worker abuse and other illegal or unethical conduct on the part of employees or supervisors.

    o Free Speech. Some ag-gag bills seek not just to criminalize recording, but even the possession and distribution of images recorded on animal facilities-and some seek to criminalize misrepresenting oneself on job applications (which, while possibly an act warranting termination of employment, should generally not be a crime). These provisions pose serious First Amendment threats.

    o Environmental Damage. In the United States, 99 percent of food animals are raised in factory farms, where large numbers of animals are housed together, generally in close confinement. Huge amounts of waste are generated, the improper storage and disposal of which threatens our soil and water. While state and federal laws require large farms to minimize their environmental damage, farms have been found flagrantly violating these requirements. Undercover investigations offer an effective way to expose such violations.

    Source: American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

  • MINNESOTA: Tell Your State Lawmakers to Support the Bee Bills!

    There is exciting legislative news for bees and beekeepers in Minnesota. Two bills to protect bee are quickly moving through the state legislature.

    Contact your state Senator today and ask them to support the bee bills! Emails are good, phone calls are even more effective! Fill in the form on this page to look up your legislators’ contact information and send them a message.

    HF 2798 was passed by the House earlier this week, and its companion SF 2695 will soon go before the Senate. The bill defines neonicotinoids as “pollinator lethal insecticides.” It would bar nurseries and garden stores from labeling any plants pre-treated with these insecticides as “bee-friendly” plants. Right now, if you buy a plant at a nursery or garden store, you have no way of knowing if it’s safe for bees!

    The pollinator section of Omnibus appropriations bill HF 3172/SF 2785 will provide financial compensation for beekeepers whose colonies die from exposure to pesticides. It would also establish a team of experts to investigate these incidents, and determine the source of pesticide exposure, if possible.

    Bees are vital to our food and farming. They're responsible for one in three bites of food we eat. And in monetary terms, their pollinator services are estimated at more than $19 billion.

    Unfortunately, bees are in serious trouble, in part because of exposure to a widely used class of insecticides called neonicotinoids or "neonics." In addition to being lethal, science shows that even low-level exposure to neonics can have devastating impacts on bees, by weakening their immune systems and scrambling their ability to navigate their way back to their hives. The two bills under consideration in the statehouse are an important step in the right direction.

    Pesticides aren't the only challenge our bees face, but they're a big one. Contact your state Senator today and ask them to support these bills to help the bees!

    After you’ve contacted your Senator, click here to send a comment to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) today, asking them to take measures to reduce or restrict the use of bee-killing pesticides!

  • CALIFORNIA: Tell Your Senator You Want GMO Labels on Your Food!

    The tide is definitely turning against Monsanto and the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association (GMA) in 2014! First, Vermont passed a trigger-free mandatory law to label genetically modified foods (GMOs). Then, last week, by landslide votes, Jackson and Josephine counties in Oregon passed ballot initiatives to ban GMOs.

    Now, in California, our hard work is finally paying off. SB 1381, a bill to label GMOs, has made it through three Senate Committees to the Senate Floor. And the Senate vote will likely take place this week.

    URGENT! Call your California State Senator today and ask them to vote for SB 1381! Fill in the form on this page to look up your Senator's phone number.

    Here's what you can say:
    “Hi, my name is---------. I am a constituent in your district and am calling to ask you to vote for SB 1381, a bill to label genetically engineered foods in California.”

    We know you have already called and sent messages, but now it’s time to call again. The biotech and GMA lobbyists are still in full force at the legislature, so your Senator needs to hear from you.

    SB 1381 is a simpler, clearer version of Prop 37. If signed into law, this bill will ensure Californians’ right to know how our food is grown and produced. And it will send a clear message to the big food and agriculture corporations that they can’t keep us in the dark about the widespread use of GMOs in our food system.

    Polls, both before and after the Prop 37 election in 2012, showed 67 percent of Californians support a state GMO labeling law. The opposition spent $46 million in 2012 to confuse voters about Prop 37. Now corporate lobbyists are in full force at the state capitol, spreading their misinformation in an effort to defeat SB 1381 in a Senate floor vote.

    Join the tens of thousands of supporters – from Moms to farmers – across the state in support of GMO labeling. Call your Senator today!

    Read the SB1381 bill text here  

    More information? Visit LabelGMOs online or contact Pamm Larry, plarry@labelgmos.org.

    Finally, please endorse SB 1381 here.

    Thanks for taking action!

  • CONNECTICUT: Tell Your State Senator to Ban Genetically Engineered Grass!

    A few weeks ago, the State Senate Environment committee passed SB 443, a bill to ban genetically engineered grass and the use of pesticides where children play.

    Now the bill is on its way to the Senate floor for a vote tomorrow!

    Can you call your Senator today? Fill in the form to look up your Senator's phone number and to send them a message.  Ask your Senator to support SB 443, to ban genetically engineered grass and other landscaping plants and the use of pesticides where children play.

    Please call and e-mail your lawmakers until you have a commitment from them to support this important legislation. Then please send a message to info@gmofreect.org to tell us what they say.

    Last year we were able to prove that Democracy is still alive in this country, by passing a GMO labeling law in Connecticut. We can do it again this year, but only if we use our voices to create a collective power that cannot be ignored. 

    The planting of genetically engineered grass will dramatically increase the use of toxic pesticides on lawns and public areas. We must put public health and our environment above the corporate interests of those who will profit from the sale of genetically engineered grass and toxic pesticides.

    Please call and e-mail your Senator until you have their commitment to support the ban on genetically engineered grass and use of pesticides where our children play!

    Learn more about why genetically engineered grass should be banned here and here.

    Contact ConnFACT and GMO Free CT for more information.

    Thanks for taking action!

  • Tell Robert Niblock, CEO of Lowe’s: Stop Selling Bee-Killing Plants and Pesticides!

    Earlier this year the OCA, Friends of the Earth and other groups gathered  more than a half-million petition signatures to Frank Blake, CEO, Home Depot and Robert Niblock, CEO, Lowe's, asking them to stop selling plants pretreated with bee-killing pesticides. 

    A representative for Mr. Blake and Home Depot has reached out, and we are in discussions with Home Depot about how to source plants that are not coated in deadly neonicotinoids (the pesticide most implicated in the die-off of bees).
    But so far, no word from Mr. Niblock or Lowe’s.
    Please tell Robert Niblock, CEO of Lowe’s, stop giving us the silent treatment! Please tell us that Lowe’s will stop selling bee-killing plants and pesticides!
    A recent study co-authored by the Friends of the Earth and Pesticide Research Institute found that seven out of 13 samples of garden plants purchased at top retailers in Washington D.C., the San Francisco Bay Area and Minneapolis contain neurotoxic pesticides known as neonicotinoids.
    Neonics, made by Bayer CropScience and Syngenta, are the fastest-growing class of synthetic pesticides. 
    They’re also linked to the mass die-off of honeybees. 
    How do we get bee-killing plants out of garden centers? We start by asking the CEOs of two of the largest national chains – Home Depot and Lowe’s – to stop selling them. 
    Thank you, Home Depot, for reaching out—we hope to work closely with you until there are no more bee-killing plants and pesticides in your stores.
    Lowe’s? Can you hear us buzzing now?
  • Tell Michelle Obama: Consumers Want Labels on Genetically Modified Foods!

    For the first time in 20 years, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has moved to update nutrition labels on food packaging by proposing new rules. What’s missing from the new rules? Any mention of requiring food companies to tell you if their products contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). 

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Michelle Obama: Consumers Want Labels on Genetically Modified Foods!

    Why are we asking Michelle Obama to do something about the FDA’s failure, again, to address GMO labeling?

    For one, Mrs. Obama helped unveil the FDA’s proposed new rules during an all-out media blitz on February 27. She tied the announcement to her Let’s Move! campaign,‎ and said that the new rules will make food companies more honest, and give parents more accurate information so they can “make healthy food choices for their kids.” 

    The other reason we need to pressure Mrs. Obama is that we want her to remind President Obama of his 2007 campaign promise to label GMOs—a promise he has consistently failed to honor. In fact, in 2012 the OCA launched a MoveOn.org petition asking Mrs. Obama to remind the President of his promise. The petition garnered more than 207,000 signatures. What happened when we tried to deliver those signatures to Mrs. Obama? She ignored us.

    Mrs. Obama has made kids’ health, including nutrition and exercise, her signature cause during her husband’s presidency. But she has consistently ignored the facts around GMO foods, including their link to obesity, and the fact that GMO crops require the use of tons of toxic herbicides and pesticides, which ultimately pollute soil, air and water and our food.

    Increasingly, scientists and doctors warn of the dangers these toxins pose to our health, especially for children whose immune systems are not yet fully developed. Even the American Medical Association has said that we need long-term, pre-market safety tests on the impact of GMO foods on human health. 

    In the meantime, consumers ought to have the right to know if their food has been genetically modified.

    When Mrs. Obama talks about healthy food choices—without talking about GMO labeling—she fails to address what has become one of the most high-profile, controversial food policy issues of our time.

  • TENNESSEE: Don’t Let Lawmakers Make it a Crime to Blow the Whistle on Factory Farms!

    Factory farm industry representatives are trying to pass a bill we’ve dubbed the “Factory Farm Protection Act in Tennessee.”  SB 2406/ HB 2258 would make it a felony to "disrupt" an agricultural or research operation. But the bill's definition of "disrupt" is open to interpretation. It could mean that whistleblowers trying to stop animal cruelty or food safety violations could be prosecuted as felons, as could employees who document anything from unsafe working conditions to sexual harassment. 

    Don’t let Tennessee legislators criminalize whistleblowers in order to protect factory farms’ profits. Call and email your lawmakers to stop SB 2406/ HB 2258 today! Fill in the form on this page to look up your legislators’ phone numbers and to send them a message. When you call, you can say:

     “As your constituent, I am outraged that whistleblower suppression bill SB 2406/ HB 2258 is being considered by the Tennessee Legislature. I urge you to stop this bill because it would threaten factory farm animal welfare, workers’ rights and consumer safety.” 

    The factory farm protection act is a wholesale assault on many fundamental values shared by people across the state of Tennessee. Undercover investigations are often the only way to expose factory farms that violate animal welfare, food safety and environmental laws. This bill would criminalize these investigations at the felony level, which would perpetuate animal abuse on industrial farms. It would also threaten workers’ rights, consumer health and safety, law enforcement investigations and the freedom of journalists, employees and the public at large to share information about something as fundamental as our food supply. 

    There are already laws in place to protect factory farms from illegal activities such as trespassing and theft. But SB 2406/ HB 2258 is meant to provide blanket protections to industrial agriculture by silencing whistleblowers at a level of protection that no other industry in Tennessee has. It is dangerous, unnecessary, and needs to be stopped.

    In a poll commissioned by The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), 71 percent of Americans said they support undercover investigative efforts to expose animal abuse on industrial farms, and almost two-thirds oppose making such efforts illegal. Fully 94 percent of Americans believe it is important to have measures in place to ensure that food coming from farm animals is safe for people to eat. And 94 percent agree that animals raised for food on farms deserve to be free from abuse and cruelty.

    Don't let Tennessee join the growing list of states that want to keep you in the dark about what goes on at factory farms. Tell your lawmakers to oppose SB 2406/ HB 2258 today!

    Thanks for taking action!

    Why ag-gag laws are dangerous to animals, humans and the environment:

    o Animal Welfare. Ag-gag laws are a direct threat to animal welfare. We know that animals are often cruelly treated in factory farms and slaughterhouses. Documentation of this treatment not only helps educate the public about farm animal abuse, but also influences industry and government entities to make real changes for farm animals.

    o Food Safety. Ag-gag laws threaten our food supply. Various exposés of factory farms and slaughterhouses have revealed the extent to which our meat, eggs and milk are mishandled. Mishandling animal products, including mishandling farm animals while they are alive, invites health risks including salmonella, mad cow disease and other potentially fatal illnesses that may be transmitted to consumers.

    o Control over Food Choices. Ag-gag laws are a direct threat to marketplace transparency. At a time when Americans are increasingly invested in knowing more about where their food comes from and how it is made, these laws threaten our ability to control what we bring into our homes and the food we put in our bodies. All Americans should have the right to know the basic conditions under which their food is produced.

    o Workers' Rights. This legislation often seeks to criminalize the recording of sounds or images in animal facilities, no matter the content. Factory farms, slaughterhouses and meatpacking facilities are physically and emotionally difficult places to work. Farm investigations have the potential to expose serious worker abuse and other illegal or unethical conduct on the part of employees or supervisors.

    o Free Speech. Some ag-gag bills seek not just to criminalize recording, but even the possession and distribution of images recorded on animal facilities-and some seek to criminalize misrepresenting oneself on job applications (which, while possibly an act warranting termination of employment, should generally not be a crime). These provisions pose serious First Amendment threats.

    o Environmental Damage. In the United States, 99 percent of food animals are raised in factory farms, where large numbers of animals are housed together, generally in close confinement. Huge amounts of waste are generated, the improper storage and disposal of which threatens our soil and water. While state and federal laws require large farms to minimize their environmental damage, farms have been found flagrantly violating these requirements. Undercover investigations offer an effective way to expose such violations.

    Source: American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

  • ARIZONA: Stop the Factory Farm Protection Act!

    Corporations that run factory farms are trying to pass their own Factory Farm Protection Act, legislation that would significantly weaken Arizona's already inadequate anti-cruelty protections for farm animals. Fortunately, the anti-whistleblower provisions of this bill have been stripped out, but the bill would still harm animals in many ways. 

    Please tell your state legislators that you oppose this awful bill. Please make a brief, polite phone call to them today, fill in the form on this page to find your legislators' phone numbers. You can say, “As your constituent, I urge you to oppose HB 2587/SB 1267 because even with the proposed amendments, the bill will result in more animal suffering.” 

    After making your phone call (please do not skip that crucial step!), fill in and submit the form on this page to send a personalized follow-up message to your legislators.

  • Take Action: Ask the USDA to Rescind Its ‘Filthy Chicken Rule’

     Poultry is already the most deadly source of food borne illness. And working in a slaughterhouse is already the most dangerous job in America, according to some reports

    So what is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) plan to protect consumers and workers? It wants to privatize poultry inspection, putting companies in charge of their own inspections, and then increase the slaughtering line speed. In other words, the USDA’s new “plan” will put both consumers and workers at greater risk.
    Please sign our petition, asking the USDA to rescind what Food & Water Watch has dubbed the “Filthy Chicken Rule.” 

    Food & Water Watch calls the USDA’s plan the “Filthy Chicken Rule,” because the plan almost guarantees higher levels of contaminants in slaughtered birds. First, by drastically reducing the number of government inspectors. And second, by increasing the line speeds from 140 birds to 175 birds per minute.
    Potentially harmful bacteria lurks in almost all U.S. chicken. That’s according to a recent Consumer Reports survey that found, “More than half of the samples contained fecal contaminants. And about half of them harbored at least one bacterium that was resistant to three or more commonly prescribed antibiotics.”
    Yet if the USDA gets its way, the few government inspectors left would have to inspect three birds per second. Inspect? They’d be whizzing by so fast they’d hardly see them!
    We could also call the USDA’s new plan the “Dead Inspector Rule.” With breakneck line speeds at slaughterhouses, poultry processing plants are turning to toxic, bacteria-killing chemicals to remove contaminants that escape notice. These chemicals can be deadly. Plant inspectors and workers exposed to chemicals like chlorine and parecetic acid complain of respiratory problems. Many cough up blood. Some experience lung hemorrhage and, at least one has died of lung and kidney failure. 
    Or maybe we should call it the “Injured Worker Rule.” As editors at the Charlotte Observer, Raleigh News Observer, Bellingham Herald and Gaston Gazette have pointed out, faster line speeds mean more injuries.
    If you’ve eaten chicken anytime since 1998, you may have already eaten food from slaughterhouses operating under the USDA’s proposed “Filthy Chicken Rule.” Tyson has been piloting the plan at some of its poultry plants for years. According to a Government Accountability Office report, under the pilot program, “sorting responsibilities [removing unsafe birds from production] on the slaughter line [were] not required or standardized and faster line speeds allowed under the pilot projects raise[d] concerns about food safety and worker safety.”

    It’s time to tell President Obama and Secretary Vilsack to protect consumers and workers by abandoning their "Filthy Chicken Rule.”
  • Tell Your Representative: Please Support the Saving America’s Pollinators Act (H.R. 2692)

    On February 7, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered yet another pesticide known to be toxic to honeybees—over the objections of citizens and environmentalists, and despite research suggesting it was a bad idea

    Will it take an Act of Congress to protect the pollinators that are critical to our food supply? Fortunately, the Saving America’s Pollinators Act (H.R. 2692) has been introduced. Unfortunately, it’s still languishing in committee, where it was sent in August 2013.

    Tell Your Representative: Please Support the Saving America’s Pollinators Act (H.R. 2692)

    The EPA ignored all the evidence pointing to pesticides as the number one cause of Colony Collapse Disorder. Instead, on February 17, the EPA unconditionally registered a pesticide called cyantraniliprole, use on a variety of foods including leafy vegetables, milk, almonds, berries and onions.

    It’s clear that the EPA, which last year approved the pesticide sulfoxaflor, another known killer of bees, is more intent on protecting Dupont, Syngenta and other pesticide-makers than it is on protecting your environment.

    Bees play a critical role in pollinating crops. Without them, nearly a third of our food crops can’t survive. But Since 2006, bee populations have declined steeply, and remain on the decline. Scientists attribute their demise to the cumulative effect of multiple types of pesticides. TIME magazine estimates nearly 10 million beehives have been lost already.

    The Organic Consumers Association is working with Friends of the Earth and other allies to convince retailers like Home Depot and Lowe’s to stop selling bee-killing pesticides and plants coated in neonicotinoids, a class of pesticides implicated in Colony Collapse Disorder.

    You can help by refusing to buy garden plants and pesticides from these stores. In the meantime, let’s work to get enough legislators on board with the Saving America’s Pollinators Act. 

    Tell Your Representative: Please Support the Saving America’s Pollinators Act (H.R. 2692)

  • IDAHO: Protect Your Right to Know About Factory Farms

    In 2012, farm workers were caught on tape beating and stomping on cows at a major Idaho dairy farm. Now, instead of initiating reforms to prevent this type of factory farm animal cruelty, the Idaho state legislature, under pressure from the Idaho dairy industry, is seeking to pass an “ag-gag” bill that will make it virtually impossible to expose such abuses in the future.

    Don’t let Idaho legislators criminalize whistleblowers in order to protect factory farms’ profits. Tell your Representatives and Gov. Otter to stop S.1337!

    How do you find out if a factory farm near you is violating already-weak animal welfare, food safety or environmental laws? Sometimes, the only way these violations are exposed is through undercover investigations. But your state lawmakers want to outlaw those investigations. S.1337 would make it a crime to simply photograph or videotape abusive, unsanitary or otherwise unethical activity on a farm. Anyone documenting such abuses could be prosecuted and sentenced to up to a year in jail and fined $5,000.

    With transparency comes accountability. That's why the agricultural industry wants to criminalize those who attempt to expose their crimes rather than address the litany of violations they've already been found guilty of committing. S.1337 would be used by dishonest employers to intimidate and bully employees from documenting abuses—serving as an effective retaliation tool against any employee who blows the whistle on unethical or illegal activity.

    The bill is also unnecessary because current laws against fraud and trespassing already protect honest businesses. Those who are brave enough to blow the whistle on illegal activity on industrial operations aren't "vigilantes." They should be rewarded, not criminalized.

    The Good News: The People are on the Side of Transparency!

    In a poll commissioned by The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), 71 percent of Americans support undercover investigative efforts to expose animal abuse on industrial farms and almost two-thirds oppose making such efforts illegal. Fully 94 percent of Americans believe it is important to have measures in place to ensure that food coming from farm animals is safe for people to eat, and 94 percent agree that animals raised for food on farms deserve to be free from abuse and cruelty.

    Don't let Idaho join the growing list of states that want to keep you in the dark about what goes on at factory farms. S.1337 has passed the Senate, but not the House. Contact your Representative and Gov. Otter and tell them to stop S.1337 today! 

    Thank you!

    Why ag-gag laws are dangerous to animals, humans and the environment:

    o Animal Welfare. Ag-gag laws are a direct threat to animal welfare. We know that animals are often cruelly treated in factory farms and slaughterhouses. Documentation of this treatment not only helps educate the public about farm animal abuse, but also influences industry and government entities to make real changes for farm animals.

    o Food Safety. Ag-gag laws threaten our food supply. Various exposés of factory farms and slaughterhouses have revealed the extent to which our meat, eggs and milk are mishandled. Mishandling animal products, including mishandling farm animals while they are alive, invites health risks including salmonella, mad cow disease and other potentially fatal illnesses that may be transmitted to consumers.

    o Control over Food Choices. Ag-gag laws are a direct threat to marketplace transparency. At a time when Americans are increasingly invested in knowing more about where their food comes from and how it is made, these laws threaten our ability to control what we bring into our homes and the food we put in our bodies. All Americans should have the right to know the basic conditions under which their food is produced.

    o Workers' Rights. This legislation often seeks to criminalize the recording of sounds or images in animal facilities, no matter the content. Factory farms, slaughterhouses and meatpacking facilities are physically and emotionally difficult places to work. Farm investigations have the potential to expose serious worker abuse and other illegal or unethical conduct on the part of employees or supervisors.

    o Free Speech. Some ag-gag bills seek not just to criminalize recording, but even the possession and distribution of images recorded on animal facilities-and some seek to criminalize misrepresenting oneself on job applications (which, while possibly an act warranting termination of employment, should generally not be a crime). These provisions pose serious First Amendment threats.

    o Environmental Damage. In the United States, 99 percent of food animals are raised in factory farms, where large numbers of animals are housed together, generally in close confinement. Huge amounts of waste are generated, the improper storage and disposal of which threatens our soil and water. While state and federal laws require large farms to minimize their environmental damage, farms have been found flagrantly violating these requirements. Undercover investigations offer an effective way to expose such violations.

    Source: American Society for the Prevetion of Cruelty to Animals

  • Tell Congress: Don’t Sponsor an Industry-Crafted Federal GMO Labeling Bill that Would Preempt States’ Rights to Enact Mandatory GMO Labeling Laws!

    Would your U.S. Representative or Senator support a bill, written by the pesticide and junk food manufacturers, which would strip states and the federal government of the right to pass mandatory GMO labeling laws? Even though the majority—more than 90 percent—of Americans are in favor of requiring food manufacturers to tell consumers when they use genetically modified ingredients in their food products?

    Tell your lawmakers you don’t want them to sponsor a federal GMO labeling bill that would preempt states’ rights to enact mandatory GMO labeling laws by substituting a weak, voluntary federal GMO labeling plan!

    The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), a multi-billion lobbying group representing more than 300 junk food, pesticide and drug makers, has drafted a bill asking the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to rule in favor of a federal, voluntary GMO labeling regulation—one that would not only preempt state GMO labeling laws, but would also allow the use of the word “natural” on products that contain GMOs (genetically modified organisms).

    The GMA, along with its newly formed coalition of 28 industry groups—calling itself the Coalition for Safe Affordable Food—is peddling its bill around Congress, looking for sponsors. 

    We wonder, which Congress member, in his or her right mind, would go against the will of more than 90 percent of voters to side with industry on what has become the most critical food (and environmental) safety issue of our time?

    Will it be your U.S. Representative or Senator? 

    Please use our form to contact your lawmakers today. Let them know that you expect them to stand up for you—not for Monsanto, Coca-Cola or Eli Lily.

    Additional Information

    GMA’s Draft Bill

    Food Industry to Fire Preemptive GMO Strike

    Food Industry Groups Say They'll Label GMOs, On Their Terms

    Senators Angle for Voluntary GMO Labeling 

    Five Ways the FDA Has Failed Consumers on Genetically Engineered Foods

    OCA’s GMO Talking Points

  • MARYLAND: Ask Your Legislators to Pass GMO Labeling Legislation in 2014!

    This could be the year that state legislatures make food history by passing enforceable GMO labeling laws. Which state will be first? Vermont is close. But Maryland's not too far behind. 

    Please send a message to your state legislators today. Tell them you want the right to know what’s in your food and ask them to pass SB0778 and HB1191 for GMO labeling. 

    More than 90% of Americans want to know if our food is genetically engineered. But the pesticide manufacturers and junk food companies are spending millions to keep us in the dark about what we're feeding our families. 

    In 2013, Connecticut and Maine passed GMO labeling laws. But both bills contain a trigger that prevents the laws from being enacted until four or five neighboring states, with a combined population of 20 million, pass similar laws.

    Please tell your legislators today, that you want Maryland to pass a clean, trigger-free GMO labeling law in 2014!

  • Pledge to Help Bees this Valentine’s Day!

    Love food? Love flowers? Then we need your help to deliver a “Give Bees Some Love” Valentine’s Day card to your local Home Depot and Lowe’s Stores!

    A new study co-authored by the Friends of the Earth and Pesticide Research Institute found that seven out of 13 samples of garden plants purchased at top retailers in Washington D.C., the San Francisco Bay Area and Minneapolis contain neurotoxic pesticides known as neonicotinoids. 

    Neonics, made by Bayer CropScience and Syngenta, are the fastest-growing class of synthetic pesticides. They’re also linked to the mass die-off of honeybees. 

    Please sign up to deliver a Valentine asking your local Home Depot and Lowe’s stores to “show bees some love” and stop selling bee-killing pesticides and garden plants pre-treated with these pesticides!

    How do we get bee-killing plants out of garden centers? We started by asking the CEOs of two of the largest national chains—Home Depot and Lowe’s—to stop selling them. More than 500,000 people have signed petitions, including almost 75,000 who have signed the one started by OCA.

    But it seems we haven’t yet caught their attention. So the OCA is joining with other organizations, from all over the country, who are asking activists to swarm their local Home Depot and Lowe’s stores Valentine’s week (February 10th-16th). 

    The week before the week of action we’ll send you a follow-up email with the Valentine card and a step-by-step guide for taking action. If you can’t visit a store, please call your Home Depot and Lowe’s and ask them to stop selling bee-killing plants. And don’t forget to post on their facebook pages!

    We’re also planning major demonstrations, on Feb. 12, in San Francisco, Minneapolis, Eugene, Ore., Chicago and Washington D.C. Stay tuned for more details!

    Sign the Petition: Tell Home Depot and Lowe’s to Stop Selling Bee-Killing Plants  

    Home Depot on Facebook 

    Lowe’s on Facebook 

    Thanks for taking action!

  • VERMONT: Ask Your Senator to Pass GMO Labeling Legislation in 2014!

    Most Americans want to know if their food is genetically engineered. But the pesticide manufacturers and junk food companies are spending millions to keep us in the dark about what we're feeding our families. 

    Last year, the Vermont House made food history by passing a GMO labeling bill. Now it is up to the state Senate to take action and make GMO labeling the law in Vermont in 2014. 

    Please send a message to your Senator today. Tell them that Vermont citizens want the right to know what is in their food and ask them to pass H.112 for GMO labeling. 

  • Tell Your State Legislators: Don’t Let Big Food Scare You. GMO Labeling Laws Are Constitutional!

    If your state has introduced a GMO labeling bill, or is even thinking about it, you can bet that food industry lobbyists are out in full force, bending your lawmakers’ ears.

    Among the many lies lobbyists are spreading, is the one that state GMO labeling laws are unconstitutional. And any state that passes one will be sued.

    Tell Your State Legislators: Don’t Let Big Food Scare You. GMO Labeling Laws Are Constitutional.

    The Organic Consumers Association has obtained the Grocery Manufacturers Association’s (GMA) “One-Pager” of talking points about GMOs and labeling laws. The document is intended for use by food industry lobbyists whose job it is to convince state lawmakers to reject GMO labeling bills in their states.

    The talking points include the usual misinformation about GMO safety testing and the so-called benefits of GMOs. But they also include claims that GMO labeling laws are unconstitutional—claims that legal experts say are baseless.

    The GMA may not have a legal leg to stand on. Still, the threats to sue states are clearly intended to strike fear in the hearts of those lawmakers genuinely concerned about spending tax dollars on costly court battles.

    But GMO labeling activists are also concerned that some lawmakers will use the GMA’s threats as a convenient excuse to reject the majority opinion of their voters, in favor of siding with industry instead. Or as a means to convince their colleagues to add trigger clauses, similar to those in the Maine and Connecticut bills, in an attempt to stall or permanently sabotage GMO laws.

    According to GMA propaganda, state GMO labeling laws violate the First Amendment, which protects commercial speech by prohibiting the government from compelling “certain statements.” 

    But after extensive research and analysis, both a Washington D.C.-based law firm, Emord & Associates, and the Vermont Law School independently concluded that H.112, Vermont’s GMO labeling bill, would withstand a legal challenge from industry. (The same arguments about the constitutionality of Vermont’s GMO labeling law could be applied to other state GMO labeling laws accused of violating the First Amendment).

    According to the Vermont Law School’s Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic, “We have researched and analyzed challenges that may be made in opposition to such legislation and have concluded that Vermont can pass GE labeling legislation that will meet all constitutional requirements.”

    Attorneys at Emord & Associates drew the same conclusion

    Because the Second Circuit applies the Zauderer exemption for compelled speech broadly, and the Bill protects consumer health and safety, the law is likely constitutional under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Furthermore, H.112 does not impede or conflict with the federal Food and Drug Administration’s labeling regime for foods and dietary supplements. The federal system does not preempt H.112, which was enacted constitutionally under the State’s general powers. Finally, H.112 does not discriminate against interstate commerce, or impose a burden that outweighs Vermont’s legitimate interest in protecting the consuming public. Thus, H.112 does not violate the Dormant Commerce Clause.

    Threatening to sue states that pass GMO labeling laws is just a scare tactic intended to thwart state GMO labeling laws. Tell your state legislators to stand up to industry, and do what’s right for the people they were elected to represent.

  • MARYLAND: Tell Your Lawmakers to Legalize Cow Shares for Raw Milk!

    In 2006, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH), in an effort to make it illegal for consumers to acquire raw milk, redefined "cow share."  Traditionally, cow shares (or herd or goat shares) are agreements entered into between farmers and consumers, under which the consumer pays the farmer a fee for boarding, caring for and milking the consumer's cow (or share of a cow). This allows the consumer to obtain raw milk without having to actually pay for the milk itself.

    When the DHMH redefined cow shares as "sales" of raw milk, the agency effectively banned raw milk in Maryland.  Maryland's raw milk consumers have been working ever since to reinstate their right to obtain raw milk directly from farmers.

    Now the Maryland General Assembly is considering lifting the ban on raw milk by reinstating cow (and goat) shares. Call and email the Health and Government Operations Committee members and tell them to vote for HB3, to reinstate legal cow shares in Maryland. When you enter your information in the form, your Delegate’s phone number will be displayed.

    Bill sponsor Delegate Hubbard says, “Because this is what consumers are seeking, having access to raw milk in Maryland would encourage local food and local retail sales, generate taxes, and the earned dollar would be encouraged to stay in the community and the state. It is a win-win-win.” 

    Real raw milk, produced under healthy and sanitary conditions, is full of anti-microbial and immune-supporting components, as well as beneficial bacteria for easier digestion. Recent studies have declared raw milk to be a safe, low risk food, but farmers producing these healthy foods continue to be targeted under outdated assumptions about public health.

    There are many eager raw dairy consumers in Maryland who would like to contract directly with local farmers to purchase their raw milk products. HB 3 will repeal the ban on cow shares and allow consumers to contract directly with dairy farmers of their choice.

    Call and email the General Assembly Health and Government Operations Committee and tell them to vote for HB3, to reinstate legal cow shares in Maryland. 

    A hearing for the bill has been scheduled for January 28. Click here for more information.

    Press release here

    Thanks for taking action!

  • Tell the USDA: No ‘Coexistence’ with Monsanto!

     The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) wants to know what you think. The agency is seeking public comments (deadline extended to March 4, 2014)  on what it can do to “promote the broad adoption of local, voluntary solutions aimed at facilitating coexistence” between genetically modified crops and organic/non-GMO crops. 

    We’ve got an easy answer for them and we’ve said it all before: Voluntary solutions? No! Coexistence with Monsanto? Hell no!

    Please sign the petition and ad
    d your own message before the comment period closes on March 4.

    It should be a crime for seed companies like Monsanto to release genetically engineered crops into the environment, knowing that they will inevitably contaminate organic/non-GMO crops. Prevention of contamination should be the seed companies’ responsibility. And it should be mandatory.  There are no “voluntary solutions” to the fact that genetically engineered crops will eventually destroy organic/non-GMO crops. 

    But there are two mandatory rules that work very well to prevent genetic contamination: GMO labels and GMO-free zones. 

    More than 60 countries have mandatory GMO labels that let consumers opt out of Monsanto’s involuntary human feeding trials. More than 40 countries, (including the U.S.) have regions, some countrywide and some local, that are GMO-free zones that let farmers protect themselves from contamination.

    The USDA needs to tell the truth. There is no such thing as “coexistence.” As long as GMOs aren’t safety-tested, aren’t regulated and aren’t labeled, we face, in the words of a federal judge’s warning to the USDA, the “potential elimination of a farmer’s choice to grow non-genetically engineered crops, or a consumer’s choice to eat non-genetically engineered food.”

    Please sign the petition and add your own comment before March 4.

  • Don’t Let Congress ‘Fast-Track’ Dangerous Trade Deals

    Corporations like Monsanto are pressing the President and Congress to fast-track trade deals—deals that would allow corporations to sue entire countries in order to get what they want.

    If these deals are rammed through Congress, without scrutiny or debate, countries could lose their right to, among other things, regulate factory farms and genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

    Tell Congress: Don’t ‘fast-track’ undemocratic international trade deals!

    What can Monsanto do about countries that don’t want its GMOs? Get them to sign a trade deal with the U.S. that forces them to lift restrictions on genetically engineered food. Here’s how an industry lobbyist put it: 

    “U.S. seed companies that for a decade have been struggling to break the deadlock over the authorization for the cultivation of their seeds now will be presented with the ultimate opportunity to change the entire process to suit their needs.”

    For Monsanto, it’s an opportunity to change the entire democratic process—and replace it with corporate control.

    Monsanto likes the way we do things in the U.S. Here, GMOs aren’t even safety tested, despite the American Medical Association’s demand for “mandatory pre-market systematic safety assessments of bioengineered foods.”

    But Monsanto doesn’t like the zero-tolerance policies other countries have, where if imported food shipments are found to be contaminated with unapproved GMOs, they’re rejected. Biotech companies have already successfully pressured the European Union to relax its food safety measures and adopt an unapproved GMO contamination level of 0.1% for genetically engineered feed going to E.U. factory farms

    Now, Food/Drink Europe (the E.U.’s equivalent of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, representing all of their biggest food companies from Nestlé on down) is eying international trade agreements as a way to allow food ingredients to be contaminated with unapproved GMOs, too.

    Monsanto’s minions in Congress are leading the push to give the President fast-track trade promotion authority. They want to use the trade deals to force factory farming practices on the rest of the world, practices that include feeding GMO crops to animals, treating poultry with chlorine and dosing factory farm animals with ractopamine

    GMO labels are on the trade deal hit list, too. In fact, “Mandatory Labeling of Foods Derived from Genetic Engineering” is specifically listed in the U.S. Trade Representative’s 2013 Report on Technical Barriers to Trade.

    Thanks to Wikileaks and Food & Water Watch, we now have the internal communications of the U.S. State Department to prove that it, too, is pushing Monsanto’s trade agenda. According to FWW’s report Biotech Ambassadors, our ambassadors are actively working to undermine mandatory GMO labeling laws in other countries, claiming such laws are trade barriers.

    Monsanto’s new push for fast-tracked trade deals is an attempt to build on the foundations of corporate globalization laid down in the World Trade Organization. In 2006, the U.S. successfully obtained a WTO ruling that E.U. member state moratoriums on GMOs violated trade rules. But the ruling hasn’t forced European countries to give up their democratically enacted laws – yet.

    The U.S. maintains its complaint and, according to biotech strategy cables quoted in Biotech Ambassadors, the State Department intends to “continue to seek full E.U. compliance with the 2006 WTO ruling” and “support aggressive retaliation against WTO-illegal trade barriers maintained by the European Union.” It has also used the WTO ruling to convince countries in the developing world that they will soon be able to export biotech crops to the E.U.

    Please write and call your elected representatives in Congress to urge them to vote no on fast track trade promotion authority.

  • Tell the FDA: No Watered-Down, Voluntary Federal GMO Labeling Rules!

    The food industry has drafted a bill intended to preempt state mandatory GMO labeling laws by substituting a weak, watered-down federal “solution” that would limit the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s ability to require mandatory labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food ingredients.

    Tell the FDA: U.S. Consumers Want Mandatory GMO Labeling Laws, Not Watered-Down, Voluntary Rules!

    The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), which represents more than 300 food manufacturers and trade groups, and companies like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, General Mills, Nestle, Unilever and others, spent millions of dollars to defeat GMO labeling initiatives in California and Washington State.  

    Now, fearful that states like Vermont, Oregon, Colorado and others will pass mandatory GMO legislation, similar to laws passed last year in Connecticut and Maine, Big Food wants to cut a deal with Congress and the FDA. A deal that will provide no meaningful protection for consumers, and hand industry yet another free pass to poison and pollute.

    As part of the food industry’s plan, the FDA would finalize its 2001 voluntary guidance for GMO labeling and rule against mandatory labeling laws at both the state and federal levels.

    The GMA’s bill also calls for the FDA to allow the use of the word “natural” on products that contain GMOs. On January 6, the FDA rejected a court request to define the word “natural,” claiming it would be a long and complicated process, and that the agency has more pressing issues. The move could be a sign that the FDA will cave to the food industry’s demands to allow GMO foods to be called natural.

    More than 60 countries have banned GMOs, or require mandatory labeling of foods that contain GMOs. Yet here in the U.S., consumers are denied this same basic protection.

    Consumers have been clear. More than 90 percent of us want mandatory GMO labeling laws. No voluntary schemes. No watered-down regulations. No compromises.

    The FDA made the wrong decision in 1992 when it ruled that genetically engineered foods were “substantially equivalent” to non GE foods. It’s time for the FDA to protect consumers, not corporations.

  • Tell General Mills and Cheerios: Label GMOs! Better Yet, Go Organic!

    General Mills has so far spent almost $2 million to keep GMO labels off its GMO-contaminated products. Now the junk-food cereal maker hopes to cash in on a new label on its original Cheerios that touts, of all things, “no GMOs.”

    Tell General Mills and Cheerios: Please Label All of your Products that Contain GMOs. Better Yet, Get GMOs Out of All your Brands!

    Last week (Jan. 2) General Mills announced on its website that its “familiar yellow boxes of original Cheerios now say “not made with genetically modified ingredients.” Why the change? “We did it because we think consumers may embrace it.”

    We think they did it to make more money. (The non-GMO foods market is forecast to grow 13 percent annually, and make up about 30 percent of food and beverage sales—totaling $264 billion—by 2017, according to Packaged Facts).

    But we also think their reasons were more complicated than that. We think the move is part of the food industry’s scheme to preempt state labeling laws with a weak, watered-down federal “solution” to GMO labeling. Why? Because nowhere does General Mills state that the company will verify that Cheerios is GMO-free, either through a system of signed affidavits or a third-party testing mechanism, such as the Non-GMO Project. 

    Nope. General Mills just wants you to believe them, praise them, even, for making Cheerios GMO-free. Without having to verify that they’ve changed one single ingredient.

    We also think that a company as big as General Mills can do a lot better than profiting off of the anti-GMO movement (while spending millions to defeat it) by making a small, largely insignificant change to a popular product whose nutritional profile is weak to begin with.

    For starters, the cereal maker should stop pouring millions into campaigns to defeat GMO labeling laws. The company spent $1.2 million in California to defeat proposition 37, and another $598,819 in Washington State, (illegally laundered through the Grocery Manufacturers Association) to defeat I-522. Now it wants our praise for what is clearly a marketing ploy?

    Next, General Mills should get GMOs out of all of its products—just like it has kept GMOs out of all the products it sells in the European Union. But when questioned by the media about going non-GMO with other brands, the company said:

    “The widespread use of GM seed in crops such as corn, soy, or beet sugar would make reliably moving to non-GM ingredients difficult, if not impossible.”

    Difficult? Initially, maybe. But impossible? We all know the rules of supply and demand. If companies like General Mills demand non-GMO ingredients for their products, those ingredients will show up in the market. And prices will eventually be competitive.

    But instead of pressuring the marketplace for non-GMO sources, the company plans to continue selling GMO-contaminated junk cereals, such as Honey Nut Cheerios, Wheaties, Trix, Kix, Chex and Lucky Charms—brands that clearly target kids.

    General Mills is sticking to its story that GMOs are perfectly safe. The company is just eliminating the tiny bit of GMO-tainted cornstarch and sugar in its original Cheerios. Because, well, it’s good publicity, no?

    What we’d really like to see is for General Mills to make its Cheerios brand—and all of its brands—independently verified GMO-free. Or better yet, organic!

  • Tell the FDA: We Need a Mandatory Ban on Sub-Therapeutic Doses of Antibiotics for Livestock—not Weak, Voluntary Guidance

    More than 36 years ago the U.S. Food & Drug Administration acknowledged there was a problem with the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms. In March 2012, the courts forced the FDA's hand. Finally, last week (December 11, 2013), the  FDA announced a plan to curb the routine use of sub-therapeutic doses of antibiotics to treat and fatten up livestock on factory farms.

    But the mostly voluntary, loophole-riddled “plan” falls far short of what scientists say is needed to stop the spread of antibiotic-resistant superbugs that now pose a real and widespread danger to public health.

    Please tell the FDA: We need a mandatory ban on sub-therapeutic doses of antibiotics for livestock—not weak, voluntary guidance.

    Rep. Louise M. Slaughter (D-N.Y. 25th District), the only microbiologist in Congress and author of the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PAMTA), called the FDA’s plan inadequate. In a press release Slaughter said, “The FDA’s voluntary guidance is an inadequate response to the overuse of antibiotics on the farm with no mechanism for enforcement and no metric for success.” 

    Avinash Kar, a health attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), one of the organizations that sued the FDA in 2012, told the Washington Post that the policy is “an early holiday gift to industry” and a “hollow gesture that does little to tackle a widely recognized threat to human health.”

    The FDA’s Guidance for Industry #213, asks drug makers to voluntarily change the labels on drugs, so that they no longer state that the medicines can be used to make animals grow faster. (Note: They’re not being asked to actually change the drugs, just the labels). 

    Also, under the new policy farmers can no longer obtain antibiotics over the counter from a feed store. Instead, they will have to get a prescription from a licensed veterinarian. The new regulation applies only to drugs that are also used on humans, including penicillin, azithromycin and tetracycline.

    Factory farms that agree to voluntarily comply with the FDA’s new rules will have three years before they actually have to implement them—if they choose to implement them at all.

    In her press release, Rep. Slaughter points out that according to OpenSecrets, of 225 lobbying reports filed last Congress on PAMTA, 195 (88 percent) were filed by organizations opposed to the legislation while only 30 (12 percent) were filed by organizations in favor of the legislation – almost a 7 to 1 ratio. OpenSecrets also reports major dollars (over $17 million just from a few groups) being used in lobbying against limits on antibiotic use in the first three quarters of this year alone.

    Please take action today. Tell the FDA: We need a mandatory ban on sub-therapeutic doses of antibiotics for livestock—not weak, voluntary guidance.

  • NEW DEADLINE JANUARY 30: Tell the USDA You Don’t Want a GMO Apple!

    No GMO Apples!The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is poised to approve the first genetically engineered apple. The "Arctic Apple®” is engineered for the purely cosmetic purpose of preventing browning after it’s been sliced. Scientists say the technology used to create this new frankenapple is untested and inherently risky.

    Unless the USDA heeds consumers, environmentalists and apple growers who are speaking out against deregulation of the Arctic Apple, the first GMO apple could soon turn up in fast-food restaurants, school cafeterias—even baby food. With no labels to warn consumers.

    The Arctic Apple poses a risk to human health, a risk to the environment and a risk to conventional and non-organic apple growers.

    Please sign the petition below: Tell the USDA to reject biotech’s non-browning Frankenapple! 

  • HAWAII: Help Ban GMO Crops on Hawai'i Island!

    The island of Hawai’i needs your help! The Hawai’i County Council passed Bill 113, to ban GMO crops on Hawai’i Island, with a landmark 6-3 vote on November 19.  

    Can you sign this petition to support Bill 113 to ban GMO crops on Hawai’i Island? Then can you use the form to the right to send a message to Mayor Kenoi to sign Bill 113?

    Now that the bill has been passed, your help is needed to convince Mayor Kenoi to sign the legislation so it can become law. Bill 113 will ban the future cultivation, propagation and development of genetically engineered crops or plants and will require GMO crops under current cultivation or development to be registered once the law is enacted. 

    Please sign the petition and then send a message to Mayor Kenoi to support Bill 113 today!

    More about Bill 113

    Join GMO Free Hawai’i Island online and on Facebook

    Thanks for taking action!

  • Tell Congress: Don’t Fast-Track this Disastrous Trade Agreement

    The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a global trade agreement being secretly negotiated by 600 multinational corporations and industry trade groups, will affect nearly every aspect of Americans’ lives. If passed, it will undermine state, local and federal laws, including those governing food safety, environmental protection, internet freedom, worker rights, democratic sovereignty, healthcare and drug prices, and banking and finance regulation.

    It’s bad enough that Congress and the public have been shut out of these negotiations, while corporations are running the show. But even worse, the Obama Administration wants to ram the TPP through Congress using a Nixon-era process called Fast Track

    Please ask your representatives and senators to vote against giving President Obama any type of Fast Track Trade Authority and insist that Congress fulfills its constitutional mandate to write the laws and set trade policy.

    Fast Track strips Congress of its authority to control the content of a trade deal and hands that authority over to the executive branch. Congress gets a vote, but only after the negotiations have been completed, and the agreements have been signed. 

    Here are just a few examples of how the TPP threatens food safety and sovereignty:

    The TPP would require countries to accept food that meets only the lowest safety standards of the collective participants. That means consumers could soon be eating imported seafood, beef or chicken products that don’t meet even basic U.S. food safety standards, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would be powerless to shut down imports of these unsafe food or food ingredients. 

    Corporations would be allowed to resolve trade disputes in special international tribunals, effectively wiping out hundreds of domestic and international food sovereignty laws. Products labeled fair trade, organic, country-of-origin, animal-welfare approved, or GMO-free, could all be challenged as “barriers to trade.”

     • Countries could find it increasingly difficult to ban, or even require the labeling of, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), if biotech companies determine that those countries’ strict policies infringe on the companies’ “rights” to profit. 

    Local governments or schools attempting to give preference to buying from local farmers and producers could be overruled

    Local governments’ authority to restrict permits to extraction and export of liquid natural gas to partner countries would be threatened, leading to an increase in the practice of fracking.

     • Family-scale farmers (or those that prefer to buy food from family-scale farmers) will find it more difficult to compete. 

    For more on the TPP click here

  • Sen. Warren Supports Mandatory GMO Labels! Now, She Needs to Tell the FDA!

    It took 42,000 petition signatures and a visit to her office. But on November 4, noted consumer advocate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) finally took a position in favor of mandatory labels on food made with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) when she signed on as a co-sponsor to the Boxer-DeFazio bill.  

    We’re grateful that Sen. Warren has come around to our side. The only problem is, she’s still also siding with Monsanto and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) by asking the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to finalize its guidance for voluntary labeling of GMOs.

    Please sign our petition to let Sen. Warren know you appreciate her support for mandatory GMO labels, but you’d like her to stop supporting Monsanto's and the GMA’s plan for voluntary GMO labels.

    How could Sen. Warren be supporting both consumers and the biotech and junk food industries? At the same time?

    If the FDA finalizes its 2001 guidance on voluntary labeling, it could mean the end for any state or federal mandatory GMO labeling law. And it could even make it impossible for manufacturers of non-GMO products to legitimately claim their products are non-GMO. 

    We need Sen. Warren to on our side. Please sign our petition and ask her to withdraw her letter to the FDA seeking guidance on voluntary labeling of GMOs.

  • MASSACHUSETTS: We’re almost there. Call today to help pass GMO labeling in 2014!

    Thanks to people like you who made hundreds of phone calls and sent thousands of emails, 145 of Massachusetts’ 200 legislators now support H.3996, a bill to label GMOs.

    Now, we need to thank the 119 Representatives that support H. 3996 and encourage them to push the bill through the House, before the session ends July 31.

    Please call or email your Representative today! Fill in the form on this page to look up your Representative. Then call and email them to ask that they encourage the chairman of the House Ways and Means committee to give H.3996 top priority.

    You can say something like this:

    “Thank you for being a leader on GMO labeling. As your constituent, I'm grateful for your support of my right to know what’s in my food. I hope that you will do everything in your power to encourage the legislature to vote on H.3996 this session. We don't have time to wait!"

    With 30 new GMO crops coming down the pipeline, and the chemical manufacturers making moves to outlaw GMO labeling (really), we can't wait any longer to pass a GMO labeling bill in Massachusetts.

    The chemical manufacturers and junk food companies have already spent more than $70 million to combat grassroots GMO labeling initiatives, and now they're trying to stop our efforts in Massachusetts. But we are a people-powered movement, and everyone has a right to know if we're eating GMOs!

    Please take action today! Call and email to thank your Representative for their support and ask them to take action to pass H. 3996 this session!

    For more details and updates on the campaign to label GMOs in Massachusetts, please visit the MArighttoknow.org website and Facebook page.

  • Tell Nestlé USA: I’m Boycotting Organic Gerber Baby Food and Sweet Leaf Tea!

    The brand geniuses at Nestlé USA want your money. That’s why they introduced a line of organic Gerber-brand baby food and Sweet Leaf Tea, brands designed to appeal to health-conscious consumers like you. To capture a share of the growing market for organics.

    Trouble is, the corporate leaders at Nestlé also don’t want to have to label the genetically engineered ingredients in any of their non-organic brands. So they contributed more than $1 million to the NO on I-522 campaign in Washington State in an attempt to prevent the GMO labeling initiative from passing.

    Tell executives at Nestlé USA that you’re boycotting their Gerber organic baby foods and Sweet Leaf Tea brands, along with all their other products.

    Nestlé contributed nearly $1.5 million to help narrowly defeat last year’s California initiative to label GMOs. This year, rather than openly admit to consumers that the company is trying to hide the truth about the GMO ingredients in its products, Nestlé tried instead to hide its donation to the NO on I-522 campaign by funneling the money through the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), a Washington D.C.-based lobbying group representing over 300 corporations.

    Nice try. The state of Washington calls that money laundering. When the GMA was forced by the state attorney general to disclose the names of its members who donated to the NO campaign, and the amounts they donated, Nestlé turned up as the second largest donor to the GMA’s “Defense of Brand Strategic Account,” a secret slush fund designated to fight GMO labeling laws.

    Every dollar we spend on Sweet Leaf Teas and Gerber organic baby foods increases the profit margins of a company that will break the law to prevent us from knowing what’s in our food! So let’s not spend a dime on Nestlé products!

  • Tell the FDA: Don’t Impose Unfair Burdens on Local, Organic & Sustainable Vegetable Farms

    Love your local farms, farmers markets and CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture)? They could be in trouble thanks to burdensome new rules proposed under the Food Safety & Modernization Act (FSMA). 

    Unless the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) agrees to some key changes in the FSMA, the law will erect new barriers for small and mid-scale farmers and processors who have been successfully creating local markets – restaurants, co-ops, groceries, schools – for their locally grown produce. And if the rules don’t drive local growers out of business, they will surely drive up the price of local food.

    Please sign our letter by November 15. Tell the FDA: FSMA puts small and mid-scale farmers and processors at a competitive disadvantage against corporate farmers and producers who can more easily absorb costs, fees and fines. Please revise the FSMA to level the playing field for small growers. We need to encourage local, organic and sustainable agriculture. As written, the FSMA promotes the corporate, industrial food and farming model that is a hazard to human health and the environment.

    The FSMA was signed into law in 2011. But only recently has the FDA proposed new rules that create requirements for every aspect of growing and harvesting fruits, vegetables and nuts – requirements that include costly and burdensome reporting and hazard analysis controls. 

    The FDA is accepting comments on the proposed new rules until November 15. Please submit your comments today!

    Background: Small, local growers are not the problem

    The organic fruits, vegetables and nuts you buy from local farmers have never created a food safety problem. Most food safety disasters have originated from large-scale, industrial farming and processing operations – the very operations that stand to benefit from the FSMA!

    For example, the 2006 outbreak of E. coli that sickened more than 200 people in 26 states was traced to spinach sourced from an industrial grower, Natural Selection Foods, in California’s Salinas Valley.

    Ironically, after the 2006 spinach scandal, food writer Michael Pollan predicted the FDA would come up with new regulations that would likely hurt small, local producers:

    “So what happens to the spinach grower at my farmers’ market when the FDA starts demanding a Haccp plan — daily testing of the irrigation water, say, or some newfangled veggie-irradiation technology? When we start requiring that all farms be federally inspected? Heavy burdens of regulation always fall heaviest on the smallest operations and invariably wind up benefiting the biggest players in an industry, the ones who can spread the costs over a larger output of goods…

    “It’s easy to imagine the F.D.A. announcing a new rule banning animals from farms that produce plant crops. In light of the threat from E. coli, such a rule would make a certain kind of sense. But it is an industrial, not an ecological, sense. For the practice of keeping animals on farms used to be, as Wendell Berry pointed out, a solution; only when cows moved onto feedlots did it become a problem.”

    The FSMA gives the FDA sweeping new powers over fruit, vegetable and nut production. But it doesn’t address meat and dairy farms, which are covered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Wouldn’t it make more sense to crack down on factory farms, which pose known threats to human health and the environment? 

    Instead, the proposed FSMA rules threaten basic, time-honored organic and sustainable agriculture practices – practices that farmers have used for hundreds of years, including:

    •    The use of natural fertilizers, like compost and manure
    •    Raising vegetables and animals on the same farm
    •    The use of natural water sources for irrigation

    The FSMA also proposes a Preventive Controls rule that requires any business that packs, holds, processes or manufactures food to create a Hazard Analysis and Risk-based Preventive Control plan, which can cost up to $20,000 for a small operation in the first year alone. Who would be affected?

    •    Any farm that dehydrates, pickles or mills its produce
    •    Two or more farms that run a joint CSA and handle or store each other’s produce (even if they do no processing)
    •    “Food hubs” that distribute food from multiple local producers

    Sign our letter today. Tell the FDA: Please protect our local farms, farmers markets and CSAs. Revise the FSMA to level the playing field for small growers. We need to encourage local, organic and sustainable agriculture.

  • Tell Washington State's Attorney General: Investigate the GMA's Money Laundering Scheme, Don't Punish Moms!

    A group of concerned moms and citizens was fed up with the millions of dollars in out-of-state donations pouring into the NO on I-522 campaign in Washington State. So they formed a grassroots group, called Moms for Labeling, and started digging. They found that the Washington D.C.-based Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) was hiding donations from its corporate members. So Moms for Labeling sued the GMA for violating state disclosure laws by laundering money for big corporate interests.

    Please scroll down and send a message to Bob Ferguson, attorney general for the state of Washington. Ask Mr. Ferguson to investigate the GMA’s money laundering scheme.

    The judge hearing the Moms for Labeling’s case rejected the lawsuit, on a technicality. But what happened next defies reason. The judge then imposed a $10,000 fine on the grassroots group after the GMA countersued the Moms:

    The new countersuit by No on 522 asks a judge to decide whether the moms' lawsuit is a "strategic lawsuit against public participation"—that is, a lawsuit aimed at denying or intimidating someone from exercising their right to free speech. It's known as a "SLAPP" suit statute (work out that acronym), and the law's goal is generally to protect citizens from frivolous suits by big companies who are just trying to make it difficult to fight with them. But in this case, the law is being wielded by big companies against citizens. (source:http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2013/09/26/no-on-522-campaign-files-countersuit-against-moms-for-labeling).

    End of story? Not yet. In dismissing the suit, the judge ruled that under the circumstances, only the state attorney general now has the authority to sue the GMA for violating Washington’s Public Disclosure Act. 

    Please scroll down and send a message to Bob Ferguson, attorney general for the state of Washington. Ask Mr. Ferguson to investigate the GMA’s money laundering scheme.

    The NO on I-522 campaign has so far raised $17.1 million to blanket the airwaves with its lies. The GMA, which represents over 300 corporations including Kraft, Kellogg’s, Monsanto, Dupont, Starbucks, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, ConAgra and General Mills, has kicked in $7.2 million so far – $5 million more than the lobbying group spent last year in California, to defeat a similar GMO labeling initiative.

    Who’s missing from the NO on I-522 donor roster this year, in Washington State? The junk food giants who spent millions last year, but this year, are hiding their donations from public view.

    Thanks for taking action!

  • Order your Millions Against Monsanto Materials Today!

    Do you need campaign materials for an upcoming event or rally? Or for a booth at your local farmer's market or Harvest Festival?

    Fill out the form below to receive a packet of our Millions Against Monsanto campaign petition, posters, leaflets, and stickers.

    The materials are free, but if you can chip in $5 or $10 to help us cover mailing and printing costs, we would appreciate it. You can also order your own 100% organic Millions Against Monsanto t-shirt for $25.

    View and download campaign materials here.

    Please double-check that your mailing address is correct in the form below and fill in the event date and information before hitting "submit". Due to shipping costs, we can only fill U.S. requests. Thanks!

  • Tell White Wave: I’m not Buying Your Products until You Stop Supporting the GMA’s War against GMO Labeling!

    The White Wave Food Company, owner of the Horizon Organic and Silk brands, calls itself a “champion” in the fight against GMOs. Its Silk brand products are even enrolled in the Non-GMO Project.

    But did you know that the company uses a portion of its profits, derived from marketing its products to organic consumers, to actively fight GMO labeling laws? 

    Please sign the letter below. Tell the White Wave Food Company’s CEO Gregg Engles to quit the Grocery Manufacturers Association and support Washington’s I-522 Initiative.
    White Wave is a dues-paying member of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), a multi-billion dollar trade group that just dropped $7.2 million into the campaign to defeat I-522, a GMO labeling initiative in Washington State. If passed on November 5, I-522 will require mandatory labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in foods sold at retail.
    It’s up to consumers to let White Wave know that the company can’t have it both ways. It’s all well and good for White Wave to say that the company supports the consumer’s right to know. But those are just empty words as long as White Wave supports the GMA, a leader in the fight to defeat GMO labeling laws.

    This isn’t the first time White Wave has been caught undermining its “organic,” “right-to-know” brand. In 2007, White Wave Tofu turned away from domestic organic soybean farmers in favor of cheap, conventional soybean imports from China. 

    We expect junk food giants like Pepsi, General Mills, Coca-Cola, ConAgra and others to belong to the GMA. But it’s disappointing when a company that markets its products as healthful, sustainable and organic, and claims to “champion” GMO labeling in order to build the loyalty of organic consumers, fights behind the scenes to prevent truth-in-labeling laws.

    Rather than team with junk food and pesticide giants in supporting the GMA’s efforts to deny consumers the right to know, White Wave should take a page out of the book of Dr. Andrew Weil. Dr. Weil and his company, Weil Lifestyle, which also was a member of the GMA, cut ties with the junk food lobby after more 25,000 people signed letters asking him to quit the GMA and support I-522. 

    If Dr. Weil could take a stand, so can White Wave!

  • The Mouse that Roared: Tell El Salvador ‘Thank You’ for Standing up to Monsanto!

    The government of El Salvador has banned the use of Monsanto’s Roundup, whose key ingredient is the herbicide glyphosate, citing evidence that the chemical is linked to a mysterious kidney disease that afflicts the region’s farm workers.

    The country’s Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources has also banned 52 other chemicals, including pesticides and fertilizers used in conventional agriculture. 

    Please sign the letter below to Herman Rosa Chavez, El Salvador's Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources (MARN), thanking him for standing up to Monsanto. 

    El Salvador was hard hit by the 2008 global food crisis, and by a 2011 tropical storm that caused extensive flooding and soil erosion. The country has responded by aggressively promoting sustainable agriculture practices. The country’s Ministry of the Environment is launching a Program for the Restoration of Ecosystems and Landscapes in order to better manage soil and water conservation and and adapt to climate change.
  • Trilogy Test Targeted Action

    UPDATE: On Friday, September 20, the House passed its version of the Continuing Resolution (H.J. RES.59), with the Farmers Assurance Provision, better known as the Monsanto Protection Act, intact. We can't stop it in the House. But we need to let every U.S. Senator know that we are opposed to a Continuing Resolution that includes the Monsanto Protection Act.

    Congress could vote this week to extend the Monsanto Protection Act for another three months. Unless we stop them!

    Please scroll down to write your Senator today. Ask them to vote NO on the Farmers Assurance Provision, also known as the Monsanto Protection Act.  After you send the letter, please call your Senator. You can find the numbers here.

    The Monsanto Protection Act is a rider that prevents the federal courts from enforcing injunctions on genetically modified seeds even if those seeds have been deemed unsafe. Earlier this year, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) slipped the Monsanto Protection Act into the Continuing Resolution, a bill to fund the U.S. government through September 30.

    Now, Congress is about to vote on a new Continuing Resolution (H.J.RES.59) in order to fund the government for another three months. And despite public outrage and hundreds of thousands of signatures on petitions, House Appropriations Committee Chair Rep. Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) has slipped the Monsanto Protection Act into the new bill.

    The Monsanto Protection Act is nothing but a gift to the biotech industry. It’s an affront to farmers and consumers. It gives the biotech industry a free pass to grow crops that have not been adequately safety tested. It also threatens farmers who potentially could be shut off from markets abroad when their non-GMO crops are contaminated.

    After a huge public uproar in opposition to the Monsanto Protection Act, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), tried to repeal it though an amendment to the Farm Bill. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) blocked the vote on Merkley's amendment. But Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), the Agriculture Committee Chair with the final say on agriculture issues in the Democrat-controlled Senate, offered a compromise in the form of a promise that she would work to ensure that the Monsanto Protection Act wouldn't be renewed without a vote.

    We hope Sen. Stabenow will keep her promise. But we need to remind her, and all of our members of the Senate, that the Monsanto Protectio Act needs to go.

    Please write your Senator and urge them to vote NO on the Continuing Resolution unless the Monsanto Protection Act is removed!

  • Trilogy Test Petition Action

    In a day and age of slick marketing and profits before ethics, it’s nice to know there are a few companies still run by real people with a real conscience.

    Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, a fifth-generation family-owned business, believes consumers should have the right to know if their food, or other products, contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). So the Bronner Family has donated $1 million so far to YES on I-522, the campaign to pass a GMO labeling initiative in Washington State.

    Please use the form on the right to send a “Thank you!” to the Bronner Family for supporting I-522 and your Right to Know! We’ve provided text for a letter, but please add your personal comments in the space provided.

    We hear it from so many companies. How they really care about their customers. How their products are safe and healthy. How they espouse good, old-fashioned, feel-good values.

    But when it comes to actually taking a stand on behalf of consumers, and especially when it comes to putting their money where their mouths are, what do we hear from most CEOs and their PR flacks?

    Excuses. One after another.

    With just 10 weeks to go before ballots are mailed to Washington voters, most of the organic and “natural” elite – big names like Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Safeway, Ben & Jerry’s, Stonyfield Farm, Hain Celestial, White Wave, Horizon Organic - are sitting on their hands. Just as they did last year, when consumers were raising millions to pass a GMO labeling initiative in California.

    Shame on them.

    Thank you, Dr. Bronner’s, for standing up for consumers.

    Please use the form below to send a “Thank you!” to the Bronner Family for supporting I-522 and your Right to Know! We’ve provided text for a letter, but please add your personal comments in the space provided.

  • Aurora Organic: Stop Supporting the GMA’s Campaign to Kill GMO Labeling!

    UPDATE: Since we issued this action alert, the email address for CEO Marc Peperzak is no longer working. We've added an email address for Sonja Tuitele, Director of Communications. If you send her an email and it also bounces back, please call her at (720)564.6296 ext 137 and ask her to end Aurora Organic Dairy's membership in the Grocery Manufacturers Association.

    Aurora Organic Dairy wants customers to know how their food is made. It says so, right here on its website. But apparently, the company is not keen on consumers knowing if their food contains genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

    Otherwise, why would Aurora Organic remain a dues-paying member of the Grocery Manufacturers Association? The multi-billion dollar trade association that has already contributed more than $2.2 million to defeat I-522, the Washington State ballot initiative to label GMOs?

    Please scroll down and sign the letter below. Tell Aurora Organic Dairy’s CEO Marc Peperzak to quit the GMA and support Washington’s I-522 Initiative.

    It’s no surprise that giant food corporations like Pepsi, General Mills, Unilever, Coca-Cola, ConAgra and others belong to the GMA. But it’s disappointing when a company that markets its products as healthful, sustainable and organic, a company that profits from the loyalty of organic consumers, spends a portion of those profits to defeat GMO labeling laws.

    Aurora Organic Dairy customers might be interested to know that the GMA publicly boasted last year that its top priority was to defeat Proposition 37, a GMO labeling initiative in California. Thanks in no part to the GMA’s $2.2 million in contributions, California families were narrowly denied the right to know what’s in the food they eat and feed their children. 

    Rather than join the junk food giants in supporting the GMA, maybe Aurora Organic Dairy should take a page out of the book of Dr. Andrew Weil. Dr. Weil and his company, Weil Lifestyle, which also was a member of the GMA, cut ties with the GMA after more 25,000 people signed letters asking him to quit the GMA and support I-522. In a
    blog post, Dr. Weil declared his support for I-522 and the 93 percent of Americans who support GMO labeling.

    Dr. Weil did it. Can Aurora Organic take a stand, too?

    Tell Aurora Organic Dairy’s CEO Marc Peperzak to quit the GMA and support Washington’s I-522 Initiative.


  • URGENT: Take Action Today to Stop the Monsanto Protection Act


    UPDATE: On Friday, September 20, the House passed its version of the Continuing Resolution (H.J. RES.59), with the Farmers Assurance Provision, better known as the Monsanto Protection Act, intact. We can't stop it in the House. But we need to let every U.S. Senator know that we are opposed to a Continuing Resolution that includes the Monsanto Protection Act.

    Congress could vote this week to extend the Monsanto Protection Act for another three months. Unless we stop them!

    Please scroll down to write your Senator today. Ask them to vote NO on the Farmers Assurance Provision, also known as the Monsanto Protection Act.  After you send the letter, please call your Senator. You can find the numbers here.

    The Monsanto Protection Act is a rider that prevents the federal courts from enforcing injunctions on genetically modified seeds even if those seeds have been deemed unsafe. Earlier this year, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) slipped the Monsanto Protection Act into the Continuing Resolution, a bill to fund the U.S. government through September 30.

    Now, Congress is about to vote on a new Continuing Resolution (H.J.RES.59) in order to fund the government for another three months. And despite public outrage and hundreds of thousands of signatures on petitions, House Appropriations Committee Chair Rep. Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) has slipped the Monsanto Protection Act into the new bill.

    The Monsanto Protection Act is nothing but a gift to the biotech industry. It’s an affront to farmers and consumers. It gives the biotech industry a free pass to grow crops that have not been adequately safety tested. It also threatens farmers who potentially could be shut off from markets abroad when their non-GMO crops are contaminated.

    After a huge public uproar in opposition to the Monsanto Protection Act, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), tried to repeal it though an amendment to the Farm Bill. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) blocked the vote on Merkley's amendment. But Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), the Agriculture Committee Chair with the final say on agriculture issues in the Democrat-controlled Senate, offered a compromise in the form of a promise that she would work to ensure that the Monsanto Protection Act wouldn't be renewed without a vote.

    We hope Sen. Stabenow will keep her promise. But we need to remind her, and all of our members of the Senate, that the Monsanto Protectio Act needs to go.

    Please write your Senator and urge them to vote NO on the Continuing Resolution unless the Monsanto Protection Act is removed!

  • Tell Coke: Stop Running Ads Claiming that Diet Coke and Aspartame are Healthy

    Coca-Cola, the company that donated $1.7 million to defeat last year’s GMO labeling initiative in California, has rolled out an ad campaign carefully and deceptively crafted to convince consumers that aspartame, the artificial sweetener (whose patent was at one time owned by Monsanto) in Diet Coke, is a “healthy alternative” to sugar.

    Please sign the letter to the right. Tell Coke: Stop Running Ads Claiming that Diet Coke and Aspartame are Healthy

    The new campaign, being tested in the Atlanta and Chicago markets, takes the form of full-page advertisements disguised as public service announcements. The message? Aspartame is perfectly safe. It’s better for you than sugar. Drinking Diet Coke will help you stay thin and healthy.

    It’s not true. Multiple studies, including one published in 2010 by the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine have concluded just the opposite. Aspartame, they say, actually contributes to weight gain by stimulating your appetite. Other studies have revealed that aspartame increases carbohydrate cravings and stimulates fat storage and weight gain.

    Not only does aspartame lead to weight gain, but it’s also far from being a “healthy alternative” to sugar or anything else. For decades, aspartame has been the focus of studies declaring it unequivocally unhealthy, and suggesting that it has no place in our food supply. Aspartame has been linked to brain cancer and to the accumulation of formaldehyde, known to cause gradual damage to the nervous system, the immune system and to cause irreversible genetic damage at long-term, low-level exposure.

    In1995, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA)  documented 92 aspartame-related symptoms, including migraines, memory loss, seizures, obesity, infertility, dizziness, change in seizures, fatigue, neurological problems and a host of others.

    Aspartame is not food. It’s defined as a synthetic compound of two amino acids (l-aspartyl-l-phenylalanine o-methyl ester). It was discovered in 1965 by a chemist researching an anti-ulcer drug for G. D. Searle Co.

    In 1975, the FDA put a hold on aspartame’s approval, citing deficiencies in the studies conducted by Searle and its contractors. An analysis of 164 studies of aspartame’s potential impact on human safety found that of the 90 non-industry-sponsored studies, 83 identified one or more problems with aspartame. Of the 74 industry-sponsored studies, all 74 claimed that aspartame was safe.

    But in 1981, the FDA approved aspartame as a sweetener for beverages, thanks to Arthur Hayes Hull, Jr., the new FDA commissioner under Ronald Reagan. Hulls was hand-picked for the position by then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who not-coincidentally had previously served as CEO of Searle. Rumsfeld earned a $12-million bonus in 1985 when Monsanto bought Searle. Hull, in the meantime, went on to work for Burston-Marsteller, Searle’s – and Monsanto’s – public relations firm.

    It’s a story of corporate greed and dirty politics.

    If thousands of consumers complain to Coke’s CEO, Muhtar Kent, and other executives at Coca-Cola, maybe we can shame the company into pulling an ad campaign that is deceptive at best, and dangerous at worst.

    Please sign the letter. Tell Coke: Stop Running Ads Claiming that Diet Coke and Aspartame are Healthy

  • Tell Dr. Weil: Get the GMOs out of Supplements and Support GMO Labeling in Washington State!


    It’s a medical mystery.

    Healthy lifestyle guru Dr. Andrew Weil says genetically modified organisms (GMOs) cause “ranges of health problems” in animals. He favors GMO labeling laws, he says, because consumers should have the right to know if products contain GMOs.

    Yet the good doctor’s company, Weil Lifestyle LLC, is a member of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) – the top donor so far to the campaign to defeat a GMO labeling initiative in Washington State, and a major contributor ($2 million) to the campaign that last year defeated Proposition 37, a similar GMO labeling initiative in California.

    Not only that, but Weil Lifestyle knowingly sells supplements that contain GMOs. Unlabeled.

    Please send a letter with the form below. Tell Dr. Weil and Weil Lifestyle LLC: Get the GMOs out of Supplements and Support GMO Labeling in Washington State!

    In this 2011 video Dr. Weil says it’s “hard to foresee all of the downstream consequences” of genetically engineering our food. Genetic engineering “might cause allergies, we don’t know.”

    And in this blog post, the doctor says that the arguments for and against labeling are “pretty obvious.”

    “Those in favor of labeling (myself included) believe that consumers have a right to know when foods are modified with genes from another species.”   

    Yet when we called the Weil Lifestyle consumer product line to ask if the company sold supplements containing genetically modified soy (soy lecithin), the customer service representative said that their supplements containing soy lecithin are “not certified GMO-free.” (There are two exceptions: CO Q10 and Vitamin E, which contain non-GMO soy lecithin, the company said).

    So why not label supplements containing GMOs? According to an email from a member of the company’s Vitamin Advisor Team:
    “Unfortunately non-organic foods and even foods labeled GMO-free cannot be guaranteed 100% free of genetically engineered ingredients. This is primarily due to cross-pollination or cross contamination.”

    So. To summarize. Dr. Weil believes GMOs may be bad for our health, and that products containing GMOs should be labeled. But not products sold by Weil Lifestyle? Because why bother labeling as long as there’s a possibility that non-GMO crops might be contaminated?

    Barely two weeks after California’s Proposition 37 was defeated by a razor-thin margin, thanks to a $46-million campaign of lies and misinformation, Dr. Weil chastised fans gathered one of his book-signings in San Francisco for failing to pass the initiative. According to blogger Eric Riess, Weil said, “How could you let that fail?”

    Fans should have asked him: “How can you belong to a trade group that spent $2 million to defeat Prop 37?”

    It’s time for Dr. Weil to stop preaching one thing, while he practices another.

    Please send your letter today. Tell Dr. Weil and Weil Lifestyle LLC: Get the GMOs out of Supplements and Support GMO Labeling in Washington State!

  • Company with a Conscience: Thank You Dr. Bronner’s!

    In a day and age of slick marketing and profits before ethics, it’s nice to know there are a few companies still run by real people with a real conscience.

    Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, a fifth-generation family-owned business, believes consumers should have the right to know if their food, or other products, contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). So the Bronner Family has donated $2 million so far to YES on I-522, the campaign to pass a GMO labeling initiative in Washington State.

    Please use the form below to send a “Thank you!” to the Bronner Family for supporting I-522 and your Right to Know! We’ve provided text for a letter, but please add your personal comments in the space provided.

    We hear it from so many companies. How they really care about their customers. How their products are safe and healthy. How they espouse good, old-fashioned, feel-good values.

    But when it comes to actually taking a stand on behalf of consumers, and especially when it comes to putting their money where their mouths are, what do we hear from most CEOs and their PR flacks?

    Excuses. One after another.

    With just 10 weeks to go before ballots are mailed to Washington voters, most of the organic and “natural” elite – big names like Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Safeway, Ben & Jerry’s, Stonyfield Farm, Hain Celestial, White Wave, Horizon Organic - are 
    sitting on their hands. Just as they did last year, when consumers were raising millions to pass a GMO labeling initiative in California.

    Shame on them. 

    Thank you, Dr. Bronner’s, for standing up for consumers.

    Please use the form below to send a “Thank you!” to the Bronner Family for supporting I-522 and your Right to Know! We’ve provided text for a letter, but please add your personal comments in the space provided.

  • Tell the President and the BLM: Don't Frack America’s Public Lands!

    In his recent speech on climate change, President Obama announced his intent to rapidly increase domestic production of oil and gas. Part of his plan? To cooperate with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to open 600 million acres of Federal and Native American land, including our national parks, for fracking.

    Please sign the petition below by Aug. 23, 2013. Tell the BLM: Don’t frack America’s public lands!

    Also, on Aug. 21, please join hundreds of thousands of Americans for a national call-in day to President Obama. Call the President at 1-888-660-2594 and ask him to protect our public lands from fracking.

    Most of the lands targeted for fracking are managed by the BLM, a federal agency that recently revised, and significantly weakened, its rules for fracking on public lands.

    We should be protecting America’s cherished public lands, open spaces, historic structures, archaeological sites and iconic landscapes for future generations, not defiling them. These resources represent our shared history and an irreplaceable part of our national heritage.

    But if President Obama and the BLM get their way, these cherished lands will be treated as nothing more than a commodity, to be exploited for profit by greedy, profit-hungry oil and gas companies.

    Recent reports suggest that fracking is contaminating our groundwater with arsenic and other heavy metals. Is that the legacy we want to leave our kids?

    Our only chance to stop President Obama and the BLM is to speak out, loud and clear, in large numbers.

    Here are two ways you can help:

    •    On Aug. 21, you can join Americans against Fracking for a national call-in day to President Obama. Call the President
    at 1-888-660-2594. You can tell him: “Fracking threatens the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, the communities we love and the climate on which we all depend. We need to ban fracking now.”

    •    Until Aug. 23, the BLM is seeking public comments on its proposal to weaken the rules for fracking on public lands. Please sign the petition below by Aug. 23 asking the BLM to ban fracking on public lands, not weaken existing rules.

    Fracking and farms cannot co-exist, as we’ve heard over and over from farmers in Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Dakota, West Virginia and Colorado - farmers whose lives and farms have been ruined by fracking’s methane emissions and toxic chemicals. As one farmer explained, “We depend on good water for our cows, our crops and our own health. Once you mess up your groundwater, you can’t fix it.”


    Natural gas and oil development is already the second-largest contributor to greenhouse gas pollution in the U.S. The climate change footprint of natural gas, once the extraction process and the resulting methane is factored in, is worse than coal. (Methane is a greenhouse gas that is up to 105 times more powerful at trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide).

    According to the U.S. Energy and Information Administration, if we pursue natural gas as a central component of our energy portfolio as planned, we’ll suffer an increase in temperature of approximately 7 degrees Fahrenheit by 2060.

    These are our lands! It’s time to send a clear message to President Obama and the BLM: Fracking threatens the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, the communities we love and the climate on which we all depend. 

  • Tell the FDA: GMOs Aren't Natural

    Angry consumers who have learned about the dangers of genetic engineering are suing so-called “natural” brands that have been hiding GMOs in their favorite foods.  In an effort to stall the lawsuits, defense lawyers have convinced at least one judge that the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), not the courts, should decide whether GMOs are “natural”.

    It’s a clever strategy, given that the FDA’s Deputy Commissioner for Foods is none other than Monsanto’s former lawyer, Michael Taylor. Whose side do you think the FDA will take?

    Please tell the FDA: GMOs aren’t natural!

    The FDA says “natural” means “nothing artificial or synthetic … has been included in, or has been added to, a food that would not normally be expected to be in the food.”

    Who would guess that food marketed as “natural” contains the engineered genes of insecticide-producing and/or herbicide-resistant bacteria?

    Background

    Here are the top 10 reasons the GMOs aren’t natural.

    1.    Genetic engineering is an imprecise technology. It creates unpredictable changes in the DNA, proteins and biochemical composition of the resulting genetically modified organism (GMO), including unexpected toxic, allergenic and nutritional disturbances.

    2.    GMOs are created by using a gene gun to shoot foreign genes into millions of unrelated cells, or by linking the foreign genes to bacteria that can infect the cells’ DNA. Most of the foreign genes won’t make it into the cells’ DNA. When the foreign genes successfully penetrate the cells’ DNA, it is impossible to predict where they will hit or what the unintended consequences will be for the cells’ original genes.

    3.    Genetic engineers do not “check their work” to look for potential collateral damage, even though the genetic engineering process can be expected to rearrange, delete or change the function of important genes.

    4.    The engineered DNA of GMOs produce new proteins that can be toxic or allergenic. GMO proteins that are relatively benign can still be foreign enough to the body that the human immune system will respond to them as foreign invaders. This can trigger allergic reactions, immune system disorders and digestive problems.

    5.    The new genes introduced to the body by genetically engineered foods don’t get broken down during digestion; they can be taken up across the intestinal wall, transferred to the blood, and as one scientist explains, be “left in the blood, muscle and liver in large chunks so that they can be easily recognized.”

    6.    The pesticide companies had two main goals when they began to genetically engineer plants. One, to invent novel organisms that could be patented, and two, to sell their insecticides and herbicides.

    7.    Over 75 percent of genetically engineered crops have been engineered to resist an herbicide. Foods that contain the herbicide-resistant GMO trait also come with an extra helping of herbicides. Between 1996 and 2011, herbicide-resistant crop technology led to a 527-million pound increase in herbicide use in the U.S.

    8.    The most widely grown genetically engineered crop is soy engineered to tolerate Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. Roundup causes birth defects in frog and chicken embryos at doses far lower than those used in agricultural spraying. It is also implicated in hormone disruption, DNA damage, cancer and neurological disorders.

    9.    Roundup has been detected in air, rain, groundwater, people’s urine and women’s blood.

    10.    Bt corn crops are genetically engineered to produce a toxin from the Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) bacterium that ruptures the intestines of insects, causing pests to die quickly after ingesting the GMO corn. The Bt toxin has been found in 93 percent of pregnant women and 80 percent of their babies.

    Please tell the FDA: GMOs aren’t natural!

  • NEW HAMPSHIRE: Don't let Monsanto and Big Food Lobbyists Kill HB 660 for GMO Labels!

    Monsanto and Big Food Lobbyists have launched an all-out misinformation campaign to kill HB 660 for GMO labels in the New Hampshire House of Representatives!

    The vote for this crucial bill is tomorrow morning, January 22. Can you call your Representatives NOW to correct the facts?  

    When you fill in the form to the right, your Representatives’ phone numbers will be displayed below the letter. You can also look up their phone numbers here.

    When you call, tell your legislator you want the right to know what is in your food. Then, let them know you’d like to correct the misinformation they have heard.

    Here are the correct facts that your legislators need to hear:

    Restaurants are exempt according to the amended version of HB 660. (Alcohol and medical food are also exempt.)

    If someone thinks a food product has not been properly labeled, they can register a complaint with New Hampshire's Dept. of Health and Human Services, and the department will have the manufacturer prove that the food is properly labeled.  If it has not been properly labeled and the manufacturer refuses to correct the mislabeling, then there will be consequences for the manufacturer, not the retailer.

    The State of New Hampshire has determined that labeling is a cheap and effective tool to offer transparency in the marketplace, estimating that labeling would cost as little as 9 cents per New Hampshire resident.

    Don’t let Monsanto and their lobbyists kill GMO labeling in New Hampshire. Call and send a letter to your Representatives NOW!

    Background on HB 660 (Source: Food Democracy Now!)

    HB 660 Will Pass Constitutional Challenge.  The language in New Hampshire's HB 660 has been reviewed by legal and constitutional experts who remain confident that should it be challenged in court, it will stand up to constitutional scrutiny.

    Right-to-Know is a Basic Consumer Right.  HB 660 is a consumer rights bill aimed at providing simple label transparency to New Hampshire citizens.  It doesn't make a judgment as to whether GMOs are good or bad - it just requires food manufacturers to be honest and let citizens know whether a food is the result of genetic engineering.

    No Scientific Consensus on Safety of GMOs.  Despite continued claims from Monsanto and the biotech industry, significant disagreement within the scientific community remains about the safety of genetically engineered crops and their accompanying pesticides, such as the popular weedkiller Roundup. Earlier this year more than 300 scientists signed a declaration stating that there is no scientific consensus on GMO safety. http://www.ensser.org/increasing-public-information/no-scientific-consensus-on-gmo-safety/

    More information at Food Democracy Now!

    NH Right to Know GMO online and on Facebook

    Thanks for taking action!

  • Ask Chipotle to List GMO Ingredients on the Menu in their Restaurants

     Do you have the right to know what's in your food? If you order a burrito, shouldn't you have the right to know if it contains GMO ingredients?

    Sixty-four countries have either banned GMOs (genetically modified organisms), or have enacted laws requiring mandatory labeling of GMO ingredients. Yet here in the U.S., consumers are kept in the dark.

    Thankfully, restaurants like Chipotle are taking a stand. Chipotle has created a GMO ingredients menu. Great idea, except that the menu is buried on the restaurant chain's website. Wouldn't it make more sense to post the menu in all Chipotle restaurants, where consumers could see it?

    Please sign the petition encouraging Chipotle to post its GMO menu in all of its restaurants.
     
    Sources:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/18/chipotle-gmo_n_3460402.html
  • Just Say ‘O No!’ to Safeway’s O Organics™ Brand!

    Safeway has its own line of private-label organic products -O Organics™- for one reason: the giant grocery chain wants a piece of the growing market for organic foods.  But before you purchase an O Organics product, remember this: Safeway is a dues-paying member of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), which donated $2 million to defeat GMO labeling in California, collected $10.6 million in illegally laundered donations to help defeat Washington State’s GMO labeling initiative in 2013, is suing Vermont for passing a GMO labeling law in May 2014, and is behind the DARK Act, a federal bill to preempt states from passing mandatory GMO labeling laws.

    And just to make it clear that Safeway doesn’t support labeling, on July 25, 2014, shareholders flatly rejected a motion that would have required the store to label GMOs (similar to what Whole Foods has agreed to do, voluntarily).

    TAKE ACTION: Just Say ‘O No!’ to Safeway’s O Organics™ Brand! After you sign our letter to Safeway President & CEO Robert Edwards, call the company at 877-723-3929 and tell them you’re boycotting their O Organics™ Brand until the Safeway withdraws from the Grocery Manufacturers Association, and publicly supports GMO labeling laws.

    You can also post your message on Safeway’s Facebook page.

    The folks who run Safeway (SWY), the second-largest supermarket chain in North America (and soon to be swallowed up by Albertson’s, to become and even bigger fish in the supermarket sea), have joined the chorus of politicians, corporations and mainstream media who say they oppose GMO labeling because it might “frighten” or “confuse” consumers.

    At their annual shareholders meeting last week (July 25, 2014), shareholders rejected a proposal that would have forced the company to label foods containing GMOs.

    Using words like “anti-scientific” and “fear-mongering,” and calling labeling activists “shameless,” the company parroted the industry line that GMOs are perfectly safe and labels will only unnecessarily “frighten” consumers.

    We’re guessing the only ones who are frightened by the prospect of GMO labels are the junk food manufacturers who sell GMO-contaminated foods and the chemical companies that sell the toxic chemicals required to grow them.

    Update on: July 31, 2014

  • Will Illinois Be the Next State to Label GMOs?

    With your help, it might! 


    Connecticut
     and Maine made food history this year by passing GMO labeling bills. 

    With your help, Illinois could be the next state to pass a law requiring labels on genetically engineered foods.

    Speak up for your right to know about GMOs by using the form on this page to contact your elected officials. Please follow-up your important message with calls to their offices. Phone numbers will also appear for each lawmaker or you can call the Illinois Capitol Switchboard: 217-782-2000.

    Earlier this year, state Sen. Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) introduced SB1666 to require labeling of genetically engineered foods in Illinois.

    "This legislation isn't about passing a value judgment on genetically engineered food, it's just about giving consumers information so that they can make their own choices," said Sen. Koehler.

    Over the summer, three important hearings were held on SB 1666 acorss the state. At these hearings, the food labeling subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Conservation heard from experts both for and against the bill.

    Now, your legislators need to hear from their constituents. Contact your elected officials today and ask for their support of SB 1666 and its House companion bill when the legislature reconvenes in January, 2014.

    Thanks for taking action!

  • Tell President Obama and U.S. Trade Rep. Michael Froman: Trade Agreements Shouldn't Be Secret!

    Two new global trade agreements currently in negotiations pose serious threats to food safety, in the U.S. and other countries. Both agreements are being negotiated behind closed doors. The public and Congress, despite repeated requests for access to proposals and final draft texts, have been shut out. More than 600 multinational corporations and industry trade groups, however, have a seat at the negotiating table. And it gets worse. The Obama Administration intends to push the agreements through Congress using a Nixon-era process called Fast Track. Fast Track strips Congress of its authority to control the content of a trade deal and hands that authority over to the executive branch. Congress gets a vote, but only after the negotiations have been completed, and the agreements have been signed. No debate. No amendments. Just a fast, forced vote, too late for Congress to have any influence.

    Please sign the letter below to President Obama and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman. Tell them that global trade agreements that have the potential to undermine U.S. food safety regulations should be negotiated in full view, with input from the consumers, farmers and governments that will be affected by the agreements’ final policies. Moreover, negotiators should not be allowed to do an end run around Congress and democracy, just to grease the wheels of international trade for multinational corporations.

    A few facts about the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

    •    Under both agreements, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) consumers could soon be eating imported seafood, beef or chicken products that don’t meet even basic U.S. food safety standards and the FDA could be powerless to shut down imports of those unsafe food or food ingredients.

    •    Congress and the public have been shut out of the negotiations, but more than
    600 corporations and industry trade groups have a seat at the table.

    •    Both agreements grant transnational corporations “special rights” that go far beyond those possessed by domestic businesses and American citizens. Experts who have reviewed the leaked texts say that TPP negotiators propose allowing transnational corporations to challenge countries’ laws, regulations and court decisions, including environmental and food safety laws. Corporations will be allowed to resolve trade disputes in special international tribunals. In other words, they get to do an end run around the countries’ domestic judicial systems, effectively wiping out hundreds, if not more, domestic and international food sovereignty laws.

    •    Among the many gifts to Big Ag contained in the TTIP and TPP? 
    Back-door entry for their genetically modified seeds and crops. Countries, including those in the European Union, could find it increasingly difficult to ban, or even require the labeling of, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), if biotech companies determine that those countries’ strict policies restrict fair trade and infringe on the companies’ “rights” to profit.

    •    Both agreements would force the U.S. and other participating countries to “harmonize” food safety standards. That means all countries that sign on to the agreement would be required to abide by the lowest common denominator standards of all participating governments.

    More on the TTIP and TPP here.

  • Tell the USDA: No More Field Trials of Unapproved GMO Crops!

    It's official. An Oregon farmer has found an unapproved, illegal variety of wheat, genetically engineered by Monsanto to withstand the company's toxic RoundUp herbicide, growing on his property. The rogue GMO (genetically modified organism) wheat was discovered a full eight years after Monsanto’s last known field trials in the state. The discovery is proof that GMO crops, legal or otherwise, have the potential to contaminate conventional non-GMO and organic crops. It also raises the question: How many other unknown instances of contamination have occurred but have not yet been discovered? Especially with Monsanto conducting hundreds of field trials of GMO crops in the U.S.?

    Please sign the petition below to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack demanding an immediate moratorium on all field trials of genetically engineered crops, including wheat.

    The variety of illegal wheat discovered in Oregon was field-tested in 16 states, including Oregon, from 1998 through 2005. According to a Bloomberg report, Monsanto is still doing field tests of GMO wheat today, in North Dakota and Hawaii, though the company has tried to portray its wheat program as having been closed out nine years ago.

    Sec. Vilsack should start today by recalling the rest of Monsanto's GMO wheat: 150 acres in Hawaii and 300 acres in North Dakota. Then, once he gets Monsanto's wheat under control, Sec. Vilsack should turn his attention to the hundreds of other GMO field trials, any one of which could create the next contamination crisis.

    According to USDA's
    biotechnology database, there are hundreds of GMO field trials in every region of the country. The USDA is testing GMO grapefruits and oranges in Florida. Cornell University in California is testing GMO grapes.

    But here’s what’s really disturbing: Monsanto is testing (according to the USDA database) dicamba-tolerant GMO soybeans in Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin. Why would Monsanto need to test a single variety of GE soybeans in 30 states? Before it’s been approved for human consumption? Could the biotech giant be trying to contaminate the food supply with unapproved GMOs?

    It wouldn't be the first time. As the film The World According to
    Monsanto documents, intentional contamination occurred in Paraguay, where illegal Roundup Ready seeds were smuggled in before GMOs were approved. Roberto Franco, Paraguay's Deputy Agriculture Ministry, tactfully admits in the documentary: "It is possible that [Monsanto], let's say, promoted its varieties and its seeds" before they were approved. "We had to authorize GMO seeds because they had already entered our country in an, let's say, unorthodox way."

    But GMO contamination doesn’t seem to be high on Vilsack’s worry list. In 2002, a corn crop engineered by
    ProdiGene to produce a vaccine for pigs, contaminated 500,000 bushels of soybeans, grown the following season in the same field. This after a previous incident in Iowa, where the USDA ordered ProdiGene to pay for the burning of 155 acres of conventional corn presumed contaminated by ProdiGene plants. ProdiGene eventually went out of business, but not before it received a $6 million investment from the Governors Biotechnology Partnership, chaired by then-Iowa-Governor Vilsack. In reaction to suggestions that pharma crops should be kept away from food crops, Vilsack argued that "we should not overreact and hamstring this industry."

    If Sec. Vilsack isn’t concerned about contaminating this country’s food supply, perhaps he cares about the economic consequences of contaminating non-GMO and organic crops in the U.S.?  The U.S. exported about $8.1 billion worth of American wheat in 2012, according to the New York Times.  About 90 percent of Oregon’s wheat crop is exported. But immediately after the news broke about the GM wheat contamination, Japan and South Korea put U.S. wheat purchases on hold. The European Union and Taiwan are weighing the possibility of testing U.S wheat before allowing further imports.

    Monsanto’s GMO wheat has not been approved anywhere in the world, in large part because no other country wants it. Now, it’s on the loose in the U.S.

    Please sign the petition to Sec. Vilsack and add your comments.

  • NEW YORK: Call Your Assemblymember for GMO Labeling Today!

    The battle for labeling genetically modified foods (GMOs) in New York is down to the wire. There are only nine days left until the end of the legislative session on June 19th.

    In the Assembly, A.3525 has cleared two important hurdles, but still needs to be passed by the Ways and Means and the Rules Committees before it lands on the Assembly floor for a full vote.

    In the Senate, S.3835 has stalled in the Consumer Protection Committee which has adjourned for this session. However, the leader of the Senate has the power to push this bill directly into the Rules Committee so it can be passed there and move to the Senate floor for a full vote.

    Please fill in the form on this page to send your Assemblymember and Senator a message asking them to support GMO labeling by co-sponsoring A.3525 or S.3835.  (Messages won’t be sent to Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal or Senator Ken LaValle, because they are the sponsors of A.3525 and S.3835).

    Then, if you haven’t already, please make three important phone calls to help pass GMO labeling in New York in 2014:

    1.    Assembly Ways and Means Committee Chair, Herman Farrell: 518-455-5491
    Action needed: Schedule a vote on bill A.3525 in the Ways and Means Committee so it can come before the entire Assembly for a floor vote before the end of the legislative session.

    2.    Assembly Speaker, Sheldon Silver: 518-455-3791
    Action needed: Move bill A.3525 through the Ways and Means Committee and then through the Rules committee so that it can come before the entire Assembly for a floor vote before the end of the legislative session.

    3.    Senate Majority Leader, Dean Skelos: 518-455-3171
    Action needed: Push bill S.3835 out of the Consumer Protection Committee and then through the Rules committee so that it can come before the entire Senate for a floor vote before the end of the legislative session.

    When you call, be sure to state that you are a resident of New York and explain that you believe consumers have the right to know if their food contains genetically modified organisms.

    We deserve the right to know, it’s time to label GMOs!

    Follow the anti-GMO labeling money trail in this report from the NY GE Food Labeling Campaign: Food Fights: An Analysis of Political Spending in 2013 by Opponents and Supporters of GMO Labeling Legislation in New York.

    For more information please visit the GMO Free NY website and Facebook page or contact info@gmofreeny.net.

    Thanks for taking action!

  • Tell Congress: Don't Pass a Farm Bill that Lets Monsanto Wipe Out State GMO Labeling Laws!

    Reliable sources in Washington D.C. tell the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) that  Monsantoshas begun secretly lobbying its Congressional allies to attach one or more “Monsanto Riders” or amendments to the 2013 Farm Bill that would preempt or prohibit states from requiring labels on genetically engineered (GE) foods. 

    Please send the letter below to your members of Congress. Ask them to reject any amendment or rider to the Farm Bill that would wipe out states' rights to label genetically modified organisms (GMOs). 

    On Wednesday, May 15, an amendment to the House version of the Farm Bill, inserted under the guise of protecting interstate commerce, passed out of the House Agricultural Committee. If the King Amendment makes it into the final Farm Bill, it would take away states’ rights to pass laws governing the production or manufacture of any agricultural product, including food and animals raised for food,  that is intended for sale in interstate commerce. The amendment was proposed by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), largely in response to a California law stating that by 2015, California will allow only eggs to be sold from hens housed in cages specified by California.  But policy analysts emphasize that the King amendment, broadly and ambiguously written, could be used to prohibit or preempt any state GMO labeling law.

    Will the King Amendment survive the Senate? No one can be sure, say analysts. However few doubt that Monsanto will sit quietly by while states initiate and pass GMO labeling laws. We can expect that more amendments and riders will be introduced into the Farm Bill - even if the King Amendment fails - over the next month in an attempt to stop the wave of state GMO labeling laws and initiatives moving forward in states like Washington, Vermont, Maine, Connecticut and others.

    Monsanto and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) have admitted privately that they’ve “lost the battle” to stop GE food labeling at the state level, now that states are aggressively moving forward on labeling laws. On May 14, Maine’s House Ag Committee passed a GMO labeling law. On May 10, the Vermont House passed a labeling bill, 99-42, despite massive lobbying by Monsanto and threats to sue the state. And though Monsanto won a razor-thin victory (51 percent to 49 percent) in a costly, hard fought California GMO labeling ballot initiative last November, biotech and Big Food now realize that Washington State voters will likely pass I-522, an upcoming ballot initiative to label GE foods, on November 5. 
       
    If Monsanto can’t stop states from passing laws, then the next step is a national preemptive measure.  And all signs point to just such a power grab.  Late last year, Monsanto slipped its extremely unpopular “Monsanto Protection Act,” an act that gives biotech immunity from federal prosecution for planting illegally approved GE crops, into the 2013 Federal Appropriations Bill.  During the June 2012 Farm Bill debate, 73 U.S. Senators voted against the right of states to pass mandatory GE food labeling laws. Emboldened by these votes, and now the House Ag Committee’s vote on the King Amendment, Monsanto has every reason to believe Congress would support a potential run at states’ rights to label.

    Please join the million-strong OCA and its allies in the organic and natural health movement in warning incumbent Senators and House members, Democrats and Republicans alike, that thousands of health and environmental-minded constituents in their Congressional districts or states will work to recall them or drive them out of office if they fail to heed the will of the people and to respect the time-honored traditions of shared state sovereignty over food labels, food safety laws and consumers’ right to know. Please join this campaign to save, not only our right to choose what’s in our food, but our basic right to democratic representation and self-determination as well. 

    Please send the letter below to your members of Congress. Ask them to reject any amendment or rider to the Farm Bill that would wipe out states' rights to label genetically modified organisms (GMOs). 

  • Tell the EPA You Want Lower, Not Higher, Limits on Monsanto's Roundup!

    When does one plus one not equal two? When mounting evidence says glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup pesticide, does more damage to our health and environment than we thought.  And the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) responds by approving higher, not lower, allowable limits of the pesticide residue.

    Please sign the letter below. Tell the EPA you want lower, not higher, limits on Monsanto’s glyphosate and Roundup!

    In May,  the EPA announced a final ruling to increase, yet again, the allowed residue limits in food and animal feed of glyphosate, the key active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. Under the ruling, the allowed glyphosate level in animal feed will rise to 100 parts per million (ppm) and 40 ppm in oilseed crops.

    There is precedence for final rulings to be revisited, even reversed, if enough people voice their opposition. The EPA will take comments on the ruling until the end of today, July 1, 2013.

    The EPA ruling defies sound science and undermines public health. Peer reviewed studies show rats fed diets as low as 2ppm of glyphosate were 70 percent to 80 percent more likely to develop tumors. Infertility, affecting both the sperm and the egg, was documented in animals subjected to glyphosate residue levels as low as .05 ppm. Birth defects in frog and chicken embryos resulted after being subjected to glyphosate residues of just 2.03 ppm.

    Yet the EPA claims glyphosate is only “minimally toxic” to humans, and 40 ppm is nothing to worry about?

    The EPA’s decision is all the more unjustifiable in light of two recently published, peer reviewed studies revealing glyphosate to be a far greater threat to human health than previously determined.

     According to a
    study published in the journal Entropy in April 2013, glyphosate is related to debilitating diseases like gastrointestinal disorders, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, autism, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. The study says the negative impact on the human body is “insidious and manifests slowly over time, as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body… it may in fact be the most biologically disruptive chemical in our environment.”

    A
    2012 study published in the journal Archives of Toxicology showed Roundup is toxic to human DNA even when diluted to concentrations 450-fold lower than used in agricultural applications. Industry regulators and long-term studies look at glyphosate in isolation, instead of looking at Roundup’s full formulation, which includes secret added ingredients. These “confidential” and unlabeled ingredients, when measured as a whole, affect all living cells, including human cells.

    Glyphosate is the most widely used herbicide in the world.  According to the EPA, at least 208 million tons of Roundup were sprayed on GE crops, lawns and roadsides in the years 2006 and 2007. In 2007, as much as 185 million pounds of glyphosate was used by U.S. farmers, double the
    amount used just six years ago.

    A
    2009 study found that Americans use about 100 million pounds of glyphosate annually on their lawns and gardens. It’s safe to assume all these number are much higher now. Why? Because GE crops are now being invaded by new strains of herbicide-resistant “superweeds” requiring higher and higher doses of poison.

    Beyond Pesticides has assembled extensive documentation of past
    research linking glyphosate to increased cancer risk, neurotoxicity and birth defects, as well as eye, skin, respiratory irritation, lung congestion, increased breathing rate, damage to the pancreas, kidney and testes.

    Glyphosate also endangers the environment, destroys soil and plants, and is linked to a host of health hazards. The EPA’s decision to increase the allowed residue limits of glyphosate is out of date, dangerous to the health of people and the environment and scientifically unsupportable.

    Please sign the letter below. Tell the EPA you want lower, not higher, limits on Monsanto’s glyphosate and Roundup!

  • URGENT: Protect State Animal Welfare and GMO Labeling Laws!

    This week, Congress reconvenes a conference committee tasked with finalizing the Farm Bill. If the “notorious Iowa ag-industry henchman” Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) gets his way, the 2014 Farm Bill will include an amendment (#71) that will not only wipe out state laws designed to protect animals on factory farms, but could also preempt state laws requiring mandatory labels on foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

    Don’t let Congress wipe out states’ rights to protect animal welfare and label GMOs. Please tell Farm Bill conference committee members to cut Rep. Steve King’s (R-Iowa) “Protect Interstate Commerce Act” out of the 2014 Farm Bill.

    Rep. King says his amendment, which he calls the “Protect Interstate Commerce Act,” is merely an effort to "reinforce the Commerce Clause," by asserting "that a state cannot deny the trade of an agricultural product from another state based on its means of production." 

    But we call it the “Factory Farm Protection Act” because Rep. King's amendment is really about protecting industrial agriculture. Specifically, Rep. King wants to protect his state's factory farms from regulations intended to reign in industry’s gross abuses of workers' rights, environmental protection, animal welfare and food safety. 

    Could this amendment also be used to wipe out state laws and initiatives to label GMOs? The Environmental Working Group (EWG) thought so when Rep. King tried to attach the amendment to the failed 2012 Farm Bill. Heather White, Executive Director for EWG said at the time that the bill would “. . . apply to genetically engineered food labeling, Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) regulation, antibiotics use in meat and other local and state food and farm regulations."

    As more and more states pass GMO labeling laws, it would come as no surprise if Monsanto and Big Food lobbyists were looking for ways to stomp on states’ rights to pass those laws.

    It also comes as no surprise that among the many contributors to Rep. King's election campaigns are companies involved in every production level in the GMO supply chain, including seed and chemical companies (Monsanto, Syngenta), growers (Iowa Corn Growers' Association, American Farm Bureau), processors (American Crystal Sugar, Ag Processors), the factory farms that convert GMO grains to animal products (Beef Products Inc., the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Pork Producers Council, International Dairy Foods Association), and the junk food companies (Cargill, Coca-Cola, ConAgra) pushing GMO ingredients like high fructose corn syrup and trans fats. 

    Please help us get this amendment out of the Farm Bill. The best way to do that is to flood the conference committee members' offices with emails and phone calls. Your Congresspersons' phone numbers will appear when you enter your contact information. Thank you!

    Background

    Rep. King drafted his “Factory Farm Protection Act” as broadly as possible to shield all of Iowa's agricultural industries from any type of regulation. But the law he'd most like to stop is California's Proposition 2, a citizens’ ballot initiative which takes effect January 1, 2015. Prop 2, which was overwhelmingly passed by voters, requires that “calves raised for veal, egg-laying hens and pregnant sows be confined only in ways that allow the animals to lie down, stand up, fully extend their limbs and turn around freely.” 

    As the top producer of eggs and pork, Iowa is the main proponent of the extreme confinement systems targeted by Prop 2. Those systems include battery cages for egg laying hens and gestation crates for pregnant pigs.

    Undercover investigations of Iowa factory farms that use battery cages and gestation crates reveal how cruel these systems can be. Mercy for Animals has documented "mother sows confined to barren metal crates barely larger than their own bodies—unable to turn around or lie down comfortably for nearly their entire lives" and "physically taxed from constant birthing—suffering from distended, inflamed, bleeding, and usually fatal uterine prolapses."

    Humane Society U.S. investigators witnessed egg-laying hens dying from injuries sustained when workers stuffed them into overcrowded cages, when they were trampled by other birds they were crammed in with, or when parts of their bodies got stuck in the wire cages. In addition, according to the report, "The HSUS investigator pulled many dead hens from cages who had obviously suffered uterine prolapses. One live hen's prolapse became caught in the cage floor."

    The factory farm industry spent millions in an unsuccessful bid to defeat Prop 2. A lot of that money came from Iowa. The largest Iowa contribution came from Austin "Jack" DeCoster, at one time the largest player in the egg business with 35.6 million hens—more than one-tenth of the market. The media pointed out that had DeCoster put his money into improved conditions for his hens, rather than fighting laws requiring him to do so, he might have avoided the food safety catastrophe that put him out of business. 

    What catastrophe? Iowa's egg factories sickened 1900 people in 2010, prompting the largest egg recall in history, of more than half a billion eggs. The salmonella outbreak involved three Iowa businesses, all controlled by DeCoster. In the two years prior to the recall, DeCoster's hen houses at his Wright County Egg facility had tested positive for salmonella 73 times, but the eggs were sold anyway. DeCoster paid out more than $8 million in fines for abuse of workers’ rights and violations of Iowa’s environmental laws. 

    Rep. King is pushing his Factory Farm Protection Act to make sure bad actors like DeCoster don't learn their lessons. But farmers from other states see Rep. King’s amendment as a threat. Arnie Riebli, co-owner of Sunrise Farms in Petaluma, Calif., told the Sacramento Bee: “Iowa has the lowest food standards of any state in the Union. King is saying that the least common denominator of anything should be acceptable in any state.”

    Opposition to Rep. King's Factory Farm Protection Act comes from groups that want local and state legislators to retain the power to protect their constituents through democratically enacted laws. These include:

    National Conference of State Legislatures which says King’s amendment "would preempt vital state agricultural policies designed to protect the safety and well-being of our farmland, waterways, forests and, most importantly, our constituents."

    County Executives of America whose members argue King’s amendment "would centralize decision making on an entire set of issues in the hands of the federal government, removing the rights of states, counties, cities and towns to enact our own standards for agricultural products based on the needs and interests of our local constituencies."

    National Fraternal Order of Police which believes King’s amendment would "allow for the proliferation of puppy mills, dog and cock fighting, kill shelters and other animal cruelties."

    National Sheriffs' Association which says the amendment would "not only place animals at potentially greater risk of mistreatment but also make the investigation of such cases more difficult for law enforcement."

    Law Professors who say there is "a significant likelihood that many state agricultural laws across the country will be nullified, that public health and safety will be threatened, and that the amendment could ultimately be deemed unconstitutional."

    Food Safety Advocates who argue that the amendment "is overly broad and could undermine a state’s ability to protect its citizens from foodborne illness."

    GMO Labeling Proponents who say King’s amendment "would revoke the ability of individual states' lawmakers to pass GMO labeling laws," prompting observers to dub the amendment "Monsanto Protection Act 2.0."

    Please help us get this amendment out of the Farm Bill. The best way to do that is to flood the conference committee members' offices with emails and phone calls. Your Congresspersons' phone numbers will appear when you enter your contact information. Thank you!

  • Millions Against Monsanto Joins the March Against Monsanto!

    If you’re organizing a March Against Monsanto in your area, the OCA has flyers and posters available to help you spread the word about Monsanto’s poisonous takeover of the world’s seeds and crops.

    Take a look at our Millions Against Monsanto materials here, then sign up with the form below to receive a packet of flyers and a couple of 8.5x11 posters. While supplies last. Questions? Please call our office at 218-353-7651.

  • Tell the National Organic Program: Get Gut-Wrenching Carrageenan Out of Organic!

    Carrageenan, an additive commonly used in foods, including some organic foods, is linked to gastrointestinal inflammation and higher rates of colon cancer.  The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) now has an opportunity to end the use of carrageenan in certified organic foods. Instead, the NOP is recommending that carrageenan be allowed in organic for another five years.

    Please sign the petition below. Tell the National Organic Program that it’s time to get carrageenan out of organics! Please add your own comments, especially if you suffer from gastrointestinal symptoms such as irritable bowel syndrome, spastic colon, inflammatory bowel disease and chronic diarrhea, and are avoiding carrageenan because you've been instructed by your healthcare provider to do so or because you've found relief in a carrageenan-free diet.

    Carrageenan is an emulsifier used to keep liquids from separating in organic juice, yogurt, chocolate  milk and other dairy products, non-dairy alternatives – and even infant formula! According to the Cornucopia Institute's 2013 report, "Carrageenan: How a ‘Natural’ Food Additive Is Making Us Sick," research links carrageenan to gastrointestinal inflammation, including higher rates of colon cancer, in laboratory animals.

    Under NOP rules, carrageenan’s approval is set to expire, or “sunset,” which would mean that it would no longer be allowed in certified organic products. But instead of heeding the latest research, the NOP is recommending that carrageenan be allowed in organics for another five years.

    Companies that have lobbied for the continued use of carrageenan include the J.M. Smucker Co. brands Santa Cruz Organic and R. W. Knudsen Family, the Dean Foods brands WhiteWave and Horizon Organic, the Group Danone brand Stonyfield Farm, and farmer-owned Organic Valley. Responding to customer feedback, Stonyfield Farm and Organic Valley have since pledged to stop using carrageenan.

    In May 2012, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) recommended that carrageenan continue to be allowed in organic foods, but not infant formula, citing studies from Europe that led to carrageenan being banned from infant formula there. The NOP is ignoring the NOSB's recommendation to remove carrageenan from infant formula. The NOP explains:

    "The NOSB’s recommendation to prohibit the use of carrageenan in infant formula was based solely on food safety concerns despite carrageenan’s status as a safe food additive ... and despite FDA’s review of carrageenan in infant formula formulations.... Therefore, [NOP] is not implementing this recommendation."

    We can't allow carrageenan to continue to be allowed in infant formula or any other organic food. And we can't allow the organic program to be constrained by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) opinions on food safety. After all, this is the agency that insists it’s O.K. to eat olestra, saccharin, trans fats, aspartame, MSG, nitrates, and parabens!

    Please sign the petition below, by June 3, 2013. Tell the National Organic Program that it’s time to get carrageenan out of organics!

  • Save the Bees & Birds: Don't Let the EPA Approve Another Toxic Insecticide

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is weighing approval of a new pesticide, sulfoxaflor, which the EPA itself admits is “very highly toxic” to honeybees. The EPA previously approved sulfoxaflor, brought to us by Dow Chemical Co., for use on cotton. The agency is now poised to approve the pesticide for wider use.

    Please sign the petition below asking the EPA to reject Dow's sulfoxaflor and to withdraw the permission it granted for sulfoxaflor to be used on cotton through 2015.

    Sulfoxaflor is considered by some to be a
    fourth-generation neonicotinoid, the class of insecticides implicated in Colony Collapse Disorder because of the damage they do to bees' brains and immune systems. Even though sulfoxaflor has not technically been classified as a neonicotinoid, it elicits similar neurological responses in honeybees, leading to its description as a new generation neonicotinoid.
     
    On April 29, Europe passed the world's first
    continent-wide ban on widely used insecticides linked to bee deaths, including several neonicotinoids. Yet here in the U.S., the EPA wants to approve sulfoxaflor, a pesticide that is equally, if not more, toxic to bees.

    Beekeepers warn that if the EPA approves sulfoxaflor, commercial beekeeping will be
    extinct by 2018. If the bees disappear, so will crops, such as almonds and broccoli, that are entirely reliant upon pollination by commercial beekeepers. Some beekeepers say that the addition of sulfoxaflor to the nearly 300 neonicotinoid products already on the market in California alone will mean the end of commercial beekeeping.

    Our rivers and streams are already polluted by Bayer's bee-killing neonicotinoid insecticide imidacloprid at
    levels above EPA toxicity guidelines. Yet in 2012, the EPA ignored known risks of adding to this toxic soup and issued an emergency approval of sulfoxaflor for cotton through 2015. This alarmed beekeepers, of course, but also bird lovers. A scientific review conducted by the American Bird Conservancy reveals that a single corn kernel coated with a neonicotinoid can kill a songbird.
     
    Among the companies that make neonicotinoid insecticides are
    Bayer (imidacloprid and clothianidin), Dow (sulfoxaflor) and Syngenta (thiamethoxam). Monsanto coats its Bt corn and cotton, its RoundUp Ready soy and canola and other genetically engineered seeds with neonicotinoids. At least 143 million of the 442 million acres - nearly one-third - of U.S. cropland is planted with neonicotinoid-treated seeds.

    The Managed Pollinator Coordinated Agriculture
    Program (CAP) at Purdue University explains that "the use of neonicotinoid seed treatments over hundreds of millions of acres annually, coupled with their extremely high toxicity to honeybees, and their persistence in plants, including nectar and pollen that bees eat, combine to create an environment where it is very difficult for bees to avoid exposure to these highly toxic chemicals."
     
    CAP researchers Greg Hunt and Christian Krupke have first-hand experience investigating real-life examples of Colony Collapse Disorder: "In the spring of 2010," they write, "we became aware of it when we saw dead bees in front of most of the Purdue bee hives during the week that corn was being planted nearby. Conditions were hot (85°F), dry and windy, and clouds of dust were kicked up by the planters – a common sight throughout the Midwest in early spring. We tested bees that were dying in front of hives near agricultural fields and also healthy hives. The dead bees had clothianidin and several other seed treatment chemicals in or on their bodies."
     
    It’s time to stop the EPA from approving sulfoxaflor, another clothianidin-like neonicotinoid bee-killing pesticide. Please sign the petition today.

  • Kill the Monsanto Protection Act: Force Senator Roy Blunt to Resign!

    He’s been labeled "prodigious pork-meister" (Providence Journal), "Senator Earmark" (Wall Street Journal) and "Most Corrupt" (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington). Sen. Roy Blunt, a Republican from Monsanto’s home state of Missouri, has also been called a magnet for PAC money from the agribusiness industry, raking in over $243,000 in 2010 alone.


    Bitoech’s investment in Sen. Blunt has paid off handsomely. Teaming up with Monsanto lobbyists, Sen. Blunt helped craft the language for the Farmer Assurance Provision. Aptly renamed the Monsanto Protection Act, it’s a sneaky rider that strips federal courts of their power to stop Monsanto from planting unproven, potentially dangerous crops. Without any hearings, the provision was slipped into the
    Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act 2013, and recently signed into law by President Obama.

    TAKE ACTION: Sign the petition below. Force Senator Roy Blunt to resign so we can kill the Monsanto Protection Act!

    The Monsanto Protection Act places biotech companies above the law, and corporate commercial interests above the interest of the public health,
    opponents argue.
     
    “This dangerous provision, the Monsanto Protection Act, strips judges of their constitutional mandate to protect consumer and farmer rights and the environment, while opening up the floodgates for the planting of new untested genetically engineered crops, endangering farmers, citizens and the environment,” the group Food Democracy Now said on its
    website.

    “These provisions are giveaways, pure and simple, and will be a boon worth millions of dollars to a handful of the biggest corporations in this country,” said Sen. Jon Tester, a Democrat from Montana who opposed the provision

    Sen. Blunt has actually claimed responsibility for the Monsanto Protection Act, and has admitted that he worked with company lobbyists to draft the language and insert it in the appropriations bill to fund the government through September 30, 2013.

    The good news: Like the spending bill it’s attached to, the Monsanto Protection Act expires on Sept. 30, 2013. The best way to make sure it doesn’t survive is to force Sen. Blunt to resign.

    TAKE ACTION: Sign the petition below. Force Senator Roy Blunt to resign so we can kill the Monsanto Protection Act!

  • Texas: Urgent Action Needed to Oppose Animal ID Bill

    Urgent: Contact your State Senator immediately and tell them to Vote NO on the Animal ID bill!

    On Friday, the Texas House of Representatives voted to pass the Animal ID bill, HB 2311, authorizing the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) to adopt federal interstate animal ID requirements to apply to all animal movements within the state of Texas. This will mean that small farmers will be forced to put a permanent leg band on every chicken they raise and want to sell or give to other farmers, even those with just a few backyard chickens.

    The bill also provides open-ended authority for the state agency to adopt any future federal regulations without knowing what they will be. Anyone who owns chickens, sheep, goats, pigs, cattle, or horses – from small farmers to pet owners would be affected.

    But the fight is not over! The Senate still has to approve the bill. Please email your State Senator today and speak up for our rights as farmers and consumers of local food!
    Please add a personal sentence or two at the beginning about why you care, and change the subject line, to increase the impact of your message.

    Because so many Representatives chose to ignore our calls and emails, we need to make sure the Senators see that we have the facts on your side and we expect them to pay attention.

    After you have contacted your State Senator, you can also send your State Representative a follow-up message. Even though they already voted on the bill, it’s important for them to see that constitutents are still paying attention. You can see how your Representative voted at http://farmandranchfreedom.org/animal-id-vote-record/

    If they voted YES on the Animal ID bill, HB 2311, please send them the message below, just change the opening to read: “As a constituent, I am outraged that you voted yes on HB 2311, the Animal ID bill” and add a personalized sentence or two.

    If your Representative voted NO on the bill, please be sure to send them a short and simple thank you.  They need to know you're watching when they do the right thing, too.

    You can find out who your State Representative is at http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/Home.aspx and use this formula to send them an email: Firstname.Lastname@house.state.tx.us
    .

    Tagging animals, without having any connection to disease control measures, is unnecessary and time-consuming. For more information about the bill and its effects, go to http://farmandranchfreedom.org/texas-animal-id-bills/. Please share the link with your friends and social networks to spread the word.


  • Take the Pledge: I'm Boycotting Food from Factory Farms!

    Today, nearly 65 billion animals worldwide, including cows, chickens and pigs, are crammed into CAFOs and slaughtered annually. These animals are literally imprisoned and tortured in unhealthy, unsanitary and unconscionably cruel conditions.

    Please scroll down and sign the pledge to boycott meat, eggs and dairy products from factory farms.

    Sickness is the norm for animals who are confined rather than pastured, and who eat GMO corn and soybeans, rather than grass and forage as nature intended. To prevent the inevitable spread of disease from stress, overcrowding and lack of vitamin D, animals are fed a steady diet of antibiotics. Those antibiotics pose a direct threat to the environment when they run off into our lakes, rivers, aquifers and drinking water. 

    CAFOs contribute directly to global warming by releasing vast amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere - more than the entire global transportation industry. The air at some factory farm test sites in the US is dirtier than in America’s most polluted cities, according to the Environmental Integrity Project. 

    Indirectly, factory farms contribute to climate disruption by their impact on deforestation and draining of wetlands, and because of the nitrous oxide emissions from huge amounts of pesticides used to grow the genetically engineered corn and soy fed to animals raised in CAFOs. Nitrous oxide pollution is even worse than methane – 200 times more damaging per ton than CO2. And just as animal waste leaches antibiotics and hormones into ground and water, pesticides and fertilizers also eventually find their way into our waterways, further damaging the environment.

    Factory farms aren’t just a disaster for the environment. They’re also ruining our health. Public health advocates warn that the intensive and reckless use of antibiotics and growth hormones leads to factory-farmed food that contains antibiotic-resistant pathogens, drug residues such as hormones and growth promoters, and “bad fats.”  Yet despite these health and environmental hazards, the vast majority of consumers don’t realize that nearly 95% of the meat, dairy and eggs sold in the U.S. come from CAFOs. Nor do most people realize that CAFOs represent a corporate-controlled system characterized by large-scale, centralized, low profit-margin production, processing and distribution systems.

    Contrary to popular arguments, factory farming is not a cheap, efficient solution to world hunger. Our present factory farm system is not only unsustainable, it represents a very real threat to public health and damage to the environment, not to mention the cruelty it inflicts on animals. The only way we will change this system is when consumers stop buying meat, eggs and dairy products from factory farms. 

    There’s an alternative: A socially responsible, small-scale system created by independent producers and processors focused on local and regional markets. This alternative produces high-quality food, and supports farmers who produce healthy, meat, eggs and dairy products using humane methods.

    Please sign the pledge below today.

    Random Factory Farm Facts

    • Globally, about 65 billion animals are slaughtered for food every year.
    • In the U.S., nearly 10.2 billion land animals were raised and killed for food in 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Of those, 9,210 million (91%) were chickens raised for meat, 464 million (4.5%) were chickens raised for eggs, 276 million (2.5%) were turkeys, and the remaining 202 million (2%) were cows, pigs, other mammals, and ducks and geese. In addition to the 9,278 million animals who were slaughtered, the total figure includes the 875 million animals, or 8.6%, who died lingering deaths from disease, injury, starvation, suffocation, maceration, or other atrocities of animal farming and transport. 
    • About 95 percent of all poultry and the majority of beef and pork come from factory farms, or Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs).
    • Every year factory farms dump 220 billion gallons of animal waste onto farmland and into our waterways, posing a major threat to public health.
    • The raw liquefied sewage produced by CAFOs is 25- 100 times more concentrated than human sewage, plus has milk house waste, blood, dead animals, sanitizing and other chemicals mixed in, all of it stored in an open pit that holds millions of gallons…often…contaminating drinking water intakes, threatening recreational users and harming fish and other wildlife.
    • Most factory farms store animal waste in open lagoons as large as several football fields. Lagoons routinely burst, sending millions of gallons of manure into waterways and spreading microbes that can cause gastroenteritis, fevers, kidney failure, and death.
    • CAFO manure has contaminated drinking water in many rural areas, caused fish kills, and contributed to oxygen-depleted “dead zones” (areas devoid of valuable marine life) in the Gulf of Mexico, the Chesapeake Bay, and elsewhere.
    • Four-fifths of the antibiotics used in the United States are given to completely healthy farm animals.
    • Force-feeding animals antibiotics helps breed antibiotic-resistant superbugs (bacteria that antibiotics can't kill). And every year over 70,000 Americans die because of bacterial resistance. 
    • The USDA estimates that more than 335 million tons of “dry matter” waste (the portion of waste remaining after water is removed) is produced annually on farms in the United States, representing almost a third of the total municipal and industrial waste produce. Animal feeding operations annually produce about 100 times more manure than the amount of human sewage sludge processed in U.S. municipal wastewater plants. Unlike human waste, the law does not require that livestock waste be treated.
    • Twenty-six billion pounds of beef from 34 million cattle is produced annually in the U.S., more than in any other country.
    • Hog manure has ten to 100 times more concentrated pathogens than human waste. We treat human sewage, but we don’t treat animal waste.
    • The methane releases from billions of imprisoned animals on factory farms are 70 times more damaging per ton to the earth’s atmosphere than CO2, according to a 2006 report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
    • Rearing cattle produces more greenhouse gases than cars, according to a United Nations report.
    • CAFOs release over 400 separate gases, mostly due to the large amounts of manure they produce. The principal gases released are hydrogen sulfide, methane, ammonia and carbon dioxide.
    • Twenty-three million pounds of antibiotics are added to animal feed every year, to make the animals grow faster.
    • The U.S. is the only country that feeds slaughterhouse waste, blood and manure to livestock.
    • Manure can contain pathogens, antibiotics, drug-resistant bacteria, hormones, heavy metals and other compounds.
    • Agricultural Waste is the number-one form of well-water contaminants in the U.S., where at least 4.5 million people are exposed to dangerously high nitrate levels in their drinking water.
    • Japan inspects 100 percent of its beef for mad cow disease; the European Union inspects 25 percent; the U.S. inspects less than one percent.

    Sources and Resource

    11 Quick Factory Farming Facts

    Animal Factory Pollution: Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations

    Cesspools of Shame: How Factory Farm Lagoons and Sprayfields Threaten Environmental and Public Health 

    Environmental Working Group 2012 Farm Subsidy Database

    Factory Farm Nation: How America Turned its Livestock Farms into Factories

    Factory Farming

    Factory Farms: Bad for Farm Animals and Human Consumers

    The Hidden Costs of CAFOs

    How Gut Bacteria Affects Your Weight: Factory-Farmed (CAFO) Products Are Damaging Your Health

    Report: Number of Animals Killed In U.S. Increases in 2010

    River of Waste: The Hazardous Truth about Factory Farms

    Socially Responsible Agricultural Project

    Waste Management

    Water Sentinels: Factory Farms

    What your hamburger really costs [VIDEO]

    Winning the Debate against Factory Farming

  • New Jersey: Ask Your Legislators to Protect Your Right to Know About GMOs by Voting for A3193 and S1367

    The New Jersey legislature is currently considering two bills, A3193 and S1367, to label genetically engineered foods. With your help, 2013 can be the year that New Jersey makes history and passes a GMO labeling bill!

    Please ask your state legislators to support your right to know what is in your food by voting for A3193 and S1367. You can use our suggested letter below, or add your own personal comments for a greater impact.

    Citizens in 62 other countries already enjoy the right to choose whether or not to feed their families genetically modified foods (GMOs).  We are demanding similar transparency in our food system. Thank you for taking action.

    For more information visit the GMO Free NJ website and facebook page or contact newjersey@righttoknow-gmo.org

  • Don’t Let Lawmakers Strip Texas Communities of their Right to Regulate Fracking. Tell your Legislators to Stop HB 1496.

    Texas lawmakers want to take away the power of your local community to keep fracking wells away from homes and schools, and hand over that power to the state.

    HB 1496 (Van Taylor, R-Plano) proposes to strip municipalities of the power to pass zoning regulations and local ordinances to regulate oil and gas drilling in their own backyards. Unless we stop this Bill, the oil and gas industry will be able to place fracking wells within 200 ft. of homes, schools, churches, nursing homes, parks, hospitals and shopping malls. And your community will have no way to stop them.

    Please sign the letter below urging your state legislators to stop HB 1496 and protect your community’s right to local control!

    Imagine the devastation that would occur if there were an explosion or other emergency at a fracking well near a school or nursing home. Not to mention the quality of life issues everyone would suffer from if localities were stripped of the right to control oil and gas drilling.

    Texas communities that have experienced the horrors of fracking first-hand have used the democratic process to enact sensible regulations in an attempt to bring self-described "frackers" under control – a process that will be taken away under HB 1496.

    One of those communities is Flower Mound, Texas. Citizens there made
    national news when they ousted pro-drilling mayor, Jody Smith, and ushered in a slate of candidates willing to protect public health. Under new leadership, Flower Mound was able to enact common sense regulations on fracking, including a 1,500-foot buffer between gas drilling sites and homes, churches, schools and other protected places.

    Here’s what the residents of Flower Mound have to say about a laws like the proposed HB 1496, which would take away their right to local control of their land:

    Taking away local control means that we would be impotent to stop any addition to our communities, no matter how vulgar or dangerous it may be.

    Five years or more from now, if our children and/or grandchildren were to develop leukemia, respiratory ailments, neurological disorders, or a number of other potential maladies caused by those fracking chemicals leaching into our aquifers, where would those gas companies be? They’d be in another city or town, planting sickness for other generations to endure, while they counted their profits.

    That’s because they’re in business to make profit, not to safeguard the health and safety of the areas in which they ply their trade. That’s precisely why they need to be regulated by those who will be most affected by the poisonous potions they inject into our water and air.

    —Bob Weir, a long-time resident of Flower Mound making the case against HB 1496 in his
    opinion piece, "Robbing Power From the People"
    Please stand up for the most basic right of self-government, local control, by using the form below to send a message to your state legislators urging them to stop HB 1496.

    You can also encourage your local elected officials to pass a resolution opposing HB 1496, like the one the Flower Mound Town Council is
    considering.

  • salsastaff 68474: countries and states (targeted)

     salsastaff 68474: countries and states (targeted)

  • Boycott ConAgra’s Orville Redenbacher and other Organic Brands!

    The next time you see Orville Redenbacher’s friendly face smiling back at you from the grocery shelf, remember this: Orville’s popcorn, yes, even his organic variety, is owned by ConAgra, which spent nearly $1.2 million to defeat Prop 37, the California Right to Know GMO labeling initiative. ConAgra’s organic subsidiaries – none of which endorsed Prop 37 or donated a dollar to help it pass - include Orville Redenbacher’s Organic Popcorn, Hunt’s Organics, Lightlife, PAM Organic, and Alexia Foods.

    Please sign the letter below. Tell executives at ConAgra and its organic subsidiaries, including Orville Redenbacher and Hunts Organic, that you won’t buy their products until they support state GMO labeling campaigns and discontinue all financial support for anti-labeling efforts.

    ConAgra is one of the largest GMO-saturated junk food conglomerates in the world, with a long anti-health, anti-worker and anti-environment rap sheet. The company was also a major donor to the campaign to defeat a similar GMO labeling initiative in Oregon in 2002.

    Don’t want your money going to defeat your right to know? Then don’t buy any ConAgra products, including its organic brands or its not-so-healthy Healthy Choice brand.

    ConAgra: How do we despise thee? Let us count the ways!
    The organic and “natural” food segment is growing, and ConAgra wants a slice of that pie. That’s why it buys up brands like Orville Redenbacher’s, Hunts and others that already have organic lines. But behind its token organic offerings, lies a history of anti-consumerism:


    •    In 2012, ConAgra quietly reneged on its widely praised 2005 decision to remove High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) from its Hunt’s Ketchup. Commenting on why the company was switching back to HFCS, it claimed demand for the product was “not as strong as expected.”

    •    ConAgra was sued in 2011 for claiming four Wesson oil varieties containing GMOs were “100% Natural.” The good news? The lawsuit drew attention to the all-too-common practice of deceptive labeling.
     
    •    On October 11, 2007, ConAgra asked stores to pull the Banquet and generic brand chicken and turkey pot pies that, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), resulted in salmonella poisoning of at least 401individuals from 41 states.

    •    In February 2007, ConAgra recalled jars of Peter Pan and Great Value brand peanut butter because they were linked to a Salmonella outbreak. Ultimately, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) documented more than 628 individuals who were stricken with salmonella poisoning in 47 states.

    •    In 2007, ConAgra scored a six out of 100 in "The Climate Counts Company Scorecard Report." The report judged companies on their commitment to reversing climate change.
     
    •    In May 2003, ConAgra and its subsidiary Gilroy Foods agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle charges of hiring discrimination brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
     
    •    In 2002, ConAgra recalled 19 million pounds of ground beef with E. coli bacterial contamination. It was the third largest recall up to that time.

    •    In 1997, ConAgra pled guilty to federal criminal charges that its Peavey Grain unit illegally sprayed water on stored grain to increase its weigh and value, and also that the company bribed federal inspectors. ConAgra agreed to pay an $8.3 million fine.

    •     According to the Multinational Monitor, ConAgra was named one of the 'Top 100 Corporate Criminals of the 1990s' for fraud, with fines of $4.4 million.


    Please sign the letter below. Tell executives at ConAgra and its organic subsidiaries, including Orville Redenbacher and Hunts Organic, that you won’t buy their products until they support state GMO labeling campaigns and discontinue all financial support for anti-labeling efforts.


  • PA: Tell Your Legislators to Support GMO Labeling Bill SB 653

    The Pennsylvania legislature is currently considering SB 653, a bill to label genetically engineered foods. This is the first year that a GE labeling bill has been considered in PA, even though Pennsylvania is one of five states in the northeast that are coordinating efforts for our right to know what is in our food. With your help, 2013 can be the year that Pennsylvania makes history and passes a GE labeling bill! 

    Please ask your state legislators to support our right to know what is in our food by voting for SB 653. You can use our suggested letter below, or add your own personal comments for a greater impact.

    Citizens in 62 other countries already enjoy the right to choose whether or not to feed their families genetically modified foods (GMOs).  We are demanding similar transparency in our food system. Thank you for taking action.

    For more information visit GMO Free PA on facebook, or sign up for the GMO Free PA email newsletter here.

    Thank you for taking action!
     

  • Help Save AB 330, a Bill to Label GMOs in Nevada!

    Action Alert! We have less than 24 hours to save AB 330, a bill to label genetically engineered foods in Nevada!

    AB 330 would give Nevada consumers the right to know if genetically modified organisms are in our food, and to be able to make informed decisions when purchasing food for our families.  The bill had a very successful hearing (thanks to many of you who were there), and has majority support in the Health and Human Services Committee.

    To stay alive, AB 330 needs to have a work session and vote scheduled by midnight today!

    Please contact your lawmakers immediately, and ask them to approve AB 330 to label genetically modified foods in Nevada.

    Then call and email Rep. Marilyn Dondero Loop, Chair of the Health and Human Services Committee, and Rep. Marilyn Kirkpatrick, Speaker of the House.

    Despite majority support for AB 330 in the Health and Human Services Committee, Committee Chair Marilyn Dondero Loop has the power to bring AB 330 to a work session and to a vote, or to kill the bill. Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick has been actively blocking AB 330.

    To email and call Marilyn Dondero Loop: Marilyn.DonderoLoop@asm.state.nv.us and 702-556-0224 or 775-684-8833.  Tell her you want her to move AB 330 forward to a work session and vote.

    To email and call Marilyn Kirkpatrick: Marilyn.Kirkpatrick@asm.state.nv.us  and 702-655-0332 or 775-684-8509. Tell her you want AB 330 to pass.

    Please help us distribute this message to Rep. Loop's and Rep. Kirkpatrick constitutents.
    Click here for a map of Las Vegas Assembly districts and forward this message to your contacts in those areas.

    Thank you for taking action!

    -- Kiki, Sharon, John, Marcia and Steve at Label GMO Nevada

    To join Label GMO Nevada, go to
    www.labelGMONevada.org  and visit our Facebook page.

    Label GMO Nevada is a grassroots coalition of groups all around Nevada who want GMO foods labeled and a member of The Coalition of States for Mandatory GMO Labeling which is comprised of 39 states that have joined together to get GMO labeling legislation passed in their respective states. Learn more here.



  • Tell Ben & Jerry’s: You’re Boycotting Their Products until They Throw Some Dough into the Washington State Ballot Initiative and the Vermont GMO Labeling Campaign.

    Ben & Jerry’s parent company, Unilever, spent $467,100 to defeat Proposition 37, the California Right to Know GMO labeling campaign. Now the ice cream company, known for its quirky, hippy founders and its social activism, is hiding behind its “Get the Dough Out” of politics campaign as an excuse to not contribute money to the Washington State I-522 Ballot Initiative and the Vermont Right to Know GMO labeling campaign.


    Please sign the letter below to Ben & Jerry’s co-founders, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, and social mission activism manager, Chris Miller. Tell them you won’t buy one more lick of ice cream from them until Ben & Jerry’s donates $467,100 to the WAshington State ballot initiative and the Vermont Right to Know campaign.

    It’s bad enough that Ben & Jerry’s offers NO organic ice cream flavors. And that the company hasn’t yet eliminated genetically modified organisms (GMOs) from all of its products. But propping up its “progressive” image by telling consumers the company supports GMO labeling, while refusing to help the campaign out with what it really needs: cold hard cash? C’mon guys, you can do better.


    The Washington State Ballot Initiative, waged on an electoral battleground much more favorable to our side than California’s Prop 37 last year, is very likely to pass on November 5. But we need to raise $8 million dollars to guarantee maximum media exposure and victory. Ben and Jerry’s needs to make a major financial commitment to support I-522, comparable to our own Organic Consumers Fund’s $500,000 commitment. They also need to get a public statement from their parent food corporation, Unilever, that Unilever will no longer contribute funds to defeat GMO state labeling efforts, and that the company will publicly press their trade association, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, to do the same.

    Vermont voters have been clear: 90 percent of them want a mandatory GMO labeling law. Last year’s version of a GMO labeling bill died when Governor Shumlin rolled over after Monsanto threatened to sue if the state passed the bill. This year, the governor is showing the same doubts, claiming the state can’t afford a lawsuit, even though the latest version of the bill has been rewritten to address the lawsuit issue.

    So far, Ben & Jerry’s has stepped up to offer free ice cream at GMO labeling forums in the state. But ice cream will not a campaign win.


    Will the real greenwasher please stand up?
    When asked in a 2010 interview about the sale of Ben & Jerry’s to Unilever and whether he would accuse the European food conglomerate of “greenwash,” Ben Cohen said:


    "Unilever quite likes to hold up Ben & Jerry's as kind of the poster child of socially responsible business and does use that to try to give an example of 'here is how socially concerned Unilever is, you know, we have the Ben & Jerry's brand'. And you know Ben and Jerry's does happen to be very high profile but when Unilever holds up Ben & Jerry's as 'our example of how socially responsible we are', you know, we should understand that Unilever is what? – a $40bn-$50bn business and we're a little piece of that." So it is greenwash? "Yeah,yeah."

    But isn’t Ben & Jerry’s just as guilty of greenwashing when it makes a lot of noise about supporting GMO labeling, but doesn’t label its own products that contain GMOs? True, Ben & Jerry’s has pledged to be GMO-free by 2013, but what took them so long?

    And how is it that a company that puts itself out there as “leading with progressive values across our business,” and claims to promote “business practices that respect the Earth and the Environment” justify a product line with zero organic choices?


    On its website, the company says: “At Ben & Jerry’s we believe the science of global warming is settled. The question now, is what are we doing about it?”


    Apparently, what they’re not doing about it is going organic. Even though the science is clear: non-organic, conventional and industrial agriculture play a huge role in climate change.

    Not always on the wrong side of consumers.

    Ben & Jerry’s gets it right sometimes. In 2006, the company stood up to its parent company when Unilever pushed for approval in the U.K. of a synthetically produced "anti-freeze" protein, using a genetic modification process. A Ben & Jerry’s spokesperson said: "We would not dream of including anything like that in our products. One of the biggest problems is that we are affected by Unilever's actions even though they are nothing to do with the way that we behave. The fact that we are not using this GM ingredient shows that we are not following all of their decisions."


    To its credit, Ben & Jerry's was one of the first companies to label its ice cream as free of recombinant bovine growth hormone, or rBGH, a synthetic hormone made by Monsanto, and given to dairy cows to make them produce more milk. In 2008, the company opposed Monsanto when the biotech giant tried to ban rBGH-free labeling in several states.


    And in 2010, Ben & Jerry’s stopped claiming that its ice cream was made from “all natural” ingredients. But only after the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) asked to them remove the “all natural” claim because, as it turns out, many of those so-called natural ingredients were in fact heavily processed, very unnatural ingredients, such as high fructose corn syrup, alkalized cocoa and hydrogenated oil. Of course, a socially responsible company wouldn’t want to expose its customers, especially kids, to those ingredients in the first place, would it?


    Ben & Jerry’s is capable of doing the right thing. And the right thing in this case is to contribute enough money to the Washington State ballot initiative and the Vermont Right to Know campaign to ensure we win in both states – especially after its parent company helped guarantee a GMO labeling loss in California.


    Please sign the letter below. Tell Ben & Jerry’s You’re Boycotting their Products until They Throw some Dough into the Washington State ballot initiative and the Vermont GMO Labeling Campaign.

  • Stop Monsanto from Bullying Vermont!

    After three years of trying to get a law passed by the Vermont legislature to require mandatory labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), Vermonters are once again up against a governor who continues to run scared from threats of a lawsuit by Monsanto and its gene giant allies.

    Governor Peter Shumlin has repeatedly expressed reluctance to stand up to Monsanto. His excuse? That a previous state labeling law, requiring the labeling of rBGH, a synthetic bovine growth hormone used to increase milk production in cows, was struck down by a federal appeals court. The state simply can’t afford another lawsuit, Shumlin says. But the facts and circumstances surrounding the new proposed GMO labeling law are very different from the 1994 rBGH labeling law, according to the Vermont Right to Know Coalition which has worked closely with the Vermont Law School on the 2013 version of the bill. So what’s the hold-up?

    Vermont passed a labeling law in 1994, requiring that all milk produced with the aid of rBGH must be labeled as such, either on the bottle or on the shelf. rBGH, also referred to as rBST, is manufactured by Monsanto. The state’s attorney general defended the 1994 law on the basis of “consumer’s curiosity" about what is in their milk products, rather than on the basis of a compelling state interest. The state failed to raise any potential health risks with rBGH, or even to dispute the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) notion that there is no difference between milk from rBGH-treated cows and milk from animals not treated with the hormone. As a result, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit struck down Vermont’s labeling law.

    In spite of the changes in case law since 1996, Vermont’s Governor Shumlin still hides behind the fear that if the federal court struck down Vermont’s labeling law once, they will do it again. He also expresses fear that specialty food producers will suffer economic loss because they will be forced to change their genetically modified ingredients, or label them.

  • Oregon: Protect an Agricultural Sector Worth $100 Million

    Support HB2427 and SB433 for a Willamette Valley Canola Ban

    UPDATE: The Oregon Legislature's Ways and Means Subcommittee on Natural Resources has just approved HB 2427, a moratorium on canola production in the Willamette Valley through 2018. The bill now moves on to the House and Senate - many thanks to Rep. Paul Holvey for his efforts to keep this bill alive. Contact your lawmakers today!

    On February 7, 2013, the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) decided to throw caution to the wind and let canola be grown for the first time in the Willamette Valley, even though it’s clear that canola will cross with seed crops, spread pests and diseases, and contaminate valuable crops worth $100 million.

    The ODA decision is final, but there's one way to keep canola out of the Valley: Get the legislature to pass HB2427 and SB433!

    Please sign the letter below. Ask your state legislators to pass HB2427 and SB433 to keep canola out of Oregon's Willamette Valley.

    Allowing for canola production in the protected zone of the Willamette Valley would be ruinous for several high-value industries, including the world-renowned specialty seed and clover industries, and organic and fresh market vegetable growers.

    Canola is the trade name for rapeseed, a plant in the Brassica family of vegetables. It can be used as fodder for animals, or grown for seed and then crushed into oil for bio-fuels or refined further for edible cooking oil. Sounds great, but unfortunately, rapeseed is a prolific plant that readily cross breeds with many other Brassica species, including wild mustard, which is already a well established roadside weed. Because rapeseed seed pods are prone to shatter, it's difficult to rid fields of the plant once it's been grown there. Most troubling for fresh market growers and organics is the fact that rapeseed is a host to several serious plant diseases and pests.

    Rapeseed can be grown just about anywhere else in Oregon. There's just no need to expand production in the Willamette Valley, an ecological gem and one of the few places left in the world where quality specialty seeds can be grown. It is known that conventional grass seed farmers are seeking a winter rotation crop to break up pest and disease cycles. This need and attempt to diversify makes the canola issue particularly complex. However, there are several alternative crops these farmers could grow like vetch, camelina and field peas that wouldn’t bring about the potentially devastating effects rapeseed would.

    Please spread the word, engage your friends and family and educate yourself on the issue. Use the form below to contact your legislators to get HB2427 and SB433 on their radar as an important issue for constituents.

    Source: Friends of Family Farmers

  • Save Oregon's GMO Free Ballot Initiatives! Stop SB 633!

    Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber has called a special session of the state legislature for Monday, September 30, that resurrects SB 633 -- dubbed Oregon's Monsanto Protection Act -- legislation that would prohibit counties from regulating genetically engineered crops. We need your help. Elected officials will tell you that hearing from their constituents does matter!

    Stop this bill NOW by using the form below to contact your state legislators and submit public testimony to the Joint Special Session Committee which is holding a hearing on Thursday. Then, call Gov. Kitzhaber at 503-378-4582 and urge him to take SB 633 off the agenda for Monday's special session.

    If you can come to Salem on Thursday, please attend the public hearing of the Joint Special Session Committee at 2:15 p.m. in Hearing Room A.

    If SB 633 becomes law, all local control of agricultural seed and seed products would be removed and replaced by a “one size fits all” policy dictated by the state. This bill is an attempt to silence concerns over genetically engineered foods and gut all county efforts to address the problem of genetic contamination. SB 633 would prevent individual counties from implementing policies that make sense locally.

    Oregon farmers are defending their livelihoods -- and your food supply -- against Monsanto, Syngenta and the other biotech companies that have been moving into the state’s seed growing regions with genetically engineered junk-food crops that will contaminate and destroy Oregon’s organic and non-GMO seeds.

    SB 633 is an assault on local sustainable agriculture. It takes away the rights of citizens to protect our farms, food and future.

    Voice your opposition to SB 633 today by using the form below. Your elected representatives need to hear from you!

  • One Down, One to Go: Get Antibiotics Out of Organic!

    On April 11, thanks in part to the 32,619 comments submitted by OCA members, growers of organic apples and pears will have to stop spraying their fruit with the antibiotic, tetracycline, after October 21, 2014. The NOSB has rejected a petition to extend that deadline.

    That’s a victory. But only a partial one.

    Please sign the petition below by October 1, telling the NOSB you want them to honor the October 21, 2014 deadline for ending the use of another antibiotic, streptomycin, on organic apples and pears. And be sure to add a personal comment to increase the impact of the petition.

    In 2011, concerned about the impact on human health associated with the overuse of antibiotics, the NOSB informed organic apple and pear growers that they would no longer be able to use antibiotics, a practice aimed at preventing a bacterial disease called fire blight. But under pressure from the organic apple and pear industry, the NOSB considered a petition to push that date out until 2016.

    Consumers fought back, gathering signatures in support of adhering to the original expiration date.

    Consumers buy organic apples and pears believing them to be safer to eat than their non-organic counterparts. By allowing these fruits to be sprayed with streptomycin, consumers risk exposing their gut flora to measurable levels of streptomycin. This increases the chances of developing resistance to this important antibiotic, which is used to treat tuberculosis, tularemia, plague, bacterial endocarditis, brucellosis and other diseases. 

    Please take a minute to tell the NOSB that you oppose extending the deadline for allowing streptomycin in the production of organic apples and pears. And be sure to add a personal comment to increase the impact of the petition.

    Background
    The USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) recognizes and respects the powerful role antibiotics play in protecting human health, and the fact that antibiotics lose their effectiveness if they are overused. Resistant genes already exist for streptomycin. Every time streptomycin is used, it kills bacteria that are susceptible to the antibiotic and leaves the others, causing the human body to build resistance to the antibiotic. Once resistant genes are present in any bacteria, they increase the pool of resistant genes and the likelihood that human pathogens will acquire that resistance.

    Growers argue that they need to use streptomycin to prevent fire blight, which is caused by the bacterium Erwinia amylovora. Erwinia amylovora kills the shoots of apples, pears and some ornamental trees, giving them the appearance of having been scorched by fire. 

    But there are other ways to control fire blight, that don’t involve the use of antibiotics. In fact, U.S. growers exporting to the European Union (E.U.) comply with the E.U. rule that says apples and pears must be produced without antibiotics to be sold as organic. 

    Additionally, there are some apple and pear varieties that are naturally resistant to fire blight. 

    You can reduce your exposure to antibiotic residues and give growers an incentive to eliminate antibiotic use by demanding resistant varieties. Beyond Pesticides has compiled a list you can print and take with you when you go shopping.

  • URGENT! Don’t Let the Governor Bully Fort Collins into Fracking the City!

    The Fort Collins City Council voted once to approve a ban on fracking within the city limits. But the law won’t pass unless council members give final approval on Tuesday, March 5. How will they vote, now that Gov. Hickenlooper and the Colorado Oil and Gas Association have threatened to sue the city if Council approves this ban?

    Please sign the letter below before March 5. Tell your city council members you want them to stand up to industry and the governor, and vote to ban fracking in Fort Collins.

    Just because Gov. Hickenlooper is an anti-environment, pro-fracking former oilman, doesn’t give him the right to control the local city councils of every city in Colorado. The people of Ft. Collins have made it clear that they don’t want their city to end up like Weld County, in northern Colorado, where fracking wells have created health problems, air quality problems, water pollution problems and water supply problems. Fracking is bad for the climate, bad for food and farming, bad for people.

    Earlier this month, a damaged well head at a fracking well just east of Fort Collins caused the well to spew out oil-laden fracking flowback water at a rate of 20 barrels per hour, according to a report released by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. Shouldn’t the residents of Fort Collins have the right to protect their land, water, air and the health of their people from accidents like this? 

    Fracking is a clear threat to drinking water supplies, and a clear threat to our climate. And anything that threatens our water and our climate, threatens our food supply. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has confirmed high rates of methane gas leakage, including 4% leakage over Colorado gas fields, and 9% leakage in Utah gas fields. Methane is a far more potent greenhouse gas than CO2 - 25 times more potent over a century and 72 to 100 times more potent over a 20-year period. It is also the primary ingredient in urban smog, which causes asthma and lung disease.

    The Colorado Oil and Gas Association is so desperate to get its hands on the land in Fort Collins, that it presented city council members with a bogus petition, complete with  fake signatures from local Fort Collins businesses. According to Grist magazine, Anders’ Auto Glass, Meneike Car Care Center, and Computer Renaissance were among 55 businesses whose names appeared with signatures on a petition that the association submitted to Fort Collins City Council. The petition urged city councilors to vote against a proposed ban on fracking within the city. The only problem is, those businesses never signed any such petition.

    Last week, city council members gave first approval to the fracking ban ordinance, by a vote of 5 – 2. But the ordinance will only become law if council members support it on the second reading, which takes place on March 5. Fort Collins has an opportunity to follow the lead of the Longmont, Colo. City council, by standing up to industry and showing the whole country that citizens won’t allow politicians or greedy oil and gas companies, to stand in the way of citizens’ rights to have a say in how their land is used.

    Please sign the letter below before March 5. Tell your city council members you want them to stand up to industry and the governor, and vote to ban fracking in Fort Collins.

  • SalsaStaff 68474: Please do not delete

     SalsaStaff 68474: Please do not delete

  • MINNESOTA: Tell Your State Lawmakers to Support Mandatory GMO Labeling Legislation!

    Two new GMO labeling bills have been introduced in the Minnesota Legislature this year, HF 3140 and SF 2865. In this year’s ‘unsession’, the legislature is focusing on cleaning up old, outdated legislation, rather than working on new bills. So it’s unlikely that these GMO labeling bills will get floor votes in 2014.

    But the House Commerce and Consumer Protection Finance and Policy Committee has scheduled an informational hearing for HF 3140 this week.

    We want to pack the room! Can you attend the Hearing on Thursday, April 24 at 8:45 a.m. in Room 10 at the State Office Building (100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, St. Paul, MN 55155)? If you can’t attend you can still contact your legislators to support labeling genetically engineered foods in Minnesota.

    Emails are good, but calls are better. Fill in the form to look up your legislators’ phone numbers and to send your message. Check the list below to see if your legislators are co-authors of either bill. If they are, be sure to thank them for their support!

    If you're Representative is on the House Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee, please take the time to call AND email them and ask for their support of HF 3140.

    We need to lay a strong foundation for next year’s GMO labeling campaign in Minnesota. Senate bill SF 2865 has five co-authors, increasing from only two last year, and HF 3140 has nine co-authors in the House. Support is already building and the bills’ authors are planning for a big push to get GMO labeling legislation passed next year.

    It’s time to contact your state lawmakers and let them know that GMO Labeling is a critical issue for you. Farmers, consumers, retailers and restaurants are standing together in Minnesota for transparency in our food system. Let's make Minnesota the first heartland state to label GMOs!

    For more information visit Right to Know MN online and on Facebook.

    Thanks for taking action!

    HF 3140 Co-Authors
    Rep. Karen Clark (D-62A)
    Rep. Carolyn Laine (D-41B)
    Rep. Jason Isaacson (D-42B)
    Rep. Joe Mullery (D-59A)
    Rep. Jim Davnie (D-63A)
    Rep. Raymond Dehn (D-59B)
    Rep. Michael Paymar (D-64B)
    Rep. Phyllis Kahn (D-60B)
    Rep. Peter Fischer (D-43A)

    SF 2865 Co-Authors
    Sen. John Marty (D-66)
    Sen. Patricia Torres Ray (D-63)
    Sen. Jeff Hayden (D-62)
    Sen. Foung Hawj (D-67)
    Sen. D. Scott Dibble (D-61)

  • Boycott ConAgra’s Orville Redenbacher and other Organic Brands!

    The next time you see Orville Redenbacher’s friendly face smiling back at you from the grocery shelf, remember this: Orville’s popcorn, yes, even his organic variety, is owned by ConAgra, which spent nearly $1.2 million to defeat Prop 37, the California Right to Know GMO labeling initiative. ConAgra’s organic subsidiaries – none of which endorsed Prop 37 or donated a dollar to help it pass - include Orville Redenbacher’s Organic Popcorn, Hunt’s Organics, Lightlife, PAM Organic, and Alexia Foods.

    Please sign the letter below. Tell executives at ConAgra and its organic subsidiaries, including Orville Redenbacher and Hunts Organic, that you won’t buy their products until they support state GMO labeling campaigns and discontinue all financial support for anti-labeling efforts.

    ConAgra is one of the largest GMO-saturated junk food conglomerates in the world, with a long anti-health, anti-worker and anti-environment rap sheet. The company was also a major donor to the campaign to defeat a similar GMO labeling initiative in Oregon in 2002.

    Don’t want your money going to defeat your right to know? Then don’t buy any ConAgra products, including its organic brands or its not-so-healthy Healthy Choice brand.

    ConAgra: How do we despise thee? Let us count the ways!
    The organic and “natural” food segment is growing, and ConAgra wants a slice of that pie. That’s why it buys up brands like Orville Redenbacher’s, Hunts and others that already have organic lines. But behind its token organic offerings, lies a history of anti-consumerism:


    •    In 2012, ConAgra quietly reneged on its widely praised 2005 decision to remove High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) from its Hunt’s Ketchup. Commenting on why the company was switching back to HFCS, it claimed demand for the product was “not as strong as expected.”

    •    ConAgra was sued in 2011 for claiming four Wesson oil varieties containing GMOs were “100% Natural.” The good news? The lawsuit drew attention to the all-too-common practice of deceptive labeling.
     
    •    On October 11, 2007, ConAgra asked stores to pull the Banquet and generic brand chicken and turkey pot pies that, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), resulted in salmonella poisoning of at least 401individuals from 41 states.

    •    In February 2007, ConAgra recalled jars of Peter Pan and Great Value brand peanut butter because they were linked to a Salmonella outbreak. Ultimately, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) documented more than 628 individuals who were stricken with salmonella poisoning in 47 states.

    •    In 2007, ConAgra scored a six out of 100 in "The Climate Counts Company Scorecard Report." The report judged companies on their commitment to reversing climate change.
     
    •    In May 2003, ConAgra and its subsidiary Gilroy Foods agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle charges of hiring discrimination brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
     
    •    In 2002, ConAgra recalled 19 million pounds of ground beef with E. coli bacterial contamination. It was the third largest recall up to that time.

    •    In 1997, ConAgra pled guilty to federal criminal charges that its Peavey Grain unit illegally sprayed water on stored grain to increase its weigh and value, and also that the company bribed federal inspectors. ConAgra agreed to pay an $8.3 million fine.

    •     According to the Multinational Monitor, ConAgra was named one of the 'Top 100 Corporate Criminals of the 1990s' for fraud, with fines of $4.4 million.


    Please sign the letter below. Tell executives at ConAgra and its organic subsidiaries, including Orville Redenbacher and Hunts Organic, that you won’t buy their products until they support state GMO labeling campaigns and discontinue all financial support for anti-labeling efforts.


  • Connecticut: Ask Your Legislators to Protect your Right to Know about GMOs by Voting for HB 6519 and HB 6527

    The Connecticut legislature is currently considering two bills to label genetically engineered foods. HB 6519 would require labels on all genetically modified foods and HB 6527 would require labels on genetically modified baby foods. This is the third year in a row that GMO labeling bills have been considered in the CT legislature, and last year votes were very close. With your help, 2013 can be the year that CT makes food history by passing a GMO labeling bill!

    Please ask your state legislators to support our right to know what is in our food by voting for HB 6519 and HB 6527. You can use our suggested letter below, or add your own personal comments for a greater impact.

    Citizens in 62 other countries already enjoy the right to choose whether or not to feed their families genetically modified foods (GMOs).  We are demanding similar transparency in our food system. Thank you for taking action.

    For more information visit www.gmofreect.org or contact info@gmofreect.org or connecticut@righttoknow-gmo.org.

  • Don't Let the Senate Confirm a Pro-Fracking Energy Secretary!

    Over the protests of hundreds of thousands of concerned citizens, President Obama nominated Ernest Moniz, an ardent supporter of fracking, to be the U.S. Energy Secretary. No surprise, Moniz has a long history of ties to the oil and gas industry.

    Please sign the letter below. Tell President Obama and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO), Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT): Don't Confirm the appointment of Ernest Moniz, a Pro-Fracking, Pro-Big Oil Scientist, to Head the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

    The Huffington Post reports that Moniz has spent the last decade serving on a range of boards and advisory councils for energy industry heavyweights, including some that do business with the Department of Energy. That includes a six-year paid stint on BP’s Technology Advisory Council as well as similar positions at a uranium enrichment company and a pair of energy investment firms.  

    Moniz is the director of MIT's Energy Institute, which boasts such Big Oil financial backers as BP, Chevron and Saudi Aramco.

    Those most likely to hear our protests and scuttle Moniz’s nomination are Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO), Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). And of course, we need to keep pressuring the President.

    Expanding fracking operations won’t serve as a bridge to a cleaner future. Instead, it will sound the death knell for sustainable farming, healthy food, clean water, and a stable climate.

    Please sign the letter below. Tell President Obama and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO), Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT): Don't Confirm the appointment of Ernest Moniz, a Pro-Fracking, Pro-Big Oil Scientist, to Head the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

  • GMO Free USA Continues It's Kellogg's Campaign

    North Americans Unite to Tell Kellogg: We are BOYCOTTING your products. NO MORE BREAKFAST WITH KELLOGG'S! Remove untested and potentially unsafe GMOs!

    Kellogg contributed almost $800,000 to a deceptive advertising campaign that defeated Prop. 37, which would have required the labeling of genetically engineered foods in California. This company does not support transparency or truth in labeling and has no regard for the health and safety of consumers who buy their products. Kellogg has not responded to over 115,000 individual emails sent to Kellogg executives during the last 3 months. Please take a moment to email Kellogg's executives and carryout the following actions. Tell them that you are boycotting their products and you will be telling at least 100 of Kellogg's customers about the GMOs in their products.

    Download your Kellogg's BOYCOTT Twibbon here:
    www.twibbon.com

  • What Schmucks! Boycott Smucker's, R.W. Knudsen and Santa Cruz Organics!


    That Santa Cruz Organic© applesauce and peanut butter you’re feeding your kids? Although by law, they can't contain genetically engineered ingredients, they might contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs), according to a 
    Santa Cruz customer service representative. The profoundly misinformed rep also wrongly told us that “the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have determined that existing biotech foods are safe and do not differ in any meaningful way from other food.” Really? And how did these agencies "determine" all this? By asking Monsanto, and then taking the biotech bully's word for it.  

    Santa Cruz Organic and R.W. Knudsen are both owned by the J.M. Smucker Co., which contributed $555,000 to the $46-million war chest that helped narrowly defeat California’s Prop 37. Prop 37 was citizens’ initiative that would have required mandatory labeling of foods containing GMOs.

    Please sign the letter below. Tell executives at Smucker's that you won’t buy their products – or the products of their organic subsidiaries - until they support state GMO labeling campaigns and discontinue all financial support for anti-labeling efforts.

    Smucker's, maker of products that are part of a staple diet for millions of American children, has successfully branded itself as a company that provides tasty, wholesome food for kids. In reality, the company sells a myriad of
    unhealthy products chock full of GMOs - including High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), a big contributor to America’s growing obesity problem.

    Conflicts of Interest, Selling Out Children’s Health, and Denying Consumer Choice


    Smucker's serves on the Board of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), an organization on record claiming HFCS, full of GMO corn, is “natural.” The GMA spent $2 million to defeat Prop 37 which it claimed was its “single highest priority” for the year.

    The GMA’s membership reads like a virtual who’s who of anti-worker, anti-health and anti-family farmer interests. Members include outsourcing trendsetter Bain and Company, notorious polluter Dow Chemical, anti-union heavyweights Safeway Inc. and Bayer, and Monsanto, the world’s largest pesticide corporation.

    Julia Sabin, Vice President, Industry and Government Affairs at Smucker's, just recently
    served as the President of the Board of the Organic Trade Association (OTA). The OTA sells itself as a friend to the organic movement when in fact it’s a trade association which represents large multinational companies that sell "natural" and conventional products made with GMO ingredients.

    Companies like Smucker's oppose labeling because they’ve built a business model that relies on a lack of food system transparency. Labeling GMOs threatens their stranglehold on consumer choice, and prevents small farmers, the organics industry, and truly natural food producers from competing on an equal playing field.

    Please sign the letter below. Tell executives at Smucker's that you won’t buy their products – or the products of their organic subsidiaries - until they support state GMO labeling campaigns and discontinue all financial support for anti-labeling efforts.

  • Tell the EPA: Yes! Protect my Drinking Water from Factory Farm Waste

    Animal waste from factory farms is poisoning our drinking water and killing our lakes, rivers, streams – even the Gulf of Mexico. Animals raised on factory farms generate more than 100 times more waste than humans. Yet this raw waste, unlike human waste, is not treated in sewage systems – even though, according to a study conducted by Minnesota agricultural extension engineer, John Chastain, "the pollution strength of raw manure is 160 times greater than raw municipal sewage."   The waste from factory farm animals is contaminated with antibiotics, growth hormones and disease-carrying pathogens and bacteria. It also causes dangerously high levels of nitrates in drinking water. Most of it is stored in open lagoons, where it’s prone to spills and leaks, or spread on fields as fertilizer.

    Please sign the petition below by Feb. 27, asking the EPA to make it a priority in 2014-2016 to force factory farms to stop polluting our drinking water and destroying our lakes, rivers and streams. Tell the EPA you also want it to collect the data necessary to monitor water pollution from CAFOs and enforce regulations.

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) attempts to regulate factory farm waste under the Clean Water Act. But the regulations are full of loopholes, and enforcement is weak and inconsistent. In order to devote more resources to enforcement, the EPA made its “initiative to prevent surface and groundwater contamination by animal waste discharges from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOS)”
    a priority for 2011-2013. Every three years the EPA asks the public to weigh in on whether or not to continue to make the initiative a priority for another three years.

    Please add your voice to the letter below! Tell the EPA: Yes! Keep up the pressure on CAFOs for another three years!

    Nitrate: a growing health hazard in drinking water

    Agricultural waste is the
    number one form of well-water contaminants in the U.S., where at least 4.5 million people are exposed to dangerously high nitrate levels in their drinking water. High levels of nitrates are linked to numerous health issues, including miscarriages, gastric problems and cancer. Most at risk, according to the EPA, are infants who suffer developmental problems and even death, due to oxygen deprivation caused by nitrate pollution.

    Where do the nitrates in our drinking water come from? Animal waste is high in nitrogen. As the waste decomposes, the nitrogen is converted to ammonium nitrate. Factory farms typically store untreated animal waste in lagoons or “holding ponds.” But there’s
    widespread evidence of waste leaking from storage lagoons or spilling out during storms, and finding its way into water supplies.

    The link between factory farms and dangerous levels of nitrates is not hypothetical.  As reported in ‘"Understanding Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations and Their Impact on Communities,” the EPA’s 2000 National Water Quality Inventory found that 29 states specifically identified animal feeding operations, not just CAFOs, as contributing  to water quality impairment . A study of private water wells in Idaho detected levels of veterinary antibiotics, as well as elevated levels of nitrates. And a Centers for Disease Control
    study of well water in nine Midwestern states showed that 13 percent of the supply had nitrate levels above the EPA standard of ten milligrams per liter.

    According to the
    National Resources Defense Council (NRDC):

    • California officials identify agriculture, including cows, as the major source of nitrate pollution in more than 100,000 square miles of polluted groundwater.

    • In Oklahoma, nitrates from Seaboard Farms' hog operations contaminated drinking water wells, prompting the EPA to issue an emergency order in June 2001 requiring the company to provide safe drinking water to area residents.

    • In 1996 the Centers for Disease Control established a link between spontaneous abortions and high nitrate levels in Indiana drinking water wells located close to feedlots.


    Additionally, a
    2012 study by EPA of sources of nitrate pollution in residential water wells in Washington State’s Yakima Valley flagged dairy CAFOs as a major source of the pollution.  About 25,000 people in the Valley depend on residential wells for their drinking water.

    Factory farm runoff: killing our waterways

    A report out this month linking industrial agriculture to a devastating web of pollution notes that the increase of factory farming has produced too much nitrogen and phosphorous, which are causing coastal and freshwater dead zones, fish kills, nitrate-contaminated aquifers and impure drinking water. The authors of the global report, “Our Nutrient World: The challenge to produce more food and energy with less pollution, warn that if we don’t cut meat consumption, the planet is doomed.

    Here in the U.S., the
    Center for Disease Control says that the agriculture sector, including CAFOs, is the leading contributor of pollutants to lakes, rivers, and reservoirs. In fact, waste generated by factory farms has already polluted more than 35,000 miles of river in 22 states and has contaminated groundwater in 17 states.

    From the NRDC:

    • Huge open-air waste lagoons, often as big as several football fields, are prone to leaks and spills. In 1995 an eight-acre            hog-waste lagoon in North Carolina burst, spilling 25 million gallons of manure into the New River. The spill killed about 10 million fish and closed 364,000 acres of coastal wetlands to shellfishing.
    • From 1995 to 1998, 1,000 spills or pollution incidents occurred at livestock feedlots in 10 states and 200 manure-related fish kills resulted in the death of 13 million fish.
    • When Hurricane Floyd hit North Carolina in 1999, at least five manure lagoons burst and approximately 47 lagoons were completely flooded.

    • Runoff of chicken and hog waste from factory farms in Maryland and North Carolina is believed to have contributed to outbreaks of Pfiesteria piscicida, killing millions of fish and causing skin irritation, short-term memory loss and other cognitive problems in local people.

    • Nutrients in animal waste cause algal blooms, which use up oxygen in the water, contributing to a "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico where there's not enough oxygen to support aquatic life. The dead zone fluctuates in size each year, extending a record 8,500 square miles during the summer of 2002 and stretching over 7,700 square miles during the summer of 2010.


    We need stronger, not weaker, regulation of CAFO waste

    The CAFO industry has fought long and hard to prevent the EPA from regulating animal waste. As recently as 2011, the industry won a
    major victory when the court ruled that under the Clean Water Act, the EPA cannot require a CAFO to apply for a Clean Water Act National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit before it discharges waste into waterways. The EPA can only require a permit after the pollution occurs. The CAFO can be held liable for the pollution that occurred without a permit, but by then, the damage has occurred.

    With more than
    15,000 CAFOs operating in the U.S., the EPA is hard put to monitor them all for compliance with the Clean Water Act. In fact, according to an article in the Ecology Law Quarterly, the EPA doesn’t know how many CAFOs are in the U.S, let alone how many are discharging pollutants without a NPDES permit. So it has to rely on the National Pork Producers to provide that information. The EPA put forth plan to collect the data itself, a plan it later abandoned.

    Please add your voice to the letter below! Tell the EPA: Yes! Keep up the pressure on CAFOs for another three years! And tell the EPA you also want it to collect the data necessary to monitor water pollution from CAFOs and enforce regulations.

  • Demand Honest Fair Trade Labels!

    The Swiss-based Institute for Marketecology (IMO), which certifies companies using the “Fair for Life” label, doesn’t always play fair. And when Fair Trade certifiers don’t play fair, workers’ rights are compromised, and consumers are betrayed.

    According to a
    report released this week by the Washington, DC-based International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF), the IMO bestowed its “Fair for Life” certification on Seattle-based Theo Chocolate, despite being informed by Theo workers that the company had hired an anti-union consultant and was violating the international labor standards promoted by Fair For Life during a union organizing campaign.

    Please sign the letter below. Tell IMO and Theo Chocolate to protect workers’ rights.

    Although many codes of conduct guarantee the rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining, in practice workers in fair trade supply chains often face barriers to exercising their rights. To address these barriers the report recommends fair trade certifiers make their auditing results transparent and establish an “International Fair Trade Board of Appeal” to assess and remedy instances where fair trade organizations mishandle cases involving allegations of workers’ rights violations.

    Here’s what happened at Theo Chocolate. When Theo workers decided to join the Teamsters, management responded with hostility, intimidation and retaliation. Company executives threatened to close the company if workers formed a union. They harassed union supporters, drove several workers to leave the company, and fired at least one union supporter.  Theo workers were able to convince IMO to conduct an audit post-certification, but IMO upheld Theo’s fair trade certification and told the workers that the results of the audit were confidential. IMO soon after issued new labor standards, which actually recommend employers hire consultants to talk to workers about the pros and cons of organizing – effectively justifying Theo’s actions.

    IMO claims to be transparent. Yet the institute refused to release the results of its investigation. All workers heard was that IMO upheld the certification and then, nearly two years later, that the case had been closed.  The lack of recourse for workers, and the lack of accountability among certifications like Fair for Life, is unacceptable. That’s why the ILRF is proposing a new approach that would increase the transparency of certifiers and give consumers additional confidence in fair trade products.
     

  • INDIANA: Protect Your Right to Know About Factory Farms

    Last year, concerned citizens like you stopped an “ag-gag” bill that would have prevented journalists, activists and employees from investigating animal cruelty, worker abuses, environmental protection violations and food safety hazards at factory farms.

    But now the industry is back at the state legislature with an even harsher bill. Don’t let Indiana legislators criminalize whistleblowers in order to protect factory farms’ profits.

    Use this form to tell the state Senate Committee on Corrections and Criminal Law to vote no on SB 101!

    More than half of Indiana's 92 counties are home to at least one factory farm, according to the Citizens Action Coalition Education Fund. If you live in one of those counties, near one of those farms, you already know that they are subject to weak and sparsely enforced state regulations.  You and your neighbors are exposed to massive amounts of air and water pollution, with little recourse through your local government to protect yourselves.

    How do you find if a factory farm near you is violating already-weak animal welfare, food safety or environmental laws? Sometimes, the only way these violations are exposed is through undercover investigations. Now, your state lawmakers want to outlaw those investigations.

    SB 101, introduced by Sen. Holdman (R-Markel), the same senator who authored last year's “ag-gag” bill, would expand state trespass laws to protect agricultural operations and private property rights. Worse yet, the bill would make it a felony to expose factory farm violations and abuses to the public.

    With transparency comes accountability. That's why the agricultural industry is seeking to criminalize those who attempt to expose their crimes rather than addressing the litany of violations they've already been found guilty of committing. SB 101 would be used by dishonest employers to intimidate and bully employees from documenting abuses - serving as an effective retaliation tool against any employee who blows the whistle on unethical or illegal activity.

    The bill is also unnecessary because current laws against fraud and trespassing already protect honest businesses. Those who are brave enough to blow the whistle on illegal activity on industrial operations aren't "vigilantes" - they should be rewarded, not criminalized.

    The Good News: The People are on the Side of Transparency!

    In a poll commissioned by The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), 71 percent of Americans support undercover investigative efforts to expose animal abuse on industrial farms and almost two-thirds oppose making such efforts illegal. Fully 94 percent of Americans feel that it is important to have measures in place to ensure that food coming from farm animals is safe for people to eat, and 94 percent agree that animals raised for food on farms deserve to be free from abuse and cruelty.

    Don't let Indiana join the growing list of states that want to keep you in the dark about what goes on in factory farms. SB 101 is still in committee, you can help stop it before it goes to the state Senate floor. 

    Send your letter today! Ask the state Senate Committee of Corrections and Criminal Law to stop SB 101!

    Thank you!

    Why ag-gag laws are dangerous to animals, humans and the environment:

    o Animal Welfare. Ag-gag laws are a direct threat to animal welfare. We know that animals are often cruelly treated in factory farms and slaughterhouses. Documentation of this treatment not only helps educate the public about farm animal abuse, but also influences industry and government entities to make real changes for farm animals.

    o Food Safety. Ag-gag laws threaten our food supply: Various exposés of factory farms and slaughterhouses have revealed the extent to which our meat, eggs and milk are mishandled. Mishandling animal products, including mishandling farm animals while they are alive, invites health risks including salmonella, mad cow disease and other potentially fatal illnesses that may be transmitted to consumers.

    o Control over Food Choices. Ag-gag laws are a direct threat to marketplace transparency. At a time when Americans are increasingly invested in knowing more about where their food comes from and how it is made, these laws threaten our ability to control what we bring into our homes and the food we put in our bodies. All Americans should have the right to know the basic conditions under which their food is produced.

    o Workers' Rights. This legislation often seeks to criminalize the recording of sounds or images in animal facilities, no matter the content. Factory farms, slaughterhouses and meatpacking facilities are physically and emotionally difficult places to work. Farm investigations have the potential to expose serious worker abuse and other illegal or unethical conduct on the part of employees or supervisors.

    o Free Speech. Some ag-gag bills seek not just to criminalize recording, but even the possession and distribution of images recorded on animal facilities-and some seek to criminalize misrepresenting oneself on job applications (which, while possibly an act warranting termination of employment, should generally not be a crime). These provisions pose serious First Amendment threats.

    o Environmental Damage. In the United States, 99 percent of food animals are raised in factory farms, where large numbers of animals are housed together, generally in close confinement. Huge amounts of waste are generated, the improper storage and disposal of which threatens our soil and water. While state and federal laws require large farms to minimize their environmental damage, farms have been found flagrantly violating these requirements. Undercover investigations offer an effective way to expose such violations.

    Source:
    American Society for the Prevetion of Cruelty to Animals: http://www.aspca.org/fight-cruelty/advocacy-center/ag-gag-whistleblower-suppression-legislation/why-ag-gag-laws-are

  • Boycott ConAgra’s Orville Redenbacher and other Organic Brands!

    The next time you see Orville Redenbacher’s friendly face smiling back at you from the grocery shelf, remember this: Orville’s popcorn, yes, even his organic variety, is owned by ConAgra, which spent nearly $1.2 million to defeat Prop 37, the California Right to Know GMO labeling initiative. ConAgra’s organic subsidiaries – none of which endorsed Prop 37 or donated a dollar to help it pass - include Orville Redenbacher’s Organic Popcorn, Hunt’s Organics, Lightlife, PAM Organic, and Alexia Foods.

    Please sign the letter below. Tell executives at ConAgra and its organic subsidiaries, including Orville Redenbacher and Hunts Organic, that you won’t buy their products until they support state GMO labeling campaigns and discontinue all financial support for anti-labeling efforts.

    ConAgra is one of the largest GMO-saturated junk food conglomerates in the world, with a long anti-health, anti-worker and anti-environment rap sheet. The company was also a major donor to the campaign to defeat a similar GMO labeling initiative in Oregon in 2002.

    Don’t want your money going to defeat your right to know? Then don’t buy any ConAgra products, including its organic brands or its not-so-healthy Healthy Choice brand.

    ConAgra: How do we despise thee? Let us count the ways!
    The organic and “natural” food segment is growing, and ConAgra wants a slice of that pie. That’s why it buys up brands like Orville Redenbacher’s, Hunts and others that already have organic lines. But behind its token organic offerings, lies a history of anti-consumerism:


    •    In 2012, ConAgra quietly reneged on its widely praised 2005 decision to remove High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) from its Hunt’s Ketchup. Commenting on why the company was switching back to HFCS, it claimed demand for the product was “not as strong as expected.”

    •    ConAgra was sued in 2011 for claiming four Wesson oil varieties containing GMOs were “100% Natural.” The good news? The lawsuit drew attention to the all-too-common practice of deceptive labeling.
     
    •    On October 11, 2007, ConAgra asked stores to pull the Banquet and generic brand chicken and turkey pot pies that, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), resulted in salmonella poisoning of at least 401individuals from 41 states.

    •    In February 2007, ConAgra recalled jars of Peter Pan and Great Value brand peanut butter because they were linked to a Salmonella outbreak. Ultimately, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) documented more than 628 individuals who were stricken with salmonella poisoning in 47 states.

    •    In 2007, ConAgra scored a six out of 100 in "The Climate Counts Company Scorecard Report." The report judged companies on their commitment to reversing climate change.
     
    •    In May 2003, ConAgra and its subsidiary Gilroy Foods agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle charges of hiring discrimination brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
     
    •    In 2002, ConAgra recalled 19 million pounds of ground beef with E. coli bacterial contamination. It was the third largest recall up to that time.

    •    In 1997, ConAgra pled guilty to federal criminal charges that its Peavey Grain unit illegally sprayed water on stored grain to increase its weigh and value, and also that the company bribed federal inspectors. ConAgra agreed to pay an $8.3 million fine.

    •     According to the Multinational Monitor, ConAgra was named one of the 'Top 100 Corporate Criminals of the 1990s' for fraud, with fines of $4.4 million.


    Please sign the letter below. Tell executives at ConAgra and its organic subsidiaries, including Orville Redenbacher and Hunts Organic, that you won’t buy their products until they support state GMO labeling campaigns and discontinue all financial support for anti-labeling efforts.


  • Demand Honest Fair Trade Labels!

    The Swiss-based Institute for Marketecology (IMO), which certifies companies using the “Fair for Life” label, doesn’t always play fair. And when Fair Trade certifiers don’t play fair, workers’ rights are compromised, and consumers are betrayed.

    According to a
    report released this week by the Washington, DC-based International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF), the IMO bestowed its “Fair for Life” certification on Seattle-based Theo Chocolate, despite being informed by Theo workers that the company had hired an anti-union consultant and was violating the international labor standards promoted by Fair For Life during a union organizing campaign.

    Please sign the letter below. Tell IMO and Theo Chocolate to protect workers’ rights.

    Although many codes of conduct guarantee the rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining, in practice workers in fair trade supply chains often face barriers to exercising their rights. To address these barriers the report recommends fair trade certifiers make their auditing results transparent and establish an “International Fair Trade Board of Appeal” to assess and remedy instances where fair trade organizations mishandle cases involving allegations of workers’ rights violations.

    Here’s what happened at Theo Chocolate. When Theo workers decided to join the Teamsters, management responded with hostility, intimidation and retaliation. Company executives threatened to close the company if workers formed a union. They harassed union supporters, drove several workers to leave the company, and fired at least one union supporter.  Theo workers were able to convince IMO to conduct an audit post-certification, but IMO upheld Theo’s fair trade certification and told the workers that the results of the audit were confidential. IMO soon after issued new labor standards, which actually recommend employers hire consultants to talk to workers about the pros and cons of organizing – effectively justifying Theo’s actions.

    IMO claims to be transparent. Yet the institute refused to release the results of its investigation. All workers heard was that IMO upheld the certification and then, nearly two years later, that the case had been closed.  The lack of recourse for workers, and the lack of accountability among certifications like Fair for Life, is unacceptable. That’s why the ILRF is proposing a new approach that would increase the transparency of certifiers and give consumers additional confidence in fair trade products.
     

  • Can You Help Hand Out Leaflets to Stop Whole Foods and UNFI from Union Busting?


    It’s time to tell Whole Foods and UNFI: Treat workers fairly! Can you help by distributing leaflets in front of a Whole Foods store in the Chicago area? Sign up today with the form below and our organizers in Chicago will contact you. Leafleting could begin as early as this weekend.

  • Sweet Revenge: Boycott Hershey's and Dagoba!

    Hershey’s, a multi-national junk food corporation with an abysmal record on workers’ rights and child labor, contributed $519,000 to defeat prop 37, the California Right to Know GMO labeling initiative. Meanwhile Dagoba, Hershey’s organic subsidiary, refused to lift a finger in support of Californians’ fundamental right to know what’s in their food.

    Please sign the letter below. Tell executives at Hershey’s and Dagoba you won’t buy their products until they support state GMO labeling campaigns and discontinue all financial support for anti-labeling efforts.

    Every dollar you spend on organic traitor brands like Dagoba directly enriches the junk food and pesticide corporations who own them. Why send your hard-earned money to companies that use it to lobby against laws that protect consumers?

    Not the kisses your mom and grandma handed out
    Before the 1990s, Hershey’s kisses and chocolate bars were GMO-free. But since the advent of GMO technology, the chocolate maker has added genetically modified beet sugar and genetically engineered soy to its confectionary treats. Why? Because it can. Here in the U.S., where we have no GMO labeling laws, Hershey’s chooses the cheaper option: GMO ingredients.

    In the UK, where food manufacturers are required by law to label genetically modified ingredients, kids get GMO-free kisses. Here’s
    what the company said when it dumped GMO ingredients from its products in the UK:

    The key ingredients which have been re-formulated from non-GM sources include changing the sugar source from beet to cane sugar and using IP soy lecithin. In addition to this the transportation and storage have been confirmed also as GM-free or cleaned before use with these products.

    We took this decision based on our belief that customers in the UK do not currently wish to see GM ingredients in these products.


    What about consumers in the U.S. who don’t want to see GM ingredients in Hershey’s products? We’re out of luck. Without mandatory GMO labeling laws, Hershey’s can put all the GMOs it wants in its products, and consumers won’t know.

    Earning millions on the backs of child labor
    Hershey’s isn’t just a junk food corporation that spent over a half million dollars to defeat Prop 37. The company also has a notoriously poor
    social responsibility record. Hershey’s sources its cocoa from regions where forced cheap labor, human trafficking, abusive child labor and unsafe working conditions abound.

    Hershey’s has known about these conditions since 2001. Yet until recently, the chocolate-maker has done nothing to improve the lives of the children whose hard labor generates lavish profits – so lavish that CEO John Bilbrey was able to earn a jaw-dropping
    $10.6 million in 2011.

    Hershey’s reprehensible business practices could easily be addressed by embracing Fair Trade certification – as so many of its competitors do. In October, the company finally, under pressure from the Organic Consumers Association and other consumer and Fair Trade groups,
    announced it will source “100% certified cocoa” by 2020. But certified by whom? In another example of lack of transparency, the company has yet to provide details concerning the certification standards it intends to implement.

    Please sign the letter below. Tell executives at Hershey’s and Dagoba you won’t buy their products until they support state GMO labeling campaigns and discontinue all financial support for anti-labeling efforts.
     

  • Washington: Can You Help Hand Out Leaflets to Stop Whole Foods from Union Busting?

    Whole Foods Market (WFM) is the second-largest union-free food retailer in the U.S., behind Wal-Mart. Although CEO John Mackey has created the perception that his empire is all about abundance, bounty and the good life, there’s nothing bountiful or good about the way the company exploits workers.

    It’s time to tell Whole Foods: Treat workers fairly! Can you help by distributing leaflets in front of a Whole Foods store in your neighborhood?

    Believe it or not, Mackey actually
    said this:

    “The union is like having herpes. It doesn't kill you, but it's unpleasant and inconvenient, and it stops a lot of people from becoming your lover."

    WFM’s Whole Trade Guarantee, through a third-party verified program, supposedly ensures that producers and laborers in developing countries get an equitable price for their goods in a safe and healthy working environment.  But what about workers in the U.S.?

    Whole Foods has taken the position that unions are not valid. The company even hands its workers a pamphlet titled "Beyond Unions." In its 27-year history, only its store in Madison, Wisc. successfully unionized, and even that eventually fell apart with no contract to show for the efforts of workers. The chain has also fended off unionizing
    attempts in Berkeley, Calif.; St. Paul,  Minn.; and Falls Church, Va.”
     
    We want WFM and UNFI to publicly acknowledge that Fair Trade principles and practices need to be implemented as part of their entire US/North American/global supply chain for food and organic/natural products, not just for the minority of products produced overseas and certified as Fair Trade.

    We are asking no more from Whole Foods than what we demand of ourselves - walk your talk, prioritize organic food and products, practice Fair Trade and social justice, and wake up to the fact that "business as usual" is a bitter recipe for injustice.
     
    You can help pressure Whole Foods to stop union busting and treat workers fairly. Please volunteer today!

  • Iowa: Tell Lawmakers You Want the Right to Know When Factory Farms Plan to Pollute Your Water

    Last year, Iowa passed an Ag-Gag law making it a crime to conduct an undercover investigation of animal cruelty or environmental violations in the state’s factory farms. Now, the state is taking another swipe at citizens’ right to know with a bill that would eliminate the requirement that factory farms notify the public when they apply for Clean Water Permits.

    Please sign the letter below to your state legislators asking them to oppose SSB 1005, a bill that would weaken even further the already lax regulation of Iowa factory farms under the Clean Water Act.

    Senate Study Bill 1005 removes the current requirement that factory farms place a public notice in local newspapers when they apply for a Clean Water Act permit. It also requires the hopelessly under-staffed Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to respond to permit applications within 90 days, or the permit is automatically approved!

    Who’s behind this latest attack on citizens’ right to know? None other than the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. It seems the DNR is hoping to skirt upcoming attempts by the U.S.Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to enforce the Clean Water Act.

    Specifically, SSB 1005:

    • Eliminates a requirement that a public notice be placed in local-area newspapers when factory farms apply for Clean Water Act permits.
    • Requires the DNR – which is severely understaffed – to respond to permit applications within 90 days or the permit is automatically approved.

    Factory Farms Destroy the Environment and Human Health
    Taken together with other forms of agriculture, Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs, comprise the single largest contributor to pollution entering the surface waters of the United States, according to the Arizona Journal of Law & Policy. Iowa operates more hog farms and more egg-laying operations than any other state in the U.S., and it's waterways are paying the price. According to the Iowa Chapter of the Sierra Club, Iowa has 446 impaired waters with 605 impairments, the majority of which can be directly 
    attributed to CAFOs.

    .As the 2010 documentary A River of Waste vividly depicts, factory farms are having a catastrophic impact on the environment and public health. People who work in or live near factory farms experience respiratory and diarrheal illnesses and neurological and mood problems as a consequence of being exposed to air and water contamination from vast amounts of waste.

    Factory farms also directly impact infant mortality rates. A study published in 2009 using two decades of county-level national data found, "counties with increases in animal units between 1982 and 1997 experienced on average a 35% gain. This corresponds to a 2.8% increase in infant mortality in these counties, or an additional 3,500 infant deaths between 1982 and 1997."

    People who live near factory farms in Iowa are exposed to a host of health risks. Yet they have no recourse through their local governments, which are unable to reject or regulate factory farms. 
    In 2001, the Supreme Court of Iowa struck down a public health ordinance passed by Worth County that aimed to establish local regulation of air and water emissions as well as worker health protections for concentrated animal feeding operations (“CAFOs”) in the county. In 2004, in its Worth County Friends of Agriculture decision, the court ruled that livestock production in Iowa is "governed by statewide regulation, not local regulation.”  

    Iowa residents can
    sue agricultural operations under the theory of nuisance, but that means the burden is on individual property owners to bring costly and time consuming lawsuits against CAFOs in order to be compensated for the harms they cause.

    With local governments shut out, regulation of factory farms rests with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA has threatened to take over enforcement of the Clean Water Act because the Iowa
    DNR is not doing its job. Yet, instead of making the changes the EPA is demanding, the DNR is pushing Iowa even farther away from compliance with the Clean Water Act by asking the state legislature to pass SSB 1005.

    Iowa needs stronger, not weaker, Factory Farm permitting standards. Please sign the letter below to your state legislators asking them to oppose SSB 1005!

  • Boycott General Mills and Muir Glen!

    It came as no surprise that a company like General Mills donated $1.2 million to defeat Proposition 37, the California Right to Know ballot initiative to label genetically modified organisms (GMOs). But many consumers were surprised to learn that General Mills owns some of their favorite organic and "natural" brands, including Muir Glen, Cascadian Farm and Larabar.

    Please use the letter below to tell General Mills and Muir Glen that you won’t be buying any of their products until General Mills, Muir Glen and Larabar support GMO labeling.

    Muir Glen boasts that the brand is named after the legendary naturalist, John Muir. But Muir would be rolling over in his grave if he knew how fiercely parent company General Mills fought to defeat the consumer’s right to know about GMOs – especially given how destructive these crops are to the environment Muir loved.

    When major food corporations, under pressure from consumers, break ranks with Monsanto and the biotech industry, GMO public policy and marketplace dynamics change dramatically. And we know that General Mills can break with the biotech bullies when the company fears consumer backlash. In 2003, when a consumer survey showed that people did not want GMO wheat, General Mills
    stood up to Monsanto to help kill the commercialization of this multi-billion dollar crop.

    Tell General Mills it’s time to stand up to the biotech bullies again and support your right to know about GMOs. Until they do, tell them you are boycotting all General Mills brands, including Muir Glen, Cascadian Farm and Larabar. Please sign the letter below to the media relations departments of General Mills and Muir Glen.

    Background
    General Mills has taken a lot of flak from consumers lately. The company recently posted an “app” on their Facebook page that allowed fans to post a word or two about how they felt about Cheerios. The app generated more than a few words – and they weren’t too kind. It didn’t take the company long to pull the app of the web. Read more
    here.

    General Mills has been involved in a number of class action lawsuits alleging the company has misrepresented one or another of its products as healthy or “100% natural.”

    In the latest
    suit, defendants accuse the company of lying to consumers when it says its Natural Valley Fresh Steamers are 100% natural, when in fact they contain genetically modified corn and soy.

    Other lawsuits against General Mills include:
    •    Two California mothers are
    suing General Mill, claiming the giant food company has deceptively marketed its Nature Valley products as natural when they contain highly processed ingredients.

    •    The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) filed a class-action
    lawsuit against General Mills for the company's spurious marketing claims that its sugary fruit snacks are healthy. The CSPI, a nutrition advocacy group, alleged that including phrases like "a good source of vitamin C" and "low-fat" on the packaging for Fruit By The Foot, Fruit Roll-Ups and Fruit Gushers implies that these products promote good health. In reality, the fruit snacks, unlike their naturally-occurring bases, are full of high-fructose corn syrup, preservatives and trans fats.

  • Ask These Food Stores to Reject Frankenfish!

    The first genetically engineered (GE) salmon - dubbed "frankenfish" - could be in grocery stores and restaurants as early as 2014. As consumers, we can help keep frankenfish off the market by letting food retailers know we won’t buy it.

    On December 21, the FDA set in motion the approval of the first food from a genetically engineered animal when it released its
    environmental assessment (EA) of AquaBounty’s “AquAdvantage” transgenic salmon.  During its required 60-day public comment period, the FDA has already received an earful from consumers who don’t want frankenfish on the menu. Nearly 70,000 people have already signed the Organic Consumers petition asking the FDA to reject frankenfish – and ours is one of many similar petitions.

    But we have to do more. Please sign the letter below to executives at these top food retailer chains. Tell them you won’t shop at their stores if they stock frankenfish!

    Consumer pressure works.  In 2000, McDonald’s, Burger King, Pringles and McCain opposed Monsanto’s genetically engineered “New Leaf” potatoes. Their opposition kept these Bt-spliced
    “Frankenspuds”  off the market.

    In 2003, U.S. wheat farmers joined forces with General Mills and Frito-Lay to oppose Monsanto’s GE wheat. Their efforts killed commercialization of this multi-billion-dollar crop. And it was consumer pressure that forced Starbucks and other coffee brands to keep GE coffee off the market.

    There’s no place in U.S. grocery stores for GE fish that is raised in Panama and imported to the U.S. - without labels telling us it’s been genetically engineered.  We already know that problems abound with factory-farmed and imported seafood.  In his recent article, “Today's Seafood Special: Pig Manure, Antibiotics, and Diarrhea Bugs,” Tom Philpott explains how the FDA is doing a lousy job of policing seafood imports. Philpott refers to a
    recent study  by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,  revealing that 44 percent of the 39 foodborne-illness outbreaks caused by imports from 2005 to 2010 involved seafood - more than any other type of food.

    Add to that the fact that the FDA has not adequately safety-tested GE salmon for possible long-term health effects on humans, and the new frankenfish is frankly a recipe for disaster.

    If approved, AquaBounty’s frankenfish would most likely be sold as fillets, to restaurants and grocery stores. According to the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, there is little chance it would end up in the canned salmon market. The OCA contacted executives at 17 national and regional food store chains. We received responses from four of them. You can read the list and responses
    here.

    Please sign the letter below to executives at these top food retail chains. Tell them you won’t shop at their stores if they start stocking frankenfish!

    Background

    What is frankenfish?
    AquaBounty Technologies, a Massachusetts-based biotech company, created the "AquAdvantage" salmon by injecting a fragment of DNA from an ocean pout fish, which is a type of eel, along with a growth hormone gene from the Chinook Pacific salmon, into a fertilised Atlantic salmon egg. The result? A salmon that produces growth hormone year round, instead of only during warm weather. This allows the fish to reach market weight in just 18 months, instead of the usual three years.

    What are the risks?
    1.    Potential harm to human health. The FDA has allowed this fish to move forward based on tests of allergenicity of only six GE fish. Even with such limited testing, the results showed an increase in allergy-causing potential, according to Hansen. AquAdvantage also contains elevated levels of the growth hormone, IGF-1, which is linked to prostate, breast and colon cancers.
    2.    Potential harm to wild salmon population. Only 95% of the AquAdvantage salmon may be sterile, the rest fertile. Plus, the fish at the egg production facility in Prince Edward Island, Canada, will not be sterile. The FDA says the likelihood of the GE salmon escaping into the wild is "extremely remote" but gave little reassuring evidence to support that assumption. According to studies, the frankenfish eat five times more food than wild salmon, and have less fear of predators. All it would take is for some of these frankenfish to escape, and the world's wild salmon population would be at risk.
    3.    Unlabeled. Without GMO labeling, consumers will not be able to avoid frankenfish when it arrives in grocery stores and fish markets.
    4.    Less nutritious. GE salmon contains less Omega-3 fatty acids than non-GE salmon. Omega-3 fatty acids are the "good" fat which has important health benefits.

  • Protect Your Right to Know About Factory Farm Abuses in New Hampshire

    Please scroll down to send your NH state legislators a letter asking them to oppose the new ag gag bill.

    On January 3, 2013, Rep. Robert H. Haefner (R-Hillsborough 37) introduced House Bill 110, an "ag gag" bill, aimed at preventing journalists, activists and employees from conducting investigations into animal cruelty, worker abuses, environmental protection violations and food safety problems at factory farms. The bill's sole purpose is to prevent the public from learning what goes on at factory farms.

    Don't let New Hampshire legislators make it a crime to expose the horrors of factory farming! Please sign the letter below asking NH state legislators to oppose HB 110.

    HB 110 is a seven-line bill that requires people who photograph or make video recordings of cruelty against animals to report the incident to police within 24 hours and turn over their unedited video or photos to authorities. Proponents of HB 110 claim that the bill is intended to protect farm animals by requiring immediate reporting, so the abuse can be stopped.

    But that's deceptive. Lawmakers know that in order for anyone to prove a pattern of abuse in factory farms, they must document repeated instances of cruelty. A video or photograph of only one instance will be dismissed as a one-time anomaly, which will get the agribusiness company off the hook.

    You can help prevent this law from passing!

    Last year, lawmakers in 10 states proposed ag-gag laws. Only three of the laws passed. Consumers and animal welfare activists prevented ag-gag laws from passing in the seven other states by creating a public outcry that force legislators to vote against the bills.

    New Hampshire's ag-gag legislation is opposed by the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union. Nationally, 71% of voters oppose ag-gag laws, according to a poll by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

    Please sign the letter below today and forward it to as many people as possible!

    Why ag-gag laws are dangerous to animals, humans and the environment

    • Animal Welfare. Ag-gag laws are a direct threat to animal welfare. We know that animals are often cruelly treated in factory farms and slaughterhouses. Documentation of this treatment not only helps educate the public about farm animal abuse, but also influences industry and government entities to make real changes for farm animals.
    • Food Safety. Ag-gag laws threaten our food supply: Various exposés of factory farms and slaughterhouses have revealed the extent to which our meat, eggs and milk are mishandled. Mishandling animal products, including mishandling farm animals while they are alive, invites health risks including salmonella, mad cow disease and other potentially fatal illnesses that may be transmitted to consumers.
    • Control over Food Choices. Ag-gag laws are a direct threat to marketplace transparency. At a time when Americans are increasingly invested in knowing more about where their food comes from and how it is made, these laws threaten our ability to control what we bring into our homes and the food we put in our bodies. All Americans should have the right to know the basic conditions under which their food is produced.
    • Workers' Rights. This legislation often seeks to criminalize the recording of sounds or images in animal facilities, no matter the content. Factory farms, slaughterhouses and meatpacking facilities are physically and emotionally difficult places to work. Farm investigations have the potential to expose serious worker abuse and other illegal or unethical conduct on the part of employees or supervisors.
    • Free Speech. Some ag-gag bills seek not just to criminalize recording, but even the possession and distribution of images recorded on animal facilities—and some seek to criminalize misrepresenting oneself on job applications (which, while possibly an act warranting termination of employment, should generally not be a crime). These provisions pose serious First Amendment threats.
    • Environmental Damage. In the United States, 99 percent of food animals are raised in factory farms, where large numbers of animals are housed together, generally in close confinement. Huge amounts of waste are generated, the improper storage and disposal of which threatens our soil and water. While state and federal laws require large farms to minimize their environmental damage, farms have been found flagrantly violating these requirements. Undercover investigations offer an effective way to expose such violations.

    Source: American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

    Please sign the letter below to your NH state legislators urging them to oppose HB 110. Thank you!

  • Protect Your Right to Know About Factory Farm Abuses in Nebraska!

    Please scroll down to send your NE state legislators a letter asking them to oppose the new ag gag bill.

    On January 17, 2013, Sen. Tyson Larson (R-NE 40th District, including Knox County) introduced Legislature Bill 204, an ag-gag bill that would make it a Class IV felony for journalists, activists and employees to conduct investigations into animal cruelty, worker abuses, environmental protection violations and food safety problems at factory farms. The bill's sole purpose is to prevent the public from learning what goes on at factory farms.

    If LB 204 had been law in 2004, we'd never have known about the abuses exposed in this video from an undercover investigation by the Humane Farming Association, an investigation that forced the closing of the HKY Inc. hog farm in Wausa, NE, in Knox County.

    Don't let Nebraska legislators make it a crime to expose the horrors of factory farming! Please sign the letter below asking NE state legislators to oppose LB 204.

    Ag gag bill sponsor Sen. Larson also promotes killing horses for meat and has made it his mission to fight and attempt to discredit groups like the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) that are exposing, and creating sustainable alternatives to the horrors of factory farming. Instead of supporting the Farm to Fitness program, a collaborative effort of the HSUS and the Nebraska Farmers Union, Sen. Larson attacked the Nebraska Farmers Union saying, “Any Nebraska agricultural group working with anti-animal agricultural groups, such as HSUS, is not an agricultural group that has the best interests of Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers at heart and will struggle to be taken seriously as a viable group within the Nebraska Legislature.”

    You can help prevent this law from passing!

    Last year, lawmakers in 10 states proposed ag-gag laws. Only three of the laws passed. Consumers and animal welfare activists prevented ag-gag laws from passing in the seven other states by creating a public outcry that force legislators to vote against the bills.

    Nationally, 71% of voters oppose ag-gag laws, according to a poll by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

    Ag-gag laws are not only threaten the welfare of farm animals, but they also prevent the exposure of environmental violations, workers' rights violations and food safety issues. Please sign the letter below today, and forward it to as many people as possible

    Why ag-gag laws are dangerous to animals, humans and the environment

    • Animal Welfare. Ag-gag laws are a direct threat to animal welfare. We know that animals are often cruelly treated in factory farms and slaughterhouses. Documentation of this treatment not only helps educate the public about farm animal abuse, but also influences industry and government entities to make real changes for farm animals.
    • Food Safety. Ag-gag laws threaten our food supply: Various exposés of factory farms and slaughterhouses have revealed the extent to which our meat, eggs and milk are mishandled. Mishandling animal products, including mishandling farm animals while they are alive, invites health risks including salmonella, mad cow disease and other potentially fatal illnesses that may be transmitted to consumers.
    • Control over Food Choices. Ag-gag laws are a direct threat to marketplace transparency. At a time when Americans are increasingly invested in knowing more about where their food comes from and how it is made, these laws threaten our ability to control what we bring into our homes and the food we put in our bodies. All Americans should have the right to know the basic conditions under which their food is produced.
    • Workers' Rights. This legislation often seeks to criminalize the recording of sounds or images in animal facilities, no matter the content. Factory farms, slaughterhouses and meatpacking facilities are physically and emotionally difficult places to work. Farm investigations have the potential to expose serious worker abuse and other illegal or unethical conduct on the part of employees or supervisors.
    • Free Speech. Some ag-gag bills seek not just to criminalize recording, but even the possession and distribution of images recorded on animal facilities—and some seek to criminalize misrepresenting oneself on job applications (which, while possibly an act warranting termination of employment, should generally not be a crime). These provisions pose serious First Amendment threats.
    • Environmental Damage. In the United States, 99 percent of food animals are raised in factory farms, where large numbers of animals are housed together, generally in close confinement. Huge amounts of waste are generated, the improper storage and disposal of which threatens our soil and water. While state and federal laws require large farms to minimize their environmental damage, farms have been found flagrantly violating these requirements. Undercover investigations offer an effective way to expose such violations.

    Source: American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

    Please sign the letter below to your state legislators urging them to oppose LB 204. Thank you!

  • Protect Your Right to Know About Factory Farm Abuses in Wyoming!

    Please scroll down to send your WY state legislators a letter asking them to oppose the new ag gag bill.

    On Jan 9, 2013, two Wyoming ranchers and state legislators, Senator Ogden Driskill (R-Crook, Campbell and Weston Counties) and Representative Sue Wallis (R-Campbell County), introduced House Bill 0126, an ag-gag bill aimed at preventing journalists, activists and employees from conducting investigations into animal cruelty, worker abuses, environmental protection violations and food safety problems at factory farms. The bill's sole purpose is to prevent the public from learning what goes on at factory farms.

    If HB 0126 had been law in 2012, we'd never have known about the abuses exposed in this video from an undercover investigation by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) which led to criminal charges against nine employees, including two managers, at Wheatland-based Wyoming Premium Farms, a Tyson Foods supplier.

    Don't let Wyoming legislators make it a crime to expose the horrors of factory farming! Please sign the letter below asking WY state legislators to oppose HB 0126.

    Ag-gag bill sponsor Rep. Wallis's efforts on behalf of the factory farming industry have earned her the nickname Sue "Slaughterhouse" Wallis. Wallis claimed to be forming a business to slaughter horses and sell the meat within Wyoming. At the same time, in her capacity as a legislator, she promoted legislation that would deregulate, promote and favor horse slaughter operations.

    According to the Animal Law Coalition: "Wyoming state Rep. Sue Wallis, is the self-styled leader of an effort to legalize commercial horse slaughter for human consumption. It's not often that you see someone making animal cruelty their life's work, their raison d'etre . . . . But if anyone personifies the grizzly and sleazy practice of horse slaughter, surely it's Rep. Wallis."

    Rep. Wallis and Sen. Driskill are not typical ranchers in their support for horse slaughter, the unlimited hunting of wild animals or ag-gag legislation. In a poll at BeefMagazine.com, when asked “Are ‘ag gag’ laws a good idea for the livestock industry to pursue?” 62 percent answered, "No. Livestock ag has nothing to hide and such laws give the impression that we do." A  2011 survey conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc. showed that 65 percent of Iowa voters opposed a bill passed by the Iowa Legislature prohibiting whistleblowers from taking photographs or video footage at animal facilities.

    You can help prevent this law from passing!

    Nationally, 71% of voters oppose ag-gag laws, according to a poll by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. 

    Last year, lawmakers in 10 states proposed ag-gag laws. Only three of the laws passed. Consumers and animal welfare activists prevented ag-gag laws from passing in the seven other states by creating a public outcry that forced legislators to vote against the bills.

    Ag-gag bills threaten the welfare of animals, and prevent the public from learning about environmental and food safety violations on factory farms. Please sign the letter below to your state legislators urging them to oppose HB 0126, and forward it to as many people as possible! 

    Why ag-gag laws are dangerous to animals, humans and the environment

    • Animal Welfare. Ag-gag laws are a direct threat to animal welfare. We know that animals are often cruelly treated in factory farms and slaughterhouses. Documentation of this treatment not only helps educate the public about farm animal abuse, but also influences industry and government entities to make real changes for farm animals.
    • Food Safety. Ag-gag laws threaten our food supply: Various exposés of factory farms and slaughterhouses have revealed the extent to which our meat, eggs and milk are mishandled. Mishandling animal products, including mishandling farm animals while they are alive, invites health risks including salmonella, mad cow disease and other potentially fatal illnesses that may be transmitted to consumers.
    • Control over Food Choices. Ag-gag laws are a direct threat to marketplace transparency. At a time when Americans are increasingly invested in knowing more about where their food comes from and how it is made, these laws threaten our ability to control what we bring into our homes and the food we put in our bodies. All Americans should have the right to know the basic conditions under which their food is produced.
    • Workers' Rights. This legislation often seeks to criminalize the recording of sounds or images in animal facilities, no matter the content. Factory farms, slaughterhouses and meatpacking facilities are physically and emotionally difficult places to work. Farm investigations have the potential to expose serious worker abuse and other illegal or unethical conduct on the part of employees or supervisors.
    • Free Speech. Some ag-gag bills seek not just to criminalize recording, but even the possession and distribution of images recorded on animal facilities—and some seek to criminalize misrepresenting oneself on job applications (which, while possibly an act warranting termination of employment, should generally not be a crime). These provisions pose serious First Amendment threats.
    • Environmental Damage. In the United States, 99 percent of food animals are raised in factory farms, where large numbers of animals are housed together, generally in close confinement. Huge amounts of waste are generated, the improper storage and disposal of which threatens our soil and water. While state and federal laws require large farms to minimize their environmental damage, farms have been found flagrantly violating these requirements. Undercover investigations offer an effective way to expose such violations.

    Source: American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

    Please sign the letter below to your state legislators urging them to oppose HB 0126. Thank you!

  • Tell the FDA: Don't Irradiate My Veggies!

    Radura crossed out
    The FDA has proposed a
    new rule under the 2010 Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), one aimed at preventing foodborne illnesses. One of the ways for producers of fruits and vegetables to avoid having to comply with the new rule would be to irradiate their products.

    Sign the letter below to tell the FDA: Don’t irradiate my veggies!

    In the new rule
    , one of two proposed under the misguided FSMA, the FDA says it wants to require makers of food to be sold in the U.S. to develop a “formal plan” for preventing their products from causing foodborne illness. Producers of processed foods and raw meat are exempted from the rule, but purveyors of raw fruits and vegetables will be required to comply – unless they irradiate their products.

    Given the choice between irradiation and dealing with burdensome FDA paperwork, it’s safe to assume that many food producers will choose the easier route: irradiation.

    Irradiation: What is it, and what does it do to food?

    Food irradiation uses high-energy Gamma rays, electron beams, or X-rays - all of which are millions of times more powerful than standard medical X-rays - to break apart the bacteria and insects that can hide in meat, grains, and other foods. Radiation can do strange things to food, by creating substances called “unique radiolytic products.” These irradiation by-products include a variety of mutagens, which are substances that can cause gene mutations; polyploidy, an abnormal condition in which cells contain more than two sets of chromosomes; chromosome aberrations, often associated with cancerous cells; and dominant lethal mutations, a change in a cell that prevents it from reproducing. To make matters worse, many mutagens are also carcinogens.
    http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/pubs/Irradiation%20fact%20sheet.pdf

    According to the US Government Accounting Office’s Department of the Army’s Food Irradiation Program, irradiation damages food by breaking up molecules and creating free radicals. The free radicals kill some bacteria, but they also bounce around in the food, damage vitamins and enzymes, and combine with chemicals already in the food, such as pesticides, to form new chemicals, called unique radiolytic products (URPs).

    Some of these URPs, including benzene, formaldehyde and lipid peroxides, are unique to irradiated foods. Scientists haven’t studied the long-term effect of these new chemicals in our diet, so how can we – or the FDA – assume they are safe?


    The FDA would have us believe that irradiation is perfectly safe. Yet research has revealed a
    wide range of problems
    in animals that ate irradiated food, including premature death, a rare form of cancer, reproductive dysfunction, chromosomal abnormalities, liver damage, low weight gain and vitamin deficiencies.

    Take action today! Please sign the letter below to tell the FDA: Don’t irradiate my veggies!


    Sources:
    What’s Wrong with Food Irradiation, Organic Consumers Association:
    http://www.organicconsumers.org/Irrad/irradfact.cfm
     
    Top 10 Reasons for Opposing Food Radiation, Mercola.com:
    http://www.mercola.com/article/irradiated/irradiation_dangers.htm
     
    Food Safety Fact Sheet, Center for Food Safety:
    http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/pubs/Irradiation%20fact%20sheet.pdf
     
    FDA press release on new rules
    http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm334156.htm


  • Social Test!

    Never let anyone not know what you know!

  • Tell the FDA: NO Frankenfish!


    The first genetically engineered salmon - dubbed "frankenfish" - could be in grocery stores and restaurants as early as 2014. The FDA is expected to approve AquaBounty Technologies' GE salmon after a 60-day public comment period. If approved, it will be the first approved food from a transgenic animal application to enter the U.S. food supply.

    Consumer and environmental activists oppose genetically engineered "frankenfish" for many reasons, including the potential danger it poses to human health, to the environment and to the U.S. fishing economy. Michael Hansen, PhD, senior scientist with the Consumers Union, the advocacy and policy arm of Consumer Reports, called the FDA's Environmental Assessment (EA) of GE salmon "flawed and inadequate."

    Please sign the petition below if you agree that the FDA should reject AquaBounty's genetically engineered salmon, at least until it completes further, more reliable safety testing.

    What is frankenfish?

    AquaBounty Technologies, a Massachusetts-based biotech company, created the "AquAdvantage" salmon by injecting a fragment of DNA from an ocean pout fish, which is a type of eel, along with a growth hormone gene from the Chinook Pacific salmon, into a fertilised Atlantic salmon egg. The result? A salmon that produces growth hormone year round, instead of only during warm weather. This allows the fish to reach market weight in just 18 months, instead of the usual three years.

    What are the risks?

    1. Potential harm to human health. The FDA has allowed this fish to move forward based on tests of allergenicity of only six GE fish. Even with such limited testing, the results showed an increase in allergy-causing potential, according to Hansen. AquAdvantage also contains elevated levels of the growth hormone, IGF-1, which is linked to prostate, breast and colon cancers.
    2. Potential harm to wild salmon population. Only 95% of the AquAdvantage salmon may be sterile, the rest fertile. Plus, the fish at the egg production facility in Prince Edward Island, Canada, will not be sterile. The FDA says the likelihood of the GE salmon escaping into the wild is "extremely remote" but gave little reassuring evidence to support that assumption. According to studies, the frankenfish eat five times more food than wild salmon, and have less fear of predators. All it would take is for some of these frankenfish to escape, and the world's wild salmon population would be at risk.
    3. Unlabeled. Without GMO labeling, consumers will not be able to avoid frankenfish when it arrives in grocery stores and fish markets.
    4. Less nutritious. GE salmon contains less Omega-3 fatty acids than non-GE salmon. Omega-3 fatty acids are the "good" fat which has important health benefits.

     Additional Background

    The FDA's 158-page Environmental Assessment was completed May 14, but was blocked from release by the White House, which waited until December 21 - well after the election.

    The Environmental Assessment states that genetically engineered salmon will be adapted "to feeding on synthetic aquaculture diets." The FDA didn't explain what it meant by "synthetic aquaculture" or make any investigation into what the genetically engineered salmon would eat. Conventional farmed salmon can be fed byproducts from poultry processing, such as feathers, necks and intestines, and genetically modified soy and canola.

    The FDA said that AquAdvantage does not pose a threat to the environment and is "as safe as food from conventional Atlantic salmon." But in its 5-page summary, the agency admits that it intentionally narrowed the scope of its analysis.

    Since September 2010 there has been unprecedented pushback on plans to grow an engineered variant of farmed Atlantic salmon. Over 400,000 public comments in opposition have been sent to the FDA. Forty members of Congress called for a full Environmental Impact Statement before approval was granted.

    Opponents argue that approval of frankenfish will pave the way for other genetically engineered animals for human consumption, which could raise serious questions about animal welfare.

    The Ocean Conservancy opposes AquAdvantage salmon.

    Intrexon Corporation owns a 48-percent stake in AquaBounty, the inventor of frankenfish. Intrexon is a biotechnology company focused on the industrial engineering of synthetic biology. Intrexon designs and produces novel and enhanced biological products and processes for protein production, agricultural biotechnology and animal science. The company boasts "unprecedented control over the function and output of living cells."

    Sources

    FDA Misses the Boat in Signaling Approval of Genetically-Engineered Salmon by George Leonard, December 22, 2012

    Ready to Eat: The First GM Fish for the Dinner Table, by Steve Connor

    FDA Quietly Pushes Through Genetically Modified Salmon over Christmas Break by Anthony Gucciardi

    The Apocalypse is Here: FDA Clears Way for Fast-Growing GE Monster Salmon, by Susie Cagle

    CU Says FDA Assessment of GE Salmon Is Flawed and Inadequate, by Michael McCauley

    Intrexon to acquire 48% stake in AquaBounty

    We need to keep fighting the pro-biotech, pro-Monsanto politics of the Obama Administration. Help us send as many public comments to the FDA as possible to try to stop genetically engineered salmon. Direct action is going to be necessary, too. If the Obama Administration stubbornly continues to hide behind the scientifically discredited Bush-Quayle doctrine of "substantial equivalence" claiming there isn't a "material" difference between genetically engineered and normal salmon, then we'll have no choice but to use every tactic we can muster to throw a wrench into the gears of the Frankenfoods Express.

    Please sign the petition below today.  And, please forward this action alert to everyone you know. Thank you!

  • Boycott Honest Tea!

    Please send the letter below to Seth Goldman, co-founder and president of Honest Tea. Tell him you're boycotting Honest Tea, and all Coca-Cola products, because Honest Tea's parent company, Coca-Cola, spent $3.2 million to defeat GMO labeling initiatives in California and Washington State.

    Tell Goldman here's what he and Honest Tea can do if they want to win back your business:

     1. Support voter-initiated campaigns for GMO labels. Once voters start passing GMO labeling laws at the state level, then Congress and the President will take notice. When that happens, a push for change at the FDA will have a real chance.

    2. Tell Coca-Cola to keep its money out of all future GMO labeling campaigns.

    Background

    Seth Goldman is President of Honest Tea, the company he co-founded in 1998 with Barry Nalebuff. In 2008, Goldman and Halebuff sold 40 percent of the company to Coca-Cola for $43 million. In 2011, they sold the remainder of the company to Coca-Cola for an undisclosed amount.

    Coca-Cola bought Honest Tea for one reason: to profit from the growing demand for organic beverages. The Honest Tea brand brought in $72 million in sales for Coke in 2011. Goldman himself is probably worth millions, between his sale of Honest Tea to Coca-Cola and his ongoing role as president.

    Coca-Cola has donated millinos to defeat labeling laws. Why? Profits. The huge conglomerate doesn't want to have tell consumers that the high fructose corn syrup in Coke is made from cheap, genetically modified corn, and it surely doesn't want to have to modify its formula to exclude gentically modified ingredients. Even though it could. After all, in countries like the UK that require labels on products that contain GMOs, Coca-Cola products are GMO-free.

    At least 90 percent of consumers support GMO labeling. When consumers asked Goldman why Coca-Cola and Honest Tea won't support the consumer's right to know, Goldman said:

    "Honest Tea, an operating unit of The Coca-Cola Company, believes all food labeling requirements should be established by the federal government. We do not support state by state regulation of food labels, which places an unrealistic burden on the food and beverage industry."

    Baloney. Everyone knows that forcing the FDA to support GMO labeling is a lost cause as long as ex-Monsanto lawyer, Michael Taylor, is installed there as the FDA's Deputy Commissioner for Foods. Would Coca-Cola and Honest Tea pour money into a campaign to require GMO labeling at the federal level? Doubtful. If the company supported a national GMO label, with the tens of millions of dollars they spend on lobbying and campaign contributions, GMOs would have been labeled a long time ago.

    As a certified organic product, Honest Tea is GMO-free. As president of the Honest Tea operating unit, Goldman has a lot of clout - and a lot of money at his fingertips. As consumers, we have the power to boycott brands owned by companies that are spending big money to fight honest labeling laws. 

  • Social Test
  • Boycott Pepsi's Organic and Natural Brands!

    PepsiCo contributed $4.8 million to defeat GMO labeling laws in California and Washington State. Now the junk food giant has dumped (so far) more than $2 million into campaigns in Oregon and Colorado, to defeat citizen-led GMO labeling initiatives on the November ballot.

    So far the Soda Giant has pumped $900,000 into Oregon’s NO on 92 Campaign. And a whopping $1.2 million into the NO on Prop 105 Coalition in Colorado.

    Pepsi also belongs to the Grocery Manufacturers Association which not only has contributed millions to defeat GMO labeling laws in California, Washington State, Oregon and Colorado, but which is behind a bill in Congress to preempt state GMO labeling laws, and has sued the state of Vermont to overturn a GMO labeling law passed there earlier this year.

    Now would be a good time to tell the folks at Pepsi and Naked Juice that you're boycotting the Naked Juice brand, and all of Pepsi's other so-called "natural" and organic brands.

    Meanwhile, Pepsi is looking for more ways to sell its junk-drink products, by recently introducing a low-calorie drink, called Pepsi True.

    Here’s what we know is true. Pepsi is willing to spend millions of dollars to defeat GMO labeling laws. How does the company fill up its anti-labeling war chest? With the profits it makes by selling allegedly consumer-friendly products like its new low-calorie Pepsi True, and its line of organic and natural brands, like Naked Juice, Tostitos, Tropicana, Tazo, Loóza, Izze, Sabra, Smartfood, Stacy's, Mother's and Near East.

    Naked Juice, the Naked Truth

    In 2013, Pepsi was forced to settle a class-action lawsuit for $9 million, for inaccurately labeling its Naked Juice line of products as "natural" and "non-GMO." According to plaintiffs, Naked Juice used soy ingredients that are genetically engineered "by design or by contamination." (Naked Juice doesn't use certified organic or verified non-GMO soy.) Naked Juice intentionally used misleading language to give consumers "the false impression that the beverage's vitamin content is due to the nutritious fruits and juices, rather than added synthetic compounds." And the PepsiCo subsidiary contained a laundry list of synthetic chemicals, including calcium pantothenate (synthetically produced from formaldehyde).

    In addition to the $9 million settlement, PepsiCo also agreed to remove the label “All Natural” from its juices. While this does represent a landmark victory for consumers, this is no time to rest on our laurels. We clearly can't trust "non-GMO" labels voluntarily supplied by the junk food industry. We also know that the routine mislabeling and marketing of "natural products" has enabled this shadow sector to grow into a $60-billion dollar a year powerhouse by "duping" unsuspecting organic customers.

    PepsiCo has other claimed organic and "natural" brands, including Tostitos, Tropicana, Tazo, Loóza, Izze, Sabra, Smartfood, Stacy's, Mother's and Near East. How can we trust what the labels on these products say?

    We can't. It's time for consumers to boycott all of Pepsi's products, not matter what fancy wording the Junk Food Giant slaps on the products' labels. Besides, the money you spend on Pepsi products is being used by the company to keep you in the dark about what's in your food.

  • Request Your Wallet Sized Boycott Guide!

    Fill out this form to receive 5 boycott guides in the mail. That's 1 guide for you, and 4 to share with your friends and family!

    Help us continue to distribute these guides, please make your tax-deductible contribution here.

    For 8.5 x 11 boycott posters or if you'd like more than 5 boycott guides, please send an email to campaigns@organicconsumers.org


    The OCA is calling on all consumers to boycott these 5 organic and natural traitor brands:

    • PepsiCo (Donated $2.5M): Naked Juice, Tostito's Organic, Tropicana Organic
    • Kraft (Donated $2M): Boca Burgers and Back to Nature
    • Safeway (Member of Grocery Manufacturers Association, which donated $2M):"O" Organics
    • Coca-Cola (Donated $1.7M): Honest Tea, Odwalla
    • General Mills (Donated $1.2M): Muir Glen, Cascadian Farm, Larabar
    • Con-Agra (Donated $1.2M): Orville Redenbacher's Organic, Hunt's Organic, Lightlife, Alexia
    • Kellogg's (Donated $791k): Kashi, Bear Naked, Morningstar Farms, Gardenburger 
    • Smuckers (Donated $555k): R.W. Knudsen, Santa Cruz Organic
    • Unilever (Donated $467k): Ben & Jerry's
    • Dean Foods (Donated $254k): Horizon, Silk, White Wave Tell these companies that if they want your loyalty - and your grocery dollars -  they must do two things:

    1.  Speak out publicly in favor of the pending GMO Labeling Ballot Initiative (I-522) in Washington State in 2013, as well as the pending GMO labeling bills coming up in Vermont and other states.

    2. Contribute as much or more money to the Yes on I-522 Campaign in Washington than their parent corporations spent to defeat Prop 37.

  • Get GMOs Out of Organic Baby Food!

    Tell the National Organic Standards Board to Reject Martek's Petition for Life'sDHA and Life'sARA!

    In 2009, a front page Washington Post article, "Integrity of Federal 'Organic' Label Questioned." explained how Martek Biosciences' synthetic DHA and ARA ended up in organic infant formula. In 2006, National Organic Program staff told Martek that its synthetic DHA and ARA couldn't be used in organic because they were synthetic and not on the National List. But, Martek's lawyer, J. Friedman, was able to get their decision reversed by NOP director Barbara Robinson, with just a call and an email. He told the Washington Post, "I called Robinson up, I wrote an e-mail. It was a simple matter."

    The NOP and NOSB ignored evidence that Martek's products should never have even been considered for use in organic in the first place. According to patents uncovered by the Cornucopia Institute, all of Martek's DHA and ARA products are produced through genetic engineering, processed with volatile synthetic solvents and microencapsulated, three things that are expressly banned from USDA Organic.
     
    Tragically, Martek's Life'sDHA and Life'sARA, remain in hundreds of products, many of them certified USDA Organic.
     
    Please ask the National Organic Standards Board to reverse its decision to approve Martek's petition and urge the USDA National Organic Program to rescind the illegal 2006 approval and remove genetically engineered, volatile-synthetic-solvent-processed and microencapsulated Life'sDHA and Life'sARA from organic products.

  • Take Action! Become One of the Millions Against Monsanto!

    Sign Organic Consumers Association's Truth-in-Labeling Petition:

    As a citizen concerned about the health, environmental, ethical, and socio-economic hazards of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and industrial-scale factory farms or CAFOs (Confined Animal Feeding Operations), I feel strongly that consumers have an inalienable right to know whether the food we are purchasing likely contains GM ingredients or comes from animals confined in CAFOs.

    Up to 90% of U.S. soybeans, corn, cotton, canola, and sugar beets are now genetically engineered and routinely inserted into human and animal foods with no labels or safety testing.

    Approximately 80% of current grocery food items contain GMOs; while according to U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics, the majority of beef, pork, poultry, dairy, and eggs come from CAFOs.

    Considering the growing concern over GMOs and CAFOs, all food packaging should clearly identify all non-organic ingredients containing soy, corn, cottonseed oil, canola, sugar beets, alfalfa or GM growth hormones with a label or shelf sign that says "May Contain GMOs" and identify all meat, dairy, and eggs that come from CAFOs with a label or shelf sign that says "CAFO."

  • Yes! I want to Volunteer for the Yes on 522 Campaign to Label GMOs in Washington State

  • Boycott the GMA and Traitor Brands!

    The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA)—Monsanto’s Evil Twin—is pulling out all the stops to keep you in the dark about what’s in your food.

    The GMA plans to sue in federal court to overturn Vermont’s new GMO labeling law, H.112. And it’s pushing a bill in Congress that would not only overturn every state’s right to enact a GMO labeling law, but also legalize the practice of labeling GMO foods “natural.”

    Take the pledge today to boycott the 300-plus members of the GMA, including the Traitor Brands! Your message will be sent to the 12 Traitor Brand companies listed

    Monsanto, Dow, Dupont, Kellogg’s, General Mills, Coca-Cola. These are just a few of the 300-plus members of the GMA. Combined, they own more than 6,000 brand name products, including foods, beverages, seeds, home and garden supplies, pet food, herbicides and pesticides.

    You probably don’t buy most of those products. But you may not be aware that many of your favorite organic and natural brands, like Annie's, Honest Tea, Muir Glen, Odwalla, Kashi, Earthgrains, Santa Cruz and others, are owned by corporations that do belong to the GMA. Those corporations spent about $68 million just to defeat GMO ballot initiatives in California (Prop 37) and Washington State (I-522). And they continue to fight against your right to know by supporting the GMA’s latest efforts to overturn states’ rights to pass GMO labeling laws.

    Who are the Traitor Brands? Here are the worst culprits, their parent companies, and the amount they spent just to defeat Prop 37 and I-522:

    PepsiCo ($4.8M) - IZZE, Naked Juice, Simply Frito-Lay, Starbucks Frappucino
    Coca-Cola ($3.2M) - Honest Tea, Odwalla, Keurig/Green Mountain Coffee (10%)
    Nestle ($3M) - Gerber Organic, Sweet Leaf tea
    Kraft/Mondelez ($2.4M) - Boca Burgers, Green and Black's
    General Mills ($2.1M) - Annie's, Cascadian Farm, Larabar, Muir Glen
    ConAgra Foods ($2M) - Alexia, Pam organic cooking sprays
    Kelloggs ($1.1M) - Bear Naked, Gardenburger, Kashi, Morningstar Farms
    Campbells ($980k) - Plum Organics, Wolfgang Puck organic soups
    Smuckers ($900k) - R.W. Knudsen, Santa Cruz organic, Smuckers Organic
    Hershey's ($880k) - Dagoba
    Bimbo Bakeries ($560k) - Earthgrains bread
    McCormick ($400k) - Simply Asia, Thai Kitchen

    These companies are gobbling up organic and “natural” brands because they recognize the huge profit potential in the fast-growing organic and natural markets. They want our business. If we stop buying their brands, they know there’s a good chance we’ll find alternative brands. And we might never look back.

    Our motto for Monsanto and GMA products must become: Don’t buy them. Don’t sell them. Don’t grow them. And don’t let your financial institution, university, church, labor union or pension fund invest in them.

    It’s time for consumers in every state to band together to defeat the GMA’s full-on assault, not only on Vermont, not only on consumers’ right to know what’s in our food, but on states’ rights and on our basic freedoms to protect our health and our communities. Take the pledge today!

    Additional Information
    More about the boycott

    GMA members

    Download your wallet-sized boycott guide

    Download the boycott poster

    GMA boycott website

    More on the GMA’s bill to kill states’ rights to label GMOs

    More on the GMA’s plans to sue Vermont

    Download the Buycott App!
    First, download the Buycott app for your smartphone, then join OCA's new campaign, "Buy Organic Brands that Support Your Right to Know" so you can scan products and find out if they are owned by a "Traitor Brand" or member company of the GMA.

    Updated: October 1, 2014

  • Whole Foods: Respect Our Right to Know About GMOs!

    Label the GMOs in Whole Foods or Get Monsanto Out of Your Stores!

    Whole Foods Market supported Proposition 37, the California Right to Know ballot initiative to label genetically modified organisms (GMOs), but it still profits from unlabeled foods that contain Monsanto's GMOs. Many of these foods are fraudulently marketed as "natural".

    Whole Foods also sells brands that the Organic Consumers Association is boycotting made by the companies that spent $46 million on lies and dirty tricks to defeat Prop 37, including:

        PepsiCo
        Kraft
        General Mills
        Heinz
        Smucker
        Dean Foods
        Coca-Cola
        ConAgra
        Kellogg
        Unilever
        Abbott Nutrition
        Rich Products

    Additionally, we continue to be concerned that Whole Foods Market is misleading customers and allowing its employees to falsely state that they are a GMO-free store. That's what Organic Spies found when they went undercover at Whole Foods.

    Organic Spies' Whole Foods video had been viewed by more than 110,000 people when YouTube pulled it, claiming someone had flagged it as "inappropriate". It's now available on NaturalNews.com. Before you leave this page, please use the form below to let Whole Foods know what you think.


  • Tell the NPA to Stop Labeling GMOs "Natural"
  • Ready to Take On Monsanto? Watch Genetic Roulette and You Will Be!

    We need volunteers all over the country to help us win our right to know about GMOs (and, DONATE here.)

    Not ready to take on Monsanto? You will be after you watch this new documentary on the dangers of genetically modified organisms. Download Genetic Roulette for only $2.99.

  • Tell the rBGH Profiteers Why You Buy Organic to Avoid Genetically Modified Bovine Growth Hormone

    Following up on our successful campaign against Yoplait and Dannon, the Organic Consumers Association is now asking our members to write to ice cream companies that still allow the use of genetically modified bovine growth hormone (Dreyer's, Edy's, Nestle, Haagen-Dazs, Klondike, Good Humor, Breyer's). Your letter will also go to the manufacturer and distributor of rBGH, Elanco and Eli Lilly, which recently purchased the product from Monsanto, and the National Federation of Milk Producers which allows rBGH in its new Dairy FARM (Farmers Assuring Responsible Management) program.
     

    Milking Cancer from Breast Cancer Action on Vimeo.

  • Stop Mutant Mosquitoes!

    Tell the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District Not to Release GMO Mosquitoes! 
     
    Take Action Now!
     
     
     
     
    Since 2009, Florida's Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties have reported several cases of Dengue fever - a virus that has not been seen in the United States since 1945.  Although the re-emergence of Dengue is worrisome, what is even more alarming is how Florida is considering combating the problem.
     
    UK-based Oxitec Insect Technologies wants to sell the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District mosquitoes that are genetically engineered to pass a lethal gene to their offspring, killing them before they reach adulthood.
     
    Todd Shelly, an entomologist with the USDA in Hawaii, one of the scientist tasked with the review of an  Oxitec report on the mosquitoes before it was published last month in Nature Biotechnology, says he supports moving forward with research but called the current approach a "black box" of uncertainties. The primary concern, as with GE food, is the possibility that engineered genes could transfer to or harm other organisms.
     
    "If anyone tells you they know what is going to happen, they're wrong," he said.  And, of course, once these Frankenbugs are released into the wild, they're impossible to recall.

    Can a municipality unilaterally decide to start experimenting with genetically engineered insects? Who regulates mutant mosquitoes? The United States Department of Agriculture, which oversees most bio-control releases, says that GMO mosquitos are outside of its jurisdiction because they pose no direct threat to animal health.
     
    Only female mosquitoes bite, so Oxitec's plan is to prevent the mosquitoes from transferring their altered genes to other species by releasing only males. 

    Shelly questioned the practicality of sorting males for release, a laborious process done by hand and involves screening pupae for size but has a margin of error that results in 0.5 percent of the released insects being female. If millions of mosquitoes were released, even that small percentage of females could lead to a temporary increase in the spread of the disease.

    In a follow-up paper, Shelly and a co-author also noted that a “disturbingly high" 3.5 percent of the offspring of wild and transgenic mosquitoes survived in lab tests, raising fears that the mutant mosquitoes release plan would not actually reduce mosquito populations.

    Furthermore, the Oxitec mosquito control plan only addresses one mosquito species that spreads Dengue fever.  Even if Oxitec could completely eliminate Aedes aegypti mosquitoes (which is likely given that the research shows the genetically engineered males were only abut half as successful in mating as wild ones ), the aggressive Asian tiger mosquito would only become more prevelant. The only defense against these Asian tiger mosquitoes is spraying large amounts of insecticide!
     
    Stop these mutant mosquitos before they get to your neighborhood! Send a message to the chairman of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District today!

  • Tell Organic Baby Food Brands to Stop Using GMOs!

    GMO-Fed Mutant Microorganisms Aren't Allowed in Organic! 

    Please use the form below to write a letter to DSM Nutritional Products, makers of DHA and ARA produced from mutant microorganisms that are raised on GMO corn, and three of the baby food brands who use this GMO DHA and ARA: Earth's Best, Happy Bellies and Bright Beginnings.
     
    These companies have each received more than 10,000 letters so far. Happy Bellies has been writing back, denying our allegations. Please read their letter and our reply.
     
    The following companies also need to be contacted and are NOT included in the alert below (because we do not have email addresses for them). Please use these links to the contact forms on their websites: Parent’s Choice Organic, Similac Organic, and Vermont Organics
     

  • Get Genetically Engineered Vaccines Out of Organic!


     

     
    Genetic engineering is excluded from organic. There is one exception: genetically modified vaccines. Under current law, genetically modified vaccines must be petitioned for use and reviewed by the National Organic Standards Board to be included on the National List of allowed substances. The problem is, the USDA National Organic Program hasn't been enforcing the law.

    The Organic Consumers Association is calling on the USDA to enforce current law. The USDA should train certifiers to identify genetically modified vaccines and block their use.

    Scientists are warning, "Genetically engineered vaccines possess
    significant unpredictability and a number of inherent harmful potential hazards."
     
    Veterinarians are warning, "The widespread dissemination of live GE viruses is a very costly, high-risk, low health priority that if not prohibited or controlled internationally could amount to a biomeolecular assault on the life community of planet Earth. It could, through viral mutations and non-target host transformations, lead to the devastation of human civilization, and to animal populations wild and domestic"
     
    There are also environmental risks. The production of genetically engineered animal vaccines has already resulted in the contamination of food crops. Biotech firm ProdiGene tainted half a million bushels of soybeans with a trial vaccine for a pig disease, transmissible gastroenteritis. The incident is believed to have occurred because the soybeans were planted on the same site used to grow genetically modified pharmaceutical corn the previous year. Secretary Vilsack, then Iowa governor, defended the company, cautioning,"we should not overreact and hamstring this industry or limit Iowa's ability to participate in this emerging industry."
     
    Tell the USDA that GMO vaccines have no place in organics.

  • Label Monsanto's Frankenfoods!

    Please send this letter to the top 6 US food retailers.

  • Save the Bees!


     

    Take Action to Block a Proposal to Spread More Than 1 Million Gallons of Imidacloprid on 15 Square Miles of Soil in Central Massachusetts 
     
     
     
     
    A new documentary (trailer below) seeks to unravel the mystery of why billions of honey bees have been disappearing from hives across the United States.

    "Vanishing of the Bees" follows a group of U.S. beekeepers hit by Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), which first struck in 2004 and made U.S. headlines three years later.

    Countless bees would suddenly vanish, leaving an empty hive but few bodies. While all of the causes of this disaster are yet to be established, strong evidence suggests a link to Bayer's insecticide imidacloprid.
      
     

  • 4 Months In Feedlots to "Finish" Organic Beef?


    Tell the USDA to Ban Factory Farming from Organic 

     
     
    Should organic ruminants such as a dairy cows and beef cattle—which have evolved to eat grass—be permitted to be kept in feedlots or should they be required by USDA organic regulations to obtain at least a portion of their feed directly from pasture?
     
    According to the USDA’s new organic pasture rule, released in February 2010, pasture grazing is required in organic dairy production, but organic beef cattle may be exempt from obtaining any of their feed from pasture during the last four months of their lives.
     
    The New Pasture Rule’s Exemption for Beef Cattle
     
    The rule states that organic producers must “maintain all ruminant animals on pasture,” but, in an apparent contradiction, may simultaneously also utilize “dry lots, yards or feedlots” for grain finishing of slaughter stock, such as beef cattle, during the last 120 days or one-fifth of the animal’s life, whichever is shorter.  During these 120 days, these organic animals are exempt from the requirement to obtain at least 30% dry matter intake (DMI) from pasture.
     
    The USDA is seeking comments as to whether or not the current language should be strengthened or weakened.  The final determination on this language will more clearly define how organic beef is produced.   
     
    Current Practices in the Organic Beef Industry
     
    To gain a deeper understanding of current practices in the organic beef industry, the Cornucopia Institute surveyed organic beef producers from across the nation.  Results of the survey revealed that 80% of organic beef producers graze their beef cattle on pasture until slaughter, never confining them to a feedlot.  In fact, 60% of organic beef producers never feed any grain to their cattle (100% grass-fed), while 20% maintain their cattle on pasture but provide small amounts of grain.  The new rule’s exemption for ruminant slaughter stock from obtaining feed from pasture is therefore not needed by the vast majority of organic beef producers.

     
    Studies show that cattle confined and fed grain in feedlots are prone to E. coli 0157 contamination, whereas healthy organic cattle grazing on grass are typically free of this dangerous pathogen. The meat from grass-fed beef is also healthier and more nutritious than beef that's been "marbleized" in the feedlot.
    Take Action: Tell President Obama and the USDA National Organic Program that you don't want organic beef cattle to be kept in factory-farm-style feedlots for the last four months of their lives.

    Deadline: April 19, 2010

  • No Free Pass for New Genetically Engineered Crops!

    Stop USDA's Plans to Let Biotech Companies Like Monsanto Police Themselves!

    The President, the USDA, and Congress to need to hear our anger loud and clear.  Please urge our representatives in government to rethink the dangerous deregulation of GE crops.  We must fight back against this latest attack on sensible regulation and consumers' right to know.

  • Justice for the Victims of Agent Orange

     
     

    In 2009 the US Supreme Court killed a petition brought by the American and Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange seeking justice against its manufacturers, primarily Monsanto and Dow Chemicals.

    We urge the President and Members of Congress to reconsider this decision and bring justice to the victims of biological warfare, some of whom are still being born today - nearly 40 years after the end of the war in Vietnam.

  • Wheat Industry Ready to Go with Monsanto's GMOs

    Consumers Say No!

    Campaign to Stop GM Wheat

  • Failed "Drought Tolerant" GMO Corn Won't Help Farmers!

     
    Tell Obama, Congress & the USDA to Dump Monsanto's Failures!  

      
     
     
    The US Department of Agriculture's review of Monsanto's own data shows that years of investment into so-called "drought-tolerant" biotech crops have been nothing more than a risky and very expensive failure. Monsanto's new "drought-tolerant" genetically-modified corn variety MON 87460 does not perform any better than non-GMO varieties.
     
    Ignoring the data, on December 21, 2012, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it would allow unlimited planting of MON 87460. The company and the USDA have both admitted the crop will fare only modestly better than current conventional varieties under low- and moderate-level drought conditions. This means that this corn will be useful only for a fraction of corn acres – just 15 percent by USDA estimates.

    In addition, in the United States and abroad there are several types of new, drought-tolerant corn, grown through natural breeding techniques that are likely to do as well or better than Monsanto’s corn. Data from U.S. researchers suggest that conventional breeding is producing drought tolerance two to three times faster than genetic engineering.
     
    Only traditional breeding methods, coupled with agricultural methods that promote soil health, have proven capable of increasing stress tolerance and making plants more resilient to reduced water availability.

    The danger is, now that MON 87460 has been deregulated, it will inevitably contaminate truly resilient varieties of organic and conventional corn, destroying the rich genetic diversity that the world's farmers have cultivated in the planet's infinitely varied micro-climates.

    Please protect biological diversity by taking action to stop Monsanto's failed "drought-resistant" GMO corn.

  • Gates Foundation's Rajiv Shah to Head USAID


    Shah to Continue Gates-Monsanto Push for GMOs in Poor Countries 
     

     
    Despite the efforts of 5,497 Organic Consumers Association activists who sent letters to their Senators in opposition, the Senate confirmed Rajiv Shah to lead US foreign assistance as director of USAID.

    On January 7, 2010, Shah was sworn in by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who gave a speech outlining USAID's priorities. Sec. Clinton emphasized expanding partnerships with the private sector and NGOs and she highlighted the work Shah did with the Gates Foundation. She also referenced Bill Gates by saying that Shah had provided a list of people willing to go to bat for him in the Senate confirmation process that included "giants ... in the foundation world."

    In his inaugural speech, Shah echoed Clinton, saying USAID needs "to better coordinate our work ... with public, private and multilateral partners. ... And we need to develop new capabilities to pursue innovation, science and technology..." Public-private partnerships promoting science and technology were what Shah specialized in when he worked at the Gates Foundation.
     
    In an interview with NPR, Shah referred to his past employer as a future collaborator, saying, "We are also going to do things a little bit differently: bring in outside expertise and become more of a coordinating platform so that we can work with private sector innovators, like the Gates Foundation... so that women farmers trying to make - grow enough food for their family and their community can do that in places like Kenya or Senegal or Rwanda."
     
    The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is one of Monsanto's key non-profit partners, forcing hazardous Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) on farmers and consumers worldwide. The multi-billion dollar Gates Foundation is helping Monsanto infiltrate markets in poor African countries by fraudulently claiming that GMOs can feed the world and reduce rural poverty with high-priced GM seed varieties that supposedly, but in fact do not, increase yields, resist drought and improve nutrition.

    In a speech the day before Shah's swearing-in ceremony, Clinton spoke specifically about biotech crops:

    "We are expanding our direct funding of new research, for example, into biofortified sweet potatoes that prevent Vitamin A deficiency in children, and African maize that can be grown in drought conditions."

  • Stop the Next StarLink Disaster!

    Who's protecting the public from Syngenta's new Frankenfuel corn?

    The Obama Administration's USDA recently approved a new corn variety genetically engineered by Syngenta to be easier to convert to ethanol. Like crops that are modified to produce pharmaceuticals, GMO ethanol crops present a huge contamination danger to our food supply.

    The threat is not lost on the grain industry. Five major trade associations whose member companies store, process, and export corn products asked the USDA to reconsider its decision to deregulate Syngenta's Amylase Corn Trait without conditions.

    You know Syngenta's new Frankencorn is bad when the industry forces that are complaining about it are the same ones that have been force-feeding us unlabeled, factory-farmed, GMO unhappy meals: the Corn Refiners Association, National Grain and Feed Association, North American Millers' Association, Pet Food Institute and Snack Food Association. We know they don't care how obese or sick the U.S. public gets. They only get concerned when they see liability issues of their own and they've spotted a big one.
    Syngenta's ethanol corn has been dubbed the next StarLink, the GE corn that contaminated the U.S. food supply in 2000 and set off serious food allergies in thousands of Americans.

    But, the junk food lobby has met its match. Swiss Syngenta spent $15 million lobbying to get their controversial GMO enzyme into America's corn crop.

    Who's protecting consumers? The USDA's deregulation decision is final. The only thing we can do at this point is scream bloody murder at the politicians we elect to provide oversight on these issues. Time to write the president and your congressional representatives.

  • Tell the USDA: Don’t Approve New GMO ‘Agent Orange’ Crops!

    Remember Agent Orange? The 2,4-D chemical concoction commissioned by the U.S. Army to defoliate jungles and destroy food crops during the Vietnam War? 

    U.S. corn and soybean farmers could soon be using more of this toxic herbicide than ever before. Unless we convince the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to put the brakes on plans to approve Dow AgroSciences’ new “Enlist” brand corn and soy—GMO crops designed to resist massive doses of 2,4-D herbicide.

    Please sign our petition (below) to the USDA asking them to reject “Agent Orange” crops!

    A large body of evidence indicates major health problems result from exposure to 2,4-D, including cancer, reproductive problems, neurotoxicity and auto-immune disorders. And 2,4-D is devastating to the environment. It’s currently the seventh largest source of dioxin pollution in the US and Dow is the second largest dioxin polluter.

    The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) concedes that Dow’s new 2,4-D-resistant crops could speed up the evolution of new “superweeds” which would ultimately require even heavier applications of ever-more toxic herbicides, and could also have “off-target” effects.

    Still, the agency signaled (on January 3, 2014), in the release of its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), that it favors approving the new GMO crops.

    Most corn and soy grown in the U.S. is already genetically engineered to resist Monsanto’s Roundup. And 2,4-D is already the third most popular herbicide (according to the industry web site) used in the U.S.

    But if the USDA approves the new 2,4-D-resistant corn and soy, the use of 2,4-D is projected to increase 50-fold.  

    For the chemical companies, the whole point of genetically engineered herbicide-tolerant crops is to increase herbicide use. If the crop isn’t genetically engineered to be resistant to herbicides, farmers have to be careful to spray only the weeds. Currently, the use of 2,4-D is largely limited to controlling weeds in the fields before the crop sprouts, or after the crop is harvested. Genetically engineered 2,4-D-tolerant crops allow for the indiscriminate use of the herbicide. 

    For consumers, that means that the herbicides that used to be sprayed on the fields where our food was grown will now be sprayed directly on our food.

    The USDA has already received more than 450,000 comments opposing Agent Orange crops, but so far it is ignoring public comment.

    Things are no better at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) where Michael Taylor, a former Monsanto lobbyist, heads up food safety. Ignoring the demands of the American Medical Association, which wants the FDA to require “mandatory pre-market systematic safety assessments” of new genetically engineered foods, the FDA conducts no review, as long as the biotech company assures it that the genetically engineered food is not "materially different" from normal food.

    In December, Dow announced that the FDA had given its 2,4-D-resistant crops the rubber stamp, marking the end of the voluntary consultation process for its Agent Orange crops.

    The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is conducting a separate review of Agent Orange crops to examine the impact of expanded use of 2,4-D. But in 2012, the FDA rejected a petition from the Natural Resources Defense Council citing dozens of studies linking 2,4-D exposure to cancer and birth defects as cause to ban the dangerous chemical.

    Please take action today to stop new 2,4-D-resistant genetically engineered crops!

  • Save "Gen-M," Generation Monsanto!

    Tell Congress to Label Genetically Modified Foods! 
     
    Take Action Now!
    Enter Your Zip Code:
     
     
     
     
    Gen-M, "Generation Monsanto," the first generation of humans force-fed genetically modified foods, hasn't reached reproductive age yet (they were born in the late 1990s). But, if a critical mass of animal feeding studies are any indication, the millennial generation, reared on Food Inc.'s unlabeled "Frankenfoods" can look forward to a long-term epidemic of cancer, food allergies, sterility, learning disabilities, and birth defects.

    Corn (85% of U.S. production is GM), soy (91% GM), cotton (88% GM), canola (85% GM) and sugar beets (95% GM) are all genetically engineered by Monsanto to withstand massive doses of the company's glyphosate herbicide RoundUp, or else to exude their own pesticide, Bacillus Thuriengensis (Bt). RoundUp, the favorite weedkiller poison of non-organic farmers and gardeners, causes brain, intestinal and heart defects in fetuses. And scientists warn that RoundUp, the most extensively used herbicide in the history of agriculture, "may have dire consequences for agriculture such as rendering soils infertile, crops non-productive, and plants less nutritious." In addition, hundreds of thousands of US dairy cows are injected with genetically engineered Bovine Growth Hormone (developed by Monsanto) in spite of studies linking rBGH with cancer, and longstanding bans on the drug in the EU, Japan, Canada, and most industrialized nations.

    With Monsanto's genetically modified crops and chemicals threatening public health and the environment, not to mention the next generation's reproductive capacity, why isn't there a massive consumer outcry to restrain Monsanto's biotech bullying and ban genetically engineered foods and agriculture?

    The answer is disturbingly simple. Collusion between Monsanto and elected public officials (including the current Obama Administration) has obscured the fact that almost all non-organic foods in the US contain genetically modified ingredients. Despite poll after poll indicating that 87-95% of US consumers want mandatory labels on foods containing genetically modified ingredients, Congress has heretofore listened to Monsanto and corporate agribusiness, rather than their own constituents. In the European Union, Japan, or South Korea, where genetically modified foods must be labeled, there are no genetically modified foods on grocery story shelves (and little or none served in restaurants), since most consumers would not buy them and a significant number would complain if they saw GMO labels on products. Consequently there are very few genetically modified crops being cultivated in the EU (mainly a small amount of corn in Spain for animal feed).

    Most Americans simply do not understand that 80% of non-organic supermarket processed foods (basically every product containing soy, corn, canola, cottonseed oil, sugar beet derivatives or ingredients from animals fed soy or corn) are contaminated with genetically modified organisms. While nearly everyone in North America has eaten genetically modified foods, only 26% believe that they have.

    People don't think they're eating genetically modified foods because they have no way of knowing whether they are or not. Genetically modified foods aren't labeled.

    If we're going to save this generation from reproductive dysfunction and save our farmland from the ravages of RoundUp, we need to stop Monsanto.

    The first step is to protect consumers' right to know whether their food is genetically modified.

    We need genetically modified food labeled now!

  • Ban Monsanto's Birth-Defect-&-Cancer-Causing RoundUp!

    Tell the EPA to Ban Glyphosate!

    The EPA is currently conducting a "Registration Review" of glyphosate. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Monsanto's herbicide RoundUp. The EPA will be making a final decision no earlier than 2015.
     
    The EPA has the power to ban glyphosate, and it should, given glyphosate is:

     - linked to cancer
     - causing birth defects
     - worse than DDT

     - spawning super-weeds that reduce yields, and
     - responsible for a deadly new pathogen that is plaguing plants with new diseases and animals (including humans) with infertility.

    A new peer-reviewed research paper by the French group of Gilles-Eric Seralini reveals devastating effects on rats fed diets containing genetically modified corn, with and without the herbicide Roundup, as well as Roundup alone. Rats that spent their lives drinking water contaminated with RoundUp (at levels allowed in U.S. drinking water) developed enormous cancerous tumors and died prematurely. Seralini's study extends the work of others which have demonstrated the toxicity and/or endocrine-based impacts of Roundup. This peer-reviewed study has been criticized by scientists with ties to the biotech industry whose views have been widely reported in the popular press, but independent scientists back the study.

     

    Please watch the following documentary from Argentina on the dangers of glyphosate. (WARNING: This video contains graphic images of birth defects.) The video, in two parts below, is in Spanish with English subtitles. If the subtitles do not appear automatically, start the video first, then click the arrow on the bottom right and select "Turn on captions." Then, click "submit" below to send a letter to the EPA that contains links to scientific research that is leading experts to believe glyphosate is even more dangerous than DDT.

  • Get GMOs Out of the Natural Products Expos!

    Ask New Hope Natural Media to Ban GMOs from their Shows! 
     
    Take Action Now!
     
     
     
     
    Occupy Monsanto's Genetic Crimes Unit is on patrol, identifying and tagging victims of genetic contamination. They recently made an appearance at the Natural Products Expo West, where, due to lax Exhibitor Standards, genetically modified ingredients may be lurking in many products.
     
    These so-called "natural" products - that aren't certified organic or non-GMO verified - may contain hidden GMOs. Please ask New Hope Natural Media, hosts of the Natural Products Expos, to revise its exhibitor standards to ban GMOs.
     

  • Boycott Kraft's Boca Burgers, Buy Amy's!

    Scroll down to send Kraft a letter letting the company know you're boycotting BOCA and their other brands.

    Kraft Foods, maker of Boca Burger® and one of the largest food manufacturers in the world, spent $2 million to defeat Prop 37, the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act. So why would you spend one dime on their products, even on their organic line Boca products? Especially when you can buy GMO-free veggie burgers from Amy's Kitchen, a true Organic Hero, that contributed $200,000 to the YES on 37 campaign!

    Sign the letter below. Tell Kraft you're boycotting their Boca Burger® brand until the company publicly and financially supports statewide GMO labeling efforts in 2013, beginning in Washington State, Vermont and Connecticut.

    Top Four reasons to Boycott Kraft's Boca Burger® and other Brands

    There are plenty of reasons to boycott Kraft's Boca Burger® and other brands. Here are the top four:

    1.    Kraft Foods' history is intertwined with the tobacco industry.

    2.    Kraft donated $2 million to the NO on 37 campaign.


    3.    Kraft uses organic soybeans in only some of its products, but does not share the sourcing of its organic soybeans. The rest of its products contain genetically modified (GMO) soybeans.

    4.    Kraft claims to offer what they describe as "non-GMO" versions of its soy foods, but these products are neither certified organic (organic prohibits GMOs) nor monitored by the Non-GMO Project. So it's impossible to verify BOCA's non-GMO claims.

    5.    Kraft Foods admits it uses genetically engineered bovine growth hormone. It is well-known by federal regulators that GMO bovine growth hormone produces milk that is less nutritious, is contaminated with pus, and has excess amounts of IGF-1. Elevated levels of IGF-1 are linked to increased rates of cancer.

    Top 3 Reasons to buy Amy's Kitchen veggie burgers

    1. Amy's products are ALL 100% GMO-free.

    2. Amy's donated $200,000 to the YES on 37 campaign.

    3. Most of Amy's veggie burgers contain No Trans Fat, No MSG and No preservatives.

    Defending GMOs

    Here's what Kraft has to say about using GMO soy in its Boca-brand products:

    "We're committed to providing you with great-tasting products made with the highest-quality soy. It's a fact that much of the high-quality soy grown in the U.S. has been genetically engineered, so the traditional BOCA line of soy-based products may contain ingredients derived from these crops.

    "We realize that biotechnology is a concern for some people. That's why we introduced a line of products made with non GMO soy. BOCA foods made with non GMO soy do not include genetically engineered ingredients.

    "Here at BOCA, we believe that foods developed through biotechnology are safe, and there's broad scientific consensus on this. The FDA, USDA and EPA all stand firmly behind the safety of biotech products, as do a host of other health and nutrition organizations, such as the American Medical Association and the American Dietetic Association."

    - BOCA's Frequently Asked Questions

  • Tell Organic Brands to Stop Using Carrageenan!

    This Synthetic Ingredient Causes Digestive Problems and Cancer 
     
    At the May 2012 meeting in Albuquerque, the NOSB carried out their legally mandated "sunset" review of carrageenan, and, despite disturbing evidence that this synthetic ingredient causes digestive problems and cancer, decided to allow it in organic for another 5 years.

    Carrageenan is an emulsifier used in organic juice, yogurt, chocolate milk, and other dairy products and non-dairy alternatives. Companies lobbying the NOSB to continue to allow carrageenan included the J.M. Smucker Co. brands Santa Cruz Organic and R. W. Knudsen Family, the Dean Foods brands WhiteWave and Horizon Organic, the Group Danone brand Stonyfield Farm, and farmer-owned Organic Valley. Independently-owned Eden Foods, on the other hand, which used carrageenan in its chocolate soy milk, pledged to remove it.

    Read the Cornucopia Institute's report, "The Organic Watergate," to learn more about synthetics in organic.
     

  • Deadline June 20: Request a full Environmental Impact Report for

    Dear San Diego County Residents,

    Act Now! The Deadline to submit comments to the San Diego Department of Health opposing the Negative Declaration is Wednesday June 20th! If you haven't already, click the "take action" link and send your letter now!

    The San Diego County Department of Environmental Health has issued a Negative Declaration regarding the County's proposed Eye Gnat Ordinance and Program. This Negative Declaration is inadequate and provides almost no analysis of important environmental impacts that may be caused by the ordinance.

    The proposed Eye Gnat ordinance will likely result in the spraying of pesticides on organic crops at the Be Wise Ranch and other organic farms, causing them to lose their organic status and depriving customers of local, healthy, organic produce.

    Pesticide spraying will also impact the plants and animals of the San Pasqual Valley, a City open space park and agricultural preserve. Spraying pesticides would change the nature of farming in this area, and allow pesticides to enter the food chain of the animals in the area. 

    Finally, pesticides sprayed could run off into the San Dieguito River and enter the Lake Hodges drinking water reservoir.  Agricultural pesticides in drinking water are a serious health concern that has not been addressed by the study.  Organic farming lowers the risk of pesticides entering the water system, while the proposed ordinance raises that risk.

    Over 1600 residents submitted comments in April 2012 opposing the proposed eye gnat ordinance, raising many important questions.


    Act now and send your letter to the Department of Health and the San Diego County Board Supervisors opposing the Negative Declaration and Requesting a full Environmental Impact Report for the proposed San Diego Eye Gnat Ordinance and Program.


    For more information about the proposed Eye Gnat Ordinance and how it will negatively impact organic farming in San Diego County, please contact Bill Brammer of Be Wise Ranch at (760)746-6006 or stayorganic@bewiseranch.com or 
    Joanna Daniels at 760-761-3951

    Read More
    Escondido: County Toughens Gnat Ordinance
    East County Magazine: Supervisors Show Support for Eye Gnat Ordinance
    San Diego County News Center: Supervisors: Keep Working on Eye Gnat Ordinance


    Be Wise Ranch
    TOP FIVE REASONS THE ORDINANCE SHOULD BE REJECTED

    If passed in its current form, this ordinance would:
    1. Force Organic Farms to Spray Chemical Pesticides
    The ordinance could force an organic farm to spray chemical pesticides if it faced an unspecified number of complaints from neighbors. Not only would this strip the farm of its organic certification but it could affect the
    health of surrounding populations and its customers.

    2. Give a Single Person Complete Control
    If a farm does not or cannot comply with the ordinance requirements - even with no actual scientific remedies - the Director of Vector Control has full power to seek relief from applicable, validated and practicable control measures. This can be achieved by ordering a fallow period, changing a farmer's crop selection or by ordering the implementation of a "barrier" crop.

    3. Reduce Farmable Acreage
    By possibly mandating the use of "barrier" crops, the ordinance would reduce the amount of land available for organic farming and have a negative financial impact on farmers.

    4. Shut Organic Farms Down During Peak Growing Season
    Another method of this ordinance to control eye gnat populations would be to require organic farms to shut down for weeks during the summer, the peak growing season. This fallow period could effectively close most organic farms in San Diego.

    5. Target Organic Farms Without a Scientific Basis
    The targeting and mandatory inclusion of farmers in the program depends solely on neighbor complaints and the decisions of a single director responding to these complaints. The director has the authority to override input from scientific or agricultural agencies knowledgeable about organic farming.

    The Solution
    As a solution, organic farmers are participating in legitimate, scientific research to mitigate the problem and are assembling the necessary traps to implement proven measures to control eye gnat populations that don't include any of the above restrictions. Major organic produce suppliers such as Whole Foods, People's Organic Co-op and Jimbo's are siding with organic farms against this ordinance. We are asking that the Board of Supervisors give organic farms the time they need to implement these voluntary, community-wide measures and reject the ordinance in its current, punitive form.

  • Stop Organic Fraud in the Health & Beauty Aisle!

    If you've shopped for organic shampoo, body wash or make-up, you've probably noticed that there are a lot of brands that call themselves "organic," but don't carry the "USDA Organic" seal or the certified "Made With Organic Ingredients" claim.
     
    That's because, while the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) protects organic consumers from fraud by requiring that all organic foods are third-party certified to meet federal organic standards, the USDA NOP is turning a blind-eye to organic fraud when it comes to non-food products.

    Stop Organic Fraud in the Health and Beauty Aisle! Send a message to the USDA today!
     
    There are scrupulous organic cosmetics companies that are certified organic, but the vast majority of popular so-called "organic" brands use just a few organic ingredients in products that are largely composed of petrochemicals and synthetics.
     
    In 2009, the US Department of Agriculture's National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) directed the USDA NOP to "Solve the Problem of Mislabeled Organic Personal Care." If implemented, the recommendation would limit the use of the word "organic" to personal care products that are backed up by third-party certification to USDA standards for products that are "USDA Organic" or "Made With Organic Ingredients."
     
    Learn More

    Thanks for taking action!

  • Stop Monsanto's New Sweet Corn!

    Tell the President, Congress and the USDA to Safety Test and Label Genetically Engineered Foods! 

    If you want to avoid genetically engineered fruits and vegetables, add Monsanto's new sweet corn - along with squash, zucchini and papaya - to your list of organic-only items. Warning: the sweet corn was never reviewed by government regulators for safety or environmental impact and, like everything else on the shelves of US grocery and healthfood stores,  it won't be labeled as GMO.  It was bad enough when they fed it to livestock, now they want us to eat it too? 

  • Tell Trader Joe's to Join the Fight to Make GMO Labels Mandatory!

    Trader Joe's is the only national grocery store chain whose store-brand products are all free of genetically engineered ingredients. They made the pledge to go GMO-free in 2001, acknowledging that "the majority of our customers would prefer to have products made without genetically engineered ingredients." (Many of Whole Foods Market's store-brand products are gmo-free, but not all).

    In response to a customer who asked them why they don't label their products as gmo free, a company representative said, "Our non-gmo standard applies to all of our TJ's products and ingredients in our products. Because this is a standard we do not feel the need to market our products with this information on their labels or have our name on a list."

    When asked why they hadn't joined the Just Label It campaign, they said, "Trader Joe's is privately owned therefore we do not participate in research, studies or partner with any organizations."

    TAKE ACTION! Ask Trader Joe's to get Monsanto out of their stores and join us in the fight for consumers' right to know what's in our food!

    There's nothing that says a privately owned business can't involve itself in a cause. Trader Joe's (along with the discount grocery chain Aldi, the 8th largest retailer in the world) is owned by Karl Albrecht, a secretive, miserly, former Nazi soldier who is the 10th richest man in the world. Bargains on essential pantry items are always welcomed by the working poor, but the irony that a fortune like Albrecht's could be amassed from our pinched pennies is not lost on the 99%; it is the very thing that distinguishes greed from thrift.

    Aldi keeps a low profile, but has been compared to Wal-Mart for its anti-union stance and the way they squeeze suppliers. Trader Joe's has been the target of numerous fruitless (and a few hard-won) environmental and social justice campaigns. The Coalition for Immokalee Workers calls them Traitor Joe's because they won't raise tomato pickers wages by a penny more per pound as Whole Foods Market and the fast food industry have done. Sustainable Industries has bemoaned "The Eco-Myth of Trader Joe's."

    It's so disheartening to realize, that, while it's easy to find organic and other non-GMO food in Trader Joe's, they never stopped selling Monsanto's products and haven't become an ally in the wider fight for mandatory GMO labels!

    If Trader Joe's is ever going to take a stand against Monsanto and join in solidarity with their consumers, now's the time. We need an ally like Trader Joe's and we need them now!In Washington state, the Yes on 522 campaign wants voters to decide whether they should have the right to know about genetically engineered ingredients in their food. Ballot initiatives aren't cheap, but early polling shows that voter support for mandatory GMO labels is strong enough to win.

    TAKE ACTION! Ask Trader Joe's to get Monsanto out of their stores and join us in the fight for consumers' right to know what's in our food!

    Shop at Trader Joe's? Next time you're there, take them this leaflet that explains the health risks of GMOs, lists brands sold in Trader Joe's that may contain GMO ingredients, and encourages Trader Joe's to become the first retail chain in the U.S. to guarantee to their customers that all foods sold in their stores will be clearly labeled "GMO" if they contain genetically modified ingredients.

    Action Tips

  • NOSB to USDA: Keep Nanotechnology Out of Organic!

    Please Ask the USDA to Enforce the National Organic Standards Board's Recommendation 
     
    Take Action Now!
     
     
     
     
    A major reason why consumers shop for products that are certified organic is to avoid the hazardous and unlabeled Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), toxic chemicals, and now the most recent, and likely most dangerous hi-tech poison of them all: nanotechnology. Nanotechnology is now a multi-billion dollar Frankenstein monster industry churning out a vast menu of untested and unlabeled products containing tiny nanoparticles including non-organic vitamin supplements, food packaging, processed food, cosmetics and sunscreens.
     
    Over the objections of the OCA and thousands of our members, in November 2009, the National Organic Standards Board decided to table the recommendation to prohibit nanotechnology in organic. The NOSB member who fills the scientist slot, Katrina Heinze of General Mills, delayed the process by insisting that the Board consider a compromise position that wouldn't exclude nanotechnology from organic altogether, but would classify it as a "synthetic" that could be petitioned for use in specific instances.
     
    In advance of the October 2010 NOSB meeting, over 13,000 Organic Consumers Association activists sent letters demanding stronger language and OCA Political Director Alexis Baden-Mayer presented comments at the October meeting warning that anything less than a full ban would be percieved as the door being left open to nanotechonology in organic. In large part because of our comments, the NOSB ended up passing a recommendation that asked the USDA National Organic Program to explicitly prohibit nanotechnology in organic "as expeditiously as possible."
     
    Nanotechnology is inherently dangerous. Mounting scientific evidence indicates that nanomaterials produce dangerous "free radicals" which can destroy or mutate DNA and can cause damage to the liver and kidneys. Nanotech particles not only injure and kill lab animals--they can kill you as well.

    Every day, new evidence of the dangers of nanotechnology emerges:

    * Workplace nanoparticle exposure was linked to seven cases of serious and progressive lung disease in China – including two deaths.
    * Nanoparticles present in a chemical found in sunscreens - titanium dioxide - are being examined as possibly causing Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

    Please use the form below to tell the USDA to act quickly and firmly on the National Organic Standards Board recommendation to prohibit the use of nanotechnology in organic.

  • Change or More of the Same on GMOs?

    Tell Obama & Vilsack: Drop Bush's Pro-GMO Rules 
     

    Just before leaving office, the Bush Administration released a proposed rule that would significantly weaken the regulation of genetically engineered crops. The rule would increase contamination of organic and conventional crops and release the USDA from responsibility for taking action to remedy such contamination.  Moreover, the rule would continue to allow the dangerous practice of producing drugs and industrial chemicals in food crops grown outdoors.  Finally, the proposed rule would give industry the power to decide whether their new genetically engineered crops should be subject to regulation in the first place.

  • GMO Free USA Launches! Campaign #1: Boycott Kellogg’s

    Americans come together to Say NO to Kellogg's GMOs! Join the Boycott 
     
    Take Action Now!
     
     
     
     
    On June 26, 2012, Kellogg Company contributed $20,167.59 to the California political campaign known as The COALITION AGAINST THE COSTLY FOOD LABELING PROPOSITION, SPONSORED BY FARMERS AND FOOD PRODUCERS. This organization was set up to spread propaganda about the cost of labeling GMOs to California residents. In this digital age, you have to wonder why a company would spend more money than it could possibly cost to change their product labels to fight against the consumer’s right to know what we are eating.

    Kellogg's products contain genetically engineered ingredients (GMOs) that were released into our food supply without independent long term testing. The FDA does not oversee the nature or extent of testing that these GMOs undergo. Instead, they allow the companies that develop them and profit from their sale, to determine whether they are safe. "The superficial studies they do conduct are widely criticized as rigged to avoid finding problems.*  “Genetic engineering is crude and imprecise, and the results are unpredictable.”**  Mounting scientific evidence has shown that the GMOs in our food supply are not safe for human consumption.

    Kellogg's products contain an EPA Registered Pesticide also known as GMO Bt Corn, and other GMOs that have been scientifically linked to health problems. These problems include:

    infertility
    organ damage 
    certain cancers 
    leaky gut 
    autism 
    autoimmune diseases 
    allergies
    birth defects 
    inflammatory bowel diseases
    learning disabilities
    attention deficit disorders
    accelerated aging
    faulty insulin regulation
    The FDA doesn't care, BUT WE DO. Please take a moment to email Kellogg's executives and customer service. Share the scientific evidence. Tell them that Kellogg's Corn Flakes are no longer an American Icon and you will be boycotting Kellogg's products until they remove GMOs!

    * http://www.responsibletechnology.org/docs/140.pdf

    **http://earthopensource.org/files/pdfs/GMO_Myths_and_Truth...

  • Stop USDA's Plans for Monsanto to Police Itself!

    USDA Would Let Monsanto Decide Whether GMOs Pose Environmental Risks 

    Please read this Truthout exclusive, "Under Industry Pressure, USDA Works to Speed Approval of Monsanto's Genetically Engineered Crops," then use the form below to take action to stop USDA's plans for Monsanto to police itself.

  • Stop GMO Contamination of Organic!

    GMOs & Organic Can't "Coexist" -- No New GMOs!

    Herbicide-loving alfalfa and sugar beets, Monsanto's new GMOs (genetically modified organisms), have been blocked by the courts because Bush's USDA failed to consider their environmental impacts, including whether they would contaminate organic crops. Obama's USDA has a plan to get Monsanto's new GMOs out of the courts and into the fields. USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, former biotech governor of the year, calls the plan "coexistence." The Organic Consumers Association calls it "contamination" and we say, "Hell no! No new GMOs!"
     

    The USDA has drafted an Environment Impact Statement to support the commercialization of Monsanto's "RoundUp Ready" GMO alfalfa, the first-ever genetically engineered perennial.
     
    The USDA should put a hold on the agricultural use of genetically modified organisms until health and environmental safety can be assured. Thus far, regulation of agricultural GMOs has been so lax that instances of contamination and environmental destruction are the norm rather than the exception. Examples include:

    • Monsanto's Bt corn toxins active in ecosystems where they are deadly to aquatic species
    • Non-approved varieties of GMO canola established wild populations in North Dakota
    • Numerous weeds have developed herbicide resistance since the introduction of GMO crops
    • Pesticide compounds from GMO crops found in non-GMO crops and products
    • Consumers eating GMO foods that have not been adequately tested for their health impacts, without their knowledge or consent

    What would it take for the USDA to adequately protect traditional farming, the environment and consumers from the harms of genetically modified organisms used in agriculture?

    1. Establishment of a fully distinct and separate USDA public cultivar and breeds Institute to ensure that farmers have elite public cultivar and breeding choices that are not genetically modified and that germplasm collections are free of GMO contamination.

    2. Creation of a Contamination Compensation Fund in FSA or RMA funded by GMO patent holders and based upon their strict liability. This would provide immediate assistance to all farmers and other supply chain participants contaminated by GMOs, pending further necessary remedies of law and equity. Such a Fund would establish costs associated with the prevention of GMO commingling and contamination from seed to table and would include both perpetual type costs as well as identity preserved price differential costs for organic and other non-GMO.

    3. Ongoing GM crop regulation, including the complete elimination of deregulated GM crop status; including prior deregulations and on-going oversight and public evaluations of compliance and enforcement.

    4. Comprehensive, independent, longitudinal studies on the health impacts of eating GMOs and on the environmental and socio-economic impacts of release prior to GM crop approvals.

    5. Prohibition on the growing of GM crops that are deemed too promiscuous to prevent GMO Contamination.

    6. Mitigation of food security risks associated with the concentration of any sector of our food system in the hands of a few companies or with the use of one food production technology or patented seeds or genotypes to the near exclusion of all others.

    7. Institution of an immediate labeling protocol for all GM crops, products, and ingredients in close collaboration with other agencies as required.

    Source: National Organic Coalition

  • Stop GMO Alfalfa!

    Tell Your Congressional Representatives & Candidates to Weigh In at USDA
     
     
          Call Now
    Enter Your Zip Code 
      
     
     
     

     
    In 2006, the Center for Food Safety (CFS) sued the USDA for its illegal approval of Monsanto’s genetically engineered (GE) Roundup Ready alfalfa.  USDA failed to conduct an environmental impact statement (EIS) before deregulating the crop, as required by law.  An EIS is a rigorous analysis of the potential environmental, health, and economic impacts of a federal decision, mandated under the National Environmental Policy Act.  The federal courts sided with CFS and banned GE alfalfa until the USDA fully analyzed the impacts of the GE plant in an EIS.
     
    USDA released its draft EIS on December 14, 2009.   USDA has not taken the concerns of non-GE alfalfa farmers, dairies, exporters, retailers or consumers into consideration in its recommendation to approve the commercial sale (deregulation) of GE alfalfa.  In fact, the EIS states that consumers don't care if their organic food is GE contaminated and neither do organic farmers, as long as farmers employ the organic practices required under the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA).  Obviously, this is not true - we need to push our Congressional representatives to tell USDA to deny the approval of GE alfalfa.
     
    Contamination is Inevitable and Will Impact Farmers, Consumers, and the Environment

    USDA claims that Monsanto’s seed contracts require measures sufficient to prevent GE contamination. However, the Court found that GE contamination had already occurred in the fields of several Western states with these same business-as-usual practices in place!  

    The EIS acknowledges that GE contamination may happen and includes studies that honey bees can cross-pollinate at distances over 6 miles, much further than any distances under Monsanto’s “best practices.” 
     
    In general, where other GE crops were approved without restriction, contamination of organic and conventional seeds and crops is widespread and has been documented around the world.  A recent report documented 39 cases in 2007 and more than 200 in the last decade.  The 2006 Liberty Link Rice episode, where unapproved GE rice contaminated export rice stocks, alone caused over $1 billion in damages.


    Consumers Do Care About GE Contamination of Organic Crops and Food  

    Prohibition of GE is a fundamental tenet of Organic.  In fact, USDA’s failure to exclude GE crops from the first version of the organic rule was one of the main reasons that 275,000 people filed public comments in 1997 - one of the largest outpouring of public participation in USDA history.
     
    The Organic Standard requires that livestock feed for animals is 100 percent organic.  Protecting organic alfalfa, the main source of feed for the organic dairy industry, is crucial to the health of that important sector of U.S. agriculture.  More than 75% of consumers believe that they are purchasing products without GE ingredients when they buy organic.
     
    Consumers Will Reject GE Contaminated Alfalfa and Alfalfa-Derived Foods 

    As the Court found, to “farmers and consumers, organic means not genetically engineered, even if the farmer did not intend for his crop to be so engineered.” Whether or not the end product is impacted is not the issue.  Farmers’ fundamental right to sow the crop of their choice is eliminated when it is contaminated with transgenes, and so is the public’s ability to support meaningful organic food and feed production.  The public’s trust in the integrity of the organic label is essential to the continued vitality of the organic foods industry.
     
    Harm to Small and Organic Farmers is Significant

    Small, family farmers are the backbone and future of American agriculture and must be protected.  The continued vitality of the non-GE and organic sector is imperiled by the complete absence of measures to protect from GE contamination and subsequent environmental, consumer, and economic losses.  The harms incurred by farmers and food companies from GE contamination are many and include: lost markets, lost
    sales, lower prices, negative publicity, withdrawal of organic certification, expensive testing and prevention measures, and product recalls.
     
    GE Alfalfa Would Significantly Increase Pesticide Use - Harming Human Health and the Environment
     
    USDA assumes that all conventional alfalfa growers regularly use large quantities of herbicides.  However, the agency’s own studies show that the great majority of alfalfa is currently grown without the use of any herbicides at all. This means that Roundup Ready (RR) alfalfa will increase Roundup use without significantly displacing other herbicides. USDA also admits that RR alfalfa will require more toxic herbicides like 2,4-D and dicamba for taking out old stands.  

    The widespread introduction of RR crops in general has vastly increased Roundup use and fostered an epidemic of Roundup-resistant weeds.  Over the past 13 years, RR crops in have significantly increased overall herbicide use on corn, soybeans and cotton - by 383 million pounds. GE alfalfa will only make matters worse.

  • GMO Free USA Launches Phase II of Kellogg's Campaign

    Americans Unite to Tell Kellogg: We want a response from you about GMOs in your products. Label GMOs or Stop Using Them! 
     

    To date, Kellogg has contributed $632,500 to the California political campaign that changed its name to "Coalition Against The Deceptive Food Labeling Scheme, Sponsored by Farmers and Food Producers". This campaign is spreading propaganda about Prop. 37 in California, to trick people into voting against Labeling Genetically Engineered Foods on November 6th. Just label it! Since when is the truth deceptive?

    Kellogg has not responded to the over 34,000 individual emails recently sent to Kellogg executives. Please take a moment to email Kellogg's executives. Tell them that while you are waiting for their response, you will be telling at least 100 Kellogg's customers about their propaganda contributions and that their products contain GMOs!

  • Tell the FDA: Just Label It!

    Support the JustLabelIt.org Legal Petition to the FDA

    Watch the video and sign the Just Label It! petition.



    In 1992, Monsanto toppled regulatory hurtles facing its new transgenic crops by convincing the George H.W. Bush Administration to go along with the ruse that genetically engineered foods are "substantially equivalent" to normal foods and therefore don't need to be labeled.

    This was a terrible trick to play on the public, especially considering that 85% of consumers polled at the time thought it was "very important" to label genetically engineered foods. Since then, poll after poll has showed overwhelming support for the mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods. But, because genetically engineered foods haven't been labeled, currently only 26% of the public know what they're eating.

    FDA scientists knew that genetically engineered foods were different in 1992. They described genetically engineered foods as "an entirely new adventure," acknowledging that genetic engineering endows plants with novel material never before found in them, including "new proteins in the human diet."

    Eighteen years later, investigations of genetically engineered foods are confirming scientists' suspicions that biotech's scattershot technique of spraying plant cells with a buckshot of foreign genes that hit chromozomes in random spots would trigger the expression of new allergens, change the character of plant proteins, and ultimately prove to be toxic to mammals' vital organs.

    We have a chance now to make a change. The Food & Drug Administration needs to admit that, in the Bush-Quayle era of deregulation, they took the wrong approach to genetically engineered foods. On the campaign trail, President Obama professed support for mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods. Now is the time for him to fulfill his promise to support consumers' right to know.

    A legal petition has been filed with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) calling on the FDA to label genetically engineered (GE) foods. Please support the petition by taking action now to write F.D.A. Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg.

  • Don't Let USDA Allow Factory Farmed Pork!

    Current organic regulations require livestock living conditions that accommodate the "health" and "natural behavior" of animals. These include access to the outdoors, pasture for ruminants, clean bedding, and appropriate shelter, as well as restrictions on confinement. However, many organic consumers and farmers have complained that the current regulatory language is insufficiently precise and not adequately enforced.
     
    The National Organic Standards Board's Livestock Committee is addressing this situation with recommendations for measurable animal welfare standards.

    Unfortunately, the Livestock Committee’s recommended space requirements for growing pigs are so small, even standards set by the National Pork Board—which is controlled by industrial hog producers—are more generous! The proposed space requirements would make it impossible for growing pigs to turn around in their bedded indoor space, with even less space outdoors.

  • Monsanto's Micro-Monster Could Kill Us All

                  Action Alert
     
    Monsanto's Micro-Monster Could Kill Us All
    Tell Sec. Vilsack to Heed Dr. Huber's Warning! 
     
    Take Action Now!
     
     
     
     
     
    Monsanto has unleashed a micro-monster that could kill us all.
     
    That's according to Dr. Don Huber, an agricultural scientist and expert in microbial ecology, who's convinced that Monsanto's genetically engineered "RoundUp Ready" crops are responsible for a new micro-monster that's causing an outbreak of new plant, animal and human diseases.
     
    Please read or watch (part1 & part 2) Dr. Mercola's interview with Dr. Huber and then write USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, as Dr. Huber has, and urge him to place a moratorium on Monsanto's RoundUp Ready crops until scientists learn more about this deadly micro-monster.
     
    Learn more at Food Democracy Now.  
     

  • Tell American Public Media to Stop Spreading Monsanto's Lies!

    Use the form below to tell American Public Media, which produces the Marketplace program frequently aired on NPR, to stop taking Monsanto's money and spreading their lies.

    Marketplace frequently runs ads by major underwriter Monsanto, like this one:

    Marketplace is supported by Monsanto, committed to sustainable agriculture, creating hybrid and biotech seeds designed to increase crop yields and conserve natural resources. Learn more at ProduceMoreConserveMore.com.

    It became obvious how Monsanto's money is biasing Marketplace's reporting on May 4, 2011, when the program broadcast a misleading story, "The Non-Organic Future," that sounded as if it was written by Monsanto itself.

    Read the transcript and the comments.

    Anna Lappe, a globally respected author on food issues, commented on the transcript of the story on the Marketplace website: "I appreciate many of the comments posted so far. I, too, was highly disappointed that this segment presented a contested position -- sustainable farming cannot feed the world -- as fact, when there is a growing global consensus that the opposite is true."

    Please post your own comments and use the form below to send American Public Media a letter.

  • Get Food, Inc. Out of the Organic Trade Association!

    Get Food, Inc. Out of the Organic Trade Association!
    Demand Organic Leadership at the OTA!
    As the following short documentary by Organic Spies reveals, the Organic Trade Association (OTA) purports to represent organic food companies and farmers, big and small, but it is dominated by the organic and so-called "natural" boutique brands of a few big multinational food companies whose real stake is in genetically modified foods, industrial agriculture, and factory farms.
     
    This explains why the Organic Trade Association has consistently worked to weaken organic standards and has never taken a strong stance against genetically modified crops that threaten to destroy organic seed stocks through contamination.
     
    Watch the video below, then click Take Action to send a letter to the Organic Trade Association demanding organic leadership and support for mandatory labels for genetically modified foods--the skull & crossbones that could finally put a nail in Monsanto's coffin and protect our organic future.
     
    Watch the Video
     
    We also need your help to wake-up the organic farmers and food producers who make up a majority of the OTA's members. Share this video with them on their Facebook pages and encourage them to support 100% organic companies in the vote this month for the OTA Board of Directors. Click here for a list of OTA members.

  • Boycott Dean Foods to Protest GMO Alfalfa!

    New Organic Spies Documentary Shows Ties Between Monsanto, Land O' Lakes, Dean Foods and Horizon Organic

    Download the Dean Foods Boycott Flyer

    Now that Monsanto/Forage Genetics' new genetically modified alfalfa has been approved by the USDA, where will all that GMO alfalfa end up? Feed for factory farmed dairy cows. The number one dairy processor in the US is Dean Foods, so the best way to boycott GMO alfalfa is to boycott Dean Foods.
     
    As the new documentary by Organic Spies explains, that means boycotting most of the biggest conventional milk brands, but it also means boycotting Dean Foods' WhiteWave brands.
     
    Is it fair to boycott WhiteWave, known for its natural/organic Horizon and Silk products? If you look into the information Organic Spies has uncovered, the answer is resounding YES! It turns out that WhiteWave has a licensing agreement with Land O' Lakes. Land O' Lakes is the owner of GMO alfalfa co-creator Forage Genetics and a distributor of Monsanto's GMO corn, soy and RoundUp herbicide.
     
    Another reason Organic Spies gives us to boycott all of Dean Foods brands, including Horizon and Silk, is that theres no separation between the lobbying and polical campaign contributions of the parent and its subsidiaries. Dean Foods has a single Political Action Committee that WhiteWave employees, including Kelly Shea, an Organic Trade Association board member, contribute to.
     
    All of Dean Foods' conventional milk products are produced with genetically engineered feed, so they had an interest in seeing GMO alfalfa approved without restrictions, but they sent the same lobbyist who advocates for their conventional milk products to talk to the USDA about organic milk and the idea of "coexistence" between organic and GMOs. There's no way the lobbyist for Dean Foods' the largest conventioanl milk processor could have made a sincere argument that organic needs to be protected from contamination. It's little wonder, with industry lobbyists like this in the mix, that the USDA chose to approve GMO alfalfa, even though the inevitability of contamination means disaster for organic.

  • Tell Kellogg's You're Boycotting Kashi! Buy Nature's Path!

    Scroll down to send Kellogg's a letter letting the company know you're boycotting Kashi and their other brands.

    Buying organic, and other non-GMO foods, is the best to way to beat Monsanto. But there's an exception to that rule: Buying organic or non-GMO brands owned by companies actively fighting the campaign for GMO labels!

    Kellogg's was a big donor to the No on 37 campaign that spent $46 million fighting Proposition 37, the California ballot initiative for GMO labels. This year, they're at it again, donating to the Grocery Manufacturers Association's efforts to defeat the Yes on 522 campaign for GMO labels in Washington State.
    The company spent $790,700 of its profits in California and $221,852 in Washington. A portion of those profits were generated by sales of its Kashi brand, which sells some non-GMO and certified organic products.

    Please use the form below to send Kellogg's an email letting them know you're boycotting Kashi and all the Kellogg's brands until the company publicly and financially supports mandatory GMO labels.

    Looking for alternatives? Buy Nature's Path. They gave $606,826 to YES on 37 and $220,050 to Yes on 522.

    More Reasons to Boycott Kashi & Kellogg's

    1. Kellogg's proudly uses GMOs. What does the company tell people who write to complain? "Even organic ingredients can contain biotech ingredients due to cross-pollination." Really? Steering people away from organic and toward GMOs with the argument that organic crops may be contaminated by drifting GMO seeds and pollen anyway, so why bother?  It's criminal that the USDA does nothing to protect organic farmers from GMO contamination, but that's no excuse to use GMOs! 

    2. Kashi hides its use of GMOs.  Kashi came under fire after t
    he Cornucopia Institute tested Kashi's GoLean cereal and found it to contain 100% genetically engineered soy. The company's response? It tries to convince customers that, but for GMO contamination, its products would be GMO-free. In response to the question, "Do you use GMO ingredients?" Kashi said, "factors such as pollen drift from nearby crops and current practices in agricultural storage, handling, and shipping, has led to an environment in North America where GMOs are not sufficiently segregated. As a result, some of our foods include ingredients made from genetically engineered crops." The truth is, Kashi knowingly and intentionally uses GMO ingredients. Kashi has made a pledge to work with the Non-GMO Project to have 50% of its food, by weight, non-GMO verified by 2015. The other half will still be GMO.

    3. Kashi's "natural" claims are a fraud. Consumers have filed a class action lawsuit alleging Kashi deceptively advertised its GoLean and TLC products as “all natural.” Plaintiffs claim Kashi deceptively and misleadingly concealed material facts about their products, including that they contain GMOs. Kashi tried to have the case dismissed, asserting that its food labels are not false or misleading, but a judge rejected the motion, allowing attorneys to pursue compensation for U.S. consumers who purchased falsely labeled Kashi products.

  • GMO Free USA Says: Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is!

    GMO Free USA Says: Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is!
    Americans Unite to Tell Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Hain-Celestial, Newman's Own Organics and Driscoll's: Prop 37 Needs Your Financial Support NOW!!
    A grassroots effort spearheaded by Pamm Larry, a grandmother from Chico, CA, put Proposition 37 on the November ballot in California. If passed, Prop 37 will make the labeling of genetically engineered foods mandatory in the state of California. California is the 8th largest economy in the world and as California goes, so goes the nation. Prop 37 is the first step toward providing Americans with the information we need to make informed food choices at the point of sale.

    The opposition to Prop 37 has amassed a war chest of over $35 million from the chemical & big food companies that don't want you to know that your food contains genetically engineered ingredients. They are flooding the media with propaganda to trick people into voting NO.

    This is a David vs Goliath battle. While many companies such as Nature's Path, Clif Bar, Dr. Bronners and even small local grocers have generously contributed to the Yes campaign, these large companies - who profit from your purchases -  are conspicuously absent.  The grassroots YES on Prop 37 campaign needs their help NOW! Tell the CEOs of the MIA's to put their money where their mouths are and show their financial support!
    graphic

  • Monsanto's Micro-Monster Could Kill Us All

    Tell Sec. Vilsack to Heed Dr. Huber's Warning! 
     
    Take Action Now! 

     
    Monsanto has unleashed a micro-monster that could kill us all.
     
    That's according to Dr. Don Huber, an agricultural scientist and expert in microbial ecology, who's convinced that Monsanto's genetically engineered "RoundUp Ready" crops are responsible for a new micro-monster that's causing an outbreak of new plant, animal and human diseases.
     
    Please read or watch (part1 & part 2) Dr. Mercola's interview with Dr. Huber and then write USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, as Dr. Huber has, and urge him to place a moratorium on Monsanto's RoundUp Ready crops until scientists learn more about this deadly micro-monster.

  • Urgent! Call Your State Senators to Ask Them to Support SB 6298!

    Urgent! Call Your State Senators to Ask Them to Support SB 6298!

    We have a chance to win our right to know about GMOs in our food in Washington State, but we must act fast!
     
    Bills to label GMOs have been introduced in the House (HB 2637) and Senate (SB 6298).
     
    SB 6298 had a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Water & Rural Economic Development at 10:00 AM on Thursday, January 26, 2012. Click here to watch the hearing.
     
    HB 2637 is scheduled for public hearing in the House Committee on Agriculture & Natural Resources at 8:00 AM on Friday, January 27, 2012, in House Hearing Room A in the John L. O'Brien Bldg. 304 15th Avenue SW, Olympia, WA 98504. Please come! Here's a State Capitol Map. Click here to watch the hearing.
     
    We need your help to get these bills passed! Here's what you can do:

        Write your state legislators to ask them to support the bills.
        Call your state representatives  to ask them to support HB 2637.
        Call your state senators (click Go!) to ask them to support SB 6298.
        Donate to the Organic Consumers Fund so we can reimburse the travel costs of supporters who couldn't otherwise attend the hearings.
        Learn more and get involved at GMOFreeWashington.com.

    Getting tough questions from your reps about SB 6298/ HB 2637? Click here for the FAQ: http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_24761.cfm

  • Ask President Obama to Endorse Prop 37!

    In 2007, when Barack Obama was running for president the first time, he promised to label genetically engineered food. Now, if you write the Obama for America campaign about GMO labels, you get this response:

    "Genetically modified crops hold out the promise of benefits like increased production and reduced reliance on pesticides. At the same time, some Americans want more information to help them choose their food. President Obama understands these concerns and is considering additional steps in this area."

    What? How can he flip his position like that? What makes him believe Monsanto's lies?

    Why isn't he listening to the majority of voters who want GMOs labeled? In California, 76.8 percent of voters say they plan to vote "yes" on Proposition 37. That's more than the 56.8 percent of voters who say they're voting for the President!

    Read more here: http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2012/10/propos...

    Endorsing Prop 37 could only help President Obama get re-elected. Nationwide, nine out of ten Americans believe we deserve the right to know what's in our food! One of them is his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama.

    Today, on 10/11/12, the Organic Consumers Association is delivering more than 203,000 signatures to the White House and Obama's California campaign headquarters in San Francisco on a petition asking the First Lady to talk to her husband about labeling GMOs.

    Our petition delivery follows what Vani Hari, a.k.a. Food Babe, did at the Democratic National Convention.

    Politically, politicians of both parties favor the interests of Monsanto, but personally, they choose organic. This hypocrisy must end!

    Click Go! to send a message to the Obama campaign asking him to endorse Prop 37.

  • House Passes Worst Farm Bill Ever!

    July 11, 2013 - In a surprise move, House Republican leaders waived their three-day rule to rush a new, but not improved, Farm Bill to a successful vote. No amendments were allowed and the bill passed in a vote that split the parties. We thought it couldn't get much worse than the bill the House failed to pass last month, but this is truly the worst Farm Bill ever. It saves billions of dollars in subsidies for Big Ag's GMO crops and factory farms, while eliminating food stamps and cutting $5 billion from conservation and sustainable farming programs that conserve top-soil, protect drinking water and provide habitat for wildlife.

    Congress needs to hear from us now. Please scroll down to call or write your Congresspersons on the following issues:

    SUPPORT STATES' RIGHTS TO REGULATE FOOD & FARMING!

    The King Amendment is back! Our biggest concern for the 2013 Farm Bill is that a pro-Monsanto Congressperson will slip language into the bill that will take away states’ rights to label genetically modified organism. The bill that passed today includes an amendment introduced by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) that is intended to overturn state laws that protect farm animal welfare, but is so broadly written that it could impact just about any state law regulating food or farming, including new laws in Connecticut and Maine to label GMOs.

    Use the form below to tell your Congresspersons to respect states’ rights to regulate food and farming!

    FARM BILL AID SHOULD GO TO THE NEEDY, NOT THE WEALTHY!


    Food Stamps left out! The Farm Bill is composed primarily of two main subsidies that provide economic stimulus to the U.S. food system: those that subsidize the purchase of food and those that subsidize the production of food. Food purchasing subsidies are means tested - they only go to those who can prove they need the help. Food production subsidies, by contrast, can be collected by wealthy people and profitable businesses, whether they need them or not. The bill the House passed today keeps subsidies for the wealthy and cuts subsidies for the needy.

    According to the
    Environmental Working Group, Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.) collected a total of $3.48 million in production subsidies from 1999 to 2012. In 2012, the congressman was cut a government check for a $70,000 direct payment. Direct payments are issued automatically, regardless of need, and go predominantly to the largest, most profitable farm operations in the country. Fincher’s $70,000 farm subsidy haul in 2012 dwarfs the average 2012 SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefit in Tennessee of $1,586.40, and it is nearly double Tennessee’s median household income.

    10 Republican Congresspersons who have received about $6.7 million in production subsidies all voted to take money out of the mouths of hungry children for their own personal gain. That’s inexcusable. Government subsidies should go to people in need, not corporate welfare queens like Rep. Fincher!

    Use the form below to tell your
    Congresspersons to spend Farm Bill money on hungry families and working farmers in need, not rich farm owners!

  • Stop Monsanto!

     Tell the Senate to Vote to Label GMOs!

    Senator Sanders (I-VT) has introduced an amendment (S. Amdt. 2310) that would allow states to adopt labeling requirements for genetically engineered foods. Tell the Senate: We have a right to know if our food originated on a farm or in a lab!

    Please take action today!

  • Tell Oregon Dept of Ag to Keep Canola Out of Willamette Valley!

    In a decision that poses an immediate threat to Oregon’s seed growers and organic vegetable producers, the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) has fast-tracked the approval of canola production in Willamette Valley.

    The ODA – in response to the biofuel industry - has filed for a permanent rule that would allow the growing of canola, including genetically engineered canola, in a previously designated protection zone surrounding  Willamette Valley. This decision was made after a series of meetings held behind closed doors to allow GM canola to be grown in the valley unchecked and with disregard to existing seed pinning map isolation guidelines.

    Tell ODA to HALT the rulemaking process in Willamette Valley!

    Please also call the ODA and Governor Kitzhaber's office and tell them we don't want canola in the Willamette Valley! Help us spread the word!

    ODA: (503) 986-4552

    Gov. Kitzhaber: (503) 378-4582

    Send the governor a message here

    Read more

  • Safeguard Organic Standards!

    Tell the National Organic Standards Board to keep hazardous synthetics out of organic!

    The written public comment period for the October 2012 meeting of the National Organic Standards Board closed on September 24th, but you can still use the form below to submit comments to be incorporated into OCA's testimony which will be presented in Providence.

    For the third meeting in a row, the NOSB is being asked to approve synthetic nutrients for use in organic foods, primarily infant formula. At the two most recent meetings, the NOSB approved
    ARA and DHA, and then inositol and choline. For the October meeting, they are reviewing eight more synthetic nutrients. None are required by the FDA for fortification (if they were, they'd be automatically allowed), and the health claims for these synthetic nutrients are controversial.

    Dean Food's claim that the DHA in Horizon Organic milk promoted "brain health" usually adds between 30 cents to 80 cents to the half-gallon price, but it has drawn criticism from Penny Kris-Etherton, a professor of nutrition at Penn State University, the very scientist Horizon cites as their source. She told
    Bloomberg, "It's not right - it's inaccurate. It's really a marketing strategy to sell more of their milk."

    Synthetics aren't supposed to be considered for inclusion in organic unless they are essential and not available in organic form. Studies showing the
    benefits of DHA are based on fish oil, a non-synthetic source of the nutrient that is available in organic form.

    OCA opposes the addition of synthetic nutrients to the national list of non-organic ingredients allowed in organic. Please support our testimony at the October meeting by adding your your name to the petition below.

  • Ban Monsanto's GMO Insecticide-Producing Crops!

    Join 22 Scientists Who Ask the EPA to Act With "Urgency" 
     
    Take Action Now!
     
     
     
     
    In a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 22 of the nation's top experts on corn pests are asking for urgent action to address the failure of Monsanto's genetically engineered insecticide-producing Bt crops.
     
    In several different places across the corn belt, corn rootworms have developed resistance to an inserted gene that is supposed to kill them. Now, in order to slow down or prevent the spread of resistance, the researchers want seed companies to give farmers a non-GMO option and stop routinely inserting insecticide-producing genes into all of their most productive seed lines. According to the letter, Monsanto has left farmers with "few options" - even in some areas where rootworms don't pose a serious problem. The researchers are calling on farmers in some parts of the country to stop planting corn with insecticide-producing genes altogether, or to plant such corn only intermittently.


    While these are practical suggestions for farmers, there's another issue with the over-use of Monsanto's insectide-producing GMO crops. Those of us who eat them are being exposed to the insecticide-producing Bt gene.

    The insecticide-producing Bt gene has been detected in the blood of pregnant women, their fetuses and non-pregnant women who ate typical diets.

    Health concerns have caused seven countries in the European Union, Austria, Hungary, Greece, France, Luxembourg, Germany and Bulgaria, to ban Monsanto's Bt crops. New scientific research revealing the health risks of Bt crops has spurred France and Germany to seek an E.U.-wide ban. The new research follows up on a Monsanto study where rats fed the corn showed evidence of liver and kidney toxicity, providing evidence that the engineered Bt gene actually kills human cells.

    Meanwhile, in the U.S., we continue to be treated as lab rats. If you care about the future of agriculture and the protection of human health, please write to the EPA today, demanding a total ban on insecticide-producing GMO crops.

  • No Free Pass for Monsanto!

    Get the Monsanto Rider (sections 10011-10014) Out of the House Farm Bill!

    Monsanto's attacks on the law's ability to protect farmers and consumers from unwanted, dangerous GMO contamination may be the boldest example yet of its power over Congress!

    Congress managed to leave town to campaign for the November elections without doing Monsanto's evil bidding, but they could be compelled to thank the company for its campaign contributions when they return.

    The Monsanto rider was stripped from the appropriations bill when Congress opted for a short-term omnibus spending plan rather than passing individual 2013 appropriations bills. It remains in the House version of the 2012 Farm Bill, which has yet to be acted on. With the 2007 Farm Bill expiring on September 30, Congress is likely to act on the legislation during its lame-duck session after the elections.

  • Stop Dow's GMO Agent Orange Soy!

    Take Action Before the September 11th Deadline!

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture has begun to fast-track the approval of genetically modified crops under a new policy aimed at cutting the time it takes on reviews from an average of 3 years down to 13 to 16 months.

    To jump-start the process, they've opened a 60-day comment period on nine new GMOs. This list includes a new Dow Chemical soybean that tolerates three herbicides, including 2,4-D. 2,4-D is the herbicide that was half the formula of the infamous chemical weapon Agent Orange, used to decimate Vietnamese agriculture during the U.S. war on Vietnam.

    As
    Tom Philpott points out in his recent article, "USDA Prepares to Green-Light Gnarliest GMO Soy Yet," USDA approval of Agent Orange Soy will expose us to a much heavier dose of this toxic pesticide through our food, drinking water and the environment.

    2,4-D is already the third-most-used US herbicide, after glyphosate and atrazine, and as a
    leading source of dioxin pollution, it's one of the most deadly.  As of yet, however, it's hardly used on soy at all. Just 3 percent of total US soybean acres were treated with 2,4-D in 2006. Not only will this percentage skyrocket once Agent Orange Soy hits the market, the amount used per acre may triple according to the USDA.

    Please take action before the September 11th deadline to stop Agent Orange Soy!

  • Stop GMO Apples!

    Send a message to the USDA that US consumers and growers are against GMO apples!

    Under a new USDA fast-tracked process, Canadian Okanagan Specialty Fruits is seeking approval for their non-browning GMO apple in the US. Okanagan’s “Arctic” apple would be the first genetically engineered version of a food that people directly bite into.

    According to the latest study by the Environmental Working Group, conventionally grown apples are the most pesticide contaminated fruit or vegetable on the market. Conventional apples are dangerous, and GMO apples are just a dumb idea - one not even supported by many in the apple industry itself!

    The Northwest Horticultural Council represents the tree-fruit industry in the Washington state area which produces about 60 percent of the nation’s apples. They sent a letter to US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack expressing their opposition to the Okanagan application for USDA approval. According to Council President Chris Schlect, the group fears that consumers, especially those in Europe, will turn from Washington-grown fruit if even some of it is genetically modified. "In the end, the projected benefits of the non-browning apples did not outweigh the marketing harm likely to occur to apple growers and marketers, whether traditional or organic."

    Not just growers are opposed to this new GMO fruit. A survey conducted by Canadian fruit grower groups found that nearly 70 percent of Canadians opposed approval of the apple, which would first be available in Golden Delicious and Granny Smith varieties.

    No testing has been done to assure the apples’ safety in the long-term. We already know that scientists are seeing impacts to vital organs, immunity, and fertility in lab animals fed genetically engineered foods. Organic and conventional growers alike are also concerned about genetic drift. While apple pollen doesn’t usually drift very far, it can be carried by bees and cross-pollination could occur without any means of controlling it.

    Send a strong message to Sec. Vilsack and the USDA that US consumers and growers are against GMO apples!

  • Stop Bayer's New GMO Herbicide-Addicted Soy!

    Use the Form Below to Send Your Comments to the USDA Before the September 11 Deadline

  • Stop Monsanto's Dicamba Tolerant Soy!

    Take Action Before the September 11 Deadline!

    Under  the new fast-track  USDA petition process, Monsanto is seeking non-regulated status for its new stacked herbicide (dicamba and glyphosate) tolerant soybean.

    Since the introduction of GM crops, the US has seen herbicide use increase by over 300 million pounds.  Big Biotech originally claimed that weeds would not develop resistance to glyphosate (RoundUp), but they have. These new "superweeds" have become the driving force behind new crops engineered for stacked, or multiple, herbicide tolerances.  Penn State ecologist David Mortensen predicts that herbicide use on soy could increase 70% if the new 2,4-D and dicamba tolerant seeds are adopted. Inevitably new "superweeds" will develop in response to the new biotech crops and the pesticide treadmill will continue to the detriment of human health and the environment.

    According to the Institute for Science in Society (ISIS), "dicamba is actually an old herbicide that served alongside "agent orange" in Vietnam, and has been resurrected as an environmentally friendly chemical through the magic of public relations. "  It is similar in structure and mode to 2,4-D, a major component of Agent Orange, and has the highest soil mobility of over 40 evaluated herbicides, which leads to increased water contamination.  Dicamba can also drift for miles and has caused millions in damages to Midwestern growers who have suffered crop losses due to herbicide drift onto their farms.

    Tell USDA to reject Monsanto's dicamba tolerant soy!

  • Stop Syngenta's New Insecticidal GMO Bt Corn!

    Use the Form Below to Send Your Comments to the USDA Before the September 11 Deadline

    Learn More

  • Stop the New Birth-Defect Ready GMOs!

    Tell the USDA: No More Crops Engineered for Monsanto's Pesticides!

  • Cosponsor HB3346, the OR GE Food Right To Know Act
  • NY: AB 1367: The NY GE Food Right to Know Act
  • MD: HB1261: The Maryland GE Food Right to Know Act
  • Will Illinois Be the Next State to Label GMOs?

    With your help, it might! Speak out for your right to know about GMOs!

    Connecticut was the first, then Maine. Which state will be the next to pass a law to label genetically engineered food? With your help, it could be Illinois!

    Speak out for your right to know about GMOs by using the form below to contact your elected officials. If you can, please attend public hearings in support of SB1666, the Illinois Genetically Engineered Food Labeling Act in Normal on June 20, Carbondale on August 7 and Chicago on September 17.

    On July 4, please join Moms Across America for Independence Day to march for GMO labels in Hoffman Estates, Aurora, Champaign County and your town! Let's continue the momentum created on May 25 when 2 million people joined the worldwide March Against Monsanto demonstrations, including thousands in Chicago (video on this page), Rockford and Springfield.

    Let Illinois Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk know what you think about their vote against states' rights to label GMOs. On May 23, both Illinois Senators voted against amendment #965 to the Farm Bill. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) had submitted the amendment in an effort to support the existing right of states to enact their own laws requiring the labeling of genetically engineered food. Even though the Sander amendment failed, states still have the right to label GMOs. But, what if Durbin and Kirk were asked to vote to take our rights away? Would they do it? What if Illinois passed a GMO labeling law? Would they vote to overturn it? We can't let that happen. Please help us reach Durbin and Kirk to make sure they'd never vote for any law that would take away states' rights to label GMOs.

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    Please ask your state legislators to pass HB100, a bill that would prohibit growing or cultivating genetically modified fish in Alaska.
     
    Learn more: 10 Freakiest Things About Frankenfish

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    Pass House Joint Resolution 8
    Read about this bill
    HJR 8 is a resolution urging the United States Food and Drug Administration to deny an application to sell genetically engineered salmon in the United States; urging compliance with the provision of P.L. 110-85 (Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act of 2007) that requires the Commissioner of Food and Drugs to consult with the National Marine Fisheries Service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration regarding a report on environmental risks associated with genetically engineered seafood products; and urging that product labeling requirements include the words "Genetically Modified" prominently displayed on the front of the package if the application is approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration.
     
    Learn more: 10 Freakiest Things About Frankenfish

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    We have a chance to win our right to know about GMOs in our food in Washington State, but we must act fast!
     
    Bills to label GMOs have been introduced in the House (HB 2637) and Senate (SB 6298).

    SB 6298 had a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Water & Rural Economic Development at 10:00 AM on Thursday, January 26, 2012. Click here to watch the hearing.
    HB 2637 is scheduled for public hearing in the House Committee on Agriculture & Natural Resources at 8:00 AM on Friday, January 27, 2012, in House Hearing Room A in the John L. O'Brien Bldg. 304 15th Avenue SW, Olympia, WA 98504. Please come! Here's a State Capitol Map. Click here to watch the hearing.
     
    We need you to get these bills passed! Here's what you can do:

        Write your state reps (click Go!) to ask them to cosponsor the bills.
        Write your state senators to ask them to cosponsor SB 6298.
        Call your state reps to ask them to cosponsor HB 2637.
        Call your state senators to ask them to cosponsor SB 6298.
        Donate to the Organic Consumers Fund so we can reimburse the travel costs of supporters who couldn't otherwise attend the hearings.
        Learn more and get involved at GMOFreeWashington.com.

    Getting tough questions from your reps about SB 6298/ HB 2637? Click here for the FAQ: http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_24761.cf...

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    Please Call the Hawai'i State Legislature to Demand a Hearing for HB 2101!

    The Obama Administration's Food & Drug Administration could approve the first-ever genetically engineered animal for human consumption any day now, a GMO FrankenFish that's made from the modified genes of two different species of salmon and an eel pout. The FDA has found that it's likely to trigger allergies, increase cancer, and be a whole lot less nutritious than normal salmon, but they say it should be approved anyway and they don't think it should be labeled! That's unacceptable. We can't let these fish be sold in Hawai'i without labels!

    HB 2101 is a bill to label GMO fish in Hawai'i. The bill has a chance to pass if there's enough public pressure, but we must act fast! Please call your state legislators to ask them to give the bill a hearing!

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    Help Pass HB 5117!

    Connecticut has the potential to become the first state to pass a mandatory GMO labeling bill and your support is critical to its success. Write and/or call your Connecticut state legislators today, asking them to support HB 5117, An Act Concerning Genetically-Engineered Foods, because you believe we have a fundamental right to know what’s in our food so we can make informed choices about what we feed our families.

  • MINNESOTA: Tell Gov. Dayton to Protect Your Access to Healthy Raw Dairy Products!

    Recent studies suggest that raw milk is an extremely healthy, nutritious and safe food. Yet the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) continues to threaten small dairy farmers that sell raw milk in our state. 

    Tell Governor Dayton and your state lawmakers to stop the MDA's harassment of raw milk farmers in Minnesota!

    Farmer Alvin Schlangen was acquitted on three charges of violations to the state food and dairy code by a jury in Hennepin County last year. But last week he was found guilty on another five charges of violations of the state food and dairy code in Stearns county. Mike Hartmann of Gibbon was forced to plead guilty on two charges of illegally selling raw milk and selling other foods without a food handler's permit, after charges were also brought against his wife, brother and a drop-site coordinator for his raw milk deliveries.  And now the MDA has focused on Lake View Natural Diary in Grand Marais, Minn., for its on-the-farm sales of raw yogurt, butter and buttermilk.

    Consumption of raw milk and dairy products is growing significantly while sales of pasteurized milk continue to fall. So why is the MDA still harassing small farmers? MDA officials claim that Minnesota statutes are being violated. But raw milk consumers say otherwise, turning out in droves to support their farmers and their access to these healthy foods.

    We are not asking for raw milk to be legalized, because it is already legal. We want Minnesota to recognize our right to obtain raw dairy from the local small-scale farmer of our choice, to allow for direct-to-consumer deliveries and on-the-farm production of raw dairy products such as yogurt, butter and buttermilk.

    Real raw milk, produced under healthy and sanitary conditions, is full of anti-microbial and immune-supporting components, as well as beneficial bacteria for easier digestion. Recent studies have declared raw milk to be a safe, low risk food, but farmers producing these healthy foods continue to be targeted under outdated assumptions about public health.

    It’s time for the MDA to stop bulling small dairy farmers and support our access to these healthy raw foods! Send your letter today!

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    MN Bill to Label GMOs
    Minnesota recently joined the list of states with pending legislation to label genetically engineered foods. Rep. Karen Clark (DFL-62A) authored HF 2808, a bill requiring Genetically Engineered Food Labeling in the MN State House of Representatives in early March.  It was denied a committee hearing in the House Agriculture Committee. 

    On March 30 Rep. Clark offered a stripped down amendment to the House Omnibus Agriculture Bill that would have created a study committee of all stakeholders. The genetically engineered food labeling study committee would have reported their recommendations back to the 2014 legislature. The amendment was supported by MN Commissioner of Agriculture, Dave Fredrickson. A Roll Call vote was called on the House floor and the amendment was voted down 81-44. The Senate companion bill, SF 2563 is still active.

    Please write and/or call your MN State Representative today and urge them to support genetically engineered food labeling legislation in the future.

    It is critical to let our legislators know that we believe we have a fundamental right to know what’s in our food so we can make informed choices about what we feed our families.

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    EPA and CDPR Should Ban Bayer's Neonicotinoid Insecticides!

    On March 21, 2012, commercial beekeepers, along with environmental organizations Beyond Pesticides, Center for Food Safety and Pesticide Action Network, filed an emergency legal petition with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to suspend use of a pesticide that is linked to honey bee deaths. The legal petition, which specifies Bayer's neonicotinoid pesticide clothianidin, was backed by over one million citizen petition signatures.

    In California, Assembly Member Michael Allen (Sonoma) and Senator Mark Leno (San Francisco) have introduced a resolution in support of the legal petition, calling on state and federal regulators to take action to protect pollinators.

    Sources:
    Beekeepers and Environmentalists Petition EPA to Stop Pesticide Linked to Bee Deaths
    Advocating for Bees in California's Capitol

    Learn How to Protect Your Neighborhood Bees:
    http://www.honeybeehaven.org/

    Please write your California state legislators asking them to take action in support of a ban on neonicotinoid pesticides, then please help spread the word through these two important films (trailers below). Click these links to find local screenings (you can host your own if there's not one near you):

    Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us?
    Vanishing of the Bees, Narrated by Ellen Page

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    Minnesota recently joined the list of states with pending legislation to label genetically engineered foods. Rep. Karen Clark (DFL-62A) authored HF 2808, a bill requiring Genetically Engineered Food Labeling in the MN State House of Representatives in early March.  It was denied a committee hearing in the House Agriculture Committee. 

    On March 30 Rep. Clark offered a stripped down amendment to the House Omnibus Agriculture Bill that would have created a study committee of all stakeholders. The genetically engineered food labeling study committee would have reported their recommendations back to the 2014 legislature. The amendment was supported by MN Commissioner of Agriculture, Dave Fredrickson. A Roll Call vote was called on the House floor and the amendment was voted down 81-44. The Senate companion bill, SF 2563 is still active.

    Please write and/or call your state representative today and thank them for their support of the opportunity to study genetically engineered food labeling in Minnesota and ask them if they also support HF 2808 as introduced, which would mandate labeling of genetically engineered foods.

    It is critical to let our legislators know that we believe we have a fundamental right to know what’s in our food so we can make informed choices about what we feed our families.

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    Gen-M, "Generation Monsanto," the first generation of humans force-fed genetically modified foods, hasn't reached reproductive age yet (they were born in the late 1990s). But, if a critical mass of animal feeding studies are any indication, the millennial generation, reared on Food Inc.'s unlabeled "Frankenfoods" can look forward to a long-term epidemic of cancer, food allergies, sterility, learning disabilities, and birth defects.

    Most Americans simply do not understand that 80% of non-organic supermarket processed foods (basically every product containing soy, corn, canola, cottonseed oil, sugar beet derivatives or ingredients from animals fed soy or corn) are contaminated with genetically modified organisms. While nearly everyone in North America has eaten genetically modified foods, only 26% believe that they have.

    People don't think they're eating genetically modified foods because they have no way of knowing whether they are or not. Genetically modified foods aren't labeled.

    If we're going to save this generation from reproductive dysfunction and save our farmland from the ravages of RoundUp, we need to stop Monsanto.

    The first step is to protect consumers' right to know whether their food is genetically modified.

    We need genetically modified food labeled now!

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    Please act before June 22, 2012.
    It is well known that 2,4-D causes cancer, hormone disruption, genetic mutations, neurotoxicity, Parkinson’s Disease, and birth defects.

    But, instead of relying on independent research on the dangers of 2,4-D, the EPA looked at contradictory evidence submitted by the herbicide's manufacturer Dow Chemical. This bias caused the EPA to reject a ban on this dioxin-tainted Agent Orange herbicide.

    Now, Dow is seeking EPA approval to expand the use of 2,4-D to its new genetically engineered herbicide-resistant corn, soy & cotton. EPA approval would increase the use of 2,4-D by 50-fold or more.

    The manufacture and use of 2,4-D is the already the 7th largest source of dioxin pollution. The EPA has reported that 2,4-D is contaminated with dioxins, including the notorious 2,3,7,8-TCDD, known to science as the "most toxic compound ever synthesized by man." TCDD causes a variety of reproductive problems, cancer, and damage to the immune system.

  • Stop Frankenfish!

    Ask Your Legislators to Ban Genetically Engineered Salmon!

    Please
    watch this hearing (video begins at 29:00 minutes) conducted by the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard on December 15, 2011, to examine the risks of introducing the genetically engineered salmon into the U.S. marketplace.
     
    The day after the hearing, the Canadian non-profit Living Oceans broke the news that AquaBounty, the company seeking FDA approval for its genetically-engineered salmon,
    tested positive for a new strain of Infectious Salmon Anaemia (ISA) in November 2009. ISA is a virus that has triggered devastating disease outbreaks (90% death rate) in stocks of farmed Atlantic salmon around the world.
     
    Tell your legislators to ban these Frankenfish today!

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    Support the Farmer Protection Act!
    Take Action Now!
    Patenting seeds is one of the ways agribusiness and biotech corporations have systematically acted to remove the basic rights of farmers. This legislation gives farmers the ability to save seeds and seek compensation for failed genetically engineered crops. It prohibits genetic engineering designed to produce sterile seeds and places all liability from negative impacts of genetically engineered organisms squarely upon the biotechnology companies that created the genetically engineered organism.

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    New Case of BSE in CA Is Proof that Current Program is Failing
    The announcement of a new case of mad cow disease in Central California raises three important questions about the safety of US beef, says Consumers Union scientist Michael Hansen.

    First, the USDA testing program for mad cow disease is way too small. USDA only tests some 40,000 cows a year of the millions slaughtered annually. So we really don't know if this is an isolated event or whether there are more cases in US beef. Our monitoring program is just too small.

    Second, detection of BSE is needlessly hindered by the fact that USDA prohibits private companies from testing their own beef. Private testing could augment USDA testing and provide an extra measure of monitoring and assurance of safety to consumers. USDA only tests cattle that are sent to the renderer and doesn’t test at slaughterhouses. It's hard to understand why USDA prohibits private companies from testing.

    Third, the ruminant to ruminant feed ban in the US to prevent spread of mad cow disease is inadequate. Cows can't be fed to other cows, which is a good thing. But remains of cows can be fed to pigs and chickens, and pig and chicken remains can be fed back to cows. This allows for the spread of mad cow disease.

    In addition, as Human Society doctor Michael Greger has pointed out, cow’s blood can still be fed to cows, even though scientists warn that cow blood can spread Mad Cow disease. On non-organic dairy farms, weaning calves are routinely fed blood as a milk replacer.

    Ironically, the news that mad cow is still in our food supply comes at a time that the US Department of Agriculture is proposing to drop significant protections the U.S. has against the importation of cattle infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or mad cow disease).

    Learn More: Long History of Mishandling Mad Cow Outbreaks
    Get Involved: Organic Consumers Association's Stop the Madness Campaign
    Watch the Documentary: Mad Cowboy
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  • Want Organic Eggs From Outdoor Hens? Better Act Now!

    Take action! Rule-breaking "USDA Organic" egg producers don't let hens go outside!

    The Food & Drug Administration says eggs from outdoor hens are a food safety risk!





    Do you enjoy organic eggs from hens raised outdoors? Hens that spend time outdoors in the sunlight, eating plants and insects, roosting in trees and scratching in the dirt are healthier, happier and produce safer and more nutritious eggs on farms that are better for the environment. Sadly, outdoor production of organic eggs is being threatened by federal regulators. Soon it could be almost as hard to get eggs from hens raised outdoors as it is to get raw milk.

    Please use the forms below to respond to the USDA National Oganic Program's refusal to enforce the organic rule that requires outdoor access and an FDA proposal that treats outdoor egg production as a food safety risk.

    Hens caged in factory farms suffer horribly. Concern for animal welfare is one of top reasons consumers choose organic eggs. The USDA National Organic Program (NOP) is cage-free and this alone means organic hens have significantly better lives than those confined in cages. However, a 2010 investigation by the Cornucopia Institute, "Scrambled Eggs," (see the top video on this page) revealed that other organic rules, notably the requirement that hens have access to the outdoors, were being violated.

    Born Free and Vital Farms are both certified "USDA Organic" egg brands, but, as you can see from the videos on this page, Vital Farms lets their birds outdoors, while Born Free doesn't. It's easy to see the difference in the welfare of organic chickens that are raised outdoors, as opposed to "cage-free".

    This impacts consumers, too, as eggs from organic free-range hens raised outdoors are far more nutritious than eggs from hens kept indoors and raised on exclusively on grain.

    The standards-setting National Organic Standards Board has sent three formal recommendations, one dating back to 2002, to the NOP asking the agency to clarify and enforce requirements for outside access and other living conditions for poultry. But the USDA National Organic Program refuses to act.

    In a double strike against outdoor organic egg production, the NOP announced that, because other priorities were more urgent, it wouldn't be addressing the enforcement of animal welfare for poultry in the near future, and then, the FDA proposed to impose a number of costly, redundant and onerous so-called "food safety" measures on organic farmers who let their hens outdoors.

    According to the Cornucopia Institute, despite weak scientific evidence that contact with wild birds is a significant risk factor for salmonella contamination, the FDA requires organic producers to minimize contact with other birds. The agency recommends noise cannons, temporary confinement, or netting, or even structures with roofs which would be cost-prohibitive for most organic producers with meaningful outdoor access.

    Some of the recommended measures would discourage chickens from using the outdoor space. For example, while noise cannons would be effective in scaring wild birds, they would also scare the laying hens and effectively make the outdoor area an inhospitable environment for the organic birds.

    The FDA's recommendation, which was created in consultation with the USDA National Organic Program, is encouragement to the so-called "organic" egg producers who are currently violating the organic rules that require famers to provide their hens outdoor access so they can exhibit their natural behaviors. 

    “The recommendations in this draft guidance essentially give organic producers a textbook of excuses for why their birds can legally be confined in industrial settings,” says Mark Kastel, Codirector of the Cornucopia Institute. “To create the safest and most nutritious eggs, we should be encouraging more and better use of outdoor space, for laying hens so that they can exhibit their true, native behavior. But this FDA document does just the opposite.”

    Want organic eggs from hens raised outdoors? You'd better act now! Please send the following letters (feel free to modify them with your own thoughts) to the USDA and FDA. And, while you still can, make a point of buying organic eggs that you know come from hens raised outdoors. Check out the Cornucopia Institute's Organic Egg Score Card and look for the Animal Welfare Approved label.

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    Tell the FDA to Protect Human Health and Regulate Antibiotics in Animal Feed

    Overuse of antibiotics on factory farms is creating a serious threat to the longevity and effectiveness of certain classes of antibiotics used to treat a host of human illnesses.  Doctors concede that antimicrobial drug resistance due to over-prescription and over-use in animal feed has already cost thousands of lives.

    Additionally, in 2006, the EU banned the use of antibiotics in water and feed, proving that raising livestock without drugs is possible.

    Tell the FDA to do their job and protect human health from the reckless and irresponsible overuse of prescription-free antibiotics on factory farms.

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    If an organic pig provides meat for an organic sausage, shouldn't it also provide the organic sausage casings?

    Not according to the National Organic Standards Board, which voted to continue to allow "USDA Organic" stickers to be slapped on organic sausage made with non-organic casings.

    SAUSAGE CASINGS

    Natural sausage casings, the cleaned intestines of pigs, sheep and other animals, are on a USDA list of ingredients allowed in foods that are otherwise organic. Since the non-organic casing represents only about 1% of the sausage, the product meets the USDA requirements for an organic label.

    The listing of natural sausage casings seems counterintuitive. If a pig is raised on organic feed, slaughtered in a certified organic plant, and made into sausage, shouldn't the same pig provide natural casings for that sausage?

    Harvesting intestines for sausage casings, it turns out, is a specialty that many slaughterhouses don't offer.

    At one time in America, small regional slaughterhouses catered to local, family farms. But the industrialization of the meat industry resulted in a few big firms handling most of the processing in large centralized plants, and many small slaughterhouses have disappeared.

    Even as small-scale farmers are finding growing markets for their sausages at farmers' markets and the like, they often find it harder to process their animals.

    Growing consumer demand for local and sustainable foods is coming at a time when industrialized agribusiness has already run away with the means of production.

    But consumers want the ingredients in their organic foods to be organic. This is particularly true with sausage because there is a high level of concern that non-organic meat, including sausage casings, coming from factory farms can breed disease.

    One reason the USDA keeps a public, national list of non-organic ingredients, with a 5-year sunset, is to encourage producers to invest in their supply chain and bring ingredients like organic sausage casings to the market. Unfortunately, no one has stepped up to the plate and the National Organic Standards Board has voted to keep non-organic casings on the list for another 5 years.

    This can't go on indefinitely. The industry should either invest in processing plants that can produce organic casings or sell only skinless sausages under the "USDA Organic" label. It's time to get non-organic casings out of organic sausages!

  • Senate Votes Against States' Rights to Label GMOs

    Here's How Your Senators Voted. Let Them Know What You Think.

    On May 23, the Senate voted down (27-71) the Sanders amendment #965 to S.954, the Farm bill. The amendment, submitted by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), was an effort to support the existing right of states to enact their own laws requiring the labeling of genetically engineered food. You can see the complete vote tally here.

    Enter your address below to find out how your senators voted and send them a letter letting them know what you think. Even better, call their offices via the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

  • Stop the Mass Death of Bees!

    Scroll Down to Tell Congress to Ban Bayer's Insecticides & Monsanto's GMOs!

    Monsanto's Mon810 corn, genetically engineered to produce a synthetic version of the insecticide Bt, has been banned in Poland following protests by beekeepers who showed the corn was killing honeybees. Meanwhile, commercial beekeepers in the U.S. have filed an emergency legal petition with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to suspend use of a pesticide that is linked to massive honey bee deaths. The legal petition, which specifies Bayer's neonicotinoid pesticide clothianidin, is backed by over one million citizen petition signatures.

    Poland is the first country to formally acknowledge the link between Monsanto's genetically engineered corn and the Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) that's been devastating bees around the world, but it's likely that Monsanto has known the danger their GMOs posed to bees all along. The biotech giant recently
    purchased a CCD research firm, Beeologics, that government agencies, including the US Department of Agriculture, have been relying on for help unraveling the mystery behind the disappearance of the bees.

    Now that it's owned by Monsanto, it's very unlikely that Beeologics will investigate the links, but genetically engineered crops have been
    implicated in CCD for years now.

    In one German study, when bees were released in a genetically engineered canola field, then fed the canola pollen to younger bees, scientists discovered the bacteria in the guts of the young bees took on the traits of the canola's modified genes. That proves that GMO DNA in pollen can be transferred to bees though their digestive system.

    Many bee-keepers have turned to
    high-fructose corn syrup to feed their bees. High-fructose corn syrup is made from Monsanto's genetically engineered corn and that corn is treated with Bayer's neonicotinoid insecticides.

    Bee colonies began disappearing in the U.S. one year after the EPA allowed these new insecticides on the market in 2004-2005. Even the EPA itself admits that "pesticide poisoning" is contributing to bee colony collapse.

    One of the observed effects of these insecticides is weakening of the bee's immune system. Forager bees bring pesticide-laden pollen back to the hive, where it's consumed by all of the bees. Six months later, their immune systems fail, and they fall prey to natural bee infections, such as parasites, mites, viruses, fungi and bacteria. Indeed, pathogens such as Varroa mites, Nosema, fungal and bacterial infections, and IAPV are found in large amounts in honey bee hives on the verge of collapse.

    Three recent studies implicate neonicotinoid insecticides, or "neonics" for short, which coat 142 million acres of corn, wheat, soy and cotton seeds in the U.S. alone. They are also a common ingredient in a wide variety of home gardening products. As detailed in an
    article published by Reuters, neonics are absorbed by the plants' vascular system and contaminate the pollen and nectar that bees encounter on their rounds. Neonics are a nerve poison that disorient their insect victims and appear to damage the homing ability of bees, which may help to account for their mysterious failure to make it back to the hive.

    This was the conclusion of research which came out in the
    prestigious Journal Science. In another study, conducted by entomologists at Purdue University, the scientists found that neonic-containing dust released into the air at planting time had "lethal effects compatible with colony losses phenomena observed by beekeepers." A third study by the Harvard School of Public Health actually re-created colony collapse disorder in several honeybee hives simply by administering small doses of a popular neonic, imidacloprid.

    Learn How to Protect Your Neighborhood Bees:
    http://www.honeybeehaven.org/

  • Ask Your State Legislators to Introduce Bills to Label GMO Foods
    National polls show that the vast majority of consumers want foods that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs) to be clearly labeled. For more than 10 years, conscientious Senators and Members of Congress have introduced federal legislation for mandatory GMO labels, but the issue has never been voted on in Congress.
     
    It's time to take the movement for truth-in-labeling and consumers' right-to-know to state legislatures and local governments, to grocery stores, restaurants, schools and hospitals and demand that they put labels on GMO foods now!
     
    Please enter your zip code below to write to your state legislators, asking them to introduce legislation making GMO labels mandatory in your state!

    Learn more:
    http://www.MillionsAgainstMonsanto.org

  • Organic is the Answer to Climate Change

    The Organic Revolution

    If the US converted all of our farmland to organic, it would sequester 25% of our greenhouse gas emissions! If the world’s 3.5 billion tillable acres were transitioned to organic agriculture, organic farms could sequester 40% of yearly carbon emissions.

    Tell Congress to change Federal Farm Policy in 2013:

    1. Only agricultural projects and activities that "measurably increase carbon sequestration or reduce greenhouse gas emissions" should be rewarded. Credits should be rewarded for measured changes as a result of practices intended to increase soil carbon, rather than the practices alone.

    2. Early actors like organic farmers who have adopted best management practices that sequester carbon in soils should be rewarded. Awarding early actor credit for common practices like no-till, that don't reliably sequester carbon, threatens to "bust the cap" with too many credits.

    3. The new Clean Technology Business Competition Grant Program, created to "provide grants to organizations to ... meet high-priority economic, environmental, and energy goals" should provide grants for improved soil carbon measurement technology.

    Tell Congress: Organic Is the Answer to Climate Change!

  • Monsanto Protection Act Promise: No Renewal Without a Vote

    Write and Call Your Senators to Make Sure They'll Vote Against the MPA!

    Victory! Thanks to your calls and letters to your U.S. Senators, the movement to repeal the Monsanto Protection Act (MPA) has achieved a preliminary victory: On June 4, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), the Agriculture Committee Chair with the final say on agriculture issues in the Democrat-controlled Senate, promised that the MPA, which expires on September 30, won't be renewed without a vote.

    The MPA is what is known in Congress as a "policy rider", language that is hidden within a large bill that few Congresspersons will read, but most will vote for. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) slipped the MPA into the Continuing Resolution, a bill to fund the government through September 30. The MPA prevents judges from enforcing injunctions on genetically modified seeds even if they are deemed unsafe.

    After overwhelming public uproar in opposition to the MPA, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), tried to repeal it though an amendment to the Farm Bill. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS)
    blocked the vote on Merkley's amendment, but Agriculture Committee Chair Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), who managed the Farm Bill debate, offered a compromise in the form of a promise that she would work to ensure that the MPA isn't included in future appropriations bills without a vote and full debate.

    This is a preliminary victory in the campaign to repeal the MPA, and it is due to the thousands of you who called and emailed your Senators in support of the Merkley Amendment. Let's keep the pressure on!

    Please call and email your Senators and ask them to pledge to vote against the MPA if Sen. Blunt proposes it again!

  • Worst Farm Bill Ever!

    Tell Congress to Fix It -- And No Secret Farm Bills!

    What's wrong with the U.S. House of Representative's version of the Farm Bill?

    No Secret Farm Bills!

    The House's Republican leaders say they won't schedule the Farm Bill for a vote before the old bill expires September 30, leaving it vulnerable to being used as a bargaining chip in the ongoing battles to cut the budget and extend Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy.

    Last fall, the Farm Bill was caught up in the secretive super-committee process that ultimately failed, but there are Members of Congress who still insist on implementing  the cuts considered by the super-committee and some who would use these cuts to offset extending tax cuts. As the Hill reports, this would mean putting off the Farm Bill until after the elections and then it would be "wrapped into a giant lame-duck bill that also deals with expiring tax cuts and automatic, across-the-board spending cuts."

    In addition to protesting the bill's substance, we must also demand that the House stick to the normal democratic process, with recorded votes on the issues that matter most, rather than letting Congressional leaders decide things behind closed doors -- no secret farm bills!

    Want to learn more about why the Farm Bill is so important? Watch this video: