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Organic Consumers Association

La Vida Locavore: HR 875 Rumors Will Destroy Our Credibility

H.R.875 internet rumors are out of control. Yesterday Marion Nestle finally spoke up with the truth. The very same truth that some of us have been shouting at the top of our lungs for a full month.

Let me tell you a story. A friend of mine lost her husband to drug side effects from Zoloft. He committed suicide. Prior to taking the drug he wasn't depressed. He had started a new job and was having some anxiety. He went in to see the doctor for insomnia (due to anxiety) and left with a sample pack of Zoloft. Five weeks later, he was dead.

My friend is incredibly courageous and she has testified before Congress to advocate for reforms that would make people taking prescription drugs more aware of side effect risks. After her testimony, she told me, a lobbyist for the drug companies went to every single legislator on the committee and told them that she was a Scientologist. Scientologists, nutty bunch that they are, oppose antidepressants. My friend is NOT a Scientologist, she's a grieving wife. But her position was discredited because a bunch of wackos took on her issue and ran with it in all the wrong directions. She had to go back and clean up the damage, explaining she wasn't a Scientologist and hoping everyone would believe her.

THAT is what is happening to us here. We've got a group of nuts out there spreading lies (and some well-meaning, unsuspecting people have believed those lies), and it will end up only discrediting us. Now when I write a letter to a legislator about the food safety reforms that are upcoming, I have to wonder if my letter will get tossed in with the crazy pile.

Furthermore, check out this article by Philip Brasher. He makes it sound as if we are asking the nation to choose between food safety and organics. That's not the case at all.

We are FOR food safety. We are FOR food safety laws that will prevent the next Peanut Corporation of America from killing people, sickening people, and causing enormous economic fallout. But we also recognize that for the 2-3% of food bought directly from farmers, the traceability mechanism is already in place and does not need to be augmented by the government. And when a farmer eats the food he or she grows, that's a mechanism of food safety enforcement stronger than any law the government can pass. Of course we ask that the government keep that in mind, but we're not standing as a roadblock to fixing our nation's food safety as a whole. We support that.


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