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Obama's Biotech Boosters and Occupy Monsanto
#299, October 20, 2011
In this issue:
Quote of the Week
Obama Administration: GMO Labels Are Scary
Jose Fernandez, the State Department's assistant secretary for economic, energy and business affairs, says labeling genetically engineered food would scare consumers away.
"If you label something, there's an implication there's something wrong with it," said Fernandez.
Fernandez made the remark while speaking on a panel organized by CropLife International, a group that represents Monsanto, DuPont and other biotech giants and has close ties to the Obama Administration.
Tell Obama: Just Label It!
WORLD FOOD DAY
World Food Day 2011: We Showed Millions Why We're Against Monsanto!
Thank you to everyone who participated in the 85 Millions Against Monsanto events that took place last Sunday, October 16, World Food Day, in 32 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia!
Learn more & see photos
And please: submit articles and video links to Alexis [at] organicconsumers.org!
Support the OCA
Stop Monsanto and Move the Organic Revolution Forward
Since the first battle over organic standards in 1998, OCA has been "growing the revolution" - fighting against genetically engineered foods, preserving strict organic standards, expanding the organic market, and spreading the good news that organic agriculture can sustainably feed the world while reversing global warming. The time is right to step up our efforts and move the Organic Revolution forward, but OCA needs your financial support to do so.
ALERTS OF THE WEEK
Label GMOs 2012!
In 2011, we got mad
For the movement against genetic engineering in agriculture, 2011 was one of the worst years since 1994 when Monsanto's genetically engineered bovine growth hormone (aka rBGH or rBST) became the first GMO approved for use in food production.
Although President Obama promised to label genetically engineered foods while he was running for president, he has instead stacked his administration with biotech boosters who've gone on to approve GMO sweet corn, ethanol corn, alfalfa, sugar beets, and lawn grass―all without labels to protect our right to know or regulations to prevent contamination of organic. Any day now, the FDA is expected to approve the first genetically engineered food animal, a Frankenfish made from salmon and eelpout genes.
And, then we got organized
Shock and anger coalesced into resistance when volunteer activists organized the first wave of protests, the Rallies for the Right to Know on March 26. Things kept building through October (Non-GMO Month) with hundreds of protests, including the Millions Against Monsanto campaign's World Food Day events and the Right2Know March from New York to D.C. The message of the Millions Against Monsanto campaign was taken up by the Occupy Wall St. movement at hundreds of Occupy Together actions nationwide, as an example of the harm done to democracy, health, and sustainability when lobbyists make campaign contributions in exchange for deregulation and corporate welfare.
In 2012, we're in it to win it!
The vast majority of U.S. consumers would boycott GMO-tainted food and buy organic and non-GMO food if they knew that most non-organic processed foods―even so-called "natural" foods―contain genetically engineered ingredients.
The vast majority of U.S. Consumers would vote for mandatory labeling of GMOs if the issue was on the ballot.
In California, we can get mandatory GMO food labeling on the ballot. Hundreds have already volunteered. You can help make it happen!
Click here to volunteer in California
Michigan also has a campaign to get GMO labeling on the ballot
16 states have legislation to label genetically engineered food
If you're in one of the states with GMO legislation on the table, we need your help to connect with the legislative sponsors to develop a strategy to get these bills passed in 2012. Click here to volunteer in your state.
In 2012, we'll be voting for President and Congress, as well as state and local legislators. We need to let every candidate know we're not casting our votes until we know where they stand on GMO labels and that we won't support elected officials who break their promises!
The Republican Presidential Primary Race is already in full swing. Find out what the candidates have to say about genetic engineering.
ALERTS OF THE WEEK
Don't Let FTUSA Dilute Fair Trade Standards
Fair World Project (FWP), a campaign of the Organic Consumers Association, the nation's largest network of green and ethical consumers, rejects leading certifier Fair Trade USA's (formerly Transfair USA) new "Fair Trade for All" initiative and standards revisions. As of January 1, 2012, FWP will not recognize FTUSA as a reputable fair trade certifier unless it reverses its proposed labeling and commercial availability standards. This week, FWP sent a letter to FTUSA to convey their position on the proposed changes. View the letter.
To carry the FTUSA "Fair Trade Certified (Ingredients)" mark, now a product need contain only 10% certified fair trade ingredients, and to carry the "Fair Trade Certified" mark, a product must contain only 25% certified fair trade ingredients. But even more egregious, is that once those content thresholds are met, FTUSA will not require that fair trade ingredients be sourced and used even if they are commercially available in fair trade form, a key requirement of any fair trade certification scheme such as FTUSA's former parent organization, the Fairtrade Labelling Organization. Consequently, companies that have been known for shirking corporate responsibility and fair trade, such as Hershey's, could place the FTUSA mark on their chocolate bars by sourcing fair trade sugar but not certified fair trade cocoa. What's more, under the new FTUSA labeling standards, a "fair trade" chocolate bar could in fact contain sugar, vanilla or cocoa produced using child or forced labor, even though all these ingredients are commercially available in fair trade form.
Take action! Tell Fair Trade USA: "Don't Dilute Fair Trade Standards"
ALERTS OF THE WEEK
The food movement is already an important part of the Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Together encampments nationwide, from the Food Not Bombs chapters feeding the occupiers with free organic food, to the activists naming Monsanto as one of the most notorious of the 1% corporate elite running the nation and trampling on our rights. Here's some of the discussion taking place across the country at OWS sites:
"Robert Strype, 29, a protester from the Poughkeepsie, N.Y., area who was wearing a T-shirt that expressed his displeasure with Monsanto, said that anger about practices like factory farming and the genetic modification of vegetables was one of the factors that had roused him and some of his fellow occupiers. 'Food plays a huge part in this movement,' he said. 'Because people are tired of being fed poison.'" - "Want to Get Fat on Wall Street? Try Protesting" - Jeff Gordinier, New York Times
"Nicole Rains, a senior in environmental science, expressed concerns with corporate influence in the university as well. She said she thinks companies like Monsanto have too much influence in the College of Agriculture.
'I hope that maybe Iowa State University will look at where it gets its funding and offer options for students who have a moral and social conscience,' Rains said." - "Occupy" protests reach Ames with "Occupy ISU"
"The creation of corporate welfare programs pad the coffers of companies already rich and powerful, companies like Wells Fargo, Monsanto, Maytag, and Iowa Beef Processors." - Ed Fallon's 'big smile' mug shot
"Corporations have taken over everything," said Iowa City resident Brandon Ross. "You can't even have small farming, as companies like Monsanto have copyrighted basic things that occur in nature." - "Occupy Iowa City Stands With Occupy Wall Street" - Ryan Kopf, Iowa City Owl
Nestle and Monsanto are some of the local businesses activist Camille Piazza thinks need to hear what the 99% want. - "Local 99% protestors get ready to 'Occupy DeKalb'" - Aaron Wright, WREX Channel 13
Want to facilitate a Millions Against Monsanto teach-in at your local Occupy action? Here are a few good resources:
Food Activism and Occupy Wall St.
If You Eat, You Better Occupy Wall Street
The Food Movement Must Occupy Wall Street
Occupying Wall Street: The Farm Bureau is a Front Group for Agribusiness
ALERTS OF THE WEEK
Obama Administration Gives Frankenfish Company a Bail-Out
Stop Genetically Engineered Salmon!
AquaBounty is seeking approval for a genetically engineered animal that their own data shows would create allergies, increase cancer risks and reduce nutrition.
Public revulsion at the idea of eating a salmon-eelpout combination that could never occur in nature, and the logistical nightmare of trying to figure out how to prevent this Frankenfish from escaping and wiping out wild salmon populations, has made the research, development and regulatory process slow.
After $67m and 16 years, the company is running out of cash. That is, it was, until the USDA gave it a half-million-dollar National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant.
The $500,000 grant to AquaBounty is a bail-out for the firm's main investor, the business tycoon and former economics minister of Georgia, Kakha Bendukidze. Over the years, AquaBounty has received some $3m from the US government and some $6m in funds from Canadian government.
Millions in corporate welfare for a company that can't even prove they have a safe product and a viable business model?!
It's just one more reason to stop GMO salmon!
Film of the Week
How much does it cost to run for a U.S. Senate seat? One million? Two? Four?! Only if you want to lose. It costs considerably more if you want to stand before the crowd, fingers held in a 'V' high above your head. The cost of running for office has grown so large that only a tiny sliver of Americans can donate anything significant, let alone run themselves.
Politicians must go to large donors such as the oil & gas industry, agrichemical companies, health insurers, and Wall Street...you know...the type of companies they're supposed to be regulating. Likened by one seasoned Senator to the ancient art of whoring, America's electoral system forces elected representatives, in both parties, to rely on special interests for their job security.
PRICELE$$ is a one-hour documentary journey from 4th of July revelry to America's croplands; from hopeful windfarms to our nation's capitol in search of some answers. Maybe even a solution.
The Lost Years of Climate Change: Are We Just Going to Talk Our Way to Oblivion?
A Movement Too Big to Fail
What Do You Know About GMOs? [Infographic]
We Can Feed 10 Billion of Us, Study Finds but It Wont Be Easy
USDA Pushes Veggies, But Subsidizes Meat
Join the OCA-Endorsed National Buying Club for Organic and Non-GMO Foods: The Green Polka Dot Box
OCA is happy to announce the formation of a new national distribution service for home delivery of organic and non-GMO foods, at 30-50% below the cost of retail, with free shipping on orders of $150 or more. The new national distribution club is called the Green Polka Dot Box (GPDB).
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