Is the NPA Working for You? Or Big Pharma and Big Biotech?
The Natural Products Association (NPA), the leading trade association for so-called "natural" products, says it works for consumers. But does it? So far, no, says Dr. Mercola. But there's still time to do the right thing.
The NPA opposed Prop 37, the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act, which was narrowly defeated on Nov. 6. Taking a line straight from the No on 37 campaign playbook, the NPA argued that "Proposition 37 places every supplier, manufacturer, and retailer of food products at risk of unreasonable and frivolous litigation." Not true, but that didn't prevent the NPA from siding with Big Biotech on the issue of labeling genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Maybe because its members include DuPont, Bayer and BASF?
Or could it be that the NPA didn't like the fact that Prop 37 would have prohibited the use of the word "natural" on products containing GMOs? Polls show that many consumers believe that "natural" means "almost organic" or even "better than organic." The truth? "Natural" products are typically cheaper than the organic varieties, yet more expensive than conventional products that don't bear the word "natural." This allows companies to make billions selling "natural" products to consumers who think they're getting a premium product, when in fact, there's little or no difference between many "natural" and conventional products.
And what about NPA's "natural" certification process for personal care products? The truth? An NPA-certified "natural" personal care product can contain 100% GE ingredients!
Roxanne Green of PCC Natural Markets, a certified organic retailer that supported Prop. 37, is the newest member of the NPA's Executive Committee of the Board of Directors. Unlike NPA's CEO John Shaw, she supported Prop 37 and is also supporting I-522, Washington State's initiative to label GE foods in the state. Will Green be able to move the NPA toward its stated mission of protecting consumers? We hope so!
Ever heard of the drugs oestradiol-17, zeranol, trenbolone acetate and melengestrol acetate? Probably not. That's because meat producers aren't required to tell you that these synthetic growth hormones - linked to increased risk of breast and prostate cancers in humans - are routinely injected or implanted into animals raised for meat in the U.S.
The European Commission has banned the use of these drugs in animals raised for human consumption in Europe, and forbids the import of meat containing these hormones from the US. But here in this country? The FDA not only allows these and other antibiotics and hormones to be routinely injected, implanted, or laced into farm or feedlot animals raised for meat, dairy or eggs, but it also doesn't require meat producers to tell you which drugs they use, or in what quantities.
While GMO labeling has taken center stage this past year in the fight for truth-and-transparency in labeling, there's another labeling battle looming: the labeling of meat, eggs and dairy products coming out of factory farms. These products routinely contain residues of dangerous antibiotics and hormones. The OCA plans to make the labeling of these products a priority in 2013.
Meanwhile, this week, the Government Accountability Project (GAP) announced it is suing the FDA - that agency that's supposed to be looking out for public health - because it won't release detailed information about which antibiotics are being used in what quantities in the animals raised for meat on our grocery shelves. We do know this: 80% of all antibiotics sold in the US are sold for use in animals raised for meat. Why? To make the animals grow faster and survive the hellish conditions in factory farms, or CAFOs (Confined Animal Feeding Operations). This means two things. Humans are indirectly consuming these antibiotics and hormones. And, as public health experts have warned repeatedly, the rampant and reckless use of antibiotics on factory farms is making antibiotics less and less effective as cures for diseases that affect humans.
Stop the 'Monsanto Protection Act' and Other Dangerous Riders!
There's still time to let legislators know that we won't tolerate Congress's latest proposed giveaways, including immunity from federal law, to Monsanto and the rest of the biotech bullies.
Here's what's at stake. Attached to the Agricultural Appropriations Bill is the "Farmers Assurance Provision" (Section 733) which is nothing more than a sneak attack on American farmers, consumers and the environment. If passed, this rider, aptly renamed the "Monsanto Protection Act," would give Monsanto immunity from federal law by allowing the biotech industry to plant genetically modified crops, even if a federal court has ordered the planting be halted until an Environmental Impact Statement is completed.
On the Farm Bill side, Monsanto lobbyists have bought themselves several anti-regulatory riders that would effectively gut the USDA's ability to regulate the use of genetically engineered organisms (GMOs). The riders would speed up the review and approval process for new GE crops, and authorize the USDA to consider exempting certain GE crops from any review at all.
Now that Congress has returned, both bills are on the agenda. The Agriculture Appropriations could become part of an Omnibus Appropriations Bill and the Farm Bill could be included in a deficit-reduction agreement to avoid the "fiscal cliff.
Don't let Monsanto get away with this latest attack on farmers, consumers and the environment!
The Traitor Boycott: Tell Naked Juice to Stop Lying
Naked Juice probably doesn't want you to know that it's owned by Pepsi, which donated $2.5 million to help defeat Prop 37, the California Right to Know Genetically Modified Food Act.
But there's a lot more the product that sells itself as "100% juice," "all natural" and "non-GMO" doesn't want you to know. Like that it contains genetically modified soy. And synthetic compounds such as calcium pantothenate, produced from formaldehyde. And Fibersol-2, a synthetic digestion-resistant fiber produced by Archer Daniels Midland. Naked Juice probably doesn't want you to know that it's full of fructooligosaccharides, a synthetic fiber and sweetener, and inulin, an artificial and invisible fiber added to foods to increase fiber content without the typical fiber mouth-feel.
This week, let's let Naked Juice know that we're all done with its product until it cleans up its act. And, oh yeah, we think PepsiCo and Naked Juice should support I-522, the Washington State initiative to label GMOs. Please use the link below to write to Mike Torres, senior director of Communications for PepsiCo. And please join the hundreds of others who are publicly boycotting Naked Juice on its Facebook page.
The most recent official vote tally released from the California's Secretary of State office on Dec. 3 claims that Prop 37, the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act, was defeated by a narrow margin of 51.5%-48.5%.
Or was it? Statisticians in California have uncovered a series of near-impossible "statistical abnormalities" affecting over 150,000 votes that could have swung the election. Their research strongly suggests that electronic vote tabulators in a number of California counties switched Yes on 37 votes into No votes. Statisticians found that Yes on 37 fared worse, on the average, in larger precincts in a number of California's most populous counties than it did in smaller precincts. These findings fly in the face of polls and common sense, given that the strongest support for Yes on 37 came from young people, younger moms, minority communities and low-income residents who are concentrated in these same larger urban precincts.
On Dec. 10, a donor to OCA and the Yes on Prop 37 campaign filed an official request for a recount in Orange and numerous other counties in California. OCA supports this recount request and will keep you informed on the results of the recount. We will not be satisfied by the "official" Prop 37 election results issued by the Secretary of State's office until there is a complete recount of the votes in all the counties exhibiting statistical abnormalities.
We've already reported extensively on the lengths Big Biotech and Big Food went to defeat Prop 37. On how they spent $46 million on non-stop ads full of lies and misinformation, and on false mailers pretending to originate from the Democratic Party. Were they desperate enough to flip enough votes to ensure their narrow victory?
We hope a recount will shed more light on this. For an overview of how electronic "vote flipping" may have stolen the Prop 37 Ballot Initiative, you can listen to this one-hour, in-depth radio show hosted by Bob Fitrakis, Ohio political science professor and expert on electronic voter theft. Among his guests are Francois Choquette, respected California statistician who is investigating electronic voter fraud on Prop 37.
Sometimes it’s difficult to see the connection between the donations you make and real results. What have we accomplished this year, together?
Thanks to you, the OCF was the single largest contributor to the YES on 37 campaign to label genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in California, donating more than $1.4 million. Prop 37 may have been defeated, but the massive effort that went into supporting and publicizing the measure guarantees that the first GMO labeling law is just around the corner.
Prop 37 started a national conversation about GMOs, and truth and transparency in labeling. No longer can anyone claim that the movement to label GMOs is a fringe movement populated by few health nuts and foodies. Thanks to you, GMO labeling is now a mainstream movement that is not going away.
With your help, we forced the opposition to spend more than $46 million on a very narrow defeat. Thanks to you, more than 6 million Californians went to the polls and took a stand against being kept in the dark about what’s in their food.
Thanks to you, the momentum we built in California is unstoppable – we are already working on GMO labeling initiatives and legislation in Washington State and Vermont. And in 2013, with your help, we’ll launch similar labeling campaigns to force meat producers to label meat, dairy and eggs from animals raised in Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) – so consumers can choose to avoid products from animals fed GMO feed, and pumped full of hormones and antibiotics.
More than 80% of our financial support comes from people like you, who believe in the work we do. Please make a generous donation today. Thank you!
OCA Calls for Boycott of Woodstock Foods in Solidarity with Striking UNFI Workers in Washington State
The OCA has called for a boycott of Woodstock Foods, the private label owned by United Natural Foods (UNFI), the largest wholesale distributor of natural and organic foods in the U.S. The boycott is intended to show solidarity with UNFI workers who went on strike in Washington State on December 10, after months of complaints by truck drivers and warehouse workers about numerous violations of labor rights by UNFI management officials. Complaints included threats of violence, job loss, and illegal acts of intimidation.
The National Labor Relations Board is currently investigating UNFI for 45 violations of federal labor law. The charges include allegations that UNFI engaged in worker surveillance, intimidation and retaliation, that it refused to bargain in good faith, and that it illegally reassigned bargaining unit work.
Call UNFI Manager Hank Heatherly at (253) 333-6769. Tell him to return to the bargaining table immediately. Or if you live in Washington State, come down to the strike line (22 30th St. NE Auburn, WA) and stand with picketing workers!
The OCA highly recommends this new bilingual book: Medicinal Plants Used in Northern Guanajuato, by Rosita Arvigo, D.N.
With beautiful illustrations, this book features easy-to-prepare home remedies using huizache, aloe vera, mesquite, corn, basil and thyme, just to name a few, along with descriptions of dosage, preparation and administration. The majority of these plants can found thoughout the US.