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ESSAY OF THE WEEK

Climate-Friendly Food and Farming: Why We Need Labels on Factory-Farmed Food

When we think of global warming, we usually think of gas-guzzling cars and industrial smokestacks. Not food and farms. It’s time to change how we think. The fact is our modern industrial food and farming systems, with all their chemical use, genetically modified crops and energy-intensive methods, are the major cause of man-made global warming.

How can you help change the system? By buying local and organic, and by boycotting all meat, dairy and eggs from factory farms which, as it turns out, are a major contributor to our current climate crisis. How can we get everyone to help? By educating consumers about the health, ethical and environmental hazards associated with factory farming. And by demanding labels on all meat, eggs and dairy from animals raised on these farms, so consumers can make a clear choice at the grocery store. It's time to vote with our forks and knives for climate-friendly food and farming!

Ronnie’s latest essay

 
 

 

FDA: ‘Nuking Fruits & Veggies Will Make Them Safer.’ Huh?

TAKE ACTION: Tell the FDA: Don’t irradiate my veggies!

Under pretense of keeping us “safe,” the FDA now suggests we’d all be better off eating irradiated raw vegetables and fruits. Huh?

In a new rule proposed under the misguided 2010 Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the FDA says it wants to require producers of food to be sold in the U.S. to develop a “formal plan” for preventing their products from causing foodborne illness. 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 difficulties of navigating the new FDA regs for a “formal plan,” what are the chances food producers will choose the easy way out, and simply irradiate their products rather than deal with the FDA’s mountains of bureaucratic paperwork?

Never mind that nuking food destroys vitamins, essential fatty acids and other nutrients. Or that it produces carcinogens, such as benzene and formaldehyde, as well as radiolytic compounds that humans have never eaten before. Never mind that there are no federal standards for safe levels of radiation in sterilized food. Never mind that the FDA has never offered any concrete proof that irradiation is safe. On the contrary, there is a large body of evidence that says irradiated foods are dangerous. We know that animals fed irradiated food have developed tumors and suffered reproductive damage and kidney failure.

And how is it that the FDA requires labels on irradiated foods, which it claims are perfectly safe, but rejects the notion of labeling genetically modified organisms (GMOs), which it also claims are safe? Where’s the consistency?

TAKE ACTION: Tell the FDA: Don’t irradiate my veggies!

Learn more

 
 

SUPPORT OCA & OCF

October Will Be Too Late

Activists in Washington State expect that next week, the Secretary of State will certify the signatures required to put I-522, a citizens’ initiative to label genetically modified organisms (GMOs), on the ballot. Assuming history repeats itself, the most aggressive – and devious – opponent of I-522 will be Monsanto. Monsanto alone contributed $8.2 million of the $46 million used to defeat Prop 37, the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act. And it looks as though the World’s Most Hated Corporation is already at work to defeat I-522.

This past week, social media sites were buzzing with an infographic titled, “Actions Speak Louder than Words: The Truth about Biotechnology.”  The truth about the infographic? It comes from the Find Our Common Ground website, which claims to be the work of a group of volunteer farm women. Except that it's not. The website’s domain name is owned by Osborn Barr, a public relations firm that works for Monsanto. In fact, Monsanto was its founding client. Most people wouldn’t know that. And many people, who may be hearing about GMOs for the first time, also wouldn’t know that the infographic promotes blatant lies about the safety of, and science behind, genetically engineered foods.

We will see more and more of this phony propaganda circulating in the media and on social media sites, as Monsanto tries to scare voters in Washington State out of voting for a simple label on their food. The same label consumers in 61 other countries already have. Monsanto will stop at nothing, including hiding behind a phony group of “volunteer farm women,” to keep you in the dark about what’s in your food.

That’s why we have to act now. We have to get the truth out to Washington voters today. Next October will be too late. Please help us educate Washington voters with your donation today. Thank you!

Donate to the Organic Consumers Association (tax-deductible, helps support our work on behalf of organic standards, fair trade and public education)

Donate to the Organic Consumers Fund (non-tax-deductible, but necessary for our legislative efforts in Washington, Vermont and other states)

 
 

Video of the Week

How Was This Animal Kept?

When people understand what really goes on in farms, they want clear, honest information about where their food comes from.

Ayrton Cable is a nine-year-old on a mission. On Sept. 5, Ayrton premiered his short film proposing a new law on food labeling to an invited audience of journalists and members of the British Parliament. The gist of this wise-beyond-his-years filmmaker's video is this: If consumers are given honest information about the food and farming system that produces their food, they often choose products that are better for the environment, their health and the well-being of farm animals. Even if those products cost a little more.

Watch the video

 
 

 NEW REPORT

Waste Not, Want Not: Half of World’s Food Goes to Waste

A new report by the London-based Institution of Mechanical Engineers estimates that 30–50 percent, or 1.2–2 billion tons, of all food produced on the planet is wasted. Most of the waste can be attributed to poor practices in harvesting, storage and transportation, and market and consumer waste. These numbers don’t reflect the large amounts of land, energy, fertilizers and water that also are lost when food simply ends up as waste, the report says.

The numbers also don’t reflect the tons of corn and soy fed to livestock confined on factory farms. According to CAFO: The Tragedy of Industrial Animal Factories, in the United States, 157 million tons of cereals, legumes and vegetable protein are fed to livestock to produce just 28 million tons of animal protein in the form of meat. In contrast, an acre of cereal crops can produce five times more protein than an acre used for meat production. UK-based Compassion in World Farming, an animal welfare group, says that a third of the world’s cereal harvest – enough to feed 3 billion people – goes instead to feed animals raised for human feed.

How do we stop wasting food and start feeding the world? We can start by returning  to traditional, organic farming methods, including putting an end to Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), or factory farms.

Read the report

 
 

 

Join Occupy Monsanto in St. Louis!

The World’s Most Hated Corporation won’t be feeling the love at its annual shareholders meeting this year. On Jan. 31, anti-GMO activists will descend on Monsanto’s global headquarters to protest the company's evil ways. One of those activists, who also happens to be a Monsanto shareholder, will go inside the meeting to present a shareholder resolution asking Monsanto to create a study of “material financial risks or operational impacts” associated with its chemical products and genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Please join Occupy Monsanto’s protest of the World's Most Hated Corporation on Jan. 31. Protestors will gather along Olive Boulevard at noon outside Monsanto's east campus entrance in Creve Coeur, MO. Please RSVP on Facebook!

Monsanto’s fiscal 2013 first-quarter profit nearly tripled, according to the Wall Street Journal, prompting company officials to project gross profit in 2013 of $7.65 billion. To what do they owe their recent success? Sales of corn seed to South America, and climbing herbicide prices, the company said. In other words, they’re spreading their monopoly far and wide, and charging farmers higher and higher prices for more and more pesticides.

Join the protest! RSVP

Read the shareholders resolution

Watch the secretly recorded video of last year's Annual Shareholder Meeting

 
 

 

Rematch: Farmers Take on Monsanto in Federal Court

Nearly 300 farmers, activists and supporters from across the U.S. held a Citizens Assembly in Washington D.C. last week to demand, for the second time, that the courts protect them from Monsanto. They came from Maine and Iowa, from Connecticut and Maryland to support plaintiffs and lawyers who are appealing Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) vs Monsanto et al, a court case filed last year to protect non-GMO farmers from Monsanto.

The group lost their initial suit, filed in March 2011 in New York. But they demanded, and won, an appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. At issue? Farmers want a guarantee that Monsanto won’t sue them if transgenic seeds from neighboring fields of genetically modified crops drift into their fields and contaminate their conventional or organic crops.

But there’s an even bigger issue here. Farmers want the right to grow non-GMO crops, and consumers want the right to buy non-GMO foods. But with Monsanto controlling the genetics of nearly 90% of all corn, soybeans, cotton, canola and sugar beets grown in the U.S., it’s increasingly difficult for farmers to avoid contamination of their fields by Monsanto’s seeds. Once all the fields become contaminated, consumers will find it nearly impossible to buy GMO-free food. Unless they grow their own.

Watch this video of plaintiff Jim Gerritson

Listen to the lawyers argue their cases (click on link in lower right box)

Learn more

 
 

LITTLE BYTES

Essential Reading for the Week

GE Crops Destroy Our Soil and Food Supply

Supporting Climate-Friendly Food Production

Hemp Legalization Effort Gains Steam

Undesired Consequences of the Industrial Food System

The Pro-GM Lobby’s Seven Sins Against Science

Pesticides and Phthalates Top the P.O.P. Contaminants List, Polluting Earth for Decades to Come
 
 

MESSAGE FROM OUR SPONSORS

Dr. Bronner's Celebrates 60 Years

Marking the 60th Anniversary of the company, Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps is pleased to announce that all classic liquid & bar soaps are now not only certified under the USDA National Organic Program, but also certified Fair Trade! In addition, we are pleased to introduce a revolutionary new range of high-quality organic products, from hair rinses to shaving gels – all certified under the same USDA program that certifies organic foods.

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