ESSAY OF THE WEEK

Are We Torturing Animals with Monsanto's GMO Feed?

We associate food with, at most, pleasure, at the very least, survival. It’s not too different for animals. Lambs turned out on new grass move “quickly over certain grasses to get to others – to nosh on clover and mustard grass, avoiding horse nettle and fescue along the way,” writes Dan Barber in A Chef Speaks Out. Wild pigs, capable of seeking out the nutrients they need, “enjoy eating nuts, roots, fruits, mushrooms, bugs, rabbits, and, occasionally, dead animals.”

But what happens when animals are confined in cramped, filthy environments and force-fed monoculture diets of genetically modified corn and soy?

A lot can happen. Calves are born too weak to walk, with enlarged joints and limb deformities. Piglets experience rapidly deteriorating health, a “failure to thrive” so severe that they start breaking down their own tissues and organs – self-cannibalizing – to survive. Many animals suffer from weak, brittle bones that easily fracture. Dairy cows develop mastitis, a painful udder infection. Beef cattle develop liver abscesses and an excruciating condition referred to as “twisted gut.”

It all adds up to a lot of misery for the animals. And it doesn't bode well for humans, says the author of America's Two-Headed Pig.

Read the essay

 
 

ACTION ALERT

Tell the FDA: GMOs Aren’t ‘Natural’!

Would you be shocked to learn that the corn in the “all natural” tortilla chips you just bought had been genetically engineered to produce a toxin that ruptures the intestines of insects? Causing them to die quickly after ingesting the corn? Or that the corn in the “100% natural” cereal flakes you just served your kids for breakfast had been saturated with far more glyphosate than any normal plant would be able to tolerate? Because the corn was engineered to resist Monsanto’s RoundUp herbicide?

The Food & Drug Administration (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.” So who would guess that food marketed as “natural” contains the engineered genes of insecticide-producing and/or herbicide-resistant bacteria?

So far the FDA has dodged the question of whether or not food companies are lying to customers when they say their product is “natural” even though it contains genetically engineered ingredients. But with the courts facing a barrage of lawsuits from consumers furious that food companies have been allowed to hide GMOs in popular “natural” brands, the FDA is being asked to weigh in.

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?

TAKE ACTION: Tell the FDA that GMOs Aren’t “Natural”!

 
 

ORGANIC RETAIL AND CONSUMER ALLIANCE

Top Grocer Spotlight: Jimbo’s . . . Naturally!

Fifteen years ago, Jimbo Someck, grocer and father, had one small organic store and one big mission: “A piece of organic fruit in every child’s recycled lunch bag.”

Today, Jimbo's . . . Naturally! is a thriving San Diego-based company with four locations, and a fifth in the works. The store and its owner have also become known as a champions of consumers’ right to know about GMOs. Not only does the company educate consumers about the dangers of GMO ingredients, but it also works with manufacturers to find alternative ingredients. Those manufacturers who are willing to transition to GMO-free are rewarded with Jimbo’s continued business. Those who aren’t are shown the door.

Last year, Jimbo’s contributed $10,000 to California’s Proposition 37 campaign to label GMOs. And even though the California-based company doesn’t operate any stores in Washington State, Jimbo’s has donated $10,000 to help pass I-522, a GMO labeling initiative on the ballot this November in Washington.

For all these reasons and more, Jimbo’s earned a spot on the list of OCA’s Top ‘Diligent Dozen” Right to Know Grocers.

More about Jimbo’s . . . Naturally!

More about the Right to Know Grocers Contest

 
 

SUPPORT THE OCA & OCF

Platitudes.

If at first you don’t succeed. Patience is a virtue. The wheels of change grind slowly.

Don’t give up the ship.

We’ve heard them all. And so have you. There’s been no shortage of platitudes in our conversations around consumers’ quest for GMO labeling laws.

Last year this time all eyes, including yours and ours, were on California and Proposition 37, a citizens’ initiative to label GMOs. A year later, with GMO labeling laws now on the books in Connecticut and Maine, all eyes are on Washington State’s I-522 Label GMOs initiative.

We need more than platitudes. We need a win on the west coast to connect the dots with Maine and Connecticut. We need a law, one initiated by consumers, that doesn’t contain trigger clauses requiring three or four other states to pass GMO laws before it takes effect.

We need to win in Washington State. And we need your help to do it. Because despite what they say – that all things come to those who wait – we know we can’t just sit back and wait. We have to work. And it’s your support that makes our work possible. 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)

 
 

ORGANIC INDEX 8.8.13

GMO Seeds and the Global Market: Can You Say ‘Monopoly’?

One glance at the statistics and it’s clear: The U.S. and Monsanto dominate the global market for genetically engineered crops. Forty percent of the world’s genetically modified (GM) crops are grown in the U.S., where Monsanto controls 80 percent of the GM corn market, and 93 percent of the GM soy market.

Worldwide, 282 million acres are planted in Monsanto’s GM crops, up from only 3 million in 1996, according to Food and Water Watch. Forty percent of U.S. cropland, or 151.4 million acres, are planted in Monsanto’s crops. Monsanto owns 1,676 seed, plant and other applicable patents.

Maybe it’s time we ask ourselves: How long will we tolerate the growing monopolization and genetic engineering of seeds by a monopolistic pesticide company that poses a deadly threat to our health, our environment and the future of our food?

More Facts on GMO Seeds and Monsanto

 
 

VIDEO OF THE WEEK

The Mother of All Trade Agreements. And Why You Should Care.



The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). It’s not really about trade. It’s about creating a back door for corporations to get what they want. What do they want? Bigger profits. Lower food safety standards. Fewer rights and lower pay for workers. Fewer environmental regulations. Fast and loose financial regulations. Internet censorship. Did we mention bigger profits?

Watch the video

Learn more

TAKE ACTION: Tell President Obama and U.S. Trade Rep. Michael Froman: Trade Agreements Shouldn't Be Secret!

 
 

LITTLE BYTES

Essential Reading for the Week

Fair Trade Labels: Some Good News, a Challenge and a Call for Transparency

Cancer: Forbidden Cures

You, Yes You Can Afford Wholesome and Organic Food

Fracking the Commons: Why Your Public Lands Are Under Assault by Oil and Gas Drilling

5 Surprising Genetically Modified Foods

The Killing Fields: Industrial Agriculture, Dead Zones and Genetically Engineered Corn

 
 

MESSAGE FROM OUR SPONSORS

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Organic Bytes is a publication of Organic Consumers Association

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