Thirteen years after Golden Rice was featured on the July 31 cover of Time magazine under the headline “This Rice Could Save a Million Kids a Year,” biotech’s golden child is back in the headlines. Just when public opposition to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is at an all-time high, and the biotech and junk food industries are once again pouring millions of dollars into a campaign to defeat laws that would require labels on foods containing GMO ingredients.
Coincidence? Industry spokespeople say the suspiciously timed resurrection of Golden Rice isn’t a public relations stunt designed to convert GMO skeptics. But absent any new news on a crop that hasn’t gained traction in more than a decade, the move looks more like an act of desperation than a legitimate defense of biotechnology.
After all, in the real world, the genetic engineering that has taken over vast tracts of cropland, the kind that has led to the proliferation of crops that require drenching our soil and polluting our waterways with obscene amounts of toxic herbicides and pesticides, has little in common with the DNA tinkering that produced Golden Rice.
But the real issue is this. Golden Rice is no closer to saving the world’s kids than it was 13 years ago. Because then, as now, there is still no proof that it can. And better alternatives exist.
Victory! Dr. Weil Quits Grocery Manufacturers Association
Thanks to you, the Grocery Manufacturers Association’s (GMA) membership roster is a little shorter today.
Weil Lifestyle, the company founded by heath guru Dr. Andrew Weil, cut its ties with the GMA after 24,623 of you signed our petition
pointing out the hypocrisy of telling customers and followers that GMOs should be labeled, while paying dues to the largest contributor to the campaign (NO on 522) to defeat GMO labeling in Washington State.
You might have seen that the Organic Consumers Association has called attention to the policy of the Grocery Manufacturers' Association (GMA) against mandatory GMO labeling on foods. While Weil Lifestyle has been a general member of GMA, we are not aligned on the labeling issue. Therefore, we have ended our membership.
The GMA, which donated $2.2 million last year to defeat a GMO labeling initiative in California (Proposition 37), has contributed another $2.2 million so far this year to defeat I-522.
So, who’s next? Safeway? Starbucks? Target? Let’s keep the pressure on these big-name brands. Maybe they’ll follow Dr. Weil’s lead?
Show Some Solidarity: 50k New Endorsers in One Week!
There are five of them. Monsanto. Bayer. DuPont. Dow. The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA). Mega-Million dollar corporate overlords spending millions to defeat I-522, Washington State’s GMO labeling initiative.
How many of us are there? Let’s show them.
Monday, September 9, marks the first day of YES on 522 National Solidarity Week. To show your solidarity with voters in Washington, you can visit the YES on 522 website and endorse the campaign. The goal? 50,000 endorsers in one week.
After you’ve endorsed, join the YES on 522 National Solidarity Week kick-off event, a Twitter rally, on September 9 at 7 p.m.-8 p.m. PST (10 p.m.-11 p.m. EST). Join in the twitter conversation to draw awareness to I-522. And win free prizes!
We can’t say it often enough. We all have a stake in I-522. This is a must-win battle. Let’s send this message to Monsanto: We may not all be able to cast a ballot in Washington State, but we are standing in solidarity for a win on November 5.
Referring to the civil rights movement and how long it took for activists to see results, historian Howard Zinn told an interviewer:
You have to do things, do things, do things; you have to light that match, light that match, light that match, not knowing how many times it’s going to sputter and go out before it’s going to take hold.
For 15 years, the OCA has fought the biotech industry and Big Food, for truth and transparency in labeling. Especially GMO labeling. With a small but dedicated consumer following, we did things, did things, did things.
On election day, 2012, with the help of millions of consumers, allies, donors and friends, we did something big. We got nearly 6 million people in one state to vote for GMO labeling. And we got millions more, from all over the country, to notice.
It wasn’t enough to pass Proposition 37, the GMO labeling initiative in Californa. But we lit a match. And it sparked a prairie fire. Now, with your help, we are on the verge of winning GMO labeling in Washington State.
As Zinn told his interviewer, you’ve got to have patience. And you’ve got to keep doing things. You’ve got to keep lighting that match. Thanks to you, that’s exactly what we’re doing. Please consider a donation today to help us win in Washington State . . . and beyond. Thank you!
Whose job is it to decide if food manufacturers can use the word “natural” on food containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and other unnatural additives or artificial ingredients? The courts? Or the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA)?
The jury’s still out, but this much is clear. Consumers are driving the demand for honest labeling.
In July, a California court slapped PepsiCo with a $9-million settlement for adding a synthetic fiber material to some types of Naked Juice. The suit also accused Pepsi of using GMO ingredients in some Naked Juice products. Pepsi denied the GMO allegation, but didn’t deny adding the synthetic fiber.
The PepsiCo settlement signaled a pro-consumer trend. But then a U.S. District Judge in California set a new precedent by putting a hold on a similar class action against Irving-based Gruma Corp., which sells tortillas, guacamole and other products under the brand name Mission. Gruma was sued for claiming their tortillas, containing GMOs, were “all natural.” Rather than rule, the judge hearing the case punted, saying that it was the FDA’s job, not the court’s, to define “natural.”
Will other courts follow the California judge’s lead, putting a damper on similar class action suits? Maybe not. In two recent and similar class action cases, one against J.M. Smucker and the other involving Frito-Lay, the courts have ruled that the cases can go forward. No waiting on the FDA.
What do you think? Should the courts keep ruling against companies that intentionally mislead consumers? Or should the FDA put an end to deceptive labeling practices? It might take consumer pressure in all directions to get the job done.
From Farm to Factory: The Industrialization of Meat and Dairy Farming
More and more people, eating more and more meat. It should add up to more and more farms raising animals for meat, right? Wrong.
According to Foodopoly, by Wenonah Hauter, in 1935, 54 percent of the population lived on 6.8 million farms. Between 1950 and 1970, farm populations declined by more than one half. Today, says Hauter, under one million farms produce the bulk of the food (meat and vegetables) produced in the U.S., and farmers make up less than one percent of the nation’s population.
So who’s producing all that meat? Two hundred pounds per person per year, conservatively speaking?
Factory farms. Where efficiency, speed and technology rule. And animal welfare, farmers’ welfare, community welfare and quality protein matter little, if it all.
Want to wander the streets of Havana? Visit Cuba’s urban organic gardens and rural organic farms? Experience Cuba’s colorful culture and vibrant people?
The OCA is once again collaborating with our Via Organica Project in Mexico, and the Center for Global Justice, on a 10-day trip to Cuba from Nov. 22 to Dec. 2, 2013. Deadline to apply is October 8.
The trip is open to all who have a professional interest. The estimated cost of $1500 includes dormitory-style or simple hotel accommodations, meals, translation, guide, transportation and a full program of activities for 10 days. Fee doesn’t include flights, visa, tips, airport exit tax ($30 USD), or souvenirs and other personal items. A limited number of scholarships are available.
Two decades ago Cuba was the first country to make a concerted effort to move from industrial to organic agriculture. This is your chance to see first-hand the results of Cuba’s organic transition and to examine the social and economic policies behind the transition. Don’t miss out!
For applications and further information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Discover the Fastest, Funnest, and Easiest Ways to
Grow Your Own Groceries
Hi, I am Marjory Wildcraft. About a decade ago I volunteered to help get fresh, local, organic produce into the kids school system. That project failed miserably, and changed my life forever. Why? Because there wasn't enough locally grown food in the entire county for even one small elementary school. I am willing to bet there isn't much food growing in your county either.
Once I stopped shaking, I devoted my life to finding the fastest, easiest, and funnest ways for an individual or family to grow thier own food. I discovered that growing your own is incredibly rewarding.
I've developed a video set that is used by permacuulture teachers, universities, missionary organizations, and regular folks. It gets you started producing very quickly. You know from reading these OCA newsletters that the era of quality food is way back in your rearview mirror. And the era of cheap food is the dead end right in front of you. Fortunately, if you've got a hose and a backyard, or even a sunny window sill, there is a tremenous amount you can do - and it is really fun!