ESSAY OF THE WEEK

FDA’s Voluntary GMO Labeling Is Good for Monsanto, Bad for Consumers

While consumers battle on for laws mandating the labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food products, some lawmakers are taking the GMO labeling debate in a different direction. And it’s a direction that’s anything but consumer friendly.

Last month, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) asked the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to finalize its 2001 guidance on voluntary labeling of GMOs.

The senators advertised their request as a move intended to benefit you, the consumer. But in fact, a federal voluntary labeling plan plays right into the hands of the biotech and big food industries.

Sorry, Senators. But voluntary will never be the new mandatory.

If the FDA heeds the request of Senators Warren and Udall, we could see the end of states’ rights to label GMOs. And the end of non-GMO certification and labeling. Not exactly the consumer-friendly sort of advocating we’re looking for.

Read the essay

 
 

ACTION ALERT

Whose Side Are They on, Anyway?

It’s a pretty safe bet that if Monsanto and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), two of the largest funders of campaigns to defeat GMO labeling, are in favor of something, that “something” won’t be good for you.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) have signaled support for FDA guidance on voluntary labeling of GMOs. A move to protect consumers? Hardly. After all, Monsanto and the GMA also want the FDA to finalize its voluntary guidance on GMO labeling. And that wouldn’t be true unless the biotech and food industries thought there was something in it for them.

What might that something be? Perhaps the path to preemption of states’ rights to label GMOs. Or the end of certified non-GMO labels. Or maybe both.

Sometimes it makes sense to contact senators outside your own state, especially when they’re advocating for a law that could hurt all consumers.

This is one of those times. Please sign our petition below, and forward it widely. Then pick up the phone and ask Senators Warren and Udall to side with you, not Monsanto and the GMA, by supporting state and federal mandatory GMO labeling laws.

TAKE ACTION: Tell Senators Warren and Udall: FDA’s Voluntary GMO Labeling is Good for Monsanto, Bad for Consumers

Call Sen. Warren (202) 224-4543 and Sen. Udall at  (202) 224-5941

 
 

I-522 UPDATE

Poisoning Minds

For more than two decades, Monsanto has been poisoning our water, our soil, our food.

But right now, the Biotech Bully is focused on one thing: Poisoning the minds of voters in Washington State - voters who are still on the fence about I-522, an initiative to label GMOs in food sold in grocery stores.

Last week, Monsanto and friends launched a statewide, anti-labeling, anti-I-522 ad blitz. It looks a lot like the $46-million worth of negative, deceitful ads they unleashed last year this time in California. Ads that helped defeat California’s GMO labeling initiative.

Monsanto, DuPont, Dow, Bayer, BASF and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (representing the junk food gang) are footing the bill. With almost $12 million (so far) to spend, they’re running ads that are dishonest and misleading. But clever. And convincing.

If you’re a busy mom or college student, a distracted worker with too much on your everyday plate, you might be hearing “GMO” for the first time. From Monsanto. The lies Monsanto will feed you – that labeling will cost you money, that farmers and grocers will be hurt – just might resonate.

If you never see or hear the truth, from the YES on I-522 campaign, you could be one of the voters who checks the “NO” box.

That’s what we’re up against, today, in Washington State. And that’s why we need your help. Today. Your donation will help us dilute the poison. And win this seminal GMO labeling battle. Thank you!

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

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

 
 

CAMPAIGN UPDATE

Good Riddance. We Hope

It’s not a done deal yet. But we’re close to scoring a huge victory: the end of the Monsanto Protection Act.

Yesterday (September 24), Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Chair of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, proposed an alternative to the House version of the Continuing Resolution, a bill to fund the federal government beyond Sept. 30, 2013. Absent from the new-and-improved version is the Farmers Assurance Provision, that sneaky, Monsanto-friendly “policy rider” better known as the Monsanto Protection Act.

On Tuesday, Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) told Poltico: “That provision will be gone.”

Gone from the Senate version. But will the House approve the Senate’s new Continuing Resolution? With more than 30 hours of debate to go, there’s no guarantee the Senate and House will come to terms on any new bill. Much less one without the Monsanto Protection Act.

In the meantime, we hope. And we keep up the pressure on our Senators

TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress to Vote No on the Continuing Resolution unless the Monsanto Protection Act is removed

 
 

ACTION ALERT

Let’s Up the Buzz to Protect the Bees!

The OCA, along with Friends of the Earth, SumofUs.org and other protectors of the environment have called on Home Depot and Lowe’s to stop selling plants coated in neonicotinoids. Neonics, as they’re not-so-affectionately called, are a class of pesticides considered largely responsible for killing off the honeybee.

So far, neither Home Depot nor Lowe’s has responded to our petitions. So we’ve designated this week as “Swarm Home Depot and Lowe’s Week.” How can you help? By tapping the power of social media, of course.

Here’s what to do. First, visit Home Depot and Lowe’s on facebook and ask them to stop selling bee-killing pesticides and pre-poisoned bee-friendly plants.

Next take to twitter. Here are a couple of tweets for inspiration, but you can create your own messages, too.

@homedepot @lowes: 1 out of3 bites of food need #bees! Stop selling bee-killing pesticides! #BeeAction @foe_us www.beeaction.org

Buzz kill: @Home Depot @Lowes: stop selling bee-killing pesticides #BeeAction @foe_us: www.beeaction.org

And of course, sign the petition if you haven’t already. And forward it to a friend.

TAKE ACTION: Home Depot and Lowe’s: Stop Selling Bee-Killing Garden Plants!

 
 

FARM BILL UPDATE

Farm Bill on Life Support. Again.

The 2013 Farm Bill still has a pulse, but not much of one.

On September 19, the U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of the bill. It contains almost $40 billion over 10 years in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the main food assistance program that used to be called food stamps.

Now what? The current Farm Bill expires on September 30. With only a few days left it’s not likely the House and Senate will agree on, and pass, a new five-year bill. Dale Moore, the executive director of public policy for the American Farm Bureau Federation, told the New York Times this week, “Right now, we’re just hoping that something will get done before the end of the year.”

Cutting benefits for the poor to give subsidies to the rich agribusinesses doesn’t seem like something that should “get done.” Nor does passing a bill that contains an amendment that could overturn states’ rights to label GMOs.

The OCA has joined an 80+ coalition that is calling on lawmakers to oppose the King Amendment, Sec. 11312 of H.R. 2642, a provision to the House-approved version of the Farm Bill that could wipe out countless state laws and rules regulating agriculture and food labeling.

If you haven’t yet signed our petition asking Congress to reject the King Amendment, or any federal legislation that would stomp on states’ rights to label GMOs, now would be a good time.

Read the press release

TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress: Don’t Pass a Farm Bill that Lets Monsanto Wipe Out State GMO Labeling Laws!

 
 

 

Groups Plan Anti-Monsanto World Food Day Events

Can’t think of a better way to celebrate World Food Day than to stick it to Monsanto. En masse.

Two groups - March against Monsanto and and Moms Across America - are targeting the Biotech Bully during the week of October 12 – 18. No strangers to Monsanto protests, both groups have organized marches in the past. And generated global participation. And global publicity.

You know how it goes. The more the merrier. And the more powerful. How about finding an event near you? And corralling your friends and family, too?

Join a Moms Across America World Food Day Event

Join a March Against Monsanto World Food Day Event

 
 

One Down, One to Go

Thanks to tens of thousands of consumers like you, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) gave a thumbs down to extending the deadline for getting tetracycline out of organic pears and apples. The NOSB ruled earlier this year that growers will have to stop using tetracycline after Oct. 21, 2014.

Great news. But, oops. One more thing. The NOSB is still considering allowing growers to use streptomycin until 2016, instead of requiring them to adhere to the original 2014 deadline. So it looks like they need to hear from us again. By October 1.

Consuming fruits sprayed with streptomycin exposes our healthy gut flora to risk, increasing our chances of developing resistance to an antibiotic that’s critical for treating tuberculosis, tularemia, plague, bacterial endocarditis, brucellosis and other diseases. Growers use the antibiotic to fight fire blight, a bacterial disease that kills the shoots of apple and pear trees. But there are other, better ways to fight fire blight.

TAKE ACTION: Tell the NOSB to Get Streptomycin Out of Organic Apples and Pears!

 
 

LITTLE BYTES

Essential Reading for the Week

9 Nastiest Things in the Meat You Eat

U.S. Department of Agriculture Guts National Organic Law

Report Urges OB/GYNs to Ask Pregnant Women About Exposure to Risky Environmental Chemicals

How Factory Farms May Be Killing Us

A Toddler on 3 Different Psychiatric Meds? How Drugging Kids Became Big Business

General Mills, ConAgra Report, and Big Food Suffer Losses in Wake of GMO Controversy

 
 

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