TOP NEWS OF THE WEEK

Not Buyin’ It

From the get-go, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has been determined to keep labels off of foods containing GMOs (genetically modified organisms).

On Wednesday (March 27), FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg revealed that the FDA hasn’t changed its position on GMOs, despite two decades’ worth of studies linking GMOs, and the pesticides and herbicides required to grow them, to everything from allergies to cancer. In the catch 22 of the big GMO safety debate, Hamburg said the FDA has “not found evidence of safety risks” associated with GMOs.

Of course not. Because without labels, we humans have a hard time tracing our ailments to GMO foods.

Hamburg also revealed that the FDA plans to finalize its voluntary guidance on GMO labeling. That’s a direct affront to consumers, 90 percent of whom want mandatory labeling laws. And a bow to the food industry, which has drafted a bill that would require the FDA to rule on voluntary GMO labeling.

With Vermont and Oregon poised to pass mandatory GMO labeling laws in 2014, the FDA is clearly trying to muddy the waters with its “voluntary” guidance.

As consumers, we know that voluntary labeling means no labeling. And we’re not buying it.

Read the press release, including Hamburg’s statement

TAKE ACTION: Tell the FDA: No Watered-Down, Voluntary Federal GMO Labeling Rules!

 
 

ACTION ALERT

Secret Trade Pacts: A Lot at ‘Steak’

The EU has so far rejected U.S.-raised beef from factory farms where growth hormones are used to fatten up cattle. But U.S. corporations are pushing to open European markets to hormone-tainted beef, via an international trade agreement that is being negotiated behind closed doors.

If the Obama Administration gets its way, that trade agreement—the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)—will be rammed through Congress, with no debate, using something called the “fast track” option.

We’ve already told President Obama what we think of his plans to fast-track the TTIP, and its Pacific-Coast sister, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Now we need to tell Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Senate Finance Chairman, the same.

Why Sen. Wyden? Because many Democrats in Congress have signaled that they won’t support Fast Track. But there’s a real risk that a "compromise maker" like Sen. Wyden will offer his own bill in order to siphon off more Democratic votes and allow Fast Track to move forward. Especially given the big push by the  White House and corporate lobbyists to get Fast Track done.

Creating a market for more factory farms here in the U.S. is just one of so many reasons these trade agreements are bad for your health, bad for the environment and bad for democracy. Please be part of the growing movement to stop them—and stop Congress from Fast-Tracking them.

TAKE ACTION: Tell Sen. Wyden: Don’t Fast-Track Secret Trade Agreements!

TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress: Don’t Fast-Track this Disastrous Trade Agreement

 
 

ACTION ALERT

Birds of a Feather?

The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) wants to privatize poultry inspection, a move that would put companies in charge of their own inspections. The USDA also wants to increase the speed at which workers can slaughter chickens.

It’s a plan that would put consumers and workers at greater risk than they already are, from food-borne illnesses (weaker inspections), and on-the-job accidents (higher speeds).

Almost 23,000 of you have signed our petition so far to the USDA asking the agency to rescind its “filthy chicken” rule. It seems you’re not the only ones who think the USDA’s plan is foul. Turns out, 68 House members also want the poultry inspection rule thrown out. According to PoliticoPro, the bipartisan group sent a four-page letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack asking him to withdraw the proposed rule:

“While we strongly support modernizing our food safety system and making it more efficient, modernization should not occur at the expense of public health, worker safety, or animal welfare,” says the letter, which is signed by Reps. Rosa DeLauro, Jim Moran, Louise Slaughter, Bennie Thompson and others. “We therefore harbor serious concerns over what we believe are the Food Safety Inspection Service’s inadequate considerations to date of these issues in promulgating this rule…We urge FSIS to withdraw the proposed rule until the agency has thoroughly addressed its impact on the public, workers, and animals and adherence to good commercial practices.”

Poultry is already the most deadly source of food borne illness. And working in a slaughterhouse is already the most dangerous job in America, according to some reports. And now the USDA wants to make things worse?

It’s not often we flock together with 68 members of Congress, so let’s show them we support their efforts by keeping the pressure on.

TAKE ACTION: Ask the USDA to Rescind Its ‘Filthy Chicken Rule”

 
 

SUPPORT THE OCA & OCF

Let’s Rid the World of Monsanto’s Roundup

The latest studies on Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide are damning.

“Contrary to the current widely-held misconception that glyphosate is relatively harmless to humans, the available evidence shows that glyphosate may rather be the most important factor in the development of multiple chronic diseases and conditions that have become prevalent in Westernized societies.”

Studies like this one should set off alarms.

Instead, the EPA continues to raise the limits for how much of this poison is legally allowed to remain on your food.

And now, the FDA says that rather than make sure consumers know for certain when glyphosate, the key active ingredient in Monsanto, is likely to be in or on their food, it plans to make labeling of GMO foods “voluntary.”

In other words, optional, and not likely to happen at all.

As consumers, as parents, as stewards of the earth, we can’t let the EPA and FDA win. We must fight harder than ever to rid the world of Roundup, by forcing food companies to label their GMO-tainted foods.

Support GMO Labeling Campaigns. Rid the world of Roundup.

 
 

FACTORY FARM BOYCOTT

Piglet Smoothie, Anyone?

You've probably noticed the recent surge in the popularity of bacon, a.k.a. "bacon mania," or "baconalia."

But have you heard of "piglet smoothies"? Or "shit eating cannibals"?

If stories like these don’t make you swear off eating pork products altogether, they may at least persuade you to shop for pork that is better for your health, better for farm workers, better for the environment and without question, more humane.

How to boycott factory farm pork products

 
 

FAIR WORLD PROJECT

Take a Video, Win a Trip to Nicaragua

Want to win an eight-day trip for two to Nicaragua?

In anticipation of the upcoming May 10 World Fair Trade Day, OCA’s Fair World Project is hosting a contest. To enter, record a short video message about fair trade, and upload it here before the April 15 deadline.

Confused about the difference between free trade and fair trade? Watch this video.

Enter the video contest

 
 

ORGANIC ENTERPRISE

Fair and Sustainable?

United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI), the largest national wholesale trader of organic goods, is expanding. The $5-billion company’s expansion bodes well for the growth of organics. But UNFI’s plans to turn farmland and wetlands into 33 acres of warehouse and parking lot doesn’t sit well with environmental and consumer groups.

Local union, business and citizens groups aren’t too happy either with UNFI’s plans to shut out unions and evade local taxes.

Is UNFI transforming the marketplace by expanding access to organic and fair trade products? Or is the company becoming another Walmart?

Learn more

 
 

LITTLE BYTES

Essential Reading for the Week

It May Take Only One Pill to Kill a Child

Women Ecowarriors

Food Labels Should Contain GMO Warnings, Consumers Group Says

Healing with Calendula

10 Ways to Teach Your Child to Eat Well

FDA Denies Hope for Dying Children

Monsanto Partners with 4-H Groups to Brainwash Youth

Please forward this publication to family and friends, place it on web sites,
print it, duplicate it and post it freely. Knowledge is power!

Organic Bytes is a publication of Organic Consumers Association

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