“The [Oct. 21, 2015] Senate Agriculture hearing reaffirmed the broad consensus among scientists and regulators that GMOs are safe . . . We were pleased to hear Senator Stabenow’s [D-Mich.] personal commitment to work to develop a bipartisan bill that can pass the Senate by the end of this year…”. - Pamela Bailey, Grocery Manufacturers Association, in an October 21, 2015 press release
When the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry held its hearing on H.R. 1599 last week, the session ended just as the hearing in the House ended—with all of the witnesses in the room concurring that GMOs are safe.
In fact, not one single member of the U.S. Congress, in several well-publicized hearings in the House and Senate this year, has had the intelligence or the courage to say that GMO-tainted foods and the pesticides that go along with them are toxic or unsafe.
Worse yet, the few token spokespersons from public interest groups—Center for Science in the Public Interest, Environmental Working Group and Just Label It—despite portraying themselves as the “loyal opposition” to Monsanto and Big Food, and, have either repeated Monsanto’s lies of “no-scientific evidence of GMO harm” or claimed disingenuously “we don’t know.”
Now, it seems the loyal opposition may go along with a scheme, supported by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), to pass a federal law that would substitute QR codes for labels.
Read Ronnie’s essay
We first wrote about U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack’s Big Idea for GMO labeling back in February. The idea is this: Allow companies, voluntarily, to use QR barcodes to tell consumers if their products contain GMOs. The scheme would require you to scan the product, then be directed to the company’s website where you’d have to wade through the advertising and search the fine print.
Of course, you’d have to have a smart phone. And plenty of time on your hands.
We didn’t like the plan then. We don’t like it now. And we’re not keen that Sen. Debbie Stabenow, a Democrat, may step up to co-sponsor a bill in Congress that would substitute a voluntary QR code scheme for a mandatory GMO labeling law.
It could happen. And it may even have support from so-called public interest groups, like JustLabelIt and the Center for Science in the Public Interest—groups that many consumers still believe are on our side.
TAKE ACTION: Demand mandatory labeling of GMOs—not voluntary labels or QR codes!
Post on Sen. Stabenow’s Facebook page
Post on JustLabelIt’s Facebook page
Post on CSPI’s Facebook page
And please, even if you’ve already called your Senators, please call them again. Tell them you want them to support mandatory labeling of GMOs, not voluntary labels. And tell them that QR codes are no substitute for labels!
Look up your Senators’ phone numbers and call today
The author of a recent blog post on Daily Kos lamented the failure of mainstream media to adequately cover, much less tell the truth, about GMOs. He called it "Dog pack journalism."
We all know why. Corporations like Monsanto (which is now advertising in publications like Good Housekeeping and National Geographic) and Kellogg’s, General Mills and others buy advertising in major newspapers. Lots of it.
And those advertising dollars not only sway consumers, they sway publishers.
Last week’s Senate hearing on the DARK Act (H.R. 1599), an industry-written bill intended to legalize the fraudulent practicing of withholding information that 90 percent of Americans believe they have the right to know, didn’t go in our favor.
Any day now, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) is expected to introduce a Senate version of the DARK Act, one that will likely include the words “voluntary” and “QR codes.”
We can’t count on the media to help us stop this attack on our rights. Can we count on you? Your donation today will help us mobilize more volunteers to email, call and knock down the doors of their Senators. 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 GMO labeling legislative efforts)
Would you buy chocolate from a company if you knew that company knowingly obtained its chocolate from suppliers that used child labor?
Some consumers in California say no. So they’re suing Mars, Nestlé and Hershey for failing to disclose that their suppliers rely on child laborers.
It’s once again the season of ghosts, goblins and candy. Lots and lots of candy. Nearly $2 billion worth of it. For most of the world's kids, Halloween is fun. But for the more than 2 million children who work long hours, under hazardous conditions, to make all that money for Big Candy, Halloween—and almost every other day of the year—is a real horror show.
The chocolate industry has a long history or exploiting children, and a bad track record when it comes to fixing the problem. That’s not news. What may surprise you is that the problem is getting worse, not better, according to a recent study.
How do we end the cycle of child slavery in chocolate production? By boycotting the companies that allow it. And by demanding fair prices for farmers.
TAKE ACTION: Tell the International Cocoa Initiative to Address Fair Pricing as Part of Its Strategy to Eliminate Child Labor
Find fair trade chocolate
“Any law that prevents GMO labeling simply legalizes fraud.”
If you read this newsletter, you probably support mandatory labeling of GMOs. And you probably know why you want GMOs labeled.
You probably also have friends who don’t know what a GMO is, much less why more than 90 percent of consumers want GMOs labeled. And 100 percent of Big Food companies don’t.
Now would be a good time to reach out to those friends. From the bogus cost argument, to the dangers of glyphosate, to the threat of GMO salmon—in five short minutes, this video covers all the bases.
Watch the video and share it!
Speaking of labels . . . . Why would we trust a voluntary GMO (or, as industry is pushing, voluntary non-GMO) labeling scheme when it’s clear that many profit-minded corporations can’t be trusted?
Case in point: That salmon you bought that was labeled “wild salmon”? Maybe it was. But maybe it wasn’t, according to a study conducted by the advocacy group Oceana.
Oceana collected 82 salmon samples from restaurants and grocery stores and found that 43 percent were mislabeled. DNA testing confirmed that most of the mislabeling (69 percent) consisted of farmed Atlantic salmon being sold as wild-caught product.
According to Oceana:
Salmon samples were considered to be mislabeled if 1) they were described as being “wild,” “Alaskan” or “Pacific,” but DNA testing revealed them to be farmed Atlantic salmon; or 2) the samples were labeled as a specific type of salmon, like “Chinook,” but testing revealed them to be different species (in most cases lower-value fish).
Read the report
If you want to avoid GMOs and pesticides, your best option (other than growing your own food) is to buy products that bear the green and white USDA Organic seal.
But the certification process behind the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Organic Program (NOP), and the people who manage it, aren’t perfect. Unless consumers keep the program honest, the standards governing organic will deteriorate.
With sales of organics hitting a record $39 billion in 2014, companies like Kellogg’s and General Mills are buying up organic brands—and then angling for positions on the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) so they can influence organic standards. And not in a good way, says the Cornucopia Institute.
In fact, things are so bad, that the Cornucopia Institute is calling for the removal of NOP Deputy Administrator, Miles McEvoy.
Meanwhile, the NOSB is meeting in Stowe, Vt. this week. The board will review more than 100 non-organic materials that currently are allowed in organic, but are nearing their five-year expiration date. Some of those include: the use of ethylene gas to induce flowering in pineapples; non-organic celery powder, high in nitrates, as a preservative in bacon and sausage; and non-organic coloring sources.
TAKE ACTION: Sign this letter demanding removal of the USDA Organic management
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