While much of the nation was tuned into the Michael Cohen drama in Washington, D.C. this week, another drama was playing out in a San Francisco courtroom.
On February 25, a jury in San Francisco Federal Court began hearing the case of Edwin Hardeman vs. Monsanto. Hardeman alleges that Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller caused his non-Hodgkin lymphoma cancer.
Hardeman’s is the second case involving someone who developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma after using Roundup. His case follows the August 10, 2018, $289-million judgment (later reduced to $78 million) awarded to DeWayne “Lee” Johnson, a former school groundskeeper who also sued Monsanto for causing his non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Monsanto’s appeal of the $78-million judgment is still pending.
The trial was barely underway before Judge Vince Chhabria threatened to “shut down” Hardeman’s attorney for violating the judge’s ban on presenting the jury with evidence that Monsanto attempted to manipulate regulators, including by ghostwriting safety reviews of its flagship herbicide.
According to reporting by U.S. Right to Know’s Carey Gillam, the judge was “ripping into” Hardeman’s attorney, Aimee Wagstaff, threatening to “sanction her $1,000 and maybe the whole plaintiff’s legal team as well. Calling her actions 'incredibly dumb.'"
Read ‘Rounding Up the Latest on the Monsanto Roundup Trial and Other Related News’
Make a tax-deductible donation to OCA’s Millions Against Monsanto campaign
We think the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) was wrong to approve GMO salmon. But in November 2015, the FDA did just that.
So far, “Frankenfish” hasn’t been sold in the U.S. because Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) managed to get the FDA to ban the import and sale of GMO salmon until the agency agreed to establish labeling guidelines for it.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture meanwhile is working on finalizing GMO labeling rules for all foods, following passage in July 2016, of what became known as the "DARK Act." Those rules are shaping up just as we expected: as nothing more than a weak scheme involving QR codes and telephone numbers—and little or no useful labels for consumers.
Murkowski says that’s not good enough. So she’s reintroduced a bill to require clear labels on GMO salmon.
It’s only a matter of time before GMO salmon shows up in U.S. stores and restaurants. Please take action today!
TAKE ACTION: Tell your members of Congress to support the Genetically Engineered Salmon Labeling Act (H.R. 1104)!
There’s nothing like spending a few days with farmers and ranchers to get a sense of how hard they work, and of how many challenges they face.
A number of our OCA and Regeneration International members spent last weekend at the MOSES Organic Farming Conference in LaCrosse, Wisconsin.
We talked to dairy farmers struggling to hold onto multi-generational family farms.
We met with young potential farmers in search of affordable land to farm or graze animals.
We listened to organic and regenerative farmers describe how difficult it is to compete economically in a system clearly rigged in favor of Big Cheap Food.
Mingling with farmers serves as a reminder that the food on our tables—at least, the real food—doesn’t grow in grocery stores.
It takes real people to produce real food. And it takes consumers like you to support them.
It also takes people like you to force Congress to stop using your tax dollars to, as Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) says, pay “too much to the wrong people to grow the wrong foods in the wrong places.”
If you value your health, if you value good food—and the soil it grows in—you get why we’re committed to helping the farmers who share your values. Your donation today will help us keep our commitment to farmers, and to consumers like you.
Make a tax-deductible donation to the Organic Consumers Association
Support Citizens Regeneration Lobby, OCA’s 501(c)(4) lobbying arm (not tax-deductible)
Click here for more ways to support our work
For four years, The Milkhouse Dairy Farm and Creamery in Monmouth, Maine, supplied grass-fed organic milk to Horizon.
That was until Horizon told the farm’s owners, Caitlin Frame and Andy Smith, their contract would end in six months. Horizon said it was because Milkhouse was selling some of its milk direct to consumers and retail stores, and also using some of it to make and sell yogurt.
Horizon (owned by international food conglomerate, Danone) said it didn’t like that the farm was “diverting” some of its supply, instead of selling exclusively to Horizon.
In a video about Milkhouse Farm, produced by the Real Organic Project, Caitlin said that all-or-nothing policies like the one Horizon insists on takes the “independent” out of independently owned farms. Farmers lose their sense of ownership over their own farm and what they produce. For instance, a farmer can’t decide to sell 50 - 100 gallons of their milk to a local cheesemaker without fear of losing a big contract.
Caitlin and Andy were fortunate, in that they have their own on-farm milk processing. But the other five or six small Maine dairy farms dumped around the same time by Horizon didn’t. Andy told us that he suspects the real reason Horizon dropped their farm, and the others, is that Horizon just didn’t want to deal with smaller milk suppliers.
Read 'Keeping It Real: Maine Regenerative Dairy Farmers Lose Contract, Not Hope'
The U.S.-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC). It sounds so benign.
But this office, housed under U.S. government’s International Trade Commission, is hard at work gutting regulations intended to protect consumers and small-scale farmers.
Common Dreams reports:
This little-known council has the mission of promoting trade by “reducing, eliminating or preventing unnecessary regulatory differences” between Canada and the United States. Since the RCC’s inception, agribusiness—including factory-farmed livestock producers, the feed industry, and chemical and pesticide manufacturers and linked transportation businesses—has had a seat at the regulatory cooperation table. Their focus, without exception, has been advocating the scaling back and even elimination of important safety protections in both countries.
What’s on the RCC’s hit list? To name a few . . .
• Eliminate border inspections of imported meat
• Reduce safety testing of containers used to transport pesticides and other hazardous chemicals
• Use obscure words instead of plain language to hide information from consumers
International trade agreements have always favored corporate agribusiness over consumers and small, independent farmers and food businesses. But this is just blatant.
Read ‘Agribusiness's Secretive Plans to Unravel Food Safety and Worker Protections’
TAKE ACTION: Appalled? Email the public affairs office of the International Trade Administration firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell the Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, Gilbert B. Kaplan, what you think of the ‘Cooperation Council’s’ secret plans.
Chlorpyrifos, manufactured by DowDuPont, is an neurotoxic organophosphate pesticide that’s been linked to severe birth defects, brain damage and mental disorders in children, even at very low levels.
Yet despite these known risks, and despite new evidence suggesting that Dow knew for decades how toxic chlorpyrifos is to children, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) still allows chlorpyrifos to be sprayed on more than 50 fruits, vegetables and nuts, including strawberries, almonds, oranges, broccoli and apples.
It’s shameless pandering to the chemical industry.
According to Pesticide Action Network: If the EPA won’t do its job, it’s time for Congress to act.
Studies show that exposure to neurotoxic chemicals during critical moments of development can fundamentally alter brain development and architecture. Chemicals that disrupt the hormone system—particularly those affecting thyroid hormone, which plays a critical role in brain development—can also cause lasting damage.
TAKE ACTION: Ask your member of Congress to cosponsor the Ban Toxic Pesticides Act of 2019 ( H.R.230), a bill to ban chlorpyrifos.
Polluting Pigs in Politics
USDA Has Paid Out $7.7 Billion to Help Farmers Hit by Trump's Tariffs
UN Food Agency Warns Food Supply Threatened by Declining Biodiversity
Eating Organic Significantly Reduces Health Risks
Consumer Watchdog Finds Traces of Roundup Weedkiller in Beer and Wine
Beware the Latest 'Diet' Fad: Artificial Sweeteners Fortified With Vitamins and Minerals
Bill Gates Donates $15 Million to Campaign Pushing GMOs on Small Farmers Around the World