Last summer, U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary Greg Ibach said this:
“As the National Organic Standards Board set the rules originally, GMOs are not eligible to be in the organic program. However, we’ve seen new technology, including gene-editing, that accomplishes things in shorter periods of time than a natural breeding process can. I think there is the opportunity to open the discussion to consider whether it is appropriate for some of these new technologies that include gene-editing to be eligible to be used to enhance organic production and to have drought and disease-resistant varieties, as well as higher-yield varieties available.”
GMOs in organic? We don’t think so!
When the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) holds its fall meeting later this month, members will once again revisit the issue of which genetic engineering production methods meet the criteria for “excluded methods” in organic.
This is a good time to remind the NOSB to let the Trump administration know that consumers want all forms of genetic engineering to be excluded from organic production.
Read ‘Time to Remind the Trump Administration: No GMOs in Organic!’
TAKE ACTION BY MIDNIGHT EST OCTOBER 3: Tell the National Organic Standards Board: NO GMOs in Organic!
Think consumer boycotts don’t have much power? Think again.
Back in the day before Congress killed consumers’ right to know about GMOs, the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) spent millions of dollars in California to defeat a citizen ballot initiative in 2012 that would have required labels on GMO foods.
That made the GMA and its members—including organic and natural brands owned by Big Food corporations—favorite targets of pro-labeling consumers.
Brands weren’t too happy about that. So when a similar initiative came on the ballot in Washington, the GMA tried to protect brands by illegally laundering donations to the anti-labeling campaign.
From then on, it was all downhill for Monsanto’s Evil Twin.
Read ‘Consumers Force Lobbying Group for Big Food Brands to ‘Re-Brand’ Itself’
As if we needed more evidence of the dangers posed by Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller, this just in from GM Watch:
A newly published study adds to the ever-growing pile of evidence in support of the cancer-causing potential of the weedkiller active ingredient glyphosate. Glyphosate herbicides like Roundup are used on over 85% of genetically modified crops.
The new study shows that a very low concentration of glyphosate (in the parts per trillion range and thus environmentally relevant for everyone) can trigger breast cancer when combined with another risk factor.
The statistics are bleak: About one in eight women in the U.S. will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. This year, 41,760 women will die from it.
Meanwhile, as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency drags its feet, and Monsanto’s parent company continues to insist that glyphosate is safe, glyphosate remains the most widely used herbicide in the world—9.4 million tons of it were dumped on fields and lawns and parks in 2016 alone.
Because well, you know, corporate profits—the market for glyphosate is predicted to reach $12.54 billion by 2024.
Read 'Can Herbicides Cause Breast Cancer? Purdue and INSERM Scientists Discover a Piece to the Puzzle.'
TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress to Ban Monsanto’s Roundup Weedkiller!
Make a tax-deductible donation to the Millions Against Monsanto Campaign
The shift from agrarian societies to industrial, to digital, has come at a high cost when it comes to the general public’s knowledge of agriculture. The value of that loss cannot be over estimated when it comes to consumer campaigns and the role they can and must play in promoting the system changes we need for a just transition to sustainable agriculture, sector-wide. - Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, August 8, 2019
The crumbling of Big Food’s biggest lobbying group, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, and the association's recently announced plan to reinvent itself as the Consumer Brands Association, proves the power of consumer campaigns that target corporate greed and corruption.
OCA took some heat when in 2012 we first launched the “Traitor Boycott,” targeting the organic and natural brands that had been scooped up by Big Food corporations. But the campaign had an impact, even if it took several years for that impact to be fully realized.
The combination of consumer campaigns and consumer education delivers a one-two punch to Big Brands and the Big Food corporations that own them.
According to a report in Money magazine:
As consumers come to place higher importance on fresh, healthier foods, and no longer feel compelled to stick with the grocery brands from their childhoods, the sales of plenty of old-fashioned classics are suffering.
And from the Wall Street Journal:
The classic consumer food companies—makers of cereals, snacks, soups and condiments—are no longer the staples of pantries or portfolios. Shares of some are down by a third or more over the past year as strategies to boost sales fail, and consumers embrace fresh food and new brands.
We have a long way to go before we rid the world of corporations whose food destroys our health, and whose production practices destroy our environment. But thanks to you, we're making progress.
Please consider making a donation today to help us grow our consumer campaign and education work. Thank you.
Make a tax-deductible donation to Organic Consumers Association, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit
Support Citizens Regeneration Lobby, OCA’s 501(c)(4) lobbying arm (not tax-deductible)
Click here for more ways to support our work
This week, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue threw small and mid-sized independent family farmers under the bus when he said:
“In America, the big get bigger and the small go out. I don’t think in America we, for any small business, we have a guaranteed income or guaranteed profitability.”
Yet we sure as heck do have guaranteed income and guaranteed profitability for Big Ag and Big Food and Big Farms—in the form of billions of dollars in subsidies for the wealthiest farmers whose GMO monocultures degrade our soil, pollute our waterways and provide contaminated ingredients for junk food.
Who doesn’t Perdue and his U.S. Department of Agriculture want to support? Farmers like Phillip and Dorathy Barker, who farmed for 40 years in North Carolina.
In this video, Phillip Barker says:
“Forty years. We’ve been in dairy for 40 years. Not everybody wants to be big, big, big . . . We tried to sell into school systems, but we couldn’t because of the way the system is locked in.”
The “system” Barker refers to is the institutional food system dominated by three giant corporations—Aramark, Compass Group and Sodexo—which locks out independent farmers like the Barkers in favor of exclusive relationships with Big Food companies like Tyson (the No.1 water polluter in the U.S.), Cargill (recently dubbed the worst company in the world) and Coca-Cola.
And of course, whether it’s here in the states like North Carolina, or anywhere else in the world, farmers of color are the ones hit first and worst by the destructive business practices of Big Ag and Big Food.
Watch the Real Meals Campaign video
Read ‘Real Meals, Not Dirty Deals: A National Coalition Calls for Food Justice’
TAKE ACTION: Join the Real Meals Campaign
Who owns the organic label? We all do.
Sure, we have laws governing organic certification, and certifiers who are responsible for making sure producers adhere to those regulations.
But as we’ve reported in the past, sometimes “the fraudulent few” give organic a bad name.
That’s where OrganicEye, a new project of Beyond Pesticides, comes in.
OrganicEye, a watchdog group led by organic industry veterans Mark Kastel, Jay Feldman and Terry Shistar, plans to keep a close eye on all things organic.
They’re counting on consumers to help.
Learn more about OrganicEye
Send your tips to OrganicEye
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