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A Meeting of the Monsanto Masterminds

Dear Organic Consumer, 

In 2001, the biotech industry named Tom Vilsack (now USDA Secretary of Agriculture) “Governor of the Year,” thanks to his loyal support of Monsanto and all things GMO.

Vilsack is determined to live up to that dubious honor. In January, he will hold an invitation-only meeting, between industry and consumer groups, to “forge a compromise” on GMO labeling.

But there is no compromise between mandatory and voluntary labeling laws. It’s one or the other. What Vilsack really plans to do is this: everything in his power to permanently legalize the right of Monsanto and Big Food to deceive consumers.

We still need to raise $70,000 by midnight December 31, to take advantage of a matching funds challenge from and Dr. Bronner’s. Your donation will help us keep up the pressure on Monsanto and Big Food, and take back our food and farming systems. Please make a donation online, by U.S. mail or by calling our office—details here. 

Vilsack recently told reporters he’s concerned about “chaos in the market” if more states pass mandatory GMO labeling laws like Vermont’s. He also trotted out the tired old tune that requiring food companies to label GMO ingredients will cause drastic increases in food prices. 

What “compromise” will Vilsack likely propose in his back-room confab? A voluntary labeling scheme involving QR codes—fancy barcode technology requiring consumers to have smart phones. 

Never mind the ridiculous argument that printing four words on a label will cost food companies more than setting up fancy smart-phone technology that links to websites. We know what QR codes are really about. They’re about making it as difficult as possible for consumers to find out if the food they are buying has been genetically modified, or contains genetically engineered ingredients.

That Vilsack even has to call this emergency meeting is a testament to you, and everyone else who has fought so hard for the basic right to know. Monsanto thought it would be easy to ram a preemption bill through Congress.  Thanks to you, it wasn’t.

With your help, we will come back in January as strong as ever, to protect states’ rights to pass mandatory GMO labeling laws. We will make it crystal clear to every member of the U.S. Congress: Consumers will settle for nothing less than mandatory labeling laws.

But requiring food companies to label GMOs is just one battle in a much larger war. That’s why, in 2016, we will introduce new campaigns that will shed more light on Monsanto’s role in factory farms, in the ethanol scam, in global warming. We will mobilize millions of consumers to engage in policy battles that will go well beyond GMO labeling. Policy battles that will put an end to subsidizing the corporations that poison and pollute. 

Only about 20 percent of GMO crops grown in the U.S. go into food. The other 80 percent are used to feed animals imprisoned in factory farms, or to make fuel. Billions of tax dollars—your dollars—are used to subsidize these degenerative crops. Crops that are grown with millions of tons of toxic chemicals. Crops that pollute our waters, degrade our soils, destabilize our climate. 

There’s a better way. The fact is, small farmers already grow 70 percent of the world’s food. We don’t need Monsanto. What we need is to support those farmers who grow the food we actually need, using techniques that restore, renew, rebuild and regenerate—our soils, our health, our economies, our climate.

This is our mission. This is our challenge. Win or lose the labeling battle, we need you in this fight.

If you can help us raise an additional $70,000 so we can reach our $250,000 goal by midnight December 31, and Dr. Bronner’s will pitch in to bring our total year-end fundraising to $500,000.  You can help us keep the momentum going by making a generous donation online, by U.S. mail or by calling our office—details here. 

Thank you!

Ronnie Cummins
National Director, Organic Consumers Association and Organic Consumers Fund