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Organic Bytes #119: 10/4/2007

Health, Justice and Sustainability News Tidbits with an Edge!
Written and edited by Craig Minowa and Ronnie Cummins

Alert of the Week

Aurora Dairy photo
Aerial photo of Aurora "organic" dairy factory farm courtesy of Cornucopia Institute

Aurora Threatens Organic Consumers Association with Lawsuit

Just when we thought it couldn't get any hotter (or any more mind-boggling), the "organic" dairy factory farm controversy reached a new level of intensity over the past week. The USDA announced, to the disappointment of the organic community, that they were not going to take further disciplinary measures against Aurora Organic Dairy, a company that just a few weeks ago had a portion of its organic certification suspended by the USDA for "willfully" violating National Organic Standards since 2003 by failing to pasture its animals and by bringing conventional calves onto its feedlots and then declaring them organic. But caving in to pressure from Aurora and other big corporate players in the organic sector , the USDA now says the #1 organic private label dairy processor in the U.S. can continue selling milk produced on its factory farms as "organic" to its longstanding customers including Target, Wal-Mart, Costco, Safeway, and Woodstock Farms.

In a mind-twisting manipulation of logic, the new acting Secretary of Agriculture, Chuck Connors, a notorious cheerleader for biotech and corporate agribusiness, announced last week that this issue, regarding Aurora's violation of the USDA National Organic Standards, falls outside the scope of the USDA National Organic Standards. "I know there is controversy out there on a number of issues that really fall outside the bounds, if you will, of what constitutes that organic standard that is necessary in order for the product to have our seal," said Connors.

Now that they have the USDA in their pocket, Aurora is threatening to sue the Organic Consumers Association and Cornucopia Institute for educating and mobilizing consumers to oppose Aurora's blatant violations of organic integrity. In related news, the recent issue of Fortune Magazine reports Aurora's factory farms generated a record 100 million dollars in "organic" dairy sales to consumers this year. In other words, when it comes to suing the OCA, Aurora has plenty of money, from selling its cheap "organic" factory farm milk to Wal-Mart, Target, Costco, and Safeway . So given this David versus Goliath situation, OCA needs your financial support today, more than ever, to defend ourselves from this attack by Aurora and to expose the ongoing negligence of the USDA.

Donate Now!We need your support today to safeguard organic standards and to protect the rights of organic consumers and family farmers.

Grassroots Victory of the Week

Junk Food Company Kellogg Cleans Up Its Act

Eating BreakfastCaving to the threat of a lawsuit over the company's marketing practices, Kellogg has announced a new sweeping policy that will shift the company's nutritional guidelines and set a new standard for the food industry. Under the new guidelines, all products marketed to children under the age of 12 must contain a maximum of 200 calories, 2 grams of saturated fat, 230 milligrams of sodium, 12 grams of labeled sugar and 0 grams of labeled trans fat per serving. Currently, 50 percent of Kellogg products marketed to children fail to meet their new criteria. The company says implementation will begin immediately. Twenty-seven percent of Kellogg's advertising budget goes to marketing to children under the age of 12.

Learn more:

Van JonesQuote of the Week

Inner City Youth Working Towards Sustainability

"I agree with you that there aren't any throw-away species or resources, but you agree with me there aren't any throw-away children or neighborhoods, right? So we need to get these movements working together."

-Van Jones, speaking to Julia Butterfly Hill about a new bill he helped pass that trains inner city kids in the solar, wind, and other sustainability-related industries.

Web Videos of the Week

Evo MoralesTurning from Oil to Organics

Evo Morales, Bolivia's first indigenous elected leader since the Spanish conquest 470 years ago, has nationalized his nation's oil and gas revenues to fund a radical shift towards sustainable agriculture and programs to assist the impoverished. And he's accomplished all of this in eight short months in office. Of course, the White House and multinational corporations vehemently oppose Morales' populist platform, but, for the rest of us, nationalizing oil and cutting military spending to fund a country's shift towards sustainability is truly inspiring.

Watch this interview with the Daily Show's Jon Stewart:

True Lies

How are organics, health, justice and sustainability tied to the "War on Terror", global warming, and U.S. foreign and domestic policies? Let Taalam Acey show you in this three minute inspiring spoken word piece:

Related Alert…

Breaking the Chains, Fighting Global Warming, & Ending the War

Bear image by Chris Lutter of Puppet Farm
image by Chris Lutter of Puppet Farm

Hello Artists, Revolutionaries, Costumed Rabble-Rousers, Puppetistas, Radical Cheerleaders, Freeway Banner-Makers, Political Thespians, Cultural Creatives, Filmmakers, Photographers, Musicians, Singers, Dancers, Poets & All! Introducing OCA's new creative partner, The Backbone Campaign.

Watch the short Meet the Backbone Campaign video to learn more about their exciting work. We look forward to working together to create a future worthy of our children.

To get involved, join the Lumbar Club

NetworkingOCA Forum Topic of the Week

Getting Involved with Creative Actions

Hop into the OCA Forum to join the discussion about how to plug into creative actions already underway, including,

Today's Opportunities to Plant Peace

Uncle SamEvery day is a new opportunity to plant peace and take action to put an end to war and military madness while greening and re-localizing the global economy. Today, Organic Consumers Association urges you to ask your Senators and Congressperson sign on to the Peace Pledge and bring a rapid end to the bloody trillion dollar war in Iraq by refusing to give President Bush any more money than he needs to bring the troops home now.

When you get a chance, please take a look at OCA's Planting Peace homepage where new articles are posted daily: and join the discussion in the Planting Peace Web forum:

A man holding his noseProduct Plunder of the Week

Air Fresheners Found to Contain Toxic Chemical

A recent study by the Natural Resources Defense Council found that 12 out of 14 air fresheners tested positive for harmful levels of pthalates, which are known to cause reproductive problems and hormone disruption in humans. Neither the FDA nor the EPA conducts any spot checking of toxic chemicals in air freshener products. Of the tested products, the only two products that did not contain pthalates were Febreze Air Effects and Renuzit Subtle Effects. The other twelve products tested positive even though some of the products were labeled natural.

Support Our Supporters

Botani OrganicsIf you’re eating pure foods, shouldn’t your vitamins and supplements be completely plant or food-based, and free of synthetic chemicals?

Botani Vitamins & Supplements invites you to experience the difference between a synthetic based vitamin and a vitamin made of ingredients you can only find in nature. Botani supplement category represents a truly pure, food inherent, supplement with assayed vitamin, mineral and nutrient potencies derived only and directly from food and botanical extract sources. No synthetic vitamins (USP), minerals or nutrients have been added to these supplements (either directly or indirectly).
BOTANI Multi Vitamins is a multiple vitamin and mineral supplement that is derived directly from NATURALLY OCCURRING, full-spectrum fruit, botanical, and grain sources. Try Botani Vitamins & Supplements!

Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps Helps Lead Way in Organic Body Care

Dr. Bronners Magic SoapsNEW! Available in health food stores everywhere in November: Dr. Bronner's bar, 8 and 32 oz. soaps made with organic oils certified under the USDA's organic food regulations by Oregon Tilth!
Available Now In Our New Web Store!
Dr. Bronner's is supporting the Organic Consumers Association's "Coming Clean" campaign for strong organic body care standards. To take action and for more info, please see: Soaps Made with Organic Oils!

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

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