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June 3, 2009

Organic Bytes #176

Health, Justice and Sustainability News
from the Organic Consumers Association

In This Issue

  • Alert of the Week: Stop Monsanto's Genetically Engineered Wheat
  • Related Quote of the Week: The Hazards of Genetic Engineering
  • Related Sustainability News of the Week: How to Grow Your Own Wheat and Make Your Own Flour
  • Alert Update of the Week: Organic Dairy Family Farmers Need Support
  • Web Video of the Week: The Genetic Conspiracy - Are Genetically Engineered Foods Dangerous?
  • Study of the Week: New EPA Study Shows 1,4 Dioxane is 17 Times More Toxic Than Originally Thought
  • Consumer Tip of the Week: How to Avoid Genetically Engineered Sugar
  • Other Headlines and Articles of the Week

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Alert of the Week

Stop Monsanto's Genetically Engineered Wheat

Monsanto and the biotech bullies are once again moving to tighten their grip on the world's food supply. Genetically engineered (GE) varieties now account for 70-90% of all conventional (non-organic) corn, soybeans, cotton, and canola grown in the U.S. Joining the growing menu of unlabeled and untested gene-spliced Frankenfoods, genetically engineered sugar (derived from GE sugar beets) hit store shelves in 2008. Now it appears that the most controversial crop of them all, Monsanto's GE wheat, is not far behind, at least if industry gets its way. Given that wheat is such a major global crop and essential ingredient in bread, breakfast cereals, pasta and other everyday foods, the force-feeding of unlabeled GE wheat on the public would represent a major conquest for Monsanto and the biotech industry.

Although Monsanto withdrew their applications to the U.S. and Canadian governments for approval of genetically engineered wheat in 2004 because of tremendous pressure from the OCA and hundreds of our allied public interest groups and farmers (as well as pressure from large food companies such as General Mills), it looks like we're in for another round of battle.

Wheat industry groups in the United States, Canada and Australia announced on May 14, 2009, they would work toward the objective of "synchronized commercialization of biotech traits in the wheat crop." For the sake of the Earth and public health, we must stop them.

Learn more and Take Action

Related Quote of the Week

The Hazards of Genetic Engineering

"Fundamentally the science of genetic engineering is crap. One gene expressing one protein is the basis of genetic engineering, but the Human Genome Project discovered 23,000 genes, and there are 200,000 proteins in every cell. With this discovery, genetic engineering should have disappeared into the dustbin, but the biotechnology industry is so strong..."

Source: A recent interview with Dr. Arpad Pusztai, a world-renowned expert on food safety, and one of the first scientists to raise concerns about the safety of genetically modified foods. Pusztai was originally a supporter of biotech foods, but changed his mind as he began carrying out comprehensive laboratory feeding studies on Monsanto's GE potatoes and other crops.

Learn more

Related Sustainability News of the Week

How to Grow Your Own Wheat and Make Your Own Flour

The process of making your own flour is a lot easier than most people imagine. Before the advent of the modern flour mill, grinding wheat or corn into flour was a laborious task. For that reason, most Americans still assume flour is made with some sort of magical machinery in a factory somewhere. In actuality, wheat is one of the easiest crops to grow, even if you have limited space. Once you've grown it, you just need to cut an arm-full, flail it a bit to remove the grain, blow the chaff off the grain, and use a device like your blender to make the flour. From there, the cookie, bread, pasta or pancake recipe you use is up to you!

Learn more

Alert Update of the Week

Organic Dairy Family Farmers Need Support

The OCA has called for a boycott of bogus organic dairy brands such as Horizon and Aurora (suppliers to Wal-Mart, Safeway and other giant chains), who have inundated the market with misleadingly labeled "organic" milk produced on factory farms. Recently, the situation has worsened as organic feed prices have increased and recession-pummeled consumers have cut back on the amount of organic milk they are purchasing. The result is a surplus of organic milk, depressed milk prices, and an increasing number of organic dairy farmers across the U.S. being driven into bankruptcy. Consumers can support ethical organic dairy farmers and preserve organic integrity by boycotting Horizon and Aurora products and instead supporting local organic farmers and dairy cooperatives like Organic Valley and others.

Learn More

Web Video of the Week

The Genetic Conspiracy - Are Genetically Engineered Foods Dangerous?

When surveyed, the majority of consumers are not comfortable eating genetically engineered foods, but most people can't really explain specifically why they have concerns. Watch this in depth look at the history of the GE debate. This web movie covers every aspect of the issue, from health impacts, to pesticide use, to biotech industry cover-ups.



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Headlines and Articles of the Week

1) Study of the Week: New EPA Study Shows 1,4 Dioxane is 17 Times More Toxic Than Originally Thought
The EPA's new assessment raises the cancer slope factor of this common toxin 17 times. The OCA recently released a shopper's guide indicating which so-called "natural" personal care products and home cleansers tested best and worst for 1,4 Dioxane.
Learn more

2) Consumer Tip of the Week: How to Avoid Genetically Engineered Sugar
More than 70 companies have signed a pledge promising to avoid using sugar from genetically modified sugar beets "wherever possible." Unlabeled and untested GE sugar, derived from Monsanto's GE sugar beets, is now laced into hundreds of (non-organic) brand-name products. OCA and critics of genetic engineering have raised concerns that the modified beets could produce food allergies, threaten wildlife, and spread herbicide resistance or other modified traits to closely related species.
Learn more

3) Government Plunder of the Week: Monsanto Spent $2 Million on Lobbying in Q1 2009
"Monsanto dominates the global market for GMO seeds like Microsoft dominates the operating-system software market. You don't skirt around antitrust enforcement like that without having good friends in Washington. And to make friends, you've got have guys in suits working the Hill and the agencies..."
Learn more

4) Labeling News of the Week: OCA and ILRF Respond to Rain Forest Alliance
"Certification and labeling programs can play an important role in improving labor and environmental conditions in the production of goods and can help consumers to support companies that make a serious commitment to higher standards. We welcome Rainforest Alliance's commitment to conserving biodiversity and ensuring sustainable livelihoods. However, we do have concerns about how the certification program works on the ground..."
Learn more

5) Organic News of the Week: Application Deadline For Organic Certification Funding Assistance Extended in Several States
The National NRCS office has issued this list of States that have pushed back their deadline including AK, CO, DE, FL, IN, KY, LA, ME, MD, MN, NE, NV, OH, OR, SD, VA, WI and others...
Learn more


[[State]]--Get Involved Locally

  • Learn more about OCA related action alerts and other news in [[State]] here.
  • Join [[State]] discussion groups in our forum.
  • Post events in [[State]] on our community calendar.

Message from our Sponsors

At Living Tree Community we make tahini sesame butter from organically grown raw sesame seeds that have been mechanically hulled.We do not grind,rather we slice the sesame seeds,let them rest overnight and then slice again the next day.We invite you to compare the texture. Compare the taste! Tahini lends itself to so many creations:- Put a tablespoon in a blender, add water, a dash of honey and lemon juice and you have a delightful salad dressing. Mix with chopped vegetables, celery, onion, garlic, herbs and spices for a savory pate'. Mix tahini with honey and you have the makings of halvah, a Middle Eastern delight!

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May we invite you to visit our website
Living Tree Community Foods