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July 1, 2009

Organic Bytes #180: Who's Killing Organics? Horizon, Silk, Whole Foods Market, UNFI, and More...

Health, Justice and Sustainability News
from the Organic Consumers Association

In This Issue

  • Breaking News of the Week: Horizon Sells Out Organic Farmers With New "Natural" Milk
  • Alert of the Week: Whole Foods Market Undermining Our Organic Future
  • Alert Update of the Week: Stop Big Brother's NAIS
  • Political Plunder of the Week: Who is Spending What on Lobbying?
  • Sustainability News of the Week: Some Resources for Getting Started with a Backyard Chicken Coop
  • Web Video of the Week: Bill McKibben on U.S. Climate Politics
  • Other Headlines of the Week

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Breaking News of the Week

Horizon Sells Out Organic Farmers With New "Natural" Milk

Dean Foods' WhiteWave division has announced it will release a new non-organic "natural" version of its popular Horizon dairy products. Horizon is the largest organic dairy brand in the marketplace, and many consumers will likely alternatively purchase the Horizon "natural (conventional) " brand at a premium and at a time when organic dairy farmers are already experiencing record losses.

Learn more

Alert of the Week

Breaking the Organic Monopoly and the “Natural” Foods Myth
Whole Food Market and United Natural Foods, Inc.: Undermining Our Organic Future

After four decades of hard work, the organic community has built up a $25 billion “certified organic” food and farming sector. This consumer-driven movement, under steady attack by the biotech and Big Food lobby, with little or no help from government, has managed to create a healthy and sustainable alternative to America’s disastrous, chemical and energy-intensive system of industrial agriculture.

However, the annual $50 billion natural food and products industry is threatening to undermine the organic movement by flooding the marketplace with conventional products greenwashed with “natural” labeling. "Natural," in the overwhelming majority of cases, translates to "conventional-with-a-green-veneer." Natural products are routinely produced using pesticides, chemical fertilizer, hormones, genetic engineering, and sewage sludge. "Natural","all-natural," and "sustainable," products in most cases are neither backed up by rules and regulations, nor a Third Party certifier. These are label claims that are neither policed nor monitored. For an evaluation of eco-labels see the Consumers Union Eco-Label website.

For example:

* Tests Show Widespread Presence of GMOs in So-Called "Natural" Foods

* So-Called "Natural" (non-organic) soy milk, including leading brands such as “Silk,” are made with conventional soy lecithin, utilizing the hazardous chemical, Hexane, as an extraction agent.

* Dozens of "natural" and "made with organic" personal care and household cleaning products contain known carcinogens such as 1,4 Dioxane. Just about the only personal care products you can trust are those bearing the “USDA Organic” label.

* 90% or more of the vitamins and supplements now on the market labeled as “Whole Foods,” "natural" or "food based" are spiked with synthetic chemicals.

Despite the massive popularity and demand for certified organic products, retailers like Whole Foods Market, and wholesalers like United Natural Foods Inc., continue to push "natural" products at a premium price, while, in effect slowing down the growth of organics with their near market monopoly. In fact, the majority of products sold and distributed by Whole Foods Market and UNFI are not certified organic, but rather so-called "natural.” Meanwhile, independent and cooperative grocers often offer more certified organic products at competitive prices.

Will you stand up for organics?

Contact Whole Foods Market and UNFI today and tell them that you will buy only certified organic products for you and your family.


Learn more and take action

Related News of the Week:

Dr. Bronner's Ups Ante in Lawsuit Against 'Organic' Personal Care Cheaters

Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps filed its Second Amended Complaint today in San Francisco Superior Court against falsely labeled "organic" personal care companies that use non-organic pesticide-intensive agricultural and/or petrochemical material to make the main cleansing and moisturizing ingredients in their products. Defendants include, among others: Hain-Celestial (Jason "Pure, Natural & Organic; Avalon "Organics"); Levlad (Nature's Gate "Organics"); Kiss My Face "Organic"; YSL Beaute Inc (Stella McCartney's "100% Organic Active Ingredients"), Country Life (Desert Essence "Organics"); Giovanni "Organic Cosmetics"; and the certifiers Ecocert and OASIS.

Learn more

Alert Update of the Week

Stop Big Brother NAIS

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has been working for over five years to force a National Animal Identification System (NAIS) on American farmers and animal owners. NAIS is designed to identify and track each and every individual livestock and poultry animal, even those owned by family farmers, hobby farmers, homesteaders, and pet owners. USDA is seeking to engage stakeholders and producers to hear not only their concerns about the National Animal Identification System, but also potential or feasible solutions to those concerns. The information and ideas gathered will assist Secretary Vilsack in making decisions about the future direction of animal traceability in the United States. The deadline to submit comments to the USDA is August 3, 2009.

Learn more and take action

Political Plunder of the Week

Who is Spending What on Lobbying?

The following totals are for the first quarter of 2009:

1) $42 Million: Health Care, Health Insurance, & Pharma
2) $31 Million: Oil
3) $20 Million: War
4) $17 Million: Telecoms
5) $15 Million: Financial
6) $10 Million: Automotive
7) $7 Million: Life Insurance
8) $6 Million: Biotech

See a full list of what specific corporations are investing in sculpting public policy in their favor:

Learn More

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Better World

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Headlines and Articles of the Week

1) Genetically Engineered News of the Week:
Court Upholds Ban on Monsanto's GE Alfalfa

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the planting of GE alfalfa can cause potentially irreversible harm to organic and conventional crops. Monsanto's petition to rehear the case was denied in full.
Learn more

2) Web Video of the Week:
Bill McKibben on U.S. Climate Politics

Watch Now

3) Sustainability News of the Week:
Some Resources for Getting Started with a Backyard Chicken Coop

You've planted the organic garden, the compost is cooking and the native plants that cover your lawn look cool and save water. What's next? Chickens, of course. Here are some quick links to help you get started...
Learn more

4) Web Forum Posting of the Week:
Are Organics Worth the Extra Expenses?

Posted by William James in OCA's Web Forum: "This has been discussed many times, and it doesn't matter if there is a recession. Moreover, a cost benefit analysis isn't the right message to send. It's not about economy but priorities and education. How can you compromise between prices and finding pesticides in children's blood, or untested GMO produce, or sick and abused livestock? These are things that shouldn't be, there isn't any in between.
Join the Discussion

5) Activist News of the Week:
Using Depression Era Organizing Tactics as Models for Activism Now

Grassroots organizing during the last severe U.S. economic crisis was key in pushing some of that era's most important progressive reforms...
Learn more


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Special Ohio Alert:
Tell the Governor to Stop Harassing rBGH-free Dairies

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