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July 22, 2009

Organic Bytes #183: Monsanto Cheerleaders, Organic Inc., Dairy Crisis, & Hexane Hazards...

Health, Justice and Sustainability News
from the Organic Consumers Association

In This Issue

  • Alert of the Week: Don't Let Obama Put Monsanto Cheerleaders in Charge of Food Safety
  • Alert Update of the Week: Why OCA and Fair Trade Advocates Are Pressuring Whole Foods and UNFI
  • Organic News of the Week: Organic Dairy Farmers Tell Vilsack to Crack Down on Aurora & Horizon's Factory Farm Dairy Feedlots
  • Related Quote of the Week: Senator Calls for Investigation of Dean Foods/Horizon Monopoly Practices
  • Consumer Tip of the Week: Food Toxins 101: An Intro to Hexane
  • Headlines and Articles of the Week

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Alert of the Week

Don't Let Obama Put Monsanto Cheerleaders in Charge of Food Safety

The Obama Administration is putting two notorious biotech bullies in charge of food safety. Former Monsanto lobbyist Michael Taylor has been appointed as a senior advisor to the Food and Drug Administration Commissioner on food safety. And, rBGH-using dairy farmer and Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff, is rumored to be President Obama's choice for Under-Secretary of Agriculture for Food Safety. Wolff spearheaded anti-consumer legislation in Pennsylvania that would have taken away the rights of consumers to know whether their milk and dairy products were contaminated with Monsanto's (now Eli Lilly's) genetically engineered Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH).

Learn more and take action

Alert Update of the Week

Why OCA and Fair Trade Advocates Are Pressuring Whole Foods and UNFI

In response to OCA's recent alerts on Whole Foods Market (WFM) and United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI), WFM posted out a form letter to many of our readers. Below is a summary of OCA's response, which you can read in greater detail here

OCA Finds WFM and UNFI Guilty of the Following:

* Corporate takeovers and monopolistic practices undermining organics.
* Pushing so-called "natural" foods at the expense of organic.
* Excluding small and family-scale organic farms.
* Marginalizing local and regional producers and brands.
* Organic monopolies and the "Whole Paycheck" phenomena.
* Selling personal care products misleadingly labeled as "organic."
* Selling vitamins and supplements spiked with synthetic chemicals as "natural," "all natural" or "Whole Foods."
* Violating labor rights and Domestic Fair Trade principles.

Learn more about each of these points here

Organic News of the Week

Organic Dairy Farmers Tell Vilsack to Crack Down on Aurora & Horizon's Factory Farm Dairy Feedlots

Last week, USDA Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack spoke at the La Crosse, Wisconsin County Fair. Nearly 200 organic farmers showed up to protest. The farmers, organized by the Cornucopia Institute, rallied to convince Vilsack to take action against factory farms that are saturating the market with fake organic milk, like Aurora and Horizon (Dean Foods). One farmer shouted a question to the Agriculture Secretary, asking when the USDA will take action against organic lawbreakers. "I commit to you that we will enforce the rules," Vilsack responded. The OCA is working hard to make sure this is true.

Learn more

Related Quote of the Week

Senator Calls for Investigation of Dean Foods/Horizon Monopoly Practices

"Farmers have seen the price for their milk drop from $19.50 per hundred pounds a year ago to less than $11 in June. Meanwhile, Dean Foods' profits climbed from $30 million in the first quarter of 2008 to $76.2 million for the first quarter of 2009."

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont spoke out on the dairy crisis this week. He has called on the Justice Department to investigate the dairy giant Dean Foods as a monopolist.

Learn more

Consumer Tip of the Week

Food Toxins 101: An Intro to Hexane

At seven cents per pound, hexane is currently the dominant extraction solvent for soy products. Whether you're eating Boca burgers, firm tofu, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, granola crumbs for texture, or Silk soy milk, hexane likely played a role in the extraction process. Hexane was formerly used as a cleaning agent for removing grease in the printing industry as well as a solvent for rubber cement, but now it's showing up in many so-called "natural" and even "made with organic" soy foods.


Learn more

Donate to OCA & Receive Access to Yoga and Meditation Videos Online

The Organic Consumers Association is partnering with to provide OCA donors with a month's worth of instructional web fitness videos at no cost with any size donation. Your donations help us continue to do the important work that you read about each week in Organic Bytes and each day on our website ( Just put "yoga offer" in the comments of your donation here:


Headlines and Articles of the Week

1) Book of the Week:
Recipe for America

"Americans are more obese than ever, our current agriculture system is dependent on oil, our waterways and air are polluted by factory farming, and sustainable agriculture continues to be marginalized. But change is possible, as Jill Richardson writes in her new book, which breaks down many of the issues facing the food system and provides approximately 70 pages of solutions..."
Learn more

2) Webcast of the Week:
House Committee Approves Measure to Keep Single-Payer Option Alive

Democracy Now speaks with progressive Democrat, Rep. Dennis Kucinich on a new measure that would create a government-run public insurance option.

3) Web Video of the Week:
What's on your Plate?

Filmed over the course of one year, the film follows two eleven-year-old African-American city kids as they explore their place in the food chain.

4) Study of the Week:
Research Shows Children are Critically Susceptible to Pesticides

A new study indicates that young children are dangerously vulnerable to the effects of toxic pesticides, routinely used on non-organic farms in the U.S..
Learn more

5) Health News of the Week:
Vitamin Poisoning

Are We Destroying Our Health with Hi-Potency Synthetic Vitamins?
Learn more


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