Sustainable Food Pledge, Sludge, and Frankencrops


#215, March 9, 2010

Health, Justice and Sustainability News
from the Organic Consumers Association

Edited by Alexis Baden-Mayer and Ronnie Cummins


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Quote of the Week

"Those who manipulate the unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested largely by men we have never heard of. In almost every act of our lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires that control the public mind."

-Edward Bernays, Pioneer of Corporate PR and Propaganda




OCA Needs Your Help to Spread the Organic Revolution


OCA and our international network of organic consumers and farmers understand that we have a positive life-affirming solution for the global food, health, and climate crisis: organic food, farming, and ranching. But to get out our all-important message we need your support. Please send us a tax-deductible donation today.



Take Action: Rally for Organic Integrity at Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, CA

March 12, 2010 at the Anaheim Convention Center at 10 a.m.

Are you concerned about the rampant misbranding of so-called "organic" personal care and cosmetics products?

Join the Organic Consumers Association at the Anaheim, California Convention Center for a rally and press conference March 12 at Expo West, the largest annual gathering of the natural and organic products industry. Join us as we demand that all fraudulent "organic" brands clean up their act or leave the organic personal care aisle altogether!

The Organic Consumers Association's "Coming Clean" Campaign has been working to clean up the natural and organic personal care industry for the past six years. We believe that organic bodycare standards should mirror organic food standards. The word "organic" is not properly regulated on personal care products (examples: soap and bodywash, toothpaste, shampoo, lotion, etc.) as it is on food products, unless the product is certified by the USDA National Organic Program. Due to this lax regulation, many personal care products have the word "organic" in their brand name or otherwise on their product label, but unless they are USDA certified, the main cleansing ingredients and preservatives are usually made with synthetic and petrochemical compounds. In November of 2009, OCA launched a consumer boycott of all offending brands, and in January 2010 OCA filed a complaint with the National Organic Program requesting an investigation into this issue.

Giant  5 ft. tall shampoo bottles mocking fraudulent "organic" brands will greet attendees at the trade show while OCA activists distribute Consumer Warning leaflets. Speakers from genuinely certified organic companies and OCA staff will give updates on the fight to clean up rampant labeling fraud in the body care and cosmetics sector. Join us as we expose the organic imposters and recognize the ethical companies that are upholding organic integrity.

Contact Alexis Baden-Mayer at alexis[a] or 202-744-0853 to get involved



Activists Protest at Whole Foods Market Shareholder Meeting in Vancouver

Sustainable Supply Chain Coalition Delivers a Clear Message: Whole Foods' "Business as Usual" is Bad for People and Bad for the Planet

The international Sustainable Supply Chain Coalition, comprised of environmental groups, food activist organizations and labor unions, including the OCA, Sierra Club of Canada, and the Teamsters Union, protested inside and outside the Whole Foods Market shareholder meeting in Vancouver, BC on Monday March 8, 2010 to support four shareholder resolutions and call for a change in Whole Foods Market's unsustainable practices.

The international coalition is calling on Whole Foods Market and its major supplier United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) to sign the Sustainable Food Pledge and stop marketing conventional chemical, GMO, and energy-intensive foods and products as "natural" or "almost organic;" increase sales of certified organic products from 1/3 of current sales to 2/3 of sales within three years; and to pressure all of their so-called "natural" suppliers to sign a contract with an accredited organic certifier to begin to make the transition to organic.

The pledge also calls on WFM and UNFI to practice what they preach in terms of domestic Fair Trade, to recognize the rights of workers - from farm workers in the fields, to food processing workers, truck drivers, warehouse workers, and retail clerks - to organize themselves into unions if they so choose. The Pledge also calls on WFM and UNFI to recognize the rights of all citizens to universal health care and to acknowledge the fact that only a massive transition to organic food and farming can sequester sufficient greenhouse gases to prevent climate catastrophe.



Action Update: More Than 200,000 Consumers, Farmers and Organic Businesses Call for USDA to Ban Monsanto's Genetically Engineered Alfalfa


The contamination of non-GE and organic alfalfa hay and seed With Monsanto's Roundup Ready Alfalfa would likely devastate the organic dairy and beef industry.

More than 200,000 people submitted comments to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) critiquing the substance and conclusions of its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on Genetically Engineered (GE) Alfalfa. Groups including the Organic Consumers Association, the National Organic Coalition, Center for Food Safety (CFS), Food & Water Watch, CREDO Action, and Food Democracy Now, mobilized our communities to help generate the unprecedented number of comments.



Action Update: World's Greenest Mayor: "Let Them Eat Toxic Sludge!"


A "sludge dump" organized by San Francisco garden activists and the Organic Consumers Association made national news last week. TV cameras from all the major networks filmed us as we took sewage sludge that the city had told gardeners was "organic compost" and dumped it on the steps of City Hall.

Sadly, Gavin Newsom, the man Organic Style Magazine called the World's Greenest Mayor, doesn't seem to think there's anything wrong with using sewage sludge on food crops.



Action Update: Procter & Gamble Agrees to Reformulate Body Care Products Due to Toxic Contaminant

On Friday March 12, 2009, the Organic Consumers Association, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, and the Green Patriot Working Group will announce the details of an agreement from Procter and Gamble to reformulate 18 products from its top-selling Herbal Essences brand to reduce levels of the carcinogenic petrochemical 1,4-Dioxane.

In addition, OCA and allies will announce new results from a continuing study that has tested over 150 consumer products for the toxic chemical. This year, 20 laundry detergents were tested, including major "natural" and conventional brands. Ironically, the seven laundry detergent brands from P&G had by far the highest levels of 1,4-dioxane overall. The independent third-party laboratory, Exova, known for rigorous testing and chain-of-custody protocols, performed all testing. Over the past two years, OCA research, litigation, and marketplace pressure have forced dozens of so-called organic and natural brands to reformulate their health and beauty products.



Little Bytes


New Drug-Resistant Bacteria Emerging in Hospitals
A new "superbug" called Acinetobacter is causing severe bloodstream infection and pneumonia in many hospital patients. READ MORE

Why are Women Being Left Out of Climate Decision-Making?
The U.N. announced a new climate change financing group last week, but out of the 19 people named, no women were included, even though women will bear the brunt of the effects of climate change and are key to any climate solutions. READ MORE

Time for a U.S. Revolution - Fifteen Reasons
Government works for big corporations, banks, insurance companies, military contractors, lobbyists, and for the rich and powerful, but it does not work for people. READ MORE

While We Were Sleeping...GM Food and the Brink of No Return
"The process behind genetically modified food involves a careful re- configuration of genes combining e-coli bacteria, soil bacteria and the cauliflower mosaic virus that causes tumors in plants. They add an antibiotic and then artificially force it into plant cells with a gene invasion technique. All this is so farmers can douse nearly unlimited amounts of Roundup Herbicide on the crops and the plants won't die." READ MORE




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