Food Safety, Factory Farms, & More


#219, April 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

"Behold this compost! behold it well!
Perhaps every mite has once form'd part of a sick person-Yet behold!
The grass of spring covers the prairies,
The bean bursts noislessly through the mould in the garden,
The delicate spear of the onion pierces upward,
The apple-buds cluster together on the apple-branches,
The resurrection of the wheat appears with pale visage out of its graves,
The tinge awakes over the willow-tree and the mulberry-tree,
The he-birds carol mornings and evenings, while the she-birds sit on their nests,
The young of poultry break through the hatch'd eggs,
The new-born of animals appear-the calf is dropt from the cow, the colt from the mare,
Out of its little hill faithfully rise the potato's dark green leaves,
Out of its hill rises the yellow maize-stalk-the lilacs bloom in the door-yards,
The summer growth is innocent and disdainful above all those strata of sour dead."

-Walt Whitman, from the poem "This Compost"



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: Rescue Local/Organic Farming from One-Size-Fits-All Food Safety Bill!

The U.S. Senate is expected to vote on a sweeping overhaul of the food safety laws very soon - possibly as early as next week.  While the bill seeks to improve food safety, as it is currently written, S. 510 will actually make our food less safe.  S. 510 will strengthen the forces that have led to the consolidation of our food supply in the hands of a few industrial food producers, while harming small producers who give consumers the choice to buy fresh, healthy, local foods.

Please contact your Senators NOW to urge them to amend or oppose the bill!

Congress needs to solve the real problems - chemical-intensive agriculture, factory farms, industrialized and centralized food production and distribution, and often tainted imported foods - and not regulate organic and small farms out of business.  S. 510 is a "one-size-fits-all" approach that will unnecessarily burden both farmers and small-scale food processors, ultimately depriving consumers of the choice to buy from producers they know and trust.



Take Action: Don't Let USDA Okay 4-Month Factory Farm Confinement for "Organic" Beef

The USDA wants to know what organic consumers think about "finishing" or fattening up organic beef cattle for four months in factory farm-style feedlots.

Studies show that cattle confined and fed grain in feedlots are prone to E. coli 0157 contamination, whereas healthy organic cattle grazing on grass are typically free of this dangerous pathogen. The meat from grass-fed beef is also healthier and more nutritious than beef that's been "marbleized" in the feedlot.

Take Action: Tell President Obama and the USDA National Organic Program that you don't want organic beef cattle to be kept in factory-farm-style feedlots for the last four months of their lives.



Take Action: Hug a Farmer!

April 17, La Via Campesina Call to Action

To commemorate the International Day of Peasant Struggle on April 17th 2010, the international peasant movement La Via Campesina calls upon member organizations, allies and supporters to unite against global agribusiness corporations, which seek complete control over food and agriculture systems around the world. Small and family scale farmers form the backbone of the global food supply and are essential for transitioning to a healthy and organic food system.

On April 17th 1996, nineteen landless Brazilian peasants who were defending their right to produce food by demanding access to land were massacred by the military police. Since the massacre at El Dorado dos Carajás, every year on this date actions are organized around the world by farmers' organizations, communities, student groups, non-governmental organizations and activists, in order to demand food sovereignty and peasants' rights to produce food.

Join Via Campesina and the Organic Consumers Association in the global struggle against multinational corporations, like Monsanto, that are threatening our food supply and undermining farmers across the globe. Visit OCA's Millions Against Monsanto campaign center for more information.

To join the April 17, 2010 Day of Peasant Struggle, go to:



Essay of the Week: "Is This Factory Farming's Tobacco Moment?" by Will Allen and Ronnie Cummins

The nation's chemical and energy-intensive food and farming system, Food Inc., is out of control, posing a mortal threat to public health, the environment, and climate stability.

Economically stressed and distracted consumers have become dependent on a factory farm system designed to provide cheap processed food that may be cosmetically perfect and easily shipped, but which is seriously degraded in terms of purity and nutritional value.



Video of the Week: OCA Exposes 'Organic Cheaters'

This year at the Expo West Natural Products Expo in Anaheim, California, the OCA staged a very visible public protest to expose what it calls "sham poo" products that are "organic cheaters."



Little Bytes


Retire Ronald McDonald, Junk Food Salesman
Corporate Accountability International's "Value [the] Meal" campaign is launching a national initiative calling on McDonald's to Retire Ronald McDonald from hooking our kids on unhealthy food. READ MORE

Climate Catastrophe: Obama's Second Chance on the Predominant Moral Issue of This Century
The predominant moral issue of the 21st century, almost surely, will be climate change, comparable to Nazism faced by Churchill in the 20th century and slavery faced by Lincoln in the 19th century. READ MORE

Is Whole Foods Moving Away from Greenwashing Back to its Organic Roots?
Recent moves by Whole Foods certainly create the impression that the multi-billion corporation is finally listening to the criticisms of the OCA and other groups and putting a priority on selling organic food and "walking its talk." But is this just corporate PR? READ MORE

Climate Chaos and Peak Water: The World Will Soon Be at War over Water
Modern farming's overconsumption of ground water is like an open-ended blood donation - the planet's surface, in developed areas, is becoming cadaverous as its life drains away. READ MORE

What San Francisco Found in Their Own Sludge
San Francisco, and no doubt your own city, claim that their toxic sewage sludge is safe. Safe enough to dump on area gardens, school yards, and farms. Don't believe them. This is a dangerous lie. READ MORE

How Marijuana Could Save California Agriculture
Marijuana could potentially provide a bulwark against a future of steadily declining crop yields. READ MORE




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