Organic Farmers & Fishers v. Clones, GMOs & Nano


#244, September 30, 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

The Cloning Company vs. OCA

"There are people who do not agree with our approaches, like the Organic Consumers Association. I work for a livestock cloning company and we have been active for the last 8 years in moving this into the market place - these groups still don't like us."

- Mark Walton, President of ViaGen: The Cloning Company, speaking at the Ag Industry Biotech Conference, September 16, 2010, in Saskatchewan, Canada

Poor Mark Walton, maybe he's still sore about the hilarious piece the Daily Show did on cloning where he and OCA spokesperson Adam Eidinger were interviewed by Rob Riggle.

Of course, OCA has more reason to fear Mark Walton than he has to fear us. For one thing, he successfully got milk and meat from cloned cows approved by the FDA. Anyone's who's not eating certified organic, which bans cloning, has probably eaten some of the mutant fruits of his labors.

Since the FDA doesn't require labels on meat and dairy products that come from cloned cows, consumers are in the dark. After a scandal about unlabeled cloned products in Europe, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack was asked if "cloned cows or their offspring have made it into the North American food supply." He replied, "I can't say today that I can answer your question in an affirmative or negative way. I don't know."


Alerts of the Week

Organic Standards Alert


When is organic beer not really organic? Nearly always - and the situation may quickly get worse. The issue is hops, one of the central ingredients in beer. It's a little-known fact that "certified organic" beer can be brewed with non-organic hops, owing to a USDA ruling made in 2007, despite the objections of thousands of OCA members.

That ruling is currently up for review by the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), but one of their committees has voted unanimously to continue it, and their recommendation is likely to stand unless consumers and organic advocates make their voices heard during the public comment period that runs through October 12, or in person at the USDA hearings in Madison, Wisconsin October 25-27. The Organic Consumers Association will be testifying in support of requiring organic hops. We need as many of our members to join us as possible.


The Cornucopia Institute, OCA's close ally, has put together a comprehensive report called Scrambled Eggs, exposing the deplorable practices that constitute "business as usual" in industrial-scale organic egg production. The report is the culmination of two years of research which saw the group visit over 15% of the certified egg farms in the United States, and survey all name-brand and private-label industry marketers. Cornucopia's findings demonstrate the huge gap between best-practice animal husbandry exhibited by many small and medium-sized organic egg producers, and the bare-minimum standards followed by many industrial-scale operations.


Recently, long-established USDA organic wine standards have come under attack. A group made up of foreign and domestic wine producers and distributors seeks to change current established US organic wine standards to allow a synthetic preservative called sulfite, a known allergen, to be added to organic wine.


Alerts of the Week

Keeping Nano Out

A major reason why consumers shop for products that are certified organic is to avoid hazardous and unlabeled Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), toxic chemicals, and now the most recent, and likely most dangerous hi-tech poison of them all: nanotechnology. Nanotechnology is now a mega-billion dollar Frankenstein monster industry churning out a vast menu of untested and unlabeled products containing tiny nanoparticles including non-organic vitamin supplements, food packaging, processed food, cosmetics and sunscreens.

Unfortunately the USDA National Organic Program has not yet banned nanotechnology. The National Organic Standards Board feels it can't "adequately define" nanotechnology, and ban it, even though it's been banned under the organic standards of Canada, the UK, and the US-based Organic Crop Improvement Association.



The 10 Freakiest Things
About Frankenfish

10. According to the FDA, Frankenfish Aren't Animals, They're "Animal Drugs"

9. The GMO Part of the GMO Salmon Isn't Being Safety Tested

8. Frankenfish DNA Could Change the Bacteria of Your Gut

7. If It Swims Like a Salmon, FDA Says It's Safe to Eat

6. FDA Lets the Frankenfish Company Test Its Own Product's Safety

5. Frankenfish Is More Carcinogenic

4. Frankenfish Is Less Nutritious

3. Frankenfish Is More Allergenic

2. GMOs Can Mess a Fish Up!

But the freakiest thing about all of this is ...

1. The Government Wants More Transgenic Fish and Less Wild Fish



Why Who Fishes Matters

Current changes to fisheries policies are aiding and abetting the corporate takeover and industrialization of our source of seafood. The Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance (NAMA) has launched a Who Fishes Matters campaign which includes asking fisheries regulators to put limits on consolidation of fishing permits, accumulation and amassing of fishing power by those with money and corporate takeover/buyout of the fishing industry.

Over the past few weeks NAMA has been talking with family fishermen. You can see their videos here.

And now you can upload your own short video. NAMA is asking local food and food system advocates who know why who brings our food to our table matters to add their voice to the mix. You can sit in front of your webcam, video phone or whatever tool you have, in the comfort of your own home/office/boat/farm or wherever and tell the decision makers why you think Who Fishes Matters. Then upload your video by going to this site.

Over the weekend at the New Bedford Working Waterfront Festival NAMA asked folks 'why does who fishes matter'? Check out this video to hear some great responses. We especially liked the lady who shared a message on why she doesn't support GE Salmon!

If you don't want to send a video, you can sign the petition by going to this link:


Please Donate

Support the OCA! Save the Oceans and Our Fragile Climate!

We depend on your donations to fight against Monsanto and GMOs, to preserve strict organic standards, and to build a global climate justice movement based upon organic food and farming. Please send us a tax-deductible donation today and we'll send you a free "Millions Against Monsanto" bumper sticker so you can help spread the word in your community. Please be sure to put "sticker" in the comments field of your donation.

Any donation $100 and over will get a free Millions Against Monsanto t-shirt. Please specify your interest and size in the comments field. Help OCA and spread the word about the Millions Against Monsanto Campaign!

Please consider joining OCA staff on one or both of our 5-6-day delegations to the Global Climate Summit in Cancun, Mexico November 29-December 10. Details follow below.



Take Action on Climate Change

Please Join OCA and in
our Upcoming Actions

On 10/10/10, OCA's climate justice ally, is organizing a Global Work Party to involve people in positive actions in their local communities to demonstrate how we can sharply reduce and sequester climate-destabilizing greenhouse gases and move back below the dangerous tipping point of 350 parts per million of CO2 in our atmosphere.

A worldwide shift of agriculture from chemical-intensive factory farms and industrial monocultures to organic practices could drastically reduce CO2, nitrous oxide, and methane emissions, and sequester a critical mass of carbon back in the soil, where it belongs. That's why OCA and are encouraging people to spend 10/10/10 working on a community garden or an organic farm in your local area.

Please click on to find out what other organic consumers and climate justice activists in your community have planned for 10/10/10. If there's not something already planned, then please organize your own 10/10/10 Work Party.



Join the OCA at the Historic Global Climate Crisis Summit in Cancun


Please join OCA Director Ronnie Cummins and other OCA staff on an escorted delegation to the historic teach-ins and rallies for climate justice and organic agriculture at Global Climate Crisis Summit in Cancun, Mexico.

The OCA delegation, limited to 100 people, will include international experts on organic agriculture and climate justice, including OCA Directors Ronnie Cummins and Alexis Baden-Mayer, organic farm leader and author, Will Allen, leading anti-GMO scientist Dr. Michael Hansen, and noted blogger and food activist Jill Richardson.

 OCA will be hosting two tours:

  • 6-Day Tour:  November 29th- December 5th, 2010 : Hostel $750, Ramada $950
  • 5-Day Tour: December 5th-11th, 2010: Hostel $700, Ramada $900 It is also possible to stay for the entire 11 day even from November 29th through December 11th, 2010

Global scientists and activists including Vandana Shiva, James Hansen, Bill McKibben, Pat Mooney, and Maude Barlow are expected to make presentations at the Grassroots Summit, which will take place simultaneously with the global negotiations of leaders from every nation in the world.


Video of the Week

Birke Baehr, What's Wrong With Our Food System

Eleven-year-old Birke Baehr spoke on the food system at the TEDx Next Generation event in Ashville:

"A while back, I wanted to be an NFL football player, but I've decided that I want to be an organic farmer instead. That way, I can have a greater impact on the world. 

"I want you to know that we can all make a difference by making different choices, by buying our food directly from local farmers or neighbors we know in real life. Some people say that organic and local food is more expensive, but is it really? With all these things I've been learning about the food system, it seems to me that we can either pay the farmer or pay the hospital. I know definitely which one I would choose."


Little Bytes

The Food Crisis is Not About a Shortage of Food

Retribution for a World Lost in Screens

Misguided FDA Opposition to Labeling Could Leave Public Permanently in the Dark About GE Animals

Save American Democracy, or What's Left of It

Obama's Massive Power Struggle with the American War Machine



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