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Organic Spies Strike Again

#283, June 30, 2011

In this issue:


Quote of the Week

Harvest of Heat: Agribusiness & Climate Change

"Powerful corporations like Archer Daniels Midland, Cargill, Dean Foods, Dow AgroSciences, Monsanto and Tyson share a major - though largely overlooked - role in fueling climate change. These giant multinationals have seized control over much of the planet's food resources...According to varying estimates, oil-dependent farming, livestock operations, destruction of carbon-storing fields and forests to accommodate farming, the use of chemical fertilizers and the combustion of fuel to process and distribute food all add up to between one-fifth and one-half of the human-caused pollution that is driving climate change."

- "A Harvest of Heat: Agribusiness & Climate Change, How Six Food Industry Giants Are Warming in the Planet" by Gar Smith for Agribusiness Action Initiatives North America


Fair Trade Victory!

National Advertising Division Makes Recommendation Eliminating "Fair Washing" Claims

The National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus recommended that TransFair USA require its licensees to stop ¨fair washing¨ personal-care brands by allowing brands to market their product as fair trade when only 2% to 5% of their ingredients meet the qualifications for Fair Trade. Avon and other personal care products for example, have prominently used Fair Trade seals and language that deceptively imply that majority of the product´s ingredients are certified as Fair Trade. The NAD determined that TransFair USA´s authorized marketing materials "do not convey an accurate message regarding the actual amount of fair-trade certified ingredients" in personal-care products.

Read the NAD press release here

Though TransFair USA and Avon have both agreed to comply with the NAD recommendations, these steps represent a small step forward in eliminating ¨fair washing¨ from the marketplace. TransFair USA must restrict the use of its seal to products that have a majority of fair trade ingredients.

Go further! Send a letter to the Federal Trade Commission in support of legally binding measures to restrict "fair washing" claims in the marketplace.

Read the OCA and Dr. Bronner's complaint to the FTC



Organic Spies Strike Again: Exposing the Shocking Links Between the Biotech Industry and the Organic Trade Association

After the success of "Organic Spies Find Lies," the organic industry's most diligent muckrakers, the Organic Spies, are at it again with a new documentary, this time exposing the connection between Horizon, Dean Foods, Land O' Lakes and Monsanto.

Watch the Video and Take Action

Dean Foods, the largest dairy corporation in the U.S., owns Horizon, the leading organic milk brand, as well as White Wave Silk soy milk which switched from using organic soybeans to so-called "natural" soybeans.

Most of the new GMO alfalfa that will be grown in this country will be used to feed dairy cows producing milk for Dean Foods, who of course already force-feed their factory farm bovines on genetically engineered corn and soybeans.

Monsanto and Forage Genetics' alfalfa represents a major threat to the integrity of organic milk, as GMO alfalfa will inevitably contaminate organic alfalfa fields, but of course Dean Foods/Horizon/White Wave didn't try to stop GMO alfalfa. The same PR flak who lobbies for Dean Foods lobbies for Horizon!

And it gets worse. Dean Foods is the primary marketing agent for Land O' Lakes, a giant dairy, seed, and biotech company which owns Forage Genetics, the co-patent-holder, along with Monsanto, of GMO alfalfa!

Land O' Lakes, is the largest livestock feed seller in the U.S. With almost all soy and corn being GMO, and 98% of soy and 60% of corn being used as animal feed, that makes Land O' Lakes the biggest pusher of Monsanto's GMO crops. Land O' Lakes also sells Monsanto's GMO seeds and Roundup herbicide.

As a dairy processor, Land O' Lakes used to be a competitor of Dean Foods. They went from competitors to partners with a licensing agreement for Dean to process and distribute Land O' Lakes dairy products. Now Land O' Lakes is a Dean Foods brand, along with Horizon, Silk, and International Delight. Dean Foods might as well sell Monsanto-brand milk!

Organic Consumers Association is calling for a boycott of Dean Foods and all of its brands, including Horizon and Silk, to protest GMO alfalfa and all of the other crimes against human health, worker safety, animal rights and the environment caused by Dean's factory farmed dairies.

Watch the video and take action



Help OCA Fight GMOs and Safeguard Organic and Fair Trade Standards

As you know, Genetically Modified Organisms, factory farms, and deceptively labeled consumer products pose a mortal threat to public health, climate stability, and all living things. As you read this issue of Organic Bytes, consumers are inadvertently ingesting genetically engineered organisms and pesticide-tainted foods, organic farms are being contaminated with Monsanto's GMOs, climate-destabilizing chemical fertilizers are being massively applied to crops, and small farmers and farm workers are being exploited. We need your financial contributions to educate and mobilize consumers, to protect and maintain strict organic standards, and to pressure the entire food industry, including natural food stores and co-ops, to adopt Truth-in-Labeling and Fair Trade practices.

Please Donate



USDA Filling Five Vacancies on the National Organic Standards Board

From the Cornucopia Institute:

The USDA is seeking nominations for five upcoming vacancies on the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB).

In the past, widespread abuse during the Bush and Obama administrations led to corporate agribusiness representatives being appointed to positions that were earmarked for farmers or consumer advocates. Because of this history, Cornucopia is appealing to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to respect the will of Congress and to make the nomination process public so that the very best candidates can be appointed. Transparency and openness will help the organic community advise the USDA on the best possible candidates for the NOSB, so we have also asked that the department release a list of candidates, to allow the public to supply input.

Learn more and take action


Alerts of the Week

Organic Trade Association Holds Elections for Board of Directors

From the Organic Trade Association:

The Organic Trade Association is having a board member election. The candidates are:

* Tony Bedard, CEO, Frontier Natural Products Coop, and current Board member
* Sarah Bird, Vice President of Marketing, Annie's Homegrown, Division of Annie's Inc., and current OTA Board member
* Samantha Cabaluna, Director of Communication, Earthbound Farm
* Ricardo D. Crisantes, General Manager, Wholesum Family Farms
* Katrina Heinze, Manager of Global Regulatory Affairs, Small Planet Foods Inc.
* Pauline McKee, Vice President and Co-Founder, Wholesome Sweeteners Inc. Matt McLean, President, Uncle Matt's Organic Inc., and current OTA Board member
* Melody Meyer, VP of Global Initiatives, UNFI, and current OTA Board member
* Scott Nash, CEO, MOM's Organic Market
* Arjan Stephens, Executive VP of Sales & Marketing, Nature's Path Foods Inc.
* Shane Towne, Marketing & New Business Development, Indianapolis Fruit Company
* Curt Valva, General Manager, Aubrey Organics Inc.

Find out more about the candidates here


Video of the Week

GM Crops Farmer to Farmer

Michael Hart, a conventional livestock family farmer, has been farming in Cornwall for nearly thirty years and has actively campaigned on behalf of family farmers for over fifteen years, travelling extensively in Europe, India, Canada and the USA.

In this short documentary he investigates the reality of farming genetically modified crops in the USA ten years after their introduction. He travels across the US interviewing farmers and other specialists about their experiences of growing GM.



Little Bytes

Monsanto Trying to Take over World Seed Supply, Nation by Nation

A Twenty-year Vision for Organic Agriculture

Roundup: Birth Defects Caused By World's Top-Selling Weedkiller, Scientists Say

Corporate Food Executives Aren't Struggling Quite as Much as Farmers

In Wake of OCA Boycott, Silk Soymilk Trying to Rebuild Image with Organic Purchasers


Book of the Week

Help Us Build a Sustainable Future!

 Our friends at Chelsea Green offer the latest books on sustainability, democracy, new science, and pathways to peace. Thanks to our new Affiliate Program, your online purchase supports the OCA!

This weeks featured book is... Get Up, Stand Up: Uniting Populists, Energizing the Defeated, and Battling the Corporate Elite

Polls show that the majority of Americans oppose recent US wars and Wall Street bailouts, yet most remain passive and appear resigned to powerlessness. In Get Up, Stand Up, Bruce Levine offers an original and convincing explanation for this passivity. Many Americans are deeply demoralized by decades of oppressive elitism, and they have lost confidence that genuine democracy is possible. Drawing on phenomena such as learned helplessness, the abuse syndrome, and other psychological principles and techniques for pacifying a population, Levine explains how major US institutions have created fatalism. When such fatalism and defeatism set in, truths about social and economic injustices are not enough to set people free.

However, the situation is not truly hopeless. History tells us that for democratic movements to get off the ground, individuals must recover self-respect, and a people must regain collective confidence that they can succeed at eliminating top-down controls. Get Up, Stand Up describes how we can recover dignity, confidence, and the energy to do battle. That achievement fills in the missing piece that, until now, has undermined so many efforts to energize genuine democracy.

Learn More


Message From Our Sponsors

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