OCA Creates ORCA to Attack ‘Natural’ Products Labeling Fraud
Fed up with being deceived by food and cosmetic manufacturers who fraudulently claim their products are “natural”?
The OCA has long advocated on behalf of consumers for truth-in labeling, including banning the use of the word “natural” on products containing genetically modified ingredients. Beginning today, the OCA will work directly with public interest groups and food producers and retailers, including co-ops, natural food stores, farmers markets, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) buying clubs and wholesalers, to promote organics and truth-in-labeling, and to increase public awareness about the difference between “natural” and organic.
What does the new Organic Retail and Consumer Alliance (ORCA) mean for you, the consumer? Over time, greater access to more organic and locally grown organic products. Because while we all wait for the FDA and the USDA to catch up to consumer demand for accurate labeling, a growing number of ORCA members will actively market truth-in-labeling practices, which will ultimately grow awareness, grow demand and grow markets.
What does ORCA mean for co-ops, CSAs, natural food stores and other groups that join the alliance? You’ll be able to market your products and businesses as part of an exclusive group that consumers can count on for the truth about what’s in the food they eat. And you'll benefit from growing consumer demand.
You may not live in California, but chances are a lot of the food you buy, including organic produce, is grown there. California is the largest producer of food in the U.S. The state’s Mediterranean climate allows its 81,500 farms to grow over 450 different crops, some of which are exclusive to California. But what happens to our food if we frack and poison the groundwater that irrigates California’s farms?
The U.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has already auctioned off 1,750 square miles of California’s public lands to oil companies intent on fracking California’s Monterey Shale, a geological formation that extends from northern California to Los Angeles. The region is also home to cattle ranches, dairy farms, vineyards and organic farms. In May, the BLM plans to auction off even more of California’s farmland. We need California's farms. And California farms need our support.
Hard to believe, but every time you bite into an organic apple or pear you risk getting a mouthful – and gutful – of antibiotics. That’s because organic apple and pear growers are allowed to spray streptomycin and tetracycline on their trees to prevent a bacterial disease called fireblight.
Ingesting antibiotics with your food increases your chances of developing resistance to those antibiotics. Which means next time you need a cure for a respiratory infection, or something more serious, like tuberculosis, those antibiotics might not work so well. That’s why, in 2011, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) informed organic apple and pear growers that antibiotics would no longer be allowed to be used after October 21, 2014. But now, thanks to pressure from the organic apple and pear industry, the NOSB is considering pushing back that date until 2016. There are other, safer, ways to control fireblight. Please ask the NOSB to stick with the agreed schedule and get antibiotics out of organic apples and pears by October 2014.
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
– Nelson Mandela
If there’s anyone who gets the meaning of perseverance, it’s Nelson Mandela. Jailed for more than 30 years for standing up for his beliefs, he never gave up.
We may be fighting for a different cause than Mandela’s, but the process requires the same tools: patience, perseverance and commitment. Especially during a week like this last one, where President Obama nominated pro-Big Oil, pro-fracker Ernest Moniz to head the U.S. Department of Energy, and also moved one step closer to approving the Keystone XL Pipeline project – two moves that will prove devastating for our climate, our farms and our food.
And then there was the Governor of Vermont this week, suggesting once again that he won’t support a statewide GMO labeling law, apparently lacking the guts to stand up to Monsanto.
It’s enough to make you want to throw in the towel. But you won’t. And we won’t, either. Because the toughest battles, though they may tear us down on occasion, are the ones most worth winning. With your help, we will keep fighting for mandatory labeling of not only GMOs, but foods that come from factory farms. We’ll keep fighting against fracking, and for the rights of communities to decide what corporations can, and can’t, do to their land, air and water. As always, we’ll count on you to keep the fight strong. Thank you!
Who isn’t? That’s because the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), that government agency that’s supposed to be the watchdog for consumers, has consistently failed consumers while protecting industry and corporate interests. FDA policies have led to: lack of transparency, revolving door with industry, market bullying, widespread illness, seed privatization and well-documented risks to our health. And nowhere have those failures been more apparent than in the FDA’s policies regarding genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
On Monday, April 8, concerned citizens, farmers, families, students, food activists and food justice groups will head to the FDA, to face down the institution that chooses Monsanto’s industrial interests over policy transparency and public health.Want to make your voice heard, and help take back our food system? Join the Eat-In for GMO Labeling at the FDA, stone soup-style.
Bravo! Fort Collins Defies Governor, Bans Fracking
We couldn’t resist. When we heard that the governor of Colorado and the oil and gas industry were both planning to sue the City of Fort Collins, Colo., if the city passed a ban on fracking within the city limits, we had to help. We sent emails to our OCA network in Fort Collins, urging folks to contact their city council members. We called residents and patched them in to council members. We sent an email to our network in the state, asking them to help us run an ad in the Coloradoan, in solidarity with the citizens of Fort Collins.
In the end, council members did the right thing. Following the lead of city officials in Longmont, Colo., who also passed a ban – and were consequently sued by the industry – they said, go ahead. Make our day. In the words of Mayor pro tem, Kelly Ohlson: “I believe the governor should spend his time protecting the health and safety and welfare of citizens of Colorado rather than acting like the chief lobbyist for the oil and gas industry. In fact, I think he should literally quit drinking the fracking Kool-Aid.” Governor Hickenlooper has taken a hard line against fracking bans in his state, claiming that the state alone has the authority to regulate the oil and gas industry. According to the governor, counties and cities may write their own regulations, but they must be in “harmony” with the state’s, and city regs cannot add conditions or requirements that would “harm the industry’s bottom line.”
And what about the “bottom line” of citizens’ health, and the health of their air, soil and water? It’s not lookin’ good. The industry says there could be up to 100,000 new wells in Colorado in the next 30 years, in addition to the 50,000 wells already working. That’s largely thanks to the 2005 Energy Act, crafted by President George Bush and Halliburton-Crony Vice President Dick Cheney. That industry-friendly piece of legislation exempts the oil and gas industry from just about every health and environmental law on the books.
Thanks to the thousands of you who called or emailed your city council members, or chipped in to run the advertisement! And congratulations to the City Council for taking a stand. We’ll be watching your progress!
Discover the Fastest, Funnest, and Easiest Ways to
Grow Your Own Groceries
Hi, I am Marjory Wildcraft. About a decade ago I volunteered to help get fresh, local, organic produce into the kids school system. That project failed miserably, and changed my life forever. Why? Because there wasn't enough locally grown food in the entire county for even one small elementary school. I am willing to bet there isn't much food growing in your county either.
Once I stopped shaking, I devoted my life to finding the fastest, easiest, and funnest ways for an individual or family to grow thier own food. I discovered that growing your own is incredibly rewarding.
I've developed a video set that is used by permacuulture teachers, universities, missionary organizations, and regular folks. It gets you started producing very quickly. You know from reading these OCA newsletters that the era of quality food is way back in your rearview mirror. And the era of cheap food is the dead end right in front of you. Fortunately, if you've got a hose and a backyard, or even a sunny window sill, there is a tremenous amount you can do - and it is really fun!