The Whole Truth About Whole Foods GMO Labeling Policy

Whole Foods made a huge splash in the media last week when the company announced that its U.S. and Canadian stores will be required to label all genetically engineered (GE) foods in its stores, by 2018. But five years? Surely the largest national organic grocer in the country can do better than that. After all, Whole Foods is already labeling in its European stores.
Don’t get us wrong. This is great news. It’s a clear victory for consumers and the GMO labeling movement. And a serious blow to Monsanto. And it’s proof that marketplace pressure works, that consumers have the power to change food policy. So let’s take it a step further. Whole Foods makes billions of dollars a year selling products that carry the misleading “natural” label. Not only do most of these products contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs), but they’re also full of pesticides, synthetic chemicals and a host of very unnatural additives. It’s time for Whole Foods to clean up its whole act, by creating a policy that says no product in its stores can be called “natural” if it contains GMOs. Or any of that other unnatural stuff.
Read the essay
Read the press release



C'mon Ben & Jerry. How about Throwing Some Dough into the WA and VT GMO Labeling Campaigns?

TAKE ACTION: Tell Ben & Jerry’s You’re Boycotting Their Products Until They Throw Some Dough into the Washington State Ballot Initiative and the Vermont GMO Labeling Campaign
Ben & Jerry’s sat silently by last year while its parent company, Unilever, dumped almost half a million dollars into the campaign to defeat Proposition 37, the California Right to Know GMO labeling campaign. Now the GMO labeling movement is working feverishly in Washington and several dozen other states, including Ben & Jerry’s own Vermont backyard, to get a statewide GMO labeling law passed. But the so-called socially responsible ice cream maker claims it can’t help out with a donation in Washington or Vermont because it wants to get the “dough out of politics.” Seriously?
C’mon guys, you can do better than that. Sure, you’ve got a statement on your website that says you support the consumer’s right to know. And great that you’ve promised to get GMOs out of your own products by the end of this year, we’ll hold you to it. But Washington and Vermont consumers – you know, those consumers who put you on the map when you were just a couple of struggling nobodies – need your help. And your dollars. And a promise from you, not a suggestion, that Unilever will keep its money out of all future anti-labeling campaigns.
TAKE ACTION: Tell Ben & Jerry’s You’re Boycotting Their Products Until They Throw Some Dough into the Washington State Ballot Initiative and the Vermont GMO Labeling Campaign
Download your wallet-sized boycott guide

Download a poster-sized boycott guide (PDF)

Sign the boycott pledge

Order printed copies of the boycott guide or poster



Stop the Monsanto Protection Act Today!

URGENT! TAKE ACTION TODAY: Tell your Senators to Stop the Monsanto Rider and Support the Tester Amendment!

It’s back! Monsanto’s lobbyists have managed to slip the Monsanto Protection Act, also known as the Monsanto Rider (Sec. 735), into the Senate Continuing Resolution spending bill. Fortunately, Senator Tester has introduced an amendment (#74), co-sponsored by Senators Boxer, Gillibrand and Leahy, to strike the rider from the bill. But we have to act fast, as the Senate is voting on this bill today!

The so-called “Monsanto Rider” would require the Secretary of Agriculture to grant a temporary permit for planting or cultivating a genetically engineered crop, even if a federal court has ordered the planting be halted until an Environmental Impact Statement is completed. That’s right, even the federal courts won’t be able to stop Monsanto from planting unproven, potentially dangerous crops if this bill passes today.

Don’t let Monsanto get away with it. Please sign the alert below, then call your senator today! You can look up the phone number for your senators here.

URGENT! TAKE ACTION TODAY: Tell your Senators to Stop the Monsanto Rider and Support the Tester Amendment!



The Impact You’ve Had

Many of you were right there with us last year, pouring your time, your energy and your money into the GMO labeling battle in California. We came so close. Still, Prop 37, the “Food Fight of our Lives” fell just a bit short of a win.

How far we’ve come since Nov. 6! More than 30 states are working on their own GMO labeling laws. Why? Because they were inspired by the Prop 37 fight, and motivated by its narrow loss. Since Nov. 6, Big Food companies, like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, ConAgra, even Walmart, have met behind closed doors in Washington D.C., to discuss a federal labeling law. Why? Because they were battered by consumers for having sided with Monsanto, and for dumping millions into the NO on 37 campaign.

And now Whole Foods has announced it will label all products containing GMOs by 2018. It’s not soon enough. And we still need them to financially support state labeling laws. But it’s a start. When asked if Prop 37 had anything to do with Whole Foods decision, CEO Walter Robb told an interviewer that until Prop 37, “The conversation never gelled. It never really got any combustion.”

That’s what you call impact. And that’s why your contributions matter so much. Because it takes resources, along with will and determination, to have a real impact. Please keep this fight alive by helping us win GMO labeling laws in Washington State, Vermont and other states. Please donate today. Thank you!

Donate to the Organic Consumers Association (tax-deductible, helps support our work on behalf of organic standards, fair trade and public education)

Donate to the Organic Consumers Fund (non-tax-deductible, but necessary for our legislative efforts in Washington, Vermont and other states)



Gov. Shumlin: Get on the Train
in the Direction It’s Moving!

In case the Governor of Vermont, Peter Shumlin, hasn’t noticed, consumers are winning. Monsanto is losing. Isn't it time he came over to the winning side?
Last year, Gov. Shumlin said he couldn’t support a GMO labeling law after Monsanto threatened to sue the state if the law passed. Vermont just couldn’t afford a lawsuit, he said. This year, the law has been written specifically to stand up against Monsanto’s threats, yet the governor is again dragging his heels. What’s up? Face it, Governor Shumlin. Consumers are winning this battle. Washington State is likely to pass I-522, a citizen’s initiative to label GMOs, in November. Big Food companies have abandoned biotech, and are now talking (behind the scenes) about a national GMO labeling law. And the country’s largest organic retail chain, Whole Foods, is going to start voluntarily labeling. We’re winning. But we need a win in Vermont to help seal the deal. It’s time for Gov. Shumlin to get on board!
Read the article
TAKE ACTION: If You Live In Vermont, Tell Your Legislators You Have the Right to Know about GMOs!



Guerilla Gardening: For Defiance.
For Beauty. For Food.

More people were dying from drive-thrus than from drive-bys in South Central L.A. And dialysis centers were popping up like Starbucks. So Ron Finley planted vegetable gardens. He planted them in abandoned lots, in traffic medians, along the curbs. Why? For fun, for defiance, for beauty, for education, for community.

Watch the video


Take a Stand Against Union Busting
at Chiquita Bananas!

TAKE ACTION: Tell Tres Hermanas to Bargain with the Legally Recognized Union and Reinstate Fired Union Members

Workers’ rights violations at a Rainforest Alliance-certified banana plantation? Sadly, yes.
Since 2009, workers at Tres Hermanas, a Chiquita banana plantation in Honduras, have complained about a pattern of labor rights violations, including failure to pay the minimum wage, unpaid overtime, and the illegal firing of workers attempting to exercise their right to organize.  To protect their rights, the workers formed the union SITRAINBA, which was officially recognized by the Honduran Ministry of Labor on August 15, 2012. But instead of recognizing and bargaining with SITRAINBA as required by Honduras’ labor law, Tres Hermanas’ management has launched a campaign of anti-union harassment, including firing four women who were prominent union supporters. And it’s all happening on a Rainforest Alliance-certified plantation.
TAKE ACTION: Tell Tres Hermanas to Bargain with the Legally Recognized Union and Reinstate Fired Union Members



Essential Reading for the Week

Can We Trust Whole Foods?

Oil and Gas Drilling Fuels Debate over Self-Government, State Interest

Tilling the Soil with Pesticides

Study: Sludge-Based Fertilizer May be Causing Human Illnesses

Across U.S., Health Concerns Vie with Fracking Profits

Top Military Officer: Climate Change Biggest Threat to Security


Green PolkaDot Box: GMO-Free Right from the Start!

Whole Foods is getting all the applause this week, for announcing that it will label GMO’s by 2018. But the Green PolkaDot Box (GPDB) has been committed right from the start to a 100-percent GMO-Free line of products, at prices you won’t find anywhere else.

GPDB wants you to give them a try. For $10, you can place an order and we'll let you see the value you get back. You'll recover your $10 in savings, easily. However, in the checkout process, after you see the savings, you can switch to a Club membership if you want and get FREE shipping on orders over $75.  When you take into account the FREE shipping, plus the savings, you’ll see how you recover the cost for the Club membership with your first order.
OCA-endorsed GPDP’s home delivery service for organic and non-GMO foods is growing rapidly. Since last October, OCA is happy to report that our staff, as well as hundreds of our members and subscribers, have been ordering and receiving regular home deliveries of organic and non-GMO foods with free shipping on orders of $75 or more. This means that organic consumers who live in "organic food deserts," far from the nearest organic food store, have been able to buy more organic food, while those of us on a limited budget have been able to buy organic products at a reduced price. Let’s support this company!
Please forward this publication to family and friends, place it on web sites,
print it, duplicate it and post it freely. Knowledge is power!

Organic Bytes is a publication of Organic Consumers Association

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