Organics Under Attack

The OCA has a long history of defending the integrity of organic standards.

Last September, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), under pressure from corporate interests represented by the Organic Trade Association, made our job harder.

They also made it more important than ever for consumers to do their homework, even when buying USDA certified organic products.

Without any input from the public, the USDA changed the way the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) decides which non-organic materials are allowed in certified organic. The change all but guarantees that when the NOSB meets every six months, the list of non-organic and synthetic materials allowed in organic will get longer and longer.

The USDA’s new rule plays to the cabal of the self-appointed organic elite who want to degrade organic standards and undermine organic integrity. For consumers, farmers, co-ops and businesses committed to high organic standards, the USDA’s latest industry-friendly move is a clarion call to fight back against the corporate-led, government-sanctioned attack on organic standards.

Read the essay



Save Organic Standards!

You’d think an organization called the Organic Trade Association (OTA) would be keen on protecting organic standards.

But it was the OTA that played a key role in pressuring the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to weaken the standards for organic. Again.

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB)—those are the folks who get to decide what’s allowed in organics, and what isn’t—recently changed the rules. The upshot? The list of non-organic and synthetic materials allowed in organic is likely to get longer and longer.

The NOSB didn’t ask for our opinion before it made its rule change. But we plan to share it. In person. At the next NOSB meeting, April 29 - May 2, in San Antonio, Texas. We’ll also deliver a petition to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack asking him to reverse this disastrous new rule. Can you sign on? Thanks!

TAKE ACTION: Tell USDA Secretary Vilsack: Save organic standards! Reverse the NOSB’s new rule that weakens organic standards.



Rep. Pompeo, You Da Man!

The suspense is over. Big Food has found its man in Congress.

This week, POLITICO reported that Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) will sponsor the Grocery Manufacturers Association’s (GMA) bill to kill GMO labeling.

The GMA’s proposed bill is intended to preempt states’ rights to enact laws mandating the labeling of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) in food sold in grocery stores.

But wait. Aren’t Republicans pro-states’ rights? And wouldn’t any politician shy away from supporting legislation that more than 90 percent of consumers reject?

You’d think. Except when industry is paying that politician’s freight. The good citizens of Kansas may think they put Rep. Pompeo in office. But fact is, he wouldn’t have garnered those votes without the generous contributions of Koch industries, and Big Food and Big Ag.

They don’t call him the Congressman from Koch Industries for nuthin’.

We have less than two weeks to shame Rep. Pompeo into backing down from co-sponsoring the GMA’s bill. What can you do? Call his office, and tell him Congress members should represent the people, not corporations. Join the several thousand people so far who have posted creative comments on his facebook page. And please sign one of the petitions below.

Call Rep. Pompeo’s office 202-225-6216 

If you live in Kansas, contact Pompeo’s office here

If you live outside Kansas, sign this petition to Pompeo

Post on Pompeo’s Facebook page

Read the press release



Thank You. Again.

Thanks to all of you who helped us reach our first-quarter fundraising goal. Your generosity pushed us over the top—which means Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps and will pitch in to match the $200,000 you donated.

This round of funding couldn’t come at a better time. Corporations are lining up in Oregon to try to keep Jackson County from passing a ban on growing GMO crops. And soon, we predict, they’ll come out of the woodwork to try to defeat a statewide GMO labeling ballot initiative in Oregon, too.

Meanwhile, the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) appears to have found a Congressman willing to thumb his nose at the 90 percent of Americans who want GMO labeling laws. Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) plans to sponsor GMA’s bill to preempt state and federal GMO labeling laws.

And this week, the FDA’s Commissioner Margaret Hamburg confirmed that the FDA is planning to finalize its voluntary guidance (as in, optional) on GMO labeling. Hamburg’s comments included the same old “GMOs are not a health threat” line the FDA has been feeding us for decades.

We have our work cut out for us. Thankfully, we have 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 Oregon, Vermont and other states)



The Milk Wars

There are a growing number of studies showing that raw milk is not only safe, but better for you than pasteurized milk.

Still, Congress, under the influence of the dairy industry, is reluctant
to legalize sales of raw milk. But that hasn’t stopped states from trying and, in many cases, succeeding.

Raw or pasteurized, there’s one variety of milk you don’t want. The kind that comes from factory farms.

State-by-state breakdown of raw milk laws

Learn more



Up on a Roof

You don’t have to live in a rural area to crave locally grown foods. And you don’t have to move to the countryside to grow them.

More and more people are growing their own food. Either because they want to be more self-sufficient. Or because they want cleaner, healthier food. And the “grow-your-own” movement is finding creative ways to fit gardening into their schedules. And into common spaces.

In Japan, commuters can plant seeds and pull weeds while they’re waiting for their train to arrive. And they’re grooming their gardens right in the center of the world’s most populated city—Tokyo. Because Japan’s commuters can lease public garden space on the train station rooftop.

Tokyo isn’t the only city planting gardens on their rooftop. It’s happening all over the world, including in some American cities.

Read more about Tokyo’s train station rooftop farms

Check out this video of rooftop farms in New York City

Learn more about rooftop farming



Move Over, Sludge Puppet

There’s a new mascot in town. And he’s selling GMOs.

Three years ago, the Center for Media and Democracy reported on Karden, an adorable puppet used to convince kids that gardening with sewage sludge was a fun for all.

Now, we have Frank N. Foode, "your friendly neighborhood genetically modified organism," who helps "make the science of biotechnology fun and approachable."

With his corn-sprouted eyes, white hair and spectacles, this "cutest corn plush" is the mascot of Biology Fortified, Inc., a new small non-profit group based in Middleton, Wis. that promotes genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and publishes the Biofortified  blog.

Guess the biotech industry wants to hook ‘em at a young age. As if the obscenely profitable Monsanto-types need more promotion. By a nonprofit, no less.

Read more



Music to our Ears

"Unfolding with gentle joy and an unexpected beauty, this ode to the miracle of the Earth’s topmost layer gives us a newfound respect for the ground beneath our feet."  - New York Times, Critics Pick

“Symphony of the Soil,” the latest documentary from the director of “The Future of Food,” is now available on DVD—and for every copy purchased  here, the filmmaker will contribute $5 to the OCA.

“Symphony of the Soil” explores the complexity and mystery of soil. Filmed on four continents, the film portrays soil as a protagonist of our planetary story. In a skillful mix of art and science, the film reveals soil for what it really is. A living organism. The foundation of life on earth.

Its creators hope it will inspire people to stop treating soil like, well, dirt

Purchase ‘Symphony of the Soil’

Watch the trailer



Essential Reading for the Week

Roundup Toxicity May Impact Male Fertility: Study

Why Are There Still so Many Antibiotics in America's Meat?

$2.13 an Hour? Why the Tipped Minimum Wage Has to Go

The Hellish Monotony of 25 Years of IPCC Climate Change Warnings

The Truth about Fluoride Becoming More Widely Known

Democracy vs. Oligarchy

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

6771 South Silver Hill Drive - Finland, MN 55603 - Phone: 218-226-4164 - Fax: 218-353-7652

You are subscribed as:
[[First_Name]] [[Last_Name]]
[[City]], [[State]] [[Zip]]

Subscribe - Past Issues - PDFs | Manage Your Subscription