Organic Dairies: Whose Side Are They On?

Organic MilkSome of the leading producers of organic dairy products belong to an association that is fighting tooth-and-nail to prevent you from knowing if your food contains genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

In mid-June, four groups, including the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) filed suit against the state of Vermont in an effort to overturn Vermont’s mandatory GMO labeling law.

As it turns out, some of the leading organic dairy companies, including Stonyfield, Organic Valley, Aurora Organic and White Wave/Horizon Organic, are members of the IDFA—which not only joined in the lawsuit against Vermont, but publicly supports a federal bill, introduced in April, that would prevent any state from passing a mandatory GMO labeling law.

The OCA called on the leading organic dairy companies to withdraw from the IDFA. They responded by stating that they would not do that, but that they had “collectively and formally protested” the IDFA’s decision to join in the lawsuit against Vermont and were in “continued discussions” with the association regarding reversing that decision.

They also stated that while they had contributed money and resources to pass Vermont’s GMO labeling law, they believe that “one national labeling standard” is preferable to “different state standards.”

The OCA has asked the dairy companies to publicly state their opposition to the IDFA’s role in the lawsuit against Vermont, and to clarify their position on a national labeling standard by publicly supporting a federal mandatory (not voluntary) GMO labeling law, such as the Boxer-DeFazio Bill. So far, they have not responded to those requests.

Read the Open Letter to Organic Dairies

Complete list of IDFA Members



Movin’ on up the Food Chain

Safeguard Organic StandardsEarlier this year, the OCA led a protest against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) when the agency, in what can only be described as a power grab, made an arbitrary ruling that weakened organic standards and undermined the authority of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB).

Not long after, nearly 60,000 of you signed our petition to USDA head Tom Vilsack asking him to reverse the new ruling.

Vilsack hasn’t budged. So it’s time to move up the governmental food chain, to President Obama.

We’re joining the Cornucopia Institute in asking consumers to appeal to both Vilsack and the President to back off their power grab and return to the NOSB its rightful powers and authority. Because without a strong, independent NOSB, the integrity of organics is at risk.

TAKE ACTION: President Obama: Don't Let the USDA Undermine the Governance and Integrity of Organic Food and Agriculture



Want Chicken? Buy Organic!

Every year, 9 billion chickens are slaughtered for meat in the U.S.

Where does all this chicken come from and how was it produced?

We’d like to think it’s like the Portlandia “Is it local?” sketch. There, a waiter describes a locally raised organic chicken named Colin, who was “a Heritage Breed, woodland-raised chicken that’s been fed a diet of sheep’s milk, soy and hazelnuts.” It’s enough to make the diners leave the restaurant to go see Colin’s idyllic farm for themselves.

Unfortunately, reality is more like Food & Water Watch’s “Is it factory farmed?” spoof. There, the waiter admits the chicken was raised on a factory farm controlled by one of four giant corporations. It was kept in a crowded, filthy warehouse with a hundred thousand others, kept alive only with the prophylactic use of antibiotics. Then it was processed in a slaughterhouse where the lines move too fast to monitor or implement any kind of food safety system, so its carcass was simply dunked in bleach to remove any visible signs of fecal contamination.


Want a chicken that's more like Portlandia's Colin? Buy USDA organic poultry, from chickens raised outdoors on pasture, without the routine use of antibiotics. It’s better for your health. Better for the environment. And better for the chickens.

Learn more



Twisted Truths and Flat-Out Lies

It’s official. Oregon’s citizens’ initiative to label GMOs was certified this week by the secretary of state—despite efforts by the opposition to keep it off the ballot.

Now it’s up to the voters in Oregon to pass a statewide mandatory GMO labeling law.

But before Oregon voters head to the polls on November 4, they’ll be exposed to millions of dollars’ worth of twisted truths and flat-out lies. Bought and paid for by Monsanto and Big Food.

The TV ads, junk mail and phone calls worked in California and Washington State. Just barely. But enough to defeat voter-led GMO labeling initiatives there in 2012 and 2013.

Will they work in Oregon? We don’t believe so. But we’re not taking any chances.

A win in Oregon in November, on the heels of a win in Vermont in May, will be pivotal for the GMO labeling movement. If you don’t live in Oregon, you can’t vote there. But you can help. And we’re going to need all the help we can get.

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)



Secret Slaughter Rule?Chickens

Earlier this year, more than 100 groups (including the OCA) signed a letter to President Obama and the USDA, urging them to rescind the Modernization of Poultry Slaughter Inspection rule, a new rule that could lead to more contaminated poultry in grocery stores, and endanger the safety of workers who slaughter chickens. Sixty-eight members of Congress also asked the USDA to withdraw the rule.

The USDA responded—by making “secret” changes to the rule. And then working to push through a final version without public comment.

TAKE ACTION: Tell the Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack: We want to know what’s in the revised Poultry Modernization Act, and we want the agency to open a new public comment period so we can respond to the changes.

Read the press release



Are You Loving It?

Are You Loving It?

Young Oakland artists and musicians take to the streets (musically) as they take on the issue of food justice.

Watch the video



No Brainer

Organic VeggiesWant more antioxidants in your food? And lower concentrations of pesticides and the toxic heavy metal, cadmium?

Eat organic.

According to research published in the British Journal of Nutrition, scientists found 18-69 percent higher concentrations of antioxidants, many of which are linked to reduced risk of chronic diseases, in organic food.

They also found that pesticide residues were four times more likely to be found in conventional crops than organic ones. And that levels of the toxic heavy metal cadmium are nearly twice as high for conventionally grown foods.

More here, and here

Read the comprehensive review




Essential Reading for the Week

essential reading for the week

Secret Habits of Successful Exercisers

Your Favorite 'All Natural' Foods Are Lying to You

President Hillary Clinton Would Be a Nightmare for Organic

10 Reasons to Oppose ‘Right to Farm’ Amendments

China Rotten Meat Scandal Spreads to Starbucks, Burger King

GM Golden Rice Paper to Be Retracted Amid Ethics Scandal

It's Not Just the Bees! 'Neonic' Pesticides Linked to Bird Declines

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