Organic Consumers Association

Current Actions

  • DEADLINE July 3: Tell the USDA: Consumers Want Clear GMO Labels on ALL GMO Foods

    Last month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published its proposed guidelines for “mandatory” labeling of GMO foods and ingredients.

    Under the USDA's proposal, consumers would still be mostly left in the dark about which foods on their grocery shelves are genetically engineered and/or contain genetically modified ingredients.

    Why? Because as our friends at Food Revolution Network put it, the USDA’s GMO labeling plan is “so full of loopholes you could drive a truckload of Roundup through it.”

    TAKE ACTION: Tell the USDA: Consumers Want Clear GMO Labels on ALL GMO Foods

    After you sign the petition, please add your own comment here.

    It’s been nearly two years since Congress rammed through a federal GMO labeling law, preempting Vermont’s mandatory GMO labeling law which had taken effect just weeks earlier.

    Congress and industry lobbyists tried to disguise the bill as a “federal, mandatory, labeling solution,” arguing that individual state laws would be too confusing and too expensive for the food industry.

    But if that were really the case, all Congress had to do was pass a strong mandatory labeling law, just like Vermont’s.

    Instead, with the help of pesticide and junk food corporate lobbyists (and a little extra help from some unlikely suspects), Congress took a different route. And in July 2016, then-President Obama signed into law what quickly became known as the “DARK” (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act, a weak law aimed more at helping food corporations hide information about GMOs, than at providing consumers truthful information about what’s in their food.

    Congress passed the DARK Act with one goal in mind: to shut down the GMO labeling movement for good.

    Now, the USDA is trying to seal that deal by proposing GMO labeling guidelines guaranteed to keep as much information as possible hidden from consumers.

    What’s wrong with the USDA proposed GMO labeling guidelines?

    The USDA’s proposed GMO labeling guidelines go out of their way to accommodate those food companies that don’t want you to know if you’re eating GMO foods. Here’s how.

    Companies would be allowed to use electronic QR codes instead of clearly stating on the package “produced with genetic engineering” or “contains genetically engineered ingredients.”  The USDA’s own study on the use of QR codes identified numerous challenges and concluded that “offline alternatives are necessary for consumers who lack access to a scanning device or broadband.” Despite these findings, the USDA’s proposed guidelines would allow companies to use electronic codes that force consumers to visit the product’s website in order to figure out if the product is GMO. And there’s nothing in the guidelines to indicate that companies would be prohibited from collecting consumers’ personal data.

    Companies would use the word “bioengineered” instead of “genetically modified” or “genetically engineered.” The food industry knows full well that GMO, genetically modified, and genetically engineered are household words, thanks to the food movement. The use of “bioengineered,” represented as “BE” instead of “GE” or “GMO” is intended to obfuscate, not inform.

    Companies could use deceptive and promotional symbols. The USDA’s proposed symbols, which include cheerful sunbursts and smiley faces, would also use “BE” instead of “GMO.” Companies would be allowed to choose from a variety of images, rather than one standard, neutral image, similar to the USDA Organic symbol.

    A long list of exceptions would mean only about 30 percent of GMO ingredients would even have to be labeled. The USDA is proposing that many of the most common ingredients derived from GMO soy, corn, canola and sugar beets, for instance, be exempted from the labeling requirements if the ingredients have been highly refined or processed. The guidelines would also exempt the growing number of new gene-editing technologies, such as CRISPR—recently linked to cancer.

    Companies would be off the hook for labeling until 2022. This is just another bow to corporate pressure to delay the process, keeping consumers in the dark for as long as possible.

    Under the federal law passed in 2016, the USDA is required to finalize GMO labeling rules by July 29. But that deadline is likely to come and go, given how controversial the guidelines are.

    We have until July 3 to let the USDA know what consumers really want—clear, on-package labels on all foods that contain GMOs.

  • Tell the USDA: Consumers want a real GMO labeling law.
  • Tell Congress: Don’t Weaken Organic Standards!

    Every five years, Congress is tasked with reauthorizing the Farm Bill, a key piece of legislation that determines how $90 billion/year will be spent.

    This is one of those years.

    Unfortunately, both the House and Senate versions of a proposed 2018 Farm Bill include changes to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) that would make it much easier for industry to use synthetic chemicals in organic food and farming.

    URGENT ACTION NEEDED! Tell Congress: Keep organics strong!

    The Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) became law as part of the 1990 Farm Bill. OFPA created the NOSB, an independent standards-setting body, and gave it the express statutory authority to determine which synthetic chemicals are allowed in organic food and farming.

    Now Congress appears poised to weaken the NOSB’s authority.

    The proposed House Farm Bill would do this in two ways:

    1. The NOSB would be required to “convene a task force to consult with” the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) when considering whether to allow a pesticide or any other non-organic substance approved by those agencies in organic. This is clearly an attempt to put pressure on the NOSB to allow pesticides and synthetic chemicals in organic.

    2. The Agriculture Secretary would be given the power to force the NOSB to “expedite” its consideration of synthetic chemicals “related to food safety.” (Sounds like somebody’s got a new disinfectant they want to use in organic. Currently, chlorine is allowed for washing organic foods like baby carrots, eggs and chicken. This is controversial and has led to consumer preference for "air chilled".)

    The Senate version of the Farm Bill makes one change to the NOSB—but it’s an important one. Under the proposed Senate bill, two-thirds of the 15-member NOSB would have to vote in favor of removing a synthetic material from organic in order to get the material out of organic.

    On the surface that might sound reasonable. But here’s the deal. Historically, the NOSB would approve a synthetic chemical for use in organic solely on a temporary, five-year basis, until an organic alternative became available. After the five-year period was up, the synthetic ingredient would automatically drop off the list of allowed substances. The only way it could stay in organic, was if two-thirds of the NOSB members voted to keep it there.

    The change being proposed in the Senate Farm Bill—which allows a synthetic material to stay on the list indefinitely unless voted off—was actually already enacted through a policy change, during an NOSB meeting in 2013. That controversial decision, opposed at the time by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and Sen Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), principal authors of the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, triggered protests and a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

    The lawsuit was dismissed in May of 2018. However, the court provided the plaintiffs, which include Organic Consumers Association, a roadmap for a future legal challenge. Here’s what that looks like: We need to wait for the five-year approval period for a synthetic material to expire. If the material isn’t re-approved by a two-thirds vote, and isn’t dropped from the National List, we could mount a legal challenge to get the material removed.

    That’s exactly what proponents of the proposed change to the Senate Farm Bill don’t want to see happen. So they’re using the Farm Bill to legislate the change, in a move aimed at preventing the courts from overturning the 2013 NOSB policy change.

    URGENT ACTION NEEDED! Tell Congress: Keep organics strong!

  • Tell Whole Foods: The Time for Labels on GMOs is NOW!

    Whole Foods Market storefrontFive years ago, under mounting pressure from consumers, Whole Foods Market (WFM) announced that by the end of 2018, the then-largest retailer of organic foods would require all of its suppliers to clearly label GMO ingredients and foods.

    Last week, the company reneged on that commitment, or at least the timeline part of it.

    SIGN HERE! Tell Whole Foods: The Time for Labels on GMOs is NOW!

    Call WFM customer service: 1-844-WFM-TALK (1-844-936-8255)

    Tweet this!

    Post on the WFM Facebook page 

    In a recent email to suppliers, WFM Chief Operations Officer A.C. Gallo claimed the company, now owned by Amazon, is merely “pausing” its plan to require labels on GMOs, until the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) finalizes labeling requirements under the federal mandatory labeling law passed  in July 2016—a law that (intentionally) has no teeth.

    WFM claims it doesn’t want to burden suppliers by making them follow one set of labeling requirements for WFM, and another to satisfy the federal law. That statement suggests that the company will simply go along with the federal labeling requirements—a far weaker plan than what WFM originally promised consumers—and drop its own plan.

    WFM has a long history of being on the wrong side of the GMO labeling battle. The company took forever to endorse California’s Prop 37 GMO labeling initiative. And unlike other organic retailers and brands who pitched in millions, WFM didn’t contribute a dime to help pass the California initiative.

    Only after the company’s unpopular stance on mandatory labeling laws hurt its brand, and only after Prop 37 was (narrowly) defeated, did WFM come out with its flashy announcement about requiring suppliers to label GMO ingredients.

    That was in 2013. The plan, according to company officials, would take effect in September 2018.

    Turns out, WFM was just trying to win back consumer sentiment.

    WFM’s GMO labeling promise, too little too late from the get-go, was always more about saving face and scamming consumers than it was about real transparency and forcing Big Food to change its ways.

    TAKE ACTION! Tell Whole Foods: The Time for Labels on GMOs is NOW!

  • Tell Your Senators: Don’t Mess with Organic!

    hand holding a red apple in an orchardWhew! Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives voted down the House version (H.R. 2) —of the Farm Bill, a bill that would cripple conservation programs that promote organic and regenerative agriculture practices.

    Unfortunately, this terrible Farm Bill was defeated for reasons that have nothing to do with food or agriculture. Worse yet, it will be back. The House is set to vote on H.R. 2 again, on June 22.

    Meanwhile, we're waiting to see what's in the Senate’s Farm Bill, which could bjust as bad for organic standards as the House version. The Senate is also expected to vote in June. But unlike the House version, the Senate’s bill will be bipartisan—which means it’s sure to pass.

    URGENT ACTION NEEDED! Tell your Senators to protect strong organic standards and regenerative agriculture in the Farm Bill!

    The Farm Bill is legislation Congress passes once every five years to determine how $900 billion in tax dollars is spent each year on food and farming. The last Farm Bill, passed in 2014, kept food on the table. Still, it can rightly be blamed for much of what’s wrong with our food system, including:

    • It’s why Twinkies are cheaper than veggies. Subsidising junk food makes companies like Monsanto rich, while devastating the health of average Americans. Studies show that adults who eat more subsidized food commodities are more likely to have diabetes, heart disease or suffer a stroke.

    • It’s why there’s a massive deadzone in the Gulf of Mexico and why Dust Bowl conditions are returning to the Great Southern Plains.

    • It’s how billionaire landowners collect the tax dollars of hard working Americans, while food-insecure families struggle to feed themselves with $1.40 per person per meal.

    That said, the 2014 Farm Bill also contained important conservation programs that promote the organic and regenerative agriculture practices needed to clean up our waterwaysensure safe drinking water, and increase soil carbon sequestration for food security and the climate.

    Those programs suggest that the reason our our food system is so messed up isn’t because we don’t know what to do. It’s because past Farm Bills have spent too much money on the wrong things, and not enough money on the right things.

    It’s time to turn this around. Fortunately, there are a few members of Congress who agree, and are leading the way. Our better Farm Bill hero is Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) who introduced his Food and Farm Act last year.

    We’re holding out hope that dysfunction in the House will force Congress to extend the 2014 Farm Bill and give us another chance for a better Farm Bill, when the new Congress takes office in 2019.

    Until then, we have to make clear to Congress, and the Senate especially, that we’re not going to accept a Farm Bill that’s even worse than the one we’ve already got.

    Tell your Senators: Don’t mess with organic!

  • How did your member of Congress vote on raw milk? Find out, then take action!

    Exciting news! The first ever Congressional debate and vote on raw milk happened in the U.S. House of Representatives last week.

    Unfortunately, Rep. Thomas Massie’s (R-Ky)’s amendment to the Farm Bill, intended to overturn a 1987 ban on interstate sales of raw milk, was defeated.

    So what’s next? We push the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to exempt raw milk farmers from regulatory enforcement if they provided a clear warning label and instructions for milk pasteurization.

    TAKE ACTION: If your member of Congress voted against Massie’s amendment to allow interstate sales of unpasteurized milk, send him or her a letter that provides more information on why consumers should have the freedom to buy raw milk.

    If your Member of Congress voted to respect your right to drink raw milk, send him or her a letter to say “thank you, now please take the next step.”

    Here’s how it works. Enter your address on this page. If your Rep voted against raw milk sales, a letter will appear that you can modify or just sign, explaining why, as a consumer, you support interstate sales of raw milk.

    If your Rep voted to allow raw milk sales, you’ll get a letter you can send thanking him or her for voting yes, and asking that he or she continue the campaign for food freedom by signing a letter to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in support of the Citizens Petition for interstate sales of raw milk.

    In 2017, the Real Food Consumer Coalition filed a citizen petition with the FDA in support of exempting raw milk farmers from regulatory enforcement if they provided a clear warning label and instructions for milk pasteurization. The FDA to this date has failed to complete the requested review.

    Reps. Lloyd Smucker (R-Pa.) and Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) are circulating a letter to FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb that encourages the agency to use enforcement discretion before the agency prosecutes farmers and consumers for the interstate transportation and sale of raw milk. The letter clearly expresses how Americans should have the freedom of choice to drink raw milk.  
     
    This Congressional attention will hopefully expedite the FDA's attention to the issue and urge the agency into a favorable ruling on the petition.

    Raw milk has many benefits. If you think consumers should have access to raw milk, and farmers shouldn’t be criminalized for selling it, please take action today.

  • Tell Congress: Help Hungry Families, Not Rich Farm Owners

    boy drinking milkWhat’s that giant sucking sound you hear?

    It’s your tax dollars filling the pockets of billionaire absentee farm owners.

    Your U.S. Representative is about to vote on a Farm Bill (H.R. 2) that would impose strict work requirements on poor families who need food stamps, while letting rich people collect farm subsidies—even if they don’t live or work on the family farm.

    Tell Congress: I want my hard-earned tax dollars to go to families in need, not rich landowners who don’t even live or work on their farms! Vote NO on H.R. 2!

    Of the nation’s 2.06 million farms, 60 percent are "residence farms," small farms operated by those whose primary occupation is something other than farming. (Residence farms produce less than 10 percent of the farm sector’s value of production.)

    On the other end of the spectrum, 10 percent of U.S. farms are “commercial farm businesses,” operations with gross cash farm income of over $350,000.

    What about the remaining 30 percent? Those are smaller farm operations where farming is reported as the operator's primary occupation. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) calls these farms "intermediate farm businesses,” but they’re more commonly known as family farms—and these farms are facing a serious economic crisis.

    It would be nice to think that Congress would earmark a significant chunk of the $90 billion a year it spends on food and farm programs to help these farmers avoid debt, foreclosure and suicide.

    Instead, the top Farm Bill safety net programs—federal crop insurance, Agricultural Risk Coverage, and Price Loss Coverage—are primarily serving only to make the top 10 percent “commercial farm businesses” more profitable. In fact, these farms receive over two-thirds of the payments from these programs!

    Rich people can't get food stamps, but they get almost all of the farm subsidies. Even billionaires can receive farm payments—and many have.

    A 2018 report from the American Enterprise Institute, “Where the Money Goes: The Distribution of Crop Insurance and Other Farm Subsidy Payments,” found:

    •    The top 20 percent of farms by crop sales received 82 percent of all crop insurance premium subsidies in 2014.

    •    The top 10 percent of farms received 68 percent.

    •    The top 5 percent received close to the total amount payments received by farms in the lowest 90 percent of crop sales.

    •    The top 2 percent received about the same amount as the bottom 80 percent.

    With the current Farm Bill expiring at the end of this year, now is the time to fix it, so more subsidies go to the farmers who really need it.

    Instead, H.R. 2, the bill the House will vote on this week, makes matters even worse.

    Under current law, there’s a limit to how much money someone can make from their farm and still receive federal payments ($900,000 or $1.8 million for couples), there’s a limit to how much federal money a farm owner can take ($125,000 a year) and there’s a limit to which family members can take federal payments (children, siblings and spouses).

    H.R. 2 gets rid of these limits and extends payments to cousins, nieces and nephews (although these extended family members are still capped at $125,000 a year). There’s no requirement that anyone who receives federal payments live or work on the farm.
     
    These changes will make wealthy landowners even wealthier. At the same time, H.R. 2 “contains changes [to food stamps] that would cause more than 1 million low-income households with more than 2 million people—particularly low-income working families with children—to lose their benefits altogether or have them reduced,” according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

    Should the Farm Bill really take food out of the mouths of low-income families and children, only to provide more corporate welfare to the top 10 percent of “farmers” who don’t even farm?

    Tell Congress: I want my hard-earned tax dollars to go to families in need, not rich landowners who don’t even live or work on their farms! Vote NO on H.R. 2!

  • Tell Congress: Pass the Local FARMS Act!

    man selling carrots at farmers marketDemand for locally grown food is on the rise, as consumers take more interest in how their food is produced, and how food production affects their own health, and the health of their communities.

    That’s a positive trend. But if consumers want more local food, shouldn’t we do more to ensure the economic success of the independent farmers who grow that food?

    TAKE ACTION: Tell your members of Congress to support the Local Food and Regional Market Supply (Local FARMS) Act.

    According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), more than 160,000 U.S. farmers sold $8.7 billion of local food to consumers, retailers, institutions and local distributors in 2015.  The USDA’s sales figure is considerably lower than that of food industry research firm, Packaged Facts, which says (as reported by Business Insider) that Local food sales in the U.S. grew from $5 billion to $12 billion between 2008 and 2014.

    Either way, consumers are buying more local food, as are restaurants, schools and other institutions. And yet, our $90 billion Farm Bill is written largely to favor the corporations that produce factory farm meat and highly processed GMO junk foods—it does little to help build markets and infrastructure designed to support your local independent farmer.

    The Local Food and Regional Market Supply (Local FARMS) Act aims to change that.

    The bill, introduced by Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Representatives Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb), and Sean Maloney (D-N.Y.), would support the continued expansion of new market opportunities for American family farmers by:

    •    Helping farmers reach new markets through outreach, cost-share, and technical assistance programs

    •    Increasing access to fresh, healthy, local food among low-income groups and communities in need

    •    Developing new and strengthening existing infrastructure that connects producers to consumers

    The Agriculture Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives has already passed their version of the Farm Bill (H.R. 2) and the Local FARMS Act isn’t in it. On the bright side, H.R. 2 may not have the votes to pass the House.

    We’re staying optimistic that the Farm Bill debate will carry on past the 2018 elections and we’ll get a fresh start when the new Congress takes office in 2019.

    We’re going to try to not get too distracted by all the bad things in the House Farm Bill and stay focus on letting Congress know what we want: Local farms that use regenerative organic farming techniques to provide the cleanest, most nutrient-dense food possible!

    The Local FARMS Act recognizes the vast, untapped potential in our farming and food producing communities and offers ways to transform that potential into economic prosperity.  It means opportunity for our family farmers, as well as increased access to fresh, healthy foods for American families.

    Who’s your farmer?

    TAKE ACTION: Tell your members of Congress to support the Local Food and Regional Market Supply (Local FARMS) Act.

  • Tell Congress: Pass the Local FARMS Act!

    Demand for locally grown food is on the rise, as consumers take more interest in how their food is produced, and how food production affects their own health, and the health of their communities.

    That’s a positive trend. But if consumers want more local food, shouldn’t we do more to ensure the economic success of the independent farmers who grow that food?

    TAKE ACTION: Tell your Senators and members of Congress to support the Local Food and Regional Market Supply (Local FARMS) Act.

    According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), more than 160,000 U.S. farmers sold $8.7 billion of local food to consumers, retailers, institutions and local distributors in 2015.  The USDA’s sales figure is considerably lower than that of food industry research firm, Packaged Facts, which says (as reported by Business Insider) that Local food sales in the U.S. grew from $5 billion to $12 billion between 2008 and 2014.

    Either way, consumers are buying more local food, as are restaurants, schools and other institutions. And yet, our $90 billion Farm Bill is written largely to favor the corporations that produce factory farm meat and highly processed GMO junk foods—it does little to help build markets and infrastructure designed to support your local independent farmer.

    The Local Food and Regional Market Supply (Local FARMS) Act aims to change that.

    The bill, introduced by Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Representatives Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb), and Sean Maloney (D-N.Y.), would support the continued expansion of new market opportunities for American family farmers by:

    •    Helping farmers reach new markets through outreach, cost-share, and technical assistance programs

    •    Increasing access to fresh, healthy, local food among low-income groups and communities in need

    •    Developing new and strengthening existing infrastructure that connects producers to consumers

    The Agriculture Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives has already passed their version of the Farm Bill (H.R. 2) and the Local FARMS Act isn’t in it. On the bright side, H.R. 2 may not have the votes to pass the House.

    We’re staying optimistic that the Farm Bill debate will carry on past the 2018 elections and we’ll get a fresh start when the new Congress takes office in 2019.

    We’re going to try to not get too distracted by all the bad things in the House Farm Bill and stay focus on letting Congress know what we want: Local farms that use regenerative organic farming techniques to provide the cleanest, most nutrient-dense food possible!

    The Local FARMS Act recognizes the vast, untapped potential in our farming and food producing communities and offers ways to transform that potential into economic prosperity.  It means opportunity for our family farmers, as well as increased access to fresh, healthy foods for American families.
    Who’s your farmer?

    TAKE ACTION: Tell your Senators and members of Congress to support the Local Food and Regional Market Supply (Local FARMS) Act

  • MINNESOTA: Tell Gov. Dayton to Veto the Wild Rice Pollution Bill and Protect Clean Water!

    canoe on a wild rice lakeWild rice and clean water are under attack at the state capitol!

    Gov. Dayton has just three days to stop a dangerous bill that would eliminate the existing sulfate standard that protects wild rice waters.

    URGENT: Call (651-201-3400 ) and email Gov. Dayton today! Tell him to veto HF 3280 and protect Minnesota’s clean water and wild rice.

    Wild rice is just about as Minnesotan as hotdish. The state grain is also a critical resource for Native American tribes and an important indicator of water quality.

    Now, this important Minnesota food resource is under attack at the state capitol.

    The Minnesota Senate just passed HF 3280, a bill that would remove forty-year old protections for wild rice. The bill would eliminate the existing water quality standard that limits sulfate to 10 parts per million in wild rice waters.

    Gov. Dayton received this wild rice pollution bill on Tuesday and he has just three days to decide whether or not to veto it.

    The science on sulfate pollution is clear: sulfates harm wild rice, cause phosphorous release and algae blooms and increase the toxic mercury that gets into fish and people. Ironically the Minnesota legislature paid for this research and now they are ignoring it!

    Not only does HF 3280 threaten wild rice and water quality, it also violates the federal Clean Water Act and undermines Native American treaty rights to hunt, fish and gather. Plus the bill will let sulfide mining companies off the hook for long-term treatment of their water pollution.

    Read more about protecting wild rice from sulfide mining pollution from our allies at WaterLegacy here and here.

  • Tell Congress: Support the Tribal Food and Housing Security Act!

    The world feasts on Native Americans’ food while Native Americans go hungry.

    The Native Farm Bill Coalition wants to change that. And its members are looking to Congress for support.

    Tell Congress: Support the Tribal Food and Housing Security Act!

    About 60 percent of the food eaten around the world today originated in the Americas. Meanwhile, Native Americans are twice as likely to be food insecure compared to whites.

    This meme says it best: “Give a man some corn, feed him for a day. Teach a man to grow corn, he kills you and steals your land.”  

    Despite the atrocities they have suffered, the Native American population continues to grow. And now there is a renewed movement for Native food sovereignty and security rooted in ancient wisdom.

    The Native Farm Bill Coalition, which represents 65 tribes throughout the U.S., is  advocating for equity in the Farm Bill, legislation that determines how more than $900 billion in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) resources is distributed each year.

    The coalition’s “Regaining Our Future” report presents in-depth proposals for how the Farm Bill can better serve Native American communities. Those proposals include recognizing and insuring different types of livestock (reindeer, caribou, elk), more assistance for conservation and for marketing traditional or unique Native American foods, and the right to run their own food stamp program with an emphasis on local foods.

    The coalition is backing the Tribal Food and Housing Security Act, a bill introduced by U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), to improve affordable nutrition, housing and rural development assistance for Native American communities.

    Native Americans' Manmade Eden

    In "Pristine Nature: The Founding Falsehood," Steven H. Rich explains that what European colonists mistakenly described as wilderness was actually a human-created and nurtured landscape, providing food, medicinal herbs, bountiful wildlife, healthy, living soil and clean water.

    Native Americans managed their environment with intention. Through seed-saving, crossbreeding and habitat-management they produced higher-yielding, better-tasting, climate-resilient and more nutritious varieties of plants and animals.

    Rich states that the popular belief that pre-Columbian America was a "pristine wilderness" is false. This destructive myth is based upon essentially racist stereotypes that reduce the highly successful plant and animal husbandry of Native American rural societies to the instinctual behavior of wildlife or "noble savages."

    Native American elders assert that their ancestors carefully tended their landscape-scale gardens, and that it was the colonists who let the weeds take over. "The white man ruined this country," said Southern Sierra Miwok elder Jim Rust. "It's turned back to wilderness."

    There are no "spontaneous Edens" on planet Earth. The New World Gardens of Eden, mindlessly exploited by the European conquerors, were the product of the wisdom, hard work, and the perseverance of millions of Native Americans over thousands of years, Rich explains.

    In a similar manner, today, we must understand that degraded landscapes will not magically regenerate if simply left alone, nor will the climate spontaneously stabilize itself. Regeneration requires human intervention.

    A wealth of biodiversity, still preserved today

    Today, indigenous farmers remain the custodians of an immeasurable wealth of biodiversity.

    According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems report, in the Little Colorado River Watershed, farming has been an unbroken cultural tradition for at least 4,200 years. The Navajo, Zuni, Apache, Hopi, Paiute and Tewa have cultivated the most diverse annual crop assemblage in the New World north of the Tropic of Cancer. Farmers have managed the same fields and terrace gardens for centuries.

    Where the history of indigenous peoples is scarred by forced migrations, saving and recovering seeds has a special importance.

    Sacred Seed in Nebraska is working to revive varieties of the Four Sisters—corn, beans, squash and sunflowers. Founder Taylor Keen is a member of both the Omaha Tribe in Nebraska, and the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma, and he is inspired by each tribe’s history.

    During the 19th century, the Omaha were prolific corn-growers and traders. The tribe was able to almost entirely provide for itself at a time when others relied on provisions supplied by federal agencies. White traders plundered and commercialized Omaha seeds. Recently, a couple packets of Omaha pumpkin seeds turned up at the Museum of the Fur Trade in Chadron, which had once served as a trading post frequented by tribal people. A book written by the former proprietor of the trading post, a man named Oscar Will, documented the planting practices of the Native people with whom he traded.

    To honor his Cherokee roots, Keen plants beans in his garden. He says:

    “As a Cherokee as well, to grow these beautiful beans that sustained us on the Trail of Tears is more than moving.”

    In 2017, the Cherokee Nation distributed 3,784 packages of heirloom seeds to tribal citizens. In 2018, the available heirloom seeds include Cherokee White Eagle corn, Cherokee Long Greasy beans, Georgia Candy Roaster squash, Buffalo gourds and native plants such as Buttonbush, Possum Grape and Sunchoke.

    Minnesota-based Native Harvest, founded by the Ojibwe, works “to continue, revive and protect” the tribe’s native seeds, heritage crops, naturally-grown fruits, animals, wild plants and traditions.

    You can help these and other efforts to regenerate Native American food sovereignty by asking your representatives in Congress to support the Tribal Food and Housing Security Act and the Native Farm Bill Coalition’s “Regaining Our Future” policy proposals.

  • Sign Today! GMO Animals Should Be Regulated!

    GMO animals? image of pigletRecombinetics, Inc., the Monsanto of the genetically modified animal industry, wants to be able to introduce GMO pigs into the U.S. food supply, without having to go through any regulatory process or safety testing.

    And the St. Paul, Minn.-based biotech company has come up with a plan it hopes will allow it to do just that.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA): Genetically modified animals need to be thoroughly safety tested by the FDA!

    Please fill out the form on this page to sign our petition, then, share this tweet.

    Ever heard of a chimera? In Greek mythology, it was a fire-breathing she-monster with a lion's head, a goat's body and a serpent's tail.

    In the age of modern biotechnology, a chimera is an animal with the cells of two different types of organisms.

    The chimera envisioned by Recombinetics is a pig that is used as an “oincubator” to grow human body parts for transplant.

    Recombinetics is also working to create animals that are better suited to the perils of life in factory farms, like pigs that won’t get porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS). Or pigs that don’t have to be castrated or have their tails cut off. Recombinetics also sees a future where cattle are genetically engineered to be heat-tolerant and have increased muscle mass.

    So far, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) hasn’t given any of Recombinetics’ products a pass. The agency refused to grant Recombinetics’ request for “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) status for its hornless cows.

    Instead, in the final days of the Obama Administration, the FDA said it would regulate all “animals with intentionally altered genomic DNA” as animal drugs, just as it had regulated AquAdvantage GMO salmon.

    Recombinetics went ballistic. Scott Fahrenkrug, chief scientific officer, said that the FDA had “gone off the rails.”

    The company went on the offense. Recombinetics hired factory farm lobbyist (and organic hater) Steve Kopperud of SLK Strategies to see if it could cash in on the Trump administration’s quest to deregulate everything in sight.

    Recombinetics began by getting 79 members of the House of Representatives to write a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue opposing the FDA’s guidance on regulating any animal intentionally altered using gene-editing techniques as a "new animal drug."

    Pretty soon, the USDA had scrapped new Obama Administration rules that would have expanded regulation of gene-edited plants. Trump told the American Farm Bureau Federation, “We are streamlining regulations that have blocked cutting-edge biotechnology, setting free our farmers to innovate, thrive and to grow.”

    Most recently, Perdue announced that he had no plans to regulate gene-edited plants “that could otherwise have been developed through traditional breeding techniques as long as they are not plant pests or developed using plant pests.”

    Then, the House Agriculture Committee held a hearing where legislators made the case for transferring control of gene-edited animals from the FDA to the USDA. At the hearing, Perdue told lawmakers that the USDA would “love to have that responsibility.”

    Recombinetics would, too—because the USDA doesn’t have any kind of regulatory process that it could use to review gene-edited food animals.

    If Recombinetics’ plan succeeds in ending FDA review of GMO animals, this would be the most drastic deregulation of biotechnology to date.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell the USDA: Genetically modified animals need to be thoroughly safety tested by the FDA!

  • Tell Your Senators: Don’t Put a DowDupont Lawyer in Charge of Cleaning up Dow’s Toxic Waste Dumps!

    Peter C. Wright is a lawyer who has spent his entire career helping Monsanto and Dow avoid cleaning up their toxic pollution.

    Now, Trump wants to put Wright in charge of—guess what?—forcing companies like Monsanto and Dow to clean up their toxic pollution.

    TAKE ACTION: Please tell your Senators to stand up for the environment by voting against Peter C. Wright.

    Trump has tapped lawyer Peter Wright, to serve as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) assistant administrator for Land and Emergency Management—the office that oversees the Superfund hazardous waste cleanup program.

    Wright’s current employer, DowDuPont, is listed as the responsible party for more than 100 toxic Superfund sites that the EPA is trying to get cleaned up across the nation.

    Wright has a long history of being on the wrong side of the chemical safety debate. One of his favorite defense strategies is to argue that dioxin, a known carcinogen and Monsanto and Dow pollutant, isn’t really as bad as the EPA makes it out to be—even though scientists place dioxin “among the most toxic chemicals known to man.”

    And dioxins can end up in the food supply. The Michigan Department of Agriculture reports

    Low levels of dioxins are found throughout the environment as a by-product of combustion and chemical production processes. They can be detected in air, soil, water, sediment, fish and other foods like meat and dairy products. Some dioxins may be toxic and have the ability to cause illness or adverse health effects.

    Wright dismisses reports that exposure to dioxins poses a health risk. He even published an article in a law journal, “Twenty-five Years of Dioxin Cancer Risk Assessment,” where he contradicts the World Health Organization and EPA, claiming that:

    Over the last twenty-five years, dioxin has joined DDT, PCBs, lead, and mercury as an iconic environmental chemical. Yet, there is meager evidence that exposure to dioxin at the trace levels encountered in the environment has caused any observable harm to the short- or long-term health of the human population. Dioxin is unique in many respects because it is highly toxic to a variety of animal species but not to humans. Indeed, as has been widely reported, an exceedingly high dose of dioxin was not fatal to the current president of the Ukraine.

    Wright’s “alternative facts” about dioxin go against well-established science. Only someone who spent his career working for DowDuPont could use the dioxin poisoning of Viktor Yushchenko to make the case that dioxin isn’t highly toxic to humans. It was widely reported at the time that “just six drops of pure dioxin in Yushchenko's soup could have been enough to produce his symptoms - just a couple more would have killed him.”

    A toxic legacy

    One of the tragic results of Wright’s work on behalf of Dow is the breast cancer cluster in Midland, Michigan, home to Dow’s global headquarters. Residents there are exposed to the highest levels of dioxin pollution in the country. Yet Dow continues to block cancer victims’ efforts to seek justice. And, Wright is proud of that!

    According to Wright’s LinkedIn page, prior to joining DowDuPont in 1999, Wright was an “environmental attorney” for Monsanto from 1989 to 1996.

    If you’ve followed our Monsanto Makes Me Sick campaign, you know about the health risks of exposure to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide.

    What hasn’t gotten as much attention is that the process of making glyphosate generates waste and pollution that is as toxic, or even more toxic, than the herbicide itself.

    Glyphosate is produced from elemental phosphorous that is mined from phosphate rock buried below ground. This mining process generates a carcinogenic radioactive by-product known as phosphorous slag.

    Since the 1950s, Monsanto has obtained its phosphate from mines in Idaho, near the town of Soda Springs. This small community of about 3,000 people became a Superfund site in 1990, during the time Wright was Monsanto’s Superfund attorney. Harmful onsite pollutants include cadmium, selenium, and radioactive radium all of which can cause serious health problems, including cancer, in humans.

    ‘Not under control’

    The EPA calls Superfund sites that haven't been cleaned up "not under control." Monsanto’s Soda Springs site is a shocking example.

    The EPA has never required Monsanto to stop mining, so the pollution in Soda Springs continues. “Contaminants of concern” continue to leach into the town’s groundwater.

    In a 2017 investigation, Bart Elmore, an environmental historian at Ohio State University, described the scene at Monsanto’s Soda Springs slag dump (pictured on this page):

    I stood just beyond a barbed-wire fence at about nine o’clock at night and watched as trucks dumped molten red heaps of radioactive refuse over the edge of what is fast becoming a mountain of waste. This dumping happened about every fifteen minutes, lighting up the night sky. Horses grazed in a field just a few dozen yards away, glowing in the radiating rays coming from the lava-like sludge. Rows of barley, for Budweiser beer, waved in the distance.

    Since 1996, “an estimated 600 head of livestock, including horses, cattle, and sheep, have died after ingesting plants or surface water containing high concentrations of selenium.”

    In 2015, Monsanto reported mercury emissions topping 875 pounds, as much as a good-sized coal-fired power plant.

    A dirty career

    This is Wright’s dirty work. He has proudly made a career helping Monsanto and DowDuPont avoid cleaning up their toxic waste—now Trump wants him to be in charge of that project for the entire country, including all of the sites that Dow and Monsanto poisoned with dioxin contamination in the process of making and storing Agent Orange.

    Not only that, but Wright, like many other appointees at federal agencies under Trump, will likely be granted an “ethics waiver” that will allow him to decide how the EPA deals with these Superfund sites he defended for Monsanto and DowDuPont.

    TAKE ACTION: Please tell your Senators to stand up for the environment by voting against Peter C. Wright.

  • TAKE ACTION: Ask the Central Co-Op to #DumpBenandJerrys!

    Ask Central Co-Op to Dump Ben and Jerry's IcecreamDo you shop at the Central Co-Op? If you do, please join our campaign to get the co-op to phase out glyphosate-contaminated Ben & Jerry's ice cream until the brand converts to 100% organic.

    TAKE ACTION: Ask the Central Co-Op to #DumpBenandJerrys!

    Organic consumers are among the strongest supporters of consumer-owned food co-ops. We’ve come to expect high standards from our local co-ops.

    That’s why we think it’s a big problem when our favorite natural food co-ops sell foods like Ben & Jerry’s ice cream that are contaminated with Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer.

    We need your help as co-op shoppers and member-owners to convince these stores to stop selling Ben & Jerry’s until the brand converts to 100% organic.

    TAKE ACTION: Ask the Central Co-Op to #DumpBenandJerrys!

    After you send this email, please reach out to the Central Co-op via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Yelp. And please use the hashtag #dumpbenandjerrys.

    Next time you visit the store, bring these printouts:

    Ben & Jerry’s: Peace, Love… and Monsanto’s Weed Killer 
    Glyphosate Fact Sheet

    Ben & Jerry's admits that the milk and cream used in it’s products are sourced from conventional dairy farms where cows are commonly fed GMO grains such as corn and soy.

    Not only do Ben & Jerry’s dairies raise their cows on GMO feed, these factory farms are decimating Vermont’s rural communities.

    • Ben & Jerry’s farmers don’t get paid the cost of production.
    • Ben & Jerry’s farm workers are fighting for their basic human rights.
    • Ben & Jerry’s cows are not treated humanely.
    • Ben & Jerry’s farms pollute the water.
    • When Ben & Jerry’s smaller dairies go bankrupt, the big dairy farms buy them up, making all of these problems worse.

    In response to our #DumpBenandJerrys campaign, Ben & Jerry’s says it’s working on getting GMOs and glyphosate out of its supply chain and the brand made good on its promise to introduce one new organic flavor.

    The company also signed an agreement with Migrant Justice to work towards protecting farm workers’ basic human rights.

    These small changes won’t make a big difference as long as Ben & Jerry’s continues to use non-organic ingredients and milk from factory farms, while refusing to pay its farmers fairly.

    If Ben & Jerry’s transitioned to organic and regenerative grazing, the brand could become a leader in the regenerative organic agriculture movement—a movement whose aim is to actually reverse global warming.

    As Ben & Jerry’s promises baby steps, its all-organic competitors are offering ice cream that is toxin-free, beneficial to the environment and an economic boon to rural communities. Many of the organic options even cost less.

    National organic ice cream brands include Alden’s, Julie’s and Three Twins.

    TAKE ACTION: Ask the Central Co-Op to #DumpBenandJerrys!

  • TAKE ACTION: Ask the Concord Food Co-Op to #DumpBenandJerrys!

    Concord Food Co-Op: It's time to dump Ben & Jerry'sDo you shop at the Concord Food Co-Op? If you do, please join our campaign to get the co-op to phase out glyphosate-contaminated Ben & Jerry's ice cream until the brand converts to 100% organic.

    TAKE ACTION: Ask the Concord Food Co-Op to #DumpBenandJerrys!

    Organic consumers are among the strongest supporters of consumer-owned food co-ops. We’ve come to expect high standards from our local co-ops.

    That’s why we think it’s a big problem when our favorite natural food co-ops sell foods like Ben & Jerry’s ice cream that are contaminated with Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer.

    We need your help as co-op shoppers and member-owners to convince these stores to stop selling Ben & Jerry’s until the brand converts to 100% organic.

    TAKE ACTION: Ask the Concord Food Co-Op to #DumpBenandJerrys!

    After you send this email, please reach out to the Concord Food Co-op via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Yelp. And please use the hashtag #dumpbenandjerrys.

    Next time you visit the store, bring these printouts:

    Ben & Jerry’s: Peace, Love… and Monsanto’s Weed Killer 
    Glyphosate Fact Sheet

    Ben & Jerry's admits that the milk and cream used in it’s products are sourced from conventional dairy farms where cows are commonly fed GMO grains such as corn and soy.

    Not only do Ben & Jerry’s dairies raise their cows on GMO feed, these factory farms are decimating Vermont’s rural communities.

    • Ben & Jerry’s farmers don’t get paid the cost of production.
    • Ben & Jerry’s farm workers are fighting for their basic human rights.
    • Ben & Jerry’s cows are not treated humanely.
    • Ben & Jerry’s farms pollute the water.
    • When Ben & Jerry’s smaller dairies go bankrupt, the big dairy farms buy them up, making all of these problems worse.

    In response to our #DumpBenandJerrys campaign, Ben & Jerry’s says it’s working on getting GMOs and glyphosate out of its supply chain and the brand made good on its promise to introduce one new organic flavor.

    The company also signed an agreement with Migrant Justice to work towards protecting farm workers’ basic human rights.

    These small changes won’t make a big difference as long as Ben & Jerry’s continues to use non-organic ingredients and milk from factory farms, while refusing to pay its farmers fairly.

    If Ben & Jerry’s transitioned to organic and regenerative grazing, the brand could become a leader in the regenerative organic agriculture movement—a movement whose aim is to actually reverse global warming.

    As Ben & Jerry’s promises baby steps, its all-organic competitors are offering ice cream that is toxin-free, beneficial to the environment and an economic boon to rural communities. Many of the organic options even cost less.

    National organic ice cream brands include Alden’s, Julie’s and Three Twins.

    TAKE ACTION: Ask the Concord Food Co-Op to #DumpBenandJerrys!

  • Sign the Regeneration Pledge

    sunrise over a terraced fields on a hillsideWhat is the Regeneration Pledge?

    Climate change is a global crisis, in need of a global solution. Reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and achieving zero emissions is only half of the solution. The other half is regenerative agriculture and land use, a powerful tool for drawing down and sequestering carbon in the soil.

    RI fully supports the 4 per 1000 Initiative. We also fully support the rapid transition to zero emissions and 100-percent renewable energy. In recognition of the fact that our only hope to avert a climate crisis is for all of us to throw our support behind both of these potentially life-saving solutions, Regeneration International asks that our partners and allies sign on to both the 4 per 1000: Soils for Food Security and Climate Initiative and the Regeneration Pledge.

    Who can sign on to the Regeneration Pledge?

    •   Local, regional, state, national and international authorities
    •  Public/private funding bodies and foundations
    •  Civil society associations and NGOs
    •  Farmer organizations
    •    Agricultural and forestry groups
    •  Private companies
    •  Research organizations and training Institutes

    The Regeneration Pledge 

    “We, the undersigned NGOs, businesses and farmer organizations, pledge to support and facilitate as quickly as possible the move to zero fossil fuel emissions and 100% renewable energy, as agreed upon by the nations of the world at the 2015 Paris Climate Summit; additionally, in recognition of the fact that reducing fossil fuel emissions alone will not be enough to avert a climate crisis, we also, in support of the “4 per 1000: Soils for Food Security and Climate Initiative,” a bold plan approved under the Paris climate agreement’s Lima-Paris Action Agenda, pledge to support and facilitate, through education, advocacy and/or policy work, the building and scaling up of regenerative food, farming and land-use practices in our local, regional and national areas as a means of drawing down and sequestering into our soils as much climate-destabilizing CO2 and greenhouse gas pollutants as we are currently releasing into the atmosphere and the oceans. We pledge to support this drawdown for the next 25 years, in order to not only mitigate, but to actually reverse global warming, rural poverty, deteriorating public health, forced migration, and endless war and conflict.”

  • SalsaStaff 225957: Text under Cell Phone on BTA


    UPDATE: Food Conspiracy Co-Op has agreed to Dump Ben & Jerry’s!

    In a statement of Facebook on Friday, Feb 9 2018 Food Conspiracy Co-Op thanked its members for alerting them to the situation, and said that they have discontinued the sales of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

    Do you shop at the Food Conspiracy Co-Op? If you do, please join our campaign to get the co-op to phase out glyphosate-contaminated Ben & Jerry's ice cream until the brand converts to 100% organic.

    TAKE ACTION: Ask the Food Conspiracy Co-Op to #DumpBenandJerrys!

    Organic consumers are among the strongest supporters of consumer-owned food co-ops. We’ve come to expect high standards from our local co-ops.

    That’s why we think it’s a big problem when our favorite natural food co-ops sell foods like Ben & Jerry’s ice cream that are contaminated with Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer.

    We need your help as co-op shoppers and member-owners to convince these stores to stop selling Ben & Jerry’s until the brand converts to 100% organic.

    TAKE ACTION: Ask the Food Conspiracy Co-Op to #DumpBenandJerrys!

    After you send this email, please reach out to the Food Conspiracy Co-Op via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Yelp. And please use the hashtag #dumpbenandjerrys.

    Ben & Jerry's admits that the milk and cream used in it’s products are sourced from conventional dairy farms where cows are commonly fed GMO grains such as corn and soy.

    Not only do Ben & Jerry’s dairies raise their cows on GMO feed, these factory farms are decimating Vermont’s rural communities.

    • Ben & Jerry’s farmers don’t get paid the cost of production.
    • Ben & Jerry’s farm workers are fighting for their basic human rights.
    • Ben & Jerry’s cows are not treated humanely.
    • Ben & Jerry’s farms pollute the water.
    • When Ben & Jerry’s smaller dairies go bankrupt, the big dairy farms buy them up, making all of these problems worse.

    In response to our #DumpBenandJerrys campaign, Ben & Jerry’s says it’s working on getting GMOs and glyphosate out of its supply chain and that it plans on offering a couple of organic flavors.

    The company also signed an agreement with Migrant Justice to work towards protecting farm workers’ basic human rights.

    These small changes won’t make a big difference as long as Ben & Jerry’s continues to use non-organic ingredients and milk from factory farms, while refusing to pay its farmers fairly.

    If Ben & Jerry’s transitioned to organic and regenerative grazing, the brand could become a leader in the regenerative organic agriculture movement—a movement whose aim is to actually reverse global warming.

    As Ben & Jerry’s promises baby steps, its all-organic competitors are offering ice cream that is toxin-free, beneficial to the environment and an economic boon to rural communities. Many of the organic options even cost less.

    National organic ice cream brands include Alden’s, Julie’s and Three Twins.

  • SalsaStaff 225957: Text under Cell Phone

    Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) has introduced a regenerative and organic version of the Farm Bill.

    The Food & Farm Act represents our best hope for saving our farmers, farms and soil. But this bill won’t stand a chance unless Congress gets behind it.

    TAKE ACTION! Ask your Member of Congress to cosponsor the Food & Farm Act!

    Please use the form on this page to send an email to your Member of Congress. When you enter your address, the phone number for your U.S. Representative will come up. Please call your Representative’s Washington, D.C. office and ask him or her to cosponsor the Food & Farm Act.

    We need the Food & Farm Act! It’s our best hope for reversing the most disturbing trends threatening our food security: the loss of farmers, farmland and soil.

    No farms, no food

    We should all be concerned about what Farm Aid is calling the “Looming Crisis on American Farms.”  Even the Wall Street Journal says, “The Next American Farm Bust Is Upon Us.”

    Compared with the 1980s Farm Crisis, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) chief economist Rob Johansson warned in his just-released 2018 forecast that “current levels of debt are approaching the levels we saw back in the 1980s.”

    During that decade, bankruptcies and foreclosures contributed to the loss of 296,360 farms (there were 2.4 million farms in 1980 and only 2.1 million by 1990). 

    In 2015-2016, the U.S. lost 8,000 farms and a million acres of farmland.

    More farm losses are expected, as farm debt increases, and farm incomes stay low.

    Net farm income has declined 52 percent since 2013, and is expected to remain flat over the next 10 years

    In 2018, inflation-adjusted net farm income is expected to drop to the lowest level since 2002. In 2018, the projected medium farm income is -$1,316 per household.

    In real terms, this means most farmers lose money growing our food.

    There is a direct correlation between farm economics and farmer mental health. The current economic pressures are why the suicide death rate for farmers is more than
    double that of military veterans.

    No soil, no farms, no food

    As important as it is to keep farmers on the land and protect farmland from development, there’s another urgent food security crisis looming: soil loss. 

    In the U.S., soil disappears 10 times faster than it is naturally replenished, causing a $44-billion loss in annual productivity. More than 50 percent of America’s topsoil has already eroded.

    The United Nations warns that if current rates of degradation continue, all of the world's topsoil could be gone by 2075.

    Congressman Blumenauer’s Food & Farm Act would save our farmers, farms and soil. Please write and call your member of Congress today!

  • Save Our Farmers, Farms & Soil! Ask Congress to Support the Food & Farm Act!

    Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) has introduced a regenerative and organic version of the Farm Bill.

    The Food & Farm Act represents our best hope for saving our farmers, farms and soil. But this bill won’t stand a chance unless Congress gets behind it.

    TAKE ACTION! Ask your Member of Congress to cosponsor the Food & Farm Act!

    Please use the form on this page to send an email to your Member of Congress. When you enter your address, the phone number for your U.S. Representative will come up. Please call your Representative’s Washington, D.C. office and ask him or her to cosponsor the Food & Farm Act.

    We need the Food & Farm Act! It’s our best hope for reversing the most disturbing trends threatening our food security: the loss of farmers, farmland and soil.

    No farms, no food

    We should all be concerned about what Farm Aid is calling the “Looming Crisis on American Farms.”  Even the Wall Street Journal says, “The Next American Farm Bust Is Upon Us.”

    Compared with the 1980s Farm Crisis, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) chief economist Rob Johansson warned in his just-released 2018 forecast that “current levels of debt are approaching the levels we saw back in the 1980s.”

    During that decade, bankruptcies and foreclosures contributed to the loss of 296,360 farms (there were 2.4 million farms in 1980 and only 2.1 million by 1990). 

    In 2015-2016, the U.S. lost 8,000 farms and a million acres of farmland.

    More farm losses are expected, as farm debt increases, and farm incomes stay low.

    Net farm income has declined 52 percent since 2013, and is expected to remain flat over the next 10 years

    In 2018, inflation-adjusted net farm income is expected to drop to the lowest level since 2002. In 2018, the projected medium farm income is -$1,316 per household.

    In real terms, this means most farmers lose money growing our food.

    There is a direct correlation between farm economics and farmer mental health. The current economic pressures are why the suicide death rate for farmers is more than
    double that of military veterans.

    No soil, no farms, no food

    As important as it is to keep farmers on the land and protect farmland from development, there’s another urgent food security crisis looming: soil loss. 

    In the U.S., soil disappears 10 times faster than it is naturally replenished, causing a $44-billion loss in annual productivity. More than 50 percent of America’s topsoil has already eroded.

    The United Nations warns that if current rates of degradation continue, all of the world's topsoil could be gone by 2075.

    Congressman Blumenauer’s Food & Farm Act would save our farmers, farms and soil. Please write and call your member of Congress today!

  • Tell Congress: Low-Income Families Need Better Nutrition, Not Trump's Boxes of Processed GMO Junk Food

    Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program logoPresident Trump's penchant for junk food--McDonald's filet 'o fish sandwiches, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Oreos, pizza, Diet Coke--have been widely reported.

    Trump has the right to eat what he chooses (though it's unfortunate that his food choices support an industrial agriculture system that pollutes the environment and contributes to a growing public health crisis).

    But should Trump's U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) be allowed to force boxes of factory farm, GMO junk food on low-income families? We don't think so.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress: Low-Income Families Need Better Nutrition, Not Trump's Boxes of Processed GMO Junk Food

    In his latest budget proposal, Trump unveiled a plan to cut government spending on food for low-income families. Trump's "America's Harvest Box" program would give low-income families less money (about half what they normally receive) to spend on fresh food.

    In place of the missing food dollars, the government would send families a monthly box of government-issued food products such as peanut butter, canned goods (including canned meat from factory farms), pasta, cereal, "shelf stable" milk and other products.

    Trump claims the "Harvest Box" food would be "preselected for nutritional value and economic benefit to American farmers."

    But the only farmers who would benefit under the Trump's proposal are the already heavily subsidized growers of industrial GMO crops--the kind grown with massive amounts of chemicals, and used to make highly processed foods that dish up plenty of calories with minimal nutritional value.

    The "Harvest Box" program would be administered by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program. SNAP is funded through the Farm Bill, which expires and is re-written every five years. The current farm bill, signed into law on Feb. 7, 2014, is up again for discussion this year.

    We reached out to Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) for his take on the "Harvest Box." Blumenauer, who last year introduced the Food and Farm Act  which calls for a massive overhaul of the Farm Bill, had this to say:

    "This proposal is utterly ridiculous and the result of an inept administration out of touch with the needs of people across America. We need to do more to strengthen SNAP and increase access to healthier foods--in fact, I'm working to make that happen in the next Farm Bill. Trump's plan is nothing more than a slap in the face of our most vulnerable."

    We also reached out to Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), who took a similarly dim view of the "Harvest Box" plan:

    "The Harvest Box proposal is a ridiculous and terrible idea. Helping families address food insecurity means more than just sending them enough food to fill their bellies--it means opening access to nutritious, high-quality foods that can help keep them healthy. A box of shelf-stable items is not a replacement for benefits that can be used to buy a ripe tomato, wild blueberries, or any number of healthy foods out in the community. We should be looking for ways to help, incentivize, and encourage SNAP recipients to access these kinds of healthy foods, not sending them a box of highly-processed calories and calling it a day."

    Indeed, Maine takes a different approach to administering the SNAP program--it's called "Harvest Bucks." Under the program, SNAP recipients receive discounts and bonuses when they purchase locally grown food. The result is better, more nutritious food for families, more business for local farms (which receive full price for their products), and more money going into the local economy. 

    As we wrote last week, SNAP benefits are already too low under the current Farm Bill, averaging less than $1.39 per person per meal. That drives SNAP recipients to fill up on cheap, high-calorie, nutrient-poor foods.

    According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study, people with the highest consumption of federally subsidized foods had a 37-percent greater risk of being obese. They were also significantly more likely to have belly fat, abnormal cholesterol, high levels of blood sugar and inflammation.

    Trump's "Harvest Box" would make a bad situation worse.

    There are plenty of practical reasons Trump's "Harvest Box" program makes no sense. The chief public policy officer for the Food Marketing Institute, which represents grocery retailers, told Politico:

    "Perhaps this proposal would save money in one account, but based on our decades of experience in the program, it would increase costs in other areas that would negate any savings."

    Matthew Gritter, assistant professor of political science at Angelo State University who's authored books and articles about civil rights and social policy, wrote this about the "Harvest Box" proposal:

    I believe that Trump's harvest-box concept would be a logistical nightmare to carry out. In the rather unlikely event that the cuts he seeks do happen, it would become harder for low-income people to get healthy food.

    That, in turn, would increase the already large burden on food banks and other nonprofits helping the many Americans who slip through the safety net in good times and bad to avoid hunger.

    It's time to let Congress to know that vulnerable children need wholesome, nutrient-dense fresh (and preferably organic) foods--not processed factory farm food products. Tell Congress that the USDA should support more local, organic and regenerative farmers--not factory farms and junk food producers.

  • Tell Congress: Low-Income Families Need Better Nutrition, Not Trump's Boxes of Processed GMO Junk Food

    Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program logoPresident Trump's penchant for junk food--McDonald's filet 'o fish sandwiches, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Oreos, pizza, Diet Coke--have been widely reported.

    Trump has the right to eat what he chooses (though it's unfortunate that his food choices support an industrial agriculture system that pollutes the environment and contributes to a growing public health crisis).

    But should Trump's U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) be allowed to force boxes of factory farm, GMO junk food on low-income families? We don't think so.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress: Low-Income Families Need Better Nutrition, Not Trump's Boxes of Processed GMO Junk Food

    In his latest budget proposal, Trump unveiled a plan to cut government spending on food for low-income families. Trump's "America's Harvest Box" program would give low-income families less money (about half what they normally receive) to spend on fresh food.

    In place of the missing food dollars, the government would send families a monthly box of government-issued food products such as peanut butter, canned goods (including canned meat from factory farms), pasta, cereal, "shelf stable" milk and other products.

    Trump claims the "Harvest Box" food would be "preselected for nutritional value and economic benefit to American farmers."

    But the only farmers who would benefit under the Trump's proposal are the already heavily subsidized growers of industrial GMO crops--the kind grown with massive amounts of chemicals, and used to make highly processed foods that dish up plenty of calories with minimal nutritional value.

    The "Harvest Box" program would be administered by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program. SNAP is funded through the Farm Bill, which expires and is re-written every five years. The current farm bill, signed into law on Feb. 7, 2014, is up again for discussion this year.

    We reached out to Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) for his take on the "Harvest Box." Blumenauer, who last year introduced the Food and Farm Act which calls for a massive overhaul of the Farm Bill, had this to say:

    "This proposal is utterly ridiculous and the result of an inept administration out of touch with the needs of people across America. We need to do more to strengthen SNAP and increase access to healthier foods--in fact, I'm working to make that happen in the next Farm Bill. Trump's plan is nothing more than a slap in the face of our most vulnerable."

    We also reached out to Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), who took a similarly dim view of the "Harvest Box" plan:

    "The Harvest Box proposal is a ridiculous and terrible idea. Helping families address food insecurity means more than just sending them enough food to fill their bellies--it means opening access to nutritious, high-quality foods that can help keep them healthy. A box of shelf-stable items is not a replacement for benefits that can be used to buy a ripe tomato, wild blueberries, or any number of healthy foods out in the community. We should be looking for ways to help, incentivize, and encourage SNAP recipients to access these kinds of healthy foods, not sending them a box of highly-processed calories and calling it a day."

    Indeed, Maine takes a different approach to administering the SNAP program—it's called "Harvest Bucks." Under the program, SNAP recipients receive discounts and bonuses when they purchase locally grown food. The result is better, more nutritious food for families, more business for local farms (which receive full price for their products), and more money going into the local economy. 

    As we wrote last week, SNAP benefits are already too low under the current Farm Bill, averaging less than $1.39 per person per meal. That drives SNAP recipients to fill up on cheap, high-calorie, nutrient-poor foods.



    According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study, people with the highest consumption of federally subsidized foods had a 37-percent greater risk of being obese. They were also significantly more likely to have belly fat, abnormal cholesterol, high levels of blood sugar and inflammation.

    Trump's "Harvest Box" would make a bad situation worse.

    There are plenty of practical reasons Trump's "Harvest Box" program makes no sense. The chief public policy officer for the Food Marketing Institute, which represents grocery retailers, told Politico:

    "Perhaps this proposal would save money in one account, but based on our decades of experience in the program, it would increase costs in other areas that would negate any savings."

    Matthew Gritter, assistant professor of political science at Angelo State University who's authored books and articles about civil rights and social policy, wrote this about the "Harvest Box" proposal:

    I believe that Trump's harvest-box concept would be a logistical nightmare to carry out. In the rather unlikely event that the cuts he seeks do happen, it would become harder for low-income people to get healthy food.

    That, in turn, would increase the already large burden on food banks and other nonprofits helping the many Americans who slip through the safety net in good times and bad to avoid hunger.

    It's time to let Congress to know that vulnerable children need wholesome, nutrient-dense fresh (and preferably organic) foods--not processed factory farm food products. Tell Congress that the USDA should support more local, organic and regenerative farmers--not factory farms and junk food producers.

  • Tell Congress: Put More Veggies—and Less Junk Food—in the Farm Bill!

    vegetables produce food harvest organic The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends we all eat 2 to 3 cups of vegetables per day.

    What would happen if we all tried to follow that recommendation? We’d soon find out that there aren’t enough vegetables available for Americans to follow USDA guidelines.

    That’s because the Farm Bill, that massive piece of legislation that determines how $90 billion a year in tax dollars is spent to shape our food system, favors subsidies that support processed, GMO junk foods, over healthy, nutrient-dense vegetables.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress: Put more veggies in the Farm Bill!

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 91 percent of Americans don’t eat the recommended amount of vegetables.

    Maybe that’s because most schools don’t serve veggies, so kids grow up without developing a taste for them. Maybe it’s because, relative to processed junk food, vegetables are expensive.

    But it’s also true that Americans couldn’t eat the recommended amount of vegetables even if they wanted to—because there aren’t enough to go around.

    Without enough vegetables to go around, about 85 percent of Americans don’t get the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) recommended daily intakes of the most important vitamins and minerals necessary for proper physical and mental development. Is it any wonder that half of all American adults—117 million individuals—have one or more preventable chronic diseases, many of which are related to poor diet?

    We have the Farm Bill to thank for America’s vegetable deficit—and for the fact that people who rely on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to help feed their families aren’t encouraged under that program, which is funded under the Farm Bill, to buy vegetables.

    Nearly 41.2 million Americans live in food-insecure households, including 12.9 million children.

    To relieve hunger, Congress should protect and strengthen the SNAP program.

    Under the current Farm Bill, SNAP benefits are too low—they average less than $1.39 per person per meal.

    SNAP recipients and other low-income individuals who struggle to fill themselves up on this budget are driven towards high-calorie, nutrient-poor foods. The top ten sources of calories for low-income eaters are, in descending order, soda, chicken, sweets, bread, tortillas, pizza, beef, pasta, chips, and alcohol.

    What do most of these foods have in common? They come from crops and animals that are heavily subsidized by the Farm Bill.

    According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study, people with the highest consumption of federally subsidized foods had a 37-percent greater risk of being obese. They were also significantly more likely to have belly fat, abnormal cholesterol, high levels of blood sugar and inflammation.

    How do we fix SNAP? And provide more vegetables for everyone? We fix the Farm Bill.

    Once every five years, the Farm Bill comes up for reauthorization, giving Congress a chance to rewrite it. This year, 2018, it’s up again.

    If Congress wants to help reduce malnutrition and diet-related disease, it should include legislation in the Farm Bill to encourage the production of more organic vegetables—instead of considering nonsense proposal’s like Trump’s “Harvest Box” which would force-feed nutrient-poor processed (and highly subsidized) foods to SNAP recipients.

    It’s time to stop letting Congress use the Farm Bill to subsidize the richest landowners growing monocultures of Monsanto’s pesticide-drenched genetically engineered grains used to make high fructose corn syrup, ethanol and feed for animals in factory farms.

    We need healthy food for healthy people. That means we need a better Farm Bill.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress: Give us a Farm Bill with More Veggies!

  • IOWA: Act Before March 16 to Keep the Factory Farm Moratorium Bill Alive!

    piglet in a fenceIowa’s bill (SF 2008) to stop new and expanded factory farms in Iowa didn’t make it out of subcommittee before the February 16 deadline.

    But that doesn’t have to mean that the bill is dead. Under Iowa state law, Senate and House majority leaders can bypass committee procedures and call up a bill for a floor vote.

    Let’s demand they do just that!

    1. Fill in the form on this page to send your state lawmakers a letter asking them to demand that Sen. Whitver and Rep. Upmeyer call up SF 2008 for a floor vote before the March 16 deadline.

    2. If you haven’t already, please call Senator Whitver and Representative Upmeyer and demand they call up SF 2008 for a floor vote before the March 16 deadline:

    Sen. Jack Whitver: 515-281-3371 (Senate File 2008)

    Rep. Linda Upmeyer: 515-281-3221 (House companion bill - House File 2083)

    3. Share this post on Facebook.

    4. Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper on why we need a factory farm moratorium. Here are some talking points to help you get started.

    5.Attend your legislative forums and coffees and ask your lawmakers to support a moratorium on new and expanded factory farms in Iowa.

    Senator Ken Rozenboom (R, Mahaska), chair of the state Senate agricultural committee and owner of a factory farm, refused to hold a public hearing for SF 2008, despite demands made by Iowa citizens.
     
    Rozenboom also ignored a letter signed by 55 organizations representing hundreds of thousands of Iowans who want a moratorium.

    Iowa has a water crisis—thanks to factory farms. Iowa’s 23 million hogs produce more than 10 billion gallons of liquid manure every year. And that liquid manure is contaminating Iowa’s waterways.

    The list of 750 impaired waterways, and the cost to clean them up (estimated to be in the billions of dollars) will only grow, unless our lawmakers do something about it.

    Let’s keep the moratorium bill alive.

    More information here. Watch the video from the January 16 press conference here.

  • TAKE ACTION: Tell Trump to Help Family Farmers—Lift the FDA’s Ban on Raw Milk

    Trump cutting red tapeThe Real Food Consumer Coalition has drafted a legal petition asking the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to let raw milk dairy farmers distribute unpasteurized milk in interstate commerce, as long as it bears a warning label and instructions for safe handling.

    We’re asking our networks to support Real Food’s petition by asking the FDA to lift its ban on raw milk.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Trump to Lift the FDA’s Ban on Raw Milk!

    So far, most of Trump’s regulatory rollbacks have benefited major corporations at the expense of food safety, children’s health and organic integrity.

    Trump let DowDupont, which donated $1 million to his inauguration, continue to sell the insecticide chlorpyrifos even though it damages children’s developing brains and reduces I.Q.s. He also blocked tougher animal welfare rules for organic poultry.

    Instead of continuing to kiss up to the corporations, Trump should consider lifting unnecessary regulatory burdens on family famers, starting with the FDA’s ban on raw milk.

    There are only seven states, Montana, Hawaii, Nevada, New Jersey, Louisiana, Iowa, and Delaware, where raw milk is expressly illegal. Still, FDA regulations make raw milk contraband whenever it crosses state lines.

    Even though the threat of federal prosecution has pushed most farmers away from raw milk sales, 3 percent of the public (approximately 9.4 million people) still regularly consume unpasteurized milk.

    Despite its tiny market share, raw milk can be a big contributor the economy. One economic study found that if Wisconsin had just 100 raw milk dairy farms that each served 50 families, those farms would pump $10 million into the state’s economy.

    A boost like that is exactly what rural economies need as U.S. dairy farmers continue going out of business at an unsustainable rate. In 1950, there were about 3.5 million farms with milking cows. By 2016, there were only 41,809. Between 2015 and 2016, 1725 dairy farms went under.

    Dairy farmers are suffering because the companies that send their milk to the grocery store refuse to pay them what it costs them to produce the milk. On the West Coast, cooperatives created to sell dairy products have been accused by their members of pocketing millions of dollars in an elaborate accounting scheme

    Meanwhile, farmers in the Northeast have filed a lawsuit against their coop, Dairy Farmers of America, and Dean Foods, the nation’s largest milk processor, alleging the companies conspired to monopolize the market and drive down prices, knowing their member farmers would have nowhere else to sell their milk.

    Milk prices are so bad this year—farmers are getting the same price they got 20 years ago—that at least one milk processor sent farmers phone numbers for suicide prevention hotlines and other mental health services along with the latest market forecasts.

    Organic dairy farmers get paid better, but they’re also facing prices below the cost of production. (Selling raw milk direct to consumers was a good way for organic dairy farmers to weather price fluctuations until Organic Valley banned the practice.)

    Economists at the Economic Research Service have found that farmers who market goods directly to consumers are more likely to stay in business than those who market only through traditional channels.

    Trump claims to care about farmers and rural America. Here’s his chance to prove it. By allowing farmers to sell raw milk direct to consumers, Trump and the FDA could help keep America’s dairy farmers in business.

  • URGENT: Don’t Let FDA Needlessly Restrict Your Access to Homeopathic Remedies!

    homepathic remedies on table with flowersFor more than 25 years, the FDA has established clear and enforceable standards for the manufacture and sale of homeopathic medicines in the U.S.

    Now, the agency wants to withdraw this standard and replace it with a vague enforcement policy.  Without clear guidance on what is legal, regulatory enforcement quickly becomes arbitrary and capricious.

    Why is the FDA taking this step? We’re not sure. All the FDA says is that there has been a significant increase in products labeled as homeopathic.

    TAKE ACTION: Don’t Let FDA Needlessly Restrict Your Access to Homeopathic Medicines!

    Use this link to tell your legislators to ask the FDA to incorporate key aspects of the current standard for homeopathic medicines into the agency’s new draft guidance.

    Homeopathic medicines are used by millions of Americans and their kids. These remedies gently stimulate the body to heal itself, and are safe, natural and without side effects.

    In 1988, the FDA adopted Compliance Policy Guide (CPG) 400.400 to eliminate confusion over what could and could not be sold as a homeopathic medicine—confusion that affected the FDA, industry and ultimately consumers.

    In December 2017, more than two years after a public hearing and despite receiving thousands of comments submitted in support of CPG 400.400, the FDA announced it wanted to withdraw the standard and replace it with the same kind of guidance that created industry confusion prior to 1988.

    The proposed new guidance makes it more difficult for the FDA to verify and for industry to substantiate a homeopathic product while offering no additional authority to the FDA than the agency has under the existing CPF 400.400.

    Without clear guidance on what is legal, regulatory enforcement quickly becomes arbitrary and capricious.

    The Association for American Homeopathic Pharmacists (AAHP) is asking the FDA to incorporate key aspects of CPG 400.400 into the new draft guidance to help ensure that Americans continue to have access to the safest and highest quality homeopathic products.

    TAKE ACTION! Tell your legislators to ask the FDA to incorporate key aspects of the current standard for homeopathic medicines into the agency’s new draft guidance.

    Thanks to the American Association for Homeopathic Pharmacists for alerting us to this issue and for sharing their research and talking points.

  • TAKE ACTION: Ask the Food Conspiracy Co-Op to #DumpBenandJerrys!


    UPDATE: Food Conspiracy Co-Op has agreed to Dump Ben & Jerry’s!

    In a statement of Facebook on Friday, Feb 9 2018 Food Conspiracy Co-Op thanked its members for alerting them to the situation, and said that they have discontinued the sales of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

    Do you shop at the Food Conspiracy Co-Op? If you do, please join our campaign to get the co-op to phase out glyphosate-contaminated Ben & Jerry's ice cream until the brand converts to 100% organic.

    TAKE ACTION: Ask the Food Conspiracy Co-Op to #DumpBenandJerrys!

    Organic consumers are among the strongest supporters of consumer-owned food co-ops. We’ve come to expect high standards from our local co-ops.

    That’s why we think it’s a big problem when our favorite natural food co-ops sell foods like Ben & Jerry’s ice cream that are contaminated with Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer.

    We need your help as co-op shoppers and member-owners to convince these stores to stop selling Ben & Jerry’s until the brand converts to 100% organic.

    TAKE ACTION: Ask the Food Conspiracy Co-Op to #DumpBenandJerrys!

    After you send this email, please reach out to the Food Conspiracy Co-Op via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Yelp. And please use the hashtag #dumpbenandjerrys.

    Ben & Jerry's admits that the milk and cream used in it’s products are sourced from conventional dairy farms where cows are commonly fed GMO grains such as corn and soy.

    Not only do Ben & Jerry’s dairies raise their cows on GMO feed, these factory farms are decimating Vermont’s rural communities.

    • Ben & Jerry’s farmers don’t get paid the cost of production.
    • Ben & Jerry’s farm workers are fighting for their basic human rights.
    • Ben & Jerry’s cows are not treated humanely.
    • Ben & Jerry’s farms pollute the water.
    • When Ben & Jerry’s smaller dairies go bankrupt, the big dairy farms buy them up, making all of these problems worse.

    In response to our #DumpBenandJerrys campaign, Ben & Jerry’s says it’s working on getting GMOs and glyphosate out of its supply chain and that it plans on offering a couple of organic flavors.

    The company also signed an agreement with Migrant Justice to work towards protecting farm workers’ basic human rights.

    These small changes won’t make a big difference as long as Ben & Jerry’s continues to use non-organic ingredients and milk from factory farms, while refusing to pay its farmers fairly.

    If Ben & Jerry’s transitioned to organic and regenerative grazing, the brand could become a leader in the regenerative organic agriculture movement—a movement whose aim is to actually reverse global warming.

    As Ben & Jerry’s promises baby steps, its all-organic competitors are offering ice cream that is toxin-free, beneficial to the environment and an economic boon to rural communities. Many of the organic options even cost less.

    National organic ice cream brands include Alden’s, Julie’s and Three Twins.

  • TAKE ACTION: Ask the Good Foods Co-Op to #DumpBenandJerrys!

    Good Foods Co-Op: It's time to dump Ben & Jerry'sDo you shop at the Good Foods Co-Op? If you do, please join our campaign to get the co-op to phase out glyphosate-contaminated Ben & Jerry's ice cream until the brand converts to 100% organic.

    TAKE ACTION: Ask the Good Foods Co-Op to #DumpBenandJerrys!

    Organic consumers are among the strongest supporters of consumer-owned food co-ops. We’ve come to expect high standards from our local co-ops.

    That’s why we think it’s a big problem when our favorite natural food co-ops sell foods like Ben & Jerry’s ice cream that are contaminated with Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer.

    We need your help as co-op shoppers and member-owners to convince these stores to stop selling Ben & Jerry’s until the brand converts to 100% organic.

    TAKE ACTION: Ask the Good Foods Co-Op to #DumpBenandJerrys!

    After you send this email, please reach out to the Good Foods Co-op via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Yelp. And please use the hashtag #dumpbenandjerrys.

    Next time you visit the store, bring these printouts:

    Ben & Jerry’s: Peace, Love… and Monsanto’s Weed Killer 
    Glyphosate Fact Sheet

    Ben & Jerry's admits that the milk and cream used in it’s products are sourced from conventional dairy farms where cows are commonly fed GMO grains such as corn and soy.

    Not only do Ben & Jerry’s dairies raise their cows on GMO feed, these factory farms are decimating Vermont’s rural communities.

    • Ben & Jerry’s farmers don’t get paid the cost of production.
    • Ben & Jerry’s farm workers are fighting for their basic human rights.
    • Ben & Jerry’s cows are not treated humanely.
    • Ben & Jerry’s farms pollute the water.
    • When Ben & Jerry’s smaller dairies go bankrupt, the big dairy farms buy them up, making all of these problems worse.

    In response to our #DumpBenandJerrys campaign, Ben & Jerry’s says it’s working on getting GMOs and glyphosate out of its supply chain and that it plans on offering a couple of organic flavors.

    The company also signed an agreement with Migrant Justice to work towards protecting farm workers’ basic human rights.

    These small changes won’t make a big difference as long as Ben & Jerry’s continues to use non-organic ingredients and milk from factory farms, while refusing to pay its farmers fairly.

    If Ben & Jerry’s transitioned to organic and regenerative grazing, the brand could become a leader in the regenerative organic agriculture movement—a movement whose aim is to actually reverse global warming.

    As Ben & Jerry’s promises baby steps, its all-organic competitors are offering ice cream that is toxin-free, beneficial to the environment and an economic boon to rural communities. Many of the organic options even cost less.

    National organic ice cream brands include Alden’s, Julie’s and Three Twins.

    TAKE ACTION: Ask the Good Foods Co-Op to #DumpBenandJerrys!

  • Sign the Regeneration Pledge

    sunrise over a terraced fields on a hillsideWhat is the Regeneration Pledge?

    Climate change is a global crisis, in need of a global solution. Reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and achieving zero emissions is only half of the solution. The other half is regenerative agriculture and land use, a powerful tool for drawing down and sequestering carbon in the soil.

    RI fully supports the 4 per 1000 Initiative. We also fully support the rapid transition to zero emissions and 100-percent renewable energy. In recognition of the fact that our only hope to avert a climate crisis is for all of us to throw our support behind both of these potentially life-saving solutions, Regeneration International asks that our partners and allies sign on to both the 4 per 1000: Soils for Food Security and Climate Initiative and the Regeneration Pledge.

    Who can sign on to the Regeneration Pledge?

    •   Local, regional, state, national and international authorities
    •  Public/private funding bodies and foundations
    •  Civil society associations and NGOs
    •  Farmer organizations
    •    Agricultural and forestry groups
    •  Private companies
    •  Research organizations and training Institutes

    The Regeneration Pledge 

    “We, the undersigned NGOs, businesses and farmer organizations, pledge to support and facilitate as quickly as possible the move to zero fossil fuel emissions and 100% renewable energy, as agreed upon by the nations of the world at the 2015 Paris Climate Summit; additionally, in recognition of the fact that reducing fossil fuel emissions alone will not be enough to avert a climate crisis, we also, in support of the “4 per 1000: Soils for Food Security and Climate Initiative,” a bold plan approved under the Paris climate agreement’s Lima-Paris Action Agenda, pledge to support and facilitate, through education, advocacy and/or policy work, the building and scaling up of regenerative food, farming and land-use practices in our local, regional and national areas as a means of drawing down and sequestering into our soils as much climate-destabilizing CO2 and greenhouse gas pollutants as we are currently releasing into the atmosphere and the oceans. We pledge to support this drawdown for the next 25 years, in order to not only mitigate, but to actually reverse global warming, rural poverty, deteriorating public health, forced migration, and endless war and conflict.”

  • VIRGINIA: Save Our Raw Milk Herd Shares!

    dairy cows on pastureIn Virginia, raw milk sales are illegal, including sales direct from a farm to consumers.

    But Virginians who want raw milk are able to obtain it by purchasing “shares” in a cow that lives on someone’s else’s farm—because it’s still legal to drink raw milk produced by a cow you own.

    This “herd share” loophole has worked fine in Virginia. But now it’s under attack.

    TAKE ACTION: Save our raw milk herd shares! Stop House Bill 825 and Senate Bill 962, two bills that would kill herd shares by forcing dairy farmers to jump through costly and burdensome hoops. Fill in the form on this page to send a message to your state lawmakers.

    What’s a “herd share?” It’s a private contractual agreement where a consumer buys a share of a farmer’s dairy herd. The consumer pays a monthly fee to the farmer to care for their cow, and the farmer delivers the cow’s milk to the consumer.

    Who’s against raw milk? The International Dairy Foods Association and the National Milk Producers Federation, including their organic member companies: Aurora Organic Dairy, DanoneWave/Horizon Organic and Organic Valley.

    Big milk processors refuse to pay dairy farmers what it costs them to produce the milk. This has forced most family dairy farmers to quit and sell their small herds to large factory farms. Between 1950 and 2012, the number of dairy farms plummeted from 3.5 million to 58,000. Small-scale dairy farmers continue to be forced out of business even as overall milk production goes up.

    This situation could be turned around if farmers could eliminate the middleman and sell raw milk directly to consumers. There is demand for raw milk and consumers are willing to pay for it.

    Why drink raw milk?

    There is plenty of scientific evidence of the nutritional superiority of raw milk, and its safety, but nothing tells the story of raw milk better than the testimonials of those whose health has improved as a result. (Many of these raw milk success stories involve raw milk kefir, which you can make at home with certified organic kefir grains.) 

    In addition to modern testimonials, there are medical books written in the early 1900s with hundreds of case studies: “Milk Diet as a Remedy for Chronic Disease,” by Charles Sanford Porter, M.D. (1916) and “The Miracle of Milk: How to Use the Milk Diet Scientifically at Home,” by Bernarr Macfadden (1923).

    Some of the illnesses that raw milk drinkers have experienced relief from include:

    •    Lactose Intolerance
    •    Crohn’s Disease
    •    Asthma
    •    Allergies
    •    Psoriasis
    •    Urinary Tract Infections
    •    Acne
    •    Migraines
    •    Lyme Disease
    •    Cancer

    Looking for a raw milk dairy farmer in Virginia? Check out this resource.

    Meanwhile, let’s keep raw milk available! Save our herd shares!

    TAKE ACTION: Stop House Bill 825 and Senate Bill 962!

  • Tell Newsweek’s Opinion Editor Nicholas Wapshott: Discredited Monsanto Shills Have No Place on Newsweek’s Opinion Page!

    Monsanto sign at HQBy now everyone’s heard of “fake news.” But there’s another equally insidious form of journalism: fake opinions.

    Fake opinions are opinion pieces, or op-eds, published under the name of someone who purports to be an “independent” scientist, expert or academic, but who is actually spreading propaganda for companies like Monsanto—and usually being paid to do it.

    Henry I. Miller, a well-known mouthpiece for Monsanto, is a master of fake opinions.

    And Newsweek just published his latest.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Newsweek’s Opinion Editor Nicholas Wapshott: Discredited Monsanto Shills Have No Place on Newsweek’s Opinion Page! Fill in the form on this page to send him an email.

    After you send an email to Wapshott using the form at the left, please also leave a comment here. Then post on Newsweek’s Facebook page and/or community page

    And don’t forget to tweet! @NWapshott and @newsweek

    Earlier this year, the New York Times reported that Miller, described by the Times as “an academic and a vocal proponent of genetically modified crops,” had asked Monsanto to draft an opinion piece for him—a piece he then persuaded Forbes magazine to publish under his own name.

    On January 19, an op-ed titled “The Campaign for Organic Food is a Deceitful, Expensive Scam,” showed up on the pages of Newsweek magazine, under Miller’s name.

    Stacy Malkan, co-director of US Right to Know fired back in her piece, “Monsanto’s Fingerprints All Over Newsweek’s Hit on Organic Food.”

    In her in-depth exposé of Miller, Malkan reports that she complained to Newsweek’s opinion editor, Nicholas Wapshott, pointing out that Miller has been widely discredited for trying to pass off Monsanto’s propaganda as his own work.

    Here’s what Wapshott wrote in an email to Malkan:

    I understand that you and Miller have a long history of dispute on this topic. He flatly denies your assertions.

    Wow. Really? Newsweek is going to bat for a Monsanto shill, regardless of Miller’s murky reputation?

    There’s so much wrong with Miller’s hit piece on organics, and Newsweek’s willingness to publish it, that we hardly know where to begin.

    Thankfully, Malkan details all the reasons Newsweek should have rejected Miller’s piece, even if Miller’s scandalous past hadn’t already been exposed.  Here are just a few:

    •    Miller cited pesticide industry sources, not independent science, to claim that organic farming is “actually more harmful to the environment” than conventional agriculture,

    •    Those same pesticide industry sources included an inaccurate claim by Jay Byrne, former director of corporate communications for Monsanto, that organic allies spent $2.5 billion in one year campaigning against genetically engineered foods in North America. Miller included that figure in his op-ed, without revealing Byrne’s ties to Monsanto.

    •    Miller tries to discredit the work of New York Times’ reporter Danny Hakim, without disclosing that it was Hakim who exposed Miller’s Monsanto ghostwriting scandal.

    Wapshott has an impressive resumé. We could understand if he slipped up when it came to doing his due diligence on Miller before agreeing to run his op-ed.

    But we don’t understand how, given all the evidence, Wapshott is still defending Miller.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Newsweek’s Opinion Editor Nicholas Wapshott: Discredited Monsanto Shills Have No Place on Newsweek’s Opinion Page!

  • TAKE ACTION: Save the Bees! Ban Neonics!

    bee gathering pollen on a flowerVictory for bees in Europe! As reported in the Guardian, the world’s most widely used insecticides will be banned from all fields in the E.U. within six months to protect both wild and commercially raised honeybees that are vital to crop pollination.

    The neonicotinoid insecticides now banned in the E.U are sold by Bayer and Syngenta and used by Monsanto to coat its genetically engineered seeds. They are the cause of the massive bee die-offs that commercial beekeepers in the U.S. reported this year—and every year since 2006.

    Take Action to Ban Neonics in the U.S.! Fill in the form on this page to sign our petition or text BEE to 97779.

    “If we lose the insects then everything is going to collapse.”

    That is the urgent warning of Dr. David Goulson of Sussex University, UK, one of the scientists behind a study showing a “horrific decline” in the flying insect populations of Germany’s nature reserves. Seventy-five percent of the insects in those areas have disappeared in the past 25 years.

    Ultimately, the collapse of insect populations foretells what Goulson described as “ecological Armageddon.”

    In the near term, we have enough to worry about with losses among the insects we need most, the pollinators we rely on for 35 percent of global crop production and U.S. crops worth more than $15 billion a year.

    In 2009, a group of European scientists convened amid growing concern about the rapid decline in insect populations. They investigated all the possible causes of the decline and concluded that neonicotinoid insecticides might be one of the main causes. They formed the Task Force on Systemic Pesticides, reviewed all 1,121 published peer-reviewed studies on neonics, as well as data from Bayer and Syngenta, and in 2015, published the Worldwide Integrated Assessment of the Impact of Systemic Pesticides on Biodiversity and Ecosystems. (The findings are summarized in the LinkTV documentary, “Neonicotinoids: The New DDT?”) 

    In 2017, the task force updated its review with hundreds more studies. The findings are grim, indicating that it won’t be easy to reverse the impacts of neonics now that they have saturated the environment:

    •    Neonics contaminate surface waters at levels harmful to aquatic insects and have been found in treated drinking water
    •    Neonic pollution is so pervasive that “pollinator strips” planted to provide refuge for bees are contaminated.
    •    Neonic contamination of honey has persisted since the European Union moratorium went into effect in 2013.
    •    Chronic exposure to very low levels of neonics can cause a “delayed mortality” effect where insects do not die immediately but start dying in large numbers over time.
    •    Insect-eating birds can’t survive without insects to eat and neither can other insectivorous animals such as shrews, lizards, and frogs.
    •    Birds are dying from ingesting neonic-treated seeds.

    It won’t be easy to get neonics off the market. Neonics are the most widely used insecticides in the world, representing 40 percent of the market and $2.63 billion in sales.

    Take Action to Ban Neonics!

  • Tell the National Co-Op Grocers to #DumpBenandJerrys!

    National Co-Op Grocers: It's time to Dump Ben & Jerry's!We love natural food co-ops.

    That’s why we think it’s a big problem when our favorite stores sell foods like Ben & Jerry’s ice cream that are contaminated with Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer.

    Please sign our petition, you can fill in the form on this page or text Coop to 97779 to sign. Then hit up NCG on Facebook  and Twitter.

    Where would our movement be without natural food co-ops? We don’t want to ever have to learn the answer to that question.

    If you’re one of the 1.3 million consumer-owners of a natural food co-op, you know what we’re talking about. There’s no better example of food democracy! (If you don’t already shop at a natural food co-op, find out if there’s one near you. If there isn’t, get one going in your own community).

    Natural food co-ops usually do a good job of stocking organic and avoiding GMO, pesticide-drenched and factory-farm food. So, we were surprised to learn that, even after we revealed that Ben & Jerry’s contained potentially dangerous levels of glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer, there were still a significant number of natural food co-ops  selling Ben & Jerry’s.

    Why would natural food co-ops sell Ben & Jerry’s or any other food that contains potentially carcinogenic pesticides like glyphosate?

    We couldn’t figure it out, until we learned from one of our members that the NCG is actively promoting Ben & Jerry’s!

    According to an OCA member who was part of a successful campaign to get the Feather River Food Co-Op in Portola, California, to stop stocking Ben & Jerry’s, it’s the NCG that’s pushing the brand on stores:

    This store had never carried Ben and Jerry's ice cream until a sale flyer came out from their main co-op supplier, NCG, (National Co-operative Grocers) listing Ben and Jerry's pumpkin cheesecake ice cream as a sale item on the flyer. She and her assistant decided to stock a small supply of just that flavor for the sale ad. Soon she was hearing from customers (besides me) that there were problems with Ben and Jerry's Ice cream company, perhaps even more than the glyphosate. Soon they pulled the three that were left. She has told me they do not plan to sell this product in the future. I hope someone from OCA has contacted the NCG.

    Of the 10 natural food co-ops represented by NCG’s board members, half sell Ben & Jerry’s (Wheatsville Co-op, Briar Patch Co-op Market, French Broad Food Co-op, New Pioneer Food Co-op, and Putney Food Co-op) and half do not (Viroqua Food Co-op, PCC Community Markets, Community Food Co-op - Bozeman, Chico Natural Foods Cooperative and Astoria Co-op Grocery).

    Please sign our petition to NCG’s board. When we hit 10,000 signatures, we’ll deliver the petition asking the individual members of the NCG to stop selling Ben & Jerry’s and asking the board members to agree to stop pushing Ben & Jerry’s on NCG’s members.

    We envision a world where you can go to the grocery store and pick anything off the shelf without having to worry about whether or not it was made with genetically modified organisms or carcinogenic pesticides, or if it comes from polluting factory farms where the farmers don’t get paid the cost of production and the workers are denied their basic human rights

    Unfortunately, when your local food co-op sells Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, that’s the reality the store is supporting.

    It won’t be the Walmarts or the Costcos or the Amazon/Whole Foods of the world that stop selling brands like Ben & Jerry’s in favor of real fair trade organic food. It’s going to be the natural food coops.

    But they won’t act until they hear from you.

    Please use the form at the top right-hand corner of this page to sign the petition below.

  • TAKE ACTION BY MIDNIGHT JANUARY 17: Stop Trump’s Attack on Organic’s Animal Welfare Rules!

    baby chicks under a heat lampDo you buy organic eggs?

    If so, we hope you buy them from a local farmer or from a grocery store that stocks “pasture-raised” organic.

    If not, the hens that laid your organic eggs were probably confined at the rate of three chickens-per-square-ft. of floor space, in a huge poultry barn housing hundreds of thousands of birds. Those birds likely never set foot outdoors, much less saw the light of day.

    TAKE ACTION BY MIDNIGHT JANUARY 17: Stop Trump’s Attack on Organic’s Animal Welfare Rules!

    Fill in the form on this page to sign the petition or text EGG to 97779. We'll submit your signature to the USDA.

    Trump’s U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently decided to withdraw the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Rule (OLPP), finalized during the Obama Administration in response to the National Organic Standards Board’s (NOSB) 14-year effort to improve the welfare of organic animals.

    During the Obama years, OCA worked hard to bring organic standards in line with consumer expectations. We wanted the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) to enforce organic rules that require all organic animals to have access to the outdoors and sunlight and to be able to exhibit their natural behaviors.

    By the end of the Obama Administration, the campaign was picking up steam. Pasture-raised organic eggs with animal welfare certifications from Animal Welfare Approved and Certified Humane were becoming increasingly available. The USDA  announced modest improvements to organic animal welfare standards that we hoped signaled an intention to finally crack down on “Big Organic” operations that were no better than factory farms.

    But in December 2017, with Trump’s promise to reduce federal regulations to their pre-1960 level, the new organic rules landed on the chopping block.

    The worst part is that the USDA is justifying the move by saying that the NOP doesn’t have the power to address “stand-alone animal welfare concerns.”

    Organic without animal welfare? That’s not what organic consumers want or expect

    Trump is wrong about this. Trump’s USDA is violating the law by deleting a rule that is the result of 14 years of discussions, recommendations and public comments in a forum, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), that Congress set up to guide the creation of organic standards.

    At least Trump’s USDA is doing one thing right. USDA officials know they can’t delete the OLPP rule without giving the public an opportunity to comment first. 

    TAKE ACTION BY MIDNIGHT JANUARY 17: Stop Trump’s Attack on Organic’s Animal Welfare Rules!

    Meanwhile, to find out how your favorite egg brand ranks, check out the Cornucopia Institute’s Organic Egg Scorecard.

  • TAKE ACTION: Ask the Takoma Park Silver Spring Co-Op to Dump Ben & Jerry’s!

    Ben & Jerry's 'Real Roundup Ready' Ice Cream pintIf you’re a member of the Takoma Park Silver Spring Co-Op, please join our campaign to get the co-op to phase out foods that don’t meet its Product Selection Guidelines.

    We’re kicking off this campaign by asking the co-op to dump Unilever-owned Ben & Jerry’s. 

    TAKE ACTION: Ask the Takoma Park Silver Spring Co-Op to Dump Ben & Jerry’s!

    Ben & Jerry’s doesn’t meet the Takoma Park Silver Spring Co-Op’s Product Selection Guidelines because Ben & Jerry’s sources its milk and cream from factory farm dairies where cows are raised on genetically modified organisms (GMOs). 

    According to the co-op’s guidelines on GMOs, the store “will give preference to dairy products that are organic.”

    The store’s guidelines on animal products state that the “[s]ale of animal parts and byproducts is limited to naturally or organically raised animals.”

    Ben & Jerry’s contains glyphosate, the carcinogenic main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer. 

    From the genetically engineered Roundup Ready corn and soybeans fed to their cows confined in factory farms, to the fruits, grains and sweeteners that create their flavors, Ben &

    Jerry’s is packed with ingredients that have been sprayed with Monsanto’s Roundup, either for weed control or to prepare crops for harvest. 

    When we tested 11 ice cream flavors, 10 of them contained glyphosate. Even Ben & Jerry’s non-dairy flavors contain glyphosate.

    Ben & Jerry’s built its brand loyalty by rejecting the use of Monsanto’s genetically modified bovine growth hormone (rBGH) and committing to taking a path towards non-GMO ingredients.

    Yet Ben & Jerry’s still uses GMO ingredients.

    TAKE ACTION: Ask the Takoma Park Silver Spring Co-Op to Dump Ben & Jerry’s!

    After you send this email, please reach out to the Takoma Park Silver Spring Co-op via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Yelp. And please use the hashtag #dumpbenandjerrys.

    Next time you visit the store, bring these printouts: 

    Ben & Jerry’s: Peace, Love… and Monsanto’s Weed Killer  

    Glyphosate Fact Sheet

    According to the Non-GMO Standards page on Ben & Jerry’s website, the company’s non-GMO claims apply only to “ice cream flavors sold in pints, quarts, mini-cups and Scoop Shops.”

    The company states that there is “One exception: We have not been able to convert all ingredients in our ice cream bars to non-GMO formulations yet.”

    Ben & Jerry’s also admits that “the fresh milk and cream we source from family farmers is conventionally sourced. It is common practice for dairy cows' feed to contain GMO ingredients such as corn and soy.”

    Not only do Ben & Jerry’s dairies raise their cows on GMO feed, these factory farms are decimating Vermont’s rural communities. 

    • Ben & Jerry’s farmers don’t get paid the cost of production.

    • Ben & Jerry’s farm workers are fighting for their basic human rights.

    • Ben & Jerry’s cows are not treated humanely.• Ben & Jerry’s farms pollute the water. 

    • When Ben & Jerry’s smaller dairies go bankrupt, the big dairy farms buy them up, making all of these problems worse. 

    In response to our #DumpDirtyDairy campaign, Ben & Jerry’s says it’s working on getting GMOs and glyphosate out of its supply chain and that it plans on offering a couple of organic flavors.

    The company also signed an agreement with Migrant Justice to work towards protecting farm workers’ basic human rights. 

    These small changes won’t make a big difference as long as Ben & Jerry’s continues to use non-organic ingredients and milk from factory farms, while refusing to pay its farmers fairly.

    Ben & Jerry’s goals are too small for a company that claims to work for economic, social and climate justice. The company says it’s working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its polluting factory farms. But why just put a band-aid on the problem? 

    If Ben & Jerry’s transitioned to organic and regenerative grazing, the brand could become a leader in the regenerative organic agriculture movement—a movement whose aim is to actually reverse global warming

    As Ben & Jerry’s promises baby steps, its all-organic competitors are offering ice cream that is toxin-free, beneficial to the environment and an economic boon to rural communities. Many of the organic options even cost less. 

    National organic ice cream brands include Alden’s, Julie’s and Three Twins. Locally, there’s organic ice cream from Trickling Springs Creamery. 

    TAKE ACTION: Ask the Takoma Park Silver Spring Co-Op to Dump Ben & Jerry’s!

  • SalsaStaff 207714: Focus on additional information

    Michael DoursonUPDATE: On December 14, 2017, Michael Dourson withdrew his nomination for the EPA's Director of Chemical Safety following public outcry over his past work on behalf of chemical companies. More than 11,000 OCA supporters sent emails to their Senators objecting to Dourson's nomination. Thank you! Following is the alert we sent out the day before Dourson withdrew.

    Who does Trump want to become the country’s top regulator of toxic chemicals?

    Michael Dourson, a guy who previously ran a consulting company that defended toxic chemicals on behalf of companies like Monsanto, Dow Chemical, DuPont—even the Koch Industries.

    TAKE ACTION: Don’t Put a Monsanto Hire in Charge of Chemical Safety!

    When companies like Monsanto or DowDuPont fear the public is getting wise to the dangers of their toxins, they turn to “scientists” who are willing to manufacture their own science to help corporations hide the ugly truth.

    Michael Dourson is one of the most shameless of these hired guns when it comes to sacrificing public health in favor or protecting corporate profits.

    According to an Associated Press review of financial records and Dourson’s published work, Dourson has taken money from Monsanto to dispute evidence that glyphosate is a carcinogen, and from Dow to argue that chlorpyrifos is not a neurotoxin.

    Dourson even argued that kids are less sensitive to toxins!

    But the scandal that made Dourson infamous—and could derail his confirmation—is his role in hiding the truth about “Teflon toxins,”  which are perfluorinated chemicals created by DuPont for use in hundreds of products from non-stick cookware to firefighting foam.

    DuPont released nearly 2.5 million pounds of a Teflon toxin known as C8 (Perfluorooctanoic—PFOA—acid) from its Washington Works factory in Parkersburg, West Virginia, into the Ohio River Valley between 1948 and 2003.

    DuPont knew PFOA was sickening the 3,000 people who worked at its factory and the 70,000 people who drank the PFOA-polluted water in the area. Since the 1950s, the company had been monitoring the health problems of laboratory animals exposed to PFOA, as well as that of its own workers. (In 1981, two out of seven pregnant workers tracked in an internal monitoring program gave birth to children with disfiguring birth defects, prompting DuPont to remove female employees from the Teflon division.)

    DuPont even conducted human experiments where they asked volunteers to smoke cigarettes laced with PFOA and then recorded how they became “noticeably ill.”

    Peer-reviewed epidemiological studies that were part of a settlement agreement in legal actions against DuPont confirmed the toxicity of PFOA. The C8 Science Panel that conducted these studies concluded that PFOA causes ulcerative colitis, pregnancy-induced hypertension and preeclampsia, high cholesterol, thyroid disease, testicular cancer and kidney cancer.

    Today we have Dourson to thank for this: PFOA is in the bloodstream of 99.7 percent of Americans. Because PFOA and other PFCs are found in drinking water all over the country.

    Dourson’s role in DuPont’s cover-up was to help the company avoid liability for water cleanup and PFOA-induced diseases. He did this by convincing state regulators to set PFOA safety levels above the levels commonly found in drinking water. And he helped convince the EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention—the very office he’s now been nominated to direct—to refuse to regulate PFOA at all.

    A DuPont executive praised Dourson as having the "ability to assemble a 'package' and then sell this to the EPA, or whomever we desired."

    North Carolina’s two Republican Senators, Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, came out against Dourson because DuPont and its spinoff, Chemours, have dumped PFOA, and at least 1 million pounds of a PFC known as GenX, into the Cape Fear River, a source of drinking water for more than 250,000 people in their state.

    In a move likely intended to remove Burr and Tillis’ opposition, the EPA just announced actions addressing PFCs—without actually regulating them.

    We need Burr and Tillis to hold the line against Dourson. Plus we need one more Republican to oppose him.

    Putting Dourson in charge of regulating toxic chemicals would be the same as letting Monsanto and DowDuPont regulate themselves. As retired Marine Jerry Ensminger puts it, it “would be like putting an arsonist in charge of the fire department.”

    TAKE ACTION: Don’t Put a Monsanto Hire in Charge of Chemical Safety!

  • Tell Your Congress Members: Organic Food & Farming = Rural Prosperity

    colorful vegetables for marketMost consumers think of organic food as being better for their health, and organic farming being better for the environment.

    But there’s another good reason to support organic food and farming: It’s better for rural economies and communities, where poverty rates and farmer suicide rates run high.

    TAKE ACTION: Ask your member of Congress to help regenerate rural economies by co-sponsoring H.R. 4671, the Organic Farmers Access Act.

    The economic benefits of organic food and farming have spurred U.S. Representatives Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) to introduce the Organic Farmers Access Act

    The bill is a small but important step toward providing assistance and incentives, including rural business development grants, for organic farmers and producers.

    Organic agriculture creates jobs and raises incomes. That’s according to a recent report, “Harvesting Opportunity: The Power of Regional Food System Investments to Transform Communities,” published by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. “

    One of the best ways for a rural county to jump-start its economy is to become an “organic hotspot.” An organic hotspot is a county within a cluster of counties that all have statistically high numbers of organic farms and businesses.

    Organic hotspots tend to form in places where government-sponsored organic certifiers provide outreach services to farmers. The economic impact comes when the organic community hits critical mass, multiplying opportunities to network, share expertise and launch business ventures.

    In an organic hotspot, the local food system branches out in every direction connecting farms, restaurants, community gardens, farmers markets, food banks, schools, artisans, processors, entrepreneurs and investors. 

    When counties become organic hotspots their poverty rates go down and their median annual household incomes go up. On average, the unemployment rate lowers by 0.22 percentage points and the per capita income goes up by $899.

    In agricultural hotspots that are not organic, the trend reverses. The unemployment rate rises by 0.06 percentage points and the per capita income falls by $1,076.

    Organic hotspots reduce poverty levels even more than some major anti-poverty programs. When a county is part of an organic hotspot its poverty rate drops an average of 1.3 percentage points. By comparison, the presence of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program (SNAP) is responsible for a 1.5 percentage point reduction in the overall poverty rate, while the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children decreases the poverty rate by only 0.1 percentage points.

    Considering how effective organic agriculture is as an economic development tool, it’s surprising that the Farm Bill’s rural develop programs have never specifically mentioned it.

    That’s what the Organic Farmers Access Act aims to change. The bill would “assist and incentivize organic agriculture” by listing organic producers among the intended recipients of rural business development grants, locally and regionally produced agricultural food products loans, and value-added agricultural product market development grants.

    Of the $956 billion allocated by Congress for 10 years of Farm Bill programs, organic’s share isn’t even visible in a pie chart. At just over $160 million, the sliver is just too small.

    It will take a lot more than the Organic Farmers Access Act to make sure organic gets its fair share of Farm Bill programs. But it’s a start.

    TAKE ACTION: Ask your member of Congress to help regenerate rural economies by co-sponsoring H.R. 4671, the Organic Farmers Access Act.

  • Tell Bigelow: There’s Nothing ‘Natural’ about Monsanto’s Roundup® Weedkiller in My Tea!

    Health experts say drinking tea, especially green tea, is good for us.

    If that’s true, drinking “All Natural” green tea must be even better, right? 

    Not necessarily—especially if that “All Natural” green tea contains glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup®.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Bigelow: There’s Nothing ‘Natural’ about Monsanto’s Roundup® Weedkiller in My Tea! Fill in the form on this page to sign our petition or text TEA to 97779.

    After you sign our petition to Bigelow, please fill out Bigelow’s customer contact form here. In the comments section, ask the company to either get the glyphosate out of its tea, or take the words “All Natural” off its products.

    Next:

    Call Bigelow: 1-888-BIGELOW (1-888-244-3569)
    Post on Bigelow’s Facebook page 
    Click here to tweet Bigelow

    Nothing ‘natural’ about weedkiller in your tea—and Bigelow knows it

    Bigelow knows there’s glyphosate in its tea. 

    Yet instead of warning consumers, the company misleads consumers by labeling some of its teas “Natural” or “All Natural.”

    Why? Because the tea maker knows the words “natural” and “all natural” drive sales. 

    According to Consumer Reports, the majority of consumers—73 percent—look for products with the “natural” label because they believe those products are free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), hormones, pesticides and other artificial ingredients.

    Bigelow wants to capture a piece of the growing market for “natural” foods—a market some industry observers describe as “explosive” and likely to be worth $252 billion by 2019.

    And the company is willing to deceive consumers if that’s what it takes.

    No such thing as a little ‘safe’ glyphosate

    The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) won’t test our food for glyphosate.

    But independent labs will.

    As we state in our lawsuit against the tea maker, tests of Bigelow tea, conducted by an independent laboratory using liquid chromatography mass spectrometry, revealed the amount of glyphosate in Bigelow Green Tea to be 0.38 parts-per-million (ppm).

    That may not sound like a lot. But the latest independent research suggests that there is no “safe” level of glyphosate. 

    One study, published in January 2017, found that low doses of glyphosate were linked to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which can lead to permanent scarring and hardening of your liver, this is called cirrhosis. 

    Glyphosate has also been linked to non-Hodgkin lymphoma, infertility and, even in very low doses, to hormone disruption

    Glyphosate isn’t ‘sustainable’ or ‘socially responsible’

    In addition to falsely peddling its products as natural, healthful and wholesome, Bigelow claims it is an “environmentally and socially responsible” company.

    On its website, Bigelow says:

    Our worldwide supplier of tea and herbs practices holistic sustainability principles, including a focus on environmental, economic and social responsibility throughout their supply chains.

    But there’s nothing socially responsible or environmentally friendly about the use of glyphosate weedkiller, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup®.

    The use of glyphosate on crops leads to polluted waterways and degraded soils. And the widespread use of glyphosate has led to the evolution of “superweeds,” which in turn leads to the use of more, and more toxic, chemicals.

    There’s a better way to grow tea leaves—using organic, regenerative practices that improve the soil, not deplete it. Bigelow should change its practices and supply chain—or stop deceiving consumers with false claims of “natural.”

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Bigelow: There’s Nothing ‘Natural’ about Monsanto’s Roundup® Weedkiller in My Tea!

  • Don’t Put a Monsanto Hire in Charge of Chemical Safety!

    Michael DoursonUPDATE: On December 14, 2017, Michael Dourson withdrew his nomination for the EPA's Director of Chemical Safety following public outcry over his past work on behalf of chemical companies. More than 11,000 OCA supporters sent emails to their Senators objecting to Dourson's nomination. Thank you! Following is the alert we sent out the day before Dourson withdrew.

    Who does Trump want to become the country’s top regulator of toxic chemicals?

    Michael Dourson, a guy who previously ran a consulting company that defended toxic chemicals on behalf of companies like Monsanto, Dow Chemical, DuPont—even the Koch Industries.

    TAKE ACTION: Don’t Put a Monsanto Hire in Charge of Chemical Safety!

    When companies like Monsanto or DowDuPont fear the public is getting wise to the dangers of their toxins, they turn to “scientists” who are willing to manufacture their own science to help corporations hide the ugly truth.

    Michael Dourson is one of the most shameless of these hired guns when it comes to sacrificing public health in favor or protecting corporate profits.

    According to an Associated Press review of financial records and Dourson’s published work, Dourson has taken money from Monsanto to dispute evidence that glyphosate is a carcinogen, and from Dow to argue that chlorpyrifos is not a neurotoxin.

    Dourson even argued that kids are less sensitive to toxins!

    But the scandal that made Dourson infamous—and could derail his confirmation—is his role in hiding the truth about “Teflon toxins,”  which are perfluorinated chemicals created by DuPont for use in hundreds of products from non-stick cookware to firefighting foam.

    DuPont released nearly 2.5 million pounds of a Teflon toxin known as C8 (Perfluorooctanoic—PFOA—acid) from its Washington Works factory in Parkersburg, West Virginia, into the Ohio River Valley between 1948 and 2003.

    DuPont knew PFOA was sickening the 3,000 people who worked at its factory and the 70,000 people who drank the PFOA-polluted water in the area. Since the 1950s, the company had been monitoring the health problems of laboratory animals exposed to PFOA, as well as that of its own workers. (In 1981, two out of seven pregnant workers tracked in an internal monitoring program gave birth to children with disfiguring birth defects, prompting DuPont to remove female employees from the Teflon division.)

    DuPont even conducted human experiments where they asked volunteers to smoke cigarettes laced with PFOA and then recorded how they became “noticeably ill.”

    Peer-reviewed epidemiological studies that were part of a settlement agreement in legal actions against DuPont confirmed the toxicity of PFOA. The C8 Science Panel that conducted these studies concluded that PFOA causes ulcerative colitis, pregnancy-induced hypertension and preeclampsia, high cholesterol, thyroid disease, testicular cancer and kidney cancer.

    Today we have Dourson to thank for this: PFOA is in the bloodstream of 99.7 percent of Americans. Because PFOA and other PFCs are found in drinking water all over the country.

    Dourson’s role in DuPont’s cover-up was to help the company avoid liability for water cleanup and PFOA-induced diseases. He did this by convincing state regulators to set PFOA safety levels above the levels commonly found in drinking water. And he helped convince the EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention—the very office he’s now been nominated to direct—to refuse to regulate PFOA at all.

    A DuPont executive praised Dourson as having the "ability to assemble a 'package' and then sell this to the EPA, or whomever we desired."

    North Carolina’s two Republican Senators, Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, came out against Dourson because DuPont and its spinoff, Chemours, have dumped PFOA, and at least 1 million pounds of a PFC known as GenX, into the Cape Fear River, a source of drinking water for more than 250,000 people in their state.

    In a move likely intended to remove Burr and Tillis’ opposition, the EPA just announced actions addressing PFCs—without actually regulating them.

    We need Burr and Tillis to hold the line against Dourson. Plus we need one more Republican to oppose him.

    Putting Dourson in charge of regulating toxic chemicals would be the same as letting Monsanto and DowDuPont regulate themselves. As retired Marine Jerry Ensminger puts it, it “would be like putting an arsonist in charge of the fire department.”

    TAKE ACTION: Don’t Put a Monsanto Hire in Charge of Chemical Safety!

  • Medical Professionals for delaying HepB at birth

    The HepB vaccine is the only vaccine given on the day of birth.

    Given the risks of HepB vaccine, over 67,000 injured,1

    I hearby state that the current CDC schedule of HepB2 vaccinations should be amended to be delayed unless the mother tests positive for the Hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) or is not tested. I believe there is very little risk in delaying the vaccine.

     Footnotes:
    1.  http://www.medalerts.org/vaersdb/  The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (vaers) surely underestimates the number of injuries because reporting is not required, many people do not know about it and most doctors don't subscribe to the vaccine causing injury.
    2. CDC schedule: at birth, 1-2 months, and again 6-18 months. http://HepB.info/cdcSched

  • Tell your Senators to stop stalling and bring on the snow!

    According to the calendar, the first day of Winter is on Dec. 21, the Winter Solstice.

    Maybe that is true if you live in Iowa. But in Northern Minnesota, we like Winter to start as soon as hunting season is over. Why wait to get out your snowshoes and cross-country skis if you don’t have to!

    It’s time to tell our lawmakers that they need to bring on the snow. We want Winter to start now!

    TAKE ACTION: Tell your Senators to stop stalling and bring on the snow!
    Fill in the form on this page to send an email to your Senators.

    Generally by Dec. 7 the ground in Northern Minnesota is starting to freeze and there is a blanket of snow. But this year the temperatures aren’t dropping as quickly, and there is only a white crunchy mush on the ground.

    In order to enjoy Winter, the lakes need to freeze over – so we can go ice fishing ya know! – and we need at least a foot and a half of fluffy snow before we can get out our cross-country skis and snowmobile suits.

    We don’t think our lawmakers are doing enough to make this happen. What if Winter never comes at all?

    TAKE ACTION: Tell your Senators to stop stalling and bring on the snow!

  • Take Action! Thank Organic Farmers by Telling Congress to Fix the Farm Bill!

    red barn and fence surrounded by woodsWhat’s the best way to thank regenerative organic farmers this holiday season?

    On a personal level, you can start by buying your holiday turkeys from them, and then buy as much of your food as possible from regenerative organic producers throughout the year.

    On a bigger, policy level, the best way to thank organic farmers is to push Congress to fix the Farm Bill. 

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress to fix the Farm Bill! 

    Please use the form on this page to send an email to your Member of Congress asking him/her to co-sponsor Rep. Blumenauer’s Food and Farm Act. Calling would help, too! Dial 202-224-3121 for the capitol swtichboard.

    The Farm Bill, a piece of legislation Congress passes once every five years, determines how $956 billion in tax dollars will be spent over 10 years to shape our food system. This one, big, complex piece of legislation determines what farmers produce and what we eat.

    The current Farm Bill isn't all bad. It contains some programs that, if adequately funded and brought to scale, could help farmers adopt the regenerative organic methods that produce healthy food, increase the soil’s natural capacity to sequester carbon and keep drinking water clean

    But Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) thinks it can, and should, do more to promote healthy food and reduce industrial agriculture's impact on the environment.

    On November 16, Blumenauer introducd his alternative Farm Bill, the Food and Farm Act, during a symposium called: “A Call for Reform: Fix the Farm Bill." Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) and Don Beyer (D-Va.) were there to show their support. (VIDEO featuring Michael Pollan is available here.)

    Why do we need the new Food and Farm Act?

    According to Farm Forward, factory farms receive approximately $4 billion in annual benefits under a law known as the Farm Bill.

    Given the heavy subsidization of industrial factory farms, it's no surprise that in its current form, the Farm Bill’s impact is largely negative. In fact, today's Farm Bill is a big contributor to:

    Diet-Related Disease – A diet high in food commodities subsidized by the Farm Bill is linked to a greater probability of diabetes, heart disease and stroke, according to this Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Emory University scientists published study: “Association of Higher Consumption of Foods Derived From Subsidized Commodities With Adverse Cardiometabolic Risk Among US Adults,”

    Climate Change – Nearly all of the food crop production subsidized by the Farm Bill is used as feed for meat and dairy animals. According to the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy and GRAIN report, “Big Meat and Dairy's Supersized Climate Footprint,” the top five factory-farm mega-corporations combined emit more greenhouse gases (GHGs) than Exxon, or Shell, or BP. 

    Water Pollution – Farm Bill subsidy programs contribute to the pollution of drinking water, imposing billions of dollars in healthcare and water cleanup costs on downstream communities, according to this report by the Union of Concerned Scientists: “Subsidizing Waste: How Inefficient US Farm Policy Costs Taxpayers, Businesses, and Farmers Billions.”

    Thanksgiving is the perfect time to focus on the Farm Bill

    If you’ve made the choice to eat only organic, pasture-raised turkey, you probably know what’s wrong with turkey raised in factory farms. If not, check out this information from Consumer ReportsPeople for the Ethical Treatment of AnimalsMercy for Animals and Farm Sanctuary

    This isn’t your grandmother’s turkey. In just a couple of generations, factory farms have replaced family farms. Today, 99 percent of turkeys are raised in crowded, filthy, inhumane factory farms.

    Factory farms are bad for the birds, bad for the environment, bad for workers, bad for small farmers—and they produce turkey that’s bad for your health.  

    Factory farms didn’t achieve dominance via the “invisible hand” of the free market supply-and-demand model. It took an act of Congress and billions of tax dollars to build this model—a model that's highly profitable for a few huge corporations, but devastating to small family farms and the contract farmers held hostage by companies like Tyson, Perdue, JBS, Sanderson and others.

    In his invitation to the symposium, Blumenauer wrote:

    Our nation’s current food policy is seriously flawed. Hopelessly complex and expensive, it sets national priorities for federal investment in our food and farm system that favor a few large, wealthy farmers at the expense of rural and urban America.  

    It's time to make the Farm Bill, whose programs are supported by your tax dollars, work for you.

    Please use the form on this page to send an email to your Member of Congress asking him/her to co-sponsor Rep. Blumenauer’s Food and Farm Act. Calling would help, too! Dial 202-224-3121 for the capitol swtichboard.

  • TAKE ACTION: Tell Whole Foods to Drop Diestel Turkey!

    head shot of two turkeys When you pay more for a turkey product that meets Whole Foods’ (WFM) 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating standard, you probably don’t expect that turkey to contain antibiotic and other drug residues.

    You also don't expect the turkeys behind that label to have endured “horrific conditions” in their short lives

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) tested Diestel turkey samples and reported finding numerous antibiotics and other drug residues. One of those drugs, Chloramphenicol, is strictly prohibited by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in food production because it’s known to have “severe toxic effects in humans including bone marrow suppression or aplastic anemia in susceptible individuals.” 

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Whole Foods please drop Diestel turkey products. 'All Natural' turkeys shouldn't contain drug residues! 

    After you send the message to WFM using this form, please call Whole Foods and ask them to drop Diestel Turkey products.

    Then click to tweet WFM and post on Whole Foods and Diestel Turkey Facebook pages.

    Finally, we’re still trying to find in which states (besides California) WFM sells Diestel Turkey products. Can you check out your local WFM? If you find Diestel Turkey products there, please email fraud@organicconsumers.org and let us know the city and state? And if you've purchased Diestel Turkey in the past, please let us know where, what product, and if the company's advertising played a role in your purchasing decision?

    According to an amended complaint filed November 13, against Diestel Turkey Ranch, the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) National Residue Program inspected Diestel turkeys on four dates in 2015 and 2016. FSIS reported residues of antibiotics important for human use, veterinary antibiotics, a hormone and other pharmaceuticals.

    Animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) brought the action against the privately held Sonora, Calif., turkey producer in the Superior Court of California. DxE is suing Diestel for falsely advertising its turkey products as hormone- and antibiotic-free, and for deceiving consumers about how the company's birds are raised and treated.

    According to the lawsuit, Diestel turkey products tested by the USDA were positive for residues of:

    • Ketamine, a narcotic. The Drug Enforcement Agency describes ketamine as “a dissociative anesthetic that has some hallucinogenic effects.” Ketamine’s street names include Special K, Cat Tranquilizer, and Cat Valium, the latter two referencing its veterinary uses, and it is commonly referred to as a club drug because it is used illegally at dance clubs and raves. The FDA has not approved the use of ketamine in poultry.
    • Amikacin, an antibiotic for human use that the FDA considers important for humans
    • Spectinomycin, also an antibiotic for human use
    • Hygromycin, an antibiotic for veterinary use
    • Ipronidazole, also a veterinary pharmaceutical
    • Melengesterol acetate, a synthetic hormone also known as MGA
    • Sulfanitran, an antibacterial drug feed additive

    Are Diestel and Whole Foods misleading consumers?

    Producers like Diestel, and retailers like Whole Foods, know consumers are willing to pay a premium for hormone-free, antibiotic-free turkeys from farms that have high animal-welfare standards. But what happens when companies make claims that don’t live up to consumer expectations?

    Diestel Turkey claims its birds live idyllic lives. On its website, the company says:

    All of our whole-body Diestel turkeys are raised under our strict standards. We support our turkeys with a healthy environment, fresh mountain water, and the clean air from the Sierra Nevada Foothills. Our feed never contains fillers, our birds are never given growth stimulants or antibiotics, and we never make compromises when it comes to the quality of the feed.

    Whole Foods 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating is intended to differentiate factory farm meet from pasture-raised. The rating not only sets high standards for “the comfort, physical safety and health of the animals,” but also prohibits the use of hormones and antibiotics.

    The USDA testing suggests that Diestel is misleading consumers about the use of antibiotics and other drugs on its farms. A nine-month investigation of Diestel Turkey Ranch by DxE suggests Diestel also decieves consumers about how the turkeys it sells are treated before being slaughtered for meat. 

    On its website, Diestel says:

    We pay close attention to the health of our birds by spending time with them in the fields, observing their behaviors, and making sure they have the best environment possible.

    But according to the complaint filed against Diestel, the turkey producer bases those claims on one “picture perfect” farm as its “poster child” farm—but raises most of its turkeys elsewhere, under industrial factory farm conditions.

    And that picture-perfect farm is rated Step 5, even though most turkeys do not enjoy those Step 5 conditions.

    In reality, DxE said in a 2015 report that the vast majority of the turkeys sold by Diestel are raised under very different conditions than those portrayed by the Diestel website. According to the complaint against Diestel, the DxE investigation found:

    • turkeys raised in over-crowded barns
    • turkeys languishing or dead
    • turkeys suffering from excessive confinement
    • turkeys trapped in feces that covered much of the barn floor, up to one-half foot deep
    • turkeys suffering from swollen-shut eyes, swollen nostrils, open wounds, and/or bruises
    • turkeys missing large patches of feathers as a result of pecking one another and/or de-feathering from extreme stress
    • turkeys routinely subject to debeaking and/or beak-trimming
    • turkeys laboring to breathe in an enclosed barn environment dense with ammonia and particles of dried feces and feathers
    • as many as 7 percent of birds in a barn dying in a single week.

    It may be too late for Whole Foods to cancel its Diestel Turkey orders for this year’s Thanksgiving and Christmas season. But let’s let Whole Foods know that if the retailer wants our trust and loyalty, it needs to drop Diestel Turkey before another Thanksgiving rolls around.

    In the meantime, here's our Holiday Turkey Buying Guide to help you find an authentic ethically pasture-raised, drug-free turkey.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Whole Foods please drop Diestel turkey products. 'All Natural' turkeys shouldn't contain drug residues!

  • GMO Apples Hit Store Shelves—but Where?

    gmo apple scavenger huntThis month, up to 400 Midwest grocery stores started quietly testing packages of sliced “Arctic Apple” GMO apples.

    Intrexon, the company marketing the apples, won’t tell us which stores are selling them.

    The company also won’t label its apples “GMO” because, according to Intrexon’s CEO: “We didn’t want to put ‘GMO’ and a skull and crossbones on the package.”

    TAKE ACTION: Help us find the GMO apples! Join the scavenger hunt, November 7 – December 4, to locate the stores selling GMO apples. Sign up here and we’ll send you instructions, talking points, etc.

    Don't live in the Midwest? Please forward this to friends and family who do!

    The Arctic Apple is one of the first GMOs to be marketed directly to consumers instead of farmers. It was created for purely cosmetic purposes to never brown, no matter how old or rotten it is.

    In other words, it’s completely unnecessary.

    It’s also risky. The Arctic Apple was developed using a technology that many scientists worry may have unintended, negative consequences—for our health, and the environment.

    So why make a GMO apple that consumers don’t need or want? To generate profits for companies like Intrexon.

    And guess what? If consumers, many of them unaware they’re buying a GMO product, buy enough of these apples, and generate enough profits for Intrexon, it could open the floodgates to other new risky and unlabeled GMO foods that Big Ag wants to force onto your plate.

    The only way to show companies like Intrexon that we don’t want their GMO apples is to not buy them—and convince grocery stores to not sell them.

    But first, we have to find them.

    TAKE ACTION: Help us find the GMO apples! Join the scavenger hunt, November 7 – December 1, to locate the stores selling GMO apples. Sign up here and we’ll send you instructions, talking points, etc.

    This action is simple. Next time you shop, all you have to do is look around for packages of these sliced apples. Ask your grocery store manager if your store carries the packages of Arctic Apple or plans to carry them. Then let us know.

    We’ll send you everything you need, including instructions for how to identify the Arctic Apple and what to say to your store manager. Thank you!

  • Tell Costco: Consumers Don't Want Your Giant Factory Farm!

    chickens at a factory farmWalk in to any Costco store, and you’ll be greeted by the smell of roasting chicken.

    Mmm mmm good—for your nose, maybe. 

    But Costco’s $4.99 rotisserie chickens are bad for the environment, bad for farmers, bad for chickens and bad for your health.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Costco: Consumers don’t want unhealthy factory farm chicken and a polluted environment. Please invest in organic regenerative poultry farming instead!

    Click to tweet  a message to Costco. Post on Costco’s Facebook page.  

    Call Costco’s customer service line at 1-800-774-2678. If you’re a member, tell them you’ll cancel your membership unless Costco halts its factory farm project.

    Send a tax-deductible donation to support Nebraska residents fighting back against Costco's factory farm.

    Costco is a leading seller of organic produce. Yet when it comes to meat, the retail giant is big on cheap chicken. 

    So big, that Costco wants to build the largest factory farm chicken operation in the U.S., in Fremont, Neb. (population under 26,500). Unfortunately, the project has the support of a majority of Fremont’s city council members.

    But a group of citizens representing the millions of people in surrounding towns say it’s their waterways that will be polluted by Costco’s cheap chicken farms. They point out that the majority of Nebraskans, approximately one million, will see water quality decline as a result of poultry litter runoff from the 100 chicken barns that will raise birds for Costco.

    Equally important, the group says, is this: Nebraska should invest in family farms that support local economies and use responsible farming practices—not corporate-owned factory farms.

    What’s wrong with this project?

    In 2012, the Washington Post reported that Costco sold 50 million rotisserie chickens a year. At just $4.99, Costco’s rotisserie chickens are the ultimate cheap convenience food.

    But cheap chicken comes at a high price—not to Costco, of course—but to everyone who’s affected by polluted water (and the cost to clean it up), antibiotic-resistance, contract farmers who get ripped off, processing plant workers who become ill (or worse), and you, the consumer, who gets inferior nutrition. Oh, and let’s not forget the chickens, who endure unspeakable misery crammed into filthy, unhealthy conditions.

    It’s tough to reduce the trouble with Big Cheap Chicken to a list of bullet points, but here goes:

    Pollution. Nebraska’s waterways are already the sixth most polluted in the U.S. Nebraska Communities United, many of whose members live downstream from Fremont, asked the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future to weigh in on Costco’s plans. They wrote: 

    Poultry processing plant effluents are high in nitrogen, phosphorus, and total suspended solids, all of which could threaten water quality if discharged into waterways. The proposed poultry processing plant would be a source of these nutrients, as well as fecal coliforms and possibly other pathogenic bacteria, discharged into the surrounding waterways including the Platte River, a major tributary of the Missouri River.

    More here on the risks Costco’s plan poses to the environment.

    Exploitation of local chicken farmers. Costco’s project, with partner Lincoln Premium Poultry, is based on a “vertical integration system,” otherwise known as “contract farming.” Under this system, corporations enter into decidedly one-sided contracts with farmers who raise the chickens. For the best explanation of how this system works, and how chicken farmers bear all the risk while corporations reap all the benefits, watch John Oliver’s video exposé. 

    Unsafe working conditions. Costco plans to slaughter 85 million chickens annually—or about 1.7 million per week—at its Fremont processing plant. What will that be like for workers? As bad, or worse, as the conditions endured by poultry processing plants now. NBC News recently reported that workers in chicken slaughterhouses are twice as likely to suffer from serious injuries as workers in private industry, and six times as likely to have a work-related illness. The speed at which they’re required to process chickens is partly to blame—and corporate chicken producers want even faster speeds. Workers are also exposed to toxic chemicals that lead to asthma and other severe respiratory problems, burns, rashes, irritated eyes, and sinus ulcers and other sinus problems.

    Antibiotic resistance. In her new book, “Big Chicken: The Incredible Story of How Antibiotics Created Modern Agriculture and Changed the Way the World Eats,” Maryn McKenna traces the history of the use of antibiotics in poultry production, and how it’s contributed to today’s public health crisis:

    [Resistant bacteria] are responsible for at least 700,000 deaths around the world each year: 23,000 in the United States, 25,000 in Europe, more than 63,000 babies in India. Beyond those deaths, bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics cause millions of illnesses — two million annually just in the United States — and cost billions in health care spending, lost wages, and lost national productivity. It is predicted that by 2050, antibiotic resistance will cost the world $100 trillion and will cause a staggering 10 million deaths per year.

    The use of antibiotics and other drugs in poultry production has been well-documented. OCA recently sued Sanderson Farms over this very issue.

    Nutritionally inferior meat. When it comes to cheap chicken, you get what you pay for. Not only is most factory farm chicken contaminated with antibiotics and other drugs, it’s also less nutritious. According to a 2005 report in The Guardian, chicken in 2004 contained more than twice as much fat as in 1940, a third more calories and a third less protein.

    The Guardian article, reporting on a London Metropolitan University Study, also explained that levels of healthy fats in chicken, namely beneficial animal-based omega-3s including DHA, have also changed considerably. Eating 100 grams (about one-quarter pound) of chicken in 1980 would give you 170 milligrams (mg) of DHA, but that same amount of chicken in 2004 would provide just 25 mg.

    More here from Mercola.com on why Costco’s new factory farm operation will likely produce inferior meat.

    There’s a better way to raise poultry

    According to a recent article in Investor’s Business Daily, Americans are eating more chicken than ever—91 pounds per person per year. The article, though it largely praised factory farm chicken producers, also noted that consumers want “drug-free” chicken.

    “Drug-Free” is not what Costco is likely to produce. But even if it did, Costco’s model for producing cheap chicken is a disaster on all fronts.

    There are better ways to raise poultry. 

    What if instead of investing $180 million to build an abominable factory farm in Fremont, Costco invested in a better system? One that produces a healthier product, using practices that treat workers (and birds) better, that support local family farms, that don’t pollute air and waterways, that don’t rely on antibiotics, and that do promote biodiversity, and restore soil health so that the soil is not only more resilient in extreme weather, but able to draw down and sequester carbon?

    That model exists. “Poultry-centered regenerative agriculture” does all of the above. Pilot projects in Minnesota about and Mexico prove that raising chicken for meat doesn’t have to harm the environment.

    Can these systems be scaled up? Yes, though in ways that support not just huge corporations, but also the farmers who raise the chickens. 

    In general, consumers eat too much meat. We’d be healthier if we increased our plant consumption, decreased our consumption of all meat, including chicken—and chose pasture-raised chicken, over Costco-style factory farm poultry. 

    Costco will produce what consumers want. It’s up to us to tell them: no more factory farms. Invest in regenerative poultry instead!

  • Tell Congress: Subsidize Healthy Foods, Not Junk Foods!

    veggies, fruits and nuts on a tableOctober 16 is World Food Day. It’s also the day that Monsanto and its agrochemical cronies will be in Iowa, celebrating the bounties of industrial agriculture (in other words, their massive profits) at corporation-run “World Food Prize” events.

    We think there are better ways to celebrate World Food Day. One of them is this: demand that Congress stop propping up Monsanto’s degenerative agriculture, and start supporting an organic regenerative food and farming system that produces healthy food, and heals the planet.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress to fix the U.S. obesity and diet-related disease problem by shifting federal farm subsidies from junk food crops to organic produce. Fill in the form on this page to send an email to your Senators and Representatives.

    Have you ever wondered why genetically modified, pesticide-drenched, over-fertilized, hyper-processed foods are cheaper than organic foods grown without these expensive inputs?

    The answer is simple. These crops, destined to become refined carbohydrates, sweeteners, fats and feed for animals imprisoned in factory farms, get about $20 billion in Farm Bill subsidies every year.

    Organic produce and pasture-raised animal products get no direct support.

    According to a study published last year in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Farm Bill crop subsidies contribute significantly to obesity and diet-related disease.

    U.S. eaters get more than half of their calories from subsidized crops. People who consume the highest percentage of their total calories from subsidized foods are more likely to be obese, have a larger waist circumference, worse inflammation, more “bad” cholesterol and higher blood sugar than those who consume the lowest.

    A recent (comprehensive and global) study says poor diet kills one in five of us.

    The Farm Bill is a massive piece of farm policy legislation Congress passes once every five years. The next one is being debated now and should be voted on by the end of next year.

    It’s time to stop subsidizing Monsanto, and start supporting organic farmers who grow pesticide-free fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes, and produce pasture-raised milk, meat and eggs.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress to fix the U.S. obesity and diet-related disease problem by shifting federal farm subsidies from junk food crops to organic produce.

  • TAKE ACTION! Keep the Soil in Organic!

    bean sprout in soil “We are in a final battle for the soul of the organic label.” - Dave Chapman of Long Wind Farm for the “Keep the Soil in Organic” campaign

    Should vegetables grown in water, instead of soil, be certified organic?

    Big Ag companies, such as Wholesum Harvest and Driscoll’s, say yes. They’re pushing the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Organic Program (NOP) to let them put the USDA Organic seal on hydroponically grown produce, including tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, peppers and berries.

    OCA and other consumer watchdogs say no. Why? Because under USDA organic standards, farmers are required to increase soil organic matter. 

    Here’s another reason: USDA organic standards shouldn’t be re-written to benefit companies like Scotts Miracle-Gro. Scotts—the exclusive distributor of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide—is one of the biggest suppliers of the nutrients, growth mediums, containers, irrigation systems and lighting required for soilless crop production.

    TAKE ACTION! Keep the Soil in Organic! Please sign our petition and add your own comments. If you can, rally with us outside the NOSB meeting in Jacksonville, Fla., on October 31.

    Soil Is the Soul of Organic

    Organic agriculture is often defined by what it isn’t—non-GMO (genetically modified organism), and synthetic pesticide- and chemical fertilizer-free.

    But that’s only half the story. 

    Organic is called “organic” because organic farmers work to increase soil organic matter. Soil organic matter enhances the soil's ability to store carbon, cycle nutrients, and absorb water. Crops are more productive, nutritious and resilient under stresses such as drought and flooding when they grow in soil that is rich in organic matter.

    Increasingly, we are coming to understand that soil rich in organic matter is the key to healthy people as well as healthy soil. This is the fascinating topic of the recent books “The Hidden Half of Nature,” by Anne Biklé and David R. Montgomery and “The Dirt Cure,” by Maya Shetreat-Klein. Diverse microorganisms nourished by plant roots in living soil can provide multiple human health benefits, from acting as antidepressants to improving digestion.

    Soil organic matter is also the key to a healthy planet. As we know from the devastating floods, droughts, storms and wildfires that are wreaking havoc across the globe, the planet has passed the dangerous tipping point of 350 pm (parts per million) carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. 

    We need to reduce CO2 emissions. But as Will Allen from Regeneration Vermont explains, weaning the world off fossil fuels will only plug the leak—we’ve also got to do something to bail out the boat.

    The only way to stabilize the climate is to draw down more than 50 ppm of excess CO2 from the atmosphere. The only safe and reliable way to accomplish this massive drawdown is through photosynthesis, the process plants use to convert carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to carbon in soil organic matter. (You can learn more about this at our Regeneration International website. If you’re ready to act, join 4p1000, the global initiative to increase carbon sequestration in soils for food security and climate.)

    If organic is about reaping the multiple benefits of soil organic matter, from increased crop resilience to better human health to the potential to reverse climate change, then by definition, soilless crop production methods like hydroponics are not organic.

    But there’s another reason hydroponics and other soilless crop production methods don’t belong in organics—they have a massive carbon footprint

    Indoor, vertical farming is energy intensive. One study found that hydroponically grown lettuce required 82 times more energy compared with conventionally produced lettuce. That’s because instead of relying on the sun’s power, these methods use electricity generated from fossil fuels.

    Soilless producers even burn natural gas for the carbon dioxide their plants would get from the air if they were grown outdoors! As Washington Post food columnist Tamar Haspel puts it, “Indoor lettuce is a carbon Sasquatch.”

    If energy-intensive soilless indoor vegetable production can be certified organic, what’s next? “Organic” lab-grown meat? 

    There’s More Than One Way to Grow Food in the Desert

    Those in favor of soilless crop production claim it’s the only way to grow greens in a desert. That’s why they’ve invested heavily in ways to reduce the carbon footprint of soilless systems that can convert sunlight, seawater and “sustainably sourced” carbon dioxide and nutrients into artificial indoor environments for growing vegetables. 

    But it turns out to be a very expensive way to grow vegetables. Sundrop Farms spent $200 million to construct a facility that can produce 180,000 tomato plants, and that doesn’t include operating costs. It might be technically possible to grow vegetables without soil with a smaller carbon footprint, but it seems to be a solution for the richest 1 percent rather than a good way to feed the world. 

    There are other, much cheaper—really costless by comparison—ways to produce food in the desert, and regenerate vast landscapes, with low-tech methods that anyone can learn and use. A quick search for videos on “greening the desert” will produce scores of astounding case studies, including John D. Liu’s 2009 documentary “Hope in a Changing Climate,” Allan Savory’s TED talk, “How to Green the World’s Deserts and Reverse Climate Change,” and the VPRO documentary, “Regreening the Planet.” 

    In her book, “The Soil Will Save Us,” Kristin Ohlson describes a simple method, developed by New Mexico State University soil scientist David C. Johnson, for quickly regenerating soil. Anyone can replicate the impressive yields Johnson has produced on restored desert soils, as he explains in this video. What Johnson calls his Biologically Enhanced Agricultural Method destroys the fertilizer industry’s claim that there isn’t enough organic matter on the planet to farm organically. Not only does Johnson’s system not use pesticides or fertilizers, it doesn’t even need mulch! Photosynthesis and microbiology do all the work. 

    Don’t Let Big Business Steal Organic’s Soul!

    The Organic Consumers Association has fought big business’s attempts to wreck organic since our founding nearly 20 years now. Along the way, we’ve allied with the hardworking organic farmers who do the right thing: provide consumers with safe and nutritious food, treat workers with dignity, raise animals humanely and responsibly steward the land that sustains us all. 

    USDA Organic is still the best stuff you can find in the grocery store, but it hasn’t reached its true potential—and it’s under attack by big corporations.

    When the biggest multinational food companies started buying up small organic brands, it looked like organic might transform the conventional food industry. As it turns out, the biggest organic brands have been stingy with U.S. farmers. They demand more and pay less. They keep standards low and competition dirty. They scour the globe for cheap ingredients and chase U.S. farmers into bankruptcy and off their land.

    Organic regulators haven’t (or won’t) keep up with the rapid industrialization and globalization of organic supply chains. Certified organic is still the best choice in most product categories. But unfortunately, organic integrity has suffered from a lack of enforcement that’s opened the door to loopholes for synthetic ingredients in organic products, organic farms that confine animals indoors or in feedlots, a deluge of fraudulent organic imports and the refusal to regulate fake organic non-food products.

    The push for soilless organic is just another way for big business to further industrialize organic and marginalize the family farmers who use traditional organic farming techniques. 

    Unlike David Johnson’s method where all you need is a parcel of poor land, a small pile of organic matter, a simple compost bin and some seeds to be very productive, breaking into the market for hydroponic organic vegetables will be impossible for all but the wealthiest investors. This will lock in the biggest players and allow them to determine the future of organic vegetable production.

    Read "The Problem with Organic Hydroponics."

    TAKE ACTION! Keep the Soil in Organic! Please sign our petition and add your own comments. If you can, come to one of the upcoming Rallies in Many Valleys. The big one will be outside the NOSB meeting in Jacksonville, FL on October 31. 

  • Tell Your Senators: Vote NO on Trump’s Pick for Top USDA 'Scientist'!

    The job of Chief Scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is supposed to be reserved for “distinguished scientists with specialized or significant experience in agricultural research, education, and economics.” 

    But if Trump has his way, the job will go to his former Iowa campaign manager, Sam Clovis—who isn’t even a scientist, much less a “distinguished” one.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Your Senators: Vote NO on Sam Clovis for Chief USDA Scientist! 

    Not only is Clovis (who is not and has never been a scientist) unqualified for the job, he’s also a self-described climate change skeptic.   

    And now is no time for a climate science-denier to be making decisions at the USDA. Here’s why.

    1.  Scientists predict that unless we curb global warming, we’ll experience more severe, and more frequent, extreme weather events, including droughts and flooding—which will make farmers, and our food supply, more vulnerable.

    We’ve just seen two examples of extreme weather—Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. New reports estimate that Irma may have caused Florida farmers to lose up to 30 percent of their crops.  Harvey caused widespread damage to crops and farmers in Texas.

    In general, rising temperatures mean plummeting crop yields for the staples (wheat, rice, corn and soy) that provide two-thirds of the world's calories, according to new research on the impact of climate change on agriculture.

    2. Modern industrial agriculture is a major contributor to global warming. 

    When you factor in emissions from land-use change and deforestation, as well as the processing, packaging, transport and sale of agricultural products, modern industrial agriculture contributes up to 57 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

    “Degenerative” agriculture—which encompasses the use of GMO monocultures, toxic pesticides and herbicides and synthetic fertilizers, degrades soil. In fact, most of the world’s land is so worn out or neglected that it’s eroding fast. The U.N. estimates that we could lose all the world’s topsoil in the next 60 years. 

    Global soil loss not only leads to the loss of food production—it also destroys the soil’s capacity to draw down and sequester excess carbon.

    3. Agriculture done right—that is, organic and regenerative agriculture—represents our best hope for reversing global warming by drawing down excess carbon from the atmosphere, and storing it where it belongs: in the soil.

    As long as atmospheric CO2 remains above the dangerous tipping point of 350 ppm—it just hit 407 ppm—we’ll suffer the cascading impacts of runaway climate change. The only possible way to remove more than 50 ppm of excess CO2 from the atmosphere is to use plants to convert the CO2 into carbon and, with the help of symbiotic microbes, store it in the soil. 

    Organic systems do this best. A new study that compared hundreds of soil samples from all over the country found that on average, organic farms have 44 percent higher levels of humic acid—the component of soil that sequesters carbon over the long term—in their soil than non-organic farms. 

    The USDA needs to look at this science and plan the necessary transition to regenerative organic agriculture.

    Climate change is real. We need someone at the USDA who will advise policymakers based on real science—science that acknowledges the vulnerability of agriculture to climate change, the contribution degenerative agriculture makes to global warming, and the potential of organic regenerative agriculture to reverse global warming.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Your Senators: Vote NO on Sam Clovis for Chief USDA Scientist! 

  • TAKE ACTION! Sign the Pledge to Boycott Easter Lilies!

    For many people around the world, the Easter lily  is a symbol of purity and hope. But in the northernmost corner of California, where farmers use hundreds of thousands of pounds of pesticides each year to produce Easter lily bulbs, production of the flower is neither pure nor hopeful.

    The Easter lily bulbs are grown on a vast plain surrounding the estuary of the federally protected Wild and Scenic Smith River. Here the lily farmers’ pesticides — fumigants, fungicides and herbicides — are wreaking havoc not only on the river’s critical runs of wild salmon and steelhead, but also on the small town residents of Smith River, California.

    Years of local grassroots opposition has failed to convince the farmers to stop using toxic and carcinogenic pesticides to grow the lily bulbs. Efforts to persuade the government to intervene have also failed.

    Enough is enough. It’s time for the people, organizations, and churches that purchase millions of Easter lilies each spring to send a clear message: We will no longer buy Easter lilies as long as their bulbs are produced using toxic, carcinogenic pesticides.

    TAKE ACTION! Sign the pledge to boycott Easter lilies!

    The Smith River of Northern California and Southern Oregon is widely considered a crown jewel of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. The Smith River, California’s last major undammed river, winds through dramatic gorges and groves of old growth redwoods before reaching its fertile estuary just south of the state line. With estuarine habitats impacted up and down the West Coast, the lower Smith River stands almost alone as one of the most important habitats in the West for endangered species such as tidewater goby and Coho salmon.

    In this region, just four families grow nearly all of the Easter lily bulbs sold in the U.S. and Canada. It’s a demanding crop, requiring three years in the ground to mature, replanting and the use of large amounts of highly toxic and carcinogenic pesticides. Not only do lily farmers use especially high rates of fumigants 1,3-D and metam sodium, but they use some of the highest concentrations of these chemicals in the state of California.

    Over the years, pesticide residues have been found in Smith River drinking water wells, and surface waters in the estuary have been found to be toxic to aquatic organisms. Local residents report high levels of cancer as well as eye, skin and respiratory problems, and worry about their exposure to the bulb farmers’ pesticides.

    TAKE ACTION! Sign the pledge to boycott Easter lilies!

  • Dile al CEO de Ben & Jerry's Jostein Solheim: El helado 'Roundup-Ready' no es 'natural,' o 'socialmente responsable.' Es hora de cambiar a lo orgánico.

    Ben and Jerry's CEO quoteEs oficial. Diez de 11 muestras del helado Ben & Jerry’s dieron positivo para glifosato, el ingrediente activo Roundup de Monsanto. 

    Es la última en una larga serie de quejas contra la marca de helado que afirma que su misión social es elaborar, distribuir y vender la más fina calidad de helados completamente naturales y eufóricas mezclas con un continuo compromiso hacia la incorporación de ingredientes integrales y naturales, y la promoción de prácticas comerciales que respetan la Tierra y el Medioambiente.

    ACTÚA AHORA: Dile al CEO de Ben & Jerry's Jostein Solheim: El helado 'Roundup-Ready' no es 'natural,' o 'socialmente responsable.' Es hora de ser 100% orgánicos. Completa el formulario en esta página o envía por mensaje de texto 'dirtydairy' al 97779.

    Una vez que hayas completado la petición, llama a Ben & Jerry’s (802-846-1500) y pide que dejen de hacer lavado verde y que transicionen a lo orgánico. Luego postea en el Facebook y twittea este mensaje:  @benandjerrys no quiero @MonsantoCo's #Roundup en mi helado.

    Ben & Jerry’s, la subsidiaria con un capital de U$D1.5 mil millones de Unilever, compañía con base en Londres (que tiene ventas anuales por 600 mil millones de dólares) no tiene rivales a la hora de engañar a los consumidores. Debajo de la fachada de esta emblemática marca de helados existe una compañía que ha construido su imperio de ganancias en base a una industria de #malaleche, produciendo alimentos contaminados, contaminando los acuíferos de Vermont, maltratando animales, explotando trabajadores, llevando a los campesinos a la bancarrota y contribuyendo al calentamiento global apoyando una agricultura de monocultivos transgénicos que quita al suelo su habilidad de capturar carbono de la atmósfera. 

    Durante 20 años, los activistas han apoyado a Ben & Jerry’s, diciendo educadamente que la compañía debería respetar sus consignas de responsabilidad social y respeto por la tierra. Pero ya no más, afirma Michael Colby, ex-editor de Food & Water Journal y co-fundador de Regeneration Vermont. En su reciente artículo, “Ben & Jerry’s está desnudo,” Colby hace un recuento de la historia de Ben & Jerry’s y sus promesas nunca cumplidas de mejorar sus operaciones.

    Al describir sus esfuerzos para convencer a Ben & Jerry’s de transicionar a lo orgánico, Colby dice:

    Luego de un año de reuniones y de hasta ofrecerme un trabajo para trabajar con ellos, Ben mismo me dijo que Ben& Jerry’s no iba a transicionar a lo orgánico porque de esta manera no podrían maximizar sus ganancias. Sus causas sociales siempre han sido una manera de distraernos de los graves problemas que causan al ecosistema.

    Décadas después, siguen sin transicionar a lo orgánico, a pesar de la declaración del CEO Jostein Solheim: “Mi mantra que he repetido más de cien veces desde que comencé a trabajar con Ben & Jerry's es: ‘El cambio es maravilloso.’"

    ¿Quién paga por las grandes ganancias de Ben & Jerry’s? Los consumidores, los habitantes de Vermont, los campesinos, los trabajadores. Al no transicionar hacia lo orgánico y no cumplir sus afirmaciones de responsabilidad social, Ben & Jerry’s es responsable de:

    •    Hacer que los pequeños establecimientos de Vermont se queden sin trabajo. A pesar de las bonitas fotos de vacas, las granjas lácteas industriales de Vermont no son muy bonitas. Según un artículo publicado en 2016 por  Will Allen y Michael Colby, las granjas lácteas no orgánicas (convencionales) de Vermont se ven forzadas a vender leche a pérdida:

    En la actualidad (diciembre de 2016), el precio de la leche en las granjas es tan bajo y está tan devaluado que es mayor el costo de producción que el de venta. Este año, más de 182 millones de litros de leche se tiraron en octubre, rompiendo en nueve meses el record del año anterior.

    Dada esta realidad económica, no hay forma de que los productores lácteos, grandes o pequeños, sobrevivan.  Desde que empezó Ben & Jerry’s en 1978, casi 3,000 pequeños establecimientos lácteos han sido cerrado, y ahora solo quedan unos 800, afirma Colby. Al apoyar a que los productores transicionen hacia lo orgánico, pagando un precio justo por la leche orgánica, Ben & Jerry’s podría reactivar la que fuera la gran industria láctea de Vermont.

    •    Contaminar los cauces de agua de Vermont. Los contribuyentes de Vermont deberán pagar una cuenta de 2 mil millones de dólares para pagar las contaminadas aguas del estado, especialmente Lake Champlain, donde se tira la #MalaLeche de desechos de animales, fertilizantes químicos y otras toxinas. Colby escribe:

    Funcionarios estatales han estimado que conservadoramente la contaminación proveniente de las mega productoras lácteas como aquellas que suministran a Ben & Jerry’s han causado al menos la mitad del problema. En partes enteras de Lake Champlain no se puede nadar, las propiedades se han devaluado y- sorpresa, sorpresa- tóxicos como la atrazina y el glifosato (es decir, Roundup de Monsanto) están muy presente porque se usan en los maizales para alimento de la industria láctea de Vermont.

    •    Maltrato animal. Los establecimientos lácteos industriales no se parecen en nada a las imágenes que vemos en los cartones de leches, de vacas felices pastando en verdes praderas. Allen y Colby reportan que la expectativa de vida promedio de una vaca lechera cuando viven como deben, con aire puro y pasto, es de aproximadamente 20 años. Hoy en día, la mayoría de las vacas en establecimientos industriales se convierten en hamburguesas antes de llegar a los 6 años. El sistema nacional de monitoreo animal de los Estados Unidos (NAHMS) afirma que las vacas lecheras están muriendo prematuramente de muertes dolorosas y prevenibles como infecciones de ubres (mastitis), problemas respiratorios, infecciones en las pezuñas, heridas en las patas y diarrea, todas atribuibles a las condiciones generadas para maximizar la producción de leche a costa de la salud de las vacas.

    •    Explotación de trabajadores. Ben & Jerry’s afirma apoyar el programa de Justicia Migrante “Lácteos con Dignidad”. Según el sitio web de Justicia Migrante, Ben & Jerry’s prometió “trabajar con Justica Migrante para lograr un acuerdo escrito…adoptar un Programa de Leche con Dignidad de Justicia Migrante para su cadena de suministro del sector noreste.”  Hasta ahora, Ben & Jerry’s no ha cumplido con su promesa porque, como afirman los ejecutivos no consiguen lograr que la empresa que les suministra leche (no orgánica), St. Alban’s Co-Op, adhiera al programa.

    •    Contribuyendo al calentamiento global. Más de 92,000 acres de las tierras de cultivo de  Vermont tienen maíz para alimento OGM, un 96% del total. Esto ha llevado a un aumento enorme del uso de herbicidas y fertilizantes, que destruyen la salud del suelo, que a su vez quita la capacidad del suelo de capturar carbono de la atmósfera. Aun así, Ben & Jerry’s afirma preocuparse por el calentamiento global. En 2015, crearon un nuevo sabor, “Save our Swirled,” (algo así como Salven nuestro Remolino) destinado a crear conciencia sobre el cambio climático. The New York Times publicó:

    Las etiquetas muestran vacas paradas sobre icebergs que se derriten, y Ben & Jerry’s le pide a sus consumidores que cabildee frente a los líderes gubernamentales para que estos cambien a energías limpias. 

    Este sabor, según el sitio de Internet de Ben & Jerry’s ya no está disponible, pero si siguen afirmando que están comprometidos en la lucha contra el cambio climático. 

    •    Poniendo en riesgo la salud humana. Cauces de agua contaminados, suelos degenerados, explotación de agricultores y el calentamiento global son todas amenazas a la salud humana. También las enormes cantidades de Roundup, atrazina y metolacloro, todos carcinógenos y disruptores endócrinos que no solo contaminan el ambiente, sino al menos en el caso de Roundup, el helado de Ben & Jerry’s. La empresa dirá que la cantidad de Roundup en su helado es “segura” Pero existe mucha evidencia científica que muestra lo contrario. 

    El eco lavado de Ben & Jerry’s incluye el uso de la palabra natural en su sitio de Internet, y la ubica dentro de la industria natural fraudulenta que mueve montos de 90 mil millones de dólares, cobra extra por sus productos de eco lavado que son producidos con tóxicos, son malos para la salud y el medio ambiente. La empresa sabe bien que los consumidores ven la palabra “natural” y la asocian con “saludable y sustentable” Ben & Jerry’s sabe que es un engaño. Uno que les deja muchos dividendos.

    Es hora de que Ben & Jerry’s cambie. Como dijo Allen en su artículo:

    Es hora de que dejemos de pretender que Ben & Jerry’s es una empresa social y ambientalmente consciente. Ya saben cuan dañina es su cadena de suministro lácteo. Saben que los trabajadores son explotados. Saben que antes de los 5 años las vacas ya están muriendo. Saben el uso inapropiado que se hace de antibióticos. Saben que las industrias lácteas a las que les compran están contaminando el agua potable y los ríos y lagos de Vermont. No pueden pretender desconocer cuan peligrosa es su cadena de suministro, porque ya les hemos dado esta información. Así y todo, se niegan a actuar.

    ACTÚA AHORA: Dile al CEO de Ben & Jerry's Jostein Solheim: El helado 'Roundup-Ready' no es 'natural,' o 'socialmente responsable.' Es hora de ser 100% orgánicos. Completa el formulario en esta página o envía por mensaje de texto 'dirtydairy' al 97779.

    Una vez que hayas completado la petición, llama a Ben & Jerry’s (802-846-1500) y pide que dejen de hacer lavado verde y que se convierta en orgánicos. Luego postea en el Facebook y twittea este mensaje:  @benandjerrys no quiero @MonsantoCo's #Roundup en mi helado.

  • Tell Congress: Protect Organic Standards!

    Congress and the Trump Administration’s U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are threatening to make changes to the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) and the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB)—changes that could weaken organic standards beyond recognition.

    Take Action! Tell Your Senators and Congress Members: Protect the Organic Foods Production Act, and let the National Organic Standards Board do its job!

    As an organic consumer, you know from experience that eating organic is essential to keeping yourself and your family healthy. Organic isn’t perfect. But buying USDA Organic is the best way to avoid pesticides, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and synthetic ingredients.

    Since Congress passed the OFPA in 1990, big business has lobbied to weaken standards.

    In 2005, Congress passed a law that made it a lot easier for the largest food companies to create “organic” versions of their factory farm and processed foods, in order to cash in on growing demand for organics. Since then, many of the “organic” products Big Food has delivered to the big-box stores have failed to live up to consumer expectations.

    In a series of recent articles, the Washington Post highlighted some of the worst “organic imposters.” For example:

    •    Eggland’s Best eggs, marketed as certified organic by Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch, come from hens that never go outside. (Even before the Post’s expose, OCA had called for a boycott of Eggland’s Best eggs).

    •    Aurora Organic Dairy, which supplies organic milk to Walmart, Costco and other major retailers, doesn’t adhere to organic standards that require cows to be outdoors daily during the growing season.

    •    Imported “organic” soy and corn aren’t actually organic.

    •    Some “organic” foods contain a synthetic oil brewed in industrial vats of algae.

    Add to the above a recent New York Times article on how samples of mac and cheese, including organic, contain phthalates (hormone-disrupting chemicals that migrate into food products from processing or packaging). It’s easy to see how consumers could come to lose faith in the organic seal.

    The solution? Strengthen, not weaken, organic standards and the certification process used to enforce them. Unfortunately, unless consumers demand it, the USDA could do just the opposite.

    The OFPA was designed to spur continuous improvements. Congress knew it would be tough for the organic industry to get started. But lawmakers wanted to make sure non-organic substances would be removed from production, and regulations would be tightened up once organic seeds, animals, land, ingredients and processing became more available. So, they set up a democratic process for improving organic standards through the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB).

    Since the Organic Consumers Association formed in 1998, we’ve gone to battle with every administration over the integrity and enforcement of organic standards. The Clinton Administration tried to get GMOs into organic. The Bush Administration made it easier to get synthetics into organic. The Obama Administration made it harder to get synthetics out of organic.

    But the Trump Administration and the current Congress may prove to be the biggest threat to organic yet. The news from Capitol Hill is that Congress plans on “reforming the National Organic Standards Board” so that it can no longer be used by organic advocates to address problems with large-scale industrial “organic” chicken, egg and dairy farms.

    What does “reform” mean to the current administration? In addition to making it more difficult for consumer advocacy groups to participate in the process, it also means increasing Big Food’s influence.

    According to a recent report in Politico, “reforming the NOSB” could mean expanding the 15-member NOSB Board by adding more members from “larger operations”—meaning, operations akin to those of Herbruck’s and Aurora, the very companies that are already violating organic standards and who would presumably push for weakening those standards even further.

    The Trump Administration has made its position on regulations clear: more industry involvement, more concern for corporate profits, and less concern for consumer rights, public health, the environment.

    Congress needs to hear from consumers—often, and in large numbers—that we want stronger, not weaker organic standards that support small, authentic producers.

    Take Action! Tell Your Senators and Congress Members: Protect the Organic Foods Production Act, and let the National Organic Standards Board do its job!

  • TAKE ACTION BY AUGUST 25: Tell the USDA What Real GMO Labels Look Like!

    If you can read this (GMO lable), thank a teacher. If you can't read this (QR code), thank Monsanto.Last summer, food companies began labeling foods  “produced with genetic engineering” to comply with Vermont’s mandatory GMO labeling law, which took effect July 1, 2016.

    But this landmark victory for consumers was short-lived. On July 14, Congress passed the DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act, and Obama signed the law on July 29. The DARK Act blocked states like Vermont from requiring clear, on-package labels on GMO foods, and replaced state laws with a meaningless loophole-riddled federal law.

    The DARK Act directed the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to come up with a federal “bioengineered food disclosure” scheme. Trump Administration is beginning to write the regulations which will define that scheme, and is seeking public comments on those regulations until August 25. 

    TAKE ACTION BY AUGUST 25: Tell the USDA what real GMO labels look like!

    Vermont’s GMO labeling law (as well as Connecticut and Maine’s which were never enforced) set the standard for what real GMO labels look like. All foods that were “produced with genetic engineering” were labeled as such. The only foods that were exempt were foods prepared for immediate consumption (for example, food in restaurants or salad bars), alcohol and foods from animals fed genetically engineered feed. These exemptions were necessary to comply with preexisting federal labeling laws.

    Congress and the USDA have the power to require even stricter labels than Vermont. But instead, Congress passed the DARK Act, a law clearly intended to severely limit the number of GMO foods that would be labeled. Plus, instead of actual words on the package, the DARK Act lets food companies hide information about GMOs on websites. Under this scheme, consumers would have to download a so-called SmartLabel app to their smart phones, then—while they’re shopping—scan QR barcodes which send them to the brand’s website where they have to search for information on GMO ingredients.

    When the DARK Act passed last summer we called it what it was: a great big thank-you gift from Congress to Monsanto for the money the company donates to Congress members’ re-election campaigns. We protested the vote by throwing $2,000 in “Monsanto money” on the Senate floor.

    Why is it so important to Monsanto that you don’t know about GMOs?


    According to the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, “several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food consumption, including infertility, immune dysregulation, accelerated aging, dysregulation of genes associated with cholesterol synthesis, insulin regulation, cell signaling, and protein formation, and changes in the liver, kidney, spleen and gastrointestinal system.”

    Monsanto claims:

    There is a large body of documented scientific testing showing that the GM crops being grown and harvested are safe (Center for Environmental Risk Assessment). These studies focus on the wholesomeness and nutritional value of GM crops and upon the safety of the specific varieties used.

    But independent scientists who reviewed the studies Monsanto points to disagree:

    Among the animal feeding studies and reviews of such studies in the list, a substantial number found toxic effects and signs of toxicity in GM-fed animals compared with controls. Concerns raised by these studies have not been satisfactorily addressed and the claim that the body of research shows a consensus over the safety of GM crops and foods is false and irresponsible.

    GMOs have greatly increased our exposure to toxic pesticides. Before genetic engineering, herbicides were used with care because they could damage the crop. But now, herbicide-tolerant GMO crops allow herbicides to be used indiscriminately. Insecticides used to be sprayed on crops. But now crops are engineered to produce insecticides in every cell of the plant.

    Nearly all of the GMOs grown today (more than 99% in 2016) are pesticide plants engineered to withstand or produce toxic pesticides.

    Of course, very few people know how genetic engineering is used in agriculture, or that most of the foods Americans commonly consume contain GMO ingredients.

    That’s why we need GMO labels—not QR codes or other technology schemes that make it difficult for many, and impossible for some consumers to know whether they’re buying GMO foods, or foods that contain GMO ingredients.

    TAKE ACTION BY AUGUST 25: Tell the USDA what real GMO labels look like!

  • Calling All Food Revolutionaries!

    On July 25, 2017, the Organic Consumers Association announced that 10 popular Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavors tested positive for glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. It's time for Ben & Jerry's to go organic—but it will probably take mass protests and a boycott to make it happen.

    Can you help keep the pressure on Ben & Jerry’s by distributing leaflets at Ben & Jerry’s scoop shops and in front of stores like Whole Foods that sell Ben & Jerry’s ice cream? If yes, please sign up here! After you sign up, please check your email to confirm your request for a packet of leaflets, posters and petitions.

    Ben & Jerry’s advertises its ice cream as GMO-free. But don’t be fooled! Ben & Jerry’s won't commit to using organic milk. That means the cows that provide milk for Ben & Jerry's ice cream eat GMO animal feed.

    On its website, Ben & Jerry’s portrays its brand as “sustainable” and “socially responsible.” The company even refers to its ice cream as “natural.” There is nothing sustainable or socially responsible about a company that supports Monsanto's GMO monoculture agriculture.

    GMO monoculture agriculture, which relies on poisons like glyphosate, atrazine and others, pollutes the environment, destroys soil health, produces pesticide-contaminated food and contributes to the demise of small, independent organic dairy farms.

    It's time for Ben & Jerry's to go organic. If they don't, it's time for consumers and responsible retail stores to dump Ben & Jerry's!

    Please volunteer for the campaign to get Ben & Jerry's to go organic. After you sign this form, someone from the OCA team will reach out with resources and more details, and connect you with others in your community who want to help—so you won't have to do it alone!

    Read more here

  • Tell California’s Prop 65 Regulators: There’s No Safe Level of Monsanto’s Cancer-Causing Roundup Herbicide

    roundup with no symbolCalifornia is moving forward with its legal responsibility under Proposition 65 to warn the public that glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup weed-killer, is a probable human carcinogen.

    Monsanto tried, but failed to keep the warning off its labels. So now the Biotech Bully is trying to convince Proposition 65 regulators at the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment to adopt a ridiculously high level (it’s called a No Significant Risk Level) for how much glyphosate is allowed in something before the public has to be warned that it’s carcinogenic.

    TAKE ACTION BEFORE 5 P.M. TODAY: Tell California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), “There is no safe level of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide! Warnings must be required for any exposure to the carcinogen glyphosate! Discharges of glyphosate to sources of drinking water must be prohibited!”

    The OEHHA has proposed a No Significant Risk Level (NSRL) of 1.1 milligrams of glyphosate per person per day. According to a 2016 federal EPA analysis, the typical adult is exposed to 0.09 mg/kg/day of glyphosate per day through diet. So, it is unlikely that the 1.1 mg limit would result in warnings on food. 

    The OEHHA’s proposed No Significant Risk Level for glyphosate does not comply with the statutory requirements of Title 27 of the California Code of Regulations § 25703(a). According to Moms Across America, OEHHA:

    Is proposing a No Significant Risk Level (NSRL) thousands of times higher than the level proven to cause liver disease, which is a precursor to cancer, and millions of times higher than the level shown to stimulate the growth of breast cancer cells.

    •  Does not take into consideration the unique vulnerability of a fetus, baby or child, including their sensitivity during development or their vulnerable immune systems.

    •  Exempts non-target exposure from farm applications, including aerial sprays and pesticide drift, as well as use on playgrounds, roadsides and forests.

    •  Did not review epidemiology studies as is required by California law.

    The correlation between glyphosate exposure and cancer rates, as well as laboratory evidence of a causal link, was the basis for the World Health Organization’s finding that glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen.

    More than 10 million pounds of glyphosate is used on 250 different crops in California. In the decade from 2003 to 2012, application rates skyrocketed, growing by nearly two-thirds, and they continue to rise.

    In 2015, glyphosate was California’s number one pesticide by acreage. Among crops, almonds consume the lion’s share (about 20 percent) of the state’s glyphosate use. It is also used on alfalfa, carrots, cotton, oranges, peaches and nectarines, pistachios, processing tomatoes, rice, strawberries, table, wine and raisin grapes, and walnuts.

    Living near agriculture increases rates of serious heath problems, including cancer. Overall cancer incidence for California children under 20 years of age is the same as the national rate (17.4 per 100,000), but California Department of Health data shows the child cancer rates in some agricultural counties are up to 24 percent higher than the national average.

    The increased and intensified use of glyphosate may also explain the high incidence of cancer among children in places like Napa County. The California Department of Pesticides Registry shows Napa County farmers in 2013 used 50,416 pounds of glyphosate on 34,776 acres of grapes in 3,412 applications. This is up from 2003 figures which show the use of 42,771 pounds on 37,055 acres in 3,245 applications. Glyphosate use on vineyards is so intense that tests of wines revealed contamination of every sample.

    In addition to agricultural uses, glyphosate is used on public lands, playgrounds and golf courses across the state. School districts in Burbank, Glendale, Irvine, Santa Rosa, Sonoma Valley, Petaluma, Cloverdale and Sebastopol have agreed to halt their use of glyphosate after demands from parents.

    Since most of our exposure to glyphosate comes through agricultural pollution that can’t be labeled with a warning, we have to demand the lowest possible No Significant Risk Level. That’s the only way to get agricultural users to reduce their glyphosate use. Plus, for breast and liver cancer, where infinitesimal doses can trigger illness, we won’t be protected unless the NSRL is lowered.

    PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION BEFORE 5 P.M., WEDNESDAY JUNE 21.

  • Too Much Monsanto in the Corn Creates Issues in the Brain? Don’t Let Trump Deregulate GMOs!

    red question mark over a corn fieldIn 2016, when polls predicted he would lose the Iowa primary, Trump insulted Iowa voters when he tweeted: “Too much #Monsanto in the #corn creates issues in the brain?” But don’t be confused by Trump’s tweets. And ignore the fake news that Melania Trump has banned Monsanto from the White House.

    These distractions hide the real news: The Trump Administration has just announced a new GMO deregulation scheme, and it’s the most audacious effort to force dangerous, experimental “foods” onto the market since genetically modified organisms (GMOs) were first introduced in the 1990s.

    Sign this petition by MIDNIGHT JUNE 19: Don’t let Trump deregulate GMOs! Add a personal comment to increase your impact.

    Under Trump’s new GMO deregulation plan, there would still be no safety testing or meaningful labeling of GMOs. There would still be nothing to protect organic and non-GMO crops from contamination—which isn’t all that different than what we got from Obama and every president going back to George H.W. Bush.

    Fact is, every single GMO that’s ever been submitted to U.S. regulators has been approved! From the first GMO, Monsanto’s genetically engineered growth hormone rBGH that makes cows over-produce milk, to the latest gene-edited apples, potatoes and mushrooms, Americans eat a lot of GMOs that are banned in many other countries.

    What makes Trump’s new scheme (a giant gift to Monsanto and Dow Chemical) unique is that it takes deregulation to a whole new level. Trump wants the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to:

    •    Exclude from the definition of “genetically engineered organism” vast categories of new GMOs produced through techniques like CRISPR, which involve genetic modifications that can be obtained through mutagenesis, marker-assisted breeding, tissue culture or protoplast, cell or embryo fusion, or where the offspring of an engineered organism do not contain the genetic modification.
    •    Relax permitting requirements that let us know when and where crazy new GMO experiments are happening.
    •    Gut the already weak approval process where the USDA rubber stamps Monsanto and Dow’s own “science” so that, for most GMOs, the companies won’t have to submit any data at all.
    •    End oversight of most “biofactories,” GMOs that are engineered to produce pharmaceuticals or industrial chemicals, despite their unique dangers.

    If Trump’s proposed regulations are finalized, they won’t just change the way GMOs are treated by the government, they will cripple our capacity to launch marketplace campaigns to keep new GMOs out of the food supply. Why? Two reasons:

    •    We’ll know a lot less about new GMOs in the pipeline and where they’re being tested.
    •    It will be much harder to prevent or even catch contamination.

    Trump’s proposal would take us from unlabeled and untested GMOs to under-the-radar GMOs. If that happens, the line between GMO and normal food will be blurred so badly that even keeping GMOs out of organic food will become more difficult.

    We can’t let this happen.

    TAKE ACTION BY MIDNIGHT JUNE 19: Don’t let Trump deregulate GMOs! Add a personal comment to increase your impact.

  • Tell Rep. Pingree and Sen. Sanders: The Public Should See These Monsanto Documents!

    gavel laying on an open bookThere are now nearly 1,000 plaintiffs in lawsuits against Monsanto filed by people, or the families of people, who were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma after being exposed to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide.

    As those lawsuits move through the courts, some, but not all, of the court documents have been made public—including documents suggesting that Monsanto and former EPA officials colluded to hide the truth about how Roundup may cause cancer and other diseases. But now the judge in the case seems unlikely to unseal additional documents filed with the court, during the discovery phase of the trials.

    These documents may be the best way ever to find out what Monsanto has hidden in its filing cabinets about the health risks of Roundup.

    We want to know the truth about how Roundup affects the health of families and children.

    TAKE ACTION: Ask Rep. Chellie Pingree and Sen. Bernie Sanders to please intervene on behalf of the public by asking Judge Vincent Chhabria to unseal all of the documents related to the Roundup Products Liability Litigation (Case no. 3:16-md-02741-VC).

    After you fill out this form, if you live in Maine call Rep. Pingree, if you live in Vermont call Sen. Sanders, and make this same request.

    Rep. Pingree: (207) 774-5019

    Sen. Sanders: (202) 224-5141

    We’re lucky to have lawmakers like Rep. Pingree and Sen. Sanders on our side. They fought with us for GMO labeling, and they continue to defend farmers and consumers against corporate corruption.

    Now, we need their help to convince U.S. District Court Judge Chhabria that the public has a right to know the truth about what Monsanto knows about the health impact of Roundup, how long the company has known it, and to what lengths company officials may have gone to bury that truth.

    Glyphosate, the primary active ingredient in Roundup, is the world’s most widely used herbicide. Millions of Americans are impacted by any health risks associated with it. Moreover, glyphosate is up for review by the EPA. Any information indicating that glyphosate and Roundup are harmful to our health should be made public, so the EPA can factor that information into its decision about whether to ban this dangerous and widely used chemical.

    Rep. Pingree and Sen. Sanders listen to citizens and consumers. Please let them know that you would appreciate their help with this urgent matter.

    TAKE ACTION: Ask Rep. Chellie Pingree and Sen. Bernie Sanders to please intervene on behalf of the public by asking Judge Vincent Chhabria to unseal all of the documents related to the Roundup Products Liability Litigation (Case no. 3:16-md-02741-VC).

    After you fill out this form, if you live in Maine call Rep. Pingree, if you live in Vermont call Sen. Sanders, and make this same request.

    Rep. Pingree: (207) 774-5019

    Sen. Sanders: (202) 224-5141

  • The Public Should See these Monsanto Documents!

    There are now nearly 1,000 plaintiffs in lawsuits https://usrtk.org/pesticides/mdl-monsanto-glyphosate-cancer-case-key-documents-analysis/ against Monsanto filed by people, or the families of people, who were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma after being exposed to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide.
    As those lawsuits move through the courts, some, but not all, of the court documents have been made public—including documents https://www.organicconsumers.org/news/monsanto-weed-killer-roundup-faces-new-doubts-safety-unsealed-documents suggesting that Monsanto and former EPA officials colluded to hide the truth about how Roundup may cause cancer and other diseases.
    But now the judge in the case seems unlikely to unseal additional documents filed with the court, during the discovery phase of the trials.
    These documents may be the best way ever to find out what Monsanto has hidden in its filing cabinets about the health risks of Roundup.
    We want to know the truth about how Roundup affects the health of families and children.
    TAKE ACTION: Ask Rep. Chellie Pingree to please intervene on behalf of the public by asking Judge Vincent Chhabria to unseal all of the documents related to the Roundup Products Liability Litigation (Case no. 3:16-md-02741-VC).
    After you fill out this form, please call Rep. Pingree to make this same request. (207) 774-5019
    We’re lucky in Maine to have someone like Rep. Pingree on our side. She fought with us for GMO labeling, and she continues to defend farmers and consumers against corporate corruption.
    Now, we need her help to convince U.S. District Court Judge Chhabria that the public has a right to know the truth about what Monsanto knows about the health impact of Roundup, how long the company has known it, and to what lengths company officials may have gone to bury that truth.
    Glyphosate, the primary active ingredient in Roundup, is the world’s most widely used herbicide. Millions of Americans are impacted by any health risks associated with it.
    Moreover, glyphosate is up for review by the EPA. Any information indicating that glyphosate and Roundup are harmful to our health should be made public, so the EPA can factor that information into its decision about whether to ban this dangerous and widely used chemical.
    Rep. Pingree listens to Maine citizens and consumers. Please let her know that you would appreciate her help with this urgent matter.
    TAKE ACTION: Ask Rep. Chellie Pingree to please intervene on behalf of the public by asking U.S. District Court Judge Vincent Chhabria to unseal all of the documents related to the Roundup Products Liability Litigation (Case no. 3:16-md-02741-VC).
    After you fill out this form, please call Rep. Pingree to make this same request. (207) 774-5019

  • Tell Scotts: I'm boycotting all your lawn and garden products until you stop distributing Monsanto's Roundup!

    no symbol over scotts logo on background of grassConsumers can buy Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide online from Amazon.com, in their local independently owned hardware store, or in giant retail stores like Walmart, Home Depot and Costco and others. But all those stores get their Roundup from one source: Scotts Miracle-Gro (NYSE:SMG), which owns the exclusive right to distribute Roundup to retailers in the U.S. and most of Europe.

    Scotts (according to company statements) is the world’s largest lawn and garden products company. The Marysville, Ohio-based company markets a lineup of at least 21 brands—including an organic line, called Nature’s Care.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Scotts Miracle-Gro CEO Jim Hagedorn: I’m boycotting ALL Scotts brands until you stop selling Monsanto’s Roundup!

    After you take action using this form, call the company at 937-644-0011 or call their customer service line at 888-270-3714, tweet @Scotts_MGro, and post on Scotts Facebook page.

    Scotts distributes about $154 million worth (about 5.5 percent of the company’s total sales) of Roundup each year to retail giants, including Amazon, Costco, Home Depot and Walmart. In 2015, Scotts signed an agreement with Monsanto to expand its marketing of Roundup—paying the biotech giant $300 million to start selling the herbicide in more markets, including China and Latin America, and in its lawncare and landscaping business.

    Under the expanded deal with Monsanto, Scotts now pushes Roundup for use on private lawns and public parks—something the company is well positioned to do, since its 2015 purchase of lawncare service provider TruGreen (formerly ChemLawn).

    Scotts is also partners with Monsanto to market Roundup-Ready genetically engineered grass seed —a product both companies successfully lobbied the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for an exemption from pre-market safety testing. (OCA previously called for a boycott of Scotts after it launched its GMO grass seed).

    An eco-friendly imposter

    Despite its cozy and profitable relationship with Monsanto and its obviously toxic chemical-based business model, Scotts goes out of its way to portray itself as an eco-friendly company, dedicated to preserving nature. The company says it designs products that “work in harmony” with nature. The Scotts website says

    As gardeners, it is our responsibility to leave the environment in better shape than we found it. That’s our commitment at ScottsMiracle-Gro.

    Really? Nothing says poison like Monsanto’s Roundup.

    Products to boycott

    In addition to its organic brand, Nature’s Care, (created in an attempt to attract millennials), in the U.S., Scotts sells four other consumer lawn and garden products: Scotts, Miracle-Gro, Tomcat and Ortho. (Scotts bought the ortho brand from its partner-in-crime, Monsanto). For a complete list of Scotts brands, visit this webpage.

    For advice on how to grow an organic lawn, read these tips from Chip Osborne, founder and president of Osborne Organics.

    As the popular online investment site, The Motley Fool, suggests, Scotts would survive just fine without its sales of Roundup. In fact, sales of Scotts products might actually improve if the company disassociated itself from Monsanto.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Scotts Miracle-Gro CEO Jim Hagedorn: I’m boycotting ALL Scotts brands until you stop selling Monsanto’s Roundup!

  • Tell Amazon, Costco, Home Depot and Walmart: Stop Selling Monsanto’s Roundup

    Bottles of roundup on shelf It’s probably not in your garage, or on your shopping list. But how many of your neighbors will spray their lawns and gardens this summer with Roundup herbicide, thus exposing you (and your family and pets)—possibly without your knowledge and definitely against your wishes—to Monsanto’s cancer-causing chemicals?

    If the answer is one, it’s one too many. With everything we’ve learned about the health risks of exposure to Roundup (and its key active ingredient, glyphosate), and the lengths to which Monsanto has gone to hide those risks, no ethical retailer should still be selling Roundup to consumers.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Amazon, Costco, Home Depot and Walmart: Stop Selling Monsanto’s Roundup!

    After you sign our petition, take these additional actions:

    Post your comments and share this petition on Facebook (Amazon, CostcoHome Depot, Walmart).

    Tweet: Stop selling #Monsanto's cancer-causing Roundup! http://orgcns.org/2qF7rD4 to: @Amazon, @Costco, @HomeDepot and @Walmart

    On one of its Roundup product labels, Monsanto boasts: “Kills Weeds not the Lawn.” What the label doesn’t tell you is that Roundup can also kill people—just ask the hundreds of people suing Monsanto for failing to warn them that Roundup is linked to non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

    According to a 2015 article in National Geographic, Roundup is the second-best-selling herbicide in the U.S. for home lawn and garden use. Under a lucrative contract with Monsanto, Scotts Miracle-Gro owns the exclusive right to market Roundup in North America and much of Europe. Scotts distributes about $154 million worth (5.5 percent of the company’s total sales) of Roundup each year to retail giants, including Amazon, Home Depot and Walmart.

    The Scotts deal with Monsanto would be a lot less lucrative if Amazon, Home Depot and Walmart took Monsanto’s poison off their shelves—something retailers in other countries have already done.

    Marketed as safe for consumers, but it’s not


    Amazon, Home Depot and Walmart (and other stores that sell Roundup) play to consumers’ “lawn vanity” by promoting Roundup as a “safe” and “easy” remedy for common (and harmless) weeds like dandelions.

    Home Depot’s online stores lists no less than 35 Roundup products, of varying sizes and strengths, all available for in-store pick-up—one that even comes with a “comfort wand.”

    From Amazon.com, consumers can buy a 2.5-gallon container of “Roundup PRO” that “treats” up to 435,600 sq. ft.

    Walmart promotes a “convenient, no-mix formula” of Roundup that produces “visible results in 3 hours.”

    None of the stores mention any of the potential health risks of exposure to Roundup. Yet, it’s no secret that the so-called “safety” of Roundup has been questioned by many of the world’s top scientists.

    In March 2015, a panel of 17 scientists from 11 countries, representing the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), unanimously agreed that Roundup is a “probable human carcinogen.” The IARC’s classification came as no surprise to the many other scientists who have, for years, questioned the safety of glyphosate.

    In March (2017), California became the first state to require a warning label on Roundup, under a law that requires any consumer product that contains a potential carcinogen be labeled as such. But no other state requires warning labels on Roundup.

    Last month (April 2017), the Organic Consumers Association and Beyond Pesticides sued Monsanto for misleading the public by labeling its popular Roundup as “target[ing] an enzyme found in plants but not in people or pets. In fact, as we state in our complaint, the enzyme targeted by glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, is found in people and pets.

    There are alternatives


    When Germany’s largest retailer, Toom Baumarkt, announced it would no longer sell Roundup, company executives cited their commitment to “looking for alternatives and more environmentally friendly options to protect the environment and nature.”

    In fact, alternatives—both safe and effective—exist.

    In his article, “Transitioning to an Organic Lawn Care Program is Simple if You Follow These 3 Steps,” Chip Osborne, founder and president of Osborne Organics, says that managing a residential lawn is different from managing a public park or a playing field, but the principles are the same:

    It is the principles of a system based approach to natural land management that dictate the first steps to take as well as the proper sequence of those steps for every program.
    Could Amazon, Home Depot and Walmart compete with other retailers of lawncare products, if they dropped Roundup?

    If the Eldredge Lumber & Hardware store is any indication, yes. The Maine-based chain hasn’t suffered one bit since abandoning all pesticides and weed-killer products that synthetic chemicals—including bee-killing neonicotinoids and Roundup. In the year following its decision to drop those products, sales in the lawn and gardening department were up over 30 percent in the last year, he says.

    It’s time for some of the leading U.S. retailers—Amazon, Home Depot and Walmart—to follow the lead of big retail chains in other countries, and some of their smaller competitors here at home, by stocking their shelves with safe, organic alternatives to Roundup weedkiller.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Amazon, Home Depot and Walmart: Stop Selling Monsanto’s Roundup!

  • MA: Ask Your Lawmakers to Support Good Farming by Co-Sponsoring Healthy Soils Bill!

    red barn and green farm fieldsMany Massachusetts farmers would like to transition to organic regenerative agriculture. But making that transition can be challenging on many levels, including financially.

    Massachusetts State Rep. Paul Schmid III has introduced a bill that would provide education and incentives to farmers who want to make that transition—but in order to succeed, the bill needs more co-sponsors. 

    TAKE ACTION: Contact your representatives and ask them to please co-sponsor healthy soils bill HD3966! Fill in the form on this page to send your representatives a message.

    HD3966, “An Act To Promote Healthy Soils,” would:

    1.    Create a Healthy Soils Program within the Department of Ag Resources that would enhance the education, training, employment, income, productivity and retention of those working or aspiring to work in the field of regenerative agriculture and provide incentives for regenerative farmers; and

    2.    Add an expert on regenerative ag to the Massachusetts Food Policy Council.

    Healthy, regenerative soils mean soils that are free of chemicals, including toxic pesticides and synthetic nitrogen—chemicals that run off into, and pollute, local waterways. Healthy soils also produce more nutrient-dense food. And they are key to reversing global warming by sequestering carbon.

    TAKE ACTION: Contact your representatives and ask them to please co-sponsor healthy soils bill HD3966!

  • UPDATE: A Win for Azure Farms and Organic Agriculture!

    UPDATE: Success! Sherman County has agreed to work on a weed management plan with Azure Farms that does not include the spraying of toxic chemicals.

    Watch this message from David Steltzer, CEO of Azure Standard.

    Original Action Alert
    County officials want to spray a 2,000-acre certified organic farm in Oregon with Monsanto’s cancer-causing Roundup and other pesticides—and force the farm to pay for it!

    Officials in Central Oregon’s Sherman County say they need to spray Azure Farms in order to eradicate “noxious weeds.” Owners of the farm (which has been USDA certified organic for 18 years) say if the county follows through with its plans, it could put the farm out of business.

    Azure Farms, located in Moro, Ore., is no small operation. Azure provides nearly all the organic wheat, field peas, barley, Einkorn and beef for Azure Standard, a major independent distributor of organic and non-GMO foods in the U.S.

    The “noxious weeds” in question—Morning Glory, Canada Thistle and Whitetop—have co-existed with the farm’s organic crops for years, without causing problems for the farm or the lands around it, according to the farm’s owners. They say they have successfully managed the weeds using organic farming and weed-control practices.

    But Sherman County could issue a court order as early as Monday, May 22, to force the entire farm under quarantine while county officials douse the property in Roundup and other toxic herbicides. The chemicals, which could be applied to an area one-and-a-half times the size of the city center of Philadelphia, may also affect the surrounding areas, causing unpredictable health and environmental effects.

    To add insult to injury, the County has threatened to place a lien on the farm to guarantee payment to the County for the labor and chemicals.

    The order follows a change in the interpretation of a county code, from “controlling” noxious weeds to “eradicating them.” Azure Farm’s owners say the County’s plan is flawed because it’s nearly impossible to completely eradicate the weeds—so all the County will succeed in doing is putting Azure Farm out of business.

    Watch this video for more information

  • Tell the EPA: Preserve Laws to Protect Human Health from Toxic Pesticides

    dow chemical logo on a background of moneyIn February, at the behest of corporate donor Dow Chemical, Trump signed an executive order to roll back federal regulations, including those that enforce laws to protect human health from toxic pesticides. Now, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Pesticide Programs is soliciting public comments on which regulations to repeal.

    TAKE ACTION by midnight May 15: Tell Trump’s EPA to put Americans’ health above Dow Chemical’s wealth! Don’t let Trump make us sicker to make his corporate donors richer!

    In Trump’s first three months, Dow Chemical spent $5.2 million on lobbying, making it the seventh-biggest spender among all corporations buying influence in Washington. At $13.5 million in 2016, Dow’s lobbying expenditures top all if its competitors, including Bayer, Dupont, Monsanto and Syngenta. Dow also donated $1 million to Trump’s inauguration.

    Being a big spender has given Dow “extraordinary access” to the administration. CEO Andrew Liveris was appointed to head a White House manufacturing council. After Trump signed the executive order for a regulatory rollback, he handed the pen to Liveris.

    Greasing palms is just a cost of doing business for Dow, and a relatively minor one. The company reported $888 million in net income for the first quarter of 2017, in its April 27 earnings statement.

    Money talks. Children’s health walks. Under Obama, Dow was going to have to stop selling chlorpyrifos, a pesticide that inhibits brain development, with effects ranging from lower IQ to higher rates of autism. But, under Trump, the decision was reversed.

    We can’t have the health of future generations stripped from us just so Dow can meet its short-term profit goals.

    TAKE ACTION by midnight May 15: Tell Trump’s EPA to put Americans’ health above Dow Chemical’s wealth! Don’t let Trump make us sicker to make his corporate donors richer!

  • Tell Your Legislators to Support Marijuana Policy Reform in Texas!

    Marijuana policy is a hot topic at the Texas Capitol. Legislators are considering 12 marijuana policy-related bills that would decriminalize low-level possession and expand medicinal use for patients suffering from debilitating medical conditions.

    House Bill 81 would replace criminal penalties for marijuana possession with a simple ticket, eliminating the threat of arrest, jail time and a criminal record for low-level marijuana possession.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell your legislators to vote YES on HB 81!

    On April 3, HB-81 passed out of the Criminal Jurisprudence Committee with a bipartisan vote of 4-2. The bill is now headed to the Calendars Committee where it will be scheduled for consideration and for the first time in decades voted on by all 150 Texas representatives.

    Marijuana prohibition has burdened otherwise law-abiding Texans with criminal records, just for using a substance that’s proven safer than alcohol. Current laws also unfairly target people of color, and divert police from tackling real crimes, says the Texas Marijuana Policy Project.

    Now is your chance to help prevent thousands of Texans from being branded with life-altering criminal convictions!

    Most Texans and Americans agree: “It’s time for a smarter, more humane approach. Regulating and taxing marijuana will generate tens of millions of dollars for the state and create legitimate, tax-paying jobs,” according to the Marijuana Policy Project.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell your legislators to vote YES on HB 81!

  • OREGON: Help Put Josephine County’s GMO Crop Ban Into Action!

    On Wednesday morning, the Oregon Senate will hold a hearing on a bill that, if passed, would let Josephine County’s GMO crop ban to take effect.

    The bill would also help farmers in other counties protect their fields from contamination by nearby GMO crops.

    TAKE ACTION: Send a message to key members of the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee. Then, thank these Senators for supporting the bill:

    Sen Michael Dembrow-D - 503-986-1723
    Sen Floyd Prozanski-D - 503-986-1704

    On Wednesday, join Our Family Farms at the State Capitol for a hearing on SB 1037. If you are able to come to the hearing, please rsvp to Elise Higley.

    SB 1037, called the local GE control billl, would restore the ability of county governments to protect local farmers from the harmful effects of genetically modified crop contamination. This ability was stripped from local governments in a statewide preemtion bill that was passed in 2013.

    Josephine County passed a GMO crop ban in 2014, but due to the preemption bill passed in 2013, the county’s crop ban has not been enacted. SB 1037 would provide the legislative fix needed for Josephine County to enact their GMO crop ban.

    Jackson County has a similar GMO crop ban that was passed before the state preemption bill took effect. Combined, the Josephine and Jackson county GMO crop bans would create a 3300-squaremile GMO-free seed sanctuary, protecting farmers within this unique seed growing region.

    Show your support for this GMO-free zone!

    Send a message to key members of the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee.

  • Tell Your Senators: Protect Consumers’ Right to Hold Corporations Accountable

    red stop lightThe U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a suite of bills that would make it harder for ordinary people to take corporations like Monsanto to court—even if a company’s product is proven to cause serious injury or illness.

    The bills—three of them—will soon head to the Senate.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell your Senators to protect consumers’ right to hold corporations accountable by voting NO on H.R. 985, H.R. 725 and H.R. 720.

    After you use this form to contact your Senators, check the links below to find out how your Representatives voted. If they voted against consumers, call or email them. Tell them consumers should have the right to hold corporations accountable! Look up your lawmakers here.

    *If you get an error message, please try closing and re-opening your browser or clearing the cache on your browser. To quickly clear cache, key Ctrl+F5 in Windows, or Cmd+Shift+R on a Mac.

    No corporation would be happier to see these bills passed than Monsanto, which is facing hundreds of lawsuits over its flagship product, Roundup herbicide.

    In 2015, the World Health Organization classified glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s top-selling Roundup herbicide, as a “probable” human carcinogen. 

    Since then, a California law firm has filed over 700 claims against Monsanto on behalf of people, or families of people, who developed (or died from) non-Hodgkin lymphoma after being exposed to Roundup. The claims led to the recent discovery of documents exposing evidence that some EPA officials may have colluded with Monsanto to suppress the science linking glyphosate to cancer.

    If Congress passes bills like H.R. 985, the type of lawsuits against Monsanto won’t be able to proceed through the courts—and Monsanto’s victims will likely never be able to hold Monsanto accountable.

    The Senate will soon consider these three bills, already passed by the House:

    H.R. 985- Rep. Peter Defazio (D-Ore.) describes the effect of this legislation this way: “Well, you would prohibit class actions and basically say anybody who’s been harmed by a product has a right to sue individually. Well, that means you’re going to finance your own case. Good luck finding a lawyer, unless you’re rich, so it would be a huge step back for consumer protections.” Learn more at Stop H.R.985. Find out how your Member of Congress voted here.

    H.R. 725- The Center for Justice & Democracy at New York Law School says, “H.R. 725 allows corporations to force state cases into federal court that have no business being there. This bill is nothing more than corporate forum-shopping legislation.  It bosses around and micromanages federal judges for absolutely no reason. It will add time, expense and enormous inconvenience to everyday people who bring cases in local courthouses, only to find themselves in federal court.” Find out how your Member of Congress voted here.

    H.R. 720- Again, according to our legal-eagle allies at CJD, “H.R. 720 would change federal rules to take power and authority away from judges. It would do so by removing all discretion currently provided to judges who are considering whether to sanction a frivolous claim or defense. … But this bill is not about frivolous lawsuits.  It is about stopping legitimate cases against companies that harm people.” Find out how your Member of Congress voted here.

    If these laws pass, Roundup-exposed cancer victims could be unfairly blocked from seeking justice—allowing companies like Monsanto to get away with murder.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell your Senators to protect consumers’ right to hold corporations accountable by voting NO on H.R. 985, H.R. 725 and H.R. 720.

    After you contact your Senators using this form, check the links above to see how your Representatives voted on these bills. If they voted against consumers, let them know you’re unhappy with their vote. Look up your lawmakers here.

  • Tell the USDA: Support Organic Farmers and Consumers Not Big Food. No ‘Organic Checkoff’ Program!

    Advertisements with slogans like “Incredible Edible Egg,” “Pork: The Other White Meat,” “Beef: It’s What’s for Dinner,” and “Got Milk?” promote industries (mostly Big Meat and Big Dairy), without ever mentioning a specific company or brand. Who pays for those ads?

    The money comes from Research & Promotion (R&P) programs, commonly referred to as checkoff programs. Set up under the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), checkoff programs require producers of agricultural commodities to contribute a percentage of sales to the program, which in turn provides research and promotion, including ads, to help expand the market for products like meat, milk and eggs.

    Now the USDA, with support from the Organic Trade Association (OTA), wants to establish a similar mandatory program specifically for organic producers.

    Good idea? The Big Food corporations that are buying up organic brands (and calling a lot of the shots at OTA), say yes. But small organic producers and family farmers say that an organic checkoff program will be bad for them, and bad for consumers.

    TAKE ACTION BY MIDNIGHT APRIL 19: Tell the USDA: Support organic farmers and consumers not Big Food. No ‘Organic Checkoff’ Program! Please sign our 'No Organic Checkoff' petition. Then add your own comments to tell the U.S. Department of Agriculture why you’re opposed to the organic checkoff tax. You can also text 'nocheckoff' to 97779 to sign.

    Federal checkoff programs have been great for the factory-farmed meat industry. But because the programs push the over-consumption of unhealthy animal products from polluting factory farms, they’ve been terrible for our health and our environment.

    To understand how the programs have also been bad for small farmers and producers, it helps to understand how the money collected under the program is controlled and distributed. Take the beef industry, for instance. According to a recent article by The New Food Economy, the beef checkoff is operated by the National Cattleman’s Beef Association (NCBA), a powerful lobbying group that counts the four largest meatpackers—JBS, Cargill, Tyson, and National Beef—among its product council members. As a parent organization, NCBA chooses 10 of the 20 members on the Beef Board Operating Committee, the group that determines the checkoff’s priorities.

    Bill Bullard, director of the Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund (R-CALF), a group that advocates on behalf of 4,500 independent cattle ranchers, told The New Food Economy:

    “Our members overwhelmingly believe that the checkoff program is corrupt and that the money is being misused—at the very least—to cross-subsidize a lobbying group that lobbies aggressively against the interests of importance to the domestic cattle industry. There is a growing level of discontent and dissatisfaction among the independent producers.”

    No Organic Checkoff, a coalition of over 27 not-for-profit organic farmer-member organizations and organic businesses, says misuse of the program by big producers has made small producers less competitive. According to the coalition, since the federal USDA mandatory beef checkoff was started in 1985, Missouri has lost 40 percent of its cattle producers.

    Could an organic checkoff be different? Not likely. In fact, it could even be worse, according to the No Organic Checkoff coalition. Here’s why:

    Organic checkoff wouldn’t be allowed to promote the ways organic is different from foods produced with pesticides and genetically modified organisms. Under U.S. Department of Agriculture rules, checkoffs may not disparage other agricultural commodities. This means that an organic checkoff could never say that organic food is safer, healthier, has superior animal welfare practices, or is better for the environment. Even a claim like, “Organic is the Gold Standard” would be disallowed, implying that other foods can’t meet the standard.

    Organic checkoff would force U.S. organic farmers to compete with more cheap imports - Increased organic sales won’t benefit U.S. family farmers if U.S. companies are buying imports at prices below the cost of U.S. production. U.S. organic farmers already suffered a huge drop in prices, when Turkey’s shipments of organic corn to the U.S. more than tripled and its exports of organic soybeans to the U.S. jumped nearly 800 percent.

    Organic checkoff will flood the market with fake “organic.” – Increased demand doesn’t mean increased quality. The cheap organic Turkish imports flooding the U.S. market were rejected by the European Union and Canada after an international oversight group suspended the accreditation one of Turkey’s largest organic certifying companies.

    Organic checkoff would put power and money in the hands of the biggest companies. – The group pushing for an organic checkoff is the Organic Trade Association, an organization that’s always been controlled by the largest food companies, including companies that own popular organic brands but sell mostly factory-farmed and genetically-engineered foods. We’ve had to fight OTA every step of the way on everything from whether synthetics should be allowed in organic to whether GMOs should be labeled. They say that it’s fair for the biggest companies to control the checkoff because they’re going to pay for it. (The mandatory assessment will only be paid by those with gross organic sales in excess of $250,000.) But, in reality, these big companies will get small farmers to pay for the cost of the program by continuing to cut farm gate prices.

    Your voice as an organic consumer in opposing the organic checkoff is critically important! Please sign the petition and add your own comment.

  • Dile a BIMBO: ¡Basta de Intoxicar Nuestros Panes!

    “El pan nuestro de cada día.”
    Grupo Bimbo logo

    Si ese pan es de Bimbo en cualquiera de sus versiones y todos los días comes chocorroles, cuernitos, madalenas o pingüinos, te aconsejo que lo pienses dos veces. Piénsalo una vez porque te estás alimentando mal, llenándote de harinas y de azúcar, de tóxicos y pesticidas y piénsalo una vez más, porque estás ayudando a que el suelo se cubra de tóxicos y a enfermar al planeta, además de tu cuerpo.

    ACTÚA AHORA: Pide a Daniel Servitje, Presidente del Consejo y Director General de Grupo Bimbo, que se comprometa a mejorar el planeta. Basta de pesticidas en nuestros alimentos.

    Greenpeace México ha emprendido una larga campaña para modificar las prácticas comerciales y de producción de Grupo Bimbo. Como bien han documentado en sus numerosos reportes, Grupo Bimbo es la principal panificadora del mundo y para producir sus más de 10 mil productos, la empresa se abastece de miles y miles de toneladas de insumos como almidones, edulcorantes, harinas, aceites, etc.

    Si bien Bimbo no produce estos insumos, se los compra a proveedores trasnacionales como Cargill, Ingredion, ALMEX, Bunge, y mexicanos como Maseca, quienes usan maíz y trigo, entre otros cultivos, producidos con plaguicidas y fertilizantes que intoxican los campos mexicanos, o importados de países donde se permite la siembra de transgénicos. 

    El mensaje de Greenpeace México es muy claro: Grupo Bimbo tiene un papel clave, ya que al cambiar su política de compras no sólo garantizará alimentos de mejor calidad para los hogares que los consumen, sino que además ayudará a que sus proveedores cambien también la forma en la que producen y abastecen a la industria alimentaria. En este sentido, es responsabilidad de Grupo Bimbo ofrecer productos de calidad desde su producción y hasta el consumo.

    Sabemos que Bimbo tiene la capacidad de cambiar sus prácticas y mejorar la salud de nuestro planeta y de los consumidores. Por eso, la Asociación de Consumidores Orgánicos, junto con Greenpeace México, Organic Consumers Association y Greenpeace Estados Unidos está trabajando para que Grupo Bimbo se comprometa a lo largo de su cadena de suministro y su producción, con métodos más transparentes y sanos.

    Es necesario que todas y todos actuemos, por eso, te invitamos a enviarle esta carta a Daniel Servitje, Presidente del Consejo y Director General de Grupo Bimbo. Súmate a los cientos de personas que están haciendo lo mismo en Estados Unidos y México: mejorando el planeta.

    ACTÚA AHORA: Pide a Daniel Servitje, Presidente del Consejo y Director General de Grupo Bimbo, que se comprometa a cuidar  el planeta. Es necesario que Grupo Bimbo lidere el cambio y termine con el uso de pesticidas en las cadenas de suministro alimenticio en el mundo. Completa este formulario y mándale un mensaje al Sr. Servitje. 

  • Tell Your Senators: Protect Consumers’ Right to Hold Corporations Accountable

    red stop lightThe U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a suite of bills that would make it harder for ordinary people to take corporations like Monsanto to court—even if a company’s product is proven to cause serious injury or illness.

    The bills—three of them—will soon head to the Senate.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell your Senators to protect consumers’ right to hold corporations accountable by voting NO on H.R. 985, H.R. 725 and H.R. 720.

    After you use this form to contact your Senators, check the links below to find out how your Representatives voted. If they voted against consumers, call or email them. Tell them consumers should have the right to hold corporations accountable! Look up your lawmakers here.

    *If you get an error message, please try closing and re-opening your browser or clearing the cache on your browser. To quickly clear cache, key Ctrl+F5 in Windows, or Cmd+Shift+R on a Mac.

    No corporation would be happier to see these bills passed than Monsanto, which is facing hundreds of lawsuits over its flagship product, Roundup herbicide.

    In 2015, the World Health Organization classified glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s top-selling Roundup herbicide, as a “probable” human carcinogen. 

    Since then, a California law firm has filed over 700 claims against Monsanto on behalf of people, or families of people, who developed (or died from) non-Hodgkin lymphoma after being exposed to Roundup. The claims led to the recent discovery of documents exposing evidence that some EPA officials may have colluded with Monsanto to suppress the science linking glyphosate to cancer.

    If Congress passes bills like H.R. 985, the type of lawsuits against Monsanto won’t be able to proceed through the courts—and Monsanto’s victims will likely never be able to hold Monsanto accountable.

    The Senate will soon consider these three bills, already passed by the House:

    H.R. 985- Rep. Peter Defazio (D-Ore.) describes the effect of this legislation this way: “Well, you would prohibit class actions and basically say anybody who’s been harmed by a product has a right to sue individually. Well, that means you’re going to finance your own case. Good luck finding a lawyer, unless you’re rich, so it would be a huge step back for consumer protections.” Learn more at Stop H.R.985. Find out how your Member of Congress voted here.

    H.R. 725- The Center for Justice & Democracy at New York Law School says, “H.R. 725 allows corporations to force state cases into federal court that have no business being there. This bill is nothing more than corporate forum-shopping legislation.  It bosses around and micromanages federal judges for absolutely no reason. It will add time, expense and enormous inconvenience to everyday people who bring cases in local courthouses, only to find themselves in federal court.” Find out how your Member of Congress voted here.

    H.R. 720- Again, according to our legal-eagle allies at CJD, “H.R. 720 would change federal rules to take power and authority away from judges. It would do so by removing all discretion currently provided to judges who are considering whether to sanction a frivolous claim or defense. … But this bill is not about frivolous lawsuits.  It is about stopping legitimate cases against companies that harm people.” Find out how your Member of Congress voted here.

    If these laws pass, Roundup-exposed cancer victims could be unfairly blocked from seeking justice—allowing companies like Monsanto to get away with murder.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell your Senators to protect consumers’ right to hold corporations accountable by voting NO on H.R. 985, H.R. 725 and H.R. 720.

    After you contact your Senators using this form, check the links above to see how your Representatives voted on these bills. If they voted against consumers, let them know you’re unhappy with their vote. Look up your lawmakers here.

  • TEXAS: Tell Your State Reps and Senators to Protect Local Control of Seeds and Chemicals!

    bee flower 1000x523UPDATE: House hearing on HB 2758 scheduled for TODAY! Please take action!

    The right of your local government to regulate genetically engineered seeds, seeds coated in bee-killing pesticides and crop chemicals, is under attack in the Lone Star State—and we need your help!

    TAKE ACTION: Tell your state representatives and senators to protect the right of local governments to regulate GE seeds and harmful crop chemicals by opposing SB 1172 and HB 2758. Fill in the form on this page to send them an email, then click here to locate your state legislators or dial (512) 463-4630 for the Texas Capitol Switchboard to call.

    Companion bills, SB 1172 and HB 2758, if passed, would block local governments in Texas from regulating any seed “in any manner, including planting seed or cultivating plants grown from seed.”

    SB 1172 and HB 2758 would prevent cities and counties in Texas from:

    •    Regulating seeds coated in bee-killing pesticides, such as neonicotinoids
    •    Protecting farmers from having their crops damaged by GMOs and herbicide drift
    •    Regulating when and where crop chemicals are sprayed (making it more difficult to shield school children and others vulnerable to the harm caused by crop chemicals)
    •    Addressing citizen concerns regarding crop cultivation

    View SB 1172 and HB 2758 here.

    Protecting local government’s authority to regulate seeds, crop chemicals

    The authority local governments have to regulate agriculture seeds and chemicals that may be harmful to human health and the environment is crucial yet is being threatened around the nation. More than 40 U.S. states have passed some form of state law that preempts governments’ ability to regulate pesticides, according to Beyond Pesticides:

    “State preemption laws effectively deny local residents and decision makers their democratic right to better protection when a community decides that minimum standards set by state and federal law are insufficient.”

    SB 1172 and HB 2758, if passed, would eliminate this authority in regards to seeds and crop chemicals.

    TAKE ACTION: Call or email your State Representative and Senator and tell them to oppose SB 1172 and HB 2758! Fill in the form on this page to send them an email, then click here to locate your state legislators or dial (512) 463-4630 for the Texas Capitol Switchboard to call.

  • Demand Congress Investigate Collusion Between Monsanto and the EPA!

    The New York Times reported Tuesday (March 14) that a former high-level EPA official collaborated with Monsanto to bury the truth about Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller.

    According to the Times, and other news outlets, Monsanto and the EPA official may have conducted a cover-up in order to protect Monsanto’s billion-dollar flagship product from being taken off the market.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress: Investigate the collusion between Monsanto and the EPA to bury the truth about Roundup. And in the meantime, ban sales of Roundup until we know the truth!

    And don't forget to tweet them!

    According to recently unsealed court documents, former EPA official Jess Rowland conspired with Monsanto to ghostwrite toxicology reports that were to be used by government regulators to determine the safety of Roundup.

    And then he bragged about it: “If I can kill this [investigation] I should get a medal,” Rowland reportedly told a Monsanto executive, who relayed his comments in an email.

    Rowland oversaw an EPA’s cancer assessment for glyphosate, the key ingredient in Roundup. He was also a key author of a report finding glyphosate was not likely to be carcinogenic.

    Rowland colluded with Monsanto, even though another former EPA official—a 30-year career EPA scientist—warned Rowland that he was putting the public at risk.

    In her 2013 letter to Rowland, the dying Marion Copley (now deceased) accused Rowland of playing “your political conniving games with science” to favor pesticide-makers like Monsanto. In her letter, Copley, a toxicologist, wrote: “It is essentially certain that glyphosate causes cancer.”

    Copley’s letter, and the newly unsealed court documents, have come to light as a result of a lawsuit against Monsanto, filed in California by people, or the families of people, diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma after being exposed to glyphosate.

    For decades, the evidence has been mounting that Roundup causes cancer. Yet even after a panel of 17 scientists with the World Health Organization unanimously agreed that Roundup is a “probably carcinogenic,” Monsanto has refused to acknowledge the evidence. Instead, the company continues to profit from sales of a product—a product sold both commercially and in retail stores—that is linked to cancer.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress: Investigate the collusion between Monsanto and the EPA to bury the truth about Roundup. And in the meantime, ban sales of Roundup until we know the truth!

  • Demand Congress Investigate Collusion Between Monsanto and the EPA!

    The New York Times reported Tuesday (March 14) that a former high-level EPA official collaborated with Monsanto to bury the truth about Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller.

    According to the Times, and other news outlets, Monsanto and the EPA official may have conducted a cover-up in order to protect Monsanto’s billion-dollar flagship product from being taken off the market.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress: Investigate the collusion between Monsanto and the EPA to bury the truth about Roundup. And in the meantime, ban sales of Roundup until we know the truth!

    And don't forget to tweet them!

    According to recently unsealed court documents, former EPA official Jess Rowland conspired with Monsanto to ghostwrite toxicology reports that were to be used by government regulators to determine the safety of Roundup.

    And then he bragged about it: “If I can kill this [investigation] I should get a medal,” Rowland reportedly told a Monsanto executive, who relayed his comments in an email.

    Rowland oversaw an EPA’s cancer assessment for glyphosate, the key ingredient in Roundup. He was also a key author of a report finding glyphosate was not likely to be carcinogenic.

    Rowland colluded with Monsanto, even though another former EPA official—a 30-year career EPA scientist—warned Rowland that he was putting the public at risk.

    In her 2013 letter to Rowland, the dying Marion Copley (now deceased) accused Rowland of playing “your political conniving games with science” to favor pesticide-makers like Monsanto. In her letter, Copley, a toxicologist, wrote: “It is essentially certain that glyphosate causes cancer.”

    Copley’s letter, and the newly unsealed court documents, have come to light as a result of a lawsuit against Monsanto, filed in California by people, or the families of people, diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma after being exposed to glyphosate.

    For decades, the evidence has been mounting that Roundup causes cancer. Yet even after a panel of 17 scientists with the World Health Organization unanimously agreed that Roundup is a “probable carcinogenic,” Monsanto has refused to acknowledge the evidence. Instead, the company continues to profit from sales of a product—a product sold both commercially and in retail stores—that is linked to cancer.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress: Investigate the collusion between Monsanto and the EPA to bury the truth about Roundup. And in the meantime, ban sales of Roundup until we know the truth!

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  • ACO Blind Targeted TEST

    Si ese pan es de Bimbo en cualquiera de sus versiones y todos los días comes chocorroles, cuernitos, madalenas o pingüinos, te aconsejo que lo pienses dos veces. Piénsalo una vez porque te estás alimentando mal, llenándote de harinas y de azúcar, de tóxicos y pesticidas y piénsalo una vez más, porque estás ayudando a que el suelo se cubra de tóxicos y a enfermar al planeta, además de tu cuerpo.

    ACTÚA AHORA: Pide a Daniel Servitje, Presidente del Consejo y Director General de Grupo Bimbo, que se comprometa a mejorar el planeta. Basta de pesticidas en nuestros alimentos.

    Greenpeace México ha emprendido una larga campaña para modificar las prácticas comerciales y de producción de Grupo Bimbo. Como bien han documentado en sus numerosos reportes, Grupo Bimbo es la principal panificadora del mundo y para producir sus más de 10 mil productos, la empresa se abastece de miles y miles de toneladas de insumos como almidones, edulcorantes, harinas, aceites, etc.

    Si bien Bimbo no produce estos insumos, se los compra a proveedores trasnacionales como Cargill, Ingredion, ALMEX, Bunge, y mexicanos como Maseca, quienes usan maíz y trigo, entre otros cultivos, producidos con plaguicidas y fertilizantes que intoxican los campos mexicanos, o importados de países donde se permite la siembra de transgénicos. 

    El mensaje de Greenpeace México es muy claro: Grupo Bimbo tiene un papel clave, ya que al cambiar su política de compras no sólo garantizará alimentos de mejor calidad para los hogares que los consumen, sino que además ayudará a que sus proveedores cambien también la forma en la que producen y abastecen a la industria alimentaria. En este sentido, es responsabilidad de Grupo Bimbo ofrecer productos de calidad desde su producción y hasta el consumo.

    Sabemos que Bimbo tiene la capacidad de cambiar sus prácticas y mejorar la salud de nuestro planeta y de los consumidores. Por eso, la Asociación de Consumidores Orgánicos, junto con Greenpeace México, Organic Consumers Association y Greenpeace Estados Unidos está trabajando para que Grupo Bimbo se comprometa a lo largo de su cadena de suministro y su producción, con métodos más transparentes y sanos.

    Es necesario que todas y todos actuemos, por eso, te invitamos a enviarle esta carta a Daniel Servitje, Presidente del Consejo y Director General de Grupo Bimbo. Súmate a los cientos de personas que están haciendo lo mismo en Estados Unidos y México: mejorando el planeta.

    ACTÚA AHORA: Pide a Daniel Servitje, Presidente del Consejo y Director General de Grupo Bimbo, que se comprometa a cuidar  el planeta. Es necesario que Grupo Bimbo lidere el cambio y termine con el uso de pesticidas en las cadenas de suministro alimenticio en el mundo. Completa este formulario y mándale un mensaje al Sr. Servitje. 

  • MINNESOTA: Tell Your State Lawmakers to Support Pollinator Protection Bills!

    honey beesBees are still dying off at alarming rates, but Minnesota is taking bold steps to protect pollinators. Two bills have been introduced to address the problem of bee-harmful pesticides head on.

    TAKE ACTION: Call and email your state legislators and tell them to support pollinator protection bills!

    HF 1717/SF 1674 would create a “treated seed program” that would give Minnesota the authority to regulate and track pesticide-treated seed in the same way that it regulates and tracks other pesticide applications.  Pesticide seed coatings are the most common use of neonicotinoid pesticides, particularly on common crops like soy and corn. But thanks to a loophole in federal and state policy, seed coatings aren’t currently counted as a “pesticide application.” 

    HF 895/SF 780 would create a “pollinator account” to fund research and farmer-focused outreach and education — to make it easier for farmers to manage pests without using any, or at least as many, bee-harming neonicotinoid pesticides.

    Not only do bees pollinate one in three bites of our food in the U.S., but they are critical to Minnesota’s agricultural economy. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, bees contribute over $30 million to Minnesota’s agricultural economy by pollinating key crops and producing honey.

    Why are pollinator populations continuing to decline? Scientists agree that habitat loss, poor nutrition and disease all play a role in this troubling trend—and widespread use of bee-harming neonicotinoid pesticides is a key part of the problem. 

    These bills are headed to committee hearings on Thursday. Your legislators need to hear from you today!

  • MINNESOTA: Take Action Today to Protect Local Democratic Control!

    colorful crowd of peopleCorporate lobbyists are working hard to weaken local control in our Minnesota communities.

    Last week, the Minnesota House passed a bill, HF 330, that would limit the ability of cities to enact interim ordinances to protect their communities from unanticipated and potentially harmful corporate development proposals.

    The Senate is expected to vote on SF 201, the senate companion to HF 300, this week.

    TAKE ACTION: Call and email your state senators today! Tell them to vote NO on SF 201!

    SF 201 would weaken the ability of cities to enact an interim ordinance. The interim ordinance quickly puts a temporary moratorium on major development and gives the community time to review or create the appropriate zoning ordinances.

    Interim ordinances are often used as an emergency power if a community is caught off-guard by unanticipated and potentially harmful development proposals, especially those from outside corporate interests. Communities have used this power to stop factory farms and frac sand mines.

    HF 330, the companion bill to SF 201, was passed by the Minnesota House last week. But we have a real chance to stop this bill in the Senate.

    Already, legislators were forced to pare back the bill—it no longer applies to townships. But SF 201 does still apply to cities, and it does still require a two-thirds supermajority to pass an interim ordinance in some situations. Currently, interim ordinances only require a simple majority—that’s how democratic rights should work.

    There are over 850 cities in Minnesota. Most of them are small and rural. This bill would apply to 850 cities, making it much more difficult for local elected officials to protect their communities from corporate developers.

    TAKE ACTION: Call and email your state senator today! Tell them to vote NO on SF 201!

  • ACT BY MIDNIGHT MARCH 9: Tell the USDA What You want Food & Farming to Look Like in 50 Years

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) wants to know what your vision is for the U.S. food and farming system over the next 50 years.

    TAKE ACTION BY MIDNIGHT MARCH 9: Please sign the petition telling the USDA you want a regenerative food and farming system.

    On March 2, the Organic Consumers Association presented testimony at the USDA’s “listening session” on the “Visioning of U.S. Agriculture Systems for Sustainable Production.” Now it’s your turn—the USDA has asked for public comments on what a “sustainable” food and farming system should look like.

    Congress defined sustainable agriculture in the 1990 Farm Bill as:

    An integrated system of plant and animal production practices having a site-specific application that will, over the long term:

    •    Satisfy human food and fiber needs;
    •    Enhance environmental quality and the natural resource base upon which the agricultural economy depends;
    •    Make the most efficient use of nonrenewable resources and on-farm resources and integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and controls;
    •    Sustain the economic viability of farm operations; and
    •    Enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole.

    By this definition, U.S. agriculture is a long way from being sustainable.

    To begin with, current U.S. production isn’t meeting our needs. We don’t even grow enough vegetables for every American to have the USDA-recommended daily allowance. It’s no wonder Americans are so unhealthy.

    Moreover, U.S. agriculture isn’t “enhancing”—or even making “the most efficient use of”—“the natural resource base upon which the agricultural economy depends.” The soil of U.S. cropland is swept and washed away 10 times faster than it is replenished. This costs us $37.6 billion every year.

    We can do better. That’s why OCA has created this petition, asking the USDA to shift to a diverse, resilient, adaptive and regenerative food system that works with nature, not against it.

    TAKE ACTION BY MIDNIGHT MARCH 9: Please sign the petition telling the USDA you want a regenerative food and farming system. 

  • Tell Attorney General Sessions: Protect U.S. Farmers and Consumers. Say ‘NO’ to Big Biotech Mergers!

    No Signs 1000x523In an August 16, 2016, memo, then-candidate Donald Trump’s agricultural advisory committee promised to “strengthen our nation’s agricultural industry as well as provide support to our rural communities.”

    Yet, just recently newly elected President Trump signaled a thumbs up for the proposed mergers of two of the largest (and worst) agrochemical companies in the world—Monsanto and Bayer.

    If the U.S. Department of Justice approves the Monsanto-Bayer merger, and also approves mergers between Dow Chemical and DuPont, and Syngenta and ChemChina, U.S. farmers, consumers and rural communities will suffer devastating consequences.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Attorney General Jeff Sessions: Protect U.S. Farmers and Consumers. Just Say ‘NO’ to Big Biotech Mergers! Fill in the form on this page to send your message.

    A February 13, 2017, letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, signed by nearly 325 farming, beekeeping, farmworker, religious, food safety, and conservation advocacy groups, (including OCA) stated that the mergers of Dow Chemical with DuPont, Monsanto with Bayer AG and Syngenta with ChemChina “are each problematic on their own, with many likely negative impacts on farmers, businesses, workers, and consumers."

    The letter goes on to say:

    Taken together, these mergers pose significant potential threats to U.S. security interests. If allowed to pass, they could undermine food security in the United States and worldwide; disrupt trade flows; and accelerate the international consolidation of the food and agribusiness industries to the detriment of American farmers, rural communities and consumers. Further, the mergers would eliminate head-to-head competition in agricultural biotechnology innovation, crop seed and chemical markets and reduce opportunities for pro-competitive research and development (R&D) collaborations

    That doesn’t sound like protection for U.S. farmers and rural communities—nor for the majority of consumers who are skeptical of GMO foods, and who overwhelmingly disapprove of the use of chemicals like glyphosate and 2,4-D on food crops.

    In a recent article about the Monsanto-Bayer merger, Michael Colby and Will Allen point out that while mergers in the agribusiness industry are “nothing new,” this latest round of proposed mega-mergers, all of which surfaced in 2016, “shattered the record for such deals.”

    There were $125 billion worth of proposed agri-chemical mergers in 2016, nearly double the previous record of $65 billion in 2010, according to Colby and Allen.

    This intense consolidation of the industrial agricultural sector, where only a few corporations control everything from seeds to fertilizers to pesticides, not to mention all the research and development that it also monopolizes, has been devastating to the U.S. farmer. Fewer choices for farmers has meant dramatically fewer farmers, squeezed out by the crushing duality of high-priced inputs and increasingly lower prices paid for farm goods, particularly commodities like dairy, corn, cotton, wheat and soybeans.

    In addition to outlining the nefarious histories of Monsanto and Bayer in “Monsanto and Bayer's Chemical Romance: Heroin, Nerve Gas and Agent Orange,” Colby and Allen also point out that 50 years ago, in a less lenient regulatory climate, Monsanto and Bayer (which once operated as one under the name Mobay) were forced to separate in order to avoid violating basic antitrust regulations.

    But that was then.

    The Trump administration, in its unabashed disdain for all things regulatory, has made it clear that corporate profits—not public safety—are top priority. In fact, when he signed his executive order to roll back critical environmental protections, Trump ceremoniously handed off the pen to Andrew Liveris—CEO of Dow Chemical. (In another sign of mutual admiration, Trump recently appointed Liveris head of the American Manufacturing Council).

    Instead of handing over more power to agribusiness corporations whose sole raison d'être is to sell massive quantities of poisons, the U.S. Justice Department should stand up for farmers and consumers, not chemical companies. The future of agriculture—American and international—lies in working with nature, not against it, and in providing support for local, independent farmers who employ regenerative practices that produce abundant, nutrient-dense, chemical-free food and strengthen local economies and communities.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Attorney General Jeff Sessions: Protect U.S. Farmers and Consumers. Say ‘NO’ to Big Biotech Mergers! Fill in the form on this page to send your message.

  • Test Support Subsidy for Natural Fibers - Steve

    This is to autoforward to the CQRC engagement

  • #ConsumerRevolution Pledge

    shopping cart in backgroundConsumers have wised up to the evils of GMO foods. But Monsanto’s GMOs aren’t just in our foods. Only about 20 percent of all GMO crops in the U.S. are used to make (junk) food for humans—the other 80 percent go into animal feed, ethanol and cotton. Globally, the overwhelming majority of all cotton, much of it used to make cheap clothes, is GMO.

    By exercising our collective purchasing power, and using the power of boycotts, consumers can force corporations to transition from degenerative production methods that harm human health, degrade soils, pollute the environment, abuse animals, shift profits from small farmers to large corporations, destroy biodiversity, exploit “cheap labor” and promote global warming . . . to regenerative production methods that:

    • improve human health
    • restore soil health
    • respect the environment
    • treat animals humanely
    • reward responsible farmers
    • promote biodiversity
    • treat/pay food and clothing workers fairly; and
    • combat global warming.

    Want to be part of the #ConsumerRevolution? Sign the pledge!

    1.    Food: I pledge to buy food produced using organic/regenerative practices that prohibit the use of GMOs, pesticides or antibiotics, and restore soil organic matter. I will boycott brands that promote highly processed GMO junk foods, and brands that sell animal products, including dairy, produced on factory farms where animals are fed GMO corn, soy and cottonseed, and pumped full of antibiotics and growth hormones.

    2.    Clothing: I pledge to change my clothes-buying habits by buying less not more; by seeking out clothing, fiber and textiles produced using regenerative, organic, natural and fair labor practices, especially those produced by small farmers and producers; by avoiding synthetic fabrics which pollute the ocean, marine life and the food chain; and by shopping at recycled clothing stores when possible. I will boycott stores that support Monsanto’s GMO cotton monocropping and promote a culture of “cheap, fast fashion” made in sweatshops.

    3.    Fuel/Transportation: I pledge to walk more, bicycle, carpool and use more public transportation in an effort to reduce the amount of Monsanto’s GMO ethanol fuel I consume. I will check out this website to find out if there are any ethanol-free gas stations near me: http://www.pure-gas.org/.

    4.    Consumer activism: I pledge to support consumer marketplace pressure campaigns, by joining in boycotts, emailing/writing company executives, posting on company social media pages, and just generally harassing companies whose practices poison, pollute and persecute (workers and animals). I will periodically check out this webpage for updates on key #ConsumerRevolution campaigns: https://www.organicconsumers.org/consumerrevolution.

  • OKLAHOMA: Tell Your Legislators to Oppose Mandatory Vaccine Bill!

    vaccine kid 1000x523Vaccines carry a risk, and therefore should be a choice. Even the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services admits that vaccines, like any medicines, can cause serious side effects.

    But Oklahoma Senator Ervin Yen doesn’t believe in vaccine choice. For the third time, Yen has proposed a bill that would force parents to vaccinate their children.

    TAKE ACTION: Fill in the form on this page and tell your state senator to oppose Oklahoma’s vaccine bill SB83!


    SB83 would prevent children from attending school unless they complied with the government’s controversial vaccine schedule or received confirmation from a doctor that an existing medical condition could increase a child’s risk for vaccine injury.

    If SB83 were to pass, it would “fundamentally change and destroy the constitutional relationship between government and citizens,” warns the Natural Health Freedom Coalition, which promotes the freedom of individuals to make their own health care choices.

    “Protection of our bodily integrity and personal and domestic sovereignty has been an American guarantee and protected by the ‘law of the land’ for decades. We will lose the essence of American liberty if government can coerce citizens into forced medical treatments!”

    Contact your state representative TODAY and urge him or her to vote against SB83!

    To view the bill and its status, click here.

  • Ask State Representatives to Support Health Freedom Bill that Protects Access to Healing Practitioners!

    Did you know that 40 percent of Americans use some form of alternative medicine? These services are provided by herbalists, homeopaths and acupuncturists, just to name a few.

    Connecticut lawmakers are considering a bill, HB 5759, which would protect your right to access thousands of traditional, complementary and alternative care practitioners in Connecticut.

    TAKE ACTION: Fill in the form on this page to tell your state representatives to protect your right to access the healthcare of your choice by passing HB 5759!

    HB 5759 would provide an exemption to protect non-invasive alternative healthcare practitioners from being charged with practicing without a license as long as they avoid any of the prohibited conduct listed in the bill, and as long as they provide proper disclosures. 

    Safe harbor exemption laws are a great common-sense way of addressing the thousands of healers and practitioners and the many businesses providing services in the public domain, explains the National Health Freedom Coalition, which promotes access to all health care information and the freedom of individuals to make their own health care choices.

    So far, 10 U.S. states have safe harbor exemption laws, including Minnesota, Rhode Island, California, Louisiana, Idaho, Oklahoma, Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado. Arizona has a safe harbor for homeopaths. About 20 more states have introduced similar legislation.

    To view the entire bill, click here.

  • Sign Up to Host a #Resist and #Regenerate Meetup!

    If you’re ready to host a #Resist and #Regenerate Meetup in your community, we’re here to help. Please sign up so we can send you tips and resources.

    We urgently need to resist the Trump Administration’s attacks on our health, our environment and our democracy.

    But resistance alone, without solutions, isn’t enough.

    That’s why we're asking you to reach out to your fellow resisters with this message: We can, and must, #resist and #regenerate!

    We firmly believe that if we step out of our single-issue organizing mode, if we reach out to people in all regions of the country, from all socioeconomic and political backgrounds . . . if we start connecting the dots and working together, we can regenerate our soils, our food and farming system, our local and state economies, our health and our democracy.

    We're asking you to form local political action teams to identify and elect new local and state officials who will support our #PoliticalRevolution platform and join our national campaigns to help spread the #ConsumerRevolution. We're also asking you to form action teams to identify and work on local projects promoting the Regeneration Revolution.

    We've teamed up with Meetup.com to help spread this movement far and wide and we've got regional coordinators assigned across the country to help you get started.

    To get started, all you need to do is set up an account on Meetup.com (it's free). Sign up here and we'll send you instructions and resources to help you launch the Regeneration Revolution in your community!

    Listen to OCA's national town hall organizing call held on February 16, 2017 here.

  • Pruitt/Pudzer alert
  • Tell These Grocery Stores: No GMO Apples, Please!

    GMO apple 1000x523The GMO Arctic Apple is headed to grocery stores for a trial run. (They’re being tested in the Midwest—if you’re a Midwesterner, please read this). The apples will supposedly bear a label identifying the brand (Arctic). But they won't have a label that says "GMO." You can thank Congress and its DARK Act, for that.

    Who stands to benefit from the GMO apple? Not consumers like you. Definitely not apple growers, who have been opposing this apple all along. The only benefits will go to Intrexon, the synthetic biology company that owns the GMO salmon, the GMO mosquito and the GMO apple.

    You can still disrupt the market for these apples and keep them off our plates and out of our environment. But we need you to act now during this trial run in grocery stores.

    Please sign the petition: Tell grocery stores to commit to keeping GMO apples off their shelves. We'll deliver the petition to the CEOs of Costco, Albertsons, Safeway, Target and Walmart.

    The first GMO apple, known as the “Arctic Apple ®,” is genetically engineered to not turn brown when cut. But there are natural ways to achieve the same result. For instance, browning can be prevented with lemon juice or another source of vitamin C.

    The GMO Arctic Apple is completely unnecessary.  And the risks aren’t worth it. The apples may look deceptively fresh when they are not. Farmers growing the Arctic Apple may have to increase their pesticide use—and conventional apples already have some of the highest levels of toxic pesticide residues of any fruit. 

    What’s more, the GMO apple uses an experimental, unregulated technique called RNA interference. Many scientists are concerned that this process may have negative unintended impacts on human health and the environment. We do not need more risky technologies in our food system!

    Thanks to consumers who have already spoken out, some of the biggest purchasers of apples—McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Gerber—have committed not to sell GMO apples. Intrexon, the company that makes the apples, is desperate to find companies to buy them. So it’s hoping grocery stores will carry them.

    Please sign the petition: Tell grocery stores to commit to keeping GMO apples off their shelves.

    Intrexon knows consumers don’t want to eat its GMO apples. So it’s trying to hide which stores it’s releasing them in. And it’s not labeling them. Now that the GMO apples are sneaking into grocery stores, we need to send a strong signal to the market.

    Thank you!

  • IDAHO: Tell State Representatives to Protect Your Health Freedom!

    salad nutritionWe’re reaching out to you today because the state of Idaho is proposing an anti-consumer choice bill that would place restrictions on nutritionists who aren’t also registered dietitians.

    Restrictions in the bill would infringe on health freedom and the right to practice individualized nutrition counseling.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Your State Representative To Vote No on H. 45! Fill in the form on this page to send a message to your Representative.


    H. 45 would amend the state licensing law for registered dietitians in Idaho. If passed, the bill will make it nearly impossible for unregistered dietitians to become licensed in the state. It would also prevent other nutrition professionals from offering services they currently provide.

    Unregistered dietitians and nutritionists would no longer be allowed to provide the following services if H. 45 passes as written:

    * Medical nutrition services (also known as medical nutrition)
    * Therapeutic nutrition care
    * Nutritional assessments
    * Nutritional therapy counseling

    These fundamental nutrition care services should not be stripped away from professionally trained nutritionists.

    The bill was returned to the Health and Welfare Committee on Monday, Feb. 6, and is now awaiting action by the full Idaho House.

    We need your help to ensure that either H. 45 is amended to strike the section that removes these services from the practice of nutritionists; or the bill is not passed at all.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Your State Representative To Vote No on H. 45! 

    To view the entire bill click here.

  • PTC - test action for TAF page

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  • It’s Time to Make Popcorn It’s Own Official Food Group!

    PopcornWith all of the attention that President-elect Trump has been getting, we think it’s time to refocus our his agenda on some of the issues that really matter. Like making popcorn its own official food group.

    Here at the OCA, we’ve discovered all sorts of delicious ways to enjoy this yummy organic treat. And we don’t think it deserves to be called just a “snack” any longer.

    TAKE ACTION: Sign the petition to President-Elect Trump! Tell him to make popcorn an official food group!

    We all know that popcorn goes great with the movies. But did you know it can also be a vehicle for all of your daily nutritional needs? 

    Get your vitamins and minerals by sprinkling on some nutritional yeast, a little dried seaweed powder or tasty herbs like dried basil or oregano. Add some raw grass-fed butter for your omega-3’s. The popcorn itself adds some fiber and you can even throw in some seeds or nuts for added protein!

    Looking for filling, tasty snack that would grow your waistline? Try some plain popcorn with Himalayan sea salt and black pepper. 

    Have a sweet tooth? Add a little maple syrup to your butter. 

    Don’t know what to make for supper? How about a big bowl of popcorn and apple slices!

    For these reasons and many more, we believe that the time is long overdue to make popcorn its own food group. 

    Sign the petition to President-Elect Trump! Tell him to make popcorn its own food group when he takes office in January!

  • It’s Time to Make Popcorn It’s Own Official Food Group!

    With all of the attention that President-elect Trump has been getting, we think it’s time to refocus our his agenda on some of the issues that really matter. Like making popcorn its own official food group.

    Here at the OCA, we’ve discovered all sorts of delicious ways to enjoy this yummy organic treat. And we don’t think it deserves to be called just a “snack” any longer.

    TAKE ACTION: Sign the petition to President-Elect Trump! Tell him to make popcorn an official food group!

     We all know that popcorn goes great with the movies. But did you know it can also be a vehicle for all of your daily nutritional needs? 

    Get your vitamins and minerals by sprinkling on some nutritional yeast, a little dried seaweed powder or tasty herbs like dried basil or oregano. Add some raw grass-fed butter for your omega-3’s. The popcorn itself adds some fiber and you can even throw in some seeds or nuts for added protein!

    Looking for filling, tasty snack that would grow your waistline? Try some plain popcorn with Himalayan sea salt and black pepper. 

    Have a sweet tooth? Add a little maple syrup to your butter. 

    Don’t know what to make for supper? How about a big bowl of popcorn and apple slices!

    For these reasons and many more, we believe that the time is long overdue to make popcorn its own food group. 

    Sign the petition to President-Elect Trump! Tell him to make popcorn its own food group when he takes office in January!

     

  • It’s Time to Make Popcorn It’s Own Official Food Group!
  • WISCONSIN: Tell Gov. Walker and DNR - Climate Change is Real!

    While leading scientists are warning us that the climate is heating up so fast it could be “game over,” the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WI DNR) has quietly removed from its website references to climate change science.

    Tell Gov. Walker and the Wis. DNR: There’s no debate! Climate change science is legit! Fill in the form on this page to send your message.

    Then follow up your message with phone calls, post on their Facebook pages and share this tweet:

    TAKE ACTION! WISCONSIN: Tell @GovWalker and @WDNR - There's no debate! Climate change is Real! #ClimateChange #RegenerativeAg

    Gov. Scott Walker: 608-266-1212, Facebook page; James Dick (WI DNR): 608-267-2773, Facebook page

    Until last month, a DNR webpage titled “Climate Change and Wisconsin’s Great Lakes,” named an increase in greenhouse gases due to human activity as the cause of climate change.

    Now the same webpage titled “The Great Lakes and a changing world,” claims that the reasons for and effects of, climate change are “being debated.”

    Is this move by Gov. Walker and the WI DNR  a template for what’s to come under president-elect Trump’s administration?

    It’s not hard to imagine. Trump has said he will pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Treaty. And he’s nominated a slew of fossil-fuel-friendly candidates for cabinet positions.

    We know that our energy- and chemical-intensive factory farming systems are literally cooking the planet. And now leading scientists say that may be happening faster than we thought.

    The good news is that we’ve got shovel-ready regenerative farming solutions that can draw down carbon and sequester it in our soils and forests. But these solutions will only work if we can get the public and our elected officials to read the science and join the movement.

  • Please ask your representative to take our survey
  • MASSACHUSETTS: Tell Gov. Baker It’s Time to License Naturopathic Doctors!

    Massachusetts is one of only two New England states where a Naturopathic Doctor (ND) cannot get a license to practice. That means that if you want to visit an ND, confident that he or she has gone through a proper licensing program, you have to cross state lines.

    That could change—but only if Gov. Charlie Baker supports S2335, a bill that would regulate NDs in Massachusetts.

    TAKE ACTION by January 14: Call Gov. Baker at (617) 725-4005 and ask him to support S2335 to regulate Naturopathic Doctors in Massachusetts and make naturopathic care accessible for all Massachusetts residents. Then fill in the form on this page to send him an email.

    Tweet him directly @MassGovernor and urge him to pass S2335 so naturopaths may finally be licensed Massachusetts.

    As the Boston Globe reports

    Naturopathic doctors have been at the forefront of the evolution of integrative medicine. In the last 30 years, the profession has grown from one that included just a few hundred practitioners who were licensed in six states, and a single naturopathic medical school. There are now eight naturopathic medical schools recognized by the federal Department of Education and approximately 6,000 licensed practitioners in 21 US jurisdictions.

    All New England states, with the exception of Rhode Island and Massachusetts, have licensed NDs for more than two decades. For example, Vermont has licensed NDs since 1995, allowing the practitioners to play a legitimate role in natural health community.

    Advocates for naturopathic medicine, including the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges, the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians and the Massachusetts Society of Naturopathic Doctors, have fought for decades to achieve licensing in the state.

    As they have done in the past, the medical establishment is fighting tooth and nail to keep licensing for NDs at bay, which is why we need your help!

    Gov. Baker is expected to issue a decision by January 14, 2017, so act now before time runs out! 

    TAKE ACTION by January 14: Call (617) 725-4005 and email Gov. Baker and ask him to support S2335 to regulate Naturopathic Doctors in Massachusetts and make naturopathic care accessible for all Massachusetts residents.

    Take further action by spreading this message to your colleagues, patients and friends, as well as on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Time is short. We must ensure that Gov. Baker signs this bill into law.

    More information from the Association of Naturopathic Physicians here.

  • ARIZONA: Help Tucson Stop Monsanto's Back-Room Deal!

    Time is running out to stop Monsanto's back-room deal in Pima County and preserve Tucson farmland. Can you help? Sign up on this page to call Tucson-area residents!

    Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry negotiated a back-room deal that allowed Monsanto to buy 155 acres of farmland just outside of Tucson, in Avra Valley, and promised the company a huge tax break.

    Monsanto plans to build a research and development facility on the land. The Biotech Giant will also grow test plots of experimental seeds and GMO crops.

    A group of concerned Tucson citizens are publicly opposing both the conversion of more Tucson farmland to biotech crops, and the way in which the deal was structured in Monsanto’s favor, behind closed doors.

    The best way to let Huckelberry and Tucson supervisors know that the public opposes this project is to turn out large crowds at upcoming public meetings. You don’t need to live in Tucsonanyone can help with phone calls to Tucson-area residents alerting them to the project and encouraging them to attend the meetings. If you can help, please fill out the form on this page and we'll contact you.

    Campaigners on the ground also urgently need legal help and media contacts. If you know a lawyer who would be willing to provide pro bono legal advice to Tucson-area activists fighting this deal or if you have good contacts with Tucson and/or Arizona journalists who can help publicize the corruption behind this deal, please email Kaare@organicconsumers.org.

    The Pima County Board of Supervisors will discuss pending agreements with Monsanto at the February 21 board meeting.

    If you don’t like the idea of Pima County rolling out the red carpet for a chemical corporation that has a notoriously bad record when it comes to poisoning local communities, please consider volunteering to help stop this project!
     
    Learn more about the proposed Monsanto facility here

  • Invite Your Congresspersons to the 'Soil Is the Solution' Briefing

    Hope for the future depends on reversing three disturbing trends: dangerous concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, skyrocketing rates of diet-related diseases, and rapidly vanishing natural resources, especially water. These problems have one thing in common: They can't be solved without soil.

    We might take dirt for granted, but we can't do much without it.

    On January 11, our Regeneration International project is bringing a team of experts to the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. to brief Congress on the fact that our ability to feed the world and cool the planet depends on how we care for the soil.

    TAKE ACTION: Please use the form on this page to send an email invitation to your members of Congress. Then, if you have time, follow up with phone calls. Capitol switchboard: 202-224-3121.


    We need your help. With 435 Members of the House of Representatives and 100 Senators, it’s impossible for our lone staff person in Washington, D.C. to personally invite each office. And, they only want to hear from constituents anyway.

    Your Senators and Member of Congress are most likely to attend this important briefing if they get a personal invitation from you.


    And please, if you’re in the D.C. area, join your representatives at the briefing.

    If you would like to support this briefing with a donation to help pay for travel and hotel expenses for speakers, please make a donation to OCA's Regeneration International project. Thank you!

  • Sign by Jan. 10! Support Healthy Soils!

    The federal government has finally recognized that increasing soil carbon is an essential part of the solution to climate change!

    TAKE ACTION by midnight, January 10: Sign our petition in support of the Framework for a Federal Strategic Plan for Soil Science.

    After you’ve signed the petition, please also submit comments here: https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=OSTP-2016-0016-0001

    If you’ve participated in our global coalition, Regeneration International, or our Cook Organic, Not the Planet campaign, you know that transitioning to regenerative organic and pasture-based agriculture is what we need to do to feed the world and avert a climate disaster..

    You know, but do our decision makers?

    We thought our call for the U.S. to recognize the most hopeful and most practical climate strategy, and the only shovel-ready plan for reversing climate change, had fallen on deaf ears…until now.

    In two new strategy documents, U.S. climate and soil experts have concluded that increasing soil carbon is an essential part of the solution to climate change.

    The National Science and Technology Council’s Soil Science Interagency Working Group’s “The State and Future of U.S. Soils: A Framework for a Federal Strategic Plan for Soil Science” officially recognizes that:

    Soil is essential to human life. Not only is it vital for providing most of the world’s food, it plays a critical role in ensuring water quality and availability; supports a vast array of non-food products and benefits, including mitigation of climate change; and affects biodiversity important for ecological resilience. These roles make soil essential to modern life.

    Thus, it is imperative that everyone—city dwellers, farmers and ranchers, land owners, and rural citizens alike—take responsibility for caring for and investing in our soils.

    And . . .

    Soils have the ability to store a significant portion of Earth’s biologically active carbon through the interplay between organic inputs by primary producers, soil organic matter stabilization, and assimilation and mineralization by soil organisms. In fact, soil represents the largest pool of carbon in the terrestrial biosphere. Carbon enters the soil via plants (photosynthesis-derived carbon through root systems or detritus from dead leaf, stem, and woody materials). But anthropogenic processes, such as fossil fuel use, have increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations to over 400 parts per million.

    The Framework for a Federal Strategic Plan for Soil Science fits into the larger U.S. strategic plan for addressing climate change, the “United States Mid-Century Strategy For Deep Decarbonization.”

    The Strategy for Deep Decarbonization names three things we need to do to achieve net-zero global greenhouse gas emissions and avoid the most dangerous impacts of climate change. Sandwiched between “Transitioning to a low-carbon energy system” and “Reducing non-CO2 emissions” are the words we’ve been waiting to hear:

    Sequestering carbon through forests [and] soils … by bolstering the amount of carbon stored and sequestered in U.S. lands (“the land sink”) … which can provide “negative emissions.”

    According to the Strategy for Deep Decarbonization:

    1)    There is an “opportunity to significantly increase carbon stored in cropland and grassland soils, creating potential to enhance agricultural productivity while generating a carbon sink of hundreds of millions of tons of CO2 annually by 2050,”
    2)    “The land sink” could store the equivalent of 45 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2050,
    3)    “Carbon storage in cropland and pasture can be increased through practices like no-till, cover crops, management intensive grazing, agroforestry, and other innovations,”
    4)    “Carbon reporting, accounting, and monitoring tools can help ensure we are supporting the most cost-effective land-based mitigation investments,”
    5)    Farm programs should “incentivize producers to choose production practices that minimize climate change impacts and that achieve multiple strategic carbon, conservation, and water goals for every dollar of federal investment,” and
    6)    “Swift action” is needed, as “every decade of delayed climate policy increases the costs of meeting a given emissions target by about 40 percent.”

    The only blind spot in the Strategy for Deep Decarbonization is its failure to recognize that the land-management practices that are known to reduce emissions and increase carbon storage, “including no till or reduced till, cover crops, residue management, planting field borders and other areas with perennial grasses and other native plants, and crop rotations,” are ubiquitous in organic farming, where they are necessary for managing weeds, pests and fertility in the absence of synthetic herbicides, insecticides and fertilizers.

    The Strategy for Deep Decarbonization fails to see the obvious connection between organic farming and practices that increase soil organic carbon, and poses, as a question, how the growing demand for organic foods can align with deep decarbonization goals!

    The two strategy documents on Soil Science and Deep Decarbonization fail to go all the way and name the solutions they describe as “regenerative organic agriculture.”  But if the strategies were implemented, that’s exactly what we would have.

    TAKE ACTION by midnight, January 10: Sign our petition in support of the Framework for a Federal Strategic Plan for Soil Science.

    After you’ve signed the petition, please also submit comments here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/SSIWG_Framework_December_2016.pdf

  • Tell Ben & Jerry's CEO Jostein Solheim, aka Scooper Man: 'Roundup-Ready' Ice Cream Is Not 'Natural,' or 'Socially Responsible.' Go Organic!

    It’s official. Ten of 11 samples of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream tested positive for glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide.

    It’s the latest in a long line of complaints against the ice cream brand that claims its social mission “seeks to meet human needs and eliminate the injustices in our local, national and international communities,” and that its focus is “on children and families, the environment and sustainable agriculture on family farms.”

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Ben & Jerry’s CEO Jostein Solheim (aka Scooper Man): Roundup-Ready Ice Cream is neither ‘natural’ nor ‘socially responsible.’ Go 100% Organic! Fill in the form on this page to sign.

    After you sign the petition, call Ben & Jerry’s (802-846-1500) and ask the company to stop greenwashing and go organic. Then post on Ben & Jerry’s Facebook page and tweet this.

    Ben & Jerry’s, the $1.5-billion subsidiary of London-based Unilever (sales of $60 billion), has no rival when it comes to scamming consumers. Behind the iconic ice cream brand’s greenwashed façade lies the tale of a company that built its mega-profitable empire on the back of a #dirtydairy industry that produces contaminated food, poisons Vermont’s waterways, abuses animals, exploits workers, bankrupts farmers and contributes to global warming by supporting GMO monoculture agriculture that strips the soil of its ability to draw down and sequester carbon.

    For 20 years, activists have played nice with Ben & Jerry’s, politely making the case that the company should live up to its claims of “social responsibility” and “respect for the Earth.” But no more, says Michael Colby, former editor of the Food & Water Journal and co-founder of Regeneration Vermont. In his recent article, “Ben & Jerry’s Has No Clothes,” Colby walks readers through Ben & Jerry’s history of empty promises to clean up its act.

    Describing early efforts to convince Ben & Jerry’s to go organic, Colby writes

    We were told at the time, by Ben himself, after a year’s worth of meetings and even an offer of a job to me “to work with us instead of going after us,” that Ben & Jerry’s was not going to transition to organic because it wouldn’t allow them to “maximize profits.” Quick, throw another tie-dyed shirt to the crowd! Or launch a new flavor! Send some ice cream to the schools! Anything, just get the attention off of what Ben & Jerry’s is doing to its homeland, and our homeland – all to maximize its profits.

    Decades later, still no transition to organic—despite this statement on the company website from CEO Jostein Solheim: “My mantra that I've repeated a hundred times since starting at Ben & Jerry's is: ‘Change is a wonderful thing.’"

    Who pays for all those Ben & Jerry’s “maximized profits”? Consumers, Vermont taxpayers, farmers and farmworkers. By refusing to transition to organic, or to even remotely live up to its claims of “social responsibility,” Ben & Jerry’s is responsible for:

    •    Running Vermont family farms out of business. Despite the pretty pictures of happy cows, Vermont’s dairy industry is anything but pretty—in fact it’s in a downward spiral. According to a December 2016 article by Will Allen and Michael Colby, Vermont’s nonorganic (conventional) dairy farmers are forced to sell their milk at a loss:

    Currently (December 2016), the price of milk at the farm is so low and so devalued that it costs the farmer more to produce it than they can sell it for. Increasingly, it’s not even worth the cost of shipping it. This year more than 40 million pounds of milk were dumped by October, shattering last year’s record dump in just nine months.

    Given this economic reality, no dairy farmer, organic or conventional, can survive. Since Ben & Jerry’s founding in 1978, nearly 3,000 dairy-farm families in Vermont have been forced off the land, with only about 800 remaining today, says Colby. By supporting farmers’ transitions to organic, and paying a fair price for organic milk, Ben & Jerry’s could restore Vermont’s once-thriving dairy industry.

    •    Polluting Vermont’s waterways. Vermont taxpayers face a $2-billion bill for cleaning up the state’s polluted waterways, especially Lake Champlain, the #DirtyDairy’s dumping ground for animal wastes, herbicides, chemical fertilizer, and other toxins. Colby writes:

    State officials estimate conservatively that the pollution from the mega-dairy farms like those supplying Ben & Jerry’s has caused at least half of the damage. Entire sections of Lake Champlain are unswimmable, properties have been devalued, aquatic life is suffering, and drinking water is testing positive for – surprise, surprise — toxins like atrazine and glyphosate (aka: Monsanto’s Roundup), both used abundantly on Vermont’s dairy-destined cornfields.

    •    Abusing animals. Industrial dairy farming looks nothing like the fake images on milk cartons, of happy cows grazing on lush green pastures. Allen and Colby report that the average life expectancy of a dairy cow, when allowed to live as they are genetically wired—on grass and fresh air—is about 20 years. Today, most industrial dairy cows are processed into hamburger before they get to the age of 6. The USDA’s National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) says dairy cows are dying prematurely from painful and preventable causes like udder infections (mastitis), respiratory problems, hoof infections, leg injuries and diarrhea, all directly attributable to the conditions geared toward maximizing milk production at the expense of the cow’s health.

    •    Exploiting farmworkers. Ben & Jerry’s claims of support for Migrant Justice’s “Dairy with Dignity” program ring hollow. According to the Migrant Justice website, Ben & Jerry’s promised to “work with Migrant Justice towards a written agreement . . . to adopt Migrant Justice’s Milk with Dignity Program within Ben & Jerry’s Northeast dairy supply chain.” So far, Ben & Jerry’s hasn’t fulfilled that promise because, company officials say, they’re unable to get its supplier (of non-organic milk), St. Alban’s Co-Op, to get on board with the program.

    •    Contributing to global warming. More than 92,000 acres of Vermont farmland is planted in GMO feed corn, 96 percent of which is GMO. All that GMO corn has led to a huge increase in the use of herbicides and fertilizers, which destroy soil health, which in turn prevents the soil from drawing down and sequestering carbon. Still, Ben & Jerry’s pretends to care about global warming. In 2015, the company debuted a new flavor, “Save our Swirled,” intended to raise awareness of climate change. The New York Times reported

    The labels are illustrated with cows perched atop melting icebergs, and Ben & Jerry’s is urging customers to lobby government leaders to embrace clean-energy standards.

    The “Save our Swirled” flavor is no longer available according to a Ben & Jerry’s website search, but Ben & Jerry’s still touts its commitment to fighting climate change.

    •    Putting human health at risk. Polluted waterways, degenerated soil, exploitation of farmworkers and global warming all threaten human health. So do the massive amounts of Roundup, atrazine and metolachlor—all carcinogens and endocrine disruptors—that not only poison the environment, but, at least in the case of Roundup, also poison Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. The company will no doubt argue that the amount of Roundup in its ice cream is “safe.” But there is a wealth of scientific evidence to the contrary.

    Ben & Jerry’s shameless greenwashing, including its use of the word “natural” on its website, makes the company guilty of belonging to the $90-billion “natural” fraud industry that charges a premium for greenwashed products that are routinely produced with toxic chemicals, bad for human health and bad for the environment. The company knows full well that consumers see the word “natural” and think “healthy” and “sustainable.” Ben & Jerry’s knows it’s a scam—a very profitable one.

    It’s time for Ben & Jerry’s to come clean. As Allen says in his latest article:

    It’s time to stop pretending that Ben & Jerry’s is a socially or environmentally conscious corporation. They know how damaging their milk supply chain is. They know that labor is being abused. They know that cows are burning out before they are five years old. They know that antibiotics were being misused. They know that the dairies that supply their milk are polluting our drinking water and most of the rivers and lakes in Vermont. They can’t pretend that they didn’t know how damaging their supply chain is, because we shared all this data with them. Yet they refuse to act.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Ben & Jerry’s CEO Jostein Solheim (aka Scooper Man): Roundup-Ready Ice Cream is neither ‘natural’ nor ‘socially responsible.’ Go 100% Organic! Fill in the form on this page or text 'dirtydairy' to 97779 to sign.

    After you sign the petition, call Ben & Jerry’s (802-846-1500) and ask the company to stop greenwashing and go organic. Then post on Ben & Jerry’s Facebook page and tweet this.

  • Tell New Scientist Magazine: Stop Spreading Lies About Organic Food and Climate Change!

    A popular science and technology magazine recently published an article and video aimed at convincing consumers that buying local and organic food is bad for the climate. 

    Given what we know—that industrial agriculture is the biggest contributor to global warming, and that organic and regenerative agriculture practices not only reduce emissions, but also draw down carbon from the atmosphere and sequester it in the soil   —it’s hard to fathom how this article got the OK from the editors at New Scientist.

    That is, until you find out that Syngenta and Merck are big advertisers.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell New Scientist Magazine: Stop Spreading Lies About Organic Food and Climate Change!

    After you sign and send the letter, call the magazine to complain (1-888-822-3242). Then tweet Sumit Paul-Choudhury, editor-in-chief (@sumit) and Rowan Hooper, managaing editor @rowhoop and post on the magazine’s facebook page

    In his article, “Stop Buying Organic Food if You Really Want to Save the Planet,” Michael Le Page makes a number of arguments that simply aren’t supported by science—or as critic Tom MacMillan, director of innovation at the UK-based Soil Association says, “misreads the evidence.” (You can’t read the article on the New Science website without creating an account. But the article is summed up in this accompanying Facebook video).

    One of the bogus claimes LePage makes is that organic farming produces more greenhouse gases than conventional, chemically-dependent agriculture because some organic food is produced in greenhouses heated by electricity, which releases CO2 and in turn contributes to climate change. In fact, no data on how much organic food is grown in greenhouses currently exists—maybe because the numbers would be too small to track? After all, in February 2015, Le Page himself admitted that “indoor farms” are incredibly rare, with just “a few small enterprises” around the world using electricity to grow local produce. 

    LePage also claims that organic farms produce lower yields and therefore require more land, which results in deforestation in tropical regions, Not true, according to independent studies which have determined that organic farming produces yields equivalent to conventional, while significantly reducing energy and water usage. 

    We could go on, but you get the drift. The editors at New Scientist are taking their direction from the “hands that feed them”—rich corporations whose profits depend on a model of agriculture that has totally failed to live up to its promises, while simultaneously fouling our waters, destroying our soils and heating up the planet.

  • Put Your City on the Map! Sign up to learn more about how you can make your community pesticide-free.

    Do you have neighbors who spray their lawns with Monsanto’s Roundup and other toxic chemicals? Worried that the park your child plays in is routinely sprayed with toxic chemicals?

    What if you and other concerned citizens in your neighborhood could start a campaign that would lead to a ban on pesticides in your town or state?

    TAKE ACTION: Put Your City on the Map! Sign up to learn more about how you can make your community pesticide-free.

    Beyond Pesticides and Organic Consumers Association have created a “Map of Local Pesticide Reform Policies,” a continuously updated online resource that provides names and locations of cities and states that have passed pesticide policies. The map includes the type of policy passed, a short description of the scope of the policy, and a link to view the entire text.

    Currently, the map spotlights over 115 communities in 21 states that have taken local action to protect their communities from the adverse effects of pesticides by substituting a range of alternative tactics, from eliminating highly toxic chemicals to the adoption of organic practices.

    As the map reveals, this is a fight we can win. Take the passage of Montgomery County’s (Maryland) lawn care Bill 52-14, and a similar law passed in South Portland, Maine. Both of these laws were initiated by a grassroots coalition of business leaders, and local and national health and environmental advocates. These broad alliances succeeded in creating the largest communities in the country to stop hazardous pesticide use on public and private property, and resulted in advancing the adoption of organic and alternatives pest- and weed-control practices.

    This is an important moment. Chemical industry lobbyists fear that growing recognition of pesticide hazards, and the availability of organic alternatives will inspire other localities to enact similar legislation. There is no question that a transition to ecologically friendly land management is taking hold.

    What if you live in a state that prohibits local governments from adopting stronger pesticide regulations that those already existing at the state level? You can still work to eliminate the use of pesticides on public property, which may inspire action at the state level to roll back preemption and permit a Montgomery-style ordinance.

    If you’re interested in getting active in your local government around pesticide reform, sign up on this page. We’ll send you some resources to help you get started, and connect you with others in your community who may want to work with you.

  • Tell the Senate: Don’t Let Monsanto Run the USDA and EPA!

    Street sign that reads WRONG WAY on a sunny dayHere’s what we know so far about President-Elect Donald Trump’s picks for leadership posts at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Based on their track records, they all will likely let companies like Monsanto dictate food, agriculture and environmental policy.

    The only thing standing between Monsanto and near-total control of the USDA and EPA? The U.S. Senate, whose job it is to approve about 1,100 presidential nominees before Trump’s cast of characters can step into their new posts.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell your Senators, Don’t Let Monsanto Run the USDA and EPA! Let your Senators know that you expect them to block any USDA or EPA nominee who would take direction from companies that produce pesticides, genetically modified organisms or factory-farmed ‘food.’


    In 2008, the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) launched the “Stop Vilsack” campaign to oppose then-President-Elect Barack Obama’s pick for Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack. We (rightly) predicted that Vilsack’s loyalties would lie with his cronies in the biotech industry.

    If Hillary Clinton had won the 2016 election, we would be working to keep Clinton’s assumed pick for agriculture secretary—Monsanto lobbyist Blanche Lincoln—from being approved.

    But Trump won. So our job now is to try to keep as many of Monsanto’s minions as possible from winning positions in the USDA, EPA and U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

    A look at who’s advising Trump so far on ag and environmental policy doesn’t bode well humans and our planet:

    Agriculture Advisory Committee: The list of folks giving Trump and his transition team “guidance” on ag policy is full of Monsanto- and factory farm-loving politicians. The list includes Charles Herbster, a Nebraska cattle-breeding company owner, and owner of a company that sells chemicals and fertilizers. Herbster is also a member and major funder of the Ag America steering committee, whose members also include Monsanto and DuPont.

    EPA transition leader: Myron Ebell is director of global warming and international environmental policy at the Competitive Enterprises Institute, a corporate front group whose sponsors include Monsanto. Ebell is a professed climate denier and a corporate shill who claims pesticides are harmless.

    USDA transition leader: Vice President-Elect Mike Pence is a career politician with strong ties to Eli Lilly, the maker of controversial animal drugs used to fatten up animals in factory farms. Eli Lilly has consistently been a top donor to Pence’s political campaigns. The drug maker owns rBGH, the recombinant bovine growth hormone developed by Monsanto, as well as the growth-promoter ractopamine, which is banned in more than 100 countries.

    Who is the Trump transition team considering for the plum posts of U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and EPA Administrator? A line-up of Monsanto- and Big Ag-friendly suspects. There isn't a single proponent of organic or regenerative agriculture among them.

    For Secretary of Agriculture:

    Chuck Conner, president and CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, co-chaired the so-called Coalition for Safe and Affordable Food, the front-group Monsanto created to pass the DARK Act. As USDA Secretary, he would push for aggressive implementation of the worst aspects of the DARK Act, including a provision directing the USDA Secretary to “establish consistency” between the DARK Act and organic regulations. This would open the floodgates for GMOs to be allowed in organics.

    Ted McKinney, director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture under Gov. Pence for three years, his first job in government. Before that McKinney worked for Eli Lilly, Dow AgroSciences and a number of industry front groups, including the Council for Biotechnology Information, the International Food Information Council, the Meat Export Federation and the International Federation of Animal Health.

    Don Villwock, a genetically modified crop farmer who has been active in the leadership of both the non-profit advocacy and for-profit banking and insurance businesses of the multi-billion-dollar Farm Bureau empire. With the Farm Bureau, Villwock advocated for and profited from crop insurance. As of 2014, Villwock and his wife had received more than $1.4 million in farm subsidies from the federal government.

    Charles Herbster, Trump’s Agricultural Advisory Committee chair. Herbster is a Nebraska cattleman who also distributes pesticide ingredients and fertilizers, among other things. He’s a major funder and steering committee member of the Ag America Super PAC. Other donors to Ag America include Monsanto, Dupont, BASF, Dow, Syngenta, and Bayer.

    Sonny Perdue is the former Governor of Georgia. He supports factory farms, pesticides and genetically engineered crops. In 2009, he signed a bill into law that blocked local communities in Georgia from regulating factory farms to address animal cruelty, pollution or any other hazard. He took money from Monsanto and other pesticide companies for his gubernatorial campaigns. The Biotechnology Innovation Organization, a front group for the GMO industry, named Perdue their 2009 Governor of the Year.

    For EPA Administrator:

    Kathleen Hartnett White headed up the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) under former Texas Gov. Rick Perry. The Dallas Morning News summarized her leadership of the TCEQ saying, “She has been an apologist for polluters, consistently siding with business interests instead of protecting public health.” White currently advocates against environmental regulation as a lobbyist for the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a corporate front group funded by companies including Koch Industries and ExxonMobil. White, who also serves on Trump's Agriculture Advisory Committee, is a longtime rancher with a cattle operation in West Texas. She represented the factory farm beef industry at the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, the Texas Hereford Association and the American Hereford Association.

    Scott Pruitt, Oklahoma’s attorney general, is an outspoken opponent of the EPA's efforts to address factory farms that pollute drinking water. Pruitt was one of the first state attorneys general to file suit against the EPA over its new “Waters of the United States” rule. His position against protecting drinking water from factory farm waste has no doubt been shaped by his campaign contributors, which include the Oklahoma Farm Bureau (OFB) and Monsanto. The Humane Society of the U.S. named Pruitt the nation's least animal friendly attorney general for teaming up with the OFB to oppose “efforts to crack down on puppy mills, horse slaughter, the exotic pet trade, factory farming, and just about every other animal welfare issue you can think of.”

    Check back here for the latest news on Trump’s nominees. We’ll keep this alert updated. In the meantime, tell your Senators: Don’t Let Monsanto Run the USDA and EPA!

  • Deadline Dec. 1: Tell the FTC to Stop Organic Fraud!

    Having trouble figuring out which personal care and cleaning products are actually organic? Not sure how to distinguish fake “organic” mattresses from the real things?

    Wondering if those “organic dry cleaning” claims are real?

    You’re not alone. Unlike food, which has to be certified to USDA organic standards in order to be labeled “organic,” non-food products often come with labels and/or advertising claims that falsely claim, or imply, organic.

    Take action by December 1:  Tell the FTC to Stop Organic Fraud! Fill in the form on this page to sign the petition or text 'FTC' to 97779.

    Organic food has to be certified to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program (NOP) standards. Non-food products may be certified to USDA Organic food standards, but the NOP doesn’t require certification and it doesn’t enforce against most false “organic” claims on personal care or textile products. 

    Ironically, the excuse the NOP uses for refusing to address non-food organic fraud is that the scope of its authority is limited to claims about agricultural ingredients. So, for example, the NOP can react if a shampoo label says it contains “organic” lavender when it actually contains conventional lavender. But, it can’t react if an “organic” shampoo is made entirely of synthetic ingredients. 

    Absurd? Yes. It’s also a license for marketers to lie. Brands can stick an organic agricultural ingredient in an otherwise synthetic product and call it “organic.” Or, they go all the way and call something that doesn’t contain any agricultural ingredients “organic.” That’s why we see so many “organic” drycleaners. 

    It isn’t always just about the label. Sometimes product makers make misleading advertising claims, that are just as deceiving as labels. Case in point: In August, OCA called out Colgate-Palmolive, owner of the Tom’s of Maine brand, for implying on its website that Tom’s toothpaste was “organic” even though it isn’t. With your help, we pressured the company to stop misleading consumers. 

    Who’s responsible for policing the non-food market?

    Consumer pressure was enough to clean up the misleading claims about Tom’s of Maine toothpaste. But we can’t take on every product out there. So if consumers can’t stop the organic fraud on our own, and the NOP won’t do it, who will?

    We want the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which has launched an investigation into organic fraud, to clean up this confusing mess. After all, the FTC’s job is to “prevent business practices that are anticompetitive or deceptive or unfair to consumers.”  This new investigation by FTC officials could result in an update to the FTC’s Green Guides, which provide guidance to industry intended to drive misleading green washing out of the marketplace.

    The FTC wants to hear from you about how to stop organic fraud. Please sign our petition and add your own comments before the FTC’s December 1 public comment deadline. You can also text 'FTC' to 97779 to sign.

    More about false ‘organic’ claims

    For food, it’s easy. Just look for the “USDA Organic” seal, allowed on products made from at least 95 percent organic ingredients. Under USDA regulations, products made from at least 70 percent organic ingredients can claim “made with organic ingredients.”

    But when it comes to personal care and household cleaning products, it’s not so cut and dried. You can find USDA Certified Organic personal care and household cleaning products. The trouble is, only a handful of companies—Dr. Bronner’s, Terressentials and GreenShield lead the (very small) pack—sell products in these categories that meet USDA organic standards. For the most part, makers of personal care and household cleaning products don’t include agricultural ingredients. So they don’t fall under the NOP’s jurisdiction. This leaves them free to claim whatever they want, on labels and in advertising.

    It gets worse for textile products, such as clothing and mattresses. The NOP has no organic certification program covering textile products—so how does a consumer know if that “organic” mattress is really organic? Your best bet is to look for the GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) label. The NOP defers to this standard, which governs not only the organic agricultural ingredients, but also how they are processed into a finished product. Unfortunately, few companies are certified to the GOTS standard. The GOTS website lists 48 in the U.S., among them NaturePedic, MetaWear and Under the Nile

    Are there products you like that contain organic ingredients but aren’t certified to the USDA or GOTS standard? Contact the company, applaud them for using organic ingredients and ask them to go to the next level by developing products that can get certified organic.

    The FTC is a lot more likely to continue its work on organic fraud, if consumer demand starts moving companies in the right direction. 

    Stop organic fraud! Sign our petition before the FTC’s December 1 public comment deadline.

  • Don't Use My Tax Dollars to Promote GMOs!

    Big Biotech and Big Food think the only reason consumers don’t like their GMO foods is because we are just too ignorant to “understand” their benefits.

    So to help “educate” us, groups like the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, and the Corn Growers Association, among others, want Congress to give them some of our taxpayer money to help promote their toxic, unhealthy, environmentally unfriendly products.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell the Ag Appropriations Committee: Don’t Use My Tax Dollars to Promote GMOs!

    After you sign our letter to four members of the committee, please call, then tweet each of them.

    Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.)
    (202) 224-5054
    Click here to send this tweet: @SenThadCochran No tax dollars to promote #GMOs! http://orgcns.org/2fTfEhK

    Rep. Harold (Hal) Rogers (R-Ky)
    (202) 225-4601
    Click here to send this tweet: @RepHalRogers No tax dollars to promote #GMOs! http://orgcns.org/2fTfEhK

    Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.)
    (202) 224-4654
    Click here to send this tweet: @SenatorBarb No tax dollars to promote #GMOs! http://orgcns.org/2fTfEhK

    Rep. Nita M. Lowey (D-N.Y.)
    (202) 225-6506
    Click here to send this tweet: @NitaLowey No tax dollars to promote #GMOs! http://orgcns.org/2fTfEhK


    As reported by Farm Futures, 56 groups, including biotech and food industry lobbying organizations, wrote a letter asking four members of the Ag Appropriations Committee to include $3 million in the  2017 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act in order to “ensure key federal agencies responsible for the safety of our nation’s food supply – the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) – are able to more easily convey to the public science- and fact-based information about food.”

    The groups justify their request for consumers to foot the bill for industry’s marketing campaign by stating that: “These benefits are passed on to consumers who reap the advantage of affordable food prices, greater access to nutritious food, an improved environment, a strengthened rural economy, and enhanced domestic and international food security.”

    In their letter, the groups claim “there is a tremendous amount of misinformation about agricultural biotechnology in the public domain.” We would argue, and a recent investigation by the New York Times confirms, that much of that “misinformation” comes from industry itself, in the form of false promises.

    Specifically, as the Times reports, GMO crops have not led to higher yields, while they have led to greater, not reduced, use of pesticides.

    As we wrote in a recent blog post, the biotech and food industries should spend their own money to market their products—after all, they’re rolling in profits.

    And Congress shouldn’t use taxpayer money to promote what scientists and international organizations have said for years, and the Times investigation confirms, is a technology that not only doesn’t live up it its hype, but is counterproductive to resolving the critical issues of global food sovereignty and global warming.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell the Ag Appropriations Committee: Don’t Use My Tax Dollars to Promote GMOs!

  • Take Action to Keep GMOs Out of Organic!

    When the DARK Act became law this summer, GMO labeling wasn’t the only victim. Language included in the  DARK Act could also kill efforts to keep genetically modified organisms (GMOs) out of organic.

    TAKE ACTION BEFORE NOV. 15: Sign this petition telling the National Organic Standards Board to keep genetically modified organisms out of certified 'USDA organic' food.

    The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) plays a key role in protecting the integrity of organics by keeping genetic modification out of organic. But that task is increasingly challenging as complex new genetic engineering techniques, some of which are referred to as GMO 2.0, come online.

    Since 2013, the NOSB has been working on a proposal to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program (NOP) to keep newer techniques of genetic modification, like cloning, nanotechnology, synthetic biology and mutated microorganisms, out of organic.

    The DARK Act could undo these efforts.

    The DARK Act, officially referred to as National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard, directs the Agriculture Secretary to “consider establishing consistency between the national bioengineered food disclosure standard established under this section and the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 and any rules or regulations implementing that Act.”

    Written largey by, and for, corporations, the so-called National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard defines GMOs so narrowly that it would cover few if any of the GMOs commonly used to produce food today—let alone the latest techniques of genetic modification. “Establishing consistency” between the DARK Act and the organic laws could open the floodgates for GMOs to be allowed in organics.

    The DARK Act provision that would allow GMOs in organic didn’t come from Monsanto alone. The effort was coordinated by none other than the Organic Trade Association (OTA). How do we know that? OTA board member Melody Meyer (who represents UNFI, the largest U.S. distributor of natural and organic products) said as much, in a blog post where argued that gene editing should be allowed in organic.

    TAKE ACTION BEFORE NOV. 15: Sign this petition telling the National Organic Standards Board to keep genetically modified organisms out of certified 'USDA organic' food.

    Background

    When the NOSB meets in St. Louis, November 16-18, it will consider a proposal to the National Organic Program (NOP) that would direct the NOP to give certifiers guidance on how to identify the genetic modification techniques that are known as “excluded methods” under the organic regulations.

    The recommendation and, later, the NOP guidance, would clarify for certifiers how to interpret the excluded methods definition. Over the years, organic certifiers have pointed out ways in which the excluded methods definition is open to interpretation. Now, with so many new GMO technologies in the mix, organic certifiers have even more questions.

    As a result, the NOSB is taking another look at the “excluded methods” definition and suggesting guidance to protect organics from the slew of new GMO technologies that don’t belong in organic.

    The current definition of “excluded methods” was written in 1995, before any genetically engineered crops had hit the market (only Monsanto’s rBGH had been approved), and before scientists created the first cloned mammal, Dolly the sheep. The use of nanotechnology or synthetic biology in food production was still science fiction.

    Advances in genetic engineering move quickly. It’s not just crops that can be modified. A whole range of processed food ingredients are now commonly genetically engineered, including vitamins, enzymes, microorganisms and cultures.

    In the U.S., no one safety tests or even catalogues these GMO ingredients, which makes it difficult for organic regulators to know what’s out there or even what to look for. There have been questions as to how well organic inspectors and certifiers are able to enforce the “excluded methods” rule in such a rapidly changing landscape.

    Are certifiers getting enough guidance from the NOP to keep the latest Frankenfoods out of organic?

    The NOSB wants to know. At its next meeting, the Board will consider an “Excluded Methods Terminology” proposal.

    The public is invited to comment. Please sign the following petition and add your own thoughts.

  • Tell EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy: Quit Stalling. Ban Glyphosate Now!

    What happens when the pesticide industry doesn’t want the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to do its job, which is to complete its review of Monsanto’s glyphosate?

    Industry pressures the EPA to drag out the review process by discrediting the experts charged with advising the EPA on the safety—or lack thereof—of the toxic chemical in question.

    You would think that the EPA would see through industry’s tactics. Instead, once again, the EPA has caved to Monsanto’s demands.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy: Quit Stalling. Ban Glyphosate NOW!

    After you sign the letter to McCarthy, please call the EPA at 202-564-4700 and leave a message for McCarthy. Then tweet: @GinaEPA No more stalling! #BanGlyphosate now! http://orgcns.org/2eemucG

    More than a year after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Roundup to be a “probable human carcinogen,” evidence of human health risks associated with Monsanto’s Roundup and its active ingredient, glyphosate, continues to pile up.

    Concerns about the health risks of glyphosate have led to new rounds of testing, which reveal glyphosate residue in baby food, cereals and honey, to name a few. It's even in our bodies, tests show.

    Meanwhile, news reports point to a “cesspool of corruption” at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which was supposed to rule more than a year ago on whether or not glyphosate should be banned—but is still sitting on its hands.

    Derelict in its duties

    The EPA is required to review every pesticide once every 15 years, before deciding whether or not the pesticide should be re-registered.

    Glyphosate, the key active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup, came up for review in 2015. The EPA promised a decision by the end of July 2015, but then pushed the deadline to end of 2015.

    In an effort to pressure the EPA to live up to its obligation, OCA launched a petition to Neil Anderson, chief of the risk management and implementation branch at the EPA's pesticide re-evaluation division, demanding the EPA heed the independent scientific evidence against glyphosate, and ban glyphosate from the U.S. market. (If you haven’t already, please sign the petition to Anderson).

    Now, here we are near the end of 2016, and the EPA, apparently more concerned about protecting Monsanto’s profits than it is about protecting human health and the environment, refuses to act.

    That’s why we’re going to the top dog, McCarthy, with our request.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy: Quit stalling. Ban Glyphosate NOW!

    What, or rather who, is holding up the EPA’s decision on glyphosate?

    Monsanto and its minions, in this case the pesticide industry’s lobbying group, CropLife. In October, CropLife wrote a letter to the EPA that, as US Right to Know’s Carey Gillam reported, asked to exclude anyone who’s ever expressed a negative opinion of glyphosate from sitting on the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP)—the panel charged with advising the EPA on the reregistration of glyphosate.

    Dr. Rosemary Mason, a medical professional and activist, made the same accusations—and more—in her “Open Letter to the US Environmental Protection Agency about Glyphosate and the International Monsanto Tribunal, as reported by Countercurrents.org.

    The EPA immediately bowed to CropLife’s request, setting in motion yet another delay.

    Meanwhile, consumers are left to deal with the health risks, and environmental contamination, of the world’s most heavily sprayed herbicide.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy: Quit stalling. Ban Glyphosate NOW!

  • Tell Former White House Chef Sam Kass: No Joke. Toxic Junk Food Is Killing Us!

    As former White House Chef and President Obama’s Senior Policy Advisor for Nutrition Policy, Sam Kass made a name for himself purporting to be a believer in, and promoter of healthy food.

    Now that he’s teamed up with Campbell’s Soup Co. (NYSE: CPB), and wears the title of chief consumer experience officer for a food data technology start-up, Kass is claiming that “people would die” if we tear down and replace the trillion-dollar food industry, and that the idea that Big Food should simply go away is “a joke.”

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Former White House Chef Sam Kass: No Joke. Toxic Junk Food Is Killing Us!

    After you sign the letter to Kass, call him at 650-437-7253. Then send this tweet: @chefsamkass #NoJoke #ToxicJunkFood is killing us http://orgcns.org/2epTalB

    Politico reported this week that during a recent debate with Richard McCarthy, executive director of Slow Food USA, Kass said that the “trillion-dollar food industry is here to stay.” Kass also said that “good food” leaders haven’t created a “real political movement.”

    From Politico:

    "I just don't think we're going to return to Carlo Petrini's vision of the world," Kass said, referring to the founder of the Slow Food Movement in Italy, who first became famous for protesting McDonald's in the 1980s.

    Kass said he wasn't defending the current system, which he believes has "deep structural problems" and externalizes many of its costs.

    The system needs to change in a big way, he argued, "but the notion that we can just get rid of it and tear it down and replace it just doesn't make any sense. People would die if we did that."

    We’ve got news for Kass. People are dying now—from GMO, pesticide-laden, hormone- and antibiotic-ridden food, from nutrient-deficient food grown in dead soils, from drinking water poisoned by agricultural chemicals, and from global warming—the single largest cause of which is industrial agriculture, the mainstay of “Big Food.”

    We agree with Kass on one point—that the industrial food system needs to “change in a big way.” But not the way Kass is suggesting—by selling consumers on high-priced gadgets and fancy technologies the average American can’t afford to buy.

    For example, that joint venture with Campbell’s is behind the promotion of Juicero, a $700 system for making cold-press juice at home.

    Even better? Innit, the start-up company Kass now works for, wants to sell consumers high-tech kitchen appliances that use “sensors to measure a food's weight, temperature, portion size, and other variables, and then uses that data to calculate the ideal times and temperatures needed to cook those foods, according to Inc. magazine. In this promotional video, Kass says Innit “wants to use technology to change the way people eat and to help people manage and prepare their food with ease.” 

    We’re all for people cooking at home. But what people cook (and eat) is far more important than how they cook it. A roast from an animal pumped full of antibiotics and hormones, and fed GMO feed, is not only bad for your health—it’s bad for the environment. The healthier alternative? Grass-fed beef raised using methods that actually combat climate change.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Former White House Chef Sam Kass: No Joke. Toxic Junk Food Is Killing Us!

    After you sign the letter to Kass, call him at 650-437-7253. Then send this tweet: @chefsamkass #NoJoke #ToxicJunkFood is killing us http://orgcns.org/2epTalB

  • Tell Congress: Repeal the DARK Act!

    Don’t get mad, get even. 

    Just because we lost the GMO labeling fight in Congress this year doesn’t mean the right-to-know movement should roll over and play dead. There’s work to do! The only way to move this issue forward is to repeal the DARK Act, the law that Denied Americans the Right to Know. 

    TAKE ACTION: Tell your Senators and Congress Members to support Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.)’s efforts to repeal the DARK Act! Fill in the form on this page to sign our petition.

    As companies like Monsanto & Bayer consolidate into ever-more-powerful companies to push increasingly risky technologies into our food supply, knowing where our food comes from and how it was produced is more important than ever.

    That’s why every poll on the subject has shown that the vast majority of Americans support mandatory labels on all foods that have been produced with genetically modified organisms (GMOs). 

    In case you missed it, we got those labels for about a month in this summer, when on July 1, 2016, the tiny-but-mighty state of Vermont brought the U.S. into line with the 64 other countries that label GMOs. Because it was the first and only GMO labeling bill, virtually all of the major food companies found it easiest to label nationwide. The GMO labels Vermont required began appearing across the country. 

    Meanwhile, the same companies that sought praise for taking Vermont’s GMO labeling law nationwide were working—and spending $400 million in lobbying—behind the scenes in Congress to override Vermont’s law.

    How did corporations convince Congress to ignore the will of more than 90 percent of Americans? The Big Food companies that both sell a lot of GMOs but also have bought up influential organic brands, convinced leaders of the Organic Trade Association (OTA) to do their bidding. 

    The leaders of this coup were SmuckersDanone, UNFI, General Mills, and Organic Valley.

    Smuckers and UNFI have long held seats on the OTA board, while Danone is represented by recent acquisitions Earthbound Farm and WhiteWave. It’s easy to see why Danone, General Mills, Smuckers and UNFI would oppose labels, given how many GMOs they sell. But why did Organic Valley play along? Because of its business relationships with Danone and General Mills

    By putting OTA out front, these companies were able to hide their reluctance to label their GMOs behind claims that the bill overturning Vermont’s GMO labeling law was good for organic because it would allow organic food to be labeled “non-GMO” without being tested for contamination by the Non-GMO Project.

    By the end of the month, they’d rammed the preemption bill through Congress and even got the President Barack Obama, who had made a campaign promise to label GMOs, to sign it. 

    GMO labels disappeared. In their place? The so-called “National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard” that is: 

    • So narrowly defined and riddled with exemptions that it probably won’t disclose any bioengineered foods.

    • Allows “disclosure” to be in the form of wordless codes that have to be scanned with a smart phone.

    • Won’t be implemented for two years.

    • Contains no penalties for non-compliance.

    A so-called “disclosure standard” that deliberately misleads, confuses, and hides important information from, consumers is much worse than no GMO labeling law at all. 

    We’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain from working to repeal this terrible law.

    Take action now to write to your Senators and Member of Congress, and then take action for GMO labels when you vote in November! Check out the Cornucopia Institute’s Congressional GMO Voters Guide: Who Sold Out Your “Right to Know.” 

  • Tell Congress: Repeal the DARK Act!

    Don’t get mad, get even. 

    Just because we lost the GMO labeling fight in Congress this year doesn’t mean the right-to-know movement should roll over and play dead. There’s work to do! The only way to move this issue forward is to repeal the DARK Act, the law that Denied Americans the Right to Know. 

    TAKE ACTION: Tell your Senators and Congress Members to support Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.)’s efforts to repeal the DARK Act! Fill in the form on this page to sign our petition.

    As companies like Monsanto & Bayer consolidate into ever-more-powerful companies to push increasingly risky technologies into our food supply, knowing where our food comes from and how it was produced is more important than ever.

    That’s why every poll on the subject has shown that the vast majority of Americans support mandatory labels on all foods that have been produced with genetically modified organisms (GMOs). 

    In case you missed it, we got those labels for about a month in this summer, when on July 1, 2016, the tiny-but-mighty state of Vermont brought the U.S. into line with the 64 other countries that label GMOs. Because it was the first and only GMO labeling bill, virtually all of the major food companies found it easiest to label nationwide. The GMO labels Vermont required began appearing across the country. 

    Meanwhile, the same companies that sought praise for taking Vermont’s GMO labeling law nationwide were working—and spending $400 million in lobbying—behind the scenes in Congress to override Vermont’s law.

    How did corporations convince Congress to ignore the will of more than 90 percent of Americans? The Big Food companies that both sell a lot of GMOs but also have bought up influential organic brands, convinced leaders of the Organic Trade Association (OTA) to do their bidding. 

    The leaders of this coup were SmuckersDanone, UNFI, General Mills, and Organic Valley.

    Smuckers and UNFI have long held seats on the OTA board, while Danone is represented by recent acquisitions Earthbound Farm and WhiteWave. It’s easy to see why Danone, General Mills, Smuckers and UNFI would oppose labels, given how many GMOs they sell. But why did Organic Valley play along? Because of its business relationships with Danone and General Mills

    By putting OTA out front, these companies were able to hide their reluctance to label their GMOs behind claims that the bill overturning Vermont’s GMO labeling law was good for organic because it would allow organic food to be labeled “non-GMO” without being tested for contamination by the Non-GMO Project.

    By the end of the month, they’d rammed the preemption bill through Congress and even got the President Barack Obama, who had made a campaign promise to label GMOs, to sign it. 

    GMO labels disappeared. In their place? The so-called “National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard” that is: 

    • So narrowly defined and riddled with exemptions that it probably won’t disclose any bioengineered foods.

    • Allows “disclosure” to be in the form of wordless codes that have to be scanned with a smart phone.

    • Won’t be implemented for two years.

    • Contains no penalties for non-compliance.

    A so-called “disclosure standard” that deliberately misleads, confuses, and hides important information from, consumers is much worse than no GMO labeling law at all. 

    We’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain from working to repeal this terrible law.

    Take action now to write to your Senators and Member of Congress, and then take action for GMO labels when you vote in November! Check out the Cornucopia Institute’s Congressional GMO Voters Guide: Who Sold Out Your “Right to Know.”  

  • SOUTH DAKOTA: You Can Help Protect Honey Bees!

    South Dakota has a vibrant commercial beekeeping industry, second only to North Dakota in honey production in the U.S.

    Unfortunately, like many other states across the country, South Dakota’s honey bees and beekeepers are in serious trouble. According to a survey by Bee Informed Partnership, honey bee loses in the state were over 40 percent this past year.

    To address these unsustainable losses, the South Dakota Department of Agriculture is seeking public input on its draft Pollinator Protection Plan, but we don’t think their plan goes far enough--it doesn't include any recommendations for restricting neonicotinoid pesticide use.

    Tell the South Dakota Department of Agriculture and your elected officials to protect pollinators by restricting neonicotinoid pesticide use!

    Can you attend an information meeting on October 4 in Brookings or October 6 in Pierre? If not, fill in the form on this page to submit a public comment via email. We’ve provided a sample, but it will be more effective if you add your own comments.
     

    According to SDSU extension specialist Andrea Bachmann, South Dakota honey producers lost approximately $8-10 million due to the decreased hive populations in the summer of 2015.

    The Department of Agriculture’s Draft Pollinator Protection Plan calls for improved communication between beekeepers and pesticides applicators, and providing best management practices to landowners to help protect and increase honey bee forage habitat.

    But that’s not enough. If they are seriously committed to reversing pollinator decline, the Department of Agriculture needs to require stricter measures to protect pollinators from pesticides, including asking for the state legislature to grant the state authority to restrict neonicotinoid use by farmers.

    Citizens in neighboring Minnesota have successfully obtained a strong commitment from their Governor and Department of Agriculture to protect pollinator health. Minnesota’s eight step plan would be a great model for South Dakota too.

    Don’t South Dakota bees and beekeepers deserve the same protection that they would receive in Minnesota?

    Tell the South Dakota Department of Agriculture and your elected officials to follow Minnesota’s lead in protecting pollinators by restricting neonicotinoid pesticide use!

    Read the Draft Pollinator Protection Plan here.

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  • TAKE ACTION BY OCTOBER 5: Tell the EPA to #BanAtrazine, Syngenta’s Birth-Defect-Linked Pesticide

    The bad news: The Environmental Protection Agency has long ignored evidence that Syngenta’s atrazine endangers human health as a likely contributor to infertility, birth defects and breast cancer.

    The good news: The EPA is taking seriously the threat that atrazine poses to wildlife. Through October 5, 2016, the EPA is accepting public comments on a draft ecological risk assessment that finds atrazine poses unacceptable risks to fish, amphibians, and aquatic invertebrates, as well as birds, reptiles and mammals. (Thanks to the Center for Biological Diversity for suing the EPA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to force them to analyze the impacts of atrazine on more than 1,500 endangered plants and animals.)

    TAKE ACTION BY OCTOBER 5: Tell the EPA to #BanAtrazine!

    After Monsanto’s Roundup (glyphosate), Syngenta’s atrazine is the nation’s number-two pesticide, with 80 to 90 million pounds applied to crops, golf courses and lawns each year.

    A recent investigation into pesticide use in Vermont’s dairy industry found atrazine to be one of the most commonly used pesticides.

    Atrazine is linked to a rare but rising birth defect, gastroschisis, in which an infant’s intestines, and sometimes other organs, slide out of the body. In July, California listed atrazine as a “reproductive toxicant.” As the Center for Biological Diversity explains, California’s decision was based on evidence that atrazine is linked to birth defects, reduced male fertility and reproductive toxicities in women. Products containing atrazine will now require a warning label before they can be sold in California.

    Atrazine was banned in the European Union in 2004, when the E.U. found groundwater levels exceeding the limits set by regulators, and Syngenta could neither show that this could be prevented nor that these levels were safe.

    By comparison, the U.S. has been lax in its regulation of atrazine, but Syngenta hasn’t even obeyed the EPA’s modest regulations. In September 2016, the EPA fined Syngenta $1.2 million for “the repackaging, sale and distribution of unregistered and misbranded pesticides.” The EPA said Syngenta’s actions were “illegal and puts people and the environment at risk.”

    Atrazine is ubiquitous in surface water, groundwater and drinking water. According to the Natural Resource Defense Council’s report “Poisoning the Well,” of surface drinking water systems in Midwestern States show atrazine contamination. In 2012, Syngenta agreed to pay $105 million to reimburse more than one thousand water systems for “the cost of filtering atrazine from drinking water.”

    According to Beyond Pesticides, even at levels established as “safe” or acceptable by the EPA drinking water standards, atrazine is a potent endocrine disruptor, meaning it can alter the body’s hormones.

    As the Environmental Working Group explains, an endocrine disruptor can:

    •    Increase the production of hormones.
    •    Decrease the production of hormones.
    •    Imitate hormones.
    •    Turn one hormone into another.
    •    Interfere with hormone signaling.
    •    Tell cells to die prematurely.
    •    Compete with essential nutrients.
    •    Bind to essential hormones.
    •    Accumulate in organs that produce hormones.

    According to studies by Tyrone Hayes, Ph.D., atrazine is an endocrine disruptor so potent that it can turn a male frog into a female frog that can mate and lay viable eggs.

    Banning atrazine wouldn’t only help amphibians, it could also put money in farmers’ pockets. An economic analysis of a potential atrazine ban that used Syngenta’s own data concluded, “withdrawal of atrazine would boost farm revenues, while only changing consumer prices by pennies.”

    Syngenta is no friend to farmers. In 2013, the nation’s 440,000 corn farmers lost between $5-7 billion when Syngenta contaminated their corn crop with an unapproved genetically modified trait and China stopped importing U.S. corn. Ironically, as the lawsuit representing these hundreds of thousands of farmers moves forward, ChemChina is proceeding on a $43 billion takeover of Swiss-based Syngenta.

    We have nothing to lose and everything to gain with a U.S. ban on atrazine.

    Please sign our petition to the EPA and include your own comments. In addition, if you want to help reduce atrazine use, go organic and stop eating factory farmed meat, milk and eggs. Over 90 percent of atrazine is applied to corn, most of which is grown to feed animals in factory farms.

    TAKE ACTION BY OCTOBER 5: Tell the EPA to #BanAtrazine!

  • Dile a BIMBO: ¡Basta de Intoxicar Nuestros Panes!

    “El pan nuestro de cada día.”

    Si ese pan es de Bimbo en cualquiera de sus versiones y todos los días comes chocorroles, cuernitos, madalenas o pingüinos, te aconsejo que lo pienses dos veces. Piénsalo una vez porque te estás alimentando mal, llenándote de harinas y de azúcar, de tóxicos y pesticidas y piénsalo una vez más, porque estás ayudando a que el suelo se cubra de tóxicos y a enfermar al planeta, además de tu cuerpo.

    ACTÚA AHORA: Pide a Daniel Servitje, Presidente del Consejo y Director General de Grupo Bimbo, que se comprometa a mejorar el planeta. Basta de pesticidas en nuestros alimentos.

    Greenpeace México ha emprendido una larga campaña para modificar las prácticas comerciales y de producción de Grupo Bimbo. Como bien han documentado en sus numerosos reportes, Grupo Bimbo es la principal panificadora del mundo y para producir sus más de 10 mil productos, la empresa se abastece de miles y miles de toneladas de insumos como almidones, edulcorantes, harinas, aceites, etc.

    Si bien Bimbo no produce estos insumos, se los compra a proveedores trasnacionales como Cargill, Ingredion, ALMEX, Bunge, y mexicanos como Maseca, quienes usan maíz y trigo, entre otros cultivos, producidos con plaguicidas y fertilizantes que intoxican los campos mexicanos, o importados de países donde se permite la siembra de transgénicos. 

    El mensaje de Greenpeace México es muy claro: Grupo Bimbo tiene un papel clave, ya que al cambiar su política de compras no sólo garantizará alimentos de mejor calidad para los hogares que los consumen, sino que además ayudará a que sus proveedores cambien también la forma en la que producen y abastecen a la industria alimentaria. En este sentido, es responsabilidad de Grupo Bimbo ofrecer productos de calidad desde su producción y hasta el consumo.

    Sabemos que Bimbo tiene la capacidad de cambiar sus prácticas y mejorar la salud de nuestro planeta y de los consumidores. Por eso, la Asociación de Consumidores Orgánicos, junto con Greenpeace México, Organic Consumers Association y Greenpeace Estados Unidos está trabajando para que Grupo Bimbo se comprometa a lo largo de su cadena de suministro y su producción, con métodos más transparentes y sanos.

    Es necesario que todas y todos actuemos, por eso, te invitamos a enviarle esta carta a Daniel Servitje, Presidente del Consejo y Director General de Grupo Bimbo. Súmate a los cientos de personas que están haciendo lo mismo en Estados Unidos y México: mejorando el planeta.

    ACTÚA AHORA: Pide a Daniel Servitje, Presidente del Consejo y Director General de Grupo Bimbo, que se comprometa a cuidar  el planeta. Es necesario que Grupo Bimbo lidere el cambio y termine con el uso de pesticidas en las cadenas de suministro alimenticio en el mundo. Completa este formulario y mándale un mensaje al Sr. Servitje. 

  • OHIO: Tell Your Senators to Protect Your Right to Nutrition and Alternative Health Counseling

    Ohio has one of the most restrictive dietetics laws in the country. The current law drastically limits your ability to seek nutrition counseling and advice from alternative practitioners such as nutritionists, personal trainers, naturopathic physicians, acupuncturists, midwives, health and wellness coaches.

    Thanks to a Supreme Court decision last year, Ohio lawmakers can have a chance to right this wrong.

    TAKE ACTION: Fill in the form on this page to tell your state Senator to vote yes on SB 329 when the bill comes to a floor vote on Wednesday, September 28.

    After you send your message, please contact the members of the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee (below) before the bill is heard in committee on Tuesday, September 27.


    Under current Ohio occupational licensing law, the state’s Board of Dietetics has kept hundreds of qualified practitioners, including qualified nutrition practitioners who aren’t registered dieticians, from being legally employed in Ohio. Too often, laws like this are used to serve private interests under the guise of “protecting the public.

    SB 329 will put into place significant checks and balances, including mechanisms for public input, on all state boards and commissions, including the Board of Dietetics.

    The bill will require regular reviews of licensing laws to make sure they are competitive, are not more restrictive than they need to be, and are serving the public interest rather than private associations.

    SB 329 will open the Dietetics Law and other occupational laws to the scrutiny they need and the public deserves.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell your state Senator to vote yes on SB 329 when the bill comes to a floor vote on Wednesday, September 28.

    After you send your message, please contact the members of the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee (below) before the bill is heard on Tuesday, September 27.


    More from the Center for Nutrition Advocacy here

    Ohio Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee
    Senator Phone Email

    Bill Coley (R) - Chair 614-466-8072 Coley@Ohiosenate.gov
    Bill Seitz (R) - Vice Chair 614-466-8068 seitz@ohiosenate.gov
    Kenny Yuko (D) - Ranking Member 614-466-4583 yuko@ohiosenate.gov
    Troy Balderson (R) 614-466-8076 balderson@ohiosenate.gov
    Edna Brown (D) 614-466-5204 brown@ohiosenate.gov
    Dave Burke (R) 614-466-8049 burke@ohiosenate.gov
    Kris Jordan (R) SPONSOR 614-466-8086 jordan@ohiosenate.gov
    Frank LaRose (R) 614-466-4823 larose@ohiosenate.gov
    Larry Obhof (R) 614-466-7505 obhof@ohiosenate.gov
    Tom Patton (R) 614-466-8056 patton@ohiosenate.gov
    Bob Peterson (R) 614-466-8156 peterson@ohiosenate.gov
    Michael J. Skindell (D) 614-466-5123 skindell@ohiosenate.gov

  • Dile a BIMBO: ¡Basta de Intoxicar Nuestros Panes!

    “El pan nuestro de cada día.”

    Si ese pan es de Bimbo en cualquiera de sus versiones y todos los días comes chocorroles, cuernitos, madalenas o pingüinos, te aconsejo que lo pienses dos veces. Piénsalo una vez porque te estás alimentando mal, llenándote de harinas y de azúcar, de tóxicos y pesticidas y piénsalo una vez más, porque estás ayudando a que el suelo se cubra de tóxicos y a enfermar al planeta, además de tu cuerpo.

    ACTÚA AHORA: Pide a Daniel Servitje, Presidente del Consejo y Director General de Grupo Bimbo, que se comprometa a mejorar el planeta. Basta de pesticidas en nuestros alimentos.

    Greenpeace México ha emprendido una larga campaña para modificar las prácticas comerciales y de producción de Grupo Bimbo. Como bien han documentado en sus numerosos reportes, Grupo Bimbo es la principal panificadora del mundo y para producir sus más de 10 mil productos, la empresa se abastece de miles y miles de toneladas de insumos como almidones, edulcorantes, harinas, aceites, etc.

    Si bien Bimbo no produce estos insumos, se los compra a proveedores trasnacionales como Cargill, Ingredion, ALMEX, Bunge, y mexicanos como Maseca, quienes usan maíz y trigo, entre otros cultivos, producidos con plaguicidas y fertilizantes que intoxican los campos mexicanos, o importados de países donde se permite la siembra de transgénicos. 

    El mensaje de Greenpeace México es muy claro: Grupo Bimbo tiene un papel clave, ya que al cambiar su política de compras no sólo garantizará alimentos de mejor calidad para los hogares que los consumen, sino que además ayudará a que sus proveedores cambien también la forma en la que producen y abastecen a la industria alimentaria. En este sentido, es responsabilidad de Grupo Bimbo ofrecer productos de calidad desde su producción y hasta el consumo.

    Sabemos que Bimbo tiene la capacidad de cambiar sus prácticas y mejorar la salud de nuestro planeta y de los consumidores. Por eso, la Asociación de Consumidores Orgánicos, junto con Greenpeace México, Organic Consumers Association y Greenpeace Estados Unidos está trabajando para que Grupo Bimbo se comprometa a lo largo de su cadena de suministro y su producción, con métodos más transparentes y sanos.

    Es necesario que todas y todos actuemos, por eso, te invitamos a enviarle esta carta a Daniel Servitje, Presidente del Consejo y Director General de Grupo Bimbo. Súmate a los cientos de personas que están haciendo lo mismo en Estados Unidos y México: mejorando el planeta.

    ACTÚA AHORA: Pide a Daniel Servitje, Presidente del Consejo y Director General de Grupo Bimbo, que se comprometa a cuidar  el planeta. Es necesario que Grupo Bimbo lidere el cambio y termine con el uso de pesticidas en las cadenas de suministro alimenticio en el mundo. Completa este formulario y mándale un mensaje al Sr. Servitje. 

  • Tell Bimbo: End the Use of Pesticides in the World Food Supply!

    “If you want a healthy life, get up early.”

    So says Bimbo, the world’s largest marketer of breads, organizer of the upcoming Global Energy Race, and a contributor of over $1 million to campaigns to keep labels off of GMO foods.
     
    TAKE ACTION: Tell Daniel Servitje, CEO of Grupo Bimbo, do something really great for the world! Take the lead in ending the use of pesticides in the world food supply. Fill in the form on this page to send your message to Mr. Servitje.

    We can’t say for certain that getting up early will make you any healthier than if you hit the snooze button a few times.

    But we’re absolutely certain that exposure to pesticides, like glyphosate, will make you (and the farmers who spray the pesticides, and the children who live near the farm fields) unhealthy.

    We’re equally certain that saturating the world’s soils with toxic chemicals will make the entire planet unhealthy.

    Bimbo’s Global Energy Race is set to take place on Sunday, September 25, in 37 cities in 22 countries. In a promotional video, the organizers promise that the race will “rock your world.”

    We challenge Mr. Servitje and Bimbo to rock our world, by taking the lead in ridding the world’s bread of toxic pesticides.

    When we think of Monsanto’s glyphosate, we think GMO corn, soy, beets, canola, and alfalfa—not wheat. Many of Bimbo’s products contain GMO ingredients—which explains why the company, a member of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, would spend a million bucks to defeat GMO labeling laws.

    Still, Bimbo’s is primarily a bread maker, which means its primary ingredient is wheat. While GE wheat has been field tested, it isn’t yet sold commercially—unlike corn and soy, which are now predominantly GMO.

    But even though Monsanto hasn’t managed to sell farmers on growing GMO wheat, the Gene Giant has convinced farmers to spray wheat fields with Roundup, in order to dry the crops evenly, to make harvesting more efficient.

    Bimbo USA is a subsidiary of Mexico-based Grupo Bimbo, which has operations in 21 countries. Here in the U.S., Bimbo’s operates more than 60 bakeries (according to the company website) and markets a long list of brands, including Arnolds, Sara Lee, Thomas’ English Muffins, Orowheat, Stroemans.

    In July, Bimbo bought the Eureka Grainiac Organic line. The company also sells a brand called “Nature’s Harvest.

    Let them eat junk bread!

    Let’s revisit Bimbo’s advice about getting up early to stay healthy. How about eating healthy foods?

    The website Fooducate.com analyzed the dismal nutritional quality of some of Bimbo’s most popular brands:

        Muffins: containing a petroleum-derived antioxidant, 400 calories and 5 1/2 tsp of sugar per serving,
        Double Fiber Bread: trans-fats and high-fructose corn syrup.
        Toasted Bread: contains trans-fats, artificial color and petroleum-derived antioxidants.
        Large Wheat Bread made with a flour bleacher banned in Europe, and containing high fructose corn syrup.
        Large White Bread: Trans-fats, HFCS and petroleum-derived anti-oxidant!
        Pound Cake: 8 tsp of sugar per serving, trans-fats, artificial colors and high in saturated fat.

    Those don't sound like healthy products to us. But guess what? Bimbo is using donations of its unhealthy breads as an incentive to register for the Global Energy Race in the U.S.!

    That's right. Bimbo USA will donate up to 250,000 slices of bread in conjunction with races in four U.S. cities—six slices for each eligible 3k race registration and 20 slices for each eligible 10k race registration. A minimum of 20,000 slices will be donated to food banks.

    Can you say, "Let them eat junk food?"

    A global problem that needs a global campaign

    In that slick promotional video for its Global Energy Race, Bimbo says: “Let’s run as one!”

    We say, let’s work as one—to clean up our food, our farms, our planet.

    There’s nothing wrong with organizing a global race. But what we really need is a global overhaul of our toxic food and agriculture systems.

    As the world’s largest bread maker, Bimbo could lead the charge in fixing our broken food system.

    This multinational company could commit to sourcing from regenerative growers.

    Bimbo could end the use of bee-killing and cancer-causing pesticides to grow its ingredients.

    At the very least, Bimbo could encourage transparency, by labeling its GMO ingredients—instead of telling people to get up early and run as one.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Daniel Servitje, CEO of Grupo Bimbo, do something really great for the world! Take the lead in ending the use of pesticides in the world food supply.

  • Dile a SAGARPA que Elimine el Uso de Insecticidas de Bayer y Syngenta que Matan Abejas y Nos Intoxican

    En México la política agropecuaria utiliza sistemas de producción intensiva que requieren del uso de plaguicidas altamente tóxicos, poco regulados y sobre todo, poco monitoreados, que generan beneficios económicos significativos a empresas poderosas y cuyos efectos y daños, permanecen en la opacidad.

    Necesitamos de tu ayuda: ¡Únete a la campaña y #PonteAbeja!

    En especial, los insecticidas neonicotinoides que en otras naciones ya se prohíben, están relacionados ampliamente con el síndrome de colapso de colmenas y el declive de abejas y polinizadores que está documentado a nivel mundial desde hace ya varios años. Las abejas son responsables de que existan 2/3 partes de los cultivos alimenticios en el mundo! Sin ellas, la biodiversidad y seguridad alimentaria estarían en peligro de extinción.

    Como personas consumidoras tenemos el poder de exigir transparencia, rendición de cuentas y políticas públicas congruentes con las prioridades nacionales. No queremos ya la misma política agropecuaria que por hacer negocio nos enferma y pone en riesgo el equilibrio ecosistémico y los recursos naturales del país.

    Esto no es un juego, es un asunto de interés público y debería ser abordado como prioridad nacional!

    Exige al Gobierno políticas públicas alineadas que favorezcan la producción agroecológica y orgánica, libre de plaguicidas y transgénicos. No te dejes envenenar y no permitas que se sigan muriendo las abejas que necesitamos para vivir y alimentarnos.

    ACTÚA: ¡Únete hoy mismo a la campaña y #PonteAbeja! Juntxs impulsaremos acciones para que toda persona sepa lo valiosos e indispensables que son los polinizadores y exigiremos la prohibición de sustancias que les dañan y que aparte contaminan nuestros alimentos y los ecosistemas.

  • Tell Your Representative to Stop Big Food’s 'Secrecy' Rider!

    Last year, The American Egg Board (AEB) was caught in the act trying to sabotage Hampton Creek, a company that markets a plant-based egg-free alternative and a product called “Just Mayo” (an egg-free mayonnaise). Documents revealed that AEB members viewed Hampton Creek as a threat to the $5.5-billion-a-year egg industry.

    A series of emails, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) revealed the details of AEB’s vendetta against Hampton Creek and its CEO, Josh Tetrick. (Michele Simon, Eat Drink Politics, reported on the emails, including one in which Mike Sencer, executive VP of AEB member Hidden Villa Ranch, wrote: "Can we pool our money and put a hit on him [Tetrick]?").

    The public embarrassment of AEB led some of the largest U.S. food producers and their lobbyists to ask Congress to shield groups like AEB from FOIA requests. With help from their friends in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Big Ag groups attached a rider to the House agricultural appropriations bill that would exempt groups like AEB from FOIA requests.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Your Representative to Stop Big Food’s 'Secrecy' Rider!

    Fifty years ago, Congress passed the Freedom of Information (FOIA) Act. FOIA gives anyone, including the media, non-government organizations and private citizens, the right to request and obtain information from the federal government.

    AEB isn’t a government agency. So why was it required to turn over documents, including the incriminating emails related to Hampton Creek, under FOIA? Because of something called Research & Promotion Programs, created under the Commodity, Promotion, Research and Information Act of 1996. The programs—more commonly referred to as checkoff programs—are overseen by the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), an arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

    Under the checkoff program, groups like AEB, the Cattleman’s Beef Board, the National Pork Board and others promote and provide research for agricultural commodities (think eggs, beef, pork, etc.) in order to increase demand and consumption. You may not have heard of these groups themselves, but you’re probably familiar with their work. They’re responsible for marketing slogans like "The incredible, edible egg," "Beef. It’s what’s for dinner," "Pork: the other white meat," and "Got milk?"

    How are groups like AEB funded? Under the checkoff program farmers and producers are required to pay a certain percentage of their earnings into a fund, which remember, is overseen by the USDA. The fact that the Supreme Court ruled that contributing to checkoff programs is mandatory, and that the programs themselves constitute government speech, is what makes groups like AEB subject to FOIA.  According to a report in the Guardian, the program has been criticized by small farmers and producers who say it discriminates against them by favoring large, industrial producers—in other words, factory farms.

    Checkoff programs come with rules for how they are allowed to promote commodities. Under those rules, AEB is supposed to "increase demand for eggs and egg products through research, education and promotion." AEB is not supposed to "make use of … unfair … practices with respect to quality, value or use of any competing product."

    When AEB’s emails detailing the board’s vendetta against Hampton Creek were made public, AEB was exposed for violating the checkoff program’s rules. Not happy with all the bad publicity, AEB now wants Congress to exempt it from FOIA, so presumably its members can continue to conduct their shady operations free from public scrutiny.

    How far did AEB go?


    We can assume that AEB board members were only joking when they talked about putting a hit on Tetrick, but they demonstrated their sincere determination to destroy his business by suggesting several other unfair practices, including:

    •    Paying someone to pressure Whole Foods Market to reject Hampton Creek’s egg-free Just Mayo.
    •    Hiring an infamous corporate public relations firm to pay food bloggers to smear Hampton Creek’s Beyond Eggs egg-replacer as unnatural and nutritionally deficient.

    AEB also repeatedly violated the law that says that no funds shall “be used for the purpose of influencing government policy or action” by:

    •    Attempting to join the Association of Dressings and Sauces, even though, as a USDA Research & Promotion board, the AEB is prohibited from the lobbying activities this trade association engages in.
    •    Lobbying the USDA’s National Supervisor of Shell Eggs to help it make a complaint to the Food & Drug Administration about Just Mayo’s non-GMO claim.
    •    Helping the United Egg Producers and Unilever file FDA complaints against Hampton Creek.

    The only reason we know that any of this happened is because of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). AEB’s illegal activity should have been the subject of a Congressional investigation.

    Instead, AEB’s friends in Congress want to encourage its bad deeds by exempting it from FOIA.

    As of yet, no Member of Congress has stood up to take credit for the rider to the ag appropriations bill, but it’s pretty clear who’s to blame.

    Trade associations representing the factory farm industry wrote a letter to Rep. Robert Aderholt, R-Ala., chairman of the House Appropriations agriculture subcommittee. Rep. Aderholt receives campaign contributions from many of these groups, including the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the National Potato Council. The language these groups suggested in that letter showed up in Rep. Aderholt’s version of the agriculture spending bill.

    Legalized bribery like this must stop. We can’t allow Congress to stuff its spending bills with favors to the factory farm industry.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Your Representative to Stop Big Food’s 'Secrecy' Rider!

  • MINNESOTA: Dayton Leads the Nation in Pollinator Protection! Let’s Keep It That Way!

    Minnesota boasts one of the best state fairs in the nation, where rural and urban citizens come together yearly to celebrate the state’s agricultural heritage. So it was no surprise that Governor Mark Dayton chose to announce his landmark pollinator protection plan at the Minnesota State Fair last Friday.

    Dayton’s plan incorporates sweeping new neonicotinoid use restrictions aimed at protecting Minnesota’s pollinators.

    TAKE ACTION: Use the form on this page to tell your state lawmakers to help implement Gov. Dayton’s pollinator protection plan.

    Then, if you’re at the State Fair, please stop by the Minnesota Democratic Party (DFL) and Minnesota Department of Agriculture booths to thank Governor Dayton and Commissioner Fredrickson for their landmark plan. You can also call them: Gov. Dayton (651-201-3400), Comm. Fredrickson (651-201-6219).

    “Bees and other pollinators play a critical role in supporting both our environment, and our economy,” said Governor Mark Dayton at the press conference announcing his Executive Order 16-07. “This order directs state government to take immediate action to alleviate the known risks that pollinators face”.

    The order directs the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) to require verification that any application of neonicotinoid pesticide, by farmers or nurseries, is “necessary because of imminent threats of significant crop losses.”

    The order also requires state agencies to create and protect pollinator habitat and to stop the use of neonicotinoid pesticides on the 8 million acres of lands they manage, including government buildings, landfill sites, and highway right-of-ways.

    Other Executive Order requirements include:

    • Reviewing pesticide product labels and implementing restrictions, as appropriate, to minimize impact on pollinator communities,
    • Increasing inspections and enforcement of label requirements for pesticides that are acutely toxic to pollinators,
    • Developing pollinator stewardship materials for pesticides to minimize non-target exposure to pollinators.
    • Continuing to develop and promote best management practices designed to protect and enhance pollinator health in Minnesota.
    • The state will also set up a 15-member Committee on Pollinator Protection to advise the Governor and state agencies, including experts on conservation, beekeeper representatives and conservation experts. 

    Most controversial in Dayton’s Executive Order is the call for Minnesota legislators to pass legislation giving the state the authority to regulate the sale and use of neonicotinoid coated seeds, based on research data collected by the MDA. Dayton has also proposed to fund research to develop need-based recommendations for the use of seed treatments.

    Along with the Governor, the MDA and Commissioner Dave Fredrickson also deserve recognition for acknowledging the science demonstrating the dangers of neonicotinoids, and in particular, neonicotinoid seed coatings. “After a two-year review of 300 scientific studies, the state Agriculture Department decided restrictions were necessary," said Commissioner Frederickson. "Really nobody is regulating seed treatment and of course about 80 percent of the seeds that are planted today are treated with neonics."

    Earlier this spring, MDA inspectors found that the hives of two Minnesota beekeepers were severely poisoned by bee-toxic neonicotinoid dust from a neighbor’s corn planting.

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) currently exempts neonic-treated seeds from government regulation, though central Minnesota beekeeper Jeff Anderson has filed a lawsuit challenging this exemption. Anderson’s suit calls on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to label neonicotinoid-coated seeds as a pesticide.

    Dayton’s plan isn’t the first instance in which Minnesota has led the nation in pollinator protection.

    In 2014, Minnesota passed a law prohibiting retailers from making bee-friendly claims if plants sold were treated with neonicotinoids, and another law that allows the MDA to compensate beekeepers for hive loss due to acute pesticide poisoning. Plus, the Minnesota Farmers Union was the first state chapter to pass a resolution calling for a five-year moratorium on neonicotinoid use.

    Despite broad-based citizen support for pollinator protection, we expect the industrial agriculture industry to conduct a well-funded and well-coordinated attack on any attempt to restrict neonicotinoid seed coatings.

    Dayton’s ambitious legislative agenda will require a strong coalition of activists urging their state lawmakers to follow the Governor’s lead in protecting pollinators.

    TAKE ACTION: Use the form on this page to tell your state lawmakers to help implement Gov. Dayton’s pollinator protection plan.

    Read the proposed action steps in Gov. Dayton’s plan here: http://www.mda.state.mn.us/chemicals/pesticides/regs/scopingneonics/eightsteps.aspx

    MN Department of Agriculture neonicotinoid special registration review process and findings: http://www.mda.state.mn.us/neonicsreview

  • Tell Jessica Alba and Honest Co.: No Fake Organic Baby Formula!

    When new parents buy baby formula labeled “organic” they expect that product to actually meet USDA organic standards.

    But if you bought the “Premium Organic” infant formula sold by The Honest Co., you were deceived—because that product contains synthetic ingredients that are not allowed under federal law.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Jessica Alba and Honest Co.: No Fake Organic Baby Formula!

    Please sign our alert. Then, please also call Honest’s customer service line 1 (888) 862-8818 and tell the company mothers expect organic infant formula to meet organic standards. Please also post on Honest Co.’s facebook page and tweet @Honest using the hashtags #falselabeling #organic.

    In April, the Organic Consumers Association sued the Honest Co., founded by celebrity Jessica Alba, for duping consumers by falsely labeling some of its infant formula products as organic after learning that the products contained synthetic ingredients that under federal law are not allowed in organics.

    In fact, of the 40 ingredients in the “Organic” Infant Formula, more than a quarter (11) are synthetic substances that are not allowed in organic products. The prohibited synthetic ingredients include: sodium selenite, taurine, ascorbyl palmitate, calcium pantothenate, choline bitartrate, cholecalciferol, beta-carotene, biotin, dl-alpha tocopherol, inositol, phytonadione.

    Not only are these synthetic ingredients prohibited under USDA organic standards, but some of them are federally regulated as hazardous compounds. At least one is irradiated.

    It gets worse: Some of the ingredients have not even been assessed as safe for human foods—much less for infant formula!

    OCA isn’t the first company to sue the not-so-honest Honest Company. The company is currently having to defend itself against three lawsuits.

    In February, Forbes reported on a suit brought against Alba’s company in New York by consumers who also claimed “false and deceptive labeling” of shampoo and bodycare products. The consumers alleged the products, some labeled “natural,” others “plant-based” and others as containing “no harsh chemicals, ever!” in fact contain synthetic and toxic ingredients.

    And in September 2015, according to ABC News, a $5 million suit was filed in California against the Honest Co. for, again, labeling products (soap, surface cleaner and diapers) “natural,” when in fact they contain synthetic preservatives and synthetic surfactant (in diapers).

    Is Alba a “victim?” Or is the Honest Co. in the business of deceiving consumers?

    We’ll leave it to the courts to make the final decision. In the meantime, it’s time for the Honest Co. to hear from you that you take labels seriously.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Jessica Alba and Honest Co.: No Fake Organic Baby Formula!

  • Tell Congress: Stop the Tyson Foods Anti-Farmer Act!

    The factory farm industry is so full of bad actors it’s tough to say who’s the worst. But Tyson Foods (NYSE: TSN) surely belongs at or near the top of the list.

    Besides Tyson’s well-documented animal abuse record, its callous disregard for the safety of its employees, and its role as one of this country’s worst polluters, Tyson is also actively lobbying to prevent Congress from passing legislation that would provide basic protections for the farmers who raise the animals, under contract, destined for Tyson’s processing plants.

    Take Action: Tell Congress to stop the Tyson Foods Anti-Farmer Act!

    When Congress returns to work after Labor Day, lawmakers will be rushing to meet the September 30 deadline for yearly spending bills, including the agriculture appropriations bill. As big corporations look to cash in on their campaign contributions, Tyson lobbyists are in full swing in support of a provision to further weaken protections for farmers who raise livestock, including poultry, for companies like Tyson.

    The provision Tyson is so keen to pass is known as the "GIPSA rider. It is intended to block the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) from enacting new farmer protection rules that were first proposed in 2011, but have since been continually blocked by industry. The new rules were created under the Packers and Stockyards Act.

    Now, as Congress works to pass a final joint ag appropriations bill, Tyson and other industry lobbyists are once again trying to ram through the GIPSA rider.

    We call this provision the “Tyson Foods Anti-Farmer Act” for two reasons.

    One, because that’s exactly what the GIPSA rider is—legislation that “would severely limit the USDA’s ability to protect farmers’ basic rights — like the right to free speech or freedom of association—in their dealings with large meatpacking and poultry companies,” says the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.

    And two, because Springdale, Ark.-based Tyson Foods, the world’s largest processor and marketer of chicken, beef, and pork, is clearly behind the rider. Why? So Tyson Foods Chairman John Tyson can protect his billions in profits, made by cheating the farmers who literally feather Tyson’s nest.

    How does Tyson cheat farmers?

    John Tyson’s executive compensation includes $859,100 worth of flights on the company’s private jets each year. Tyson made his piles of money by making sure farmers get an increasingly smaller share of each consumer dollar spent on Tyson products.

    As a result, farmers’ incomes have dropped, even as Tyson has watched his profit margins rise.

    A full quarter of chicken farmers experience losses every year. Tyson doesn’t even pay them enough to meet their operating costs. Of growers whose sole source of income is chicken farming, 71 percent of are living below the poverty line.


    How does Tyson get away with this? Through vertical integration and consolidation, Tyson has removed competition. He can run his monopolistic enterprise like a dictator. Tyson owns and controls everything in his supply chain, from the animals to the feed to the slaughterhouse.

    Not only can Tyson decide how much to pay farmers, he can force them to farm the way he wants. Or suffer the consequences.

    To learn how this has hurt family farmers, watch “Under Contract,” a series of short videos that tell stories of contract farmers like Karen and Mitchell Crutchfield who Tyson drove to bankruptcy and foreclosure.

    John Oliver also does a brilliant job of explaining how companies like Tyson cheat chicken farmers.

    How would the GIPSA rider hurt farmers and help Tyson?

    In 2011, the USDA finalized new GIPSA rules to address the problems Tyson and the other big meat companies have caused for family farmers like the Crutchfields.

    But those new rule were never enacted—because John Tyson has used his friends in Congress to block them. And no wonder. Under the GIPSA rules, Tyson would have to:

    •    Give poultry farmers adequate notice of plans to suspend delivery of chicks;
    •    Meet stricter criteria to require farmers to make additional capital investments in their poultry or hog farm;
    •    Provide a reasonable period of time for a farmer to remedy a breach of contract that could lead to termination of their contract; and
    •    Let farmers take disputes to court if the arbitration process outlined in the contract doesn’t adequately protect farmers’ rights.

    It's time to enact GIPSA’s rules to protect farmers.

    Take Action: Tell Congress to stop the Tyson Foods Anti-Farmer Act!

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    UPDATE: S. 764 was passed by the House on July 14. Please call President Obama at 202-456-1111 and tell him to veto the DARK Act! Then sign these petitions:

    President Obama: Pledge to Veto the DARK Act!

    Veto the DARK Act (S.764)

    Monsanto scored a major victory on July 7, when the Senate passed S.764, the bill known as the DARK Act (because it would Deny Americans the Right to Know about GMOs).

    But, this fight is far from over. The bill still must be passed by the House before it can go to the President.

    TAKE ACTION: Call your U.S. Representative at 888-754-9091 to tell him or her to vote against the DARK Act (S.764). Then, fill in the form on this page to send them an email.

    Here are some talking points you can use when you call:

    S.764 would kill Vermont’s law that labels GMO foods as ‘produced with genetic engineering.’ Vermont's law is working. GMOs are being labeled. Food prices are staying the same. Nothing has changed at the grocery stores in Vermont and the labels are being used nationwide. S.764 would hide information about GMOs behind QR codes. This discriminates against people without smart phones, especially elderly, rural, and low-income people, as well as people of color. S.764’s definition of “bioengineered” exempts nearly all GMOs from labeling. Even House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway says the “bill is riddled with ambiguity and affords the Secretary a concerning level of discretion.”

    We can stop the DARK Act this time.

    In 2015, the House passed H.R.1599, an earlier version of the DARK Act. But things are different now. This is why we think we have a better chance of stopping S.764:

    Democrats can’t be fooled twice. Among the 45 Democrats who voted for the DARK Act in 2015, there were a number who did so because they believed Monsanto’s lies about the confusing patchwork of state laws that would cause food prices to increase. Within the Congressional Black Caucus, 20 of 43 voted for the bill.

    Now that Vermont’s law has taken effect, we have proof that GMO labels have no impact on food prices. Most of the major U.S. food companies are labeling their GMO foods as “produced with genetic engineering” and not one has said that this imposes a significant cost.

    The patchwork of state laws problem doesn’t exist, as no other state law has gone into effect, let alone one that would require something different from Vermont’s “produced with genetic engineering” language.

    It is very unlikely that any Democrat concerned about low-income people’s access to food could vote for S.764, which takes the very most expensive and discriminatory option for food labels: QR code SmartLabels that can’t be scanned without a smart phone, internet access and downloaded software.

    Only 16 percent of Americans have ever scanned a QR code for any reason.

    Many people don’t have smart phones, including three quarters of people over the age of 65, half of people living in rural areas, and half of those making less than $30,000 a year. Among those who do have smart phones, 42 percent of African Americans and 36 percent of Latinos have had their smart phone service lapse when they couldn’t pay the bills.

    People of limited means care as much about what they eat as the wealthy. S.764 allows essential information about our food to be hidden behind what amounts to a pay-wall.

    Samantha McDaniel explains what this would mean for her Healthy Babies Project: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/578/486/684/michelle-obama-stop-the-dark-act-s.764-is-discriminatory/

    “I work with teen moms and a lot of them are from very under-privileged neighborhoods with low incomes. When I take them shopping to teach them how to buy healthy, non-GMO food it is already challenging enough. They would never use a Smart phone to scan a QR code or go to a website like bill S. 764 would require them to do because most can't afford a Smart phone. It's also dangerous to be looking at a phone when you have a baby in the cart or a toddler running off in a public place with possible predators nearby. They would not use their cell phone minutes because they have Pay As You Go phones and can't afford to use up their minutes on calling food companies.”

    The Republicans are split. While most Republicans have supported the DARK Act, Republican legislators who consistently adhere to free market, small government, and states’ rights principles are opposing federal action on GMO labels. And their ranks are growing.

    A conservative think-tank, the Heritage Foundation, has come out against S.764. Its lobbying arm warned, “Heritage Action opposes S. 764 and will include it as a key vote on our legislative scorecard.”

    House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway said that he would support the bill, but damned it with faint praise. In a statement he wrote:

    After spending the past week and a half studying the legislation and meeting with agricultural producers, along with a variety of other stakeholders, I have come to the conclusion that the Senate bill is riddled with ambiguity and affords the Secretary [of Agriculture] a concerning level of discretion.

    We couldn’t say it any better ourselves! Please let your Representative know how problematic this bill is.

    TAKE ACTION: Call your U.S. Representative at 888-754-9091 to tell him or her to vote against the DARK Act (S.764).

  • We Can Still STOP the DARK Act!

    UPDATE: S. 764 was passed by the House on July 14. Please call President Obama at 202-456-1111 and tell him to veto the DARK Act! Then sign these petitions:

    President Obama: Pledge to Veto the DARK Act!

    Veto the DARK Act (S.764)

    Monsanto scored a major victory on July 7, when the Senate passed S.764, the bill known as the DARK Act (because it would Deny Americans the Right to Know about GMOs).

    But, this fight is far from over. The bill still must be passed by the House before it can go to the President.

    TAKE ACTION: Call your U.S. Representative at 888-754-9091 to tell him or her to vote against the DARK Act (S.764). Then, fill in the form on this page to send them an email.

    Here are some talking points you can use when you call:

    S.764 would kill Vermont’s law that labels GMO foods as ‘produced with genetic engineering.’ Vermont's law is working. GMOs are being labeled. Food prices are staying the same. Nothing has changed at the grocery stores in Vermont and the labels are being used nationwide. S.764 would hide information about GMOs behind QR codes. This discriminates against people without smart phones, especially elderly, rural, and low-income people, as well as people of color. S.764’s definition of “bioengineered” exempts nearly all GMOs from labeling. Even House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway says the “bill is riddled with ambiguity and affords the Secretary a concerning level of discretion.”

    We can stop the DARK Act this time.

    In 2015, the House passed H.R.1599, an earlier version of the DARK Act. But things are different now. This is why we think we have a better chance of stopping S.764:

    Democrats can’t be fooled twice. Among the 45 Democrats who voted for the DARK Act in 2015, there were a number who did so because they believed Monsanto’s lies about the confusing patchwork of state laws that would cause food prices to increase. Within the Congressional Black Caucus, 20 of 43 voted for the bill.

    Now that Vermont’s law has taken effect, we have proof that GMO labels have no impact on food prices. Most of the major U.S. food companies are labeling their GMO foods as “produced with genetic engineering” and not one has said that this imposes a significant cost.

    The patchwork of state laws problem doesn’t exist, as no other state law has gone into effect, let alone one that would require something different from Vermont’s “produced with genetic engineering” language.

    It is very unlikely that any Democrat concerned about low-income people’s access to food could vote for S.764, which takes the very most expensive and discriminatory option for food labels: QR code SmartLabels that can’t be scanned without a smart phone, internet access and downloaded software.

    Only 16 percent of Americans have ever scanned a QR code for any reason.

    Many people don’t have smart phones, including three quarters of people over the age of 65, half of people living in rural areas, and half of those making less than $30,000 a year. Among those who do have smart phones, 42 percent of African Americans and 36 percent of Latinos have had their smart phone service lapse when they couldn’t pay the bills.

    People of limited means care as much about what they eat as the wealthy. S.764 allows essential information about our food to be hidden behind what amounts to a pay-wall.

    Samantha McDaniel explains what this would mean for her Healthy Babies Project: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/578/486/684/michelle-obama-stop-the-dark-act-s.764-is-discriminatory/

    “I work with teen moms and a lot of them are from very under-privileged neighborhoods with low incomes. When I take them shopping to teach them how to buy healthy, non-GMO food it is already challenging enough. They would never use a Smart phone to scan a QR code or go to a website like bill S. 764 would require them to do because most can't afford a Smart phone. It's also dangerous to be looking at a phone when you have a baby in the cart or a toddler running off in a public place with possible predators nearby. They would not use their cell phone minutes because they have Pay As You Go phones and can't afford to use up their minutes on calling food companies.”

    The Republicans are split. While most Republicans have supported the DARK Act, Republican legislators who consistently adhere to free market, small government, and states’ rights principles are opposing federal action on GMO labels. And their ranks are growing.

    A conservative think-tank, the Heritage Foundation, has come out against S.764. Its lobbying arm warned, “Heritage Action opposes S. 764 and will include it as a key vote on our legislative scorecard.”

    House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway said that he would support the bill, but damned it with faint praise. In a statement he wrote:

    After spending the past week and a half studying the legislation and meeting with agricultural producers, along with a variety of other stakeholders, I have come to the conclusion that the Senate bill is riddled with ambiguity and affords the Secretary [of Agriculture] a concerning level of discretion.

    We couldn’t say it any better ourselves! Please let your Representative know how problematic this bill is.

    TAKE ACTION: Call your U.S. Representative at 888-754-9091 to tell him or her to vote against the DARK Act (S.764).

  • SalsaStaff 129722: Country code behavior question

    If you’re one of the two million people who suffered from an antibiotic-resistant infection in the past 12 months, Joe Sanderson, CEO of one of the four largest chicken factory farms in the U.S.—Sanderson Farms—has this to say about that:

    “There’s no reliable science that says by using these [government] approved antibiotics, that there is going to be any resistance. We have a duty to take care of the animals.”

    No reliable science. Except, for starters, a 2013 report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control revealing that 23,000 people in the U.S. alone die every year from antibiotic-resistant infections. And a 2015 report commissioned by the UK government estimating that by 2050, the annual global death toll from antibiotic resistant disease will reach 10 million, and the global cost for treatment will be around $100 trillion. 

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Sanderson Farms to end the reckless use of antibiotics in its poultry factory farms!

    After you sign the alert, please also fill out Sanderson’s customer service form. Then call the company at 1-800-844-4030, and/or write a letter to: Sanderson Farms, Attn: Joe Sanderson, CEO, PO Box 988, Laurel, MS 39441. And don’t forget to post a comment on Facebook

    You may not recognize the Sanderson Farms (NASDAQ: SAFM) brand name, unless you live in certain regions of the country, especially the Northeast and Southeast. That’s where the brand is sold in retail chains like Shaws, Star Markets, Walmart, Lowe's and Piggly Wiggly’s. (The company website says the brand is sold at 134 locations in 24 states).

    But that doesn’t mean you, or your kids, haven’t consumed Sanderson’s chicken “products.” 

    According to the company website, Laurel, Miss.-based Sanderson processes about 3.6 billion pounds of chicken annually, at 11 processing plants in Mississippi, Texas, Georgia and Louisiana.

    A lot of that chicken ends up in the more than 100 processed and prepared frozen food items Sanderson sells to restaurants and institutional food service companies, including those that sell food to schools and hospitals.

    Sanderson likes to brag that its chicken is “100% natural,” “100% American”  and that the company is “100% committed” to the “best service in the industry.”

    What the website doesn’t tell you is that Sanderson is 100% committed to the over-use of antibiotics. And a100% failure when it comes to how the company treats workers, according to a 2015 report by Oxfam America.

    Let’s be clear. There’s nothing good about Sanderson Farms, or any other factory farm that tortures animals, abuses workers, pumps birds full of antibiotics, pollutes communities and contributes to the degenerative industrial agriculture system.

    But even if you don’t intentionally purchase Sanderson chicken, or even unintentionally eat it at a school cafeteria, hospital or restaurant, the over-use of antibiotics is everyone’s problem. Because sooner or later, you, or a family member, will come down with an infection that can’t be treated because the bug that caused it has evolved into an antibiotic-resistant “superbug.” 

    The top four players in the U.S. poultry market, which include Sanderson, Tyson Foods, Pilgrim’s and Perdue, control about 60 percent of the market. CEO Joe Sanderson was compensated to the tune of $5.9 million in 2014, a nearly 200-percent increase since 2011, according to salary.com.

    Such big numbers make Joe Sanderson and Sanderson Farms look mighty successful, financially. But that success comes at a high cost—to millions of people who get sick, or worse, every year because of the reckless over-use of antibiotics on factory farms.

  • DEADLINE July 13: Tell the NOP: Bare Dirt and Concrete Aren't Organic!

    Picture the farm where your organic eggs, chicken and turkey come from. See birds chasing insects in green pastures, scratching in the dirt to dust bathe and hunt for worms, and roosting in trees? That’s how most small-scale organic farmers raise their birds.

    Unfortunately, most of the “organic” eggs and poultry produced in the U.S. come from large-scale factory farms, where the birds are cooped up indoors. These operations are breaking the rule that requires outdoor access for all organic animals.

    The good news is the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program (NOP) is finally cracking down on the organic industry’s rotten eggs. The bad news is the NOP is proposing that “outdoors” can be as little as two square feet per bird of bare dirt and concrete.

    TAKE ACTION: DEADLINE July 13: Tell the NOP: Bare Dirt and Concrete Aren't Organic!  Fill in the form on this page to sign the petition.

    Thanks to the nearly 20,000 of you who asked Congress to let the NOP proceed with its plan to crack down on the big “organic” egg and poultry operations, we’ve dodged the first bullet—members of the Ag Appropriations Committee were unable to push through a  proposed amendment to the Agriculture Appropriations Bill for fiscal 2017 which would have killed the NOP proposal before the USDA even got the chance to even review the comments by the June 13 deadline.

    Now that we’ve cleared that roadblock, we have to convince the NOP to make meaningful, not just symbolic, change.

    According to a poll conducted by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a majority of consumers believe organic animals already have access to pasture. And nearly everyone thinks they should.

    More than 60 percent of all consumers believe that organic standards require “all animals have access to outdoor pasture and fresh air throughout the day.”

    More than 90 percent of all consumers think that organic standards should require “vegetation to graze on,” “access to open pasture,” and “natural ground not concrete.”

    Unfortunately, the “USDA Organic” label doesn’t guarantee that the eggs and poultry you buy comes from animals who have “access to outdoor pasture and fresh air throughout the day.”

    Also unfortunate? The fact that “organic” eggs from chickens raised in factory farm-like conditions are less nutritious than from chickens raised on pasture. According to the USDA-funded National Center for Appropriate Technology’s report, “Pastured Poultry Nutrition and Forages,” eggs from grass-fed flocks “tend to have less cholesterol, more vitamins A and E, multiplied Omega-3 content, and a healthier ratio of Omega-3s to Omega-6s,” while “the results of poultry meat production on pasture are similar.”
     
    The only way to be sure you are buying organic eggs and poultry that live up to the “pasture-raised” standard, which includes raising birds on an organic diet, is to look for an additional animal welfare label like “Animal Welfare Approved,” “Certified Humane – Pasture Raised,” or “American Humane Certified – Pasture.”
    What about the organic eggs, chicken and turkey that don’t have additional labels?

    The Cornucopia Institute spent a year researching the organic egg business to produce a scorecard that rates 136 different name brand and private-label eggs. Only 22 of the 136 are “truly pastured.”

    It’s time for the NOP to crack down on egg and poultry operations that are skirting the rules. And it’s time to toughen up the rules themselves. But the NOP’s new proposed rule’s recommendation for only 2 square feet per bird of outdoor space doesn’t go far enough.

    TAKE ACTION: DEADLINE July 13: Tell the NOP: Bare Dirt and Concrete Aren't Organic!

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  • Tell KFC: ‘Just Say No’ to Antibiotics in Chicken!

    You probably don’t eat at Kentucky Fried Chicken. But KFC’s “finger-lickin’ good” chicken poses a threat to your health, whether you eat it or not.

    The Washington Post just reported that “for the first time, researchers have found a person in the United States carrying bacteria resistant to antibiotics of last resort, an alarming development that the top U.S. public health official says could mean ‘the end of the road for antibiotics.”

    It’s a widely reported fact that one of the primary reasons antibiotics that once helped save lives are now ineffective is the over-use of antibiotics by factory farms. And KFC, one of the world’s largest fast-food chicken restaurants, is partly to blame.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell KFC: ‘Just Say No’ to Antibiotics in Chicken!

    After you sign the alert, please also fill out KFC’s contact form. Then call the company at 1(800) 225-5532 and/or write a letter to: KFC, Attn: Mr. Greg Creed, Chief Executive Officer Yum! Brands 5200 Commerce Crossings Dr., Louisville, KY 40229

    And don’t forget to post a comment on KFC’s Facebook page.

    According to the Washington Post:

    The antibiotic-resistant strain was found last month in the urine of a 49-year-old Pennsylvania woman. Defense Department researchers determined that she carried a strain of E. coli resistant to the antibiotic colistin, according to a study published Thursday in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a publication of the American Society for Microbiology. The authors wrote that the discovery "heralds the emergence of a truly pan-drug resistant bacteria."

    Yum! Brands is the parent company of KFC. It’s website is all about “feeding the world” and “corporate social responsibility.”

    But what’s socially responsible about contributing to a global health crisis by failing to take action on antibiotics?

    According to a 2013 report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control revealing, 23,000 people in the U.S. alone die every year from antibiotic-resistant infections. Another two million get sick from antibiotic-resistant infections.

    A 2015 report commissioned by the UK government estimates that by 2050, the annual global death toll from antibiotic resistant disease will reach 10 million, and the global cost for treatment will be around $100 trillion.

    Some companies have responded to scientists’ warnings and consumer demand to stop sourcing chicken routinely fed antibiotics, including KFC’s leading competitor, Chick-fil-A, and also McDonald’s and Subway.

    But not KFC.

    More than 80 groups, led by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) recently signed a letter to Yum!’s CEO, Greg Creed, asking the company to address the antibiotics issue. But Creed, Yum!’s and KFC have remained mum.

    According to the NRDC:

    When these drugs are overused, by humans or animals, some bacteria become resistant to antibiotics. That threatens the future effectiveness of these medicines, putting public health at risk.

    These superbugs don’t stay down on the farm. They can be transferred to humans in the handling or preparation of raw foods or via air, water and soil from the farm to nearby communities. Even workers can inadvertently take them home.

    Let’s be clear. There’s nothing good about meat sourced from factory farms that torture animals, abuse workers, pump birds full of antibiotics, pollute communities and contribute to the degenerative industrial agriculture system.

    But even those of us who boycott factory farm products, can’t escape the risk companies like KFC pose because they fail to take a responsible approach to the use of antibiotics.

    It’s time for KFC to “just say no” to drugs.

  • Urgent! Tell Congress: Stop Protecting Organic’s Rotten Eggs!

    For years, a few rotten eggs in the organic industry have managed to bend or circumvent the rules for how laying hens who produce eggs labeled USDA Organic are supposed to be treated.

    The National Organic Program (NOP), which operates under the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is finally trying to address that problem. But unfortunately, some members of Congress, including members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, are trying to block the NOP’s new proposal.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress to stop protecting organic’s rotten eggs! Let the National Organic Program finish its work to improve the lives of egg-laying hens and other animals.

    Most organic farmers treat their animals well. They take the organic regulations seriously, including the requirements for “living conditions which accommodate the health and natural behavior of animals” and “access for all animals to the outdoors, shade, shelter, exercise areas, fresh air, clean water for drinking, and direct sunlight.”

    Unfortunately, there are exceptions. Which means that some animal products, including eggs, that bear the USDA Organic seal come from large factory-farm-type operations where animals are cooped up indoors and subjected to conditions that clearly don’t support their health, much less natural behavior.

    For more than a decade, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), at the insistence of the Organic Consumers Association and our allies, has been trying to solve this problem. The NOSB has given the NOP a series of recommendations for more specific animal welfare requirements that would improve enforcement of existing rules, and strengthen those rules.

    Finally, in April 2016, the NOP acted on these recommendations with a new proposed rule on “Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices.” The proposal isn’t perfect, but it is a huge step in the right direction. We believe we could get the NOP to do even better—but we can’t do that unless the NOP is allowed to proceed with its new proposal.

    Who's trying to block the NOP proposal? Agriculture Committee Chair Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) are among those who have vowed to defend rotten eggs in the organic egg industry. They support a proposed amendment to the Agriculture Appropriations Bill for fiscal 2017 which could kill the NOP proposal before the USDA has a chance to even review the comments by the June 13 deadline.

    The NOP’s new proposed rule is a response to legal complaints against rotten eggs like Herbruck's Poultry Ranch, an Eggland’s Best supplier that confines as many as 2 million organic hens indoors. Herbruck’s continues to brazenly flaunt the fact that it refuses to comply with existing organic regulations requiring “access for all animals to the outdoors.” According to Politico, executive vice president Greg Herbruck reacted to the NOP’s new proposal by saying,  “What makes a bird going outside more organic?”

    We think consumers, who consciously choose organic, do so for many reasons, including their own health, the health of the environment, and the health and humane treatment of animals. That’s why we support NOP’s new proposal to improve animal welfare conditions, and enforce the existing animal welfare rules.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress to stop protecting organic’s rotten eggs! Let the National Organic Program finish its work to improve the lives of egg-laying hens and other animals.

  • Tell the FDA: Don’t Release Frankenbugs in Florida!

    Genetically engineered mosquitoes, or Frankenbugs, are one step closer to being released in Florida.

    Oxitec, a British company recently purchased by Intrexon Corp. (NYSE:XON), which also bought the creators of GMO salmon and GMO apples, wants to release millions of experimental GMO mosquitoes for the first time in the U.S., in the Florida Keys.

    And U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) officials are about to greenlight the plan, unless we can convince the not to.

    DEADLINE MAY 13: Tell the FDA: Don’t release GMO mosquitoes in Florida!

    The FDA released a preliminary finding of “no significant impact to the environment” for Oxitec’s proposal. The public comment period on this finding has been extended until May 13, 2016.

    Oxitec’s GMO mosquitoes (OX513A) were developed to combat wild populations of the aedes aegypti mosquito which transmits diseases such as dengue fever and the Zika virus. The GMO mosquitoes are bred in the lab to survive only in the presence of the antibiotic tetracycline. Male mosquitoes are released, they mate with wild females, and their offspring die in the larval stage due to the absence of the antibiotic.

    But there are several flaws in that plan. Despite their genetically engineered “kill switch,” three percent of the GMO mosquitoes can survive the absence of tetracycline. Plus, tetracycline is commonly used in agricultural production and can be found in sewage and septic systems, so it’s not far-fetched to assume some of these mosquitoes will encounter tetracycline outside of the lab, increasing their chance of survival. In fact, according to Oxitec’s own study, up to 18 percent of the mosquitoes survived when fed cat food containing industrially farmed chicken, which is often contaminated with tetracycline.

    And then there’s the question of effectiveness. According to GeneWatch, the science is inconclusive and claims of success in Oxitec press releases aren’t substantiated by published results. For instance, in one area it took millions of GMO mosquitoes to impact a wild population of only 20,000.

    Oxitec stands to make a lot of money off its new Frankenbugs. New GMO mosquitoes have to be released as often as every month to keep a wild population suppressed. Participating countries would be locked into a permanent purchasing scheme with Oxitec. And that means millions if not billions of GMO mosquitoes released into the wild.

    Open releases have already taken place in the Cayman Islands, Malaysia, Brazil and Panama. Once these mosquitoes are released in Florida, they may be there to stay. Without long-term studies, we don’t know whether or not these mosquitoes are toxic to people or animals, or if a decline in aedes aegypti could open an ecological niche that could be filled by a more harmful pest, such as the Asian Tiger mosquito.

    Many Floridians have made it clear they don’t want to be a part of Oxitec’s experiment, especially considering that dengue fever hasn’t been a threat in the Keys in recent years.

    There are just too many unanswered questions about the safety and effectiveness of Oxitec’s GMO mosquitoes for the FDA to approve their release in Florida, or anywhere else in the U.S.

    DEADLINE MAY 13: Tell the FDA to reject GMO mosquitoes in Florida!

    If you live in the Florida Keys area, please call the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District Key West office at (305-292-7190), and contact your Monroe county Commissioner. You can also submit a comment online.

  • test monsanto money steve

    Remember the Monsanto Protection Act? Well, Monsanto’s minions in Congress have a new one for you: The Monsanto Promotion Act.

    Now that the IRS has filled the government’s coffers, Congress gets to decide how to spend your hard-earned money.

    TAKE ACTION! Ask your Member of Congress and Senators to remove the Monsanto Promotion Act. Tell them you don’t want your taxes to be spent on corporate welfare or industry propaganda, especially not to promote Monsanto’s GMOs!

    The U.S. House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee has decided that:

    $3,000,000 shall be used by the Commissioner of Food and Drugs, in coordination with the Secretary of Agriculture, for consumer outreach to promote understanding and acceptance of agricultural biotechnology and biotechnology-derived food products and animal feed, including through publication and distribution of science-based educational information on the environmental, nutritional, food safety, economic, and humanitarian benefits of such biotechnology, food products, and feed.

    Wow, with legislation as crazy as this, it’s hard to know where to start.

    We’re going to take $3 million out of taxpayers’ pockets to promote the products of an industry awash in profits it makes from poisoning our food, soils and water, and contributing the lion’s share of greenhouse gases to our overheated planet?

    $3 million? In an age where fights over the budget deficit regularly bring the government to the brink of shut-down and loan defaults? In a country where 41.8 million Americans live in food-insecure households and more than 500,000 are homeless?

    $3 million to market Monsanto’s products, when our country’s crumbling infrastructure is hurting U.S. competitiveness and our decaying school buildings are affecting our children’s ability to learn?

    In 2015, big food, farm and biotechnology companies and trade associations working to prevent labeling of food containing genetically engineered ingredients spent $101.4 million just lobbying Congress. The U.S. prepared foods industry spends $1.68 billion on advertising each year.

    These corporations don’t need our money, they’ve got plenty of their own. And since when is the U.S. government in the business of providing free public relations services to highly profitable corporations?

    Most Americans believe GMO foods and the chemicals used to grow them are unsafe. Not an unreasonable assumption, given that GMOs aren’t safety tested and 99.7 percent of the GMOs grown in the world today are engineered to either absorb an herbicide (like Monsanto’s Roundup with the active ingredient glyphosate, a probable carcinogen) or produce an insecticide.

    Maybe Congress should appropriate $3 million to actually investigate the safety of the GMOs we’re already eating?

    We know of no other program like this designed to convince skeptical consumers that any particular technology is safe. The government doesn’t do this for fracking or nuclear power or cell phones. There’s no reason to do it for GMOs.

    There are risks and downsides to nearly all technologies no matter how beneficial. To publish and distribute information only on the benefits of something isn’t very scientific. It’s biased and misleading.

    As for “the environmental, nutritional, food safety, economic, and humanitarian benefits of … biotechnology,” this is the most galling of all the proposed reasons for this $3 million-giveaway to Monsanto. Most of the so-called “benefits” of Monsanto’s GMO crops have long been debunked.

    Monsanto says that GMOs benefit the environment by reducing pesticide use. But even the most biased industry-backed studies admit that the only reductions are in insecticide sprays from the adoption of genetically engineered plants that produce their own insecticides (this doesn’t decrease consumer exposure) and that the use of herbicides has gone up. U.S. government data confirms that GMOs have increased pesticide use overall.

    While a few nutritionally-enhanced GMOs like Golden Rice have been in development for more than a decade, none have been commercialized or proven to increase nutrition or improve health or food insecurity. The problem of hunger isn’t that we can’t produce enough nutritious food for everyone to eat without biotechnology. The problem is that we waste and fail to equitably distribute the food we have. But, there’s plenty of evidence that agroecology (organic and regenerative agriculture) can create food security by increasing the yields of small-scale farmers and making farming more resilient in the face of climate change.

    The “Monsanto Promotion Act” is nothing more than a propaganda campaign waged by the U.S. government, on behalf of the biotech industry, and paid for by you.

    TAKE ACTION! Ask your Member of Congress and Senators to remove the Monsanto Promotion Act. Let them know that you don’t want your taxes to be spent on corporate welfare or industry propaganda, especially not to promote Monsanto’s GMOs!

  • test monsanto money steve

    Remember the Monsanto Protection Act? Well, Monsanto’s minions in Congress have a new one for you: The Monsanto Promotion Act.

    Now that the IRS has filled the government’s coffers, Congress gets to decide how to spend your hard-earned money.

    TAKE ACTION! Ask your Member of Congress and Senators to remove the Monsanto Promotion Act. Tell them you don’t want your taxes to be spent on corporate welfare or industry propaganda, especially not to promote Monsanto’s GMOs!

    The U.S. House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee has decided that:

    $3,000,000 shall be used by the Commissioner of Food and Drugs, in coordination with the Secretary of Agriculture, for consumer outreach to promote understanding and acceptance of agricultural biotechnology and biotechnology-derived food products and animal feed, including through publication and distribution of science-based educational information on the environmental, nutritional, food safety, economic, and humanitarian benefits of such biotechnology, food products, and feed.

    Wow, with legislation as crazy as this, it’s hard to know where to start.

    We’re going to take $3 million out of taxpayers’ pockets to promote the products of an industry awash in profits it makes from poisoning our food, soils and water, and contributing the lion’s share of greenhouse gases to our overheated planet?

    $3 million? In an age where fights over the budget deficit regularly bring the government to the brink of shut-down and loan defaults? In a country where 41.8 million Americans live in food-insecure households and more than 500,000 are homeless?

    $3 million to market Monsanto’s products, when our country’s crumbling infrastructure is hurting U.S. competitiveness and our decaying school buildings are affecting our children’s ability to learn?

    In 2015, big food, farm and biotechnology companies and trade associations working to prevent labeling of food containing genetically engineered ingredients spent $101.4 million just lobbying Congress. The U.S. prepared foods industry spends $1.68 billion on advertising each year.

    These corporations don’t need our money, they’ve got plenty of their own. And since when is the U.S. government in the business of providing free public relations services to highly profitable corporations?

    Most Americans believe GMO foods and the chemicals used to grow them are unsafe. Not an unreasonable assumption, given that GMOs aren’t safety tested and 99.7 percent of the GMOs grown in the world today are engineered to either absorb an herbicide (like Monsanto’s Roundup with the active ingredient glyphosate, a probable carcinogen) or produce an insecticide.

    Maybe Congress should appropriate $3 million to actually investigate the safety of the GMOs we’re already eating?

    We know of no other program like this designed to convince skeptical consumers that any particular technology is safe. The government doesn’t do this for fracking or nuclear power or cell phones. There’s no reason to do it for GMOs.

    There are risks and downsides to nearly all technologies no matter how beneficial. To publish and distribute information only on the benefits of something isn’t very scientific. It’s biased and misleading.

    As for “the environmental, nutritional, food safety, economic, and humanitarian benefits of … biotechnology,” this is the most galling of all the proposed reasons for this $3 million-giveaway to Monsanto. Most of the so-called “benefits” of Monsanto’s GMO crops have long been debunked.

    Monsanto says that GMOs benefit the environment by reducing pesticide use. But even the most biased industry-backed studies admit that the only reductions are in insecticide sprays from the adoption of genetically engineered plants that produce their own insecticides (this doesn’t decrease consumer exposure) and that the use of herbicides has gone up. U.S. government data confirms that GMOs have increased pesticide use overall.

    While a few nutritionally-enhanced GMOs like Golden Rice have been in development for more than a decade, none have been commercialized or proven to increase nutrition or improve health or food insecurity. The problem of hunger isn’t that we can’t produce enough nutritious food for everyone to eat without biotechnology. The problem is that we waste and fail to equitably distribute the food we have. But, there’s plenty of evidence that agroecology (organic and regenerative agriculture) can create food security by increasing the yields of small-scale farmers and making farming more resilient in the face of climate change.

    The “Monsanto Promotion Act” is nothing more than a propaganda campaign waged by the U.S. government, on behalf of the biotech industry, and paid for by you.

    TAKE ACTION! Ask your Member of Congress and Senators to remove the Monsanto Promotion Act. Let them know that you don’t want your taxes to be spent on corporate welfare or industry propaganda, especially not to promote Monsanto’s GMOs!

  • Yes, I Bought Falsely Labeled Organic Infant Formula and Want to Be Contacted

    The lawsuits OCA filed against Hain Celestial Group (maker of Earth’s Best) and The Honest Co. for falsely labeling infant formula’s “organic” have generated calls and emails from many concerned parents.

    Our lawsuits are not class action suits—they do not ask for compensation for consumers who were deceived. Our lawsuits demand that the companies change their labels. We chose this path because class action lawsuits take much longer to make their way through the courts. We want the labels removed now, so that more people won't be deceived.

    A class action suit previously filed against Hain for falsely labeling its Earth’s Best brand baby formula is working its way through the courts. The suit was filed in New York Superior Court, by the same attorneys who filed the new lawsuits on behalf of OCA. As of yet, no class action suit has been filed against Honest for falsely labeling its Premium Organic infant formula.

    If you would like to participate in the existing class action suit against Earth’s Best, or a future class action suit against Honest, please sign the form at the right, so the proper attorneys can contact you.

    You will need to provide your name, zipcode, email address and, if you want an attorney to call you, your phone number.

    In the comment section, please let us know which of the following brands of infant formula, labeled organic, that you have purchased: Earth’s Best, Honest, Walmart's Parent's Choice, or Nature’s One/Baby’s Only.

    IMPORTANT: OCA’s policy is to not share or sell email addresses or phone numbers. However, in this case we are making an exception. if you sign this form, we will share your information with the attorneys who are handling the lawsuits. We will not share your information with other signers, or anyone else.

    More on the lawsuits here

  • Don’t Let Congress Give Your Money to Monsanto!

    Remember the Monsanto Protection Act? Well, Monsanto’s minions in Congress have a new one for you: The Monsanto Promotion Act.

    Now that the IRS has filled the government’s coffers, Congress gets to decide how to spend your hard-earned money.

    TAKE ACTION! Ask your Member of Congress and Senators to remove the Monsanto Promotion Act. Tell them you don’t want your taxes to be spent on corporate welfare or industry propaganda, especially not to promote Monsanto’s GMOs!

    The U.S. House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee has decided that:

    $3,000,000 shall be used by the Commissioner of Food and Drugs, in coordination with the Secretary of Agriculture, for consumer outreach to promote understanding and acceptance of agricultural biotechnology and biotechnology-derived food products and animal feed, including through publication and distribution of science-based educational information on the environmental, nutritional, food safety, economic, and humanitarian benefits of such biotechnology, food products, and feed.

    Wow, with legislation as crazy as this, it’s hard to know where to start.

    We’re going to take $3 million out of taxpayers’ pockets to promote the products of an industry awash in profits it makes from poisoning our food, soils and water, and contributing the lion’s share of greenhouse gases to our overheated planet?

    $3 million? In an age where fights over the budget deficit regularly bring the government to the brink of shut-down and loan defaults? In a country where 41.8 million Americans live in food-insecure households and more than 500,000 are homeless?

    $3 million to market Monsanto’s products, when our country’s crumbling infrastructure is hurting U.S. competitiveness and our decaying school buildings are affecting our children’s ability to learn?

    In 2015, big food, farm and biotechnology companies and trade associations working to prevent labeling of food containing genetically engineered ingredients spent $101.4 million just lobbying Congress. The U.S. prepared foods industry spends $1.68 billion on advertising each year.

    These corporations don’t need our money, they’ve got plenty of their own. And since when is the U.S. government in the business of providing free public relations services to highly profitable corporations?

    Most Americans believe GMO foods and the chemicals used to grow them are unsafe. Not an unreasonable assumption, given that GMOs aren’t safety tested and 99.7 percent of the GMOs grown in the world today are engineered to either absorb an herbicide (like Monsanto’s Roundup with the active ingredient glyphosate, a probable carcinogen) or produce an insecticide.

    Maybe Congress should appropriate $3 million to actually investigate the safety of the GMOs we’re already eating?

    We know of no other program like this designed to convince skeptical consumers that any particular technology is safe. The government doesn’t do this for fracking or nuclear power or cell phones. There’s no reason to do it for GMOs.

    There are risks and downsides to nearly all technologies no matter how beneficial. To publish and distribute information only on the benefits of something isn’t very scientific. It’s biased and misleading.

    As for “the environmental, nutritional, food safety, economic, and humanitarian benefits of … biotechnology,” this is the most galling of all the proposed reasons for this $3 million-giveaway to Monsanto. Most of the so-called “benefits” of Monsanto’s GMO crops have long been debunked.

    Monsanto says that GMOs benefit the environment by reducing pesticide use. But even the most biased industry-backed studies admit that the only reductions are in insecticide sprays from the adoption of genetically engineered plants that produce their own insecticides (this doesn’t decrease consumer exposure) and that the use of herbicides has gone up. U.S. government data confirms that GMOs have increased pesticide use overall.

    While a few nutritionally-enhanced GMOs like Golden Rice have been in development for more than a decade, none have been commercialized or proven to increase nutrition or improve health or food insecurity. The problem of hunger isn’t that we can’t produce enough nutritious food for everyone to eat without biotechnology. The problem is that we waste and fail to equitably distribute the food we have. But, there’s plenty of evidence that agroecology (organic and regenerative agriculture) can create food security by increasing the yields of small-scale farmers and making farming more resilient in the face of climate change.

    The “Monsanto Promotion Act” is nothing more than a propaganda campaign waged by the U.S. government, on behalf of the biotech industry, and paid for by you.

    TAKE ACTION! Ask your Member of Congress and Senators to remove the Monsanto Promotion Act. Let them know that you don’t want your taxes to be spent on corporate welfare or industry propaganda, especially not to promote Monsanto’s GMOs!

  • May 21, 2016: March Against Monsanto!

    The People vs. Monsanto

    It's that time again. The time for millions of people, around the world, to March Against Monsanto.

    This year's global march will take place on May 21. Our message will be: The People vs. Monsanto. Our call to action is this: Tell the world  about the Monsanto Citizen's Tribunal, which will take place on October 15 - 16 in The Hague, Netherlands, and will be preceded by a People's Assembly on October 14. Come to The Hague if you can. If you can't, start organizing now for the largest ever global March Against Monsanto on October 16, World Food Day.

    To help you get the word out, we can supply you with free Monsanto Tribunal leaflets and posters, along with other Millions Against Monsanto campaign materials.

    Fill in the form on this page and we'll send you our new Monsanto Tribunal leaflet and poster, and our Millions Against Monsanto campaign materials.

    Find out if a March Against Monsanto is already being organized in your area

    Register your March Against Monsanto event: email addmymarch@gmail.com

    Email campaigns@organicconsumers.org if you'd like help organizing an event in your city

    Learn more about the Monsanto Tribunal here

    Sign up here to organize a Monsanto protest on October 16, World Food Day

    Due to mailing costs, we can only ship to U.S. addresses. Campaign materials can be downloaded here.

  • LOUISIANA: Tell Lawmakers: Don’t Restrict Alternative Nutrition Advice!

    Under Louisiana law, consumers have few choices when it comes to seeking professional advice about nutrition. That’s because only those professionals who are registered dieticians are allowed to hand out that advice.

    Lawmakers could change that—but instead, they are proposing a new law that would expand the scope of practice for registered dieticians, while continuing to restrict consumer choice by refusing to allow alternative, equally qualified, professionals to become licensed.

    TAKE ACTION: Fill in the form on this page to tell your state lawmakers to oppose HB 579 today! Then call the members of the House Health and Welfare Committee listed below. A hearing for the bill is scheduled for Wednesday, April 13 at 10 a.m.

    Under the Dietetics Practice Act of Louisiana, Louisiana is one of only 15 states where only registered dietitians are allowed to provide professional advice about health-related nutrition.

    HB 579 proposes to broaden this anti-competitive law which, as it turns out, may not even be legal. According to a 2015 Supreme Court ruling, North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. Federal Trade Commission, expanding an anti-competitive licensure law is a clear violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act.

    Lawmakers should take this opportunity to allow all qualified nutrition professionals to have equal licensure and employment opportunity in Louisiana. This would take nothing away from registered dietitians. Instead it would expand competition while at the same time it would provide more choice for consumers.

    After all, not all nutritionists are dieticians. And dietitians do not necessarily have training in alternative nutrition practice.

    TAKE ACTION: Fill in the form on this page to tell your state lawmakers to oppose HB 579 today! Then call the members of the House Health and Welfare Committee listed below. A hearing for the bill is scheduled for Wednesday, April 13 at 10 a.m.

    Louisiana House Health and Welfare Committee:

    Rep. Frank Hoffmann (Chair) (R)               318-362-4130    hoffmanf@legis.la.gov
    Rep. Thomas P. Willmott (Vice Chair) (R)  504-465-3479    willmott@legis.la.gov
    Rep. Lawrence A. "Larry" Bagley (R)         318-925-9588    bagleyl@legis.la.gov
    Rep. Kenny R. Cox (D)                              855-844-8583    coxk@legis.la.gov
    Rep. Bob Hensgens (R)                             337-893-5035    hensgensb@legis.la.gov
    Rep. Dodie Horton (R)                               318-949-2463    hortond@legis.la.gov
    Rep. Marcus L. Hunter (D)                         318-362-3440    hunterm@legis.la.gov
    Rep. Katrina R. Jackson (D)                      318-362-5123    jacksonk@legis.la.gov
    Rep. Mike Johnson (R)                              318-741-2790    johnsonmi@legis.la.gov
    Rep. Robert A. Johnson (D)                       318-253-8891    johnsoro@legis.la.gov
    Rep. H. Bernard LeBas (D)                        337-363-0152     lebasb@legis.la.gov
    Rep. Tanner D. Magee (R)                        985-858-2970    mageet@legis.la.gov
    Rep. Dustin Miller (D)                                337-943-2900    millerd@legis.la.gov
    Rep. Helena N. Moreno (D)                       504-568-2740    morenoh@legis.la.gov
    Rep. J. Rogers Pope (R)                           225-667-3588     poper@legis.la.gov
    Rep. Julie Stokes (R)                                504-468-8603    stokesj@legis.la.gov
    Rep. Taylor F. Barras (Ex Officio) (R)        337-373-4051    barrast@legis.la.gov
    Rep. Walt Leger, III (Ex Officio) (D)           504-556-9970    legerw@legis.la.gov

  • MINNESOTA: Help Stop Artificial Water Fluoridation!

    We need your help on another important health issue: municipal water fluoridation.

    Thanks to a law passed in 1967, artificial fluoride is added to public drinking water supplies in Minnesota. That law hasn’t changed, even though we now know that unnaturally high levels of fluoride pose a significant health risk.

    We have a chance during this legislative session to reverse the old law and give municipalities and their residents the authority to decide on whether or not to add fluoride to their water.

    TAKE ACTION: Fill in the form on this page to email your lawmakers and ask them to request hearings on HF 272 and SF 522 and to support the repeal of the statewide fluoridation mandate.

    The Fluoride Action Network (FAN) suspects that passing these bills would result in smaller communities ending water fluoridation because it’s a burdensome and costly practice. Ending the statewide mandate could also lead to more awareness and debate in larger metropolitan areas.

    Both bills have multiple co-sponsors and are currently in their respective health committees. We need to turn up the pressure on these committees so they hold public hearings and bring the bills to a vote before the legislative session ends on May 23, 2016.

    If you are a medical, scientific, legal or engineering professional, your expert testimony and advice could be especially effective.

    Lawmakers also need to hear from people who have been negatively impacted by fluoride.  Our government has admitted that it has overexposed at least 41 percent of adolescents to fluoride, resulting in dental fluorosis. Studies also reveal that fluoridation is likely linked to higher rates of ADHD, hypothyroidism and osteoarthritis. 

    It’s your body, your water and should be your choice!

    TAKE ACTION: Ask your lawmakers to request hearings on HF 272 and SF 522 and to support the repeal of the statewide fluoridation mandate.

    Read more from FAN on water fluoridation here and here.

  • MINNESOTA: Help Protect Pollinators!

    Last week, the Minnesota Senate passed SF 2191, a bill that would provide grants to farmers who want to plant pollinator habitat and transition away from using seeds coated with harmful insecticides.

    Now we need your help to get the House version of the bill out of committee before April 8.

    TAKE ACTION: Fill in the form on this page to ask your state representative to support HF 3300, the “pollinator investment grant” bill.

    Then, please call the chairs of the House Agriculture Policy and Finance Committees and ask them to hold a hearing for HF 3300 before April 8:

    Minnesota's pollinators are in decline. Scientists agree that multiple, interacting factors are contributing to declining populations. Those factors include  pesticides, habitat loss, diseases and parasites.

    A court recently awarded compensation to two Minnesota beekeepers for damages to their hives, caused by toxic insecticide dust that drifted onto their property from neighboring cornfields. The dust came from seeds that were pre-treated with neonicotinoids, a class of pesticide commonly linked to Colony Collapse Disorder.

    It’s great that the courts ruled in favor of these beekeepers. But we need to protect pollinators and beekeepers before these deaths occur. HF 3300 would help accomplish this by supporting farmers who want to increase pollinator habitat and reduce the use of insecticide seed coatings that can harm pollinators.

    Thanks!

  • Tell Robert De Niro: Please Keep Seeking the Truth about Vaccines!

    Actor Robert De Niro (rightfully) took some heat for allowing the Tribeca Film Festival to censor the film "VAXXED--From Cover-Up to Catastrophe" after initially supporting the films' screening.

    But in an April 13 interview with the "Today Show," De Niro stood up for the film, telling the interviewers "Let's find out the truth." De Niro also did interviews with FOX News and NBC, in which reporters tried to discredit the film and downplay the risks of vaccines. But each time, De Niro stood up for the film and urged people to watch it. 

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Robert De Niro: Please keep seeking the truth about vaccines! 

    VAXXED - From Cover-Up to Catastrophe” is a documentary film based on claims by Dr. William Thompson that he and colleagues at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) lied about the results of their own study, a study showing a link between the MMR vaccine and the rise of autism in African American boys.

    The film, directed by Andrew Wakefield and produced by Del Bigtree, features journalist Ben Swann who examines Thompson’s claims through interviews he conducts with doctors, journalists, authors and former CDC specialists.

    Swann poured over the thousands of pages of documents relating to the 2004 CDC study on autism and vaccines. The documents were originally obtained by Thompson, an epidemiologist at the CDC’s National Center of Birth Defects and Development Disabilities. Thompson hired an attorney to force the CDC to hand the documents over to Rep. Bill Posey (R-Fla.). 

    In December 2015, Swann was the first journalist to obtain the documents from Congressman Posey.

    According to reports, Thompson admitted that he and his co-authors “scheduled a meeting to destroy documents related to the study. The remaining four co-authors all met and brought a big garbage can into the meeting room, and reviewed and went through all the hardcopy documents that we had thought we should discard, and put them into a huge garbage can.”

    Ultimately, despite the evidence they’d uncovered (and subsequently destroyed), Thompson and his co-authors published a report, which ran in the “Pediatrics” medical journal, concluding they’d found no link between vaccines and autism and that no racial group is more likely to be damaged by vaccines.

    Now You See It, Now You Don’t

    Actor Robert De Niro originally defended his decision to screen "VAXXED" at the Tribeca Film Festival. In a statement widely reported in the media, De Niro said:

    Grace and I have a child with autism and we believe it is critical that all of the issues surrounding the causes of autism be openly discussed and examined. In the 15 years since the Tribeca Film Festival was founded, I have never asked for a film to be screened or gotten involved in the programming. However this is very personal to me and my family and I want there to be a discussion, which is why we will be screening VAXXED. I am not personally endorsing the film, nor am I anti-vaccination; I am only providing the opportunity for a conversation around the issue.

    But De Niro was pressured, allegedly by other filmakers who threatened to pull out of the festival, into canceling the film's screening. On March 26, he issued this statement to “The Hollywood Reporter:”

    "My intent in screening this film was to provide an opportunity for conversation around an issue that is deeply personal to me and my family. But after reviewing it over the past few days with the Tribeca Film Festival team and others from the scientific community, we do not believe it contributes to or furthers the discussion I had hoped for." 

    The controversy sparked a round of television interviews in which De Niro, who has an 18-year-old son diagnosed with autism, defended both the film, and the filmmaker, Wakefield, who has also been under attack from the $1-trillion pharmaceutical industry. Alliance for Natural Health defends Wakefield:

    Much of the media so far has focused on Andrew Wakefield’s close involvement with the film. We see a huge ramping up of efforts by the media to associate the film with a supposedly ‘disgraced’ Andrew Wakefield. Those who apportion this attribute to Wakefield’s name generally know little about how the UK’s General Medical Council managed to strike this wholly competent doctor, gastroenterologist and researcher from the medical register. Most have also not kept pace with the increasing evidence that points to the potential for the MMR vaccine (among other environmental insults) being a likely trigger for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

    By 2010, the U.S. Court of Claims had awarded nearly $3 billion dollars, under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986,  to vaccine victims for their catastrophic vaccine injuries—including autism. Given this fact, why is it far-fetched to trust scientists who report links between vaccines and autism?  

    The bottom line is this. "VAXXED" is a film about cover-up and corruption in the CDC—a government agency, funded by your taxes, and entrusted with your health. De Niro was right to feature the film at the festival, he is right to continue defending it, and we hope he will continue to speak out publicly about the need to seek the truth about vaccines and their possible links to autism and other health problems.

    Background:

    Learn more

    Watch the "Today Show" interview with De Niro

    Watch the trailer for VAXXED

    Vaccines, Autism & Chronic Inflammation: The New Epidemic, by Barbara Loe Fisher

    National Vaccine Information Center 

  • MAINE: URGENT! Tell Maine Lawmakers to Let the People Decide on GMO Labels!

    The battle to label GMOs in Maine just got more interesting. On March 24, the Maine House voted 85-59 to take GMO labeling to a citizen vote.

    With your help, Maine voters could actually end up deciding whether to enact GMO labeling in Maine now, or whether to sit back and wait, possibly years, for New Hampshire and other New England states to require labels on GMO foods and ingredients.

    Tell Maine lawmakers to let the people decide on GMO labeling! Let LD 991 go to referendum!

    Fill in the form to send an email to your state Senators, then please call them! You can find their phone numbers here. And post on their Facebook pages.

    Here’s the history, and the latest update on GMO labeling in Maine.

    In January 2014, Maine’s LD 718 - An Act To Protect Maine Food Consumers' Right To Know about Genetically Engineered Food, was signed into law. The bill requires foods containing GMOs sold in Maine be labeled—but only after four other contiguous states, including New Hampshire, also pass mandatory labeling laws.

    Last year, Rep. Michelle Dunphy introduced LD 991, a bill to remove the “trigger” clause from Maine’s previously passed labeling law, so Mainers wouldn’t have to sit around and wait for New Hampshire and other states to pass labeling laws.

    LD 991 was held over until the 2016 legislative session. On February 25, members of Maine’s Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry took up the bill again. The committee ending up sending a divided report to the state legislature.

    On February 25,  Rep. Dunphy offered an amendment to LD 911 calling for a referendum on whether or not to remove the trigger clause. These members of the committee, along with Rep. Dunphy, supported the referendum: Rep. Craig Hickman, Rep. Ralph Chapman, Rep. Robert Saucier and Rep. Jeff McCabe. Please post a “thank you” on these lawmakers’ Facebook pages!

    Rep. MaryAnne Kinney also offered an amendment to LD 991. Her amendment would leave the trigger clause in the original labeling bill in place, but extend the sunset date to 2024. (Under the original labeling law, if the four contiguous states don’t pass labeling laws by December 2018, the labeling law dies).

    These committee members voted for Rep. Kinney’s amendment: Sen. Peter Edgecomb, Sen. James Dill, Sen. Thomas Saviello, Rep. Russell Black, , Rep. Donald Marean, and Rep. Carol McElwee. Please call these Maine lawmakers and tell them you don’t want to wait for New Hampshire. Find your Senator here. You want GMO labeling now! Then post on their Facebook pages!

    There is no reason to wait on labeling in Maine!

    Cost arguments simply don’t hold water. The same big out-of-state food corporations that don’t want to label their ingredients in the U.S., already label them in 64 other countries. Campbell’s Soup Co., which supports mandatory labeling, will soon label in all states, at no extra cost to consumers. General Mills, Kellogg’s and ConAgra also are preparing to label GMO products, in compliance with Vermont’s law.

    Vermont’s law has so far been ruled constitutional—a district judge refused to bow to Monsanto’s pressure to delay implementation of the bill while Monsanto and Big Food continue their baseless lawsuit.

    Why should Maine act now?

    •    Because the latest poll (2015) shows 97 percent of Mainers believe GMOs should be labeled.

    •    Because glyphosate, sprayed on at least 80 percent of GMO crops, has been classified as a probable human carcinogen.

    •    Because time is running out. The U.S. Senate is considering a bill that would preempt Vermont and Maine’s GMO labeling laws and permanently let food corporations off the hook for labeling. Maine needs to send Congress a strong message: We will not sit back and let Congress preempt our right to govern our own state.

    •    Because GMO apples and GMO potatoes have been approved. Without labels, you won’t know what you’re buying.

    The Maine Senate could take up the amended LD 991 as early as this week. Don’t wait!

    Tell Maine lawmakers to let the people decide on GMO labeling! Let LD 991 go to referendum!

  • MINNEAPOLIS: Tell the Minneapolis Park Board to Stop Using Toxic Lawn Chemicals!

    Last year, the City of Minneapolis passed a pollinator-friendly resolution that will significantly decrease pesticide use in the city.

    Because the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) is a separate entity from the city, it is exempt from this resolution.

    TAKE ACTION: Speak out against pesticide use at the Minneapolis Park Board meeting on Wednesday, March 16! Fill in the form to add your name to the petition that will be delivered to the Board on March 16!

    Tweet it!

    The MPRB has prioritized the use of dangerous lawn chemicals over pesticide-free land management practices for too long.

    Over the years, millions of dollars have been spent by the MPRB to purchase and utilize chemicals to remove weeds that are natural and good for the soil. That money should be going to neighborhood parks instead, especially in under-served areas.

    Of the nine elected officials on the Park Board, only one, Commissioner Brad Bourn, has publicly expressed concern about pesticide use.

    We need to let the Park Board know that the use of lawn chemicals such as Roundup, Atrazine, 2-4-D, and systemic insecticides pose serious health risks to humans and wildlife.

    The Park Board maintains that the use of lawn chemicals saves money on maintenance, especially on rental ball fields and golf courses.  But it’s time to budget for the health of our residents instead. There is plenty of expertise in the Minneapolis area to assist the Board in implementing a pesticide-free land management policy.

    The March 16 meeting agenda is expected to be skewed in favor of continuing the use of chemical pesticides in Minneapolis parks. Help us stop special interests from poisoning our parks and our residents!

    TAKE ACTION: Speak out against pesticide use at the Minneapolis Park Board meeting on Wednesday, March 16! Fill in the form to add your name to the petition that will be delivered to the Board on March 16!

  • Tell CBS News Executive Producer Rand Morrison: Cover the Facts on GMOs, not the Fantasy!

    With Congress scrambling to stop Vermont’s GMO Labeling bill and to permanently legalize Monsanto and Big Food’s “right to deceive,” Monsanto and other chemical companies have been working overtime to peddle their propaganda to lawmakers and consumers. 

    Unfortunately, they’ve found more than a few media outlets that are shill for their toxic commodity “foods” and accompanying toxic chemicals. Among the latest? CBS News.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell CBS News Executive Producer Rand Morrison: Cover the Facts on GMOs, not the Fantasy!

    A recent CBS Morning Show segment, “Digging for Seeds of Truth in the GMO Debate,” is very informative—but only if you want a heavy dose of Monsanto’s talking points on GMOs.

    CBS reporter Barry Petersen interviews, among others, Dr. Pam Ronald, a plant geneticist at the University of California, who perpetuates the lies about GMO safety, and falsely equates the genetic engineering of seeds with hybridization:

    Petersen asked, "Has any study shown even as much as one person who's been harmed or died from eating food that was genetically engineered?"

    "There's not a single instance of harm to human health or the environment using genetically-engineered crops," Ronald replied.

    Ronald points out that farmers have been genetically altering food for thousands of years, using techniques like grafting, hybridization, and cross-breeding. Look at corn, for example: Today's modern sweet corn produces a hundredfold more grain than its ancient ancestor, which is not used anymore.

    "Nothing we eat has been engineered by nature," said Ronald. "Everything we eat has been genetically altered using human intervention."

    Petersen also interviews Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant, and portrays him as an “ally” of food GMO labeling advocates—even though Monsanto has spent millions of dollars to defeat and lobby against labeling laws. It is at best factually incorrect, and at worst calculatingly dishonest to equate Monsanto’s position on GMO labeling with that of the Pesticide Action Network and its allies in the food movement. 

    Yet that is exactly what CBS did.

    Whether it’s the debunked argument that GMO’s will somehow “feed the world,” or vague promises about future projects like golden rice that, decades after its introduction, has yet to be planted on a single acre of land for commercial use, the CBS article fails ask the follow-up questions and conduct the follow-up research we need from journalists and reporters.

  • FLORIDA: Ask Your Lawmakers to Co-Sponsor GMO Labeling Bills!

    Thanks to dedicated GMO labeling sponsors in the Florida House and Senate, new GMO labeling bills have been introduced in Florida!

    Call and email your state lawmakers and ask them to co-sponsor Florida’s GMO labeling bills!

    Fill in the form on this page or click here to look up your lawmakers' phone numbers, then click submit to send your email message.

    SB 1700, SB 1708 and HB 1369 will bring Florida in line with the over 60 countries worldwide that already have GMO labels on food. Once Vermont’s law takes effect on July 1, we know other states will follow.

    Monsanto and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) are tirelessly lobbying Washington to preempt states’ rights to label GMOs and keep Vermont’s GMO labeling law from taking effect in July. So far they’ve been unsuccessful, but they aren’t giving up. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) introduced a bill in the U.S. Senate last week.

    The best way to keep the U.S. Congress from passing a bill preempting Vermont is for more states, like Florida, to pass mandatory GMO labeling laws as soon as possible.

    Call and email your state lawmakers and ask them to co-sponsor Florida’s GMO labeling bills!

    More information from GMO Free Florida here and here.

    Read the bills: SB 1700, SB 1708, HB 1369

    Thanks for taking action!

  • test2 copy Tell JLI Board Members: Don't Stab Us in the Back! Reject the Latest GMO-QR Code Labeling Compromise!

    Informed sources tell OCA that Gary Hirshberg, chairman of the board of directors of JustLabelIt.org (JLI) along with U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), are working behind the scenes on a GMO labeling bill that would stall Vermont’s GMO labeling law for two years while food companies “try out” a voluntary QR barcode labeling scheme.

    According to well-informed sources, Hirshberg has reached out to GMO labeling activists with the plan, and is approaching the JLI board of directors for its members’ blessing.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell JLI Board Members: Don't Stab Us in the Back! Reject the Latest GMO Labeling Compromise! Fill in the form on this page to send your message.

    Vermont’s mandatory GMO labeling law was passed by a majority of Vermont lawmakers, had the support of about 90 percent of Vermont voters, and is supported by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), now running for president.

    The courts have ruled so far that the law is constitutional.

    Any attempt to delay or preempt Vermont’s GMO labeling law is unacceptable to the GMO labeling movement, and the 90 percent of Americans who want laws enacted, and enforced, requiring Monsanto and the Junk Food Industry to label their GMO-tainted foods.

    Since the House passed the DARK Act in July, efforts to introduce a companion bill in the Senate have so far faltered—largely because key Senators say a bill that would preempt Vermont’s law isn’t likely to pass the Senate.

    Now Hirshberg, Vilsack and Stabenow are cooking up a bill they think stands a better chance in the Senate, because instead of outright preempting Vermont’s law, it would delay it for another two years. But we all know that a two-year delay means Vermont's law is as good as dead.

    Will JLI board members go along with this new compromise?

    If so, JustLabelIt.org, which has claimed to support mandatory labeling, should be required to refund all donations it received from consumers and corporations that trusted the organization to represent the interests of consumers, not corporations.

    •    In addition to Gary Hirshberg, chairman of the JustLabelIt.org board, board members are:
    •    Ken Cook, The Environmental Working Group (EWG)
    •    Lewis Goldstein, Organic Valley
    •    Darren Mahaffy, Nature’s Path
    •    Robyn O’Brien, The AllergyKids Foundation
    •    Tom Spier, Boulder Food Group
    •    Alex Bergstein, attorney, doctoral candidate and advocate for children’s environmental health

    Please use this form to contact these board members today! Tell them to stand Strong on behalf of consumers, and their donors, by rejecting the Latest GMO Labeling Compromise! We also have to reiterate to Vilsack and Stabenow that we expect them to let Vermont's law take effect, and reject anything other than a mandatory GMO labeling law that meets or exceeds Vermont's standards.

  • test copy steve Tell JLI Board Members: Don't Stab Us in the Back! Reject the Latest GMO-QR Code Labeling Compromise!

    Informed sources tell OCA that Gary Hirshberg, chairman of the board of directors of JustLabelIt.org (JLI) along with U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), are working behind the scenes on a GMO labeling bill that would stall Vermont’s GMO labeling law for two years while food companies “try out” a voluntary QR barcode labeling scheme.

    According to well-informed sources, Hirshberg has reached out to GMO labeling activists with the plan, and is approaching the JLI board of directors for its members’ blessing.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell JLI Board Members: Don't Stab Us in the Back! Reject the Latest GMO Labeling Compromise! Fill in the form on this page to send your message.

    Vermont’s mandatory GMO labeling law was passed by a majority of Vermont lawmakers, had the support of about 90 percent of Vermont voters, and is supported by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), now running for president.

    The courts have ruled so far that the law is constitutional.

    Any attempt to delay or preempt Vermont’s GMO labeling law is unacceptable to the GMO labeling movement, and the 90 percent of Americans who want laws enacted, and enforced, requiring Monsanto and the Junk Food Industry to label their GMO-tainted foods.

    Since the House passed the DARK Act in July, efforts to introduce a companion bill in the Senate have so far faltered—largely because key Senators say a bill that would preempt Vermont’s law isn’t likely to pass the Senate.

    Now Hirshberg, Vilsack and Stabenow are cooking up a bill they think stands a better chance in the Senate, because instead of outright preempting Vermont’s law, it would delay it for another two years. But we all know that a two-year delay means Vermont's law is as good as dead.

    Will JLI board members go along with this new compromise?

    If so, JustLabelIt.org, which has claimed to support mandatory labeling, should be required to refund all donations it received from consumers and corporations that trusted the organization to represent the interests of consumers, not corporations.

    •    In addition to Gary Hirshberg, chairman of the JustLabelIt.org board, board members are:
    •    Ken Cook, The Environmental Working Group (EWG)
    •    Lewis Goldstein, Organic Valley
    •    Darren Mahaffy, Nature’s Path
    •    Robyn O’Brien, The AllergyKids Foundation
    •    Tom Spier, Boulder Food Group
    •    Alex Bergstein, attorney, doctoral candidate and advocate for children’s environmental health

    Please use this form to contact these board members today! Tell them to stand Strong on behalf of consumers, and their donors, by rejecting the Latest GMO Labeling Compromise! We also have to reiterate to Vilsack and Stabenow that we expect them to let Vermont's law take effect, and reject anything other than a mandatory GMO labeling law that meets or exceeds Vermont's standards.

  • Tell the Owner of Olive Garden and Longhorn Steakhouse: Serve Good Food!

     When we think “bad” food—unhealthy food produced at the expense of the environment, animal welfare and exploited employees—we often think first of fast food chains.

    As it turns out, casual dining restaurant chains operating under brand names like Olive Garden and Longhorn Steakhouse are among the worst offenders when it comes to serving up bad food.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Darden Restaurants, Owner of Olive Garden and Longhorn Steakhouse: Serve Good Food!

    Please fill in the form on this page or text 'Darden' to 97779 to sign our petition to Darden CEO Eugene Lee Jr.

    Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI), owns and operates more than 1,500 restaurants that generate over $6.8 billion in annual sales. In addition to Olive Garden and Longhorn Steakhouse, Darden’s owns Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V’s and the Yard House.

    Darden’s boasts to its investors that the company sells 350 million meals a year that create “many lasting memories for our guests.” The company also touts what it calls its commitment to “People, Planet & Plate.”

    This means our commitment to provide our guests with nutritious, high-quality and responsibly-sourced food, to support and develop our team members and to give back to our communities and protect the natural environment. 

    Nice words. But they aren’t true.

    Darden’s actually operates a food supply chain that buys into the very worst of our broken industrial factory farming system. The company sources meat and dairy products from CAFOs (Confined Animal Feeding Operations), where animals are fed GMO feed, antibiotics and growth hormones, and treated inhumanely. The company also has a long record of harsh and sometimes illegal treatment of its 150,000 workers.

    And let’s be clear. Highly processed foods, and food produced with pesticides, antibiotics and growth hormones, aren’t healthy.

    Led by Friends of the Earth, OCA and more than 50 other environmental, health, animal welfare, consumer, food and worker organizations have signed a letter to Darden CEO Eugene Lee Jr. asking the company to adopt food purchasing policies in line with the Good Food Now Campaign. Initiated by the Los Angeles Food Policy Council, the campaign unites the food, environmental and labor movements to pressure restaurants to source from producers that focus on organic and environmentally friendly farming practices, promote animal welfare, adopt a healthier menu and provide fair and sustainable working conditions for their employees.

    Darden’s initial response to our letter? More empty rhetoric. Which prompted Friends of the Earth, Center for Biological Diversity, Animal Welfare Institute and others to reiterate our request for Darden’s to clean up its act:

    In your response, you rightly acknowledged that Darden’s customers care deeply about where their food comes from, and how it is produced, yet failed to acknowledge or respond directly to the key issues we raised in the letter addressing those very questions. We are familiar with Darden’s 2014 Citizenship Report and “People, Planet & Plate” commitment, and it is clear there is a major gulf between your company’s rhetoric on strong animal and social welfare, workers’ rights and environmental protection, and the actual impacts of its food sourcing and labor management practices. 

    Darden’s customers and our supporters will not be satisfied with unsubstantiated rhetoric or misguided priorities. To be a true leader, Darden must make public specific goals and benchmarks with respect to its employment practices and food sourcing criteria and impacts, particularly around its animal protein offerings.

    Will Darden’s do the right thing? 

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Darden Restaurants, Owner of Olive Garden and Longhorn Steakhouse: Serve Good Food!

    Please fill in the form on this page or text 'Darden' to 97779 to sign our petition to Darden CEO Eugene Lee Jr.

    Thanks!

  • Tell JLI Board Members: Don't Stab Us in the Back! Reject the Latest GMO-QR Code Labeling Compromise!

    Informed sources tell OCA that Gary Hirshberg, chairman of the board of directors of JustLabelIt.org (JLI) along with U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), are working behind the scenes on a GMO labeling bill that would stall Vermont’s GMO labeling law for two years while food companies “try out” a voluntary QR barcode labeling scheme.

    According to well-informed sources, Hirshberg has reached out to GMO labeling activists with the plan, and is approaching the JLI board of directors for its members’ blessing.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell JLI Board Members: Don't Stab Us in the Back! Reject the Latest GMO Labeling Compromise! Fill in the form on this page to send your message.

    Vermont’s mandatory GMO labeling law was passed by a majority of Vermont lawmakers, had the support of about 90 percent of Vermont voters, and is supported by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), now running for president.

    The courts have ruled so far that the law is constitutional.

    Any attempt to delay or preempt Vermont’s GMO labeling law is unacceptable to the GMO labeling movement, and the 90 percent of Americans who want laws enacted, and enforced, requiring Monsanto and the Junk Food Industry to label their GMO-tainted foods.

    Since the House passed the DARK Act in July, efforts to introduce a companion bill in the Senate have so far faltered—largely because key Senators say a bill that would preempt Vermont’s law isn’t likely to pass the Senate.

    Now Hirshberg, Vilsack and Stabenow are cooking up a bill they think stands a better chance in the Senate, because instead of outright preempting Vermont’s law, it would delay it for another two years. But we all know that a two-year delay means Vermont's law is as good as dead.

    Will JLI board members go along with this new compromise?

    If so, JustLabelIt.org, which has claimed to support mandatory labeling, should be required to refund all donations it received from consumers and corporations that trusted the organization to represent the interests of consumers, not corporations.

    •    In addition to Gary Hirshberg, chairman of the JustLabelIt.org board, board members are:
    •    Ken Cook, The Environmental Working Group (EWG)
    •    Lewis Goldstein, Organic Valley
    •    Darren Mahaffy, Nature’s Path
    •    Robyn O’Brien, The AllergyKids Foundation
    •    Tom Spier, Boulder Food Group
    •    Alex Bergstein, attorney, doctoral candidate and advocate for children’s environmental health

    Please use this form to contact these board members today! Tell them to stand Strong on behalf of consumers, and their donors, by rejecting the Latest GMO Labeling Compromise! We also have to reiterate to Vilsack and Stabenow that we expect them to let Vermont's law take effect, and reject anything other than a mandatory GMO labeling law that meets or exceeds Vermont's standards.

  • URGENT: Take Action TODAY to Stop a Bad Diabetes Education Licensure Bill in Florida!

    Florida’s Diabetes Educator License bill, SB 1286, is scheduled for a hearing in the state Senate Health Policy Committee tomorrow.

    This bill will severely restrict who can provide meaningful advice to help prevent and reverse diabetes. The bill wasn’t scheduled until late Friday last week, so we have very little time to react.

    Please call and email the Senators on the Health Policy Committee today and ask them to reject SB 1286! Fill in the form on this page to send an email. Phone numbers for each of the Senators' legislative aides are listed below.

    SB 1286 would require a special license for anyone giving care to people with diabetes or at risk for diabetes.

    If this bill passes, it would be illegal for Florida’s licensed dietitians and nutritionists to provide individuals with common-sense advice, including non-medical and publicly available information, in a professional setting, without first obtaining a costly private association credential and a second license—even though this type of advice falls well within their scope of practice.

    A food and lifestyle approach to the diabetes epidemic is far less costly than a lifetime of medical management. Yet this bill would make food and lifestyle advice much more costly and less available to those who have, or are at risk for having diabetes.

    Please call and email the Senators on the Health Policy Committee today and ask them to reject SB 1286!

    More information here

    Florida Senate Health Policy Committee

    Senator                                                       Leg. Aide    
    Aaron Bean (Chair)                                    Dee Alexander        (850) 487-5004        bean.aaron.web@flsenate.gov
    Eleanor Sobel (Vice Chair)                         Nicole Graham        (850) 487-5033        sobel.eleanor.web@flsenate.gov
    Oscar Braynon                                           Katia Saint Fleur     (850) 487-5036        braynon.oscar.web@flsenate.gov
    Anitere Flores                                             Maria Chamorro       (850) 487-5037        flores.anitere.web@flsenate.gov
    Don Gaetz                                                  Melissa Ullery          (850) 487-5001        gaetz.don.web@flsenate.gov.
    Bill Galvano (Majority Leader)                    Whitney Deem         (850) 487-5026        galvano.bill.web@flsenate.gov
    Rene Garcia                                               Chastity Acosta        (850) 487-5038        garcia.rene.web@flsenate.gov
    Denise Grimsley (Dep Maj. Leader)           Larry Ford                (850) 487-5021        grimsley.denise.web@flsenate.gov
    Arthenia Joyner (Minority Dem Leader)     Randi Rosete           (850) 487-5019        joyner.arthenia.web@flsenate.gov

  • Tell the USDA: Let Pesticide and Bee Researchers Do Their Jobs. Stop Suppressing Science!

    Dr. Jonathan Lundgren was once considered to have a “stellar” career at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), even earning the agency’s Outstanding Early Career Research Scientist title in 2011.

    But ever since Lundgren went public with some of his findings about neonicotinoids, the class of pesticides linked to Colony Collapse Disorder, Lundgren says he has been the target of harassment and retaliation.

    TAKE ACTION! Tell the USDA to stop suppressing science. Let researchers do their job!

    You might think that the USDA hires the best scientists, to do the most reliable, unbiased research, in order to protect the public.

    But Lundgren’s story reads more like a story of the USDA suppressing the research of its own scientists, in order to protect corporate profits. The neonicotinoid industry, dominated by Bayer and Syngenta, is worth about $1.9 billion. Many of the genetically engineered seeds sold by Monsanto are pre-coated with neonics.

    In August 2015, the USDA suspended Lundgren for 30 days (later reduced to 14 days) after he complained that the USDA was blocking his research on the harmful effects of neonicotinoids on monarch butterfly and honeybee populations.

    Lundgren’s work focuses on the relationship between cropping systems and insects. He is the author of a study, published in the scientific journal “The Science of Nature,” on how corn seeds coated with clothianidin, a neonic, continue to negatively impact milkweed plants months after the seeds are planted. Milkweed is essential to the survival of the monarch butterfly.

    After that study appeared, and after Lundgren shared results of the study and other of his research efforts, including those claiming that farmers receive no benefit from seeds pre-coated in neonics, the trouble began.

    According to a report in Civil Eats:

    After Lundgren spoke out about some of his findings, USDA managers blocked publication of his research, barred him from talking to the media, and disrupted operations at the laboratory he oversaw, according to the complaint filed with the federal Merit Systems Protection Board Wednesday. The filing follows an internal complaint Lundgren lodged with USDA in September 2014.

    Lundgren took his complaints to the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). PEER filed a whistleblower complaint on Lundgren’s behalf. The group also filed a lawsuit against the USDA, targeting the agency’s Scientific Integrity Policy

    According to PEER:

    More than 10 USDA scientists “have faced consequences or investigations when their work called into question the health and safety of agricultural chemicals. These scientists documented clear actions that violated their scientific integrity, including USDA officials retracting studies, watering down findings, removing scientists’ names from authorship and delaying approvals for publication of research papers.

    One senior USDA scientist told Reuters, “Your words are changed, your papers are censored or edited and you are not allowed to submit them at all.”

    In May 2015, OCA was one of 28 organizations that signed on to an open letter calling for the USDA to conduct a public and thorough investigation into the harassment and censorship/suppression of glyphosate and neonicotinoid research by Dr. Lungren and other USDA researchers by supervisors.

    TAKE ACTION! Tell the USDA to stop suppressing science. Let researchers do their job!

  • Damn the Torpedoes! Full Speed Ahead on GMO Labeling.

    Update: Here’s a video of a July 1 livestream on Facebook from our director Ronnie Cummins and a DARK Act flyer.

    Eager to do Monsanto’s bidding, the U.S. Senate yesterday voted 65-32 to limit debate on the Roberts-Stabenow bill, a federal GMO labeling bill that is unenforceable, full of loopholes and exemptions, and allows companies to hide information about GMOs behind QR codes that are inaccessible to at least a third of Americans who don’t own smartphones.

    The Senate is expected to hold a final vote tonight to pass the bill, which would send it back to the House (which passed its own version last July), and ultimately to President Obama’s desk to be signed into law.

    TAKE ACTION: Call your Senators at 888-897-0174 to tell them what you think of their votes! Calls are the fastest, and most effective way to get your message through to Congress.

    The Senate needed 60 votes yesterday in order to limit debate on the Senate version of DARK Act. But the bill now needs only 51 votes to pass the Senate and move on to the House.

    Both the Senate and House versions are intended to overturn Vermont’s mandatory GMO labeling law which took effect July 1.

    We’d be lying if we said the chances of stopping this bill are good—they aren’t. But that shouldn’t stop us from going full throttle to try to win over more Senators, and even call on Obama to veto this bill if it gets that far.

    At the very least, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said yesterday in a speech on the Senate floor that the measure hasn't been fully vetted, the Roberts-Stabenow bill deserves a full debate:

    "It's not fair to get on an important piece of legislation and not have the opportunity to" have hearings on the measure and offer amendments. We must not stand for the Republican leader jamming this bill through the Senate."

    TAKE ACTION: Call your Senators at 888-897-0174 to tell them what you think of their votes! Calls are the fastest, and most effective way to get your message through to Congress.

    Scroll down to see how your Senators voted. If they voted against this awful bill, please thank them! If they voted for it, please let them know that QR codes are not labels, and a bill that exempts most of the common GMO ingredients isn’t acceptable.

    Yesterday, OCA and many of our allies in the movement worked up until the last minute to convince more Senators to reject this latest version of the DARK Act. We made calls, we visited Senate home district and Washington offices.

    We even staged a protest on the Senate floor, dropping 2,000 $1 bills to show our anger over how Monsanto’s money has corrupted the democratic process.

    Some of our efforts paid off. Maine Senators Collins and King, who voted for the bill in a “test” vote on June 29, voted against the bill this time, after hearing from hundreds of their constituents who don’t want Maine’s GMO labeling bill overturned. If you live in Maine, please call today to thank Sens. Collins and King and ask them to vote NO again on the final vote.

    Sens. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) also saw the light, and voted against the DARK Act yesterday—if you live in Florida or Nebraska, please show these Senators some love today!

    But we also had some disappointing “flippers” yesterday, including Democratic Sens. Tim Kaine (Va.) and Bob Menendez (N.J.) who opposed the Roberts-Stabenow bill on June 29, but yesterday supported Monsanto, not consumers. If you live in Virginia or New Jersey, please call today and urge your Senators to support your right to know!

    To reach any of these Senators, call 888-897-0174 and you will be connected to your Senator.

    For everyone else, please scroll down for the vote count. There were 65 “yeas” and 32 “nays”. We’ve also included the amount of money each Senator has received from agribusiness over the course of their years in the Senate. The average agribusiness contribution for “yes” voters ($877,403) is more than twice as much as the average for "no" voters ($440,765).

    TAKE ACTION: Call your Senators TODAY! Thank your Senators who voted “No”. “Spank” your Senators who voted “Yes”. Call 888-897-0174.

    Here are some talking points you can use when you call:

    I don’t want to have to pull out a phone and scan a QR code in order to know what I’m buying. The Roberts-Stabenow GMO labeling bill would kill the Vermont law that labels GMO foods as “produced with genetic engineering.” Vermont's law is working. GMOs are being labeled. Food prices are staying the same. The labels are being used nationwide. It exempts nearly all GMOs from labeling. It would take at least two years to take effect. And, it’s essentially voluntary because there would be no enforcement for non-compliance. At the very least, this bill deserves a full debate.

    Tally for July 6, 2016 cloture vote

    NO Votes (the "good guys"):

    Blumenthal D-CT NO $43,033
    Booker D-NJ

    NO

    $215,250
    Boxer D-CA NO $517,498
    Cantwell D-WA NO $273,246
    Cardin D-MD NO $230,103
    Collins R-ME NO $596,291
    Durbin D-IL NO $951,130  
    Gillibrand D-NY NO $627,514
    Heinrich D-NM NO $128,927
    Hirono D-HI NO $108,150
    King I-ME NO  $74,515
    Leahy D-VT NO $356,995
    Markey D-MA NO $118,144
    Merkley D-OR NO $222,442
    Mikulski D-MD NO $255,439
    Murkowski R-AK NO $463,144
    Murphy D-CT NO $132,650
    Murray D-WA NO $667,307
    Nelson D-FL NO $873,540 
    Paul R-KY NO $416,761
    Reed D-RI NO $110,550
    Reid D-NV NO $691,398
    Sanders I-VT NO $750,242
    Sasse R-NE NO  $329,935 
    Schatz D-HI NO $88,750
    Schumer D-NY NO $814,930
    Sullivan R-AK NO $157,541
    Tester D-MT NO $476,153
    Udall D-NM NO $338,055
    Warren D-MA NO $91,243
    Whitehouse D-RI NO $98,408
    Wyden D-OR NO

    $992,967

    Total donations from agribusiness to Senators who voted NO: $12,212,251; Average donation: $440,765

    YES Votes (the "bad guys"):

    Alexander R-TN YES $980,283
    Ayotte R-NH YES $235,956
    Baldwin D-WI YES $160,709
    Barrasso R-WY YES $207,250
    Bennet D-CO YES $473,397
    Blunt R-MO YES $2,069,365
    Boozman R-AR YES  $646,471
    Burr R-NC YES $1,933,705
    Capito R-WV YES $456,720 
    Carper D-DE YES  $203,662
    Casey D-PA YES $405,550
    Cassidy R-LA YES $504,933
    Coats R-IN YES $527,927
    Cochran R-MS YES $2,333,394
    Coons D-DE YES  $86,858
    Corker R-TN YES  $664,527 
    Cornyn R-TX YES $1,688,149
    Cotton R-AR YES $508,940
    Crapo R-ID YES $1,170,466
    Cruz R-TX YES $1,647,662
    Daines R-MT YES $596,781
    Donnelly D-IN YES  $363,199  
    Enzi R-WY YES $350,502 
    Ernst R-IA YES  $256,998 
    Feinstein D-CA YES  $1,645,599 
    Fischer R-NE YES $536,262
    Flake R-AZ YES $535,102  
    Franken D-MN YES  $286,547 
    Gardner R-CO YES   $946,349 
    Grassley R-IA YES $1,929,489 
    Hatch R-UT YES $725,633
    Heitkamp D-ND YES $236,975  
    Heller R-NV YES  $258,140 
    Hoeven R-ND YES $405,020
    Inhofe R-OK YES $938,853
    Isakson R-GA YES  $1,227,649
    Johnson R-WI YES $489,435
    Kaine D-VA YES $140,825
    Kirk R-IL YES $718,270 
    Klobuchar D-MN YES $720,592
    Lankford R-OK YES $226,040
    Manchin D-WV YES $196,850
    McCain R-AZ   YES  $4,496,004 
    McCaskill D-MO YES  $383,024  
    McConnell R-KY YES $3,373,204
    Menendez D-NJ YES $647,774
    Moran R-KS YES $2,284,551   
    Perdue R-GA YES  $489,830  
    Peters D-MI  YES  $238,147 
    Portman R-OH YES $1,011,940
    Risch R-ID YES  $367,154  
    Roberts R-KS YES $2,808,111
    Rounds R-SD YES $258,600
    Rubio R-FL YES $1,141,265   
    Scott R-SC YES $403,300
    Sessions R-AL YES $927,652
    Shaheen D-NH YES $167,474
    Shelby R-AL YES $843,957
    Stabenow D-MI YES $1,565,978
    Thune R-SD YES $1,900,160
    Tillis R-NC YES $437,750
    Toomey R-PA YES $682,904  
    Vitter R-LA YES $657,365
    Warner D-VA YES

    $518,317

    Wicker R-MS YES $789,690  

    Total donations from agribusiness to Senators who voted YES: $57,031,185;  Average donation: $877,403.

    Not voting:

    Brown D-OH NOT $379,952
    Graham R-SC NOT $1,131,590   
    Lee R-UT NOT $77,950 

    (Senators and their votes, listed by state instead of alphabetically, here).

    TAKE ACTION: Call your Senators at 888-897-0174 to tell them what you think of their votes! Ask them to vote NO on the Roberts-Stabenow GMO labeling bill!

    Thanks!

    asdfasdf

  • Tell Congress: Consumers Want the Right to Choose Raw Milk!

    The health benefits of raw milk have been widely documented. Yet in many states, farmers and retail stores can’t sell it, and consumers can’t buy it.

    It’s time to protect farmers from raw milk raids, and make it legal and easy for consumers to buy raw milk.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress: Consumers Want the Right to Choose Raw Milk! Ask Your Congress Members to Support HR 4307 and HR 4308.
    Tweet this!

    Raw milk is the only food banned in interstate commerce in the U.S. And although Congress has never passed a ban on raw milk, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has used its regulatory authority to conduct raids on, and prosecute, farmers for distributing raw milk.

    Two bills slowly working their way through Congress would pave the way for farmers and consumers to sell and buy raw milk.

    The Milk Freedom Act of 2014 (HR 4307)
    would prohibit the federal government from interfering with the interstate traffic of raw milk products, offering relief for small farmers who have been harassed, fined, or prosecuted for distributing raw milk.

    The Interstate Milk Freedom Act of 2014 (HR 4308)
    would prevent the federal government from interfering with trade of unpasteurized natural milk or milk products between states where distribution or sale of such products is already legal.

    If we want these bills to gain traction, your Congress Members need to hear from you!


    Raw milk laws vary from state to state. There are restrictions on the amount you can sell, where you can sell it, and how many conspicuous ‘unpasteurized’ signs you need on your farm stand. 

    In some states, you can’t even advertise that you have raw milk let alone sell it in a farmer’s market. In other states, direct farm-to-customer or herd share sales of raw milk are totally illegal. 

    The FDA claims raw milk poses health hazards, hence the need to crack down on farmers who sell it. 

    According to Mercola.com:

    An entire section of the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) website is devoted to warning Americans about the “dangers” of raw milk. There it states that more than 1,500 people in the US became sick from raw milk from 1993 to 2006.

    This is just over 115 people per year, on average… in a country where 9 million people get sick from foodborne illness annually. Is it possible to get sick from drinking raw milk?

    Yes! But it’s also possible to get sick from eating a salad, a cheeseburger or a bowl of fruit. In fact, you’re far more likely to be infected with a foodborne illness when eating any number of foods other than high-quality raw milk.

    It’s time for the FDA, which is so lax in its regulation of GMOs and junk food, to give consumers choice—and access—when it comes to raw milk.

    According to Dr. Deborah Gordon:

    Raw milk is an incredibly complex whole food, complete with digestive enzymes and its own antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-parasitic mechanisms conveniently built into a neat package. It is chock-full of both fat and water-soluble vitamins, a wide range of minerals and trace elements, all eight essential amino acids, more than 60 enzymes, and CLA—an omega-6 fatty acid with impressive effects on everything from insulin resistance to cancer to cardiovascular disease. Raw milk is delicious medicine.

    Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), a co-sponsor of the bills, has said

    “Many consumers want to buy fresh, unpasteurized milk and regulations shouldn’t get between them and the farmer who wants to sell it,” said Rep. Pingree. “Given how many food scares there have been involving large-scale producers, it just doesn’t make sense to spend money cracking down on small, local farmers who are producing natural, raw milk and cheese. The enforcement of raw milk regulations has been overzealous and needs to be reined in.”

    It’s time for consumers to push Congress to act.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress: Consumers Want the Right to Choose Raw Milk! Ask Your Congress Members to Support HR 4307 and HR 4308.

  • CONNECTICUT: Let’s Get GMOs Labeled in 2016!

    In 2013, Connecticut made history when it passed the first mandatory GMO labeling law in the U.S. But the law hasn’t taken effect because it contains a “trigger clause” which says other states must pass similar bills before Connecticut’s law can be enacted. 

    Connecticut citizens don’t want to wait any longer. The time to label GMOs in Connecticut is now!

    Please fill in the form on this page to call and email your state legislators. Ask them to pass legislation to remove the “trigger clause” and enact Connecticut’s GMO labeling law now.

    Maine and Vermont have since passed GMO labeling laws, and many other states have active bills at their state legislatures. Vermont’s law, the only bill passed without a trigger clause, is set to take effect July 1.

    Monsanto and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) recently held secret meetings in Washington in an attempt to reach a compromise on labeling, one that would preempt states’ rights to label GMOs and overturn Vermont’s law before July.

    Those meetings failed. The next move by the biotech and food industries will likely be the introduction of a GMO labeling bill in the Senate. The Senate bill will also attempt to overturn Vermont’s law, and replace it with a voluntary labeling scheme involving QR code technology.

    Connecticut can send a strong message to Congress that consumers’ and states’ rights come before corporate interests, by passing legislation to remove the trigger clause and enact our Connecticut GMO labeling law now.

    Last year, the World Health Organization designated Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide a probable human carcinogen. At least 80 percent of all GMO foods are produced or grown with this toxic, cancer-causing herbicide.

    Genetically modified salmon, potatoes and apples have all been recently approved for commercial production in the U.S. As new GMO foods enter the market, we, as consumers, have a right to know what is in the food we are buying and feeding our families.

    Please fill in the form on this page to call and email your state legislators. Ask them to pass legislation to remove the trigger clause and enact Connecticut’s GMO labeling law!

  • NH
  • URGENT: Ask Your Maine Legislators to Support GMO Labeling in Maine NOW.

    Last year, Maine lawmakers delayed action on a bill to require foods that contain GMOs to be labeled in Maine, regardless of whether or not New Hampshire or other states pass GMO labeling laws.

    “An Act to Amend Maine's Genetically Modified Food Products Labeling Law” (LD 991) is up for consideration again this week, on Thursday, January 21.

    URGENT: Please contact your state legislators today. Ask them to vote YES on LD 991, and stand with Maine voters, not with Monsanto and the Junk Food industry!

    If LD 991 passes, Maine will become the second state to require labels on GMO foods. (Vermont’s GMO labeling law is set to take effect this summer, on July 1).

    If LD 991 fails, Mainers will remain in the dark about whether or not the foods they buy contain GMOsunless New Hampshire and four more (including Maine) contiguous states also pass GMO labeling laws, before January 1, 2018.

    What will happen after January 1, 2018? Maine’s previously passed GMO labeling law will expire, without ever becoming law.

    Monsanto and the Grocery Manufacturers Association are pressuring Maine lawmakers to defeat LD 991. They know that if they defeat this bill, there is little likelihood Maine’s GMO labeling law will ever take effect. New Hampshire isn’t even considering a GMO labeling bill right now.

    The well-funded anti-labeling camp is trotting out the same old tired excuses for denying Mainers the right to know if their food contains genetically engineered ingredients. One of their favorite (unfounded) excuses is that labels will make food cost more. That was never true. But Campbell’s Soup Co. finally put that argument to bed for good, when the company recently confirmed it will label all of its GMO products, in all states, at no extra cost to consumers.

    We’ve always known that GMOs, and the toxic chemicals used to grow and produce them, aren’t good for us, or good for the environment.

    If Maine lawmakers pass LD 991, we’ll finally know which foods contain GMOs, and which don’t.

    If you want GMO labeling now, please contact your legislator today.

    We’ve also provided (below) names, phone numbers and facebook links for key members of the Maine Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Conservation, in case you want to follow up your email with a phone call or Facebook post.

    Let’s get labeling in Maine!

     - Katherine, Brian and the rest of the OCA team

    Read the text of the bill

    Contact members of the Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Forestry, and Conservation:

    Sen. Peter Edgecomb, 207-496-3188

    Sen. James Dill, 207-827-3498
    https://www.facebook.com/jim.dill.16

    Sen. Thomas Saviello
    https://www.facebook.com/senatorsaviello?fref=ts

    Rep. Craig Hickman, 207-377-3276
    https://www.facebook.com/craighickmanmaine?fref=ts

    Rep. Russell Black, 207-645-2990
    https://www.facebook.com/russell.black.3344?fref=ts

    Rep. Ralph Chapman, 207-326-0899
    https://www.facebook.com/elect.ralph.chapman?fref=ts

    Rep. Michelle Dunphy, 207-745-3088
    https://www.facebook.com/repmichelledunphy?fref=ts

    Rep. Anthony Edgecomb, 207-484-8119
    https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=601927598&fref=ts

    Rep. MaryAnne Kinney, 207-907-8420
    https://www.facebook.com/KinneyforHouse?fref=ts

    Rep. Donald Marean, 207-727-5527
    https://www.facebook.com/donald.marean?fref=ts

    Rep. Carol McElwee, 207-498-8605

    Rep. William Noon, 207-432-1790
    https://www.facebook.com/bill.noon.31

    Rep. Robert Saucier, 207-227-1160 
    https://www.facebook.com/robert.saucier.12?fref=ts

  • Tell WebMD CEO David Schlanger to Stop Promoting Monsanto!

    If you’re one of the nearly 12 million people who visit WebMD.com every month, you’re getting a healthy dose of Monsanto propaganda along with your “health research.”

    Monsanto is one of the many corporate “sponsors” of WebMD. That means Monsanto pays WebMD in order to pepper WebMD’s website with advertisements and advertorials (ads disguised as legitimate journalism).

    TAKE ACTION: Tell WebMD CEO Schlanger to stop promoting Monsanto, the world’s largest poison pusher!

    WebMD Health Corp. (NASDAQ: WBMD) is a publicly held corporation that answers first and foremost to its shareholders. The company, with its long history of deceiving consumers and partnering up with drug, junk food and biotech companies, is not, and never was, in the business of caring about consumers—a fact meticulously documented in an article published this week (January 19, 2016) by Mercola.com.

    Why bother to ask one corrupt corporation, WebMD, to cut ties with another, equally or exceedingly corrupt corporation (Monsanto)?

    Because Monsanto’s propaganda is cleverly disguised as legitimate health advice. So cleverly, that millions of visitors to the site probably have no idea that they’re being duped. (WebMD publishes a long, detailed explanation of what a sponsor is, what its advertising and editorial policies are, knowing full well that few, if any, visitors will ever see, much less read it).

    According to Mercola.com:

    In years past, the line between editorial and advertorial content was quite clear, and there was virtually no confusion about the fact that you were reading an ad. Today, you have to be more “eagle-eyed” to spot these differences.

    A business has to pay for a sponsorship/advertorial just like it would a regular ad, and in some cases, they pay significantly more than they would for a regular ad. But the expense of a sponsorship/advertorial is considered worth it because: 

    The venue where your sponsored advertorial is going (in this case, WebMD and its affiliates) has no input on the content — the advertiser has full control over the text of the “informative” ad
    You, the advertiser, can control how the information is presented on the page, as opposed to having to select a regular display ad format.
    Although expensive, the sponsored advertorial can be used in multiple publications.
    Companies can reuse a sponsored advertorial as a stand-alone ad in other places.

    As consumers, we “consume” more than just food, or clothes, or cars or other physical products. We are also consumers of information. The business minds behind WebMD know that—which means they know that when they sell advertorial space to a corporation like Monsanto, consumers will be bombarded with advertisements masquerading as facts.

    WebMD’s CEO may not care what kind of information his website peddles. He probably doesn’t care what you and I think.

    But we think it’s important for consumers seeking information about their health to know that a huge percentage of the content they see on WebMD originates from companies like Monsanto, not from experts on human health and nutrition.

  • MINNEAPOLIS: Ask Your City Council to Support a Zero Waste Future for Minneapolis!

    The Minneapolis City Council has a unique opportunity to move Minneapolis toward a zero waste future!

    The recycling contract for Minneapolis is up for renewal at the end of this year. Eureka Recycling, a Minneapolis based non-profit organization dedicated to a zero waste future, has put in a bid to process Minneapolis’ recycling.

    TAKE ACTION: Fill in the form on this page to ask the Minneapolis city council to support Eureka Recycling’s bid for the Minneapolis recycling contract!

    Eureka Recycling has been processing recyclables from St. Paul and other metro area cities since 2004.

    The company’s zero waste philosophy reflects a commitment to keeping waste, which contributes to water contamination and air pollution, out of landfills and incinerators. Plus, the company supports the local economy by paying living wages to the people who sort recyclables, a practice that is very uncommon in the industry.

    Waste Management, the company that currently processes the city’s recycling, doesn’t support a zero waste agenda.

    The Transportation and Public Works Committee is planning to review a recommendation from city staff at their February 2 meeting, so the time to act is now!

    Let’s all move toward a healthier future by supporting a zero waste recycler for Minneapolis today.

    TAKE ACTION: Fill in the form on this page to ask the Minneapolis city council to support Eureka Recycling’s bid for the Minneapolis recycling contract!

    More information here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1507542682875136/

    Learn about Eureka Recycling here

    Thanks for taking action!

  • Urgent! Tell Sec. Vilsack to Back Off and Let Vermont’s GMO Labeling Law Take Effect!

    As the calendar flips over to 2016, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, Monsanto and the rest of the GMO junk food industry are growing ever more desperate to prevent Vermont’s GMO labeling law (Act 120) from taking effect on July 1, 2016.

    Their next move? A closed door, by invitation-only meeting with U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack and select GMO labeling advocates (OCA has not been invited) in the hope of striking a compromise, one that no doubt would preempt Vermont’s law.

    TAKE ACTION! Tell Sec. Vilsack to back off and let Vermont’s GMO labeling law take effect! Please use this form to send Vilsack a letter or call his office at 202-720-3631. Your letter will have more impact if you personalize it.

    Should the GMO labeling movement, which has fought so long and so hard to require food manufacturers to disclose this basic information about their products, settle for anything less than a mandatory labeling law like Vermont’s?

    We don’t think so. Vermont’s GMO labeling law must be allowed to take effect July 1, 2016, as scheduled. Then we can talk about potential next steps, including federal regulations or legislation.

    We don’t yet know the date of this upcoming meeting, other than that Vilsack has publicly said it would happen in January. OCA has not been invited. Not surprising, given our no compromise position on labeling. 

    But we do know this: Vilsack needs to hear from you, from all of us, now!

    Vilsack recently announced that, “after the first of the year,” he would “convene a meeting of … folks who are interested in the [GMO] labeling issue.” His goal, he said, is to address the issue “[i]n a way that doesn’t create significant market disruption while at the same time recognizing consumers’ need to know and right to know the basic information.”

    On the surface, that doesn’t sound so bad. We’ve always wanted GMOs to be labeled in every state. We would support a federal GMO labeling law—but only if it meets or exceeds the standards set by Vermont’s law and only if it goes into effect July 1, as the Vermont Law requires.

    We’re fairly certain that’s not what industry will push for in this meeting.

    Here’s what industry will push for: a federal compromise bill, weaker than Vermont’s, which would also preempt Vermont’s Act 120. That’s unacceptable. Not to mention unrealistic.

    Here’s why. The federal government doesn't move very fast. Even when there’s strong political will to get something done, Congressional gridlock prevents most measures from moving forward at anything other than a snail’s pace.

    Just look at our federal regulatory process.  Even if a bill were introduced and miraculously passed before July 1, the USDA and/or the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) would likely have to implement that law through rulemaking. This is where many federal initiatives grind to a stop.

    Case in point? Restaurant menu calorie labeling. It’s been seven years since the first state laws were passed, and five years since Congress passed a federal mandatory calorie labeling law, one that preempted those seven states from enacting their legislation. After a long string of delays, the feds still haven’t finalized the rulemaking. Calorie labeling on restaurant menus remains a distant dream.

    Still, the Senate could conceivably push through a bill that either outright preempts Vermont's law, or delays its implementation.

    Consumers aren’t willing to wait year after year for the feds to get their act together when it comes to labeling foods containing GMOs. Especially when many of those foods contain residues of glyphosate, recently classified by the World Health Organization as a probable human carcinogen.

    Vermonters fought hard for a strong GMO labeling law. They won. True, the state is now fighting it out in the courts against an industry lawsuit intended to overturn that law. But so far, the courts have ruled against industry’s request to delay implementation of the law until the suit has been decided. There is no legal basis for preempting Vermont’s Act 120, according to experts on states’ rights .So unless the courts rule otherwise, before July 1, Act 120 will become law, and products containing GMOs, sold in Vermont, will have to be labeled.


    Senate Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich) has publicly stated her intent to pass federal legislation, in 2016, preempting states’ rights to label GMOs. (Read our letter to Stabenow demanding mandatory on-package labeling).

    Vilsack wants to help. Like Stabenow, he has told the media that in his opinion, the solution is to let companies use smart-phone scanning technology to provide information about GMOs, without having to disclose GMO ingredients on product packages, where consumers would actually see it.

    What if Sec. Vilsack and Sen. Stabenow could be convinced to support a federal bill to require on-package GMO labels? A bill that would preempt Vermont’s Act 120?

    That might be okay, as long as the federal standard meets or exceeds the Vermont standard.  (We’d prefer to see a federal standard that includes labels on the meat, milk and eggs derived from animals given genetically engineered feed or growth hormones—something Vermont and other states can’t currently require, because of federal preemption).

    So far, we’ve stopped Monsanto and Big Food from passing the DARK Act, to Deny Americans our Right to Know about genetically engineered foods.  Monsanto’s minions couldn’t find a single democrat in the Senate who was willing to cosponsor it. Even the pro-GMO Democrats were afraid to admit to their constituents that they oppose the GMO labels that 9 out of 10 people support.

    If we can stop the DARK Act, despite Monsanto’s deep pockets, we can protect Vermont’s GMO labeling law from a back-room compromise.

  • Tell Congress to Support H.R. 4184 the Food Recovery Act!

    People go to bed hungry every night in nearly 7 million households in the U.S., according to a report published last month by the National Commission on Hunger. 

    And yet, Americans throw away 40 percent of our food—the equivalent of $165 billion each year—according to the National Resources Defense Council.

    Can we distribute food to those who need it? Rather than bury it in landfills, where it generates methane emissions that heat up the Earth’s atmosphere?

    TAKE ACTION! Tell Congress to support H.R. 4184 the Food Recovery Act!

    On December 7, 2015, U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, (D-Maine) introduced H.R. 4184, the Food Recovery Act.

    H.R. 4148 proposes comprehensive legislation to address food waste in four areas: at the consumer level; at the retail (grocery stores and restaurants) level; at the institutional (schools, hospitals and other institutions); and on the farm.

    What does the bill mean for consumers? For starters, the Food Recovery Act takes on the issue of expiration dates. Currently, there are no federal laws governing the use of expiration dates on food products. That means food manufacturers often stamp products with dates that encourage consumers (and retailers) to throw away food even when it is still fine for consumption.

    H.R. 4148 would require any manufacturer who chooses to put an expiration date on its product to use the words “Best if used by,” and also, in letters of equal size, the words “manufacturer’s suggestion only.”

    Monsanto and other purveyors of GMO crops claim we can’t feed the world without GMOs. But according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, globally, we produce enough food to feed the 7 billion people living today, and even the estimated 9-10 billion population in 2050.

    Here in the U.S., according to Pingree, a 15-percent reduction in food waste in the U.S. would be enough to feed 25 million people, cutting in half the number of Americans who are food insecure.

    In addition to feeding more people, reducing food waste would have a positive impact on global warming. Decomposing food produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas that has a 25-times greater impact on climate change than CO2, over a 100-year period.

    “If food waste was a country, it would be the third largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions in the world,” Pingree said at the New York Times Food forTomorrow Conference, where she announced the bill. 

    Keeping more food waste out of landfills—both by using it to feed people and by requiring municipalities to recycle it into compost—would curb greenhouse gas emissions.

    If passed, H.R. 4184 would also:

    •    Extend and expand tax deductions for farmers, retailers and restaurants that donate high-quality food to organizations serving people who are food insecure.

    •    Strengthen the Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, which provides liability protection to businesses that donate wholesome food.

    •    Encourage school cafeterias to purchase lower-price “ugly” fruits and vegetables.

    •    Expand grant programs to educate students about food waste and encourage food recovery.

    •    Strengthen connection between schools and farms to give both more resources to combat food waste.

    •    Require companies that receive food service contracts with the federal government, including Congressional cafeterias, U.S. military bases, and federal prisons, to donate surplus food to organizations like food banks, food pantries, and soup kitchens.

    •    Encourage composting as a conservation practice eligible for support under USDA’s conservation programs.

    More on H.R. 4184, the Food Recovery Act

  • President Obama: Sign on to France’s 4 per 1000 Regenerative Ag Climate Solution!

    The most compelling, most hopeful climate strategy to come out of the COP21 Paris Climate Conference was something called France’s 4/1000 Initiative: Soils for Food Security and Climate

    The 4/1000 Initiative puts regenerative food and farming front and center in the climate solutions conversation. It’s the most direct, most practical, and the only shovel-ready plan for reversing climate change.

    The United Nations, more than two dozen developed and developing countries, and more than 50 international organizations, private foundations, international funds, NGOs, consumer, and farmers' organizations, have signed the French Initiative and committed to implementing appropriate soil management practices, and to recognizing the importance of soil health for the transition towards productive, highly resilient agriculture.

    But so far, the U.S. government is MIA from the list of official 4/1000 partners.

    TAKE ACTION: President Obama: Sign on to France’s 4 per 1000 Regenerative Ag Climate Solution! Fill in the form on this page to sign the petition or text "Obama" to 97779.

    Reduced to its simplest form, the 4/1000 Initiative says this: If, on a global scale, we increase the soil carbon content of the soil by .04 percent each year for the next 25 years, we can draw down a critical mass of excess carbon from the atmosphere and begin to reverse global warming.

    Is the French Initiative realistic? Yes, even by conservative estimates.

    Industrial, degenerative farming practices, which include tilling, deforestation, wetlands destruction and the use of massive amounts of synthetic and toxic fertilizers and pesticides, have stripped 136 billion tons of carbon out of the soil and sent it up into the atmosphere. Using the French government’s modest estimates, we can transfer, via enhanced plant photosynthesis, 150 billion tons of this carbon back into the soil in the next 25 years.

    How do we achieve those numbers? All we have to do is help just 10 percent of the world’s farmers and ranchers adopt regenerative organic agriculture, holistic grazing and land management practices—and by help, we mean direct a portion of the billions of dollars earmarked for climate solution projects to farmers who regenerate, not degenerate, the world’s soils. 

    France’s 4/1000 Initiative is game changer. But only if enough players get in game.

    Read more about the Initiative here. Then fill in the form on this page to sign our petition asking President Obama to sign the U.S. on to the 4/1000 Initiative.

  • World Food Day 2016: Organize a Monsanto Protest!

    The OCA, along with IFOAM International Organics, Navdanya, Regeneration International (RI), Millions Against Monsanto and dozens of global food, farming, environmental justice groups have announced they will put Monsanto on trial for crimes against nature and humanity!

    The Monsanto Tribunal will take place in The Hague, Netherlands, next year on World Food Day, October 16, 2016. OCA, Millions Against Monsanto and other groups are organizing a global protest against Monsanto on the same day.

    We need your help! Sign up to organize a Monsanto protest in your city on October 16, 2016! More details to come, including materials and tips on how to organize your event.

    Learn more about the Monsanto Tribunal here

    Here's more from OCA international director Ronnie Cummins:

    “The time is long overdue for a global citizens’ tribunal to put Monsanto on trial for crimes against humanity and the environment. We are in Paris this month to address the most serious threat that humans have ever faced in our 100-200,000 year evolution—global warming and climate disruption. Why is there so much carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide in the atmosphere and not enough carbon organic matter in the soil? Corporate agribusiness, industrial forestry, the garbage and sewage industry and agricultural biotechnology have literally killed the climate-stabilizing, carbon-sink capacity of the Earth's living soil.”

    Read the press release here

  • Urgent: Act Before December 11 to Stop the Sneak Attack on GMO Labels!

    Monsanto’s friends in Congress will try to slip a version of the DARK Act (H.R. 1599), the bill that would Deny Americans the Right to Know about GMOs, into the end-of-year appropriations bill. The appropriations bill, essentially a budget bill, must pass by midnight December 11, or the federal government will shut down.

    Stopping this sneak attack is even more urgent now that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved GMO salmon.

    TAKE ACTION: Call and write your Senators and Member of Congress today! Tell them to reject Monsanto’s GMO labeling sneak attack rider to the appropriations bill. Fill in the form on this page to look up your lawmakers' phone numbers, then click "submit" to send your email. Or you can dial the Capitol switchboard: 202-224-3121.

    President Obama’s FDA shocked the world on November 19 when it approved—and refused to label—the world’s first genetically engineered animal for human consumption, a GMO salmon created by AquaBounty.

    The AquAdvantage® salmon is less nutritious than normal salmon, more likely to trigger an allergy, and could increase cancer risks by raising levels of IGF-1, a hormone linked to prostate, breast and colon cancers in humans.

    The only states where GMO salmon would have to be labeled are Alaska and Vermont. But those laws could be wiped out by a last-minute “sneak attack” rider to the appropriations bill.

    Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), who at first said she opposed the appropriations process to address GMO labels, now says that she would support a rider to “establish a national system of required disclosure that would ensure consumers get the information they want about their food, while also solving the problem of a 50-state patchwork of regulations.”

    Stabenow hasn’t yet revealed the details of her proposal. But from media reports it’s clear she’ll back a rider that blocks states’ rights to enact mandatory GMO labeling laws, and lets food companies decide on their own how, and whether or not, to disclose information about their use of genetic engineering to consumers.

    The Grocery Manufacturers Association, a front group for Monsanto, Pepsi and the rest of the GMO food industry, will soon be rolling out a new smart-phone app that grocery shoppers can use to scan QR barcodes on food packages to access company websites where information about their use of GMOs is buried.

    OCA international director Ronnie Cummins shot the QR barcode scheme down as “The Latest Plot to Keep You in the DARK About GMOs.” Andrew Kimbrell of the Center for Food Safety called it the “High Tech Hijacking of GMO Food Labeling.”

    OCA circulated a letter to Chairman and Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture demanding mandatory labeling of GMO foods opposing QR barcode labels. The letter has been signed by all of the major organizations working to pass GMO labeling laws.

    On December 1, the New York Times endorsed mandatory labeling of GMO salmon, and said Congress should not preempt states’ rights to enact mandatory GMO labeling laws.

    Call and write your Senators and Member of Congress today! Tell them to reject Monsanto’s GMO labeling sneak attack rider to the appropriations bill. Fill in the form on this page to look up your lawmakers' phone numbers, then click "submit" to send your email.

  • Terra Viva - A people's pact to protect the planet and each other

    Humanity stands at the edge of an abyss. We have destroyed the planet, its biodiversity, water and the climate, and through this destruction, the ecological context for our survival as a species. Ecological destruction and resource grab are generating conflicts, which are being accelerated into full blown wars and violence. A context of fear and hate is overtaking the human imagination. We need to sow the seeds of peace - peace with the earth and each other, and in so doing, create hope for our future - as one humanity and as part of one Earth community.

  • Tell Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz: Stop Supporting Efforts to Kill GMO Labeling Laws. Quit the GMA!

    Starbucks wants you to think the company is on your side when it comes to GMO labeling laws.

    But it isn’t. As long as Starbucks is a dues-paying member of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), which is party to a lawsuit against the state of Vermont intended to overturn Vermont’s recently passed GMO labeling law, the coffee peddler’s profits are being used to defeat your right to know.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz: Stop Supporting Efforts to Kill GMO Labeling Laws. Quit the GMA!

    In response to a blog post by singer/songwriter Neil Young, proclaiming his support for a Starbucks boycott, Starbucks posted this statement on its website:

    Starbucks Response to Questions and Litigation Regarding GMO Labeling

    Starbucks is not a part of any lawsuit pertaining to GMO labeling nor have we provided funding for any campaign. And Starbucks is not aligned with Monsanto to stop food labeling or block Vermont State law.

    The petition claiming that Starbucks is part of this litigation is completely false and we have asked the petitioners to correct their description of our position.

    Starbucks has not taken a position on the issue of GMO labeling. As a company with stores and a product presence in every state, we prefer a national solution.

    “Completely false”? Not quite. 

    As this subsequent article by Reuters points out:

    Internal GMA documents filed last year as part of a lawsuit in Washington State revealed [GMA] members contribute to a "Defense of Brands Strategic Account" designed "to help the industry fund programs to address the threats from motivated and well financed activists" and to "shield individual companies from criticism for funding of specific efforts."

    When asked by Reuters if Starbucks has contributed to this “special” account, Starbucks did not respond.

    No big surprise. Because not only does Starbucks’ membership in the GMA support the GMA’s lawsuit against Vermont, it also supports a bill awaiting a hearing in Congress, written by the GMA, that would strip states of the right to pass mandatory GMO labeling laws.

    If Starbucks wants consumers to believe that the company is not, at least indirectly, party to the GMA’s lawsuit against Vermont, Starbucks needs to quit the GMA immediately.

    More here. http://www.organicconsumers.org/starbucks/index.cfm

  • Tell the EPA to Ban Dow’s Child-Poisoning Chlorpyrifos!

    Chlorpyrifos, better known as Dursban and Lorsban, is an neurotoxic organophosphate insecticide that has been linked with severe birth defects, brain damage and mental disorders in children. According to a study conducted in 2012, exposure to chlorpyrifos during early pregnancy produced permanent damage to the fetus' brain architecture.

    Since 2000, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has banned chlorpyrifos for most household uses, as well as use on tomatoes, apples, citrus and nut trees. In 2012, the EPA banned the chemical from use around schools and other public spaces, though not from golf courses, parks and lawns.

    But chlorpyrifos residues are still allowed on your children’s food.

    TAKE ACTION! Tell the EPA to Ban Dow’s Child-Poisoning Chlorpyrifos!

    After nearly a decade of negligence, backroom deals and frustrating court battles, the EPA is finally moving to ban Dow Agro Science’s chlorpyrifos from agricultural use.

    It took nine years from the time Pesticide Action Network and the National Resources Defense Council submitted a petition to the EPA asking for a ban on chlorpyrifos that the EPA finally proposed its new rule. And even then, it took a court-ordered mandate to force the EPA to act.  

    The EPA’s new proposed rule would make any chlorpyrifos residues on food illegal, effectively banning its use in agriculture. The EPA will accept public comments on the new rule until midnight January 5, 2016.

    The EPA didn’t reach this point willingly. And the agency could still delay. It wouldn’t be the first time Dow strong-armed the EPA into keeping this dangerous pesticide on the market longer than the agency recommended.

    Here’s how Beyond Pesticides describes chlorpyrifos:

    Chlorpyrifos is highly neurotoxic. It is a cholinesterase inhibitor, which means that it can bind irreversibly to acetylcholine esterase (AchE), an essential enzyme for normal nerve impulse transmission, inactivating the enzyme. Studies have documented that exposure to even low levels of organophosphates like chlorpyrifos during pregnancy can impair learning, change brain function, and alter thyroid levels of offspring into adulthood. The evidence of the neurotoxic dangers associated with chlorpyrifos’ exposure is extensive and consistent. See the Pesticide Induced-Disease Database (PIDD) for more information.

    The EPA’s action on chlorpyrifos is long overdue. It’s time to protect the health of our children, not Dow’s bottom line.

  • Sign the Citizens Pact for the Earth

    For the first time in human history our common future as a species is no longer certain.

    In just 200 years of a fossil fuel age, humanity has done enough damage to the Earth to ensure its own extinction. Our only option is to heal the earth and in so doing, create hope for our future – as one humanity and as part of one Earth community.

    Life is at stake, Earth’s life as well as ours.

    The governments under corporate influence may fail in Paris – but we as citizens cannot.

    As citizens of this beautiful and bountiful planet, we make a pact with the Earth, to protect her, care for her, and give back to her the gifts she provides us with, in gratitude and love.

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  • MASSACHUSETTS: Tell Your Legislator to Stand with Pollinators, not Chemical Companies

    Massachusetts  has two opportunities to take meaningful action to protect pollinators.

    Lawmakers could pass a bill, H.655, that would restrict the use of bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides on lawns and gardens. And the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources could adopt a Pollinator Protection plan that includes some of the strongest state restrictions on neonicotinoids in the country.

    TAKE ACTION! Fill in the form on this page to ask your legislator to support H. 655, An Act Protecting Massachusetts Pollinators, and to urge the Department of Agriculture to adopt the beekeepers Pollinator Protection Plan!

    Please contact your legislator before the November 17 hearing on H.655.

    This summer, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources drafted a weak, industry-friendly “Pollinator Protection” plan with plenty of input from industry, and almost no input from Beekeepers.

    State and county beekeeping groups, representing more than 3000 people, responded by drafting their own with Pollinator Protection plan—one designed to actually protect pollinators, not the pesticide industry.

    Meanwhile, state lawmakers introduced H. 655, a bill that would restrict the use of neonicotinoids to licensed applicators and restrict non-agricultural use during blooming season when pollinators are most likely to forage.  Cosmetic lawn-care is the low hanging fruit of the pesticide fight, but the bill could have a huge impact. Turf grass is the top cultivated crop in the world.

    Neonics are a widely used systemic pesticide that has had a devastating impact on the world’s pollinators. Even as a growing body of science shows both the lethal and sublethal damage that the poison inflicts on pollinators, chemical companies have used the tobacco playbook to keep consumers in the dark. 

    Pollinators are responsible for one in every three bites of food we eat, including cranberries, blueberries, apples, carrots and broccoli, all grown in Massachusetts. Neonics endanger the future of every single one of those crops and more.

    Please act before November 17!  Ask your legislator to support H. 655, An Act Protecting Massachusetts Pollinators, and to urge the Department of Agriculture to adopt the beekeepers Pollinator Protection Plan!

  • SALSA TAKE ACTION! Tell EPA’s Neil Anderson: Ban Monsanto’s Roundup Now!

    What would you say to the scientists at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) who will decide whether glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, should continue to be used on crops?

    This could be our last chance for another 15 years to get glyphosate off of the market and out of our food supply. The EPA’s Neil Anderson needs to hear from you today.

    TAKE ACTION! Tell EPA’s Neil Anderson: Ban Monsanto’s Roundup Now! Fill out this form with your contact information and a personal letter. It will be sent via email directly to Neil Anderson, chief of the risk management and implementation branch at the EPA's pesticide re-evaluation division.

    Once every 15 years, the EPA is required to review and decide whether or not to re-register each pesticide. This year, glyphosate is up for review.

    According to one of our allies in this fight, Moms Across America, the EPA’s Neil Anderson, branch manager in charge of risk management and implementation, will announce the agency’s decision sometime this week.

    In reviewing pesticides, the EPA must determine whether each pesticide “can perform its intended function without unreasonable adverse effects on human health or the environment.”

    Will the EPA decide that glyphosate passes that test? Even in the face of mounting proof that glyphosate causes cancer?

    In March of this year, 17 of the world’s most respected scientists at the World Health Organization (WHO) concluded that glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen. The panel considered the following evidence:

    • Increased rates of non-Hodgkin lymphoma were found in occupational exposure studies of workers who handled glyphosate in the USA, Canada, and Sweden.

    • Cancers of the kidney, blood vessels, stomach, and skin were observed in laboratory studies of rats and mice exposed to glyphosate.

    • Our bodies absorb glyphosate. This is indicated by the fact that glyphosate is found in the blood and urine of agricultural workers.

    • Our intestinal microbes metabolize glyphosate just like soil microbes do. When people are poisoned by glyphosate, aminomethylphosphoric acid (AMPA), a metabolite of glyphosate that’s found in contaminated soil and water, is found in their blood.

    • Glyphosate and Roundup induce DNA and chromosomal damage in mammals, and in human and animal cells in vitro.

    • Glyphosate, Roundup, and AMPA induce oxidative stress in rodents and in vitro.

    WHO’s conclusion that glyphosate probably causes cancer in humans is a strong basis for EPA action to revoke glyphosate’s registration and stop human exposure to this dangerous pesticide. But it’s not the only evidence against glyphosate.

    Studies conducted in the 15 years since glyphosate last came up for review provide strong  evidence that glyphosate is a known health risk. A summary of this evidence and links to many scientific papers for your consideration is available here: https://www.organicconsumers.org/news/monsantos-roundup-enough-make-you-sick

    The EPA’s own scientists, nearly 30 years ago, said that glyphosate causes cancer. (They reversed that finding in 1991, under pressure from Monsanto).

    In addition to threatening human health, the use of glyphosate is destroying monarch butterfly habitat—milkweed plants that use to thrive in corn and soybean fields. The monarch population has suffered a 97-percent loss since the introduction of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready crops.

    Glyphosate also destroys soil health and contributes to global warming, by destroying the soil’s ability to sequester carbon.

    If it were just about the science, glyphosate would have been banned a long time ago. But Monsanto wields tremendous power over President Obama and the EPA.

    Our only way to turn this around is to become a force that is as politically powerful as Monsanto. That means hundreds of thousands of people contacting the EPA,  demanding that the agency take the WHO's cancer findings seriously and get glyphosate off the market.

    Please use this form to send a personal letter to Neil Anderson and then share this alert. We've put a pre-written letter in the form, but your action will have a much bigger impact if you replace that text with a personal letter of your own.

    Let Anderson know you’ve done your own homework. You've read about the science on the health risks of glyphosate. And if you have a personal experience about improving your health by getting GMOs and glyphosate out of your diet, please share your story.

  • TAKE ACTION! Tell EPA’s Neil Anderson: Ban Monsanto’s Roundup Now!

    One of Monsanto’s favorite (false) claims is that the proliferation of GMO crops leads to reduced pesticide use. The latest study to refute that claim, published February 2, 2016,  in Environmental Sciences Europe, says that glyphosate use has risen almost 15-fold since Monsanto’s "Roundup Ready" genetically engineered crops were introduced in 1996. (Glyphosate is the active ingredient in Roundup).

    How much should you care about a 15-fold increase in the use of glyphosate?

    "The dramatic and rapid growth in overall use of glyphosate will likely contribute to a host of adverse environmental and public health consequences," said Dr. Charles Benbrook, author of the new study.

    TAKE ACTION! Tell EPA’s Neil Anderson: Ban Monsanto’s Roundup Now! Fill out this form with your contact information and a personal letter. It will be sent via email directly to Neil Anderson, chief of the risk management and implementation branch at the EPA's pesticide re-evaluation division.

    Once every 15 years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is required to review and decide whether or not to re-register each pesticide. Glyphosate, the key active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup, came up for review in 2015.  The EPA promised a decision by the end of July, then pushed the deadline to end of 2015. And then went radio silent.

    Meanwhile, according to Benbrook's report:

    Enough glyphosate was applied in 2014 to spray over three-quarters of a pound of glyphosate active ingredient on every harvested acre of cropland in the U.S., and remarkably, almost one-half pound per acre on all cropland worldwide (0.53 kilogram/hectare).

    Among Monsanto's many other false claims is the one that glyphosate is "harmless when used according to instructions." Yet  study after study suggests otherwise. And last year, the World Health Organization classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen.

    While the EPA drags its feet about whether or not to renew its approval of glyphosate, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) refuses to tell consumers how much glyphosate is left behind on the foods they eat.

    This could be our last chance for another 15 years to get glyphosate off of the market and out of our food supply. The EPA’s Neil Anderson needs to hear from you today.

  • DEADLINE November 13, 5 p.m. EST: Tell Obama You Want Safety Testing, Tighter Regulations and Labels on GMOs

    If you’re not clear about how genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are regulated in this country, it’s no wonder.  Not one, but three government agencies—the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—are charged with oversight of GMOs.  Each agency has developed its own regulations and guidance documents to fit within a complex web of laws.

    Consumers and scientists have been asking for better oversight, stronger laws and rigorous testing of GMOs for years. In response, President Obama, in July (2015), called for a review—the first since 1992—of the “coordinated framework” for the regulation of biotechnology. The stated goal of the review is to “modernize” the system by clarifying the roles of the USDA, FDA and EPA, and developing a “long-term strategy for the regulation of the products of biotechnology.”

    TAKE ACTION: DEADLINE November 13, 5 p.m. EST: Tell Obama You Want Safety Testing, Tighter Regulations and Labels on GMOs. Fill in the form on this page to sign the petition. Be sure to share your personal story in the comments box to increase your impact.  You can also submit your comments directly at http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=FDA-2015-N-3403-0002

    Not in front of a computer? Text 'RegulateGMOs' to 97779 to sign the petition.

    The White House memorandum on “Modernizing the Regulatory System for Biotechnology Products” is full of language slanted toward the biotech industry.  It’s clear that President Obama doesn’t want to spook the industry by suggesting tighter regulations that might discourage “economic growth, innovation, competitiveness, and job creation.”

    That’s why it’s critical that the White House hear from the millions of consumers who believe the biotech industry has for far too long been given a free pass when it comes to the regulation of GMOs.  Now is our chance to demand pre-market safety testing of GMOs, mandatory labeling of GMOs, restrictions on where and how GMO crops may be grown, and a moratorium on herbicide-tolerant and pesticide-producing GMOs, those that turn our foods into herbicide sponges and pesticide factories and expose us to dangerous levels of toxins.

    Last month, the FDA held the first public meeting to address “modernizing” the GMO regulatory system. Organic Consumers Association (OCA) was among the many groups that attended the meeting. We submitted joint testimony on behalf of OCA, Moms Across America and the millions of people who are trying to navigate a marketplace where foods contain secret ingredients and 99.7 percent of the GMOs are pesticide plants, genetically engineered to either increase our exposure to dangerous herbicides or turn our foods into toxic insecticides, or both.

    Many of our members share a similar story. Whether it’s breast cancer or reproductive issues or painful digestive problems or gall bladder removal or kidney disease or diabetes or obesity, the story is always the same: “I was sick. I got medical treatment. I was still sick. I got GMOs out of my diet, and now I’m getting my health back.”

    The "modernization” of the biotech regulatory framework will not happen overnight, or in one fell swoop. This will be a long process. It’s up to us to speak out loudly and clearly. And often.

    The regulators at the FDA, EPA and USDA need to hear from us about our personal health experiences so that they can understand why we care so much about how they regulate GMOs.

    Please sign our petition, or submit your comments directly at http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=FDA-2015-N-3403-0002.

  • Tell Quarterback Tom Brady: Thank You for Taking on Junk Food!

    Star quarterback Tom Brady recently made headlines when he said Coke is “poison for kids” and that, thanks to the advertising world, “We believe that Frosted Flakes is a food.”

    Brady attacked Coke and (Kellogg’s) Frosted Flakes during an interview in which he defended his friend, advisor and trainer, Alex Guerrero, against an unflattering Boston magazine report.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Quarterback Tom Brady: Thank You for Taking on Junk Food!

    You may not be a sports fan in general, or a Tom Brady fan specifically, but you’ve got to love that when a celebrity athlete speaks out about a product, people listen.

    Better yet, kids—at least those who dream of becoming star athletes themselves— listen. Intently.

    Coca-Cola and Kellogg’s have both spent lavishly to keep labels off of foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Thanks to the bad publicity generated by their spending to defeat labeling laws, and the consumer boycotts that followed, both companies are suffering financially.

    A recent report said Kellogg’s “will continue to see stagnant and even negative earnings growth.” CNBC recently reported that soda sales have “hit a decade of decline.”

    While we continue to work on food policy on the state and federal level, we know that at the institutional level, the deck is stacked against consumers. That means that our best avenue for reforming our broken food system is through consumer choice.

    It never hurts to have a health-conscious celebrity athlete on our side. Please let Tom Brady know we appreciate his help!

  • Tell Quarterback Tom Brady: Thank You for Taking on Junk Food!

    Star quarterback Tom Brady recently made headlines when he said Coke is “poison for kids” and that, thanks to the advertising world, “We believe that Frosted Flakes is a food.”

    Brady attacked Coke and (Kellogg’s) Frosted Flakes during an interview in which he defended his friend, advisor and trainer, Alex Guerrero, against an unflattering Boston magazine report.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Quarterback Tom Brady: Thank You for Taking on Junk Food!

    You may not be a sports fan in general, or a Tom Brady fan specifically, but you’ve got to love that when a celebrity athlete speaks out about a product, people listen.

    Better yet, kids—at least those who dream of becoming star athletes themselves— listen. Intently.

    Coca-Cola and Kellogg’s have both spent lavishly to keep labels off of foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Thanks to the bad publicity generated by their spending to defeat labeling laws, and the consumer boycotts that followed, both companies are suffering financially.

    A recent report said Kellogg’s “will continue to see stagnant and even negative earnings growth.” CNBC recently reported that soda sales have “hit a decade of decline.”

    While we continue to work on food policy on the state and federal level, we know that at the institutional level, the deck is stacked against consumers. That means that our best avenue for reforming our broken food system is through consumer choice.

    It never hurts to have a health-conscious celebrity athlete on our side. Please let Tom Brady know we appreciate his help!

  • Tell Congress: Please Support the PRIME Act So Consumers Can Support Local Farms, Not Factory Farms

    Demand for local meat, especially grass-fed beef and pastured pork, is on the rise, consumers learn more about the inhumane treatment of animals, over-use of antibiotics, worker injustices and environmental destruction associated with factory farm meat production.

    But finding, and affording, local meat isn’t always easy. That’s because current factory farm-friendly U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) meat processing regulations are geared toward large-scale factory farms, not local, small-scale farms.

    Two members of Congress—Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine)—want to help make it easier for consumers to buy local meat, and easier for small-scale farmers to thrive.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress: Please Support the PRIME Act (H.R. 3187) so You Can Support Local Farms, Not Factory Farms

    Current regulations put local meat producers at a disadvantage

    If consumers want to buy more local meat, and local farms are willing to produce it, what’s the hold-up? The USDA describes the problem this way:

    Bringing local meat and poultry to market requires access to appropriately scaled processing facilities with the skills, inspection status, and reliability to prepare these products safely, legally, and to customer specifications. Farmers often suggest that limited local processing infrastructure restricts the supply of local meat and poultry. Many farmers drive multiple hours one way to their nearest inspected processing facility and bring only a few head at a time, resulting in high transportation and opportunity costs per pound of meat. Farmers may have difficulty getting slaughter dates during processors’ busy seasons or they must schedule far in advance. Some small processing facilities may not offer specific services that farmers and their customers’ desire.

    But what the USDA doesn’t talk about in its 2013 “Economic Research Report,” is the fact that its own regulations are what hinder local producers.

    As one rancher put it:

    Overregulation of food processing has done more to hurt ranching families than they even know. The reason for this is that heavy regulation makes it extremely difficult to enter the slaughter and processing sector since the risks are high and the regulatory hurdles immense. It’s easier to build a centralized feedlot/packing house if you are a Cargill with huge capital reserves and an army of technicians than it is to build a USDA certified mom-and-pop packing facility. The reason is simple: reams of paperwork, tests, constantly updated procedures, and risk create an almost insurmountable barrier to entry.

    The number of federally inspected slaughterhouses dropped from 1,627 in 1980 to 1,051 in 2010, according to an article in the Washington Post.  The diminishing number of processing facilities forces many small, local producers to ship their animals hundreds or even thousands of miles to be processed at a shrinking number of “USDA approved” facilities—the same facilities used by their large-scale, factory farm competitors. Local ranchers who commit to a higher standard of care for their animals are forced to either close up shop or expose their cattle to the same poor standards and facilities as factory-farmed cattle, while at the same time causing their locally raised meat to be co-mingled with factory farm meat.

    PRIME Act would allow local meat producers to process locally, for in-state sales

    Under current regulations (21 U.S.C. § 623(a)), local meat producers are exempt from the requirement that they use only USDA-approved processing facilities, but only if the meat they produce is used for personal, household, guest and employee use.

    The PRIME (Processing Revival and Intrastate Meat Exemption) Act would expand this exemption, by allowing individual states to distribute custom-slaughtered meat such as beef, pork or lamb (poultry is already exempt), to consumers, restaurants, hotels, boarding houses, and grocery stores, within state lines.

    In her article, “Breaking the USDA’s Slaughterhouse Stranglehold, Prof. Baylen J. Linnekin, executive director of Keep Food Legal Foundation, says:

    The USDA should immediately halt any inspection requirements for meat that’s raised, slaughtered, and sold in any one state. Let states and municipalities and farmers and consumers decide what inspection system is right for them. Then—and only then—will the ‘local’ in local foods be more than an aspiration.

    In a press release announcing the introduction of the PRIME Act, Rep. Massie said:

    Despite consumers’ desire to know where their food comes from, federal inspection requirements make it difficult for them to purchase food from local farmers they know and trust. These onerous federal rules also make it more difficult for small farms and ranches to succeed financially. It is time to open our markets to small farms and producers and give consumers the freedom to choose.

    More info:
    Factory Farm Nation,” Food & Water Watch 2015 report
    Breaking the USDA's Slaughterhouse Stranglehold,” Baylen J. Linnekin
    Slaughterhouse options shrink for small farmers,” Karen Miltner, USA Today
    Big Meat and Big Government,” Paul Schwennesen

  • Senators, Please No DARK Act 'Sneak Attack'

    Could Monsanto and Big Food do an end run around the Senate on GMO labeling?

    Yes, if history is any lesson. They could do it by launching a “sneak attack.” And there are several versions of the “sneak attack” they could use.

    TAKE ACTION: Ask these five powerful Senators not to use a “sneak attack” to pass a Senate version of the DARK Act. Please sign our petition, then call your Senator (phone numbers below).

    Monsanto is pushing legislation, (we call it the DARK Act), which would guarantee there will never be GMO labels, safety testing of GMOs, protections for farmers from GMO contamination or regulations of pesticide-promoting GMO crops to protect human health, the environment or endangered pollinators.

    The bill, H.R. 1599, was passed by the House on July 23 (2015). So far, no Senate version has been introduced, though we expect to see one soon.

    But “soon” may not come soon enough for Monsanto and  Big Food, who are desperate to preempt state and federal mandatory labeling of GMOs before Vermont’s GMO labeling law, Act 120, takes effect July 1, 2016. 

    So desperate, they may launch a sneak attack.

    What’s a ‘Sneak Attack?’

    Remember the Monsanto Protection Act of 2013? Monsanto slipped the bill, whose actual name was the Farmers Assurance Provision, into a last-minute, temporary funding bill (the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013) aimed at averting a government shutdown. 

    The bill slipped through and was signed into law, with no Senate hearing, no Senate debate.

    Thankfully the provision, which would have allowed farmers to continue growing GMO crops even if a court blocked their use, generated such outrage that it was allowed to expire with the sixth-month funding bill.

    But for six months, the Monsanto Protection Act guaranteed Monsanto immunity from federal court rulings blocking GMO crops. How did the Biotech Bully get away with it?

    Jon Stewart explained it this way, in a skit he called “You Stuck What Where?”:

    It turns out, members of Congress involved in writing a bill while the bill is in subcommittee, are allowed to add any provision they want, anonymously. No fingerprints. The laws of the most powerful nation are written with the same level of accountability as internet comments.


    The same thing could happen with the DARK Act. Attaching H.R. 1599 to a Continuing Resolution bill is just one of several “sneak attack” tactics Monsanto could use to bypass a GMO labeling battle in the Senate before year’s end.  For more on this, and other potential “sneak attack” maneuvers, read this

    Who Could Help Monsanto Launch a Sneak Attack?

    We’ve identified five Senators we think are the most likely to help Monsanto launch a sneak attack:

    • Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), author of the 2013 Monsanto Protection Act

    • Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), who blocked repeal of the 2013 Monsanto Protection Act and could stick the DARK Act into a must-pass spending bill

    • Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Agriculture Committee member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), DARK Act supporters who could attach it to the Child Nutrition Act

    • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has the power to allow the DARK Act to get a Senate vote as an amendment to another piece of legislation 

    Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Monsanto’s main man in the Senate, played a big role in passing the 2013 Monsanto Protection Act. After the fact, Sen. Blunt took credit for the provision, saying he “worked with the company” to attach it as a rider to a Continuing Resolution necessary to fund the government. 

    Sen. Blunt likely has already hatched a plan for getting H.R. 1599 through Congress.

    He could use the 2013 Monsanto Protection Act playbook and try to attach it as a rider to whatever appropriations legislation gets passed this year, in which case he would need help from Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

    Or, he could try another vehicle, a bill that must be reauthorized this year, like the Child Nutrition Act. In that case, he’d need the help of Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Missouri voters, please call Sen. Blunt at (202) 224-5721.

    Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) is the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. If Monsanto wants to slip H.R. 1599 into must-pass government spending legislation, it will be Sen. Cochran who makes the call. 

    At a recent meeting with Sen. Cochran, we asked him what he would do if Sen. Blunt asked him to attach the DARK Act to an appropriations bill. He replied, with mock innocence, “I’d read it, first.” 

    The Senator who received nearly $1 million in contributions from agribusiness in 2013-2014, including from Monsanto, is unlikely to reveal his game-plan to us. But it’s clear he has no moral qualms with the idea of Monsanto using a sneak-attack strategy to push its legislative agenda

    In 2013, Sen. Cochran defended the first Monsanto Protection Act by blocking Sen. Jeff Merkley’s (D-Ore.) effort to repeal it through an amendment to the Farm Bill. Mississippi voters, please call Sen. Cochran at (202) 224-5054. 

    Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) has already voiced his support for the DARK Act and preemption of state labeling initiatives.

    The Senate version of the DARK Act is likely to be assigned to Senate Agriculture Committee. As chairman of this committee, Sen. Roberts has the power to decide whether to hold hearings, who to call as witnesses, and whether to bring the bill to a vote. 

    He could also launch a “You Stuck What Where?” sneak attack by attaching the DARK Act to another piece of legislation before his committee. 

    On September 17, Sen. Roberts will bring the Senate version of the Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization bill to his committee for amendments, debate and vote.

    If Sen. Roberts wanted to do a favor for his Big Ag donors who have given him $791.2k so far this election cycle, he could let Sen. Blunt slip the DARK Act right into his version of the Child Nutrition Act. There would be little anyone could do about that, unless they were willing to risk the future of the school lunch program past October 1, when the legislation expires. 

    If Monsanto can’t get Sen. Roberts to act alone, the other Senators on the Agriculture Committee could be enlisted in a team effort. With a two-person majority, the committee’s 11 Republicans could vote to attach the DARK Act to the Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization without any Democrat’s support. Kansas voters, please call Sen. Roberts at 202-224-4774.

    Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), one of the 11 Republicans who could vote to attach the DARK Act to the Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization, might lead this charge. He’s an Ag Committee Republican who has already come out in support of the effort to preempt state labeling initiatives. Iowa voters, please call Sen. Grassley at (202) 224-3744.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) hasn’t taken in $1.1M from agribusiness so far this election cycle for nothing. Monsanto and its allies know that the DARK Act could live or die depending on how important it is to Sen. McConnell. 

    As the Senate Majority Leader, Sen. McConnell controls which bills go to the floor and which amendments may be offered.

    If the DARK Act doesn’t get attached to another piece of legislation by a committee chair or a vote in committee, it could be brought to the floor as stand-alone legislation. This rarely happens in the Senate, because it takes 60 votes (a bipartisan effort) to cut off debate and avoid a filibuster.

    Amendments to legislation are different. It only takes 51 votes to pass an amendment—as long as the amendment is germane. (Non-germane amendments require 60 votes.) Of course, what’s “germane” is largely up to the Senate Majority Leader. 

    And, there’s also special legislation, known as “reconciliation.” Only 51 votes are needed to pass amendments to reconciliation bills.

    The ability to wield these parliamentary tactics gives Sen. McConnell enormous power and will make him the top target of Monsanto’s lobbying machine. Kentucky voters, please call Sen. McConnell at (202) 224-2541.

    TAKE ACTION: Please sign the petition to these five powerful Senators urging them not to use a sneak attack to pass the DARK Act.

  • Tell Sen. Klobuchar: Don't Cosponsor a Senate Version of the DARK Act!

    Now that the House has passed H.R. 1599, the so-called “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act,”  Monsanto and Big Food need to find a Democrat and a Republican willing to introduce a Senate version.

    But before anything can happen in the Senate, Monsanto and Big Food need to find a Democrat and a Republican willing to introduce a Senate version of H.R. 1599, or as we prefer to call it, the DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act.

    TAKE ACTION: Please sign the petition asking Sen. Amy Klobuchar to promise she won’t cosponsor or support a Senate version of the DARK Act! Then, call her Minneapolis office at 612-727-5220.

    Amy Klobuchar is being very heavily lobbied to be the lead Democratic sponsor the Senate version of the Pompeo bill, being from a farm state and serving on the Agriculture Committee.

    Will Sen. Klobuchar side with big agri-business/chemical companies, who have donated over $500,000 to her campaign during the last election cycle, or with MN consumers who want to know if their food contains GMOs ? Time will tell. Either way, in order to be able to claim their bill is bipartisan, Monsanto and Big Food will need a Democratic Senator on their side. Why? Because in the Senate, where 60 votes, a three-fifths super-majority, are needed to cut off debate, avoid a filibuster and bring a bill to a vote, bipartisanship is essential. Legislation doesn’t move until consensus (or at least a little horse-trading) is achieved. Bills need support from both sides of the aisle.

    Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) is a member of Agriculture Committee, so she would be a strategic choice for lead Democratic cosponsor of a Senate version of the DARK Act. Sen. Klobuchar shot to the top of the list of suspects when the Grocery Manufacturers Association, Monsanto’s main front group for DARK Act lobbying, began running television and radio ads in her home state of Minnesota.

    Her support for the bill would be critical in winning over other Senate Democrats, just as they did in the U.S. House with MN Democratic and Agriculture Committee member Collin Peterson’s support. We need to tell Amy, her staff and the media that she’s got to protect MN state and consumer rights to label GMOs!

    In the last election cycle, Sen. Klobuchar took:

    $37,900 from General Mills
    $29,700 from Land O’Lakes
    $28,100 from Cargill
    $13,550 from Coca-Cola
    $12,100 from Grocery Manufacturers of America
    $11,500 from American Crystal Sugar
    $10,400 from PepsiCo

    These companies are Monsanto’s most important allies in their fight against our right to know, even as they profit from non-GMO sales. Don’t let General Mills’ non-GMO Cheerios, Land O’Lakes organic eggs, Cargill’s non-GMO soybean oil, Coca-Cola’s Suja Juice, or Pepsi’s Naked Juice fool you.

    If Sen. Klobuchar chose to cosponsor a Senate version of the DARK Act, her Minnesota colleague would be sure to follow her lead.

    Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) tells constituents that he voted against states’ rights to label GMOs in 2013 “because it would create a state-by-state patchwork of regulations, which could be costly to producers and consumers alike.”

    Sign the petition to tell Sen. Amy Klobuchar: There’s a political cost to siding with Monsanto and against Minnesotan consumers!

    Post a comment on her Facebook page and send her a Tweet

  • Tell Burt’s Bees: Stop Consorting with the Bee Killers!

    It’s been less than two months since Burt Shavitz, nature-lover, beekeeper and co-founder of Burt’s Bees died, at the age of 80. And even though Burt sold the company years ago to Roxanne Quimby, who in turn sold it to the Clorox Co. for a cool $925 million, Burt is probably rolling over in his grave to see his beloved company supporting an expensive, glossy, public relations campaign, paid for by Bayer CropScience, and aimed at obfuscating the fact that Bayer is one of the world’s most prolific killer of bees.

    How could that “bee,” you ask?

    Burt’s Bees is one of the companies signed on to the Pollinator Partnership, an organization that on the surface appears very concerned about the plight of honeybees. In fact, the Pollinator Partnership is a corporate creation whose primary purpose it is to shift the blame for Colony Collapse Disorder away from the real cause: Bayer’s (and other companies’) neonicotinoid pesticides. And right there on the Pollinator Partnership’s board of directors is Craig Stevenson, vice president and general manager of the Clorox Company, who is also responsible for the Burt’s Bees product line.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Burt’s Bees: Stop Consorting with the Bee Killers!

    As Friends of the Earth revealed in its “Follow the Honey” report, companies like Bayer have engaged fancy public relations firms to help spin an alternative story about what’s killing the bees. These companies, whose profits depend on massive sales of neonicotinoid poisons, don’t like the conclusion most scientists have arrived at—that neonicotinoids are largely responsible for the mass die-off of the honeybee.

    At the core of Bayer’s PR strategy are Bayer Bee Care Centers, touted as centers “for scientific exchange and communication, inviting discussions and joint projects with external partners.”

    But Bayer is also a key player in the Pollinator Partnership, which is nothing more than a collection of corporations intent on protecting their profits, especially those derived from sales of bee-killing pesticides.  The Pollinator Partnership says its mission is to “promote the health of pollinators [that are] critical to food and ecosystems through conservation, education, and research.”

    On paper, that looks like a smart idea, especially given the public’s intense and widespread interest in protecting bees and other pollinators. But with corporate sponsors like Bayer, Monsanto and Syngenta (which make up nearly the entire supply chain of neonicotinoids, currently representing 25 percent of the global market for pesticides),  the Pollinator Partnership’s true motivation is highly suspect.

    Or not. In fact, if you read this letter from the Pollinator Partnership, the group’s mission becomes much more clear: defend, deny, deflect.

    Neonicotinoids come with a bee hazard statement on the label as they have been determined to have the potential to harm bees; but the question is, to what extent are these substances alone responsible for CCD?

    The letter goes on to defend neonicotinoids “as a response to and as a replacement for previous chemicals that had proven risks associated with bee kills and human health concerns.”

    In the letter, Executive Director Laurie Davies Adams also denies that neonics are the primary cause of CCD, and points instead to changing weather patterns, varroa mites and other threats to bees, totally overlooking the fact that neonics, a systemic pesticide, weaken the immune system of bees, making them more vulnerable to these other threats.

    It’s a shame that Clorox now owns, and has corrupted the product—a fact that hasn’t gone unnoticed by consumers who are asking to “change back” Burt’s Bees.

    It’s an even bigger shame that Burt’s Bees is now supporting the very company that is killing off the bees.
     

  • Tell Bayer: Stop Selling Bee-Killing Pesticides

    In January, you helped us induct the world’s leading bee-killer, Bayer CropScience, into the Corporate Accountability International Hall of Shame. Bayer is the leading manufacturer of neonicotinoid pesticides, identified by scientists as the primary culprit in Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).

    Since January, the plight of U.S. honeybees has gotten even worse. Forty-two percent of the nation’s honeybee colonies died off between April 2014 and April 2015.

    What is Bayer’s reaction to these alarming statistics? A litany of excuses and a host of tobacco industry-style public relations campaigns, including establishing its own “Bee Care” Center.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Bayer to stop manufacturing bee-killing pesticides!

    One in three American meals depends on pollination from bees. Bayer’s poisons don’t just endanger bees, they endanger our food supply for generations to come.
    Studies show that when honeybees are exposed to neonics at levels reasonably found on farms, their hives experience an 85-percent reduction in the production of new queens. Yet Bayer insists that the company cares about honey bees, perhaps in the same way that cigarette companies care about healthy lungs.

    Consumer outrage over Bayer’s poisons has not gone unnoticed. After Friends of the Earth reported that more than 50 percent of “bee friendly” flowers sold at department stores contain neonics, several major companies, including . BJ’s, Lowe’s, Home Depot and Whole Foods, took steps to limit the sale of the pesticides. We recently called on Ace and True Value Hardware to do the same. We hope they’ll follow suit.

    Consumer pressure is key to convincing retailers to stop poisoning the bees (and their environment, which just happens to be our environment, too).

    But we also need to hold the manufacturers of bee-killing pesticides accountable. We need companies like Bayer to stop manufacturing chemicals that have no place in an already-compromised ecosystem.

    As evidence mounts that Bayer’s poisons are causing massive bee die-offs, and endangering the American food supply, we call on Bayer CEO Marijn Dekkers to wake up and smell the poison.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Bayer to stop manufacturing bee-killing pesticides!

  • Sign up to deliver a letter to Costco!

    Despite hearing from more than 300,000 consumers, including petition signers from Organic Consumers Association, Friends of the Earth and other advocacy groups, Costco won’t commit to rejecting GMO salmon.

    So we’re asking consumers all across the country to step up the pressure.

    JOIN THE WEEK OF ACTION: Visit your local Costco between August  29 – September 6  and tell them to say NO to GMO salmon! Sign up here, and we’ll send you instructions and materials.

  • GMO Salmon
  • Tell these brands: Stop the Use of Banned Agrochemicals in Mexico

    In today’s world of highly processed junk food, the origin of the ingredients used in our food is often a mystery. We don't know how or with what our sandwich bread is made, or where or by whom the soda or snacks we love so much are created, and we know even less about the impact they are having on the environment and our health.
    Mexico continues to use 29 agro-toxins that are either banned or restricted in other countries, and the country's growing processed foods market continues to use unhealthy amounts of chemical additives, salt, sugar, oils and GMOs in their products despite a growing national health crises linked to obesity and malnutrition. 
     
    As consumers we have the right to full transparency from food companies regarding the ingredients in our food, and demand that these companies provide full access to ingredient information and ask that they seek to use more ingredients that are fair-trade, organic, and free of pesticides and GMOs – as these practices help farmers as well as consumers.
     
    We need your Help: 
     Over 30,000 Mexican consumers have signed the petition and sent the following letter to the 15 Mexico and the US based food companies listed here, but Greenpeace has yet to receive any responses from the US based brands. In order to support Greenpeace Mexico’s efforts, OCA is joining the campaign in solidarity with our Mexican partners to stand united against the interest of big food and big agriculture. 
     
    Take-Action: Please join the Organic Consumers Association, Millions Against Monsanto, and Greenpeace Mexico in telling Bimbo, Coca Cola, Maseca, Bachoco and other large companies to stop the use of dangerous agrochemicals start producing food in a healthy and environmentally friendly way! 
  • Tell these 12 Senate Democrats: Don’t Cosponsor the DARK Act!

    Now that the House has passed H.R. 1599, the so-called “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act,” we’re waiting to see who introduces a Senate version of the bill, and what that bill will look like.

    But before anything can happen in the Senate, Monsanto and Big Food need to find a Democrat and a Republican willing to introduce a Senate version of H.R. 1599, or as we prefer to call it, the DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act.

    TAKE ACTION: Please fill out the form on this page to sign the petition asking these 12 Senate Democrats to promise they won’t cosponsor a Senate version of the DARK Act!

    Not in front of a computer? Text TWELVE to 97779 to add your name and join OCA's Mobile Network.

    On the Republican side, it’s been reported that Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.) may step up to the plate as soon as Congress returns from its August recess—that is, unless an anti-H.R. 1599 editorial in his home state newspaper, the Bismarck Tribune, causes him to think twice.

    The editorial, written after the House passed the DARK Act, called it “another classic example of federal overreach.” The article  questioned “whether the federal government should enable or prevent states from crafting their own rules, those that more accurately reflect the feelings of their own elected officials and population. Our feeling is that in most instances states are better equipped to make regulatory decisions, without federal oversight and mandates.”

    Will Sen. Hoeven decide it’s too politically risky to sponsor the bill, and change his mind? Time will tell. Either way, in order to be able to claim their bill is bipartisan, Monsanto and Big Food will need a Democratic Senator on their side. Why? Because in the Senate, where 60 votes, a three-fifths super-majority, are needed to cut off debate, avoid a filibuster and bring a bill to a vote, bipartisanship is essential. Legislation doesn’t move until consensus (or at least a little horse-trading) is achieved. Bills need support from both sides of the aisle.

    So who are the likely suspects to on the Dem side of the aisle, who might be willing to carry the water for Monsanto?

    We’ve identified 12 Democrats who we think might be up to the task. They made our list because they all voted against states’ rights to label GMOs in 2013, when Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), introduced an amendment (which failed) to the Farm Bill that would have guaranteed states’ rights to require labeling.

    In all, 28 Senate Democrats voted against the Sanders Amendment. Nine of those Senators are no longer in office.  Three have since redeemed themselves by cosponsoring the Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act. They are: Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)

    Two others— Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.)—have indicated they don’t support H.R. 1599.

    Sen. Heitkamp was thought to be willing to be the lead Democrat, until she spoke up as pro-GMO but against taking away states’ rights to label. According to the password-protected PoliticoPro website, Sen. Heitkamp said:

    My first inclination always is to avoid preemption . . . You can’t fight [GMO labeling] on every front. At some point, if people say, ‘I want to know,’ … the industry and agribusiness has to say, ‘Look we’ll tell you and then we’ll educate you.’

    Sen. Stabenow, the Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, doesn’t like H.R. 1599 either, according to her staff, who stopped short of telling us why. But if her past actions are any indication, Sen. Stabenow, like Sen. Heitkamp, opposes preemption of states’ rights on this issue.

    For example, when Sen. Stabenow was Agriculture Committee Chairwoman, she refused to consider Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa)’s amendment to take away states’ rights to regulate food and farming.

    And, in 2013, Sen. Stabenow made good on her promise that the “Monsanto Protection Act,” pushed through Congress without a vote, as a rider, would not be renewed without a vote. That action bodes well for opponents of H.R. 1599, who fear Monsanto will attempt a similar end-run around Congress later this year.

    We’ve also eliminated Sens. Bob Casey (D-Penn.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) as potential cosponsors of H.R. 1599, because both  sent letters to their constituents stating support for states’ rights to label, consumers right to know about GMOs, and the need for pre-market safety testing of GMOs, positions that are antithetical to support for the DARK Act.

    Sen. Casey is an Agriculture Committee member whose Pittsburgh office got a visit last week from a dozen OCA members urging him to oppose the DARK Act.

    A few days later, Sen. Casey’s constituents received a letter from him, in which he says he believes "that foods produced from this process should undergo rigorous safety inspections and other relevant scientific testing and that it is imperative that consumers have accurate information about the foods they buy for themselves and their families."

    If Senator Casey stays true to his beliefs, he’ll have to stop the DARK Act!

    A letter from Sen. Baldwin to her constituents also points to likely opposition to the DARK Act.

    On safety testing, she wrote:

    Extensive research must be done to determine the risks involved in creating genetically modified food.  Agricultural biotechnology should have strict oversight to protect family farmers and ensure that food produced for U.S. consumers is safe.  It is imperative that government agencies are given the necessary time for a full review of GMO ingredients using the best science available to evaluate the ramifications of GMO use both for human health and the environment.

    On H.R. 1599’s preemption of states’ right to label GMOs, she told her constituents, “Many states are currently debating this issue, and I have concerns about legislation that would preempt their ability to do so.”

    These Senators are smart enough not to alienate the nine out of 10 voters who favor GMO labels. But the other 12 Democrats on our list. They’ll do what they can get away with. That’s why they need to hear from us.

    Sign the petition to tell Senate Democrats: There’s a political cost to siding with Monsanto!

  • Tell Congress: Support the AWARE Act to End Animal Cruelty at the USDA

    Hundreds of piglets crushed to death. Genetic experiments forcing cows to bear deformed and stillborn twins. Hundreds of lambs left to die in open fields from exposure and starvation. Cruel and experimental surgeries conducted by unqualified scientists.

    It’s happening at federally sanctioned research facility, paid for with your tax dollars.

    Take Action! Tell Congress: Support the AWARE Act to End Animal Cruelty at the USDA


    A January 20, 2015 New York Times investigative report, uncovered a disturbing pattern of systematic animal cruelty, spanning decades at the Nebraska-based U.S. Meat Animal Research Center.

    The center, funded with $200 million in taxpayer money, is operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). According to the Times, at least 6,500 animals are known to have starved to death at this facility.

    The report prompted legislators from both parties in Congress to introduce H.R. 746 (S. 388), the AWARE Act, intended to expand protections for farm animals at federal research facilities. Animals involved in scientific research enjoy basic protections under the Animal Welfare Act, but farm animals in agriculture research are exempt. The AWARE Act would close that exemption.

    The USDA is trying to duck responsibility for the research facility’s inhumane treatment of animals. An internal review found no evidence of mistreatment at the facility. Several legislators have complained that the agency is stonewalling congressional requests for more information.

    It’s time to demand accountability.

    Bill sponsor Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Penn.) said in a press release, “As stewards of taxpayer dollars, we felt a responsibility to present the AWARE Act as a legislative fix that holds the USDA to the same humane standards that countless research facilities across the country are held to. If we expect staff in these facilities to recognize their professional and legal obligations to safeguard the welfare of animals – we should set the bar at an equal, or higher, level for the federal government.”

    Researchers justified their actions at the Nebraska facility as a means toward an end: maximizing profits for the country’s big meat producers. We must hold the federal government to a higher standard.

    Act Now! Tell Congress: Support the AWARE Act to End Animal Cruelty at the USDA

  • Pide a Estas Marcas que Produzcan Alimentos Sanos y Cultivados de Manera Ecológica

    Mucho de lo que comemos tiene un origen desconocido, no sabemos cómo se elabora el pan para sándwich, los refrescos o las botanas que te encantan y menos aún conocemos el impacto que tienen en el medio ambiente y nuestra salud.

    En nuestro país se usan 29 agrotóxicos que en otras naciones se prohíben y los alimentos procesados cuentan con aditivos, sal, azúcar, grasas y transgénicos; ¡y luego nos sorprende que haya tantos problemas de alimentación y salud en México!

    Como personas consumidoras tenemos el poder de exigir transparencia en la forma de producción de nuestra comida y exigir alimentos provenientes de la agricultura ecológica, libres de plaguicidas y transgénicos, cuyas prácticas también favorecen el comercio justo y al campesinado. 

    Necesitamos de tu ayuda: cada vez que destapamos un refresco, abrimos una bolsa de papitas, pan o una lata de verduras, estamos permitiendo que se expanda la voraz mancha que destruye todo a su paso. Por ello promovemos acciones en conjunto con Greenpeace Mexico y su grupo de especialistas que, a bordo de su barco de investigación, El Esperanza; documentan los impactos que esta mancha voraz tiene en tu salud, la tierra, el aire y el mar.

    Queremos tener la seguridad de que consumimos comida sana para nuestro cuerpo y para el planeta. Preguntemos a las marcas de dónde obtienen la materia prima para sus productos y sumémoslas a este movimiento a favor de la agricultura ecológica.

    ACTÚA Y DILE A LAS MARCAS QUE NO MANCHEN: ¡Por favor súmate hoy mismo a Millones Contra Monsanto, la Asociación de Consumidores Orgánicos y Greenpeace Mexico para pedir a Bimbo, Maseca, Coca Cola, Bachoco, Pepsico, La Costeña y otras grandes empresas que produzcan alimentos sanos y de manera ecológica!

  • Pide a Estas Marcas que Produzcan Alimentos Sanos y Cultivados de Manera Ecológica

    Pide a Estas Marcas que Produzcan Alimentos Sanos y Cultivados de Manera Ecológica.

    Mucho de lo que comemos tiene un origen que desconocemos, no sabemos cómo se elabora el pan para sándwich, los refrescos o las botanas que te encantan y menos aún conocemos el impacto que tienen en el medio ambiente y nuestra salud.

    En nuestro país se usan agrotóxicos que en otras naciones se prohiben y los alimentos procesados cuentan con aditivos, sal, azúcar, grasas y transgénicos; ¡y luego nos sorprende que haya tantos problemas de alimentación y salud en México!

    Como personas consumidoras tenemos el poder de exigir transparencia en la forma de producción de nuestros alimentos y exigir alimentos provenientes de la agricultura ecológica, libre de plaguicidas y transgénicos, cuyas prácticas también favorecen el comercio justo y al campesinado. 

    Necesitamos de tu ayuda: cada vez que destapamos un refresco, abrimos una bolsa de papitas, pan o una lata de verduras, estamos permitiendo que se expanda la voraz mancha que destruye todo a su paso. Por ello promovemos acciones en conjunto con Green Peace y su grupo de investigación que, a bordo de su barco de investigación: El Esperanza; documentan los impactos que esta mancha voraz tiene en tu salud, la tierra, el aire y el mar.

    Queremos estar seguros de que consumimos comida sana para nuestro cuerpo y para el planeta. Preguntemos a las marcas de dónde obtienen la materia prima para sus productos y sumémoslas a este movimientos a favor de la agricultura ecológica.

    ACTÚA Y DILE A LAS MARCAS QUE NO MANCHEN: ¡Por favor súmate hoy mismo a Millones Contra Monsanto, la Asociación de Consumidores Orgánicos y Green Peace Mexico para pedir a Bimbo, Maseca, Bachoco, Hérdez, La Costeña y otras grandes empresas que produzcan alimentos sanos y de manera ecológica!

  • TAKE ACTION: Tell Your Senators: Defend States’ Rights to Label GMOs!

    On July 23 (2015),  the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1599, a bill written by the biotech and processed food industries to prevent passage of any state or federal law mandating the labeling of GMOs in your food.

    H.R. 1599 is now before the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. A Senate version of the bill is expected to be introduced soon.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Your Senator: Support Consumer and States' Rights. Reject the DARK Act—H.R. 1599—and any other federal legislation that would preempt states’ rights to label GMOs!

    Fill out the form on this page to look up your Senators. Phone calls are most effective so please call first, and then click submit to send your message.

    The sole purpose of H.R. 1599 is to deceive consumers by guaranteeing food manufacturers the legal right to hide the fact that their products contain GMOs. That’s why we call this bill the DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act.

    H.R. 1599 would also legally sanction the practice of labeling GMO foods “natural.” And it would establish an unwieldy and unnecessary federal scheme for voluntary labeling of non-GMO foods.  

    But that’s not all. Rep. Mike Pompeo’s (R-Kan.) wrongly-named “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act” would deprive us of the common-sense GMO regulations enjoyed in 64 other countries. The bill goes after pre-market safety testing, and GMO-free zones, too.

    If this bill passes, Monsanto will be able to continue to claim to be “feeding the world” while they continue to force-feed us GMO crops, 99.7 percent of which are engineered to poison us with pesticides. 

    Why the rush to pass a bill preempting states’ rights to label GMOs? Because Monsanto is desperate to prevent Vermont’s mandatory GMO labeling law (Act 120) from taking effect on July 1, 2016.

    According to the latest legal analysis of H.R. 1599, and according to a recent ruling by a federal judge on Vermont’s GMO labeling law, however, there is no constitutional basis for preempting state GMO labeling laws.

    The DARK Act is just one more example of industry lobbyists hijacking the political system to write laws that protect corporate profits at the expense of public health.

    The 275 U.S. Representatives who voted for H.R. 1599 took in $29.9 million in contributions from agribusiness and Big Food, in 2014 alone.

    If GMOs are perfectly safe, as industry claims, why the secrecy? Why not label them, and let consumers decide? Isn’t that how the free market works?

    Please contact your Senator today. They need to hear from you that this bill is an attack on consumer rights and states’ rights, and that you expect your elected officials to protect you, not corporate and shareholder profits.

    STOP THE DARK ACT TOOLKIT:
    DARK Act Talking points
    Legal Analysis of H.R. 1599
    Submit a letter to the editor of your local paper
    Download the DARK Act flyer and distribute in your community
    Sign our petition asking Bernie Sanders to help stop the DARK Act here
    Sign our petition asking President Obama to pledge to veto the DARK Act here

  • Tell Ace Hardware and True Value to Stop Selling Bee-Killing Pesticides!

    It’s time to talk about the birds and the bees, while we still have them.

    For years we’ve fought to stop the use of neonicotinoid poisons that chemical companies put in our food and gardens.  And we’re winning. This April, Lowe’s joined a growing list of companies that promise to phase out and limit neonic products  from their store shelves.

    That’s good news. But our work is far from done. Ace Hardware and True Value continue to sell these proven bee killers.

    TAKE ACTION! Tell Ace Hardware and True Value to Stop Selling Bee-Killing Pesticides!

    Lowe’s is not alone.  Home Depot, Whole foods and BJ’s Wholesale Club have also taken steps to phase out neonicotinoid pesticide products from their stores.

    Consumer pressure prompted these companies to act.  After a 2014 study by Friends of the Earth showed that more than half of flowers and plants sold at big retail stores contained dangerously high levels of neonicotinoid, with no warning labels, their customers were not happy. 

    Turns out, these toxic chemicals are not only bad for pollinators. Now that consumers know the truth, neonics are turning out to be bad for the bottom lines of corporations that sell them.

    American beekeepers reportedly have lost more than 42 percent of their hives since April 2014, and neonicotinoid pesticides are one of the leading causes of Colony Collapse Disorder. These poisons not only threaten bees, they jeopardize one third of the American food supply which relies on bees for pollination.

    Neonics also destroy biodiversity. For example, studies show that the rise in these poisons has correlated with a decline in insect-eating birds. 

    Neonicotinoids are an unsustainable feature of a broken industrial farming system. And every time they are used, we mortgage the future for today’s yield.

  • THOUSAND OAKS: Help Stop the Use of Roundup in Your City!

    Did you know that Roundup, Monsanto’s glyphosate-based herbicide, is being sprayed in and around Thousand Oaks? Los Robles Greens is planning to use Roundup to help remove grass on 20 acres of the public golf course.

    Take Action: Tell your city councilmembers to stop allowing Roundup to be sprayed on city lands!

    In order to market Roundup as “environmentally friendly” and “biodegradable,” Monsanto falsified data on the herbicide’s safety. Even though a French court ruled that those marketing claims amounted to false advertising, common misconceptions of Roundup’s “safety” persist.

    Scientists have been documenting the health impacts of Roundup and glyphosate in our food, water and air for nearly 20 years.

    Recently the World Health Organization classified glyphosate, the main active ingredient in Roundup, as a “probable human carcinogen.”

    Hundreds of townhomes surround the Los Robles Greens golf course. Many of these residents are opposed to the planned spraying of a toxic herbicide in their neighborhood.

    The plan to remove grass at Los Robles Greens will conserve water use at the golf course. But if Roundup is sprayed to achieve this goal, existing groundwater and soil will be contaminated with the toxic herbicide.

    Take Action: Tell your city councilmembers to stop allowing Roundup to be sprayed on city lands!

    Want to do more? Email nomonsantothousandoaks@gmail.com to get involved.

    Read more here and here

  • Montgomery County, MD: Take Action to Stop Lawn Pesticides!

    Healthy Lawn BillMontgomery County could become a national leader in public health and environmental sustainability by banning the use of pesticides on public and private property.  The County’s Healthy Lawn Bill (52-14) calls for restrictions in the non-essential use of lawn pesticides that are considered harmful to human environmental health.

    Help end the reckless spraying of dangerous pesticides on Montgomery County lawns. Please contact the County Council today and tell members you support The Healthy Lawn Bill!

    Harmful pesticides used on lawns and turf can put neighbors, communities and the environment at unnecessary risk. These chemicals drift, pollute our air, run off into our waterways and drinking water sources, and find their way into our homes. 

    Help end the reckless spraying of dangerous pesticides on Montgomery County lawns. Please contact the County Council today and tell members you support The Healthy Lawn Bill!

    Bill 52-14 is an outgrowth of successful efforts to increase protections from pesticides in Takoma Park, Md., which last year became the first city in the country to ban pesticides on public and private property.

  • Tell Vermont Gov. Shumlin: Thank You for Standing Up to Monsanto!

    The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) sent a letter to Vermont Gov. Pete Shumlin, complaining about Vermont’s GMO labeling law, exaggerating the implications of the law and implying that some (junk) food companies may stop selling their products in Vermont if the law is enacted.

    Tell Vermont Gov. Shumlin: Thank You for Standing up to Monsanto and Big Food! After you sign our letter to Gov. Shumlin, please post a "thank you" on his Facebook page.

    So far, Vermont is the only state that has passed a strong, stand-alone GMO labeling law. Maine and Connecticut have passed laws, but they are ineffective, as they require four or five additional (and in the case of Maine, contiguous) New England states to pass similar laws in order for theirs to take effect.

    The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) supported a bill (LD 991) in Maine this year that would have removed the “trigger” clause so that Maine’s original bill (LD 718) could be enacted without waiting for other states. Unfortunately, Maine lawmakers chickened out, claiming they need to “wait and see” what happens in Vermont.

    Polls show that more than 90 percent of America’s consumers want labels on GMO foods—yet Vermont lawmakers, and their Governor, are the only ones who have had the courage to take on Monsanto and Big Food, who followed through on their threats to sue the state.

    Thankfully, so far, the courts have affirmed the constitutionality of Vermont’s law. But the court battle is far from over.

    As the junk food manufacturers put increasing pressure on Gov. Shumlin and Vermont lawmakers, please take a minute to say “thank you” to Gov. Shumlin!

    After you sign the letter, please post a thank you on Gov. Shumlin's Facebook page.

  • DEADLINE Midnight June 22: Demand Mandatory Safety Testing of All GMOs!

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced in March that the agency has abandoned its 2008 proposal to update the 1990s-era regulations governing genetically engineered crops. Instead, the USDA will craft new regulations, from scratch.

    In preparation for crafting the new regulations, the USDA wants to hear from the public.

    This is a great opportunity to tell the USDA we want stronger regulations that protect the environment, public health and farmers—and that we want mandatory safety testing of all GMOs now!

    DEADLINE Midnight June 22: Demand Mandatory Safety Testing of All GMOs! Fill in the form on this page to sign the petition. Be sure to add your own comment in the comments box to increase your impact.

    Monsanto loves to claim that all genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have been thoroughly safety tested before they end up in our foods and on our grocery store shelves.

    That’s a lie.

    The truth is, when it comes to “safety testing” of GMOs, Monsanto has been making the rules.

    The result? Consumers are exposed to the inherent risks associated with genetic engineering. Those include the introduction of toxins and allergens, and the degradation of the nutritional value of our foods.

    Worse yet, because of the exponential increase in the use of toxic chemicals associated with GMO crops, consumers are subjected to an overload of poisons not only on our food, but in our air and water.

    Who’s in charge?

    Three federal agencies are charged with oversight of genetically engineered crops in the United States: the USDA, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

    Not surprisingly, with so many cooks in the GMO regulation kitchen, regulation is uncoordinated, full of loopholes and gaps, and even entirely voluntary in some cases. Wouldn't it make more sense to have all three agencies--the USDA, FDA and EPA--perform a coordinated review of the current regulations? And while they're at it, agree that no GMO crops should enter farmers' fields or the consumer market without without careful, independent analysis of their potential impacts on public health, farmers, or the environment.

    As the American Medical Association has complained, the only way to protect the public’s interest in the safety of GMO foods is with mandatory pre-market safety assessments of these foods, and continuous review of new data on their health consequences.

    Yet no one is doing this.

    Monsanto says, it “should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food. Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible. Assuring its safety is the FDA’s job.”

    The FDA says, "Ultimately, it is the food producer who is responsible for assuring safety."

    USDA lets Monsanto run the show

    The USDA, which is charged specifically with the oversight of genetically engineered crops, is supposed to consider the environmental and agricultural risks of GMO crops.

    But just as the FDA allows Monsanto to determine whether or not GMO foods are safe for consumers to eat, the USDA lets Monsanto determine the environmental and agricultural safety of GMO crops.

    Monsanto decides how much and what kinds of data to collect, and what information is shared with regulators and the public.

    What doesn’t Monsanto share? Any info on contamination prevention or compensation for farmers’ whose fields are contaminated, or the risk of an explosion of “superweeds” and “superbugs” resistant to Roundup and other herbicides and pesticides.

    The proliferation of glyphosate and worse

    The use of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup herbicide, has skyrocketed since the introduction of the Roundup Ready crops that are engineered to tolerate the herbicide. The U.S. saw a 527-million pound increase in herbicide use between 1996 and 2011.

    Glyphosate was recently classified as a probable human carcinogen by the World Health Organization and it has been linked to numerous other health problems.

    Yet our federal regulators have done nothing to protect us from the increased pesticide exposure that GMOs have caused. They ignored the crisis and are now beginning to approve additional herbicide-resistant crops, starting with 2,4-D-tolerant crops that are expected to increase the use of this pesticide linked to cancer and birth defects 50-fold.

    The USDA’s announcement that it will craft new regulations for evaluating GMO crops presents us with a great opportunity to tell the USDA we want stronger regulations that protect the environment, public health and farmers—and that we want mandatory safety testing of all GMOs now!

    DEADLINE Midnight June 22: Demand Mandatory Safety Testing of All GMOs!

  • Tell Costco: Please Don’t Sell GMO Salmon, Ever!

    Thanks to consumer pressure, more than 60 grocery retailers across the U.S., including the #1 and #2 grocers, Kroger and Safeway, have committed to either not selling GMO salmon (if the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approves it), or at least labeling it, if they do choose to sell it.

    Conspicuously absent from that list? Costco.

    TAKE ACTION: Tell Costco: Please don’t sell GMO salmon, ever!

    Fill in the form on this page to sign the petition and be sure to tell us if you are a member of Costco.

    The FDA could approve AquaBounty Technologies’ AquAdvantage GMO salmon any day now, despite the 1.8 million comments the agency has received from the public and from scientists who warn of the environmental and health risks posed by this “frankenfish.”

    Once GMO salmon is approved, it will be sold in stores with no label to distinguish it from non-GMO salmon.

    Consumers can’t count on the FDA to reject AquaBounty’s “frankenfish.” And without mandatory labeling laws, we won’t be able to avoid it in stores.

    So we’re asking stores to guarantee there’s no market for GMO salmon, by refusing to sell it. So far, Costco hasn’t joined the growing number of stores that have pledge to reject GMO salmon.

    According to a recent news report, Costco now sells more organic food than Whole Foods Market. Still, sales of organics make up only about $4 billion out of the retailer’s $114 billion in annual sales.

    If Costco wants to cultivate a bigger and more loyal base of organic consumers, CEO Craig Jelinek needs to assure consumers that there will be no GMO salmon on Costco shelves. Ever!

    More on GMO salmon here

  • Tell Congress: No Fast-Tracked Trade Deals for Monsanto!

    Monsanto hates democracy. That’s why it loves the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), trade deals that have been negotiated mostly in secret, by corporations like Monsanto, and that are in danger of being passed without due democratic process. 

    What’s in the trade deals for Monsanto? Plenty—including a provision to override GMO labeling laws, here in the U.S., and in countries that have had these laws in place for years. So it’s no wonder Monsanto has joined with hundreds of other corporations, and sadly, President Obama, to push Congress to “fast-track” these corporation-friendly trade deals using something called “Trade Promotion Authority.”

    Take Action! Call your Congress members today and ask them to reject the “Fast Track” Trade Promotion Authority Bill and its Monsanto Protection Provision! Please use the form on this page to look up your U.S. Representative’s phone number. Talking points are provided below. Once you’ve made the call, please let us know how it went by clicking here.

    Monsanto is pushing Congress to give the President “Trade Promotion Authority” so that these trade deals can be “fast-tracked” through Congress. Members of Congress would barely have time to read the text before an up-or-down vote. No amendments. No debate. No time to protect state laws to label genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in our food, or local bans on Monsanto’s crops and pesticides.

    There’s even a special Monsanto Provision in the fast-track legislation. (The Senate has already passed the legislation—the House will vote soon). Monsanto’s provision requires U.S. trade negotiators to fight for “rules to eliminate … requirements, such as labeling that affect … biotechnology.” This is a direct threat to the laws of 64 countries that require genetically engineered food to be labeled, including Japan, China, Brazil, and the countries of the European Union.

    The trade deals haven’t even passed yet, but Monsanto is already using the TTIP negotiations between the U.S. and the EU to stop the EU from banning dangerous pesticides. According to the Guardian, unnamed “representatives of the US chemical industry” (obviously Monsanto or one of its front groups like CropLife), the American Chambers of Commerce, “big European firms such as Dupont, Bayer and BASF” and U.S. trade officials ganged up to forced EU regulators to shelve plans to ban endocrine disrupting pesticides linked to cancer, male infertility, IQ loss and obesity. This story is told in greater detail in “A Toxic Affair: How the Chemical Lobby Blocked Action on Hormone Disrupting Chemicals,” a report by Corporate Europe Observatory.

    And, the U.S. continues to use the World Trade Organization to bully the E.U. for allowing “individual EU member States to ban biotech products within their territory, even for use as animal feed...”

    It’s not just other countries’ laws that are in danger. As the Institute for Agriculture and Trade points out in a recent blog post, while President Obama said on May 8 that “No trade agreement is going to force us to change our laws,” the World Trade Organization ruled on May 18 that the U.S. had violated global trade rules by requiring country-of-origin-labeling (COOL) on beef and pork to indicate where the livestock was born, raised and slaughtered. Now, leaders in Congress say the only way to comply with that ruling is to repeal COOL.

    Trade agreements force countries to change their laws to please corporations. It’s a fact. Laws banning GMOs and pesticides, food labeling laws, or anything else a corporation like Monsanto might not like, could all be eliminated if we don’t stop the TPP and TTIP from being fast-tracked.

    The Senate has already voted for the “Fast Track” Trade Promotion Authority bill, but there’s a good chance of stopping it in the House, where there may not be enough votes to stop it. 

    Call your Member of Congress today! Please use the form on this page to look up your U.S. Representative’s phone number. Talking points will be provided. Once you’ve made the call, please let us know how it went by clicking here.

    TALKING POINTS

    I’m calling to ask my Congressperson to vote no on giving the President “Fast Track” Trade Promotion Authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

    One of the reasons I’m opposed to Fast Track is because of the “Monsanto Provision” that says our trade negotiators have to try to eliminate laws that require genetically engineered food to be labeled. Currently 64 countries, including Japan, China, Brazil, and the countries of the European Union, have GMO labeling laws. I think the people of all countries, including our own, have a right to pass laws that tell us what’s in the food we’re eating.

    Every country should have the right to pass laws to protect human health, biological diversity and local agriculture. We banned DDT to save the bald eagle; other countries have banned neonics to save the bees; some countries are banning glyphosate because the World Health Organization says it is probably causing cancer in humans. We passed country-of-origin labeling; other countries label GMOs. Farmers in parts of Oregon and California have banned GMOs to protect themselves from contamination, just like farmers in many other countries have. We should learn from each other, not try to strike down each other’s laws. But the TPP and TTIP negotiations and the World Trade Organization are already being used to undermine democratically enacted laws like this.

    While I’ve got you on the phone about Fast Track, I should also mention that I oppose HR 1599, Rep. Pompeo’s bill to take away states’ rights to label GMOs. Please tell my Congressperson to vote no on H.R. 1599.

  • SalsaStaff 106608: Translate Welcome Back message

    El 13 de febrero del 2015, el Departamento de Agricultura de los Estados Unidos (USDA, por sus siglas en inglés) aprobó la primera manzana OGM, genéticamente modificada para evitar su oxidación una vez rebanada.

    La compañía que hace a la manzana quiere que se crea que fue la demanda de los consumidores la que propició este invento. Pero los verdaderos clientes consumidores de manzanas OGM son los restaurantes y negocios de servicios de comida rápida – compañías que quieren que las madres crean que sus hijos están recibiendo fruta fresca y sana, aunque en realidad esa fruta es una manzana genéticamente modificada que no ha sido objeto de ninguna evaluación que la apruebe como segura para el consumo humano.

    Probablemente no come en ninguno de estos restaurantes, ¿así que para qué molestarse? Porque si estos los grandes clientes de manzanas se rehúsan a comprar la nueva manzana OGM, no habrá mercado para ellas – y los agricultores no las cultivarán. Estas cadenas de comidas rápidas tienen el poder de cancelar la demanda de un producto que representa un riesgo absoluto para los consumidores.

    ACTÚA: Dile a McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, Dunkin Donuts y Subway que se comprometan públicamente a no vender manzanas OGM

    La compañía de Frutas Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc., una compañía biotecnológica canadiense, desarrolló dos variedades de su cepa de manzana Ártica OGM – Golden Delicious y Granny Smith. Después de una espera de tres años, el Servicio de Inspección de Salud Animal y de Plantas de la USDA (APHIS, por sus siglas en inglés) las aprobó. De acuerdo a un artículo publicado  en Político, la USDA dijo que la manzana OGM “no representa ningún daño hacia otras plantas o implica pestes.”

    ¿Pero, qué hay de los riesgos a la salud humana? De acuerdo a los científicos que entrevistamos, el tipo de tecnología usado para crear la manzana OGM que no se oxida – interferencia de ARN -, o ARN de doble cadena (ARNds) – es una tecnología que no ha sido evaluada y es “inherentemente riesgosa.” Como reportamos en el 2013:

    Dado que el ARNds proveniente de nuestra comida, y probablemente de esta manzana Frankenstein , entrará al flujo sanguíneo y células de los consumidores, la investigación sobre si es segura o no debería ser completada ANTES de que esta manzana OGM sea colocada en el estante de la tienda para probar que el ARNds que entra a los cuerpos de los consumidores no los dañará. Hasta la fecha, tal investigación no ha sido reportada, así que la Frankenmanzana aún resulta un enigma.

    Por el contrario, investigaciones recientes han demostrado que los ARNds pueden transferirse de las plantas a los humanos y otros animales a través de la comida. La industria biotecnológica siempre ha asegurado que el ADN o ARN genéticamente modificado es destruido por la digestión humana, eliminando el peligro de que estos organismos mutantes dañen los genes humanos o a la salud humana.

    Pero muchos científicos biotecnológicos dicen lo contrario. Como evidencia, señalan que el ARNds presente en la comida sobrevive la digestión en el estómago e intestinos y de hecho entra en el flujo sanguíneo y tejidos del cuerpo, donde puede influenciar el funcionamiento de las células del consumidor.

    Si “no probado o experimental” e “inherentemente riesgoso” suenan como adjetivos que no quiere asociados al alimento destinado para comidas de niños o barras de ensaladas, no está solo. Cientos de miles de consumidores han firmado peticiones pidiéndole a la USDA que rechace a la Manzana Ártica.

    La compañía que las desarrolló insiste que los consumidores quieren manzanas que no se oxiden o magullen  (sin importar lo viejas que sean). Pero más cercana a la realidad es la declaración del Presidente de la compañía Neal Carter hecha al New York Times, cuando aseguró que la manzana será “popular dentro de la industria alimenticia.”

    Todo parece indicar que Carter tiene razón. De acuerdo a un artículo del año 2012 publicado en la revista QSR, los restaurantes de comida rápida están intentando atraer a los consumidores conscientes de la salud, especialmente a las mamás, haciendo gran alharaca acerca de la oferta de frutas frescas:

    Ya sea niños o niñas ordenando una Cajita Feliz con una hamburguesa, una hamburguesa de queso o McNuggets de pollo, ahora siempre obtendrán una bolsa cerrada al vacío de 1.2 onzas de rebanadas de manzana para complementarlas. (El precio de la Cajita Feliz seguirá igual.) Las manzanas fueron escogidas después de que la investigación de mercado de McDonald’s demostró de forma consistente que era la fruta favorita de los consumidores, así que la cadena usa un número de variedades, incluyendo Granny Smith, Gala, Jonagold, Dorado Delicioso e Imperio.

    “McDonald’s quiere ayudar a apoyar a los padres a motivar el hábito de los niños y niñas de comer alimentos frescos en sus comidas,” dice la Directora de Mercadeo de la categoría familiar de McDonald’s EUA, Molly Starmann. “Al incluirlos automáticamente, McDonald’s está ofreciendo a los padres e hijos un balance de los alimentos que son buenos para ellos junto con los que aman.”

    Cuando las noticias de la manzana OGM salieron a la luz por primera vez, McDonald’s se comprometió a no usar la manzana OGM, aún si era aprobada. En una declaración hecha en ese tiempo, McDonald’s dijo que no tenía “planes” de comprar manzanas OGM. Ahora que la manzana ha sido aprobada, es hora de que McDonald’s reafirme su compromiso, y de que otras cadenas de comida rápida líderes sigan el camino de McDonald’s.

    La publicación Popular Science reportó que la Manzana Ártica puede estar disponible en las tiendas en el 2017 – sin etiquetar-, a menos que tengamos leyes de etiquetado de OGM obligatorias para ese entonces. Y aún si están etiquetadas en las tiendas, no lo estarán en los restaurantes o instituciones, incluyendo escuelas y hospitales.

    Los consumidores tenemos algo de tiempo para dejarle claro a los restaurantes de comida rápida que no queremos manzanas OGM, en las comidas de los niños y niñas o barras de ensaladas en ninguna parte.

    Por favor ayúdenos a obtener compromisos firmes y públicos de parte de estos restaurantes de comida rápida de que venderán manzanas frescas y  que no se suplirán de manzanas OGM.

  • TEXAS: Take Action to Expand Access to Raw Milk!

    The 2015 Texas legislative session wraps up in just a couple of weeks, but there’s still time to pass an important bill to expand access to raw milk.

    Call and email your state Senator, the Lieutenant Governor, and the Chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, and ask them to move HB 91 forward as quickly as possible by assigning it to a committee for a hearing!

    1.    Fill in the form on this page to look up your state Senator and call their office. Here’s what you can say:

    “Hi, my name is ____, and I am a constituent of Senator _______. I am calling to ask him/her to support HB 91, the raw milk bill, by asking that it be assigned to a committee for a hearing.”

    2.    Click “submit” to follow up your call with an email.
    3.    Call Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick (512-463-0001), President of the Texas Senate, and urge him to move HB 91 forward as quickly as possible by assigning it to a committee for a hearing.
    4.    Call Senator Charles Schwertner (512-463-0360), Chair of the Health & Human Services Committee, and urge him to support HB 91 and set it for a hearing as quickly as possible.

    HB 91 would legalize the sale of raw milk at farmers markets and allow farmers and consumers to agree to delivery arrangements.

    The bill was passed by the Texas House last week with a strong bipartisan vote, but it hasn’t yet been sent to a committee in the Senate.

    You can help make sure HB 91 doesn’t stall out this session.

    Raw milk is already legal in Texas. About 50 raw milk dairies are licensed by the Department of State Health Services, but sales are restricted to on-the-farm only.

    HB 91 would expand access to raw milk for consumers, and benefit rural economies by improving farmer incomes.

    Texas raw milk farmers have an excellent safety record, and all raw milk dairies must meet or exceed all regulatory standards for pasteurized milk.

    Help expand access to healthy raw milk in Texas. Make your calls today!

    More information at Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance
    HB 91 fact sheet here

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  • Tell Congress: We Need Real Chemical Safety Standards. Oppose S.697!

    What do you get when you let the chemical industry write a “chemical safety” bill?

    A bill that protects chemical companies, not consumers.

    Take Action: Tell Congress: We Need Real Chemical Safety Standards. Oppose S.697!

    The last time Congress passed a chemical safety bill—the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)—was in 1976. The TSCA “was broken from the start,” according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), because it grandfathered in thousands of chemicals already on the market. It was so “broken and weak,” says EWG, that it didn’t even allow the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ban asbestos, a known cause of cancer.

    Now, 39 years later, tens of thousands of new chemicals have been introduced, the majority of which have never been safety tested by the EPA. These chemicals, more than 80,000 of them, are in the food we eat, the clothes we wear and the homes we live in.

    It’s time for reform. But unfortunately, S.697—which still doesn’t address asbestos—falls far short of accomplishing that. That could have something to do with the fact that the chemical industry has spent $190 million lobbying for this bill. Democratic Sponsor Tom Udall’s (D-N.M.) campaign received $49,050 from the Chemical industry in the 2014 cycle, plus $23,500 from lobbyists employed by the American Chemistry Council. Republican sponsor David Vitter’s (R-La.) campaign received $20,600 in the 2014 cycle, and $14,300 from American Chemistry Council lobbyists.  We need your voice to stop this bill.

    On April 27 (2015), the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved a rewritten version of S.697, sending it to the Senate floor for a vote. The revised bill gave slightly more protection to state chemical safety laws, by changing the grandfathered date to Jan. 1, 2015, instead of Aug. 1, 2015. The new version also no longer allows federal chemical rules to preempt state clean water and clear air laws.

    But the bill is still inadequate, according to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.):

    "The legislation does nothing to ensure that terrifying disease clusters of children's cancers are addressed, and the killer of 10,000 Americans a year -- asbestos -- was entirely left out of the bill," Boxer said. "I will continue to call attention to the flaws of the bill and the improvements that are needed to protect our families."

    Boxer and her colleague Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) have introduced an opposing bill, which they say offers far better protection than S. 697, which they say cripples state efforts to regulate toxic chemicals, while leaving the federal government without the resources needed to properly safety test them.

    One of the bill’s biggest shortcomings is that it allows the EPA to review no more than 25 chemicals in the first three years. At that pace, it would take more than a century to address the backlog of chemicals in need of review. We already know that some chemicals, such as Bisphenol A (BPA), are hormone disrupters, yet BPA is still found in baby food containers. As for thousands of other unregulated chemicals, the effects are unknown.

    In the absence of federal action, states have taken the lead in monitoring toxic chemicals and setting safety standards for industry—33 states have passed laws to include some form of monitoring or restrictions to harmful chemicals like formaldehyde, mercury, asbestos and BPA. S.697, though it will grandfather in many of these state laws, will hinder states from taking stronger action in the future.

    More on how chemicals are regulated here and here.

  • MINNESOTA: Support buffer zones to protect Minnesota’s waterways!
    Photo by USDA NRCS

    Known as the land of 10,000 lakes and the birthplace of the Mississippi River, Minnesota takes great pride in the abundance and quality of its most important natural resource: water.

    But according to a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) report, of 93 stream sections analyzed in southwest Minnesota, only three can support aquatic life and only one has low enough levels of E. coli bacteria to be considered safe for swimming. 

    Act now to protect water quality and pollinator and wildlife habitat! Ask your lawmakers to support HF 1534 and SB 1537, a bill that would require 50-foot vegetative buffers along all Minnesota waterways.

    Fertilizers, pesticides and other contaminants found in agricultural runoff are ending up in our lakes and streams. Luckily the problem can be prevented.  

    Buffer strips have been a common feature in farming for centuries. These barriers of perennial vegetation block rushing water, slow erosion and absorb nutrients like phosphorous and nitrogen that can lead to toxic algae blooms in lakes and streams.

    Current Minnesota water quality laws already require vegetative buffers. But the laws aren't uniformly enforced, especially in agricultural areas where the problem is most pronounced, and many waterways are exempt.

    Earlier this year, Gov. Dayton proposed legislation requiring a 50-foot buffer strip along all public waterways, creating 125,000 additional acres of perennial vegetation for bee, bird, butterfly and other pollinator and wildlife habitat around Minnesota.

    Farmer support of the buffer legislation is critical, because farmers are the source and solution of much of the phosphorous, nitrate and bacterial contamination of southern Minnesota waters.

    Land Stewardship Project, the only Minnesota farm group that so far has publicly supported the legislation, says the bill is flexible for farmers:

    “Farmers and landowners would be able to work with their local Soil and Water Conservation District or NRCS office to develop a water-friendly system that is practical for each individual farm and gets the most environmental bang for the buck.”

    With this year’s legislative session drawing to a close, your voice is urgently needed this week to rally Minnesota’s politicians to enforce and strengthen Minnesota’s buffer strip laws!

    Please contact your State Representative and State Senator and ask them to support pollinator and wildlife habitat, and improve Minnesota’s water quality, by supporting buffer strips!

    Read More
    Gov. Dayton’s Buffer Initiative

    Star Tribune: In Minnesota, buffer strips are rallying cry for cleaner water

    Pioneer Press: Dayton to name water quality director, pushes river buffers

    Pioneer Press: Many pheasant hunters want stronger habitat-protection enforcement

  • MAINE: The Portland Press Herald said WHAT???

    On May 4, the Portland Press Herald (PPH) published an opinion editorial against LD 991, a GMO labeling bill introduced in Maine this year. The editorial was filled to the brim with Monsanto’s talking points.

    Take action now. Ask the editors of the Portland Press Herald: When did you become Monsanto’s mouthpiece? Post on FB, tweet, send an email or call!

    Facebook: Post on the Portland Press Herald facebook page here

    Twitter: Here are some sample tweets aimed at Portland Press Herald reporters:

    @SteveGreenLee @cliffschechtman Why would @pressherald ignore WHO report that glyphosate causes cancer? It's a central issue. #mepolitics

    @SteveGreenLee @cliffschechtman Has the @pressherald outsourced its editorial page to the Monsanto comms team to save money? #mepolitics

    @SteveGreenLee @cliffschechtman Why does the @pressherald think people should be forced to pay extra to avoid #GMO? #mepolitics

    @SteveGreenLee @cliffschechtman Let's give @pressherald the benefit of the doubt. #GMO editorial shows a bias towards laziness. #mepolitics

    @SteveGreenLee @cliffschechtman The @pressherald should do its homework before echoing Monsanto scare tactics over routine label #mepolitics

    Call and Email: Use the form on this page to compose your message and email Lisa DeSisto, publisher of the Portland Press Herald. Phone: 207-791-6630

    Here are some talking points:

    1. Labels will help consumers save money by allowing them to avoid GMOs without having to pay more for certified organic (which right now, is the only way to avoid GMOs).
    2. Companies change labels all the time. There's no evidence that it will harm Maine-based businesses.
    3. There is no scientific consensus on the safety of GMO foods, despite industry claims to the contrary.
    4. Maine has a thriving organic food and farming economy--labeling will help that economy grow.
    5. Whether or not you're concerned about the process of genetic engineering, there's no question that the chemicals used to grow GMO crops are toxic - the World Health Organization just declared glyphosate a probable carcinogen. Labeling will help consumers avoid foods that contain residues of glyphosate.
    6. Opposition to labeling is being driven by huge, multinational corporations that don't reside in Maine, and their Washington DC lobbying firms. Why are we allowing them to determine whether or not Maine citizens have the right to know if their food is genetically engineered?
    7. We don't want to wait for Vermont -- the court case there could drag on for years, and it's not likely industry will sue Maine, until that case is settled.
    8. We don't want to wait for New Hampshire, which has no labeling bill in the works.
    9. If states don't stand up to the powerful biotech industry, and take a stand for their citizens, Congress may cave in to industry's demand to prevent states from passing GMO labeling bills.
    10. Opponents of Maine's bottle bill made all the same arguments about how "the sky will fall" if Maine goes it alone - but those fears were unwarranted.

    Background
    It’s no secret that Monsanto and Big Food are spending money hand-over-fist to defeat GMO labeling laws all across the country—in 2014, they spent $63.6 million on lobbying against GMO labeling.

    But did you know they’re also spending money here in Maine? According to a 2013 analysis by Maine Citizens for Clean Elections, Monsanto and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (a Washington D.C. lobbying group representing huge multi-national corporations) have spent over $280,000 fighting GMO labeling in Maine, while proponents have spent about $27,000.

    In 2013, that money bought them a “trigger” clause in LD 718, which prevents GMO labeling in Maine until four other contiguous states, including New Hampshire, also pass GMO labeling laws. That compromise was a gift to Monsanto and Big Food—because everyone knows it could be years, if ever, before New Hampshire gets around to passing a GMO labeling law.

    This year, it looks as though Monsanto and the GMA are buying Maine’s media in order to prevent Maine consumers from having the right to know what’s in their food. How else can you explain the PPH’s May 4 editorial, which reads like a Monsanto propaganda piece?

    The PPH cites industry-funded studies proving GMOs are “safe.” Yet according to hundreds of scientists worldwide, there is no consensus regarding the safety of GMOs. The PPH also fails to mention the recent report by the World Health Organization that says glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, is a probable carcinogen. Glyphosate, which the EPA and FDA allow to remain as residues on fruits and vegetables, is sprayed on 84 percent of GMO crops.

    Studies show that mandatory labeling of GMOs will cost consumers next to nothing. It also won’t be a burden for retailers, who change their labels all the time, said Jerry Greenfield, founder of Ben & Jerry’s, at a recent rally in New York: "Well, I am here to tell you, as a person in a company that has done this, that it is not too hard, it is not too complicated, and it costs literally nothing."

    And the argument that companies like Kellogg’s and General Mills, Coca Cola and PepsiCo will stop selling their products in Maine if they’re required to label them is just plain ridiculous.

    Still the PPH argues against passing LD 991, so Maine consumers can have the right to know—now—if their food contains GMOs.

    According to the PPH, if consumers want to avoid GMO foods (and cancer-causing glyphosate) they can buy certified organic or non-GMO. Why should consumers have to pay more for organic squash to avoid a potential health hazard? And why should Maine businesses have to pay for non-GMO certification to prove their products aren’t GMO?

    The latest poll in Maine shows that 97 percent of consumers want to know if their food is GMO. Yet the PPH is siding with Monsanto and huge multi-national food manufacturers, not Maine citizens and consumers.

    Take action now. Ask the editors of the Portland Press Herald: When did you become Monsanto’s mouthpiece? Post on FB, tweet, send an email or call!

  • MINNESOTA: Don't Let Monsanto Take Away Your Right to Label GMOs!

    If you live in Minnesota’s seventh Congressional district, you can help stop Monsanto’s attack on democracy.

    Here’s how. Rep. Collin Peterson (D-07) is the Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Committee. His vote will be critical in preventing the passage of H.R. 1599, a bill written by Monsanto and the Grocery Manufacturers Association, which if passed, will take away states’ rights to pass GMO labeling laws.

    Please call, email and write a letter to the editor asking Rep. Peterson to support states’ rights to pass mandatory GMO labeling laws. Better yet, email us if you can help organize a meeting or rally at one of his district offices.

    H.R. 1599, introduced by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), is officially called the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act. But we call it the DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act, because that’s exactly what it is intended to do.

    So far, Rep. Peterson hasn’t said whether or not he will vote for H.R. 1599. That’s why we need to act now. It’s critical that Rep. Peterson hear directly from you, his constituents, that you expect him to oppose this bill.

    Minnesota has two mandatory GMO labeling bills (S.F. 335/ H.F. 351) pending at the state legislature. H.R. 1599 would make these bills illegal.

    We need your help today!

    1. Call his Washington D.C. office and tell him to vote "no" on HR 1599: (202) 225-2165

    2. Fill in the form on this page to send Rep. Peterson an email

    3. Help organize a meeting/rally at one of Rep. Peterson's district offices. To participate, email us at campaigns@organicconsumers.org

    4. Click here to send a letter to the editor of your local paper

    Rep. Collin Peterson's offices:

    Washington, DC Office
    2204 Rayburn HOB
    Washington, DC 20515
    Phone: (202) 225-2165

    Detroit Lakes District Office
    714 Lake Avenue Suite 107
    Detroit Lakes , MN 56501
    Phone: 218-847-5056

    Marshall District Office
    1420 East College Drive SW/WC
    Marshall, MN 56258
    Phone: 507-537-2299

    Montevideo District Office
    100 N. First Street
    Montevideo, MN 56265
    Phone: 320-235-1061 (Willmar Office)

    Red Lake Falls District Office
    2603 Wheat Drive
    Red Lake Falls, MN 56750
    Phone: 218-253-4356

    Redwood Falls District Office
    230 East 3rd Street
    Redwood Falls, MN 56283
    Phone: 507-637-2270

    Willmar District Office
    324 3rd Street, SW, Suite 4
    Willmar, MN 56201
    Phone: 320-235-1061

  • OREGON: We Have a Right to Know About Pesticide Spraying!

    Oregon currently has the weakest protections in the Northwest when it comes to protecting people and the environment from harm due to helicopter pesticide sprays (oversprays) over timber clear-cuts. 

    We have a right to know about aerial pesticide sprays that harm citizens, sicken their animals, and poison their drinking water. Your help is needed to enact reforms—starting  with improvements to HB 3549 this legislative session. 

    Please ask your state Representative to support added provisions to HB 3549 to protect your right to know about pesticide spraying.

    A coalition of community members, advocates, and legislators is seeking to strengthen pesticide overspray protections in two ways. Here are the requirements they want added to HB 3549: 

    •    Advance notice to neighbors of a planned spray so they can protect themselves by staying inside, bringing animals indoors, or even leaving the area before a helicopter spray of pesticide. Currently the law only requires landowners to indicate they will spray pesticides sometime in the next year. 

    •    Access to information about what has been sprayed so poison victims can get help and health officials can monitor the effects of pesticide sprays on public health and drinking water.  We want to require landowners to send the Oregon Department of Forestry a written summary within two weeks of a spray detailing what, where, and how much they have sprayed. Right now applicators are supposed to keep those records themselves but problems have arisen with falsification, failure to keep records, and failure to produce them when asked.

    The pesticide and timber lobbies are out in force to prevent any reforms to Oregon’s almost non-existent overspray protections from being passed by the legislature.

    Please take action today! Ask your state Representative to support added provisions to HB 3549 to protect your right to know about pesticide spraying.

    Documentary about Gold Beach pesticide poisoning incident:  Drift: A Community Seeking Justice 

    Also, take action against dangerous land use bill HB 3212 here!




  • OREGON: Jackson County GMO ban is at risk!

    Jackson County GMO BanA dangerous land use bill has quietly slipped through the State House, one that could overturn regulations such as Jackson County’s ban on GMOs.

    According to the Center for Sustainability Law, HB 3212 is just the latest in a “series of demands by out-of-state agricultural corporations designed to avoid any semblance of regulation or oversight of farming practices.”

    HB 3212, framed as a “land use” bill, would define all farming regulations as “land use regulations.”

    The bill would entitle farmers to compensation from local governments for losses due to a regulatory change that forced them to change their practices. Or it would allow counties to simply waive a previously enacted regulation, such as Jackson County’s GMO ban.

    Please email your state Senator today and ask them to vote NO on HB 3212 today!

    Also, take action to protect Oregonians against aerial pesticide spraying here!

  • TAKE ACTION BY FRIDAY MAY 8: Tell the USDA to Put Grass-Fed on MyPlate!

    MyPlateNutrition experts at the U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) are considering a new round of recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) for what Americans should eat. The dietary guidelines, which are reviewed, updated and published every five years, are commonly referred to as MyPlate (formerly known as the Food Pyramid).

    This year, the DGAC recommended that Americans eat less red meat—partly for health reasons, but also out of concerns about the environmental impact of raising beef.

    We’re agree with the DGAC that it is important for USDA and HHS to factor sustainability issues into the new Dietary Guidelines. But we’re also concerned that they’ve left out a key factor in that equation—the difference between conventional beef production, which includes over-grazing of lands and “finishing” of cattle by feeding GMO grains in feedlots, and beef produced by farmers who raise cattle on grass, using rotational grazing methods that actually improve the environment.

    TAKE ACTION BY FRIDAY MAY 8: Tell the USDA to Put Grass-Fed on MyPlate!

    Ridge Shinn, a farmer who raises 100-percent grass-fed beef using regenerative grazing practices, has written a sign-on letter asking the USDA and HHS to acknowledge grass-fed as a healthy, sustainable, and readily available alternative to beef produced by conventional factory farms.

    So far, 45 farmers and ranchers have signed on. We hope to have 100 farmers and ranchers, and thousands of supporters, before midnight tomorrow (May 8).

    Please add your name, include your own comments and forward this alert to your favorite grass-fed producer.

    If you are raising grass-fed beef, please put the name of your farm or ranch in the form under "Organization" and tell us a little about yourself in the comment field.

  • MAINE: Right to Food Act Needs Your Help Today!

    Carrots A bill to amend Maine’s constitution in order to give people the right to acquire the food of their choosing could be voted on as early as tomorrow (Thursday, May 7). 

    Fill out the form on this page to look up your state representatives and senators on the Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. Then call and email them to tell them why you support LD 783, the Right to Food Act!

    LD 783 is a bill that proposes to amend the Maine constitution in order to give people the right to acquire food of their choosing and ensure their legal right to protect their health, property, food and lives.

    The Right to Food Bill states:

    "Every individual has a natural and unalienable right to food and to acquire food for that individual's own nourishment and sustenance by hunting, gathering, foraging, farming, fishing or gardening or by barter, trade or purchase from sources of that individual's own choosing, and every individual is fully responsible for the exercise of this right, which may not be infringed."

    It used to be that people deended on their communities for food. Production, preserving, processing, and packaging were all handled locally, by people who trusted each other. Those who broke that trust by violating basic standards of hygiene were quickly exposed and censured by their community.

    But times have changed. With the rise of the industrial food system, this accountability by the commons was replaced by governmental administrative bureaucracy. 

    In the past 10 years, the FDA and it’s Food Safety Modernization Act (headed by former Monsanto executive, Michael Taylor), have been suing farmers across the country, forcing some out of business, and limiting our access to good food. 

    In Wisconsin, consumers sued to uphold their right to foods of their choosing… and lost! The judge affirmed that "plaintiffs have no fundamental right to foods of their choosing."

    As the control of our food is increasingly centralized in the hands of a corporate few, we need constitutional protection. The time has come for Maine to legally articulate and protect the right to food of our choosing.

    We need a 2/3 majority vote to get this bill before the people. The first step is to urge the Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry to pass the bill unanimously out of committee.

    Fill out the form on this page to look up your state representatives and senators on the Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. Then call and email them to tell them why you support LD 783, the Right to Food Act!

    More on the Right to Food Bill

    Read the full text version of LD 783


    Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Forestry, and Conservation

    Sen. Peter Edgecomb, 207-496-3188

    Sen. James Dill, 207-827-3498

    https://www.facebook.com/jim.dill.16

    Sen. Thomas Saviello