http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/10/09/jeff-smith-interview-gmo-week.aspxHealth | Tags: Food safety, Genetic engineering, Genetically modified food, Genetically modified organism, gmo, Health, Monsanto, Organic farming | Comment (0)
July 16, 2009
Organic Bytes #182: Frankenfoods, Natural Versus Organic, & Labor Rights…
Health, Justice and Sustainability News
from the Organic Consumers Association
In This Issue
Quote of the Week: New Study Reveals Major Health Problems Linked to Genetically Engineered Foods
Alert of the Week: Support the OCA’s National Organic Standards Board Endorsements
Alert Update of the Week: Tell Whole Foods and UNFI: Organic Means Respecting Workers’ Rights
Survey of the Week: Consumers Think ‘Natural’ is Greener Than ‘Organic’
Related Web Forum Posting of the Week: The Debate Over ‘Natural’ Versus Organic Products – Where Do You Stand On This Issue?
Good News of the Week: Administration Seeks to Restrict Antibiotics in Livestock
More Headlines of the Week
Quote of the Week
New Study Reveals Major Health Problems Linked to Genetically Engineered Foods
“We demand the systematic publication of the results of these tests, which we could only obtain on a case by case basis by taking legal action… It [the study] brings to light a significant underestimation of the initial signs of diseases like cancer and diseases of the hormonal, immune, nervous and reproductive systems, among others… The health crises may be more important than the international financial crisis because of the lack of transparency of the regulators.”
Source: An alarming study published in the Journal of Biological Science this week points toward serious health hazards from genetically engineered foods and pesticides. The research, conducted by scientists from France, Italy, New Zealand, U.K. and U.S., corroborates the decade-long criticism by public interest organizations such as the Organic Consumers Association, Greenpeace, and Friends of the Earth that European Food Safety bureaucrats and the U.S. FDA have used unreliable tests to assess the safety of food and products containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). GMOs are now found in more than 80% of (non-organic) foods sold in conventional grocery stores in the U.S., as well as the majority of animal feed in the EU.
Alert of the Week
Support the OCA’s National Organic Standards Board Endorsements
This year, Secretary Vilsack will make the Obama Administration’s first appointments to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), a non-governmental advisory and supervisory board comprised of representatives of the organic community who make formal recommendations on organic standards and allowed ingredients in organic production to the USDA National Organic Program (NOP).
Several important topics are now under deliberation by the NOSB and the NOP, including:
-Blatant violations of national organic standards in the organic dairy sector, where leading brands (including Horizon and Aurora) continue to unfairly undercut ethical brands by utilizing cheaper, but inhumane and less nutritious, intensive confinement feedlots where cows have limited or no access to required pasture.
-Misbranding in the personal care products sector where increasing numbers of products that are laced with synthetic chemicals and not certified as organic are nonetheless being labeled or advertised as “organic”.
-Standards for organic aquaculture (fish farms) that pose environmental and food safety concerns
-The continuing controversy over which minor ingredients may be synthetic or sourced in non-organic form.
The appointment of strong organic advocates to the NOSB will help to safeguard organic integrity, allow the organic movement to speak with one voice, and reassure consumers that “USDA Organic” is the “gold standard” for nutrition, safety, humane treatment of animals and environmental sustainability.
Learn more and take action
Alert Update of the Week
Tell Whole Foods and UNFI: Organic Means Respecting Workers’ Rights
In recent weeks, the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) has urged the world’s largest organic and “natural” retailer and wholesaler, Whole Foods Market and United Natural Foods, Inc. respectively, to prioritize certified organic food and products, support farmers and manufacturers’ transition to organic production, and to stop advertising or promoting so-called “natural” products (greenwashed conventional products) as if they were “almost as good as”or”almost organic.”
Since our founding in 1998, OCA has fought to integrate organic and Fair Trade principles, to protect the rights of workers, both in the U.S. and abroad, throughout the natural and organic supply chain, from farm workers and food processing workers, to truck drivers, warehouse packers and retail clerks in grocery stores, coffee houses, and restaurants. OCA believes that Fair Trade, health, and sustainability are the inseparable components of an organic food and farming system and a green economy. This is why the OCA and our allies are challenging industry leaders, Whole Foods and UNFI, as well as the entire organic and green community, to implement a domestic Organic and Fair Trade code of conduct that assures workers’ rights are respected.
Take action today and send the Whole Foods and UNFI’s CEOs a message that organic means supporting workers’ rights!
Learn more and take action
Survey of the Week
Consumers Think ‘Natural’ is Greener Than ‘Organic’
A new Shelton Group survey of U.S. consumers shows 31 percent of respondents believe ’100 percent natural’ is the most desirable eco-friendly product label claim, compared to 14 percent who chose ’100 percent organic’. According to Shelton, “Many consumers do not understand green terminology. They prefer the word ‘natural’ over the term ‘organic,’ thinking organic is more of an unregulated marketing buzzword that means the product is more expensive. In reality, the opposite is true: ‘Natural’ is the unregulated word. Organic foods must meet government standards to be certified as such.”
The survey suggests why bottom line companies like Horizon, Silk, and Peace Cereal are ditching organic ingredients, while UNFI and Whole Foods Market are failing to educate consumers and project a clear preference for certified organic goods. Instead UNFI, WFM, and others are giving prominent shelf space to so-called ‘natural’ product-lines which are cheaper and more profitable to produce and sell than “organic,” although so-called “natural” products are routinely contaminated with GMOs and synthetic chemicals, and derived from industrial agriculture and food processing practices that are polluting the environment, undermining biodiversity, destabilizing the climate, and exploiting farmers and workers.
Related Web Forum Posting of the Week
The Debate Over ‘Natural’ vs. Organic:
Where Do You Stand On This Issue?
Letter from one of our readers: “I have relied on the Organic Consumers Association to be a significant force for alternatives to an industrial food system. You have had a significant impact on helping all of us interested in choices in the food marketplace. I really take issue with the stance that certified organic is the only legitimate alternative to an industrial/global/impersonal food system. The movement which is connecting more and more consumers to think about where their food comes from, how it is produced and who profits from their food expenditures has grown rapidly as a “big tent” movement. I acknowledge that some abuse of the “natural” label occurs, but I do not believe we who are interested in alternatives to the industrial/global/impersonal food system benefit from a position which asserts that the only alternative acceptable is “certified organic.”
Learn more and join the discussion
Donate to OCA & Receive Access to Yoga and Meditation Videos Online
The Organic Consumers Association is partnering with http://www.MyYogaOnline.com to provide OCA donors with a month’s worth of instructional web fitness videos at no cost with any size donation. Your donations help us continue to do the important work that you read about each week in Organic Bytes and each day on our website (http://www.organicconsumers.org). Just put “yoga offer” in the comments of your donation here:
Headlines and Articles of the Week
1) Good News of the Week
Administration Seeks to Restrict Antibiotics in Livestock
“The Obama administration announced Monday that it would seek to ban many routine uses of antibiotics in farm animals in hopes of reducing the spread of dangerous bacteria in humans. In written testimony to the House Rules Committee, Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, principal deputy commissioner of food and drugs, said feeding antibiotics to healthy chickens, pigs and cattle – done to encourage rapid growth – should cease. And Dr. Sharfstein said farmers should no longer be able to use antibiotics in animals without the supervision of a veterinarian…”
2) Consumer Tip of the Week
“Localwashing:” Corporate America’s Latest Tactic to Co-opt Green-Minded Consumers
With Americans’ new focus on buying products made close to home, corporations are moving quickly to co-opt the term “local.” How do consumers determine what’s really local, and what is just a marketing show?
3) Web Video of the Week:
“A Chemical Reaction,” a new documentary film on lawn chemicals, scheduled for release in 2009, tells the story of one of the most powerful and effective community grassroots initiatives in recent history.
Watch a preview
4) Environment News of the Week:
Dow Pitching New Toxic Pesticide That Aggravates Global Warming
“Public health and environmental advocates have asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to deny a request from Dow AgroSciences for a permit allowing it to release large amounts of sulfuryl fluoride onto farm fields in four states. The chemical is a toxic pesticide whose global warming effects are thousands of times stronger than carbon dioxide…”
5) Health News of the Week:
Nobody Knows What Nanoparticles Do – Yet They Are in Your Food, Cosmetics, and Toys
“Your sunscreen, energy drink and high-tech clothing may be among the 800-plus consumer products made with nanomaterials: those manufactured at the scale of atoms and molecules. Nanotechnology, a fast-growing global industry, is essentially unregulated. Advocates and independent scientists agree that we need to get ahead of the risks before it’s too late…”
LOCAL HI NEWS OF THE WEEK
HI–Get Involved Locally
Learn more about OCA related action alerts and other news in HI here.
Join HI discussion groups in our forum.
Post events in HI on our community calendar.
Message from our Sponsors
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Organic Bytes is a publication of Organic Consumers Association
6771 South Silver Hill Drive – Finland, MN 55603 – Phone: 218-226-4164 – Fax: 218-353-7652Uncategorized | Tags: Agriculture, Food safety, National Organic Program, NOSB, Organic certification, Organic Consumers Association, United States, Whole Foods Market | Comment (0)
Date: Wednesday, May 27, 2009, 6:07 PM
Uncategorized | Tags: Agriculture, Allegedly Unethical Firms, Business, Food safety, Monsanto, TomVilsack, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Yahoo | Comment (0)
Congressional Bill HR 875 was introduced by Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, whose husband Stanley Greenburg works for Monsanto.
The bill is essentially a giant gift package for Monsanto, mandating the criminalization of seed banking, prison terms and confiscatory fines for small farmers and 24 hour GPS tracking of their animals, and of “industrial” standards to independent farms.
The corporations want nothing less than full control of the land, the end of normal animals so they can substitute patented genetically engineered ones, and the end of normal seeds and thus of seed banking by farmers or individuals.
And now Monsanto wants its own employee, Michael Taylor (the man who forced genetically engineered rBGH on the country when the Clintons placed him over “food safety” in the 90’s) back in government, this time to act with massive police power as a “food safety tsar”. HR 875 would give him immense power over what is done on every single farm in the country and massive police state power to wield over farmers.
Rosa DeLauro and Stanley Greenburg have a great deal to account for in attempting to force through a mislabeled “food safety” bill with hidden intent to wipe out farmers and harm everyone.
for links, go to http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/04/02/Monsantos-Dream-Bill–HR-875.aspx
Op Ed News March 9, 2009
Cryptogon March 9, 2009
Campaign for Liberty March 6, 2008
Dr. Mercola”s Comments Dr. Mercola’s Comments:
Although I’m not familiar enough with this bill in its entirety to make any definitive declarations about what it would mean for the future of small organic farms should it pass, I will say this: any law introduced by someone with ties to Monsanto is likely to be grossly tainted by industry bias.
Who Does This Bill Benefit the Most?
And Monsanto in particular – one of the most evil companies on the planet — is a powerful entity that has repeatedly proven its clout. Monsanto has already managed so many reprehensible acts, it boggles the mind. Including:
Leading the world into a new age of potentially hazardous genetic modification of seeds.
Patenting not only their own GMO seeds, but also a huge number of crop seeds, patenting life forms for the first time — without a vote of the people or Congress.
Not allowing farmers to save their seeds to replant the next year – a practice that has been done for generations. Instead, they aggressively seek out and sue farmers they suspect of doing so.
Suing farmers who have not been able to prevent the inevitable drift of Monsanto’s GE pollen or seed onto their land for patent infringement!
Producing two of the most toxic substances ever known — polychlorinated biphenyls, known as PCBs, and dioxin (Agent Orange).
Perhaps their biggest assault to your food supply already is what’s known as terminator technology. These are seeds that have been genetically modified to “self-destruct.” In other words, the seeds (and the forthcoming crops) are sterile, which means farmers must buy them again each year.
The implications that terminator seeds could have on the world’s food supply are disastrous: the traits from genetically engineered crops can get passed on to other crops. Once the terminator seeds are released into a region, the trait of seed sterility could be passed to other non-genetically-engineered crops, making most or all of the seeds in the region sterile.
If allowed to continue, every farmer in the world could come to rely on Monsanto for their seed supply!
So, would it be safe to say that Monsanto stands to gain from H.R. 875?
Absolutely! With thousands of organic farmers driven out of business, they would be that much closer to dominating the food supply of the world, since organic farms don’t use Monsanto seeds or toxic products.
Based on their history, I believe it’s prudent to question what the future of our small farms will hold, should a bill with such blatant ties to Monsanto be allowed to pass without further scrutiny.
It is quite possible, perhaps even most probable, that the bill entitled H.R. 875: Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 is designed to halt the growing trend of small organic farms – not through a direct, frontal assault on organic farming, but rather by insidiously creating rules and laws that make it extremely difficult, and incredibly expensive, for small farms to comply.
And in this case, the rules and regulations created by this proposed bill are mandatory, not voluntary, meaning they apply equally to a tiny farmer with half a dozen cows as it does to a massive factory farm.
What are the Potential Hazards of HR 875?
The stated purpose of H.R. 875: Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 is:
To establish the Food Safety Administration within the Department of Health and Human Services to protect the public health by preventing food-borne illness, ensuring the safety of food, improving research on contaminants leading to food-borne illness, and improving security of food from intentional contamination, and for other purposes.
As detailed in the articles above, some of the potential hazards of HR 875 include:
* It includes small farmers who just sell their fruits and vegetables at farmer’s markets
* Anyone engaged in food growing, or “holding food for consumption” in the U.S. would have to register annually, and create and maintain extensive records of the foods they grow and/or store
* The definitions of who this law pertains to are so broad and loosely defined that they could potentially even include your personal backyard fruit or vegetable garden, even if you don’t sell anything but grow them for personal consumption
* It appears it could dictate how all food growers would have to grow their food, including potentially the necessity to use certain pest control measures, for example
* Authorities would have the ability to inspect any food production facility at random to make sure it’s operating in compliance with the food safety law, and again the definition of “food production facility” is so loosely defined it could apply to your personal orchard, vineyard, or vegetable garden, as long as it produces something edible
* After the enactment of this Act, the Administrator, in consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture and representatives of State departments of agriculture will promulgate regulations to establish “science-based minimum standards for the safe production of food” by food production facilities. Meaning, no one even knows what the food production standards are yet, but whatever they turn out to be will have to be followed
* It is prohibited to: fail to register; refuse to permit access to an inspector; refuse to allow copying of all records; fail to establish or maintain any record required under the law
* Should you fail to comply with any of the rules and regulations, there are both civil and criminal penalties, going as high as $1 million per violation, something that could clearly wipe out any small farmer in a blink of an eye
What Can You Do?
I believe everyone should take the time to look this bill over and decide for yourself — Do you, or do you not believe industry will use every loophole they can find to further their own interests over up-and-coming small, organic family farms?
If you believe this bill warrants further scrutiny before being blindly passed, here are a few ways you can get involved and make your voice heard:
1. Contact your Congressional members at 202-224-3121 and ask them to oppose HR 875 and S 425.
2. Sign the Natural Solutions Foundation’s petition to Amend the Food Safety Modernization Act H.R. 875 [and Substitutes], by adding a “Natural and Family Food and Farming Exclusion Amendment”
3. Find out who sits on your states agriculture and farming committee and contact them with your concerns.
4. Contact your local elected officials and let them know your position on legislation and why.
5. Attend a local Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) meeting, this is a good start to learning about what is going on in farming, as well as getting involved with local and state initiatives .
6. Support the Farmers Legal Defense Fund
Monsanto’s Many Attempts to Destroy All Seeds but Their Own
This Company May Be the Biggest Threat to Your Future Health
How Monsanto Manipulates the System to Poison Your Health
Uncategorized | Tags: Agriculture, Food safety, Genetic engineering, Genetically modified organism, Monsanto, Organic farming, Rosa DeLauro, United States Department of Health and Human Services | Comment (0)
Please forward to everyone…..
US House and Senate are about (in a week and a half) to vote on bill that
will OUTLAW ORGANIC FARMING (bill HR 875). There is an enormous rush to get
this into law within the next 2 weeks before people realize what is
Main backer and lobbyist is Monsanto – chemical and genetic engineering
giant corporation (and Cargill, ADM, and about 35 other related
agri-giants). This bill will require organic farms to use specific
fertilizers and poisonous insect sprays dictated by the newly formed agency
to “make sure there is no danger to the public food supply”. This will
include backyard gardens that grow food only for a family and not for sales.
If this passes then NO more heirloom clean seeds
but only Monsanto genetically altered seeds that are now showing up with
unexpected diseases in humans.
There is a video on the subject.
And another one:
The name on this outrageous food plan is:
Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 (bill HR 875).
THIS IS REAL, FOLKS! PASS THIS ALONG TO ALL CONCERNED ON YOUR
MAILING LISTS & CALL YOUR SENATE REPRESENTETIVES TODAY!
Get on that phone and burn up the wires. Get anyone else you can to do the same thing.
The House and Senate WILL pass this if they are not massively threatened with loss
of their position…. They only fear your voice and your vote.
The best thing to do is go to www.house.gov/writerep <http://www.house.gov/writerep> all you have to do is
put in your zip and it will give you your congressperson and how to get in
touch with them. When you call their office someone will answer the phone,
just tell them (politely) that you are calling to express your views on HR 875.
Tell them your views, they’ll take your name and address and pass your
comments along to the congressperson.
The following link is a list of the U.S. senators and their contact info:
Mahalo Nui Loa and Thank you for your time <3