Monsanto's Minions Attack, Whole Fraud Revisited
Ronnie Cummins- Organic Consumers Association
It's hard to argue with consumers' right to know what's in our food. That's why nine out of ten people support labels for genetically engineered food.
But, money talks, and companies like Monsanto that have gotten rich by intimidating farmers and hiding GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) in our food are already on the attack in California. Monsanto's Minions, including the Biotechnology Industry Organization, the Farm Bureau, and the Grocery Manufacturers Association, have begun a smear campaign to derail a surging grassroots movement in California to label genetically engineered food and ban the marketing of GE-tainted food as "natural." The California Right to Know 2012 Ballot Initiative, led by OCA, Food Democracy Now, LabelGMOs.org, Organic Consumers Fund, Mercola.com and others, is a massive campaign to get mandatory labeling on the November 2012 ballot.
Monsanto Minions found a mouthpiece in Dan Morain at the Sacramento Bee newspaper, who published an attack February 19 on the CA Right to Know/Label GMOs coalition. Morain's article has backfired, however, with a flood of irate consumers attacking his biased propaganda and only a few comments in support.
OCA has written a rebuttal that takes apart Morain's hatchet job point-by-point, and we need your help to set the record straight.
Meanwhile in California, signature gathering to put the GMO Labeling Initiative on the ballot is underway. Thousands of campaign volunteers and paid petition gatherers are already out in the streets, in front of grocery stores, college campuses, and other areas with high pedestrian traffic. We're on track to meet our goal of collecting the 750,000 - 850,000 signatures we need to be sure we'll have the 560,000 to qualify our measure for the November 2012 election. But OCA and our allies need your help now more than ever!
Support the OCA and the OCF: Strike a Blow Against Monsanto and Corporate Agribusiness
Unlike Whole Foods Market, OCA and our lobbying ally, the Organic Consumers Fund, put our money where our mouth is. With the 2012 California Ballot Initiative, and GMO labeling legislation gaining momentum in Vermont, Connecticut, Hawaii and other states, we have a real chance to hit Monsanto, corporate agribusiness, and thev supermarket chains with the skull and crossbones they fear so much: mandatory labels on genetically engineered food. We also continue our struggle to strengthen organic standards and significantly expand the market for organic food and products, especially those produced locally and regionally. And of course we continue to educate and mobilize the public on a wide range of crucial issues such as global warming, Fair Trade, children's health, and alternative medicine.
Please be as generous as you can during our February fundraising drive.
Donate to the Organic Consumers Association (tax-deductible)
Donate to the Organic Consumers Fund (non-tax-deductible, but necessary for our efforts in California)
Inspirational Amazing Anti-GMO Work in Hawaii!
On February 22, hundreds of people rallied at the State Capitol in Honolulu in support of Senate Bill 2279, a bill requiring the mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods. The following videos are beautiful and inspiring! Watch our Anti-GMO Hawaiian brothers and sisters mobilizing to protect the food supply.
The Movement to Label GMOs Is Gaining Momentum Nationwide
In Connecticut, on Wednesday, February 22, the General Assembly's Environment Committee held a public hearing on HB 5117, a bill mandating the labeling of genetically modified foods. Vegetable farmer Bob Burns, who owns Aiki Farms in Ledyard, testified in support of the bill. Burns has been rallying support among legislators and farmers, emphasizing consumers' right to know.
In Vermont, a grassroots based petition and lobbying campaign, supported by the OCA and led by the Northeast Organic Farmers Association, Rural Vermont, VPIRG, and Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility is gathering momentum, prodding state legislators to pass a law, utilizing basically the same language as California, to require mandatory labeling of GMOs and ban the practice of labeling or advertising genetically engineered foods as "natural" or "all natural.
Unfortunately, the article we linked to in last week's Bytes about Colorado wasn't up to date. Here's the whole story.
Heard From Whole Foods Recently?
Two weeks ago, we published OCA Director Ronnie Cummins's essay on Whole Foods Market, "Whole Fraud: Exposing the Myth of So-Called Natural Foods." If you chose to weigh in and wrote to Whole Foods asking why they don't label GMOs in their stores, you probably received a letter back, insisting that they are addressing the problem by enrolling their store brand products in the Non-GMO Project.
We don't disparage the efforts of the Non-GMO Project to verify the legitimacy of non-GMO claims through a third-party system, on a limited percentage of the thousands of items in their stores, but WFM and other retailers should not pretend that this takes the place of mandatory store-wide GMO labeling requirements.
Whole Foods Market is a founding member of the Non-GMO Project, and yet, since 2009, WFM have only verified approximately 382 of their 2600 store brand "365" products as "Non-GMO." The average WFM grocery carries between 20,000 to 50,000 items, of which only 30-40% are certified organic. The rest of their products, typically marketed as "natural," include thousands of processed foods and animal products containing genetically modified ingredients or raised on genetically engineered animal feed. Of course Safeway, Publix, Wal-Mart and other supermarkets are far worse than Whole Foods - selling fewer organic products and even more GMO-tainted fare - but since Whole Foods claims to be an ethical leader in the marketplace and a champion of GMO labeling, they should be leading the charge for GMO labeling instead of pretending that the "Non-GMO Project" takes the place of mandatory labeling.
In California, many Right to Know GMO Ballot Initiative volunteers have started collecting petition signatures in front of WFM stores, but so far Whole Foods Market (with yearly sales of $12 billion dollars) has not contributed one cent to the California Ballot Initiative Campaign. Despite our limited budget, OCA has already contributed $40,000 to the California labeling campaign, while our lobbying ally, the Organic Consumers Fund has contributed $95,000. Mercola.com, a leader in the alternative health movement, with over 250,000 network members in California, has already contributed $500,000 to the Campaign. Isn't it time for Whole Foods Market, and other giant "natural" retailers like Trader Joe's, to put their money where their mouth is?
Occupy Our Food Supply: Take Action
Occupy Our Food Supply is bringing together the Occupy, sustainable farming, food justice, and environmental movements for a global day of action on February 27. Thousands of activists, writers, and food advocates - including Vandana Shiva, Willie Nelson, Anna and Frances Moore Lappé, Michael Pollan and Raj Patel - will join together to creatively resist corporate control of our food supply and take action to build healthy, accessible food systems for all.
There are countless ways to Occupy Our Food Supply. Get involved.
Stop Agent Orange Frankencorn!
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is ready to approve a new corn variety that is genetically engineered by Dow Chemical to survive massive spraying with the super-toxic herbicide 2,4-D. This dangerous chemical was a deadly component of the Agent Orange chemical warfare program in Vietnam that has killed or seriously injured millions of Vietnamese and returning U.S military Vietnam veterans.
There is a large body of evidence indicating major health problems resulting from exposure to 2,4-D that include cancer, reproductive problems, neurotoxicity, and immunosuppression. The first round of "RoundUp Ready" herbicide resistant crops only helped to breed super-weeds that are a nightmare to farmers. Urge President Obama and USDA Sec. Vilsack to protect America's farmers and our unborn children. Please take action by February 27, 2012, to stop new 2,4-D resistant genetically engineered crops!
Little Bytes: Top Stories of the Week
Eden Foods Offers OCA Customers 15% Discount
Eden Foods is one of the few national organic food producers who goes beyond the USDA Organic Standards. Although Eden Foods is USDA certified, their products do not bear the USDA seal, because they say the USDA standard really represents a "minimum standard" that Eden Foods goes far beyond.
As a subscriber to Organic Bytes, you can enjoy a 15% discount rate on any Eden Foods products by going here.