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Just. Plain. Wrong

Ronnie Cummins- Organic Consumers Assoc.

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Aug. 28, 2014


Just. Plain. Wrong.

In her June 25 keynote address to the BIO International Convention in San Diego, Calif., Hillary Clinton voiced strong support for genetic engineering and genetically engineered crops. She earned a standing ovation that day by stating that the biotech industry suffers from a public perception problem and that it just needs “a better vocabulary” in order to persuade GMO skeptics who don’t understand “the facts” about genetic engineering.

And then Hillary proceeded to get the facts wrong.

Why does it matter what Hillary, who holds no public office and has not (yet) declared her candidacy for president, says or believes about genetic engineering and genetically modified crops and foods?

It doesn’t. Unless she throws her hat in the ring for the Democratic nomination. And then it matters not just what her position on GMOs is, not just how deep her financial ties with the biotech industry run, not just how much she distorts the facts about the “promise” of biotech crops.

It matters, deeply, to more than 90 percent of Americans, what her position is on GMO labeling laws.

If elected, will Hillary support consumers’ right to know? Or will she support the DARK Act, a bill introduced in Congress earlier this year, that would preempt state GMO labeling laws?

Hillary has been coy about announcing her candidacy. On clarifying her position on GMO labeling laws, she’s been dead silent.

As she soon heads to Iowa—the testing ground for presidential candidates—Hillary’s presidential aspirations will no doubt become more clear. If she runs, as the pundits predict, it will be up to the GMO labeling movement to demand that she take a stand on GMO labeling laws.

Meanwhile, here’s why Hillary’s speech to the BIO convention was just plain wrong.

Read the essay



Shooting the Messenger

Reuters Reporter Carey Gillam has written about genetic engineering and food for the past 16 years. But Monsanto doesn’t always like what Gillam says, no matter how balanced or well researched.

So the Biotech Bullies recently tried to pressure Reuters into removing Gillam from her beat.

Thankfully, Reuters is standing up to the Biotech Bullies.

As Christina Sarich of wrote:

What is happening now with journalism, and the scape-goating of Gillam, is no different than what biotech has done in other arenas. Their decades-long history of contaminating this planet and its people with dangerous chemicals is well known, in part due to efforts like those of Gillam, and other writers like myself who are willing to stay staunch when shills and puppets try to take the heat off Monsanto, Dow, Bayer, etc.

Gillam, no rookie reporter, has been singled out by her peers for her fair and objective reporting. Civil Eats, an award-winning daily news source focusing on food issues, cited Gillam in an article, "24 Women Food and Agriculture Reporters You Should Know About."

But the biotech bullies don’t want good reporters writing about GMOs. They don’t want anybody writing about GMOs—unless those writers are on Monsanto’s payroll.

Let’s tell Reuters we support the media outlet’s decision to stand by Gillam, and to support balanced journalism and the right of free speech.

TAKE ACTION: Tell Reuters: Thank you for supporter writer Carey Gillam and her reporting on GMOs!


Why Bother?

Last month, we launched a petition

calling out Hillary Clinton on her support for GMOs. So far, nearly 95,000 people have signed the petition.

We’d like to make that number a lot bigger.

Why? Why bother to try to change the mind of someone who has such a long history of financial ties to the biotech industry? Someone who isn’t even an elected official or a candidate?

Because when Hillary talks, the media listens. And right now, they’re hanging on her every word, as they wait for her to announce that she’ll run for president in 2016.

All signs point to a run, including the fact that Hillary is headed to Iowa.

If (or when?) Hillary runs for president, we need to make GMO labeling laws a big campaign issue. And to do that, we need big numbers.

We already know from her speech to the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) convention in San Diego in June that Hillary supports genetic engineering. But she’s so far managed to dodge the question of whether or not she supports state GMO labeling laws—or the DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act, introduced in Congress, that would preempt state GMO labeling laws.

If you haven’t signed the petition, please sign today. If you’ve already signed, please ask five of your friends to sign, too.

Watch Hillary promote Monsanto (approximately 29 minutes in)

TAKE ACTION: Tell Hillary Clinton: It's time to dump Monsanto and support public health and regenerative, organic agriculture!



Put Monsanto on Ice!

He did it! Ronnie Cummins, international director of the OCA and its Mexico affiliate, Via Organica, took the ice bucket challenge!

Can you like and share the video on facebook? For every “like” OCA will donate $2 to the Oregon initiative to label GMOs, which will be on the November ballot.

Here are a few fun facts about the Ice Bucket Challenge in general, and OCA’s decision to participate.

First, we learned from the social media marketing experts at Social Fresh, that the Ice Bucket Challenge wasn’t originally tied to the ALS Foundation specifically. Turns out, one person who took the challenge named ALS as their cause, and others just went along with it.

So, we thought, why not use the Ice Bucket Challenge to support GMO labeling?

Second, while we’re all for curing ALS and other diseases, we’re equally, if not more, concerned about preventing those illnesses (rather than supporting Big Pharma). As Sayer Ji, author, educator and founder of points out, there is a potential link between the use of agricultural pesticides (such as Monsanto’s Roundup and Dow’s 2,4-D) and ALS.

So we thought it only fitting to raise money to help prevent ALS by supporting GMO labeling laws.

And lastly,for those of you concerned about how much water was wasted, Ronnie took the challenge on the rooftop of a Via Organica classroom in Mexico, where a water catchment system made sure the water made its way back into the cistern it was taken from. (He challenges others to be equally responsible about recycling their Ice Bucket Challenge water).

So for those reasons, and all of the reasons we need to “Put the Ice on Monsanto,” Ronnie took the challenge. And then he challenged Dave Murphy, co-founder of FoodDemocracyNOW! and David Bronner, or Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps to Put the Ice on Monsanto next.

Please “like” and “share” Ronnie’s Ice Bucket Challenge video today. OCA will donate $2 per “like,” up to $200,000, to the YES on 92 campaign to label GMOs in Oregon.

Donate to the Organic Consumers Association (tax-deductible, helps support our work on behalf of organic standards, fair trade and public education)

Donate to the Organic Consumers Fund (non-tax-deductible, but necessary for our legislative efforts in Oregon, Colorado and other states)



March with Vandana Shiva and OCA!

In a show of solidarity for the role organic agriculture can play in reversing climate change, Vandana Shiva will march with OCA’s “Cook Organic, Not the Planet” contingent in the People’s Climate March, on September 21, 2014, in New York City.

Can you get to New York to join us?

Organizers of the People's Climate March predict this could be the biggest action on climate the world's ever seen. That’s exciting—but too often, the climate change message focuses exclusively on reducing fossil fuel emissions.

With Vandana’s help, OCA will bring our message to the march—that organic, regenerative agriculture has the potential to actually reverse global warming. And unless we acknowledge—and act—on that strategy, we will not turn the sinking global warming ship around in time.

According to a recent study by the Rodale Institute, regenerative agriculture, if practiced globally, has the potential to sequester 100 percent of current, annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

Where do consumers fit into the picture? By supporting organics—for our own health and the health of our entire ecosystem.

The OCA’s “Cook Organic Not the Planet” will join up with the Food Justice contingent for the Sunday, September 21 march in New York. Contact OCA’s Alexis Baden-Mayer for details on how you can march with OCA and Vandana Shiva.

Read the press release

More on regenerative agriculture



Deadline September 8

It’s not too late to add your voice.

On August 6 (2014), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), over the objections of 50 members of Congress, and more than 500,000 citizens, scientists, farmers and health professionals, moved one step closer to approving Dow’s new Enlist-brand soy and corn crops.

The crops are engineered to withstand massive doses of Enlist Duo herbicide, concocted from a combination of 2,4-D (used to make Agent Orange) and glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup.

The USDA has admitted that approval of Dow’s new crops will cause the use of 2,4-D to skyrocket from 26 million pounds to 176 million pounds. Scientists predict worse.

Dow’s 2,4-D is already the seventh largest source of dioxins in the U.S. It’s been linked to a host of ills, including birth defects, infertility, allergies, Parkinson’s disease, endocrine disruption and cancer.

It’s unconscionable that the USDA would approve these crops. Yet the agency is less than 12 days away from doing just that. Unless we stop it.

Deadline September 8: Tell the USDA to reject Dow's 'Agent Orange' crops!



Consumer Power

“It behooves us to continue to look at other ways that we can effect change so that it is in the manufacturers' best financial interest to eliminate GMOs. In fact, it needs to be a great enough reward to counter-balance Monsanto's efforts to the contrary.” - Art Ames, general manager, Berkshire Co-Op, Great Barrington, Mass.

Sometimes we forget how many tools we have in the toolbox.

Signing petitions, writing letters to the editor, passing legislation, getting out the vote, boycotting GMO-contaminated products, educating the general public, organizing marches and protests and just generally causing a ruckus. These are all important tools to build a movement, create change and rid the world of Monsanto’s GMOs and toxic chemicals.

But let’s not forget the power we have as consumers to influence the purchasing decisions of our local retail stores.

Where do you start? By asking.

What happens when the owner or manager of your favorite store says there aren’t enough manufacturers or suppliers offering non-GMO alternatives? You ask your store to put more pressure on the manufacturers. Because as Art Ames says (above quote), change will come when it’s in the best financial interest of the manufacturers to make the change.

How do you respond when your store owner or manager says it’s a great idea, but just too hard?

You hand them this leaflet that directs them to an online toolkit that outlines successful strategies other retailers have used to create GMO labeling policies and work directly with manufacturers to supply more non-GMO products. You can do it!

Download the leaflet



Essential Reading for the Week

Now Your Food Has Fake DNA in It

The Overlooked Plight of Factory Farm Workers

Why BMI Is a Big Fat Scam

Critic of Organic Agriculture Lacks Credibility

Community Food Activists Tell Their Stories

Kochonomics: Rigging the System at the Local Level