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Ronnie Cummins- Organic Consumers Assoc.

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Nov. 9, 2014

Still Counting

Despite news reports that Oregon’s Measure 92 to label GMO foods was defeated on Tuesday, the official word from the YES on 92 campaign is: It’s not over.

As of this morning, November 9, Measure 92 is trailing 49.73 percent to 50.27 percent. According to the official word from the campaign, a GMO labeling law in Oregon is just 8,300 votes- or just one half of one percent - shy of a win.

Although the math looks difficult, the campaign believes there are enough ballots yet to be counted that a win is still within reach. Campaign staff are working diligently to make sure every vote is counted, but it's a slow process. And we may not know the outcome until November 18, the deadline for the Secretary of State to count all outstanding ballots.

Whichever way it goes, Monsanto and Big Food outspent us in Oregon by more than 2 to 1, dumping a record-shattering $20.8 million into TV, radio and print ads, and direct mail, to run yet another campaign of twisted truths and outright lies.

The Gene and Junk Food Giants also spent big in Colorado—more than $17 million—to defeat Colorado’s Proposition 105 this week, another citizens’ initiative to label GMOs.

Conservative estimates put the total spent by the likes of Monsanto and Pepsi to defeat GMO labeling laws, so far, at about $105 million. That number doesn’t include the record millions spent lobbying lawmakers. Or the millions spent trying (unsuccessfully) to prevent Vermont from passing a GMO labeling law.

What the pesticide and junk food companies won’t spend. Just to hide the genetically engineered, pesticide-laden “foods” they’re feeding you.

GMO labeling wasn’t the only anti-GMO issue on the ballot this election. The anti-GMO movement won two key battles this week—clear signs that we are making headway.

Voters in Maui County (Hawaii), passed a moratorium on the growing of GMO crops, despite an $8-million campaign waged by the biotech industry to try to stop them. Sources say a lawsuit by industry is inevitable, just as it was in Vermont.

In Humboldt County, Calif., voters passed a law making it illegal "to propagate, cultivate, raise or grow any organism (or its offspring) whose DNA has been altered by genetic engineering.”

The loss in Colorado is disappointing. But not debilitating.

And whatever the final outcome in Oregon, this movement is very much alive. We are nothing if not patient and determined.

We have the science, and you, on our side.

And we are fired up.


Deadline: November 14

“Water is the driving force of all nature.” - Leonardo da Vinci

This past August, Toledo, Ohio, residents couldn’t bathe or wash dishes in, much less drink, their water. Run-off from industrial agriculture operations had created a toxic algae bloom that contaminated the water supply for over 400,000 people.

In North Carolina, citizen activists have for years battled water pollution generated by the state’s hog farms that house 8.9 million hogs in cramped, filthy conditions and “flush feces and urine from barns into open-air pits called lagoons.”

In Lincoln, Wis., about half of the town’s private wells have water that exceeds bacteria or nitrate safety standards.

In Georgia, the country’s largest producer of chickens raised for meat, industrial poultry farms generate more than 2 million tons per year of broiler litter, a mixture of manure and bedding that must be removed from the houses and disposed of. It isn’t being disposed of properly, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—which says Georgia’s lakes and streams often contain “dangerous levels” of nitrogen and phosphorus.

Industrial agriculture has made more than 100,000 miles of rivers and streams and 2,500 square miles of inland lakes too polluted to sustain important uses such as swimming, fishing, drinking, or the maintenance of healthy populations of wildlife, according to Environment Minnesota.

Still, companies like Cargill, Tyson and Archer Daniels Midland, among others, want weaker, not stronger, rules for protecting your drinking water.

It’s been 42 years since Congress passed the Clean Water Act. But loopholes in the Act, along with attempts by big polluters (including agribusiness) to weaken the law, have left millions of acres of wetlands, and approximately 60 percent of America’s rivers and streams, unprotected.

The U.S. EPA wants to restore protection to those wetlands and waters—the source of drinking water for 117 million Americans. Which is why the agency proposed the Waters of the U.S., a rule intended to un-muddy the waters around which types of waters are, and are not, covered under the Clean Water Act.

Big Ag is fighting the EPA’s attempt to clean up your water. Please tell the EPA: Stand strong.

TAKE ACTION: Deadline November 14: Tell the EPA: Please Protect U.S. Waters from Factory Farm Pollution!



Fast Track? Derail It!

Corporations like Monsanto and Cargill want to ram secret international trade deals through Congress using a process called "fast track."

Why the secrecy? And what's the rush?

These trade deals will give corporations unprecedented power to sue entire countries in order to undermine existing (and future) food safety and GMO labeling laws, and city, state, county and countrywide bans on GMO crops, pesticides and fracking.

OCA has joined the Citizens Trade Campaign, and other organizations, in asking our members to join the #StopFastTrack Week of Action, Nov. 8 - 14!

What can you do to make the #StopFastTrack Week of Action successful?

Sign our action alert (below), then follow up with a phone call to your Congress member. Write a letter to the editor of your local paper. Post our action alert on Facebook. Organize or participate in a #StopFastTrack event in your community. Join the “Thunderclap,” a type of online flash mob. (What is Thunderclap)?

Make no mistake. These international trade deals are a blatant attack on democracy—which is why corporations want to ram them through Congress, without respect for any of the normal checks and balances.

Unless we derail their plans.

TAKE ACTION: Don’t Let Congress ‘Fast-Track’ Dangerous Trade Deals!

Find your Congress Member, then call (202) 224-3121 and ask to speak to him or her.

Join the Thunderclap

Organize or attend a #StopFastTrack event in your community

Write a letter to the editor



No Words

As we await the final outcome of Oregon’s Measure 92 to label GMOs, we want to say thank you.

Throughout these two campaigns, in Oregon and Colorado, as you’ve done in previous years to support GMO labeling initiatives in California and Washington State, you have provided not only the funding, but the inspiration for this work—your work.

Last week, as the opposition pounded the airwaves in Oregon and Colorado, and we reached out to you to help us raise another emergency $20,000 in 24 hours, you came through. In spades.

As our phones rang off the hook, and the donations poured in online, we were reminded once again of why we do this work.

Why we stand up to these corporate giants, time and again.

Why this movement is so important. And why it will not go away until we prevail.

Your generosity left us speechless.

Thank you.

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)



Meeting Notes

There was no shortage of tension in the room last week when the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) convened its fall 2014 meeting in Louisville, Ky.

Taking center stage once again was the issue of what most agree was a power grab last year by National Organic Program (NOP) Director Miles McEvoy, when he made changes to the “sunset process”—the process by which synthetic ingredients and materials are retired from the list of allowed substances in organic. (Details on the those changes here).

In the weeks leading up to the October meeting, we asked you to take action on the sunset process, and two other issues: something called “excluded methods,” and GMO vaccines in livestock.

On the “excluded methods” issue, the NOSB has agreed to consider rewriting its definition. That’s a start. But we have a long way to go before we know what that new definition will look like, and whether or not it will encompass new technologies, such as nanotechnology and synbio, now being used in food production.

As for GMO vaccines in livestock, the NOSB continues to complain that creating a list of vaccines that contain GMOs is daunting. It has kicked this issue back to the National Organic Program to deal with.

More on sunset change developments here

OCA's testimony on GMO vaccines in livestock

Play-by-Play of the October NOSB meeting



Your Health. Brought to You by Wall Street.

Just because you question it, doesn’t mean you’re opposed to it. It just means you want more evidence to support the position. The FDA has failed us. It’s relying on tests done by the very industry that stands to profit. It’s time to ask more questions.

Watch the video



Chicken Feed. Not.

Astonishing. That’s the word a former U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner used to describe the routine use of antibiotics—some of them belonging to the same classes of antibiotics used to treat infections in humans—in feed used to fatten up poultry on factory farms.

Investigators at Reuters examined more than 320 “feed tickets” sued by six major poultry companies during the past two years. “Feed tickets,” issued to chicken growers by the mills that make poultry feed (to company specifications), list the names and grams-per-ton of each “active drug ingredient” in a batch of feed.

Should we be concerned about the rampant use of antibiotics by companies like Tyson Foods, Pilgrim’s Pride, Perdue Farms, George’s and Koch Foods?

Yes, says the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) which reports that each year, in the U.S., about 430,000 people get sick from food-borne bacteria that resist conventional antibiotics. According to the CDC, 2 million people are sickened in the U.S. annually with infections that don’t respond to antibiotics. At least 23,000 people die.

That’s hardly chicken feed.

More here



Essential Reading for the Week

Neonicotinoid Pesticides Are Too Toxic to Use

Oil and Gas Industry's "Endless War" on Fracking Critics Revealed

Computerized Vote Rigging Is Still the Unseen Threat to US Democracy: It's Time to Change the System

NASA Bombshell: Global Groundwater Crisis Threatens Our Food Supplies and Our Security

Why Gardening Is Good for Your Health

Millennials, Monsanto Wants to Be Your Hipster Friend

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print it, duplicate it and post it freely. Knowledge is power!

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