Thursday, June 21, 2012

Farm Bill Battles, GMO Labeling Threats and GE Dangers

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Why Genetically Engineered Food is Dangerous: New Report

Eighteen years after Monsanto and the biotech industry began force-feeding untested and unlabeled genetically engineered foods to humans and animals, a definitive study of the hazards of GMOs has been published. OCA urges everyone to read this.

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This Week's Farm Bill Votes

The Senate Has Voted...

... Against GMO Labels

The vote was 26 in favor of GMO labels, 73 opposed. Click here to find out how your Senators voted. More info on this Senate vote next week!

... For Corporate Welfare for Insurance Companies, Not Food Stamps for Hungry Kids

An amendment by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrat of New York, would have cut the amount paid to insurance companies to subsidize their costs in selling crop insurance. Last year, the government paid insurance companies $1.3 billion, and Ms. Gillibrand's amendment would have reduced that amount to offset a $4.5 billion cut to the food stamp program. But the Senate rejected the amendment, 66 to 33.

Find out how your senators voted and let them know what you think.

Take Action

... To Support Rural Development - the "Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act" Will Invest in Jobs, After All!

$150 million in critical funding for rural economic development and new farmer programs was restored through an amendment introduced by Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH).

That's $35 million for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, the keystone new farmer program at USDA; $50 million over five years for the Value-Added Producer Grants program that helps farmers transition to new markets and products that return more of the consumer food dollar back to the farmer and the local community; $15 million for the Rural Microentrepeneur Assistance Program to help start new small rural businesses; and $50 million to begin to eliminate the backlog in water and sewer projects in small rural communities.

Find out how your senators voted and let them know what you think.

Take Action

... To Keep Organic Programs - Smart Move, as Organic Grows the Fastest, Creates the Most Jobs!

An amendment by Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) to remove all funding for the National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program went down on a 42-57 vote.

Find out how your senators voted and let them know what you think.

Take Action

Unfortunately, the Senate leadership decided not to consider votes on amendments to...

  • Encourage more USDA-funded research on plant and animal breeding to improve health, nutrition, farm income, and food security.
  • Allow the direct sale of raw milk and raw milk products across state lines.
  • Legalize the production of industrial hemp, a potential new bumper crop for U.S. farmers.
  • Codify an agreement between egg producers and the Humane Society of the United States to increase the size of hen cages over the next 18 years and end the practice of depriving hens of food and water to increase egg production.

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Support OCA and OCF

Invest in a Healthier Future: Help Spread the Truth About Corporate Manipulation of Science

Every day there's a new story about how companies like Monsanto are misleading the public when it comes to food safety. The alarming increase in corporate funding of university research and scientific studies is producing "scientific evidence" aimed at duping consumers into thinking that everything from the genetic engineering of our food, to the poisoning of our soil, is perfectly safe.

The latest example? Two Monsanto-funded studies in scientific journals that discredit the link between glyphosate (the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup herbicide) and cancer – despite extensive non-industry-funded research proving glyphosate's toxicity.

The OCA works hard to expose these dubious "studies" and educate consumers about the real danger of the chemicals used to grow and make food. But we need your help!

Please support our efforts to educate and mobilize consumers to pressure corporations to get the poisons out of our food. Your donation helps keep the OCA strong and allows the OCF to lobby for food safety.

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 California and other states)


India to Label GMOs

The second largest country in the world, India, will now become the 50th nation in the world to require labels on genetically engineered foods, joining the EU, Japan, China and other nations.

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New AMA Policy on GMOs Stops Short of Protecting Consumer Health

The American Medical Association says we ought to test genetically engineered foods for safety reasons before letting them out in the market. And yet, the AMA doesn't support mandatory labeling. Which begs the question: If there's sufficient reason to think these foods might be unsafe, shouldn't consumers know which foods contain GMOs and which don't – so that we can avoid them, if we want, until they are proven safe?
Read More


OCA at Rio+20

OCA Director Ronnie Cummins and a delegation from OCA's sister organization in Mexico, Via Organica, are attending the Rio+20 Earth Summit in Brazil. Although federal governments such as the USA continue to lag behind on efforts to protect the environment and avert climate catastrophe, hundreds of cities and regions across the world are starting to take decisive action - making the transition to climate-friendly, organic, and equitable practices. The Organic Transitions section of the OCA website provides a wealth of resources on sustainable alternatives to Business as Usual.

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Buyer Beware: Corporate Front Groups Come Out in Force to Sink GMO Labeling Initiative

No sooner had the Secretary of State in California certified the signatures for the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act, than the press releases started flying. With biotech industry profits at stake, corporate front groups are springing into action, spinning their storyline about how GMOs are perfectly safe, and labeling "costly and expensive."

A group called the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) issued a release this week claiming that mandatory GMO labeling is "wholly unnecessary, from either an 'environmental' or a health perspective." Not only have extensive assessments found GM crops to be safe, they point out, but such labeling would be costly to both farmers and food manufacturers, and would mostly likely stir up unjustified fear and confusion among the general public."

Who's footing the bill for the ACSH's work? They don't want you to know, so they no longer report the names of their funders. But in 1991, the last year they did report funders, the vast majority were corporations – including Monsanto, ICI Agricultural Products, Inc., ISK Biotech Corporation, and Kraft, Inc. And in 1996, Congressional Quarterly's Public Interest Profiles stated that ACSH received more than 75 percent of its funding from the chemical and pharmaceutical industries.

Read More About ACSH Funding Here and Here

Read the ACSH Press Release Here


Little Bytes

Top Stories of the Week

Rio 20: A Defining Choice

40 Years of Environmental Diplomacy - What Do We Have to Show for It?

Rio: Let's Unleash the Power of People Back Home

Health Liberty: Vermonters Save Vaccine Exemption

Whole Foods Rejects Dialogue on GMO Safety


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