Earlier this month, major biotech and agriculture groups sent a letter to key members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committee supporting the inclusion of $3 million in the fiscal year 2017 budget to “better inform the public about the application of biotechnology to food and agricultural production.” In plain English, these groups are asking for taxpayer dollars to fund propaganda efforts on behalf of the biotech industry. For those interested in real answers to questions about GMOs, we’ve recently updated and revamped our GMO Fact Check site. We’ve included the most up-to-date information on the safety of GMOs, the facts about GMOs and pesticide use, the epidemic of cross-pollination of GMOs with conventional (and/or organic) crops, the myth that GMOs increase crop yields, and much more. Our information is science-based and fully cited. Since industry has systematically attempted to corrupt so many government agencies, universities, and researchers working in this field, simply having accurate, scientific data is an accomplishment.
When consumers purchase organic produce, they expect to avoid vegetables and fruits that have been genetically modified or sprayed with dangerous pesticides. The unsettling reality, however, is that cross-contamination between GM plants and conventional or organic plants is not only possible—it is already happening. Millions of acres of GM rapeseed, which is used to make canola oil, the most popular cooking oil in North America, are being grown—in Canada and Australia in particular, but also in the US. This GM rapeseed has spread across the world, growing wild in ports, railway beds, along highways, and other areas where it has “escaped” during transport. Not only is it growing wild—it has contaminated another Brassica, the parent of cruciferous vegetables known as Brassica rapa. Organic broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Napa cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and more are now under threat.
Organic stakeholders have filed a lawsuit in federal court, maintaining that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) violated the federal rulemaking process when it changed established procedures for reviewing the potential hazards and need for allowed synthetic and prohibited natural substances used in producing organic food. The unilateral agency action taken to adopt major policy change without a public process, the plaintiffs maintain, violates one of the foundational principles and practices of OFPA -public participation in organic policy-making.
There is nothing natural about this milk. They’ve managed to increase its protein and calcium content by separating the milk into its five components (water, butterfat, protein, lactose, and vitamins and minerals), then removing the lactose altogether and recombining the rest in different proportions. More information about their process is unavailable since it falls under “proprietary” secrets. We wonder if sacrificing good fats, vitamins, and minerals are an appropriate price for increased protein and calcium content. Note that the calcium has been added without including important co-factors like vitamin K that move calcium into the bones and keep it from damaging the heart.
Last week saw an inter-agency power grab. It begins with the weakening of organic standards—and could end with the term “organic” becoming practically meaningless. Action Alert! Tell the USDA to use a public and transparent process for all major changes to organic standards by publishing proposed changes in the Federal Register, and actively seeking public input and discussion. In addition, tell the USDA to enforce the sunset provision of the OFPA as it was originally intended—allowing synthetic products to remain after their “sunset” date only after public debate and a two-thirds vote of the NOSB. More than 100 synthetics will be up for sunset consideration in 2015. We must act now to protect the integrity of organics.
ALERT! Think you can avoid glyphosate by buying organic? Think again. A shocking new investigation by Tropical Traditions reveals that many products in the organic grain market in the U.S. contain glyphosate residue at levels almost the same as conventional grains.
The National Organic Standards Board will be meeting later this month to discuss and vote on fundamental issues that will determine the future of organic foods. They plan to research whether BPA in the packaging of organic food should be banned. They also will tackle cross-contamination of organic crops from GMO crops, and other thorny GMO issues. The deadline for comments is this week.
Just one serving a day of tomato-based foods can have an incredibly beneficial effect on your health. Not only can they reduce heart disease, but they could potentially prevent and reverse dozens of diseases if eaten daily. This is one fruit you don't want to leave out of your diet.
At a meeting in San Antonio, Texas this week to discuss national organic standards, government officials from the USDA had organic food activists arrested and then seized control of the meetings appointing their own chairman. It appears that the goal of corporate agribusiness is to lower the standards of organic agriculture by using more and more non-organic and synthetic substances. They want to use factory farming techniques and all the other mass production methods that they have been using in conventional food production, but under the organic label. In short, they want to obtain the financial gain of using the certified organic label, while not expending additional money to produce higher quality products. They are happy to be organic in name only and to meet the lowest bar of organic production that is possible. They are using the organic label for corporate gain while destroying the meaning of the word “organic” for those who are working hard to produce the highest quality products. If corporations continue to dominate the National Organic Standards Board and continue to control the staff of the National Organic Program, then we can expect to see greater weakening of organic standards. If this happens, then we will no longer be able to depend on the USDA to help us navigate between food options.
The FDA’s new food safety rules are threatening to put organic small farmers out of business, while protecting Big Ag. Your action is needed to let the FDA know that this is unacceptable!