Hell Hath No Fury - newsletter from Organic Consumers Association
Hell Hath No Fury
. . . like a mom whose child has been sickened by a toxin that’s almost impossible to avoid.
Two activist groups, Moms Across Americaand Thinking Moms Revolution, want the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) torecall Monsanto’s Roundup, the most widely used herbicide/pesticide in the world. Now's the time to do it, they say, because the EPA is conducting a registration review of glyphosate, the key ingredient in Roundup.
Representatives of the two groups contacted the EPA to request a meeting. When the EPA ignored them, they rallied supporters. Over a period of three days, about 10,000 moms from all over the country rang the phones off the hook at the EPA.
A week later, five Moms Across America leaders were sitting around a boardroom table with nine EPA employees who have the power to recall Roundup. What was supposed to be a one-hour meeting turned into two. The EPA employees stayed glued to their seats as one mother after another shared heart-wrenching stories of their experiences parenting children with life-threatening allergies, severe gastrointestinal problems, mysterious autism-spectrum disorders, and major nutritional deficiencies.
The common thread in those stories? Exposure to glyphosate.
As Tyson Profits, Farmers Fail
Tyson Foods Chairman John Tyson just became a billionaire. How did he do it? By screwing over farmers.
Over the years, as Tyson has grown his monopolistic empire, his company has given farmers a smaller share of each consumer dollar spent on Tyson products. Farmers’ incomes have dropped. Tyson’s profits have soared.
A full quarter of chicken farmers experience losses every year. Tyson doesn’t even pay them enough to meet their operating costs.
Now Tyson wants Congress to make it even easier for Tyson Foods to subject farmers and ranchers to anticompetitive, deceptive, fraudulent and abusive business practices. The company is behind a proposed policy rider to the House Appropriations Committee’s 2015 spending bill that would severely weaken protections for the farmers who have made Tyson rich.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) signaled it will approve Dow’s new Enlist-brand corn and soy crops, genetically engineered to resist massive doses of 2,4-D.
You remember 2,4-D. It’s one of the ingredients in Agent Orange, the Vietnam-era herbicideresponsible for severe illnesses in hundreds of thousands of people directly exposed to it, and also in their offspring and future generations.
The USDA admits to concerns that if the new crops are approved, the annual use of 2,4-D would jump from 26 million pounds to 176 million pounds. (Independent scientists predictthe increase would be even more dramatic.)
But hey, it’s not their problem. According to the agency, it’s responsible only for approving the genetically engineered seeds, not the new formulation of 2,4-D herbicide that will be used on the crops. So the USDA is passing the buck to theU.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which it says is responsible for approving the new formulation of 2,4-D herbicide that will be used on Dow’s Agent Orange crops.
The Big Picture
"All over the world, food systems are being rebuilt from the bottom up, often on a small, city-wide scale. That's food democracy, which should be promoted just as in the early 20th century people dreamt of workplace democracy." - Olivier de Schutter, United Nations special rapporteur on the Right to Food, as quoted in the New York Times.
Why does it matter that one small state, Vermont, has finally passed a GMO labeling law? Or that voters in two small counties in Oregon organized citizen ballot initiatives to ban the growing of GMO crops—and won?
Because those battles are part of the big picture. Those wins are proof that if we persist, we will one day overcome the vast spending power of corporations, and the corrupt workings of our political system.
County by county, state by state. One win at a time.
Yesterday, the California legislature shot down another GMO labeling law. By two votes. The grassroots team behind that legislation is not defeated—it’s invigorated. Activists will regroup, and make another run at lawmakers next year.
Because that’s how bottom-up democracy works.
In November, voters in Oregon will decide on a statewide citizens’ initiative to label GMOs. Their battle is our battle. A loss there is a loss for all of us.
But a win in Oregon in November is a win for every consumer, everywhere.
Banning GMO crops in a couple of little counties in one state seems like a drop in the bucket when it comes to ridding the world of Monsanto’s poisons.
But make no mistake. Those are critical, Big-Picture wins.
Please help us make our $500,000 commitment to Oregon’s GMO labeling initiative. Together, we can build a safe, healthy, sustainable and democratic food system. 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, Vermont and other states)
What happens when you break up something like titanium dioxide into teensy weeny nanoparticles?
Nobody knows for sure. But we do know that those miniaturized particles behave differently than their larger counterparts. We also know, thanks to a new report by Friends of the Earth, that at least 96 food items (probably more) sold in grocery stores contain nanoparticles.
You won’t find that out by reading labels, though. Because food companies aren’t required to list nanoingredients on their labels.
Who’s feeding you nanoparticles? Companies like Kraft, General Mills, Hershey, Nestle, Mars, Coca-Cola, Unilever, Smucker’s and Albertsons, according to Friends of the Earth. (You can get a more comprehensive list from the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies.) Coincidentally (or not), most of these companies are members of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, and their products are on OCA’s boycott list.
According to Mother Jones, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration admits that nanoparticles pose risks. But in its infinite wisdom, the agency has done nothing to stop the flood of new nanoparticles into your food. And it has no plans to force fake-food companies to fess up to putting this stuff in their food-like products.
They Marched to #EndMonsanto
They marched in Hamburg, Germany. They chanted in Sydney, Australia. They carried banners and waved signs in London and Los Angeles, and in Lancaster, Penn. and Cape Town, South Africa.
On Saturday, May 24, hundreds of thousands of people, in about 420 cities and 50 nations around the world, marched once again to protest Monsanto and its monopoly of the global seed supply, its relentless and widespread distribution of its highly toxic Roundup poison, and its bottomless-pit spending to keep consumers in the dark.
OCA supplied nearly 800 packets of organizing materials to marchers. The materials included leaflets, banners and seed bombs (used to highlight Monsanto’s destruction of bees and butterflies).
One unidentified group of marchers carried a banner that said: “We march against Monsanto. Ask us why.”
So many reasons. So little time.
Viva Vía Orgánica!
OCA’s Mexico-based Vía Orgánica project is celebrating two important achievements this month—its new membership in Consumers International, the largest network of consumer organizations in the world, and its five-year anniversary.
Admission to the 250-member Consumers International will make it easier for Vía Orgánica to effectively participate in global grassroots consumer campaigns. And that will translate into larger, more powerful campaigns to exert marketplace pressure on multi-national corporations that tread on the rights of workers, farmers and consumers.
In the five short years since OCA’s sister organization first opened its doors, the nonprofit has already become a leader in the fight against Monsanto’s GMO corn. The group’s Mexico City team played a major role in the October 2013 ruling by a federal judge that banned the planting of GMO corn in Mexico. Vía Orgánica is also active in other campaigns, including “Semillas de Vida” (Seeds of Life), and “Sin Maiz, No Hay Pais,” (Without Corn, there is No Country).
Essential Reading for the Week
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