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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Organic Consumer Update 11-24-2014 (Re-Post)



Recount Likely

The deadline for rounding up votes for Oregon’s Measure 92 has passed. The deadline for counting all outstanding votes, and reporting them to the Oregon Secretary of State, is Monday, November 24, 5 p.m. PST.

As of 5 p.m. Friday, November 22,  the gap between YES and NO votes had dropped, again, to a nail biting-ly close  1,076 votes. Based on reliable estimates, there are enough outstanding votes that, if they go the right way, could still push us over the top.

Either way, unless the gab widens again, the vote is close enough to trigger an automatic recount.
Thanks to the herculean effort by the YES on 92 campaign—and your financial support—the campaign sent out hundreds of volunteers and supporters last week. Battling snow and ice and great odds, this dedicated army did a nothing-short-of-miraculous job of contacting voters whose ballots had been disqualified, and making sure those ballots were fixed, and those votes were counted.

Now, we wait for the final tally, which will be reported at the end of the day Monday, November 24.

But while we wait, the YES on 92 campaign staff is still working, preparing for the probablility of a recount. The campaign will do everything in its power to make sure that the recount is conducted carefully, and fairly.

Win or lose in Oregon, it’s clear that Monsanto and Big Food are panicked. After all, we won the state GMO labeling battle in May, when Vermont passed
H.112. And with stores like Whole Foods Market committed to labeling all of its 40,000 plus food and deli items, food manufacturers already face the prospect of a label that says “Contains GMOs” in stores all across the country.

Monsanto will continue to throw its weight around, by suing states that pass GMO labeling laws, and counties that pass GMO crop bans. And by buying off members of Congress to pass a law to override and preempt state GMO labeling laws.

But they are in for a long fight. Because consumers will not rest until every GMO-contaminated food product in this country is labeled.
Volunteer to help with the YES on 92 Recount


We Need Thousands of People. And You.

The GMO labeling movement won big in Vermont this year. And we may still win in Oregon, once all the votes are in.
But those laws will be nullified, and we will lose the right to pass any future state or federal mandatory GMO labeling laws, if Congress passes H.R. 4432, a bill to preempt mandatory GMO labeling laws.
H.R. 4432—the DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) ACT—was introduced by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) at the bidding of Monsanto, Big Food and the Koch Brothers.
At this very moment, Monsanto and Big Food are gunning to pass this law.
We need to stop this attack on the constitutional right of states to pass GMO labeling laws. That’s why we’re planning a massive protest and media event in Washington D.C. Can you help organize a bus from your area?
Here’s the scoop. Pompeo’s DARK ACT is up for a hearing on December 9 or 10 (the date hasn’t been finalized yet, but we need to start planning). OCA is working with activists in many states, including New York, Vermont, Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Maryland, to bus people in to Washington on the date of the hearing.
What will we do there? We will fill the hearing room and line the streets with consumers and citizens who will make it clear to Congress, the media and the Biotech Bullies and Junk Food Giants that we will not sit quietly by while Congress allows Monsanto to trample on our Democracy and poison our food without transparency or accountability.
If you can fill a bus from your area, OCA will pay the transportation. We are also organizing an organic lunch with speakers and the press, following the hearing.
The GMO labeling movement has not come this far only to allow members of Congress, who have been paid off by Monsanto, to strip us of our constitutional rights. H.R. 4432 is designed to kill the GMO labeling movement once and for all. We can’t let that happen. We need thousands of people in order to get the attention of Congress and the media. Can you be one of them?
Sign up to organize


Between the Lines

Less than a week after the OCA and other groups petitioned McDonald’s to reject a GMO potato newly approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), ABC News, NBC News, CBS News and numerous other media outlets declared a victory for consumers based on a statement McDonald’s provided to the Idaho Statesman.
Here’s what a McDonald’s spokesperson told the Idaho Statesman when asked if the fast-food chain would buy Simplot’s GMO potato:
"McDonald's USA does not source GMO potatoes, nor do we have current plans to change our sourcing practices."
A victory for consumers? Or just a victory for McDonald’s public relations team?
As POLITICO pointed out, the McDonald’s statement may have been technically accurate. But it far from rules out the future possibility that McDonald’s will serve up frankenfries. McDonald’s does not now source GMO potatoes, because there are none yet on the market. And just because the restaurant chain claims it doesn’t have “current plans” to use the Simplot potato, doesn’t mean it can’t change its plans.
TAKE ACTION: Ask McDonald’s CEO Donald Thompson to commit to NEVER USE Simplot’s “Innately Wrong” GMO potato!
Read OCA’s Open Letter to McDonald’s CEO Donald Thompson

Photo Credit: phil.lees via Compfight cc


Kinda, Sorta True, but Not Really

Starbucks wants you to think the company is on your side when it comes to GMO labeling laws.
But it isn’t.
As long as Starbucks is a dues-paying member of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), which is party to a lawsuit against the state of Vermont intended to overturn Vermont’s recently passed GMO labeling law, the coffee peddler’s profits are being used to defeat your right to know.
In response to a blog post by singer/songwriter Neil Young, proclaiming his support for a Starbucks boycott, Starbucks posted a statement on its website stating that a “petition claiming that Starbucks is part of this [lawsuit against Vermont] litigation is completely false and we have asked the petitioners to correct their description of our position.”
“Completely false”? Not quite. Not only does Starbucks’ membership in the GMA support the GMA’s lawsuit against Vermont, it also supports a bill awaiting a hearing in Congress, written by the GMA, that would strip states of the right to pass mandatory GMO labeling laws.
If Starbucks wants consumers to believe that the company is not, at least indirectly, party to the GMA’s lawsuit against Vermont, Starbucks needs to quit the GMA immediately.
TAKE ACTION: Tell Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz: Stop Supporting Efforts to Kill GMO Labeling Laws. Quit the GMA!


Alliance of Cranks

Speaking at the Slow Money conference in Louisville, Ky., last week, Mary Berry shared an anecdote about her father, Wendell Berry. Mary told the story in the context of a panel discussion about advancing the organic movement in the face of great obstacles—as in, for instance, Monsanto. And federal, state and local laws that hinder, instead of help, local organic farmers.

Her father, said Mary, once remarked that that in order to keep going in discouraging times, it takes an “alliance of cranks.”

This movement to return to sustainable, organic and regenerative agriculture is a movement of hope. Hope for a healthier ecosystem. Hope for healthier communities. Hope for a generation of healthier children.

It’s also a movement that has faced more than its share of discouraging news. And powerful opponents.

Thankfully, this movement, your movement, is powered by strong, intelligent, caring, responsible, hard-working, passionate, well-intentioned and yes, sometimes complaining, citizens and consumers.

Welcome to our “alliance of cranks.” Together, we will prevail.

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)


Vote Bayer into the Corporate Hall of Shame!

It’s that time of year again. When the worst companies in the world compete for their rightful place in the Corporate Hall of Shame.
This year we’re partnering with Corporate Accountability International to hold Bayer accountable for not only manufacturing the pesticides that kill bees, but for shifting the blame.
By now, we all know that neonicotinoids are the primary culprit in Colony Collapse Disorder. We also know who stands to profit the most from selling neonics—Bayer CropScience is the world’s number one seller of neonics, with annual sales of over $1 billion.
Yet to hear Bayer tell it, the neonic-maker is the honeybee’s best friend. It’s climate change that’s killing the bees, says Bayer. Or mites. But certainly not the pesticide-maker’s poisons.
Bayer has even established the Bayer Bee Care Center in a disingenuous public relations move aimed at convincing consumers that the company is dedicated to protecting bees.
It’s all part of Bayer’s “Tobacco-Style PR tactics,” outlined in this report by the Friends of the Earth.
Bayer should be ashamed. It isn’t, of course. So it’s up to us to shame the world’s leading bee-killer.
Vote Bayer into the Corporate Hall of Shame


Meet Us in St. Louis

Want your Thanksgiving to be extra meaningful this year? Join OCA and the folks from the Reverend Billy’s Church of Stop Shopping for an Organic Thanksgiving potluck dinner on Monsanto’s front lawn.
Everyone is invited. All you need to bring is an organic dish to pass.
The child-friendly dinner starts at 1.p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 27, at Monsanto’s World Headquarters in Creve Coeur, Mo., a suburb of St. Louis. Tables will be provided, as will entertainment by a group of 30 singers from the Church of Stop Shopping.
For more information, including how to organize a group from your area to attend, contact
If you live in the Chicago area and want to carpool to St. Louis, contact Mike Durschmid.
How and Why to Cook Organic this Thanksgiving
How to buy a turkey
Where to buy organic ingredients
TAKE ACTION: Take the Cook Organic, not the Planet Pledge!
Post photos and recipes from your organic Thanksgiving


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Organic Fish May Soon Be Coming and It Is a HORRIBLE Idea
81% of Reviewed GM Crops Were Approved without Any Scientific Safety Studies, Researchers Find
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Syngenta Facing Dozens of Lawsuits over GMO Seed
Please forward this publication to family and friends, place it on web sites,
print it, duplicate it and post it freely. Knowledge is power!

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