ESSAY OF THE WEEK A Pesticide-Saturated Future?
From: Organic Consumer
The U.S. poison-making company that disingenuously rebranded itself as a “sustainable agriculture company,” is trying to acquire a Switzerland-based chemical company whose misleading tagline is “bringing plant potential to life.”
The companies in question are Monsanto and Syngenta.
And the proposed merger, though it will surely profit the Wall Street types, will only further degrade the world’s food supply while guaranteeing the non-stop flow of increasingly toxic chemicals into our environment (where they will eventually find their way into our bodies).
Why does a company like Monsanto need to gobble up a company like Syngenta? Could it be because Monsanto’s flagship product, Roundup, has been classified as a probable carcinogen, during the same year the deadly herbicide is up for review by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency? So the company needs a fast fix for expanding its product line?
Or is it just that Monsanto is trying to satisfy its greed by guaranteeing control of a third of the world’s seed supply? While evading the IRS by moving its headquarters to Switzerland?
This much is certain. A Monsanto-Syngenta merger will be bad for farmers, bad for the environment, and bad for your health.
What Say You, Costco?
Thanks to consumer pressure, more than 60 grocery retailers across the U.S., including the #1 and #2 grocers, Kroger and Safeway, have committed to either not selling GMO salmon, or to at least labeling it, if they do choose to sell it.
Conspicuously absent from that list? Costco.
The U.S Food & Drug Administration (FDA) could approve AquaBounty Technologies’ AquAdvantage GMO salmon any day now, despite the 1.8 million comments the agency has received from the public and from scientists who warn of the environmental and health risks posed by this “frankenfish.”
Once GMO salmon is approved, it will be sold in stores, with no label to distinguish it from non-GMO salmon.
Consumers can’t count on the FDA to reject AquaBounty’s “frankenfish.” And without mandatory labeling laws, we won’t be able to avoid it in stores.
So we’re asking stores to guarantee there’s no market for GMO salmon, by refusing to sell it. So far, Costco hasn’t joined the growing number of stores that have pledged to reject GMO salmon. Maybe you can help get Costco on board?
SUPPORT THE OCA & OCF
While Vermont—the only state so far whose lawmakers have had the courage to stand up to Monsanto—continues to defend its mandatory GMO labeling law in the courts, a sinister, anti-democracy, Monsanto-funded bill is slowing gathering steam in Congress.
If H.R. 1599 becomes law, Vermont’s GMO labeling law is dead. And no other state in the U.S. will be allowed to pass a mandatory GMO labeling law.
OCA is working diligently to prevent passage of H.R. 1599, or what we call the DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act. With your help, we’re organizing meetings all over the country, with key members of Congress whose votes could make or break this blatant attack on Democracy.
We’re orchestrating letter-writing campaigns. We’re enlisting the help of the nearly 600 co-sponsors of state GMO labeling bills.
We’re amplifying the voices of consumers, your voices, in an attempt to rein in Monsanto’s blatant attack on your right to know, and your right to Democracy.
Your donation today will help us sustain and expand this campaign. 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 GMO labeling legislative efforts)
Stop This Toxic Law
What do you get when you let the chemical industry write a “chemical safety” bill?
A bill that protects chemical companies, not consumers.
Almost 40 years after Congress passed the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), tens of thousands of new chemicals have been introduced, the majority of which have never been safety tested by the EPA. These chemicals, more than 80,000 of them, are in the food we eat, the clothes we wear and the homes we live in.
It’s time for reform. But unfortunately, the bill before the U.S. Senate right now—S.697—falls far short of accomplishing real reform.
That could have something to do with the fact that the chemical industry has spent $190 million lobbying for this bill. Democratic Sponsor Tom Udall’s (D-N.M.) campaign received $49,050 from the Chemical industry in the 2014 cycle, plus $23,500 from lobbyists employed by the American Chemistry Council. Republican sponsor David Vitter’s (R-La.) campaign received $20,600 in the 2014 cycle, and $14,300 from American Chemistry Council lobbyists.
We need your voice to stop this bill.
MILLIONS AGAINST MONSANTO
So There, Monsanto!
Monsanto may be able to buy our politicians, but we still have some ethical judges on our side.
The ruling followed another anti-Monsanto decision in Vermont. On April 27 (2015), Vermont scored a victory in round one of its court battle with Monsanto and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), when a district judge affirmed the constitutionality of the state’s GMO labeling law.
The Jackson County ruling means that the GMO crop ban, passed in May 2014, will take effect in June. (The ordinance allows farmers currently growing GMO crops to harvest them this season. But they have to remove all GMO crops by June 1, 2015).
In Vermont, the district judge’s ruling paves the way for the country’s first statewide mandatory GMO labeling law to take effect July 1, 2016.
These two victories were hard-fought, against Monsanto-funded odds. But they should give us all hope—and more important, inspire us to keep fighting.
VIDEO OF THE WEEK
‘Jangly Guitar Music’
How can the farmers who raise chickens for meat—the meat we eat the most—be barely making a living?
Because the four giant and wildly profitable corporations that dominate the poultry industry—Tyson, Perdue, Pilgrim’s and Sanderson Farms—have seen to it that chicken farmers own everything that costs money (the land, buildings and equipment) while the corporations own the one thing that makes money: the chickens.
Of course these corporations have lied, consistently, to farmers about the potential profitability of being “contract” farmers. Though as John Oliver points out in his video, as long as the corporations incorporate “jangly guitar music” into their propaganda videos, they can sell just about any lie, to any person.
Oliver exposes the factory farm chicken industry for what it is: greedy, and abusive—not only to the chickens, but to the farmers who, if they dare to complain, face retaliation.
A Load of Crap
Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS
Three hundred sixty-nine million tons—enough to fill the Dallas Cowboys stadium 133 times. That’s how much manure animals produced on factory farms in 2012, according to a new report by Food & Water Watch.
That’s 13 times more sewage than produced by the entire U.S. population during the same year.
It’s one big load of crap, for sure. But here’s the real kicker: Unlike sewage produced by cities, the manure on factory farms never undergoes wastewater treatment.
Where does all that untreated, antibiotic- and growth hormone-ridden waste end up? Festering in open lagoons, leaching into waterways, sprayed and spread onto open fields.
Thankfully, responsible farmers and ranchers are working on economically viable alternatives to the industrial factory farm model. And consumers are driving the creation of new models by demanding grass-fed, pasture-raised animal products.