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Progress from the Bottom Up: How Farmers, Consumers and Value Chains Put Local Foods on the Map

Organic consumers - Wed, 2019-11-20 18:22
November 20, 2019Organic Consumers AssociationAnthony FlaccaventoFarm Issues, Politics & Globalization farmer_harvest_produce_1200x630.jpg

Editor’s note: This is the first of two articles commissioned by Organic Consumers Association on what the Green New Deal could mean for the local food movement.

I’m one of those “farmers and ranchers for a Green New Deal,” and like a lot of them, my involvement started with soil.

I began market gardening in 1994, five years before my wife and I purchased the old tobacco farm where we’ve been doing organic farming ever since. Back in the mid 90’s in southwest Virginia, there was barely a hint of a “local food system,” save the occasional bartering of excess produce or the purchase of a quarter cow for freezer meat.

In that context, I started a tiny CSA—Community Supported Agriculture—with a dozen families, supplying them from my market garden. I reckon it was one of the first CSAs in central Appalachia.

Within four years, there were nearly 100 participating families and six other farmers contributing produce, eggs, honey and other staples, organized in a growers’ network we called Highlands Bio-Produce. There were two types of farmers in our network:  Amish, and back-to-the-landers.

The customers who committed to us for the 28-week season, mostly middle class folks, were also of two types: The “conscious consumer,” committed to good, healthy eating and willing to spend more time and money to get it; and the “dabbler,” folks who were willing to try something different, but as much for the novelty as out of any larger commitment.

We had, I think, a predominance of dabblers amongst our early customer base, part of the reason why turnover was quite high. I recall being scolded by one such customer whose exasperation over the lack of sweet corn in her basket came through in a phone call. That call was in the first week of June, three weeks after our spring frost date had passed. Corn plants were not even a foot tall yet.

For food consumers accustomed to ubiquitous abundance, seasonal limitations were anathema.

A great deal has changed since then.

For one, there are many more farmers producing for local markets. According to a 2016 survey by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, there are more than 167,000 farmers in the U.S. now selling at least part of their farm products through local and regional channels.

Estimates of total sales of “local foods” vary (depending upon what you consider to be “local”) but are between $8.7 billion and $12 billion, either figure representing dramatic growth over the past decade. And a sizeable portion of these farms are using ecologically sound production practices: Over $6 billion of organic food sales in 2016 were through local markets.

Organic food sales in the U.S. now exceed $50 billion annually.

While produce continues to be the “front line” of local foods, in many parts of the country it is only part of what’s being offered through farmers markets, CSAs and other local food channels.  Eggs, a wide range of healthy, pasture-raised meats, and bit by bit, even dairy have crept into local food markets. This is making it possible—even easy in some places—for shoppers to “make the market their supermarket” as we’ve begun to say in Abingdon.

The development of local foods infrastructure, almost from scratch, represents a second critical change from the early years of earth momma customers traveling to “their farmer” to pick up the week’s groceries. Though still far less commonplace than supermarkets and fast food, local, sustainably raised food is far more widely and conveniently available than 20years ago. The number of farmers markets has increased nearly fourfold, from 1,750 in the mid-nineties to over 8500 today.

Food hubs, which aggregate, pack and ship local farm products, now number several hundred across the country, making it easier for independent grocers, restaurants, schools and hospitals, and even some supermarkets to carry local food.

And though still sorely inadequate to the needs, local food processing facilities, from abattoirs to shared-use commercial kitchens have begun to make it easier for small- to mid-size farmers to add value to their products and reach more customers.

The third significant change is among eaters, the consuming public.

For one thing, there are many more American consumers seeking out local food, not only at markets, but in restaurants and at the schools where they, or their children attend. A 2017 Gallup Poll found that nearly three-fourths of people stated they purchase local food, while one in five Americans indicated they eat local food twice per week, according to Statista.

While I’m skeptical of these numbers, having experienced first-hand the profound challenge of changing people’s shopping and eating habits, there is no doubt that tens of millions of Americans now consider where their food comes from, how it was raised and where they can get it. 

Local foods, along with organic and sustainably produced foods, have demonstrated that the market can drive change towards health and ecological sustainability. However, it’s equally clear that the pace of this change is too incremental to seriously impact climate change or foster broadly based—and desperately needed—economic revitalization in rural communities.

For that, we need major investment, along with policy changes that will support sustainable farming and regional food systems, while breaking the stranglehold of Big Ag monopolies that undermine farmers, rural communities and the ecosystem. 

What kind of policy do we need and how can a Green New Deal make that happen?

While that will be the focus of the second article in this series, part of the strategy for policy change must come from the bottom up, building on the successes of the organic and local foods movements. That success includes tens of millions of everyday Americans, including people of limited means, who now shop for local and sustainable foods.

Yet precious few of them are engaged in the bigger questions of policy and public priorities. They’re sustainable food consumers, but most are not sustainable food citizens.

I believe that a portion of them can be mobilized to be advocates for a more just and sustainable food system, one reflective of their social and ecological values.

Given the choice after all, how many people who routinely support sustainable farmers with their food dollars really want to support Monsanto and Tyson with their tax dollars? That’s an absurd contradiction, one that we can change only if we build a broad base of well-informed and well-equipped food citizens.

And that’s where the second piece in this series will begin.

Anthony Flaccavento is an organic farmer, rural development consultant and author from Abingdon, Virginia in the heart of Appalachia. To keep up with Organic Consumers Association (OCA) news and alerts, sign up for our newsletter.

NEW YORK: Tell Gov. Cuomo to Sign the Ban Chlorpyrifos Bill!

Organic consumers - Wed, 2019-11-20 17:24
November 20, 2019Organic Consumers AssociationAlexis Baden-MayerGenetic Engineering farm_spray_blue_tractor_1200x630.jpg

Want to get chlorpyrifos—DowDuPont’s brain-damaging pesticide—out of New York, for good?
 
Tell Governor Cuomo to sign the bill!
 
TAKE ACTION TODAY: Urge Governor Cuomo to sign S. 5343, which would make New York the second state to ban the neurotoxic pesticide chlorpyrifos!

After you use the form to send a message to Governor Cuomo, please call him at 1-518-474-8390. 

If you can, please also attend the rally from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Thursday, November 21 outside the Governor’s New York City office at 633 3rd Ave, New York, New York 10017 (RSVP here).

Chlorpyrifos harms children, is linked to bee decline and poisons the environment. The science is clear: New York’s legislature did the right thing by banning this pesticide.

However, Governor Cuomo still hasn’t signed the bill. Rumors are swirling that he’s going to veto this ban if we don’t make enough noise.

TAKE ACTION TODAY: Urge Governor Cuomo to sign S. 5343, which would make New York the second state to ban the neurotoxic pesticide chlorpyrifos!

Chlorpyrifos is extremely toxic. It has been linked to neurodevelopmental impacts in children—such as ADHD, autism spectrum disorder and lower IQ. 

It’s also horrible for wildlife. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found that chlorpyrifos threatens almost 1,400 endangered and threatened species. 

And chlorpyrifos is the second-most toxic pesticide to bees, which are dying at alarming rates.

New York Attorney General Letitia James is suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over its decision to ignore its own scientists and not ban chlorpyrifos, but that process could take years. 

California, the largest agricultural state, just announced it will ban chlorpyrifos by 2021. Hawaii has already passed a similar law. If Governor Cuomo wants to be a leader, he needs to sign New York’s ban immediately!  

This bill passed the legislature with overwhelming support because people like you called their legislators and demanded they protect people, not pesticide industry profits. 

We know Gov. Cuomo is hearing from the pesticide industry. Big Ag lobbyists aren’t slowing down and neither can we. 

TAKE ACTION TODAY: Urge Governor Cuomo to sign S. 5343, which would make New York the second state to ban the neurotoxic pesticide chlorpyrifos!

What It Takes to Be Carbon Neutral — For a Family, a City, a Country

Organic consumers - Wed, 2019-11-20 07:00
Politics & GlobalizationMichael BirnbaumWashington PostNovember 19, 2019https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-solutions/2019/11/19/what-it-takes-be-carbon-neutral-family-city-country/?arc404=true windfarm_1200x630.jpg

COPENHAGEN — Louise Purup Nohr’s morning routine is like something out of a sustainable future.

When she hustles her kids into the bathroom, what flushes down the toilet will later turn into the natural gas that warms breakfast on the stove. The eggs come from the chickens in the backyard. The coffee machine’s gurgling is powered by electricity generated from the wind. The water that washes the dishes is heated by sustainable sawdust pellets. The recycling gets shunted in eight directions, so that little ends up in the dump. And the commute — first to school, then to work — is on a cargo bike that bumps across Copenhagen’s extensive bike-lane network.

Amid mounting global concern about climate change, Denmark has turned into a buzzing hive of green experimentation, with efforts underway inside homes, across cities and on a national scale.

Tell Amazon: Stop Selling Fake CBD Oil!

Organic consumers - Tue, 2019-11-19 18:44
Belong to campaign: The Myth of NaturalCategory: Food Safety, Health IssuesArea: USA

Consumer alert: Before you pay $200 an ounce for what you think is a premium, phytocannabinoid-rich hemp extract, be aware that Amazon.com doesn’t actually sell CBD. 

Ever search for “CBD” on Amazon.com? If you’ve bought any of the products that come up, including the site’s “Best Seller,” it’s likely you’ve been fleeced.

According to Amazon.com’s drug and paraphernalia policy, “Items containing CBD/cannabinoid or full spectrum hemp oil, including topical products, are prohibited from listing or sale on Amazon.”

And yet, when you search “CBD” on Amazon.com, this policy doesn’t come up—but dozens of products do.

TAKE ACTION! Tell Amazon to stop selling fake CBD!Read more

Tell Amazon.com to Stop Selling Fake CBD!

Organic consumers - Tue, 2019-11-19 17:24
November 19, 2019Organic Consumers AssociationAlexis Baden-MayerFood Safety, Health Issues cbd_cannabidiol_oil_1200x630.jpg

Consumer alert: Before you pay $200 an ounce for what you think is a premium, phytocannabinoid-rich hemp extract, be aware that Amazon.com doesn’t actually sell CBD. 

TAKE ACTION! Tell Amazon to stop selling fake CBD!

Ever search for “CBD” on Amazon.com? If you’ve bought any of the products that come up, including the site’s “Best Seller,” it’s likely you’ve been fleeced.

According to Amazon.com’s drug and paraphernalia policy, “Items containing CBD/cannabinoid or full spectrum hemp oil, including topical products, are prohibited from listing or sale on Amazon.”

And yet, when you search “CBD” on Amazon.com, this policy doesn’t come up—but dozens of products do.

When the Organic & Natural Health Association tested the Amazon.com products associated with the search term “CBD,” only one contained CBD.

That one product contained 7.7 mg of CBD per 30 drops, far less than the “New Age Premium Hemp Oil 1000 MG” promised—but a lot more than you would expect, given Amazon.com’s CBD prohibition.

The temptation to trick people into buying $200 bottles of vegetable oil must be too much for Jeff Bezos (search “CBD” on Amazon.com and then filter by price from high to low to see the most expensive products). Bezos just can’t let that 15 percent commission go.

This fraud must stop!

TAKE ACTION! Tell Amazon.com to stop selling fake CBD!

Should You Eat Breakfast Before You Exercise?

Organic consumers - Fri, 2019-11-15 17:50
Dr. Joseph MercolaMercola.comNovember 15, 2019https://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2019/11/15/exercising-in-a-fasted-state.aspx breakfastfasting1200x630.jpg

If you’re in the habit of eating breakfast before exercising in the morning, you may want to reconsider the order in which you start your day as there are significant benefits to exercising in a fasted state.

A common belief is that you need to eat breakfast to optimize exercise performance. While there’s evidence to support this stance,1 other evidence suggests you can reap important health benefits by exercising in a fasted state.

Fasted Exercise Curbs Food Intake and Improves Cognition

Research2,3 published in the August 2019 issue of The Journal of Nutrition found that skipping breakfast before exercise helps curb food intake for the remainder of the day, resulting in an overall energy deficit — in this case averaging 400 calories per day.

Earlier research,4 published in 2015, found that women who skipped breakfast and worked out on an empty stomach had better working memory in the midafternoon and reported less mental fatigue and tension later in the day than those who ate breakfast (in this case a cereal-based meal) before exercising.

Fasted Exercise Boosts Fat Loss

Fasted exercise has also been shown to be particularly helpful for fat loss — it essentially forces your body to shed fat. The reason for this is because your body's fat burning processes are controlled by your sympathetic nervous system (SNS), and your SNS is activated by exercise and lack of food.

The combination of fasting and exercising maximizes the impact of cellular factors and catalysts (cyclic AMP and AMP kinases) that force the breakdown of fat and glycogen for energy. A 2012 study5 confirmed that aerobic training in a fasted state lowered both total body weight and body fat percentage, while exercising in a fed state decreased body weight only.

Citing Deep Commitment to Medicare for All and Green New Deal, Nation's Largest Nurses Union Endorses Bernie Sanders for President

Organic consumers - Wed, 2019-11-13 20:00
Politics & GlobalizationJake JohnsonCommon DreamsNovember 12, 2019https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/11/12/citing-deep-commitment-medicare-all-and-green-new-deal-nations-largest-nurses-union bernie-sanders-cc-1200x630.jpg

Pointing to his tireless advocacy on behalf of Medicare for All, his bold proposals to combat the climate crisis, and his commitment to "putting people above profits," National Nurses United—the largest union of registered nurses in the U.S.—announced Tuesday morning that it is endorsing Sen. Bernie Sanders in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary.

"National Nurses United has endorsed Bernie Sanders because we need a president who will unite all workers to fight for social, economic, racial and gender justice, and who will champion bold ideas on workplace democracy, Medicare for All, and climate change," tweeted NNU executive director Bonnie Castillo, RN.

.@NationalNurses has endorsed @BernieSanders because we need a president who will unite all workers to fight for social, economic, racial and gender justice, and who will champion bold ideas on workplace democracy, #MedicareforAll, and climate change. #nursesforbernie pic.twitter.com/Vo5G0UFFXD

— Bonnie Castillo (@NNUBonnie) November 12, 2019

NNU, which also endorsed Sanders in the 2016 presidential race, boasts over 150,000 members nationwide and has been a driving force in the grassroots push to build support for Medicare for All across the United States.

"We are so proud that together, in 2016, Bernie Sanders and NNU elevated Medicare for All to the national mainstream, where it has advanced to a top 2020 presidential race issue," Castillo said in a statement. "Nurses are beyond tired of watching our patients suffer and die needlessly, simply due to inability to pay, and we know Bernie Sanders is, and has been, leading on Medicare for All through his advocacy and Senate legislation."

Jean Ross, president of NNU, said that "for nurses, our solidarity is a matter of life or death for our patients."

"We need a president who makes it easier for us to stand together and hold our employers accountable," Ross added. "Bernie Sanders is leading all the candidates on labor, with his Workplace Democracy Act and as a cosponsor of the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act."

NNU said it will officially endorse Sanders at a press conference on Friday, November 15.

"Nurses are the backbone of American healthcare," Sanders tweeted in response to the endorsement Tuesday. "I want to thank National Nurses United for not only the strong support of our campaign—but for the courage they have shown in helping to lead the effort for a Medicare for All program."

"Together," Sanders added, "we will make healthcare a right."

Posted with permission from Common Dreams.

May The Fork Be With You

Organic consumers - Wed, 2019-11-13 17:19
November 13, 2019Organic Consumers AssociationDave ChapmanEnvironment & Climate, Farm Issues chapman-article-image_1200x630.jpg

Sir Albert Howard made a radical observation. When farmers returned all the agricultural wastes to their fields and grew cover crops to maintain the organic matter in the soil, the crops were healthier.

As Howard observed even more carefully, he saw that the animals that ate those crops were also healthier. And in his final burst of clarity, he saw that the people eating those crops and those animals were also healthier.

Howard recorded these observations in books such as “Soil And Health,” which became the foundational thinking of the organic farming movement. These books were an amazing achievement coming from a man who was sent to India by the government to teach the Indians how to farm in the “modern” way.

“Modern” meant replacing biological cycling of organic matter with one-way synthetic inputs of fertilizers, insecticides and fungicides.

This one-way street is now called “conventional” farming.

A soil scientist friend of mine has marveled at how almost all of Howard’s conclusions have been supported by the discoveries of science in the last 80 years. We now have a much better explanation of why organic farming works in the field, and why it provides us with much-improved health.

The one great addition to Howard’s thinking is the realization that organic farming is also very important in providing climate health. As modern agriculture destroys our health and climate, real organic farming is looking better and better.

We don’t need to be biologists to understand the benefits of organic farming, but it helps. Recent discoveries in the human microbiome have shown strong similarities and connections with the soil microbiome. We have now learned that only 1 percent of the DNA found in our body is human. We barely understand the role of the other 99 percent—but we damage it at our peril.

According to Christopher Lowry, professor of integrated physiology at the University of Colorado Boulder and senior author of a study showing that a specific strain of bacteria found in soil can help protect people against stress:

“This is just one strain of one species of one type of bacterium that is found in the soil but there are millions of other strains in soils. We are just beginning to see the tip of the iceberg in terms of identifying the mechanisms through which they have evolved to keep us healthy. It should inspire awe in all of us.”

In a single healthy person, we can now identify over 1000 different species of gut bacteria, plus well over 1000 other species in the mouth, on the skin and in the urogenital tract. And that’s not counting the viruses, fungi and parasites that make up our microbiome.

We are learning that we are not an organism, but rather an ecosystem, part of larger ecosystems.

The techniques of the Agricultural Industrial Complex have proven to be powerful. We have learned how to produce high calories at a low cost. Except . . . perhaps the cost isn’t so low.

The unintended consequences of this system of food production are yet to be dealt with. First and most obviously, our release of huge reserves of carbon from the earth into the air from burning fossil fuels is proving to be catastrophic. Add to that the release of large amounts of carbon from the soil as a result of industrial agriculture, and we see a planet with rapidly expanding deserts and a climate that is swinging wildly.

It is the carbon in the soil organic matter that is being lost. It is this same organic matter that transforms a dead sand into a living soil.

On a less obvious level, our health is compromised by our inadequate diets. Even if we avoid the perils of junk food, a diet chosen from the whole foods on the edges of the store is proving to be problematic.

We now face epidemics of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). These include cancer, heart disease, allergies, obesity and even mood disorders such as depression and anxiety.

As we have defeated so many communicable diseases, we are instead faced with a tidal wave of NCDs. Part of this new epidemic is a result of our widespread use of antibiotics, but certainly some of it is due to our nutritional deficiencies.

We have evolved to thrive on a diet rich in antioxidants and polyphenols. We are not getting that diet from industrial agriculture.

Conventional agriculture is not conventional. We are part of a grand experiment on changing the way our food is grown. Unfortunately, we are the lab rats.

For the first time in history, humans are eating food grown without the benefit of a healthy soil microbiome. The health consequences are likely to be very serious. Any volunteers to participate in this experiment? It is hard to avoid volunteering.

Our society is driven by cheap food, and perhaps we just can’t afford that. There are also social aspects of cheap food. As Micahel Pollan has said:

“Food is not ‘cheap.’ It’s dishonestly priced because it assumes undocumented workers being exploited, and it assumes animal abuse.”

Our cheap food is part of an economic system with definite losers. There really is no such thing as a free lunch.

Industrial ag has chosen yield over taste, and shelf life over nourishment. As a result, our basic foodstuffs have consistently dropped in nutritional density and diversity over the last 60 years.

This fact was emphasized by years of published research by Dr. Don Davis, building on the research of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Basic foods like tomatoes, berries, apples, cauliflower and chicken are much less nutritious now than they were for our grandparents. They are significantly lower in basic nutrients and micronutrients, not to mention the 40,000 known secondary plant compounds that we are learning are so critical to our health.

The result is a craving that we can’t quite identify, and can’t quite satisfy. We have an itch that we can’t quite scratch. As our body seeks to nourish itself, we’re often looking for love in all the wrong places.

We are eating the cheapest food, as a percentage of annual income, in the history of the world. The World Bank has put average household expenditures on food at 6 percent for America. NPR lists it at 10 percent. In 1960, Americans spent on average 17.5 percent of their income on food. The World Bank says that today, the French spend on average of 14 percent of their household income on food.

Isn’t it wonderful that we now have so much more money to spend on other things!

But at the same time, the U.S. has the highest healthcare costs in the world. Over the last 40 years, the cost of our food has steadily declined while the cost of our healthcare has steadily increased.

But surely that extra money spent has led to a longer, healthier life? No, it hasn’t. 

In 2016, the U.S. ranked 43rd in the world for life expectancy (with an average lifespan of 78.7 years), well below those countries like France and Japan where food costs more and healthcare costs less. We are expected to plummet to 64th in the lifespan race by 2040.

What is going wrong? Where did we take a wrong turn?

Organic agriculture is the best hope for our country and the world. Organic farming is based on feeding the life in the soil rather than just giving the plant an IV of plant-available fertilizers. One problem with the IV solution is that it assumes that we know what a plant really needs. We do not.

The beauty of organic farming is that it relies on a partnership between the farmer and the billions of diverse microbes in the soil to provide the plants with real health. We don’t need to fully understand everything that is happening, although it is wonderful when we learn more. We can rely on hundreds of millions of years of co-evolution for the plants and soil to find their way to true health.

And we co-evolved with that same system, so we are hardwired to get our best nutrition when the soil system is working well. As Albert Howard said, healthy soil equals healthy plants, equals healthy animals, equals healthy people.

To which I would add: equals healthy climate.

As a grim conclusion to this article, I must note that organic agriculture is having its own struggles. As people have responded to their growing unease with the food they are offered in the store by turning to organic, some large corporate entities have decided that it is more profitable to change the meaning of organic than it is to change how they are producing the food.

This has resulted in years of conflict as the organic community struggles to keep organic real. Most organic farmers in America are real organic. But some of what is sold on the store shelves as certified organic is, at best, “Sort Of Organic.”

The two great failures are CAFOS and hydros. CAFOs are Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, which is a long term for confinement factory farming for animals. These practices are prohibited in the organic standards, and yet they continue on a massive scale.

The other significant fraud is the certification of soilless hydroponic fruits and vegetables. Right now many berries and tomatoes sold as organic in America are actually grown in pots of coconut husks with fertilizers fed to the plants much like an IV tube. Again, this is prohibited in the original law that created the National Organic Program, and again, it is being ignored by the USDA.

These failures have led to the creation of add-on labels for organic certification. One such label is the Real Organic Project, which works to unite real organic farmers with eaters who care.

When it comes to food, it’s always best to grow your own. Failing that, it is best to Know Your Farmer. Failing that, seek out a label like Real Organic Project that you can trust. 

For more information, visit realorganicproject.org. To join in a more in-depth discussion and celebration, attend the Real Organic Project Symposium at Dartmouth College, April 3 - 4, 2020.

Dave Chapman is executive director of the Real Organic Project and owner of Long Wind Farm in Thetford, Vermont. This article is reposted here with permission from Health Science magazine, where the article originally appeared. Photo is courtesy of Footprint Farm.

Cancer Taking Toll As New Roundup Trials Near

Organic consumers - Wed, 2019-11-13 16:48
November 13, 2019U.S. Right to KnowCarey GillamGenetic Engineering courtru_1200x630.png

For the last five years, Chris Stevick has helped his wife Elaine in her battle against a vicious type of cancer that the couple believes was caused by Elaine’s repeated use of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide around a California property the couple owned. Now the roles are reversed as Elaine must help Chris face his own cancer.

Chris Stevick, who often mixed Roundup for his wife and tested the sprayer used to dispense the weed killer, was diagnosed last month with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Unlike Elaine’s aggressive type of NHL known as central nervous system lymphoma, Chris’s cancer is a type that tends to grow slowly. He was diagnosed after a physical examination showed abnormalities in his blood and prompted further tests.

The diagnosis has prompted a scramble among lawyers involved in the sprawling Roundup products liability litigation given that the Stevick’s lawsuit against Monsanto is set as the next federal case to go to trial.

With the trial date of Feb. 24, 2020 looming, Elaine Stevick’s lawyers asked Monsanto’s attorneys if the company would agree that Chris Stevick’s cancer claims could be joined with his wife’s for the February trial in San Francisco. The attorneys argue that at the very least Chris Stevick’s diagnosis is admissible evidence at his wife’s trial as additional proof of their claim that Roundup exposure can cause non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Monsanto’s attorneys oppose the joining of the claims and say that Elaine Stevick’s trial should only proceed in February if there is no mention made of her husband’s cancer. Alternatively, Monsanto requests that the February trial be delayed and the company be given time to do discovery into Chris Stevick’s diagnosis.

The issue is to be discussed in a case management conference Thursday, which the Stevicks plan to attend. U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria said ahead of the hearing that he is “tentatively of the view” that a continuance of the trial will be necessary if the couple wants to try their claims together. He also said that if Elaine Stevick proceeds on her exposure claims alone, evidence of her husband’s cancer diagnosis “will likely be inadmissible….”

If the judge confirms that joining the claims would indeed require a continuance, Elaine Stevick will choose to proceed on her own in February, said attorney Mike Miller.

Earlier this year another husband and wife suffering from cancer, Alva and Alberta Pilliod, were awarded more than $2 billion in damages in their lawsuit against Monsanto, though the judge in the case lowered the damage award to $87 million. The Pilliod trial was the third Roundup products liability trial to take place and the third in which juries found that Monsanto’s Roundup herbicides cause non-Hodgkin lymphoma and that the company has hidden the risks from consumers. Alberta Pilliod’s cancer has recently returned and it is not clear she will survive much longer, according to her attorneys.

None of the people so far awarded money in the three trials have received any payout from Monsanto as its owner Bayer AG appeals the verdicts.

There are currently more than 42,000 people suing Monsanto in the United States, alleging that Monsanto’s herbicides cause non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The lawsuits additionally allege that the company was well aware of the dangers but did nothing to warn consumers, working instead to manipulate the scientific record.

The Stevick trial is only one of at least six in five different venues slated for January and February, with each expected to last several weeks. Many lawyers are involved in more than one of the cases, and all have overlapping expert witnesses, setting up organizational and resource challenges for both sides. Multiple trials that had been set for this fall were delayed until next year.

In the meantime, both sides of the litigation are keeping an eye on the California Appellate Court, where lawyers for plaintiff Dewayne “Lee” Johnson and lawyers for Monsanto are awaiting a date for oral arguments in their cross appeals. Monsanto is seeking to overturn the unanimous jury decision handed down against the company in August 2018. The trial judge in that case lowered the jury award from $289 million to $78 million and Johnson is appealing for the reinstatement of the full $289 million.

Johnson was the first to go to trial against Monsanto and his victory sent share prices in Bayer plummeting just two months after Bayer closed the purchase of Monsanto in June 2018. Johnson was  granted “trial preference” due to predictions by his doctors that he did not have long to live. Johnson has outlived those predictions, though his health continues to decline.

As the litigation drags on, several plaintiffs have died or are nearing death, or have suffered such extreme health problems that their ability to undergo the rigors of depositions and trials has become limited.

In some cases, family members are being substituted as plaintiffs for deceased loved ones. In legal parlance, the notices to the courts are titled “Suggestion of Death.”

Posted with permission from U.S. Right to Know.

Tell Congress to Stop the Labeling Fraud! Support the U.S. Beef Integrity Act!

Organic consumers - Tue, 2019-11-12 21:08
Belong to campaign: Save Organic StandardsThe Myth of NaturalCategory: All About Organics, Farm IssuesArea: USA

Most grass-fed beef labeled “Product of U.S.A.” is actually imported from overseas.

But you wouldn't know that, thanks to a U.S. Department of Agriculture labeling policy.

It’s time to change that policy—for the sake of both consumers and U.S. producers of grass-fed and grass-finished beef.

TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress to Stop the Labeling Fraud! Support the U.S. Beef Integrity Act!Read more

This Label Defrauds Consumers. Tell Congress to Change It!

Organic consumers - Tue, 2019-11-12 19:50
November 12, 2019Organic Consumers AssociationAlexis Baden-MayerAll About Organics article-image-cows.png

When you see a “Product of U.S.A.” label on a package of meat you should be able to assume that the meat you’re looking at came from an animal raised and processed here in the U.S.

But chances are, the meat or some portion of it was actually imported from another country.

TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress to stop the labeling fraud! Support the U.S. Beef Integrity Act!

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Services Agency allows the use of the “Product of U.S.A.” label on any beef as long as the meat passed through a U.S.-based inspection plant, and/or was blended with meat from animals that were born and raised in the U.S.

This policy defrauds consumers who are committed to supporting local producers, and who assume the label means what it says.

The policy also hurts U.S. ranchers, especially those who produce grass-fed and grass-finished beef from cattle born, raised and processed in the U.S. 

Why? Because U.S. producers can’t differentiate their product in the grocery store from imported beef. 

Sales of grass-fed meat are nearly doubling annually. But about 80 percent of the grass-fed beef market is supplied by imports, compared with the total beef market where imports make up only 9 percent.

Because those imports often carry a “Product of U.S.A.” label just because they passed through a U.S. processing plant, U.S. grass-fed and grass-finished beef producers are hit hardest by this policy.

More than ever, consumers want to know how our food was produced and where it came from.

The U.S. Beef Integrity Act aims to give consumers what they want—honest labels. It would also level the playing field for U.S. grass-fed and grass-finished beef producers, whose practices are better for consumer health, and better for the environment.

TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress to stop the labeling fraud! Support the U.S. Beef Integrity Act!

Shocking Proof How Google Censors Health News

Organic consumers - Fri, 2019-11-08 18:58
Fair Trade & Social Justice, Politics & GlobalizationDr. Joseph MercolaMercola.comNovember 8, 2019https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2019/11/08/google-censorship-buries-mercola.aspx google-3_1200x630.png

June 3, 2019, Google implemented a broad “core update”1 that in one fell swoop eliminated most Mercola.com pages from its search results. Virtually overnight, Google traffic to my site dropped by approximately 99.9%.

Considering Mercola.com has been the most visited natural health site for the last 16 years, it’s no great surprise that we were listed as one of the biggest losers in Google’s June algorithm update.2

I wrote about the ramifications of Google’s core update in two articles at the end of June 2019. In Part 1, I discussed the effects that the new search algorithm and updated quality rater guidelines is having on traffic to this site.

As mentioned in that article, Google’s “quality raters” are manually lowering the ranking of what they arbitrarily decide is undesirable content and burying even expert views if they think they’re “harmful” to the public.

In Part 2, I revealed how Wikipedia censors information and crafts narratives to benefit certain groups, and how Google raters use Wikipedia’s skewed and biased articles to ascertain the expertise and trustworthiness of any given author or website.

Today's videos and article will show you just how clearly and deliberately Google has eliminated my articles from its search results.

After more than 15 years of being considered a highly relevant source of content, Google has removed all those high-ranked results, and replaced them with health information from advertising companies that promote junk food and drugs instead. Below, I’ll provide clear examples of how this works.

For many years now, I’ve been warning about how Google’s monopoly presents a clear danger to the free-flow of information, and health information in particular, seeing how holistic health is a direct threat to the drug industry. The fact that Google would eventually grow big enough to dictate what people see and don’t see was predictable, and we’ve now entered the era of blatant internet censorship.

How Google Censors High-Ranked Health Content

A major reason for my success as a physician running my own practice was the ability to resolve extremely challenging cases of arthritis. One of my articles describing my arthritis treatment protocol generated over 1 million views, and was consistently a top search result when doing a Google search for arthritis.

Today, even if you use my name in a search for arthritis, you will not find that highest-ranked article. What you find instead is an article copied from my website — without permission — by a Croatian website operated by Zdravko Mauko, followed by a few articles about arthritis from my pet site, followed by a short piece about arthritis that I contributed to Creations Magazine.

The top search result for “Mercola arthritis” is a tiny, insignificant site that in no way, shape or form could possibly compete with Mercola.com. When you compare the ranking of our sites on Alexa, you find my site (as of October 8, 2019) ranks 9,002 in global internet engagement over the past 90 days.3

And that’s despite having been buried by Google since early June, as two years ago our overall Alexa ranking was 3,708. Compare this to our-arthritis.com, which has a ranking of 9,401,920.4 The first screen shot below is Alexa’s ranking for Mercola.com on October 8, 2019. The second screen shot is Alexa’s ranking for our-arthritis.com on that same day.

Another signal of trust and popularity is based on the number of sites linking in, or the number of sites that reference your own site. There are more than 11,000 sites linking to Mercola.com, and only 2 linking to our-arthritis.com. This is another example of Google's purposeful censorship.

Despite the fact that our-arthritis.com plagiarized my entire article without permission, and have no credibility in terms of website engagement or ranking, it “owns” the search terms “Mercola arthritis” — above my own site!

Censorship Strategy No. 2 — Content Mix-Up

Giving precedence to a site with a relevance ranking that is 1,000 times lower than my own would be bad enough, but it doesn’t end there. Even if you try to use a restricted search, which allows you to search for results within a specific website, Google has you barking up the wrong tree.

When doing a restricted search for “Mercola.com arthritis,” or “site: Mercola.com arthritis,” which theoretically should provide you with links to the most popular articles about arthritis within my site only, Google provides the top search results for arthritis on our veterinary website!

The entire first page of search results; 10 of 12 of the search results on Page 2; and 6 of 10 results on Page 3 direct you to our Healthy Pets website. How is that for relevance? Google has really outdone itself in “helping” users find relevant information, hasn’t it?

Trump's Reckless Push to Drill in the Arctic is Meeting Fierce Opposition

Organic consumers - Wed, 2019-11-06 20:39
Environment & Climate, Politics & GlobalizationAdam KoltonNation of ChangeNovember 5, 2019https://www.nationofchange.org/2019/11/05/trumps-reckless-push-to-drill-in-the-arctic-is-meeting-fierce-opposition/ polar_bear_cubs_snow_arctic_1200x630.jpg

The Arctic Refuge is one of the U.S.’s last wild places, and the coastal plain is its biological heart.

Representatives for the Gwich’in people have traveled repeatedly to Washington, D.C., to make their case directly to lawmakers. They have advocated for Arctic Refuge protections to the banks and investors that could potentially fund coastal plain development. And they have gone to the headquarters of companies primed to begin the process of seismic exploration to deliver their message in person.

The Trump administration sees none of this. It is rushing forward to force oil drilling on the Arctic Refuge’s coastal plain, willfully undercutting our nation’s bedrock environmental laws and disregarding science and the best practices for protecting the land, wildlife and the human rights of the Gwich’in people.

Fortunately, the fight is far from over.

Trees Are Healing Our Planet

Organic consumers - Wed, 2019-11-06 19:30
Environment & ClimateMitch AndersonReasons to Be CheerfulNovember 6, 2019https://reasonstobecheerful.world/trees-are-healing-the-planet/ forest-trees-cc-1200x630.jpg

A recent study found that new forests might be our best shot at saving the world. A global guide to doing it right.

It’s not often these days that there is good news about climate change. So when a recent study suggested that establishing a trillion new trees around the world could turn back the climate clock to the 1970’s, it landed like a bombshell in the scientific community. Researchers analyzing satellite data calculated about 2.2 billion acres of available land around the world that could be converted into forest cover, capturing 205 gigatonnes of CO2. This could bring down atmospheric levels by twenty five percent.

Prof. Thomas Crowther who co-authored the research said, “We all knew that restoring forests could play a part in tackling climate change, but we didn’t really know how big the impact would be. Our study shows clearly that forest restoration is the best climate change solution available today.”

Impossible Burger, So Many Reasons Not to Eat It

Organic consumers - Wed, 2019-11-06 16:59
Food Safety, Genetic EngineeringCarol GrieveFood Integrity NowNovember 6, 2019https://foodintegritynow.org/2019/11/06/impossible-burger-so-many-reasons-not-to-eat-it/ cheeseburger_slice_vegetables_food_1200x630.jpg

People are still asking me about the Impossible Burger. I tell them there are so many reasons not to eat it. Let’s discuss some of them.

Earlier this year, the manufacturers of the controversial veggie burger just announced that in the future, due to “high demand” for the product, its plant-based patties will be made using GMO soy.

The formula change was made to ensure the smooth rollout of the Impossible Burger in Burger King restaurants. The soy formulation is apparently better able to withstand Burger King’s trademark flame grilling. As a result, in early in 2019, Impossible Foods dumped the textured wheat protein it had been using and replaced it with soy protein concentrate instead.

Pat Brown, founder and CEO of Impossible Foods, publicly defended the move. But a closer look reveals that Brown’s claims about the healthfulness and sustainability of “Impossible Burger 2.0” just don’t stack up.

Factory Farmed Turkeys—Nothing to be Thankful For

Organic consumers - Wed, 2019-11-06 16:48
November 6, 2019Organic Consumers AssociationPat ThomasEnvironment & Climate, CAFOs vs. Free Range, Food Safety turkey_farm_1200x630.jpg

Thanksgiving dinner means only one thing for millions of us: turkey. Of the 100 million turkeys on farms around the U.S., 46 million of them will be eaten on Thanksgiving Day. Americans will consume another 22 million turkeys over the Christmas holidays, according to the National Turkey Federation.

When turkeys arrive at our supermarkets, plucked and cleaned, there’s nothing to alert us to the conditions endured by most of the birds that eventually land on our holiday tables. But the vast majority of the turkeys sold during the holidays come from industrial factory farms, where as many as 25,000 birds—pumped full of antibiotics and GMO corn—are crammed into a single barn.

So at a time of year when we are supposed to be thankful for the good things in life, spare a thought for that factory-farmed bird whose life is definitely nothing to be thankful for.

We’re number one!

Producing 7.5 billion pounds of turkey meat each year, the U.S. is the world’s largest producer and exporter of turkey products. Top producing states include Minnesota, North Carolina, Arkansas, Indiana and Missouri.

Turkey production used to be seasonal, but today’s producers can raise birds year-round in huge industrial barns.

As consumers have become interested in healthier low-fat meats, turkey in the form of ground turkey, turkey breasts and deli meats, has become a meat for all seasons. Americans now eat just over 16 pounds of turkey per person each year.

But being the No. 1 producer of cheap industrial farmed turkey means we are also number one when it comes to causing suffering and cruelty, and perpetuating a whole host of unsustainable practices that ultimately make all our lives worse. (Organic Consumers sued Tyson earlier this year for making misleading claims of “humane treatment” and “environmental stewardship” about the brand’s chicken products. Some Tyson-owned Hillshire Farms brand turkey products claim on the package to be “all natural”).

Around 85-90 percent of the turkey we eat comes from industrial factory farms. The birds are raised in overcrowded, noisy, dirty environments with little or no access to outdoors and no ability to express natural behavior.

Intensively reared turkeys can be subjected to beak-trimming—a traumatic procedure, performed without anesthetic (used to ‘fix’ the tendency towards aggression and reduce injuries and cannibalism, which arise in birds kept in unnatural and crowded conditions). Beak-trimming is painful, damages tissue and nerves, and renders the bird unable to naturally explore and “sense” the world around it through its beak.

Turkeys are also victims of historical genetic manipulation. The turkey of the past was a much smaller bird than the one we eat today. Today’s bird is bred for fast growth and a higher proportion of breast meat. Selective breeding for rapid weight-gain, along with the use of high-nutrient feed, means that conventional turkeys are too heavy to support their own weight. This can lead to lameness, painful leg/hip-joint inflammation and infections.

Their large size and broad breasts mean male breeding turkeys (stags) are unable to mate naturally without risking injury to the female. As a result, artificial insemination has become routine. This procedure involves ‘milking’ the males for semen, and then catching and inseminating the females (hens) by tube/syringe.

It’s a short, miserable life. A bird that could live up to 12 years in the wild is routinely slaughtered at anywhere between 9 and 24 weeks.

Paying the price

“Thanks” to industrial farming, the price consumers pay at the grocery store for industrially produced turkey has consistently gone down over the last decade. On the surface, that sounds like a boon for consumers.

But the supermarket price tag doesn’t reflect the real costs associated with the production of factory farmed turkeys—including the cost of cleaning up environmental pollution and the health costs associated with consuming contaminated poultry.

Cheap turkey also comes at a big cost to the farmers that are under contract with companies like Cargill and Tyson to raise the birds before slaughter. Contract farmers, who account for about 69 percent of industrial turkey production,  are finding it increasingly hard to make ends meet, thanks to the industry’s “vertically integrated” business model.

Under this model, the big companies maintain control over research, hatching, growing, feeding, processing, packaging, transportation and marketing of the birds. Farmers are almost incidental to the process—some even describe their lives as being like serfs.

The top five turkey-producing companies—Butterball, Jennie-O, Cargill, Farbest and Tyson, respectively—dominate the market, producing 61.5 percent of all the turkey consumed in the U.S.

Of these Cargill, recently named by Might Earth the “worst company in the world,” is arguably the most controversial. As Mighty Earth reports:

“Throughout its history, Cargill has exhibited a disturbing and repetitive pattern of deception and destruction . . . its practices have ranged from violating trade embargoes and price fixing, to ignoring health codes and creating markets for goods produced with child and forced labor.”

The Mighty Earth report notes that “under pressure” the company has adopted a higher standard of practice in some areas “which shows that it can change when it wants to.” But such instances are rare and given that “the environmental protections and climate leadership from governments that may have once held the company’s worst instincts in check are now in retreat,” the pressure is largely off the company to up its game.

The traceability game

That bad/good image of Cargill is nicely illustrated by a recently initiated traceability scheme for Thanksgiving turkeys.

In 2017, Cargill trialed a 60,000-bird pilot scheme using an electronic record-keeping system known as ‘blockchain’.

Blockchain codes on every bird allowed producers to track each individual bird back to the state and county where it was raised, to see photos of the farm and read messages from the farmers.

Using the same code, customers could go to the website for Cargill’s Honeysuckle White brand turkey, and “get to know” the exact family farmer who raised their bird. 

Other food companies, notably Walmart and Nestlé are also experimenting with blockchain. 

Cargill claimed that the system improved traceability in a way that would instill consumer confidence. The project’s initial success has led to expansion of the program, to around 200,000 birds from 70 farms.

But questions remain. There are issues with blockchain (which evolved out of the cryptocurrency market) in general and with the Cargill system in particular.

The original concept of blockchain was an open, shared public “ledger” to which independent participants could contribute entries and information. While information about a product or company could be added by anyone, once there it could not be taken away. In this way the blockchain, in theory, keeps people honest, remains independent and can continue to grow without its “owner.”

Of course, a blockchain is also only as good as the information fed into it. If companies create their own bespoke blockchain systems, over which they have total control—as Cargill (and others) appear to have done with this in-house system—it’s easy to see how it could become just another meaningless marketing tool.

For the Honeysuckle White birds, critics say there is a lack of information about animal welfare, husbandry practices, environmental sustainability or farmer compensation. Claims that the farmers are “independent family farmers” have also been called as misleading. Most are contract growers working for Cargill.

In addition, while the blockchain “traceability” might make Honeysuckle White seem a better choice than, for example, the company’s other non-traceable turkey brand, Shady Brook Farms, the birds are basically the same.

What’s more, Cargill’s birds are basically the same—and live the same tragic lives—as those produced by the other big producers.

What to do?

Turkey is the food centerpiece of choice for 85 percent of those who celebrate Thanksgiving, and Americans will spend around $991 million on Thanksgiving turkeys this year. 

Though it may seem like a “luxury” there is no getting away from the fact that animals reared with the single goal of providing cheap meat for consumers are reared in ways that would turn most of our stomachs—and that diminishes both our lives and theirs.

It’s definitely nothing to be thankful for.

We can do better, we can shop better and we can eat better.

At any time of year, the big question is whether we can continue to justify the ongoing cruelty of factory farming – so much of which is hidden behind inadequate and confusing labels – and whether we are willing to take a stand at the supermarket checkout.

This holiday season, let’s make our values shine through in our actions. Check out our Holiday Turkey Buying Guide, or visit Regeneration International’s new map of regenerative farms and click here for regenerative and organic turkey producers, to see how to set yourself—and your turkey bird—free  from the chains of industrial farming.

Pat Thomas is a journalist, author and campaigner specializing in food, environment and health. See more on her website. To keep up with Organic Consumers Association (OCA) news and alerts, sign up for our newsletter.

FTC Asked to Investigate Maine Dental Board for Antitrust Violation; Petition Filed by Three Nonprofit Groups

Organic consumers - Mon, 2019-11-04 15:31
Health IssuesOrganic Consumers AssociationNovember 4, 2019 dentist_filling_cavity_patient_1200x630.jpg

AUGUSTA, Maine – October 31, 2019 - Three national nonprofits have petitioned the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate the Maine Board of Dental Practice for antitrust violations. According to the petition, the dental board refuses to enforce the state’s amalgam fact sheet law. As a result, some dentists who still use dental amalgam are withholding information from patients about amalgam’s mercury content.

 

Consumers for Dental Choice, Organic Consumers Association and Mercury Policy Project state in their petition that the Maine board engages in a variety of actions[1] to evade enforcing the state law requiring every dentist who uses amalgam to give patients a state-approved fact sheet. 

 

“The Maine Dental Board is not above the law,” said Katherine Paul of Freeport, Maine, speaking for Organic Consumers Association. “As with any other state agency, the board must support, enforce and adhere to the law.” If this board doesn’t want to fulfill its duty, Maine’s Governor should appoint a new dental board.”

 

“The behavior of the Maine dental board raises serious antitrust questions because the board is protecting the income of the pro-mercury dentists,” said Charles Brown of Consumers for Dental Choice and a former antitrust law specialist. “This board must redirect its loyalty from protecting sales of amalgam to protecting Maine’s families and consumers.”  

 

“Dental amalgam is a major mercury pollution source worldwide resulting from its continuing use in Maine and elsewhere,” said Michael Bender of the Mercury Policy Project. “Consumers must be told that amalgam is mainly mercury, but also that there are nonmercury alternatives available that work just as well or better.”

 

The petitioners note that use of the term “silver fillings” instead of “amalgam” deceives patients.

 

Contact:

 

--Katherine Paul, Organic Consumers Ass’n,  katherine@organicconsumers.org; 207.653.3090

--Charles Brown, Consumers for Dental Choice,  charlie@mercury-free.org,  202.544.6333
--Michael Bender, Mercury Policy Project, mercurypolicy@aol.com.802.917.8222

 

[1] For example, the dental board advises dentists that compliance with the mandate is optional (although it is required), and the board held a secret vote to ally with the Maine Dental Association to defeat a state law that would shift MaineCare to mercury-free dentistry.  The dental board has proposed a rule regarding disclosure, but it fails even to mention the Maine fact sheet law or the official fact sheet, which was written by then Director of Health Dora Mills.

 

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Massachusetts: Tell Your State Lawmakers to Ban Monsanto’s Roundup Weedkiller!

Organic consumers - Fri, 2019-11-01 21:24
Belong to campaign: Millions Against MonsantoCategory: Genetic EngineeringArea: USAMA - Massachusetts

On November 12, Massachusetts lawmakers will hold a public hearing on four bills that would regulate the use of pesticides and herbicides in the state.

The strongest of those bills, H.792, would ban glyphosate or any product that contains glyphosate from all lands in the commonwealth.

TAKE ACTION: Urge members of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture (ENRA) to support bill H.792, a bill to ban glyphosate on all Massachusetts lands!Read more

For Farmers, Climate Change Is Real. Let's Help Them.

Organic consumers - Thu, 2019-10-31 18:06
October 31, 2019Organic Consumers AssociationEnvironment & Climate, Farm Issues seedling_dry_soil_cracked_1200x630.jpg

As we wrote last week, we’re invested in the climate movement for a number of reasons, including this one: Floods, droughts and extreme temperatures will ultimately lead to a food crisis.

Nobody knows this better than farmers. 

And farmers are already struggling with the impact of climate change.

In a recent interview on the Kojo Nnamdi Show, Nick Maravell, owner and operator of Nick’s Organic Farm in Buckeystown, Md., put it this way:

“It used to be farmers would get together and talk about having a good year. Now we're getting together and hoping for a normal year, and we haven't had one in a long time. We're getting what I call the broken record syndrome. Every few years we break another record . . . We go from the driest year on record to the wettest year on record back to back. We go from the coldest spring to the warmest spring back to back. We have these stretches of erratic from a farmer's perspective unusual long hot spell, long cold spell. That never used to happen to us. I've been doing this 40 years and believe me, the climate has changed."

If there’s anything that every human being in the world has in common it’s this: We all need food to survive.

If we do nothing to avert an irreversible climate crisis, if we do nothing to support farmers—especially those farmers committed to producing healthy food while also increasing the soil’s potential to store excess carbon—we’re pretty much doomed.

Even the makers of the worst possible, highly processed junk food will run out of options in the face of a total climate-driven ecosystem collapse.

So, to those of you who are already on board with our collaboration around the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers for a Green New Deal project, thank you!

Not familiar and/or not sure? Please check it out.

And please support this important work.

Make a tax-deductible donation to the national coalition of U.S. Farmers and Ranchers for a Green New Deal!

Make a tax-deductible donation to Organic Consumers Association, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit

Support Citizens Regeneration Lobby, OCA’s 501(c)(4) lobbying arm (not tax-deductible)

Click here for more ways to support our work

To keep up with news and alerts from Organic Consumers Association, sign up for our newsletter.

Ben & Jerry's Sued—Again.

Organic consumers - Thu, 2019-10-31 18:01
October 31, 2019Organic Consumers AssociationKatherine PaulFood Safety ben_and_jerrys_americone_dream_pint_wood_table_1200x630.jpg

It’s been more than a year since we sued Unilever’s Ben & Jerry’s for misrepresenting its ice cream brand as “humanely sourced” and “environmentally responsible.” 

The lawsuit followed our announcement—more than two years ago—that many popular Ben & Jerry’s flavors tested positive for residues of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller.

What’s happened since? Through our attorneys, we’ve continued to push for Ben & Jerry’s to stop misleading consumers.

So far, Unilever hasn’t budged.

This week, things got a little more interesting: A consumer in Vermont just filed a similar lawsuit against Unilever.

There’s also this new bit of information: It seems that in addition to having a pesticide problem, Ben & Jerry’s also has a drug problem. 

How so? According to this report hot off the presses from Regeneration Vermont, some of the conventional factory farm dairies in Vermont that supply Ben & Jerry’s sold antibiotic-contaminated milk.

Yet despite the glyphosate in its ice cream, despite supporting dairies fueled by pesticide-drenched GMO grains, despite contributing to the global antibiotic resistance crisis, Ben & Jerry’s still proudly (and wrongly) claims to “make the best possible ice cream in the best possible way.”

We can’t think of any company that comes close to doing a better job than Unilever at duping consumers into thinking the Ben & Jerry's brand is “socially responsible.” 

One of the latest examples of Unilever’s corporate hypocrisy? Ben & Jerry’s joined other companies in signing a petition to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration asking the agency to end the use of glyphosate as a dessicant (drying agent) on oats. 

Seriously? From a company that supports the growing of more than 90,000 acres of GMO corn in Vermont—much of it treated with glyphosate, atrazine and metolachlor?

It’s time to ramp up the pressure on Unilever. It’s time for Ben & Jerry’s to stop supporting the industrial "dirty dairy" system.

It's time for Ben & Jerry's to go organic.

Read ‘Ben & Jerry’s Drug Problem’

Post on Ben & Jerry’s Facebook page

Call Ben & Jerry’s: (802) 846-1500

Use this customer complaint form

SIGN THE PETITION: Tell Ben & Jerry’s: Roundup Ready Ice Cream Isn’t Socially Responsible. Go Organic!

Katherine Paul is associate director of the Organic Consumers Association (OCA). To keep up with OCA news and alerts, sign up for our newsletter.