Environment

Sanderson Farms: Stop Advertising Your Contaminated Chicken as '100% Natural'!

Organic consumers - 8 hours 25 min ago
Belong to campaign: Appetite for a ChangeCook Organic Not the PlanetThe Myth of NaturalCategory: Food Safety, Health Issues, OCA in the NewsArea: USA

"By federal law, all chickens have to be cleared of antibiotics before they leave the farm," says the folksy, flannel-wearing actor in a Sanderson Farms "Truth about Chicken—Supermarket" video. 

So imagine our surprise when we learned that government testing of Sanderson chicken products uncovered 11 instances of antibiotics for human use in Sanderson chicken—after it had left the farm.

One of those antibiotics, chloramphenical, is not only prohibited in food-producing animals, but according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Toxicology Program report (2016), is "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen."

Antibiotics aren’t the only "unnatural" substances in Sanderson chicken. Tests revealed growth hormones prohibited in poultry production, pesticides and prescription drugs—including one with hallucinogenic effects!

Tell Sanderson Farms CEO Joe Sanderson: Stop advertising your contaminated chicken as '100% Natural!'Read more

Nonprofits Sue Third-Largest Poultry Co. for False Advertising of Drug-Contaminated Chicken

Organic consumers - 16 hours 31 min ago
Environment & Climate, Health IssuesJune 22, 2017 sanderson_600x314.png

Sanderson Farms’ ‘100% Natural’ Advertising Claims Deceive Consumers, Threaten Public Health
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 22, 2017


Contact:
Katherine Paul, Organic Consumers Assoc., 207-653-3090, katherine@organicconsumers.org
Kari Hamerschlag, Friends of the Earth, 510-207-7257, khamerschag@foe.org; Patrick Davis, Friends of the Earth, 202-222-0744, pdavis@foe.org
Paige Tomaselli, Center for Food Safety, 415-826-2770, ptomaselli@centerforfoodsafety.org

OAKLAND, Calif.—Three nonprofit groups filed suit today against Laurel, Miss.-based Sanderson Farms, Inc. (NASDAQ: SAFM) for falsely advertising products that contain a wide range of unnatural and in some cases prohibited substances, as “100% Natural.” Substances include antibiotics, steroids, hormones and even a drug with hallucinogenic effects. The groups suing Sanderson are Organic Consumers Association (OCA), Friends of the Earth (FoE), and Center for Food Safety (CFS).

Sanderson Chicken claims its chicken is 100% Natural or “nothing but chicken.” But recent testing conducted by the National Residue Program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) found 49 instances in which samples of Sanderson products tested positive for residues of synthetic drugs that are not “100% Natural.”  Thirty-three percent of the 69 FSIS inspections, conducted in five states, uncovered residues that no reasonable consumer would consider “natural.”

Test results included:

• Eleven instances of antibiotics for human use, including chloramphenical, which is prohibited for use in food animals.
• Positive results for ketamine, a drug with hallucinogenic effects, using testing methods normally applied to beef and pork. Valid testing methods have not been developed for ketamine in poultry, because ketamine is not approved for use in poultry.
• Ketoprofren, an anti-inflammatory drug
• Predisone, a steroid
• Traces of growth two hormones: melengesterol acetate and a beta agonist ractopamine. Both are banned in chicken production.
• Six instances of residues of amoxicillin, a medically important antibiotic for human use and one that is not approved for use in poultry. Deserves further investigation because, similar to ketamine, valid testing methods have been developed only for beef.
• Three instances of penicillin residue at up to 0.285 ppb, for which the residue regulatory limit is zero.
• Positive test results for the pesticides abamectin and Emamectin, using testing methods that apply to pork.

“Consumers should be alarmed that any food they eat contains steroids, recreational or anti-inflammatory drugs, or antibiotics prohibited for use in livestock—much less that these foods are falsely advertised and labeled ‘100% Natural,’” said Ronnie Cummins, OCA’s international director. “Sanderson’s advertising claims are egregiously misleading to consumers, and unfair to competitors. The organic and free-range poultry sector would be growing much more rapidly if consumers knew the truth about Sanderson’s products and false advertising.”

“Drugs in our chicken is anything but natural,” said Kari Hamerschlag, FoE’s deputy director of food and technology.  “This scandal is a wake-up call to all the consumers who want healthier meat. The widespread presence of drugs in Sanderson Farms chicken reflects the excessive use of antibiotics and other chemicals used to keep animals alive in the filthy, inhumane, factory-farm conditions in which the birds are raised.”
 
“Sanderson Farms’ claim that there is ‘only chicken in [their] chicken’ is an outright lie,” said Paige Tomaselli, senior attorney at CFS, and co-counsel in the case. “The pharmaceuticals and other contaminants that FSIS found in Sanderson’s chicken present potential human health and food safety risks. Consumers are being deceived in thinking that these products are natural and wholesome.”

With FY 2016 sales of $2.816 billion, Sanderson Farms sells chicken in California and other states, under its own brand name and private labels, through retail stores such as Shaw’s, Albertsons, Food 4 Less, Foods Co, WinCo Foods and others. Sanderson chicken is also distributed to institutions, and is sold to casual dining outlets, such as Arby’s, Darden Restaurants (which owns Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse, Yardhouse, Capitol Grill and others), Dairy Queen and Chili’s.

The nonprofits are represented by Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Richman Law Group, Santa Fe, N.M.-based Elsner Law & Policy and Center for Food Safety (CFS).

Read the formal complaint here.

About the Organic Consumers Association
The Organic Consumers Association is an online and grassroots non-profit 501(c)3 public-interest organization advocating on behalf of more than two million U.S. consumers for health, justice, and regeneration. For more information, please visit www.organicconsumers.org. @OCA_Press.

About Friends of the Earth
Friends of the Earth fights to create a more healthful and just world. Our current campaigns focus on promoting clean energy and solutions to climate change, ensuring the food we eat and products we use are safe and sustainable, and protecting marine ecosystems and the people who live and work near them.

About Center for Food Safety
Center for Food Safety’s mission is to empower people, support farmers, and protect the earth from the harmful impacts of industrial agriculture. Through groundbreaking legal, scientific, and grassroots action, we protect and promote your right to safe food and the environment. Please join our more than 900,000 consumer and farmer advocates across the country at www.centerforfoodsafety.org. Twitter: @CFSTrueFood, @CFS_Press

About Richman Law Group
Richman Law Group is a collective of lawyers specializing in impact litigation to repair the world. Richman Law Group was founded on the idea that what cannot be achieved by way of legislation can sometimes be achieved by way of litigation. This tight-knit cadre of tenacious and diverse professionals is dedicated to fighting for the rights of its clients, and through them, the needs of the community at large. For more information, please visit www.richmanlawgroup.com.

About Elsner Law & Policy, LLC  
Elsner Law seeks to make food systems more just, ethical and sustainable, through representation of local and national non-profit organizations, small businesses, and political organizations. More information available at www.ElsnerLaw.org.

Wait 'til you hear this.

Organic consumers - Tue, 2017-06-20 16:05
Environment & Climate, Food Safety, Genetic Engineering, Health IssuesRonnie CumminsOrganic Consumers AssociationJune 19, 2017https://salsa3.salsalabs.com/o/50865/p/salsa/donation/common/public/?donate_page_KEY=12139 oca-2017-summer-campaign-55k-1000.png

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela

As if you aren’t concerned enough about the rampant use of pesticides, hormones and antibiotics in your food—wait ‘til you hear the latest news.

We’re on the verge of announcing alarming facts about what’s in one of the most common foods consumed in the U.S.

It’s news that will serve as a wake-up call to consumers—and we hope, a warning to the food industry: Consumers will not tolerate lies and deception when it comes to what’s in our food.

Today we launch our summer online fundraising campaign. Your donation, which will be matched by both Mercola.com and Dr. Bronner’s, will help fund our ongoing work to expose the health and environmental hazards of industrial food. Please help us reach our quarterly goal of $250,000 by midnight June 30. Donate online, by mail or by phone—details here.

As I travel this country and talk to people like you, the number one concern I hear is that you’re worried about your health and the health of your families. Next up is concern about how the industrial food system is polluting the environment, including your local water supply.

You also tell me that you no longer trust most big food brands to tell you the truth about what’s in your food, or how it’s produced.

From farmers, I hear how they’re fighting an uphill battle against the bad actors in the food industry, whose deceptive marketing claims make it difficult for authentic organic farmers to compete.

I hear all of you.

Sometimes it takes months, even years to do the work required to expose the dangers of industrial food, and the lengths to which Big Food goes to hide the truth.

But trust me, we’re working on it. Along with a team of other dedicated organizations and activists.

Please help us reach our quarterly goal of $250,000 by midnight June 30. Donate online, by mail or by phone—details here.

Next month will mark the one-year anniversary of Obama’s signing of the DARK Act—the bill that killed GMO labeling. It was a big loss for the Food Movement. And a big loss for you.

Faced with Monsanto’s bottomless pit of money and complete lack of ethics, we could have given up on bringing down the world’s most evil corporation, and the factory farm industry it props up with its endless supply of GMO animal feed.

We might have thrown up our hands and declared the take-down of Monsanto “mission impossible.”

Instead, we buckled down. Because it was never about just labels. Or even just GMOs. It’s always been about the corruption that permeates the entire industrial food system.

As Nelson Mandela said, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

It may not be done yet. But with your continued support, I believe it’s not only possible—but inevitable—that consumer power (and common sense) will prevail.

But we must not let up the pressure.

This quarterly campaign is critical for funding our ongoing work to expose the worst actors in the industrial food system. You can donate online, by mail or by phone—details here.

We know there are many good organizations in need of funds these days. We hope you will continue your generous support of OCA. Thank you.

In Solidarity,

Ronnie Cummins
International Director

 



P.S. More than 80 percent of our support comes from individual donors like yourself. Donations of $5 and $10 really add up! You can donate online, by phone or by mail, details here. Thank you!

 

 

Monsanto's Mess—Four Signs Consumers Are Winning

Organic consumers - Thu, 2017-06-15 15:20
June 13, 2017Organic Consumers AssociationKatherine PaulGenetic Engineering, Health Issues, OCA in the News Aces 1000x523

When the colours turn grey and the lights all fade
To black again
We’re in over our heads
But somehow we make it back again – lyrics from “Beautiful Mess”

Next month will mark one year since Congress obliterated Vermont’s GMO labeling law and replaced it with its own faux-labeling measure. The DARK Act was an outright attack on consumer and states’ rights. Still, then-President Obama refused to veto it.

We lost the right to labels on GMO foods. But we never lost our determination to expose Monsanto’s corrupt manipulation of government agencies, or the truth about just how harmful Roundup herbicide is to humans and the environment.

Fast forward to today. Monsanto is facing down scores of lawsuits by people, or their families, who were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma after being exposed to Roundup. Those lawsuits have led to revelations about possible collusion between Monsanto employees and former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials to bury evidence of Roundup’s carcinogenicity.

Meanwhile the EPA, perhaps fearing consumer backlash, refuses to rule on whether to renew the license for glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup), even though we’re now nearly two years past the deadline.

Food companies are being sued, too, when product testing reveals that brands labeled “100% Natural” contain glyphosate residues. And the Food & Drug Administration recently announced it will resume testing of consumer foods for glyphosate.

Farmers are growing fewer GMO crops. Other countries are banning GMOs and glyphosate.

It’s no wonder Monsanto can’t wait to hand over the keys to Bayer. Things are getting messy. For consumers and environmentalists, it’s a beautiful mess.

Here are four signs we’re winning the battle against Monsanto.

1. Court battles pull back the curtain on Monsanto’s corrupt activities. The fact that over 1,000 plaintiffs are involved in dozens of lawsuits alleging that exposure to Roundup caused them or their families to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma (a potentially deadly cancer) is compelling enough. Especially when a mainstream media outlet like CNN, often silent when it comes to challenging the corporate establishment, takes notice. That in itself is a win for consumers.

But the bigger win may be what those lawsuits are doing to shed light on Monsanto’s sustained campaign to bury the truth about its deadly products.

In March, the New York Times, citing court documents, reported on possible collusion between former EPA officials and Monsanto employees to hide the facts about the health risks of glyphosate:

The court documents included Monsanto’s internal emails and email traffic between the company and federal regulators. The records suggested that Monsanto had ghostwritten research that was later attributed to academics and indicated that a senior official at the Environmental Protection Agency had worked to quash a review of Roundup’s main ingredient, glyphosate, that was to have been conducted by the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

The revelations confirmed consumer suspicions that Roundup isn’t “safe,” and validated the opinions of scientists who question its safety. They’ve triggered calls in Europe for further investigation.

Reporters continue to scrutinize the MDL (multi-district lawsuits) documents unsealed so far (the judge in the case has since refused to unseal any further documents). US Right to Know’s Carey Gillam, who has been following the court documents closely, recently reported on her on a decades-old study, “A Chronic Feeding Study of Glyphosate (Roundup Technical) in Mice,” uncovered during litigation but until now hidden from public view, that suggests Roundup causes cancer:

The two-year study ran from 1980-1982 and involved 400 mice divided into groups of 50 males and 50 females that were administered three different doses of the weed killer or received no glyphosate at all for observation as a control group. The study was conducted for Monsanto to submit to regulators. But unfortunately for Monsanto, some mice exposed to glyphosate developed tumors at statistically significant rates, with no tumors at all in non-dosed mice.

2. EPA forced to investigate Monsanto corruption. Thanks to the work of reporters studying court documents, the EPA has stepped in. On May 31, the agency’s inspector general responded to Rep. Ted Lieu’s (D-Calif.) call for an investigation into possible collusion between Monsanto and EPA officials. (Organic Consumers Association also called for an investigation. We haven’t heard back). 

The EPA may just be going through the formalities to appease Lieu and his constituents. But even if that’s true, it’s still a sign that consumers are getting through to an agency that has historically been aggressively pro-Monsanto.

3. Consumers are fighting back through the courts, too. Monsanto and Big Food have long been allies in the campaign to hide GMOs, and the pesticides used to grow them, from consumers. Will the Junk Food Giants reconsider their position, if they, too, get dragged through the courts?

The Organic Consumers Association, along with other groups, have been testing food products for glyphosate, and taking companies to court for falsely marketing their products as “natural” and “100% Natural.” Pending cases include the one against General Mills’ Nature Valley granola bars, and another against Sioux Honey. Both products contain glyphosate. (A recent study from Canada revealed glyphosate in 30 percent of the food products tested).

And lest we forget, Roundup isn’t just sprayed on agricultural products—it’s a best-selling consumer product, too. Labels on Roundup sold in stores like Walmart, Costco, Home Depot, and online at Amazon, claim the product is safe for humans and pets. That’s not true—so we’ve sued Monsanto directly for false labeling.

4. FDA resumes testing food for glyphosate. As the lawsuits flow, and more evidence comes to light about the toxic impact of glyphosate on human health (including bad outcomes for pregnant moms and their babies), the FDA has been shamed into testing foods for glyphosate residues—a project it had previously abandoned:

The FDA, the nation’s chief food safety regulator, launched what it calls a “special assignment” last year to analyze certain foods for glyphosate residues after the agency was criticized by the U.S. Government Accountability Office for failing to include glyphosate in annual testing programs that look for many less-used pesticides in foods. But the agency scuttled the testing after only a few months amid disagreement and difficulties with establishing a standard methodology to use across the agency’s multiple U.S. laboratories, according to FDA sources.

The testing reportedly resumed in early June. It remains to be seen if the FDA will share, much less publicize, its findings—and whether the agency will continue to claim, as it has in the past, that glyphosate residues are “safe.” Stay tuned.

Katherine Paul is associate director of the Organic Consumers Association.

 

Don't Let Trump Deregulate GMOs!

Organic consumers - Thu, 2017-06-15 14:56
Belong to campaign: Millions Against MonsantoCook Organic Not the Planet#resist and #regenerateCategory: Environment & Climate, Genetic Engineering, Health IssuesArea: USA

In 2016, when polls predicted he would lose the Iowa primary, Trump insulted Iowa voters when he tweeted: “Too much #Monsanto in the #corn creates issues in the brain?” But don’t be confused by Trump’s tweets.

The Trump Administration has just announced a new GMO deregulation scheme, and it’s the most audacious effort to force dangerous, experimental “foods” onto the market since genetically modified organisms (GMOs) were first introduced in the 1990s.

Under Trump’s new GMO deregulation plan, there would still be no safety testing or meaningful labeling of GMOs. There would still be nothing to protect organic and non-GMO crops from contamination—which isn’t all that different than what we got from Obama and every president going back to George H.W. Bush.

Fact is, every single GMO that’s ever been submitted to U.S. regulators has been approved! From the first GMO, Monsanto’s genetically engineered growth hormone rBGH that makes cows over-produce milk, to the latest gene-edited apples, potatoes and mushrooms, Americans eat a lot of GMOs that are banned in many other countries.

TAKE ACTION BY MIDNIGHT JUNE 19: Don’t let Trump deregulate GMOs! Read more

'in a way we’ve never seen before'

Organic consumers - Tue, 2017-06-13 21:21
Environment & Climate, Genetic Engineering, Health IssuesJune 12, 2017 resist_regenerate_jumping_1000x523.png

“I think that it is conceivable that we could wake up and we could have activists controlling literally the local level in a way that we've never seen before. With that power, we'd have the sovereignty to pass legislation that really fundamentally affects people's lives.” – Micah White, Occupy activist, in an interview with NPR

In my recent travels to speak to groups like the Organic Horticulture Benefits Alliance (OHBA) in Houston, Texas, I’ve noticed that a lot more people are talking about politics these days.

And it’s not just national politics on their minds.

Like you, many people are fed up with how big corporations are interfering in local politics, in ways that strip cities and states of their right to local control—including the right to pass local pesticide bans, to ban fracking, to reject the construction of factory farms, and to protect local water supplies from pollution, and local organic farmland from contamination caused by drifting GMO seeds and pesticides.

You may already be working in your city or your state. On a critical environmental or food and farming issue. Or maybe you're working to elect new candidates who will serve you and your community, not some corporation.

But if you’re still looking for a way to get involved—and have fun doing it—I invite you to plug into our #Resist & #Regenerate Movement. To learn how you can become a #Resist & #Regenerate organizer,  watch this webinar that we hosted last week. Then, click on the map to find a #Resist & #Regenerate chapter near you, and sign up here if you’re willing to join a volunteer team.

We now have almost 4,000 members in 241 #Resist and #Regenerate chapters on Meetup.com. Some chapters are working on local elections. Some are organizing campaigns to get local stores to stop selling Monsanto’s Roundup. Others, in Iowa and Wisconsin, are taking on giant corporations intent on building more factory farms.

Some #Resist & #Regenerate chapters are collaborating with local climate groups, while others are getting more involved in natural health issues and the Medicare for All Movement.

#Resist & #Regenerate is off to a great start, but we need more chapters.

We also need volunteers to take the lead in some of the existing chapters. Click on the map to find a #Resist & #Regenerate chapter near you, then sign up here if you’re willing to join a volunteer team. (Not sure about becoming a group leader? Find a local friend, and become co-leaders).

#Resist & #Regenerate is about more than just fighting back against one politician or one administration. It’s about bringing people together—around food, farming, natural health, climate and other environmental issues—to work at the local and state level to take back our communities from corporations, and to advance policies that regenerate everything from our health to our local economies.

It’s also about making new connections, building stronger communities—and having fun doing it.

In Solidarity,

Ronnie Cummins, International Director, Organic Consumers Association

FALSE LABELING: These eggs say 'pasture-raised.' But some aren't.

Organic consumers - Wed, 2017-06-07 16:42
Belong to campaign: Safeguard Organic StandardsCook Organic Not the Planet#resist and #regenerateCategory: All About OrganicsArea: USA

If you’re one of those lucky consumers who can buy eggs from a known source, like a local farmer or neighbor, you don’t have to worry about the label on the carton. You can easily verify if the hens producing your eggs roam free on pastures—or whether they spend most of their lives cooped up.

But consumers who buy their eggs at stores have to rely on labels—and on the honesty of the brands that apply those labels—for information on how various egg brands are produced.

When a company like Handsome Brook Farm goes out of its way to market all its eggs as “pasture-raised”—even though some of them aren’t—consumers end up paying a premium for a low-quality product.

When a company like Handsome Brook Farm goes out of its way to market all its eggs as “pasture-raised”—even though some of them aren’t—consumers end up paying a premium for a low-quality product. - See more at: http://action.organicconsumers.org/o/50865/p/dia/action4/common/public/?action_KEY=20742#sthash.Nx1tYwO4.dpuf When a company like Handsome Brook Farm goes out of its way to market all its eggs as “pasture-raised”—even though some of them aren’t—consumers end up paying a premium for a low-quality product. - See more at: http://action.organicconsumers.org/o/50865/p/dia/action4/common/public/?action_KEY=20742#sthash.Nx1tYwO4.dpuf

TAKE ACTION: Tell Handsome Brook Farm: Stop Labeling Your Eggs ‘Pasture-Raised’ When They Aren’t!Read more

Tell Scotts: I'm boycotting all your lawn and garden products until you stop distributing Monsanto's Roundup!

Organic consumers - Thu, 2017-06-01 17:12
Belong to campaign: Millions Against MonsantoAppetite for a Change#resist and #regenerateCategory: Genetic Engineering, Health IssuesArea: USA

Consumers can buy Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide online from Amazon.com, in their local independently owned hardware store, or in giant retail stores like Walmart, Home Depot and Costco and others. But all those stores get their Roundup from one source: Scotts Miracle-Gro (NYSE:SMG), which owns the exclusive right to distribute Roundup to retailers in the U.S. and most of Europe.

Despite its cozy and profitable relationship with Monsanto and its obviously toxic chemical-based business model, Scotts goes out of its way to portray itself as an eco-friendly company, dedicated to preserving nature. The company says it designs products that “work in harmony” with nature. The Scotts website says: 

As gardeners, it is our responsibility to leave the environment in better shape than we found it. That’s our commitment at ScottsMiracle-Gro.

Really? Nothing says poison like Monsanto’s Roundup.

TAKE ACTION: Tell Scotts Miracle-Gro CEO Jim Hagedorn: I’m boycotting ALL Scotts brands until you stop selling Monsanto’s Roundup! Read more

Regeneration: The Next Stage of Organic Food and Farming—and Civilization

Organic consumers - Wed, 2017-05-31 14:47
Environment & Climate, Fair Trade & Social JusticeRonnie CumminsOrganic Consumers AssociationMay 28, 2017 sunrise1000x523.png

Regenerate—to give fresh life or vigor to; to reorganize; to recreate the moral nature; to cause to be born again. (New Webster’s Dictionary, 1997)

When a reporter asked him [Mahatma Gandhi] what he thought of Western civilization, he famously replied: “I think it would be a good idea.”

A growing corps of organic, climate, environmental, social justice and peace activists are promoting a new world-changing paradigm that can potentially save us from global catastrophe. The name of this new paradigm and movement is regenerative agriculture, or more precisely regenerative food, farming and land use.

Regenerative agriculture and land use encompass the traditional and indigenous best practices of organic farming, animal husbandry and environmental conservation. Regeneration puts a central focus on improving soil health and fertility (recarbonizing the soil), increasing biodiversity, and qualitatively enhancing forest health, animal welfare, food nutrition and rural (especially small farmer) prosperity.

The basic menu for a Regeneration Revolution is to unite the world’s 3 billion rural farmers, ranchers and herders with several billion health, environmental and justice-minded consumers to overturn “business as usual” and embark on a global campaign of cooperation, solidarity and regeneration.

According to food activist Vandana Shiva, “Regenerative agriculture provides answers to the soil crisis, the food crisis, the health crisis, the climate crisis, and the crisis of democracy."

So how can regenerative agriculture do all these things: increase soil fertility; maximize crop yields; draw down enough excess carbon from the atmosphere and sequester it in the soils, plants and trees to re-stabilize the climate and restore normal rainfall; increase soil water retention; make food more nutritious; reduce rural poverty; and begin to pacify the world’s hotspots of violence?

First, let’s look at what Michael Pollan, the U.S.’s most influential writer on food and farming, has to say about the miraculous regenerative power of Mother Nature and enhanced photosynthesis:

Consider what happens when the sun shines on a grass plant rooted in the earth. Using that light as a catalyst, the plant takes atmospheric CO2, splits off and releases the oxygen, and synthesizes liquid carbon–sugars, basically. Some of these sugars go to feed and build the aerial portions of the plant we can see, but a large percentage of this liquid carbon—somewhere between 20 and 40 percent—travels underground, leaking out of the roots and into the soil. The roots are feeding these sugars to the soil microbes—the bacteria and fungi that inhabit the rhizosphere—in exchange for which those microbes provide various services to the plant... Now, what had been atmospheric carbon (a problem) has become soil carbon, a solution—and not just to a single problem, but to a great many problems.

Besides taking large amounts of carbon out of the air—tons of it per acre when grasslands [or cropland] are properly managed… that process at the same time adds to the land’s fertility and its capacity to hold water. Which means more and better food for us...

This process of returning atmospheric carbon to the soil works even better when ruminants are added to the mix. Every time a calf or lamb shears a blade of grass, that plant, seeking to rebalance its “root-shoot ratio,” sheds some of its roots. These are then eaten by the worms, nematodes, and microbes—digested by the soil, in effect, and so added to its bank of carbon. This is how soil is created: from the bottom up... For thousands of years we grew food by depleting soil carbon and, in the last hundred or so, the carbon in fossil fuel as well. But now we know how to grow even more food while at the same time returning carbon and fertility and water to the soil.

A 2015 article in the Guardian summarizes some of the most important practices of regenerative agriculture:

Regenerative agriculture comprises an array of techniques that rebuild soil and, in the process, sequester carbon. Typically, it uses cover crops and perennials so that bare soil is never exposed, and grazes animals in ways that mimic animals in nature. It also offers ecological benefits far beyond carbon storage: it stops soil erosion, re-mineralizes soil, protects the purity of groundwater and reduces damaging pesticide and fertilizer runoff.”

If you want to understand the basic science and biology of how regenerative agriculture can draw down enough excess carbon from the atmosphere over the next 25 years and store it in our soils and forests (in combination with a 100-percent reduction in fossil fuel emissions) to not only mitigate, but actually reverse global warming, read this article by one of North America’s leading organic farmers, Jack Kittridge.

If you want a general overview of news and articles on regenerative food, farming and land use, you can follow the newsfeed “Cook Organic Not the Planet” by the Organic Consumers Association (OCA), and/or sign up for OCA’s weekly online newsletter (you can subscribe online, or text “Bytes” to 97779.)

 You can also visit the Regeneration International website, where you’ll find this list of books on regenerative agriculture.

Solving the soil, health, environmental and climate crises

Without going into extensive detail here (you can read the references above), we need to connect the dots between our soil, public health, environment and climate crises. As the widely-read Mercola newsletter puts it:

Virtually every growing environmental and health problem can be traced back to modern food production. This includes but is not limited to:

• Food insecurity and malnutrition amid mounting food waste
• Rising obesity and chronic disease rates despite growing health care outlays
• Diminishing fresh water supplies
• Toxic agricultural chemicals polluting air, soil and waterways, thereby threatening the entire food chain from top to bottom
• Disruption of normal climate and rainfall patterns

Connecting the dots between climate and food

We can’t really solve the climate crisis (and the related soil, environmental, and public health crisis) without simultaneously solving the food and farming crisis. We need to stop putting greenhouse gas pollution into the atmosphere (by moving to 100-percent renewable energy), but we also need to move away from chemical-intensive, energy-intensive food, factory farming and land use, as soon as possible.

Regenerative food and farming has the potential to draw down a critical mass of carbon (200-250 billion tons) from the atmosphere over the next 25 years and store it in our soils and living plants, where it will increase soil fertility, food production and food quality (nutritional density), while re-stabilizing the climate.

The heavy use of pesticides, GMOs, chemical fertilizers and factory-farming by 50 million industrial farmers (mainly in the Global North) is not just poisoning our health and engendering a global epidemic of chronic disease and malnutrition. It’s also destroying our soil, wetlands’ and forests’ natural ability to sequester excess atmospheric carbon into the earth.

The good news is that solar and wind power, and energy conservation are now cheaper than fossil fuels. And most people are starting to understand that organic, grass-fed and freshly-prepared foods are safer and more nutritious than chemical and GMO foods.

The food movement and climate movements must break through our single-issue silos and start to work together. Either we stop Big Coal, Big Oil, fracking, and the mega-pipelines, or climate change will soon morph into climate catastrophe, making it impossible to grow enough food to feed the planet. Every food activist needs to become a climate activist.

On the other hand, every climate activist needs to become a food activist. Our current system of industrial food, farming and land use, now degenerating 75 percent of all global farmland, is “mining” and decarbonizing the soil, destroying our forests, and releasing 44-57 percent of all climate-destabilizing greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and black soot) into our already supersaturated atmosphere, while at the same time undermining our health with commoditized, overly processed food.

Solving the crisis of rural poverty, democracy and endless war

Out-of-touch and out-of-control governments of the world now take our tax money and spend $500 billion dollars a year mainly subsidizing 50 million industrial farmers to do the wrong thing. These farmers routinely over-till, over-graze (or under-graze), monocrop, and pollute the soil and the environment with chemicals and GMOs to produce cheap commodities (corn, soy, wheat, rice, cotton) and cash crops, low-grade processed food and factory-farmed meat and animal products. Meanwhile 700 million small family farms and herders, comprising the 3 billion people who produce 70 percent of the world’s food on just 25 percent of the world’s acreage, struggle to make ends meet.

If governments can be convinced or forced by the power of the global grassroots to reduce and eventually cut off these $500 billion in annual subsidies to industrial agriculture and Big Food, and instead encourage and reward family farmers and ranchers who improve soil health, biodiversity, animal health and food quality, we can simultaneously reduce global poverty, improve public health, and restore climate stability.

As even the Pentagon now admits, climate change, land degradation (erosion and desertification), and rural poverty are now primary driving forces of sectarian strife and war (and massive waves of refugees) in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya and Somalia. U.S. military intervention in these regions, under the guise of “regime change” or democratization, has only made things worse. This is why every peace activist needs to become a climate and food activist and vice-versa.

Similarly, corrupt, out-of-control governments continue to subsidize fossil fuels to the tune of $5.3 trillion dollars a year, while spending more than $3 trillion dollars annually on weapons, mainly to prop up our global fossil fuel system and overseas empires. If the global grassroots can reach out to one another, bypassing our corrupt governments, and break down the geographic, linguistic and cultural walls that separate us, we can launch a global Regeneration Revolution—on the scale of the global campaign in World War II against the Nazis.

One thing we the grassroots share in all of the 200 nations of the world is this: We are sick and tired of corrupt governments and out-of-control corporations degenerating our lives and threatening our future. The Russian people are not our enemies, nor the Chinese, nor the Iranians. The hour is late. The crisis is dire. But we still have time to regenerate our soils, climate, health, economy, foreign policy, and democracy. We still have time to turn things around.

The global Regeneration Movement we need will likely take several decades to reach critical mass and effectiveness. In spreading the Regeneration message, and building this new Movement at the global grassroots, we must take into account the fact that most regions, nations and people (and in fact many people who are still ignorant of the facts or climate change deniers) will respond more quickly or positively to different aspects or dimensions of our message (i.e. providing jobs; reducing rural and urban poverty and inequality, restoring soil fertility, saving the ocean and marine life, preserving forests, improving nutrition and public health, eliminating hunger and malnutrition, saving biodiversity, restoring animal health and food quality, preserving water, safeguarding Mother Nature or God’s Creation, creating a foundation for peace, democracy, and reconciliation, etc.) rather than to the central life or death message: reversing global warming.

What is important is not that everyone, everywhere immediately agrees 100 percent on all of the specifics of regenerative food, farming and land use—for this is not practical—but rather that we build upon our shared concerns in each community, region, nation and continent. Through a diversity of messages, frames and campaigns, through connecting the dots between all the burning issues, we will find the strength, numbers, courage and compassion to build the largest grassroots coalition in history—to safeguard our common home, our survival and the survival of the future generations.

Ronnie Cummins is international director of the Organic Consumers Association and a founding member of Regeneration International.

Tell Amazon, Home Depot and Walmart: Stop Selling Monsanto’s Roundup

Organic consumers - Fri, 2017-05-26 15:47
Belong to campaign: Millions Against MonsantoAppetite for a Change#resist and #regenerateCategory: Genetic Engineering, Health IssuesArea: USA

It’s probably not in your garage, or on your shopping list. But how many of your neighbors will spray their lawns and gardens this summer with Roundup herbicide, thus exposing you (and your family and pets)—possibly without your knowledge and definitely against your wishes—to Monsanto’s cancer-causing chemicals?

If the answer is one, it’s one too many. With everything we’ve learned about the health risks of exposure to Roundup (and its key active ingredient, glyphosate), and the lengths to which Monsanto has gone to hide those risks, no ethical retailer should still be selling Roundup to consumers.

TAKE ACTION: Tell Amazon, Home Depot and Walmart: Stop Selling Monsanto’s Roundup!Read more

After the March Against Monsanto—What’s Next?

Organic consumers - Thu, 2017-05-25 16:28
May 23, 2017Organic Consumers AssociationKatherine PaulEnvironment & Climate, Genetic Engineering Monsanto Corporate Greed sign 1000x523

“Yes, we must absolutely go out into the streets, but our protests need to be more than generalized expressions of collective rage and grief; they must target the very functioning of the system that seeks to destroy us. Crucially, we should also be laying the groundwork for concrete organizing projects designed to move past protest and start building power from the bottom up. Protest alone–even militant, focused, and strategic protest–is a dead end if we don’t build an infrastructure of resistance to sustain our movements and communities in the long term.” – Micah White, Occupy activist, in an interview with National Public Radio

On Saturday, May 20, activists took to the streets, all over the world, for the sixth annual March Against Monsanto protests. News reports like those from Switzerland, Bangladesh, Toronto and, here in the U.S., Denver and Miami painted a picture of solidarity against what’s come to be known as the most evil corporation in the world.

As in years past, the Organic Consumers Association wholeheartedly supported this year’s march. We promoted it through our website, newsletter and social media networks. We mailed out about 400 packets of anti-GMO and anti-pesticide banners, bumperstickers and leaflets, to March Against Monsanto organizers.

We have always actively participated in the global March against Monsanto, and we will continue. But we also recognize that anti-Monsanto protests alone have not forced enough change, fast enough.

As Occupy activist Micah White said in a recent interview with National Public Radio, protest alone does not give us political power. How true—if we learned anything from our years of work trying to pass GMO labeling laws, it was this: As long as corporations own our politicians, no amount of public support, no amount of protesting a corporation, without also addressing our broken political system, will move us in the direction we want to go.

As long as we replace actual scientists with “industry consultants” and put them in charge of regulatory policy, as long as we appoint corporate CEOs, instead of scientists, to head the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) science arm, we can have no realistic expectation that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or USDA will put our concerns ahead of corporate America’s unquenchable thirst for profits.

Corporate influence over our politicians is not unique to the Trump Administration. It has been building up over the past 40 years, according to this article published in 2015 in The Atlantic, which notes that corporations spend about $2.6 billion a year on reported lobbying expenditures—more than the $2 billion we spend to fund the House ($1.18 billion) and Senate ($860 million). The corporate takeover of our government didn’t happen overnight, the article says, but it happened. And it changed everything:

Things are quite different today. The evolution of business lobbying from a sparse reactive force into a ubiquitous and increasingly proactive one is among the most important transformations in American politics over the last 40 years.  Probing the history of this transformation reveals that there is no “normal” level of business lobbying in American democracy. Rather, business lobbying has built itself up over time, and the self-reinforcing quality of corporate lobbying has increasingly come to overwhelm every other potentially countervailing force. It has also fundamentally changed how corporations interact with government—rather than trying to keep government out of its business (as they did for a long time), companies are now increasingly bringing government in as a partner, looking to see what the country can do for them.

Monsanto, poster child for all that’s wrong with our dominantly industrial food and agriculture system, a system that is responsible for nutrient-poor, pesticide-ridden food, polluted waterways, and global warming, is just one of hundreds of corporations that play the lobbying game.

Monsanto’s “partnership” with our federal government has been wildly successful. But corporate corruption of the U.S. political system runs well beyond Washington, D.C. At the state level, we have government’s like Maine’s, trying to strip local communities of their right to ban pesticides. And then there are city governments, like Fremont, Neb., making back-room deals to allow behemoth corporations like Costco build factory farms that will pollute local waterways.

It’s clear, as White said in his interview, that we must “move past protest and start building power from the bottom up.” As he describes it:

I've been an activist since I was 13, so my whole life has been doing this. I think it's very possible for us to build a social movement that would win elections in many, many rural communities very quickly. Much more quickly than anyone's ever seen. I think that it is conceivable that we could wake up and we could have activists controlling literally the local level in a way that we've never seen before. With that power, we'd have the sovereignty to pass legislation that really fundamentally affects people's lives.

We think he’s right. We also think author John Atcheson is right when he says: “If you don’t stand for something you won’t win anything.”

To that end, as we all move on after this year’s March Against Monsanto, Organic Consumers Association (OCA) has launched a #Resist and #Regenerate Movement, aimed at resisting the corporate takeover of our food, farming, and political systems by electing new local, state and federal politicians, and by engaging in consumer campaigns . . . but also advocating for solutions that will regenerate—not only those systems, but our health, our environment and our local economies.

How will we build the movement? By enlisting the help of concerned citizens and conscious consumers in moving beyond online “clictivism” and protests, to on-the-ground political and consumer action. We’ve launched the #Resist and #Regenerate Movement on Meetup.com, to help reach new activists, and to give them the tools—and motivation—to work on local issues and local elections. We hope activists will use the platform to connect the dots between their work, with the work other food, farming, natural health, climate and social justice activists are doing, in their shared communities.

So, if you participated in a March Against Monsanto last weekend (and even if you didn’t), and you’re looking for the next step in the fight against Monsanto (and a host of other bad-actor politicians), start, or join, a #Resist and Regenerate Meetup group.

It’s time to get out, get active, get political and get corporations out of our politics.

Katherine Paul is associate director of the Organic Consumers Association.

Regeneration: Rules for Revolutionaries

Organic consumers - Wed, 2017-05-10 14:22
Environment & Climate, Fair Trade & Social Justice, Politics & GlobalizationRonnie CumminsOrganic Consumers AssociationMay 8, 2017 people bumping fists 1000x523.png

“Our common planet and governing system are fast approaching the point of no return. We must unite to protest and resist the out-of-control corporations and politicians that are degenerating our food, health, environment, climate, economy and politics. But we must also inspire and mobilize a new radical majority by focusing on positive solutions and alternatives in the marketplace and in the political arena—by building a multi-issue, multi-constituency power base in all 50 states, 3200 counties, and 39,000 cities and towns across the nation. The Regeneration Movement is a new grassroots-powered movement arising out of the organic food, natural health, fair trade and climate movements. Inspired by the Bernie Sanders insurgency, this new movement is dedicated to connecting the dots between all of our burning single issues, and to bringing together people and movements into a powerful revolutionary force. Our strategy is to mobilize a critical mass of Americans to oppose corporate crime and political corruption, through powerful public education, protests, consumer boycotts and political action. Over time we believe that our growing movement will gain the strength and power to bring out-of-control corporations to heel and, on the political front, to ‘throw the bums out,’ to replace the majority of the 500,000 elected public officials—from Main Street to Washington D.C.—who currently represent the interests of the corporate and economic elite (the ‘1 percent’), and replace these indentured bureaucrats with a new corps of insurgent public servants, willing to stand up and fight for the public interest. We are not talking about minor adjustments to our catastrophic ‘Business-as-Usual’ model. We are talking about a ‘Regeneration Revolution’.” – Ronnie Cummins, “Who We Are: Declaration of the New Nationwide Meetup.com Network called ‘Resist and Regenerate,’” April 22, 2017

Degeneration Nation

After eight years of failed promises, warmongering, and “business-as-usual, by-the-rich, for-the-rich” governance by the Obama administration and U.S. Congress, the Democratic Party Establishment and the mass media went on to sabotage the 2016 grassroots-powered campaign of radical insurgent Bernie Sanders. Instead, they nominated the hugely unpopular Hillary Clinton for President.

As a result, 92 million people stayed home on election day, 62 million voted for the neo-fascist billionaire Republican candidate Donald Trump, and 65 million voted for Clinton. Clinton “won” the popular vote but lost the Electoral College.

A hundred days into the Trump administration, what have we learned?

Number one: The Trump administration and the Republican-controlled Congress and Supreme Court, aided and abetted by Wall Street, fossil fuel companies, Big Pharma, Big Ag, and the military-industrial complex, as well as by collaborators in the Democratic Party Establishment and the “deep state” (FBI, CIA, and the military hierarchy), are the most corrupt and dangerous ruling elite in U.S. history.

Number two: A full 35-40 percent of the electorate (mainly older white people who live in the suburbs and small towns and rural areas outside major cities) are so bitter, nationalistic, greedy, brainwashed, racist, misogynist, homophobic and/or delusional that they continue to support Trump and his cronies no matter what they say or do. Climate change denial, xenophobia, racism, environmental pollution, cutbacks in health and social services, regulation rollbacks that let corporations pollute and poison at will, increased military spending, and tax cuts for the rich and big corporations are apparently no problem for Trump’s mass base, even as we rush headlong toward catastrophic global warming, economic meltdown and endless war.

The level of Trump support is now approximately the same as the Nazi Party (37 percent of the vote in the 1932 elections) enjoyed before Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in 1933. Given this mass support for what can only be described as 21st Century corporate fascism, the Trump resistance has no choice, at least for the moment, but to focus on mobilizing the “other 65 percent” of the electorate, especially the youth and racial minorities, who did not vote for Trump.

Grassroots mobilization and mass protest against the Trump junta have reached an all-time high. Yet our growing Anti-Trump resistance is still rather weak in terms of explaining exactly what it is we are fighting for. Are we talking about a return to Establishment Democratic Party rule, a slight revision of the status quo we experienced during the Obama and Clinton administrations? Or are we talking about a genuine grassroots “Political Revolution” as called for by Bernie Sanders, now the most popular politician in the U.S.?

We’ve protested against Trump’s corporate cronies and swamp cabinet; against dirty oil pipelines and fracking; against rollbacks of environmental, food safety, health and consumer protection regulations; against the slaughter of civilians in Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan and Iraq; against racist police and immigration policies; against laws designed to marginalize workers, poor people and minorities; and against anti-choice and homophobic cabinet and Supreme Court appointments and legislation.

Now, it’s time to work for something. It’s time to connect the dots between all of our burning issues, and unite our single-issue constituencies under a common vision and strategy for societal Regeneration—we cannot afford to return to the Democratic Party Establishment’s business-as-usual politics.

Resistance and Regeneration: Five Rules for Revolutionaries

It’s no secret that our current food, farming, health, climate and political crises pose a mortal threat, not just to our well-being, but to our very survival. The question is: What do we do about it?

Here are several organizing principles that we need to keep in mind, along with concrete action steps to begin to meet up and work with others in our local communities who are also ready for radical change.

Rule Number One: Talk about big change, not small change

We need to stop focusing exclusively on our favorite single issues or on the latest “protest du jour” against the Trump Administration. The reason Sen. Bernie Sanders is currently the most popular national politician is not because he’s talking about single-issue small-scale reforms, but rather because he’s talking about a multi-issue economic and political revolution. In times of radical crisis and dissatisfaction, people are looking for systemic change, not just minor reforms or empty rhetoric.

Rule Number Two: Describe the New Revolution in positive, solution-oriented terms, with a special emphasis on regenerative food, farming and land use

Regeneration: Formed or created again; spiritually reborn or converted; restored to a better, higher, or more worthy state.

The regeneration of the body politic requires that we disengage ourselves from business-as-usual activism and the standard gloom and doom conversation on climate, health, war, politics, economics, ethics, and peace.

“Sustaining” a dying planet or “mitigating” catastrophic climate change or political fascism is no longer an option. We must change the global conversation surrounding the climate crisis, global poverty, unemployment, low-paying jobs, endless war, and deteriorating public health from halfway measures of “mitigating” to “reversing” or “solving.”

As we must never tire of explaining, there are grounds for hope. In terms of our food, farming, health and climate crisis, there is an organic, world-changing, field-tested, shovel-ready climate-stabilizing solution at hand. It’s no further away than the knives and forks in our hands. It already exists, on our local farms, gardens, lawns, parks, rangelands, wetlands and forests.  The solution to Climate Armageddon and many of our other pressing problems (health, nutrition, rural poverty) lies literally in conserving, restoring and re-carbonizing the living soil beneath our feet. Regenerative food, farming and land use, scaled up globally over the next 25 years—whereby we draw down more greenhouse gases from the atmosphere than we emit, and store this carbon in the soil, forests, and wetlands—can turn the tide of modern history from degeneration to Regeneration.

According to India activist and author Vandana Shiva, “Regenerative agriculture provides answers to the soil crisis, the food crisis, the health crisis, the climate crisis and the crisis of democracy."

Although Regeneration is used most commonly in reference to transformative food, farming and land-use practices, from the perspective of our new Movement, Regeneration principles can be constructively applied to every major problem of modern society, including national and international security, economics, unemployment, politics, health and ethics.

Even if the world manages to move to 100-percent renewable energy and zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, as pledged by 200 nations at the Paris Climate Summit in 2015, and manages to “sustain” or stabilize atmospheric CO2 at 450-500 ppm, this is not enough to get us back to the safe level of 280-350 ppm of CO2 in our atmosphere. The only way we can safeguard the future of civilization is to not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050, but to also simultaneously scale up regenerative food, farming and land use so as to sequester enough carbon (200-250 billion tons) in our soils, forests and wetlands to reach the kind of “normal” atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases that we had several hundred years ago, before the industrial revolution.

If you are unfamiliar with the enormous impact of industrial food and farming and destructive deforestation and land use practices on global warming and the concept of natural carbon sequestration through regenerative land use, please visit the Regeneration International website.

If you’re unaware, as most of us are, that the majority of greenhouse gas emissions today come from not cars or industrial manufacturing and utilities, but rather from our out-of-control industrial food, farming and land-use practices, read this compelling article.

Rule Number Three: Connect the dots between single-issue movements and constituencies

None of our current single-issue movements are strong enough to change the degenerate dynamics in the marketplace or the political arena. We can’t go on having a food, anti-GMO and organic movement over here, a climate, environmental and anti-war movement over there, and scores of separate silos for environmental justice, health care, natural health, alternative energy, animal rights, LGBT rights, immigration rights, fair trade, Black Lives Matter, indigenous people’s rights, fair labor, women’s rights, family farmers’ rights, and students’ rights. We can’t go on having a segment of radicals and progressives who work on electoral politics but stay aloof from protests and issue-based campaigns, while those of us working on consumer, economic justice, environmental justice, racial justice or other issue-based campaigns ignore electoral politics.

Rule Number Four: Beyond online activism, build a massive on-the-ground Resist and Regenerate Movement 

We can’t rely on internet activism alone to get the job done. Yes, we must become even more effective in terms of using the internet and social media for public education and for putting pressure on corporations, regulatory bodies and politicians. But we also have to regularly step away from our laptops and phones, and trade Facebook time for face-to-face time. We need to communicate and meet up in person with our friends and neighbors, and our fellow activists in different movements, and begin to figure out how to exercise our collective consumer power, and political power, in numbers too big to be ignored. We need a new movement—one that empowers consumers and citizens to both resist the corporate takeover of our government, and also to propose solutions to regenerate our health, environment, economy and democracy.

All of our burning issues arise from the same degenerate “profit-at-any-cost” system, while all of the solutions we need are interconnected. Healthy soils, healthy people, healthy climate, healthy forests, clean water, healthy oceans, animal welfare, farmworker rights, peace, social justice, and rural/urban prosperity can go hand and hand if we move from our degenerative factory farm/junk food/industrial/globalized food, farming and land-use system to one based on organic and regenerative farming, animal husbandry, forestry and land use. A green economy based on renewable energy, regenerative farming, retrofitting the nation’s housing stock, mass transportation, commercial buildings, and infrastructure can provide jobs for all willing to work while we move toward zero fossil fuel emissions by 2050.

Reframing national and international security around the real threats we face: climate change, water scarcity, global poverty and environmental degradation, can provide our armed forces and the armed forces of all the nations of the world with something useful and meaningful to do, while providing a global basis for cooperation, rather than conflict.

Rule Number Five: Localize the Resist and Regenerate Movement

Through meetups and networking in our local communities, through connecting the dots between our single issues, we can resist the Degenerators and strengthen the Resist and Regeneration Movement. By reaching out to other activists working on food, farming, natural health, justice, climate, peace, and environmental issues we can bring about a revolution, not only in the marketplace, but in the political arena as well.

How do we start this process?

A few days ago we emailed this message to 500,000 organic consumers. Please read this call-to-action, and sign up to lead or participate in one of the hundreds of new Resist and Regenerate Meetup chapters that are forming across North America.

The time is late. The situation is dire. But we still have time to turn things around.

Venceremos. We shall overcome.

Ronnie Cummins is international director of the Organic Consumers Association and a member of the Regeneration International steering committee.

A Personal Message From OCA Director Ronnie Cummins

Organic consumers - Wed, 2017-05-03 16:57
Environment & Climate, Genetic Engineering, Politics & GlobalizationRonnie CumminsOrganic Consumers AssociationMay 2, 2017 resist regenerate no website 1000x523.png

Wall Street, Big Ag, Big Pharma, and multinationals like Monsanto, Dow, Exxon and Wal-Mart have always been able to buy industry-friendly regulations that put you and your family, and indeed our future survival, at risk.

But as we’ve seen recently—with the White House and Congressional attack on climate, food safety, factory farm, school lunches and environmental regulations, the escalation of the never-ending wars in the Middle East, the announcement that the USDA will not test foods for Monsanto’s poisonous pesticide Roundup, and the EPA’s plan to roll back a ban on Dow’s brain damage-causing pesticide (chlorpyrifos)—the corporate takeover of our political system has created what can only be described as a national emergency.

Out-of-control corporations and politicians, aided and abetted by the mass media and indentured scientists, are degenerating our food, health, environment, climate and democracy. This national and international crisis will only get worse—unless we act fast, act smart, and act together.

Please help us build a massive #resist and #regenerate movement to stop the corporate takeover of our democracy, and to bring about solutions that will regenerate everything from our food, farming, and health, to our economy and our democracy.

Get started today by setting up a local group on Meetup.com. Join a #Resist and #Regenerate meetup near you or sign up here to start one, then read the instructions below to get started organizing.

We learned a lot when we took on Monsanto and Big Food in the fight for GMO labeling. But perhaps the most important lesson was this: We have not yet built a movement big enough, or powerful enough, to beat giant corporations with deep pockets.

We must, and we can, do better. But to succeed, we’ll have to step away from our laptops and phones, meet in person with our friends and neighbors, and start exercising our collective consumer power, and our collective political power—in numbers too big to be ignored.

It’s time to build a new on-the-ground movement—one that empowers consumers and citizens to both resist the corporate takeover of our government, and regenerate our health, environment and democracy.

We call it the #resist and #regenerate movement. Today I’m personally inviting you to help lead and grow this new on-the-ground movement.

There are over 500,000 elected and appointed officials in this country. Too many of them are on the wrong side of the issues you care about—food, GMOs, health, the environment, social and economic justice.

Unless we elect new leaders—not just Congress members, but also city, county, school board, park board, and state officials—nothing will change. Politicians will continue to serve the corporations that fund their campaigns. Corporations will continue to write the laws that allow them to poison and pollute.

We have the power to change this—we just need to exercise it. And that means moving beyond our single-issue organizing, in favor of building a united and massive movement, both online and on the ground.

Today, I’m asking you to help lead this movement. Join a #Resist and #Regenerate meetup near you or sign up here to start one, then read the instructions below.

Through meetups and networking in our local communities, by connecting the dots between our single issues, we can resist the Degenerators and strengthen the organic and regeneration movements.

By reaching out to and communicating with other activists working on food, farming, natural health, justice, climate, peace, and environmental issues we can bring about a revolution, not only in the marketplace, but in the political arena as well.

Please join us today as we #resist and #regenerate.

In Solidarity,

Ronnie Cummins
International Director

 

 

How to get started

Millions of people, in cities and counties across the country, are connecting via Meetup.com. By creating your own local “#resist and #regenerate” group on Meetup, you’ll be able to instantly connect with people who care about food, GMO, climate change, natural health, social and economic justice, animal welfare and other issues.

The Meetup platform makes it easy for you to invite local activists to a meeting to discuss how to make more progress on all of these issues, by working more closely together. We already have 200 of these Resist and Regenerate meetup groups going across the country, but we need thousands.

Here’s what to do (if you run into any problems, email organize@organicconsumers.org and someone will help):

1.    Check out the map to see if there is already a #Resist and #Regenerate group in your area.

2.    Go to meetup.com. Follow the instructions for setting up an account (it's free).

3.    Fill out this form. Once we've got your information we'll set up your #Resist and #Regenerate group and email you the link to join. (Your page will look like this, view the #Resist and #Regenerate map here.)

4.    Join your group!

5.    After you join your group, your OCA regional coordinator will make you a co-organizer for your group. Your regional coordinator will be on hand to answer questions.

6.    Once you are an co-organizer for your group, you can schedule your first meetup (Click on “Home,” then click on “Schedule a meetup.”)

7.    After you schedule a meetup, email organize@organicconsumers.org and your regional coordinator, to let them know. We’ll send you a packet of leaflets, bumper stickers and other materials. You’ll also find resources on your group homepage—click on “Pages” then “Resources.”

How Mainstream Media Insults the Public’s Intelligence on Vaccines

Organic consumers - Tue, 2017-04-25 18:15
Health IssuesMartha RosenbergOrganic Consumers AssociationApril 24, 2017 Kid Eyes 1000x523

There is a bitter war going on, and it’s not over Trumpcare or immigration: It is about vaccines.

Mainstream media and medical groups, typically funded or backed by Big Pharma, cast parents who are skeptical about vaccines as conspiracy theorists whose backward beliefs put the public at risk.

Vaccine skeptics cast vaccine promoters as paid shills, hired by Big Pharma to cover up documented vaccine-related injuries.

In mainstream and progressive media coverage (Mother Jones, Alternet, Huffington Post, Truthout, Progressive, The Nation) there is zero tolerance for critical debate about vaccine safety. Question why the hepatitis B vaccine is routinely given to babies at birth—for a disease mainly transmitted through sex and I.V. drug use—and you’re  labeled “anti-science.”

Suggest that some vaccines, including those such as the highly promoted HPV Gardasil and Cervarix (both of which have been linked to adverse reactions and death) are not exactly “life-saving,” and you might as well yell “bring back polio.”

The media routinely discredits parents of vaccine-injured children, accusing them of not knowing anything about medicine (except raising their own challenged child of course) and of "imagining" or even causing their child's deficits.

Progressive news sites that would never defend corporate media coverage of Monsanto or GMOs drink the vaccines-are-safe Kool-Aid. Last month, Jezebel ran this headline: "Robert De Niro and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Call Vaccines Dangerous, Which They Are Not." In a 2015 article, the Atlantic sneered that "Vaccines Are Profitable, So What?" And the Daily Beast has gone so far as to praise Paul Offit, perhaps the nation’s most extreme vaccine promoter.

One wants to ask these progressive sites: Do you really think Pharma has never steered us wrong, just for the sake of profit? What about all the drugs that had to be pulled from the market, after Pharma insisted they were safe? Drugs like Vioxx, Baycol, Trovan, Meridia, Seldane, Hismanal, Darvon, Raxar, Redux, Mylotarg, Lotronex, Propulsid, phenylpropanolamine (PPA), Prexige, phenacetin, Oraflex, Omniflox, Posicor, Serzone and Duract?

The fact is vaccines are not all safe. That’s why the National Vaccine Injury Compensation (VICP) program, established to provide monetary compensation to victims of vaccine injuries, exists. The VICP website states:

Most people who get vaccines have no serious problems. In very rare cases, a vaccine can cause a serious problem, such as a severe allergic reaction. In these instances, the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) may provide financial compensation to individuals who file a petition and are found to have been injured by a VICP-covered vaccine.

Even the very pro-Pharma Forbes reports: "It's true that there have been 24,000 reports of adverse events with Gardasil" and "106 deaths." But the author of the Forbes article rationalizes: "There have also been 60,000 reports of adverse events with the mumps, measles, and rubella vaccine, and 26,000 following vaccination with . . . Prevnar, for pneumococcus bacteria."

We ask: Do two wrongs make a right, Forbes?

The CDC maintains a Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) where people can see for themselves the adverse effects and deaths related to a particular vaccine. A search for people who have died from the measles vaccines MEA, MER, MM, MMR or MMRV revealed 416 deaths. Last summer, the mainstream science outlet EurekaAlert submitted that reading VAERS info “may not build public trust or adherence.”

That is an understatement.

Profiteering and conflicts of interest not even hidden

There is no question vaccines are profitable. In some states, Blue Cross Blue Shield gives doctors bonuses for the vaccines they give patients. And an increasing number of drugstore chains now offer vaccines.

There are brazen and unhidden conflicts of interest between mainstream media and vaccine makers who influence reporting and discourage healthy debate about vaccine safety. Mike Papantonio, of the America’s Lawyer TV show, reports: 

According to a 2009 study by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, with the exception of CBS, every major media outlet in the United States shares at least one board member with at least one drug company. These board members wake up, they go to a meeting at Merck or Pfizer, and then they have their driver take them over to a meeting at a TV station.

The Gates Foundation is deeply entangled with vaccine makers, as are our own government agencies, including the CDC. It’s clearly a fox-guarding-the-henhouse situation. The vaccine industry also “gives millions to the Academy of Pediatrics for conferences, grants, medical education classes and even helped build their headquarters,” reports CBS.

In 2013, the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health reported that the seriousness with which academics portrayed the 2009-2010 swine flu outbreak was shaped proportionately by how much funding they had received from Pharma.

What does the science say?

When you read the scientific papers published about vaccine safety—and especially about links to childhood autism—it seems as if they are all written by four scientists who know each other and who work for Big Vac.  Despite overwhelming evidence that the mercury used in vaccines, thimerosal, is harmful to children and to pregnant women and the elderly, the official position of pro-vaccine scientists is “it was totally safe but we took it out anyway.”

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., chairman of The World Mercury Project, disagrees. Vaccines containing thimerosal are neither safe, nor is thimerosal gone from vaccines he claims. Kennedy offers $100,000 to anyone who can find a published study indexed in PubMed proving mercury levels in vaccines are harmless for infants and developing fetuses at the levels they are given.

Though they are scientists, pro-vaccine researchers use embarrassing non-logic in their vaccine defenses—they actually employ the "Raven Paradox" which many of us learned in Logic 101. It declares that “all ravens are black; that bird is black; it must be a raven.”  In other words, according to logic-challenged researchers: "Mercury is safe—and it doesn't cause autism—so all vaccines are safe.”

Meanwhile, the pro-vaccine scientists seldom, if ever, address the more complicated scientific questions surrounding vaccines—such as other metals used in them, like aluminum. Or whether the current series of multiple vaccines administered to children today could overwhelm their immune systems. Or whether live vaccines or disease antibodies could paradoxically cause the disease they’re intended to prevent.

According to published articles, it’s not just the thimerosal but metals in general, such as the currently used aluminum in vaccines, that are under suspicion. Such metals can cross the child’s blood brain barrier and set off increased oxidative stress which is linked to autism, say journal reports. Oxidative stress is an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the ability of the body to counteract or detoxify their harmful effects through neutralization by antioxidants. Too many vaccines given too closely together to children that are too young also increases the stress, say those who question vaccines and vaccine schedules.

When a scientific paper appears to clearly show a link between childhood vaccines recommended in the U.S. and impaired neurodevelopment, pro-vaccine scientists savage it. A 2010 paper published in Acta Neurobiologiae Experimentalis, a quarterly peer-reviewed scientific journal covering neuroscience, found that “rhesus macaque infants receiving the complete U.S. childhood vaccine schedule” did not “undergo the maturational changes over time in amygdala volume that was observed in unexposed animals.”

Why does the amygdala matter? The researchers wrote: “Neuropathological and neuroimaging studies of individuals with an ASD [autism spectrum disorder] . . . have provided growing evidence of a central role for the amygdala.” Specifically, it is enlarged in such children “compared with neurotypical controls.”

Pro-vaccine scientists pounced. Not enough monkeys were used to establish a scientific finding, said one scientist. Opposite findings about the amygdala have been reached,

which invalidate the study, said another scientist. One angry scientist was even willing to discredit the monkey study by claiming that monkeys are not a valid model for human disease—thus annulling millions of experiments including the ones on which human drugs are approved! Of course, many in the animal welfare community have questioned the validity of animal "models."

Insulting illogic

On behalf of Pharma, mainstream science and media set up a strawman called “vaccines cause autism.” Then they knocked it down and declared vaccines safe. It is an insult to the public’s intelligence, especially in light of clear injuries that exist, including those documented in the VAERS database—not to mention injured people, especially parents of injured children. The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program alone has awarded $3.18 billion in 16,000 claims since 1988.

Do vaccine injury cases prove that vaccines are always unsafe and should always be avoided? Of course not. But those cases do prove that vaccines are not “completely safe” as the well-funded vaccine dogma continues to insultingly tell us.

Martha Rosenberg is a contributing writer for the Organic Consumers Association. 

International Monsanto Tribunal Calls for Human Rights Over Corporate Rights

Organic consumers - Thu, 2017-04-20 14:51
Environment & Climate, Fair Trade & Social Justice, OCA in the NewsKatherine PaulOrganic Consumers AssociationApril 18, 2017 Monsanto tribunal press conference 1000x523

Most opinion tribunals have had a considerable impact, and it is now accepted that they contribute to the progressive development of international law. – International Monsanto Tribunal Advisory Opinion, The Hague, April 18, 2017

On Tuesday, April 18, representatives of the Organic Consumers Association and our Regeneration International project gathered in The Hague, Netherlands, along with members of other civil society groups, scientists and journalists.

We assembled to hear the opinions of the five judges who presided over the International Monsanto Tribunal. After taking six months to review the testimony of 28 witnesses who testified during the two-day citizens’ tribunal held in The Hague last October, the judges were ready to report on their 53-page Advisory Opinion.

The upshot of the judges’ opinion? Monsanto has engaged in practices that have violated the basic human right to a healthy environment, the right to food, the right to health, and the right of scientists to freely conduct indispensable research.

The judges also called on international lawmakers to hold corporations like Monsanto accountable, to place human rights above the rights of corporations, and to “clearly assert the protection of the environment and establish the crime of ecocide.”

The completion of the Tribunal judges’ work coincides with heightened scrutiny of Monsanto, during a period when the company seeks to complete a merger with Germany-based Bayer. In addition to our organization’s recently filed lawsuit against Monsanto, the St. Louis-based chemical maker is facing more than 800 lawsuits by people who developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma after being exposed to Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. As a result of recently-made-public court documents related to those lawsuits, pressure is mounting for Congress to investigate alleged collusion between former EPA officials and Monsanto to bury the truth about the health risks of Roundup.

The timing couldn’t have been better for the Monsanto Tribunal to announce its opinions. But is time running out for us to hold Monsanto accountable—and replace its failed, degenerative model with a food and farming system that regenerates soil, health and local economies?

Citizens’ tribunals historically contribute to developing international law

The Monsanto Tribunal judges had barely finished delivering their opinions before Monsanto spit out the usual pablum, claiming to be committed to finding “real solutions” to the challenges of hunger, food security and the role of farmers to “nourish our growing world sustainably.”

In a statement issued by the biotech giant’s Global Human Rights Steering Committee (who knew?), Monsanto claimed the Tribunal was “staged by a select group of anti-agriculture technology and anti-Monsanto critics who played organizers, judge and jury.”

In fact, organizers of the Tribunal had no say in the judges’ final opinion. And the judges themselves are all independent, highly qualified lawyers and legal experts, recognized by the international legal community for their accomplishments and credentials.

In their Advisory Opinion, the judges didn’t directly address criticism of the Monsanto Tribunal specifically, nor did they address attempts to delegitimize citizens’ tribunals (which the judges referred to as “Opinion Tribunals”) in general. But the judges did outline what an Opinion Tribunal is—and is not—and why they are important:

Their objective is twofold: alerting public opinion, stakeholders and policy-makers to acts considered as unacceptable and unjustifiable under legal standards; contributing to the advancement of national and international law.

The work and conclusions of opinion tribunals are shared with all relevant actors and widely disseminated in the national and international community. Most opinion tribunals have had a considerable impact, and it is now accepted that they contribute to the progressive development of international law.

Judges: Monsanto violated basic human rights

As we wrote last year, the Monsanto Tribunal judges were asked to consider six questions, referred to as the “Terms of Reference.” During two days of testimony, the judges heard from 28 witnesses (representing about 15 countries) on matters relating to the six questions.

On four of those questions—whether or not Monsanto violated the right to a healthy environment, right to food, right to health, and right to freedom of expression and academic research—the judges concluded in all cases that yes, Monsanto’s activities have violated all of those rights. (Detailed answers to all questions are included in the Advisory Opinion).

On the question of war crimes, related to Monsanto supplying Agent Orange to the U.S. military during the Vietnam War, the judges concluded:

Because of the current state of international law and the absence of specific evidence, the Tribunal cannot give any definitive answer to the question it was asked. Nevertheless, it seems that Monsanto knew how its products would be used and had information on the consequences for human health and the environment. The Tribunal is of the view that, would the crime of Ecocide be added in International law, the reported facts could fall within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

And that brings us to question six: Could the activities of Monsanto constitute a crime of ecocide, understood as causing serious damage or destroying the environment, so as to significantly and durably alter the global commons or ecosystem services upon which certain human groups rely?

Possibly—if ecocide were recognized as an international crime, under the Rome Statute. Because it isn’t, at least not yet, the judges could only add to existing calls for the International Law Commission to amend the Rome Statute to include ecocide on its list of international crimes.

On complicity in war crimes, the Tribunal judges wrote:

The Tribunal assesses that international law should now precisely and clearly assert the protection of the environment and the crime of ecocide. The Tribunal concludes that if such a crime of ecocide were recognized in international criminal law, the activities of Monsanto could possibly constitute a crime of ecocide. Several of the company’s activities may fall within this infraction, such as the manufacture and supply of glyphosate-based herbicides to Colombia in the context of its plan for aerial application on coca crops, which negatively impacted the environment and the health of local populations; the large-scale use of dangerous agrochemicals in industrial agriculture; and the engineering, production, introduction and release of genetically engineered crops. Severe contamination of plant diversity, soils and waters would also fall within the qualification of ecocide. Finally, the introduction of persistent organic pollutants such as PCB into the environment causing widespread, long-lasting and severe environmental harm and affecting the right of the future generations could fall within the qualification of ecocide as well.

International law has ‘failed woefully’, but we have to hope

We can’t do justice here to the Tribunal judges’ 53-page Advisory Opinion. The Opinion, which include 120 citations, paints a detailed picture of how Monsanto violates human rights and ravages the environment, on a global scale. In their published Opinion, the judges call for changes in international law in order to give priority to human rights, over the rights of corporations, and to hold corporations accountable for violating human and environmental rights.

While according companies like Monsanto unprecedented rights and entitlements, international law has failed woefully to impose any corresponding obligation to protect human rights and the environment. However, it is beyond the scope of this advisory opinion to consider the breadth of reforms required to re-align the respective priorities of commercial and public interests that must be brought about under international law. Therefore, the Tribunal strongly encourages authoritative bodies to address the legal and practical limitations that currently confine the scope, content and ultimately the effectiveness of international human rights law.

As she wrapped up the April 18 press conference in The Hague, Tribunal Judge Françoise Tulkens said that while the judges’ work was done, the work of civil society has just begun.

“Now this Advisory Opinion is in your hands, it’s for you to use it. You, as in civil servants, as in lawyers and judges, if it’s possible . . .  maybe this Opinion will serve in the development of international law, and of course international law does develop under the impetus of civil society, so for that maybe we have to wait one year, two years, decades, maybe centuries, I don’t know, but we still have to hope that it’s possible.”

As we hope for international law to start holding corporations like Monsanto (or Bayer or Dow or Syngenta) accountable for the devastating consequences of their poisonous chemicals, we must also look for hopeful solutions for feeding the world’s growing population. Monsanto will have you believe that its failed GMO monoculture model provides those solutions—but increasingly, the world is wising up to that lie.

In “3 Big Myths about Modern Agriculture,” David R. Montgomery, professor of Earth and Space Sciences at the University of Washington, says that conventional farming practices that degrade soil health undermine humanity’s ability to continue feeding everyone over the long run. Montgomery writes:

I no longer see debates about the future of agriculture as simply conventional versus organic. In my view, we’ve oversimplified the complexity of the land and underutilized the ingenuity of farmers. I now see adopting farming practices that build soil health as the key to a stable and resilient agriculture.

Do we have decades or centuries, as Tulkens suggests, for international law to crack down on Monsanto? Probably not, if climate scientists’ predictions are correct. But as humans with rights, and consumers with responsibility for our purchasing decisions, we can help fuel a Regeneration Revolution that can both cool the planet and feed the world—without poison.

Watch the Monsanto Tribunal April 18 press conference

Summary of the Monsanto Tribunal Advisory Opinion

Monsanto Tribunal Advisory Opinion—full document


Katherine Paul is associate director of the Organic Consumers Association.


 

Tell the USDA: Support Organic Farmers and Consumers Not Big Food. No ‘Organic Checkoff’ Program!

Organic consumers - Thu, 2017-04-06 19:56
Belong to campaign: Safeguard Organic StandardsCategory: All About OrganicsArea: USA

Advertisements with slogans like “Incredible Edible Egg,” “Pork: The Other White Meat,” “Beef: It’s What’s for Dinner,” and “Got Milk?” promote industries (mostly Big Meat and Big Dairy), without ever mentioning a specific company or brand. Who pays for those ads?

The money comes from Research & Promotion (R&P) programs set up under the USDA, commonly referred to as checkoff programs. Now the USDA, with support from the Organic Trade Association (OTA), wants to establish a similar mandatory program specifically for organic producers.

Good idea? The Big Food corporations that are buying up organic brands (and calling a lot of the shots at OTA), say yes. But small organic producers and family farmers say that an organic checkoff program will be bad for them, and bad for consumers.

TAKE ACTION BY MIDNIGHT APRIL 19: Tell the USDA: Support organic farmers and consumers not Big Food. No ‘Organic Checkoff’ Program! Please sign our 'No Organic Checkoff' petition. Read more

Tell Your Senators: Protect Consumers’ Right to Hold Corporations Accountable

Organic consumers - Wed, 2017-04-05 19:09
Belong to campaign: Millions Against MonsantoCategory: Politics & GlobalizationArea: USA

The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a suite of bills that would make it harder for ordinary people to take corporations like Monsanto to court—even if a company’s product is proven to cause serious injury or illness.

The bills—three of them—will soon head to the Senate.

TAKE ACTION: Tell your Senators to protect consumers’ right to hold corporations accountable by voting NO on H.R. 985, H.R. 725 and H.R. 720. Read more

'so I'm biggering my company'

Organic consumers - Wed, 2017-03-29 15:44
Environment & Climate, Genetic EngineeringRonnie CumminsOrganic Consumers AssociationMarch 29, 2017https://salsa3.salsalabs.com/o/50865/p/salsa/donation/common/public/?donate_page_KEY=12139 2017 Spring $180k 1000x523

There's a principle in business, that everybody knows is sound,
It says the people with the money, make this ever-loving world go ‘round.
So I’m biggering my company, I’m biggering my factory,
I’m biggering my corporate sign.
Everybody out there can take care of yours,
And me? I’ll take care of mine mine mine mine mine. – Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

Trump just unveiled his vision for America: Let corporations pollute at will.

Trump’s plan to gut EPA and USDA regulations follows a previously announced plan to cut funding for medical research.

One of his prime targets? The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)—the agency that two years ago classified Monsanto’s Roundup as a probable human carcinogen.

With only three days to go, we’re about $60,000 short of our quarterly fundraising goal. Fortunately, Mercola.com, our ally in the battle against Monsanto, has stepped up with a triple match offer. Please help us take advantage of this generous offer by making a donation today.

There's no end to the grim news coming from Washington D.C. these days.

Chemicals in your food and water? Don’t worry.

Global warming? It doesn’t exist.

You may think the situation is hopeless. But you have more power than you think.

Corporations will cheer Trump’s plan to trade short-term corporate profits for your health, and your children’s future.

None will cheer more loudly than Monsanto.

As you know, Monsanto is hoping to “bigger its company” by merging with another of the world’s worst chemicals companies, Bayer.

But Bayer may not be so keen to buy Monsanto, if the lawsuits against the maker of Roundup keep piling up, if the number of acres planted in GMO crops continues to decline, and if the EPA decides against reregistering glyphosate because the agency can no longer deny the allegations that some of its own officials colluded with Monsanto to bury evidence that glyphosate causes cancer.

In the coming weeks and months, with your help, we will push for a Congressional investigation into the possibility that Monsanto and the EPA hid the truth from you about the health risks of Roundup.

 We will call on you to visit your Congress members in their home offices, and demand to know the truth about what went on behind closed doors at the EPA.

You will help us bring victims of Roundup to Washington, where they will make the case that Monsanto knew about the link between Roundup and cancer. (More than 700 people have sued Monsanto because they, or a family member, developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma after being exposed to Roundup).

You’ve probably reduced your own exposure to Roundup by avoiding GMO foods.

But it would be nearly impossible to avoid glyphosate altogether. Why? Because only 20 percent of GMO crops go into food. Twice as much goes into animal feed for factory farms. Another 40 percent are used to make ethanol.

History will no doubt rank glyphosate as one of the worst scourges unleashed on the human race.

Your relentless pursuit of the truth, and concern for the future, are our best hope for ridding the world of Roundup.

We're down to the wire, and we're still about $60,000 short of our quarterly fundraising goal. Fortunately, Mercola.com, our ally in the battle against Monsanto, has stepped up with a triple match offer. Please help us take advantage of this generous offer by making a donation today.

In Gratitude and Hope,

Ronnie Cummins
International Director

Congress Must Investigate Collusion Between Monsanto and the EPA, Now

Organic consumers - Thu, 2017-03-23 13:23
Environment & Climate, Health Issues, Politics & GlobalizationKatherine PaulOrganic Consumers AssociationMarch 23, 2017 handshake cartoon businessmen suits red cc 1000x523.png

“I have cancer, and I don’t want these serious issues in HED [EPA’s Health Effects Division] to go unaddressed before I go to my grave. I have done my duty.”

It’s been four years since Marion Copley, a 30-year EPA toxicologist, wrote those words to her then-colleague, Jess Rowland, accusing him of conniving with Monsanto to bury the agency’s own hard scientific evidence that it is “essentially certain” that glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller, causes cancer.

Copley has since died. But her letter suggesting that EPA officials colluded with Monsanto to hide the truth about Monsanto’s flagship weedkiller has been given new life.

Thanks to the persistence of hundreds of plaintiffs in lawsuits alleging that they (or their deceased family members) were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma after being exposed to Roundup, newly discovered internal emails and other documents are being made public. And they paint an increasingly troubling and sinister picture of corruption.

The Organic Consumers Association is calling on Congress to immediately and fully investigate these and any other revelations that may come to light.

A long history of deceit

For decades, Monsanto has enjoyed a revolving-door relationship with government agencies like the EPA and USDA, giving the chemical company unprecedented power to influence and manipulate the regulatory process.

Meanwhile, the biotech behemoth has attacked scientists’ claims that its flagship product, Roundup, causes harm to both humans and the environment, by discrediting scientists who raise concerns, coercing others into producing industry-friendly research, and manipulating corporate media into spinning a favorable narrative.

And while on the one hand clinging steadfastly to its claim that Roundup is “safe,” Monsanto strong-armed the junk food industry into joining forces against consumers who said fine, if your Roundup-sprayed GMO foods are safe, you should have no problem labeling them.

But just as the truth about DDT and Agent Orange came too late for many of its victims, so it appears to be the case for hundreds, or more likely tens of thousands of people—all over the world—who have been affected by Monsanto’s Roundup.

Here in the U.S., victims are fighting back through a wave of new lawsuits—more than 700, filed in St. Louis, Mo. (Monsanto headquarters) and Alameda, Calif.

As reported in EcoWatch, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., co-counsel in some of the lawsuits, told St. Louis Public Radio:

"We're bringing the lawsuit to address the injuries that have been caused by Roundup and glyphosate to mainly farmers and farm workers, but we think that consumers and home gardeners have also been affected." 

Monsanto is sticking to its story, that “when used according to directions,” Roundup is safe. Farmers who spray it, consumers who use it in their yards needn’t worry, the Biotech Giant says. But as lawyers and reporters sift through and pore over thousands of pages of court documents, Monsanto’s claims of safety ring more and more hollow.

As reported in Alternet:

One of the documents unsealed by Judge Vince Chhabria was an email written by William F. Heydens, a Monsanto executive, giving his colleagues the green light to ghostwrite glyphosate research and then hire academics to put their names on the papers. He even cited an instance where the company had used this method in the past. "We would be keeping the cost down by us doing the writing and they would just edit & sign their names so to speak," wrote Heydens.

On March 21, officials at the New York Medical College (NYMC) in Valhalla, N.Y., told the American Association for the Advancement of Science they will investigate one of their faculty members, who according to the court documents, put his name on a paper partially ghostwritten by Monsanto employees.

Good to know that at least one institution is willing to uphold the integrity of science.

Tip of the sinking iceberg?

In the coming weeks and months, reporters and lawyers will continue to sift through and analyze the mountain of new documents that include emails between Monsanto and EPA officials.

What we’ve seen so far may be just the tip of the iceberg. But after all the evidence has been analyzed and exposed, will it be enough to bring down Monsanto?

Probably not—unless the public pushes back as never before. And unless Congress does its job.

Meanwhile, people like Yolanda Mendoza, who trusted Monsanto’s word that Roundup is safe, deal with the consequences of that trust. Mendoza, diagnosed with Stage IV non-Hodgkin lymphoma, told a Houston, Texas-based TV station:

“I have nerve damage, I don't feel the tips of my fingers,” said Yolanda Mendoza. “My jaw, its still, I still can't feel it.”

In 2015, 17 scientists with the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research (IARC) on Cancer unanimously concluded in 2015 (and since reaffirmed) that Roundup is a "probable carcinogen" to humans—and that people exposed to Roundup are most likely to get non-Hodgkin lymphoma and other hematopoietic cancers.

Last month, A report by the Special Rapporteur on the right to food, presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council, stated unequivocally that the storyline perpetuated by companies like Monsanto—the one that says we need pesticides like Roundup to feed the world—is a myth. And a catastrophic one at that.

Since the EPA was established on December 2, 1970, to work for “a cleaner, healthier environment for the American people,” it has failed repeatedly to put public health above corporate profits, as documented in “Poison Spring: The Secret History of Pollution and the EPA,” written by a 25-year veteran of the agency.

Roundup is the most widely used herbicide in the world. If anyone inside the EPA has colluded with Monsanto to bury evidence that this product—labeled “safe” and widely available today in stores like Home Depot, Walmart, TrueValue Hardware—causes cancer, Congress should investigate that collusion now.

Please ask your Congress members to investigate the truth about Monsanto and the EPA.

Katherine Paul is associate director of the Organic Consumers Association.

 

Demand Congress Investigate Collusion Between Monsanto and the EPA!

Organic consumers - Mon, 2017-03-20 21:09
Belong to campaign: Millions Against MonsantoAppetite for a Change#resist and #regenerateCategory: Genetic Engineering, Health Issues, Politics & GlobalizationArea: USA

The New York Times reported Tuesday (March 14) that a former high-level EPA official collaborated with Monsanto to bury the truth about Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller.

According to the Times, and other news outlets, Monsanto and the EPA official may have conducted a cover-up in order to protect Monsanto’s billion-dollar flagship product from being taken off the market.

For decades, the evidence has been mounting that Roundup causes cancer. Yet even after a panel of 17 scientists with the World Health Organization unanimously agreed that Roundup is a “probably carcinogenic,” Monsanto has refused to acknowledge the evidence. Instead, the company continues to profit from sales of a product—a product sold both commercially and in retail stores—that is linked to cancer.

TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress: Investigate the collusion between Monsanto and the EPA to bury the truth about Roundup. And in the meantime, ban sales of Roundup until we know the truth!Read more