Environment

#LabelGMOsNewEngland!

Organic consumers - Sat, 2015-03-28 14:55
Genetic EngineeringRonnie CumminsOrganic Consumers AssociationMarch 27, 2015 labelgmosnewengland_115k.png

Dear Organic Consumer,

It’s been a big news week for the GMO labeling movement.

The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that Roundup causes cancer. 

The New York Times reported that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has known this all along, but failed to act.

And Congress just reintroduced a bill, written by Monsanto and Big Food, intended to take away your right to know about GMOs. Permanently.

An anonymous donor in New England has stepped up with a matching funds offer that expires March 31. Can you help us raise another $110,000 to meet our goal of $200,000 by March 31 to fund GMO labeling in Maine, and in other New England states, including Massachusetts? Details on how to donate online, by check or by phone here.

Never has it been more urgent to get labels on GMO foods. 

And never has it been more obvious that the federal government has no intention of protecting consumers from the risks associated with GMO foods—including the fact that nearly all of them are grown with glyphosate, a known carcinogen.

It’s up to us. We have to act before it’s too late.

Late last week, WHO released its findings that glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, “probably” causes cancer.

Days later, a new report surfaced that linked to official EPA documents showing that in 1985, the EPA classified glyphosate as a Class C carcinogen. Six years later, just about the time former Monsanto lawyer Michael Taylor got himself installed in a key position at the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), the EPA reversed that decision.

Thanks to the FDA, in the early 1990s GMOs were (illegally, according to some experts) classified as “substantially equivalent” to non-GMO foods and “Generally Recognized as Safe”—a classification that exempts them from any pre-market safety testing.

Since then, a long list of credible scientists have challenged the safety of GMO foods. But this much is irrefutable: Monsanto’s glyphosate is the cornerstone of GMO crops (whether those crops go into human food products, animal feed or biofuels). Glyphosate causes cancer. And the FDA, EPA and USDA have failed to protect us from what they’ve known all along is a cancer-causing toxin, widely used on our food, and prevalent in our drinking water.

Monsanto and Big Food have spent millions to corrupt the political process, manipulate the mass media and keep consumers in the dark. They would like nothing more than for us to give up this fight.

Now is not the time to give up. Now is the time to ramp up the pressure, and take a stand for consumer and states’ rights. 

Our lives depend on it. Because while you may not drop dead instantly after eating glyphosate-drenched GMO foods, Monsanto’s chemicals linger in your body, quietly waiting for an opportunity.

We’re grateful for the generosity of our anonymous New England donor. Please help us make the most of this generous offer by donating today to run strong GMO labeling campaigns in Maine, Massachusetts and other New England states.

Congress will have a much more difficult time ramming through their bill to preempt states’ rights to label GMOs, if we can pass a few more strong state laws asap.

Donations made to the Organic Consumers Fund, our 501(c) 4 lobbying arm, are not tax-deductible. If you want to support the grassroots advocacy and education campaigns in these states, you can make a tax-deductible donation to our 501(c)3 here.

Thank you!

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Ronnie Cummins
National Director, Organic Consumers Association and Organic Consumers Fund

 


 

P.S. According to a news report this week, the EPA classified Monsanto’s glyphosate as a carcinogen in 1985—and then reversed that decision, under pressure from the biotech industry. Please donate today to pass strong GMO labeling laws.  Your donation today will be matched by a generous anonymous donor in New England.  Thank you!

Sorry, Monsanto. The Science Is on Our Side, Not Yours

Organic consumers - Thu, 2015-03-26 12:59
March 24, 2015Organic Consumers AssociationKatherine PaulGenetic Engineering not_a_science_experiment.jpg

A few weeks ago, I spoke by phone with Cathleen Enright, executive vice president of the Biotech Industry Organization (BIO). (Long story).

During the course of our conversation, when we touched on the subject of the science behind the debate over whether or not GMOs are “safe” (me arguing that there’s no scientific consensus) Enright said, “Then you must not believe in climate change, either.” 

I glossed over that accusation, though it struck me as odd. And random. Until less than a week later, on March 9 (2015), an article appeared in the Guardian under this headline: “The anti-GM lobby appears to be taking a page out of the Climategate playbook.”

That’s when I realized what I should have known. Enright’s comment wasn’t random at all. It’s just a new twist on an old talking point—from an industry on the verge of crumbling under the weight of an avalanche of new credible, scientific evidence exposing not only the dangers of GMO crops and the toxic chemicals used to grow them, but the extent to which both Monsanto and U.S. government agencies like the EPA, FDA and USDA have covered up those dangers. (Side note: Turns out the authors of the Guardian piece all have ties to, surprise, the biotech industry).

Here are just a few examples of the latest reports, articles and books exposing the dangers of GMOs, Big Ag’s toxic chemicals and evidence of a decades-long cover-up to keep consumers in the dark.

•    New study: World Health Organization declares glyphosate a human carcinogen. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) decision was reported in The Lancet Oncology, on Friday, March 20 (2015). Predictably, Monsanto went on the attack, demanding the study be retracted.

•    New study: Roundup causes antibiotic resistance in bacteria. In the first study of its kind, a research lead by a team from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand says that commonly used herbicides, including the world’s most used herbicide Roundup, can cause bacteria to become resistant to antibiotics. Cause for concern? You bet, when nearly 2 million people die annually from antibiotic-resistant infections.  

•    New article: “GMO Science Deniers: Monsanto and the USDA,” points out what we all learned in third-grade science (but what Monsanto and the USDA refuse to acknowledge): That plants evolve to adapt to their environment, with the stronger ones winning out. Hence the fact that over time, Monsanto’s Roundup Ready crops have bred a new generation of superweeds. Yet, incredibly, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) bought into Monsanto’s anti-science claim that the continuous use of Roundup, over time, would not produce evolving Roundup-resistant weeds. Of course, that’s exactly what’s happened.

•    New book: Altered Genes, Twisted Truth: How the Venture to Genetically Engineer Our Food Has Subverted Science, Corrupted Government, and Systematically Deceived the Public, exposes how the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) disregarded the warnings of its own scientists in order to foster the biotech industry’s agenda. According to author Steven Druker, the FDA broke U.S. food safety laws when the agency made a blanket presumption that GE foods qualified to be categorized "Generally Recognized as Safe" (GRAS). And they did it in order to push GMOs into the market with no pre-market safety testing.

•    New book: Poison Spring: The Secret History of Pollution and the EPA, written by a former (1979-2004) employee of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), documents the EPA’s “corruption and misuse of science and public trust.” According to author E.G. Vallianatos, the EPA allowed our lands and waters to be poisoned with more toxic chemicals, including glyphosate, than ever, while turning a blind eye to the consequences.

•    New report: “Seedy Business: What Big Food is hiding with Its Slick PR Campaign on GMOs,” exposes Big Food’s long history of manipulating the media, policymakers and public opinion with $100-million worth of sleazy public relations tactics.

That’s just a smattering of the latest science—from scientists who have nothing to gain and everything to lose, based on Monsanto’s history of aggressively discrediting and scientist who dares to challenge GMOs—that should have every consumer in this country asking, “What’s going on here?”

Of course the industry response to the latest accusations concerning both its products and its desperate attempt to keep consumers in the dark, has been the same old same old: deny, deny, deny. All the while pretending to be incredulous that anyone would question its motives. This from an industry that (among other crimes) for nearly 40 years, knowingly poisoned a community in Alabama by dumping millions of pounds of PCBs into open-pit landfills, according to 2002 article that said:

And thousands of pages of Monsanto documents—many emblazoned with warnings such as "CONFIDENTIAL: Read and Destroy”—show that for decades, the corporate giant concealed what it did and what it knew.

One final comment on the climate-denier talking point. How ironic that Enright and the biotech industry would pretend to side with the scientists sounding the alarm on global warming—when the largest contributor to global warming is industrial agriculture, with its GMO monoculture crops. Anyone serious about global warming knows that our best hope is to ditch our chemical-intensive, soil-destroying industrial agriculture and replace it with organic, regenerative farming practices that restore the soil’s ability to capture carbon.

That’s a talking point we can all get behind.

Katherine Paul is associate director of the Organic Consumers Association.

 

Tell the EPA: Ban Monsanto’s Cancer-Causing Roundup Herbicide

Organic consumers - Tue, 2015-03-24 18:07
Belong to campaign: Millions Against MonsantoCategory: Genetic Engineering, Millions Against Monsanto, Health IssuesArea: USA

Glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, is probably causing cancer in humans. 

That’s according to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) panel of cancer experts, which published its latest review of the cancer risks of glyphosate on March 20, 2015. 

The timing of this new report couldn’t be better. Why? Glyphosate is currently under review by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has the power to ban its use in Roundup, or anywhere else.

Monsanto has already rushed to attack this latest science, published by credible international scientists at WHO. Just as the Gene Giant has attacked every credible independent scientist in the past. 

And it’s no wonder. Monsanto’s $6 billion in annual sales of glyphosate are at stake.

TAKE ACTION: Tell the EPA: Ban Monsanto’s Cancer-Causing Roundup HerbicideRead more

Statement on WHO’s Findings that Monsanto’s Glyphosate Is ‘Probably Carcinogenic’

Organic consumers - Fri, 2015-03-20 21:07
Environment & Climate, Health IssuesOrganic Consumers AssociationMarch 18, 2015 roundup.jpg

Jeepersmedia via Flickr cc

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 20, 2015

Contact: Katherine Paul, Organic Consumers Association, katherine@organicconsumers.org, 207.653.3090;

FINLAND, Minn.—A new report published today in the journal Lancet Oncology says Monsanto’s Roundup is a “probable carcinogen.”

The report originated from the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the France-based cancer research arm of the World Health Organization (WHO).

The Organic Consumers Association issued the following statement by Ronnie Cummins, international director.

“This latest finding, which links Monsanto’s Roundup to non-Hodgkins lymphoma and lung cancer is not the first to make these links, but it is one of the strongest indictments of glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup.

Monsanto has already rushed to attack this science, as they have attacked every credible independent scientist in the past. At what point will U.S. regulators start believing the scientists, instead of pandering to Monsanto?

Glyphosate is up for review this year by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Now is the time for the EPA to take action and once and for all ban this dangerous chemical that is making people sick, and polluting our environment.

The OCA calls on the U.S. EPA to do its job: Ban glyphosate now."

Roundup is the number one herbicide used in the world. The U.S. Department of Agriculture does not test foods for glyphosate residues because it says it’s “too expensive.”

In 2013, the EPA recently raised the allowed limits of glyphosate residue on fruits and vegetables.

The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is an online and grassroots non-profit 501(c)3 public interest organization campaigning for health, justice, and sustainability. The Organic Consumers Fund is a 501(c)4 allied organization of the Organic Consumers Association, focused on grassroots lobbying and legislative action.

Maine Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Remove Trigger Clause from GMO Labeling Law

Organic consumers - Thu, 2015-03-19 17:22
Genetic EngineeringOrganic Consumers AssociationMarch 18, 2015 ME-DC Protest

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 19, 2015

Contact: Katherine Paul, Organic Consumers Association, katherine@organicconsumers.org, 207.653.3090; Zach Lingley, Preti Flaherty, 207-902-0179, ZLingley@Preti.com.

Maine Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Remove Trigger Clause from GMO Labeling Law

OCA Leading Grassroots Coalition behind Bill that Has Widespread Bi-Partisan and Grassroots Support

AUGUSTA, Maine—Lawmakers from both parties joined with concerned citizens and representatives from several non-profits at the Maine State House today, March 19, to roll out a landmark initiative that would place Maine at the forefront of the food safety movement.

“Mainers overwhelmingly support the right to know if the food they put on the dinner table every night contains genetically modified organisms. Sixty-seven countries that represent sixty-five percent of the world’s population have already embraced transparency through GMO labelling. We believe that Maine is ready to lead the nation and adopt this common-sense requirement to ensure that we have a choice in the types of foods we decide to feed to our children,” said Katherine Paul, a resident of Freeport, Maine, and associate director of the Organic Consumers Association (OCA). OCA is a consumer advocacy group that promotes food safety initiatives on behalf of more than one million consumers, including 25,000 network members in Maine.

LD 991 would require foods distributed in Maine to include a label if genetically modified organisms were used to produce the final product.

“Take a look at any food product that you see in the grocery store. There are labels that show nutritional facts such as total calories, sugars, and carbohydrates, labels that indicate measurements, like the number of ounces in a soda, and in many cases, bottle deposit information for several different states, not to mention constant re-branding for marketing purposes. Opponents of this bill contend that labeling will place a hardship on producers. But this argument simply fails to pass the straight-faced test,” said Rep. Michelle Dunphy, D-Old Town, the bill’s lead sponsor.

In 2013, Maine legislators passed a law that would require labeling for foods that contain genetically modified organisms, but only if five contiguous states passed a similar requirement first. This effectively allows Maine to be held hostage on this issue until New Hampshire decides to pass a similar law.

Rep. Deb Sanderson R- Chelsea said: “As Mainers, I’m sure we can all agree that this is a decision we do not need New Hampshire to make for us. The right to know what is in our food is a decades-old ideal that started with President Kennedy’s Consumer Bill of Rights in 1962. It is high time that Maine adjust its laws to apply to 21st century bio-engineering practices.”

Legislators from all four caucuses have joined forces in sponsoring this initiative that is part of a growing national movement towards a more cognitive approach to healthy food practices. On Thursday, some categorized the lack of a labeling requirement as an “inside job” by big agriculture.

Rep. Dustin White, R-Washburn, one of Maine’s youngest legislators at age 23, echoed those sentiments: “The millennial generation, my generation, has to step forward and stop the cycle of nepotism that has seen big agriculture become intertwined with big government at nearly all levels. This is a common sense initiative. You’ve heard the numbers—97 percent of people support the right to know-why is this even up for debate?

“Poll after poll indicates that consumers want to know what’s in their food – especially if it includes ingredients from GMO crops,” said Heather Spalding, deputy director of MOFGA. “Ninety-seven percent of Mainers want to know. This bill will provide Maine legislators another opportunity to learn even more about GMOs in food and agriculture, and consider options for a speedier implementation of Maine’s landmark GMO labeling law.”

The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) is an online and grassroots non-profit 501(c)3 public interest organization campaigning for health, justice, and sustainability. The Organic Consumers Fund is a 501(c)4 allied organization of the Organic Consumers Association, focused on grassroots lobbying and legislative action.

 

 

 

Don't Let Tyson and the other Meat Giants Write the U.S. Dietary Regulations!

Organic consumers - Tue, 2015-03-17 19:35
Belong to campaign: Cook Organic Not the PlanetCategory: Environment & Climate, Farm IssuesArea: USA

According to new recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC), Americans should eat “less red and processed meat.” For two reasons. One, too much red and processed meat is unhealthy. And two, the production of red and processed meat is bad for the environment.

We agree that Americans should eat less meat in general, including less red meat. We also agree that red and processed meat—when that meat comes from factory farms—is bad for your health, bad for the environment and has no place in the American diet. However, red meat derived from animals raised on pasture, using sustainable rotational grazing practices, is not only good for your health (when eaten in moderation), but also improves the environment.

Who isn’t siding with the new recommendations?

The four factory-farm companies that produce nearly all of the meat eaten in the U.S.—Tyson Foods, JBS, Cargill and Smithfield—because those companies don’t want the new dietary guidelines to cut into their sales.

 Read more

Tell the EPA: Stop Letting Dow Poison Kids

Organic consumers - Mon, 2015-03-16 16:19
Category: Health IssuesArea: USA

For decades, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has known  that Dow’s chlorpyrifos pesticide, marketed under names like Dursban and Lorsban, is dangerous to children and farmworkers.
 
And yet, the EPA has allowed the continued use of this dangerous pesticide on golf courses, parks and farms, where it drifts onto food.
 
In her recent article, “Pesticides, Birth Defects and Brain Damage in Children,” Dr. Janette Sherman, MD, says that chlorpyrifos “is a serious risk to health and intellect for people working and living in proximity to fields.” Sherman also said that detectable levels of chlorpyrifos in New York City children, raises the question of exposure via food. According to Sherman:

Although the neurotoxicity of pesticides has been known for decades, recently, several national magazines, have named the pesticide, chlorpyrifos (Dursban/ Lorsban), as an agent causing loss of intelligence, as well as birth defects and structural brain damage.

Known to damage children’s brains, Dow’s chlorpyrifos is now up for review by the EPA.  Will the EPA finally ban Dow’s chlorpyrifos? Or will the agency continue to allow Big Ag to poison our children? Take Action: Tell the EPA: Stop Letting Dow Chemical Poison our Children with Chlorpyrifos! Read more

Effortless Healing—Just What the Doctor Ordered

Organic consumers - Thu, 2015-03-12 13:04
Health IssuesRonnie CumminsOrganic Consumers AssociationMarch 11, 2015 dr._mercola.jpg

Consumers looking to make sense of the relationship between food and health have a new blueprint: Effortless Healing: 9 Simple Ways to Sidestep Illness, Shed Excess Weight, and Help Your Body Fix Itself, by Dr. Joseph Mercola.

Whether you’re dealing with a chronic illness, weight gain, age-related conditions, or just looking to ward off everything from the common cold to cancer, Effortless Healing provides clear explanations and easy-to-follow strategies, based on the latest research, peer-reviewed studies and Mercola’s personal experience treating patients for more than 25 years.

This important book comes along as consumers are awakening to the fact that corporations have hijacked our food supply. What we once took for granted—a natural diet of organic, nutrient-dense food—has been replaced by highly processed, pesticide-ridden junk foods. It’s no coincidence that at the same time, we’re seeing skyrocketing increases in diseases ranging from autism and ADHA, to depression and anxiety, to diabetes, autoimmune diseases and cancer.

What has the world of conventional medicine offered to address this growing list of ailments? A dizzying array of drugs, most of which cause far more harm than good.

In my years of advocating on behalf of consumers who want to make healthier choices and take charge of their own health, I’ve found that most health-conscious consumers are juggling an impressive number of responsibilities. They want to keep up with the latest science relating to health. They want to make better choices. 

But they also don’t want, or simply can’t, spend hours doing all the research themselves, sorting out the credible from the suspect, and trying to make sense of it all in a way that translates into a concrete plan they can then use to manage their own health.

That’s what makes Effortless Healing so valuable. Mercola has done the research, sifted through the studies, and tested the theories—and then translated that knowledge into terms everyone can understand. But the book doesn’t just provide insights and illumination—it also outlines, step-by-step, the ways in which everyone who has the will can take control of his or her own health.

Toward the end of Effortless Healing, Mercola writes:

The question to ask yourself as you make decisions about what to eat and drink and how to live your life is:
Do I want to degenerate or regenerate?
The answer is simple. The power is yours.

You can order Effortless Healing: 9 Simple Ways to Sidestep Illness, Shed Excess Weight, and Help Your Body Fix Itself here.

 
Ronnie Cummins is International Director of the Organic Consumers Association. 

Tell BIO’s Dr. Cathleen Enright: The Debate over the Health & Safety of GMOs Is Not Over!

Organic consumers - Fri, 2015-03-06 19:44
Belong to campaign: Millions Against MonsantoCategory: Genetic EngineeringArea: USA

When OCA was invited to be on a panel Cathleen Enright, executive vice president food & agriculture, for the Biotech Industry Organization (BIO), at the “Southbites: Feed Your Mind” session during Austin’s South-by-Southwest (SXSW) Interactive, we jumped at the chance.

But after we’d accepted the invitation, an organizer at SXSW told us that Enright had vetoed our participation.

We called Enright to confirm that she was controlling who was on the panel, and that OCA was not welcome. Her explanation? OCA has “demonized” GMO food technology and she was not interested in a debate on the health and safety of GMOs.

According to Enright, GMO agriculture is “sustainable” and GMO foods are “safe.” Anyone who says otherwise is making “scary” statements that have no basis in fact—because every shred of scientific evidence suggesting health or safety concerns related to GMOs “has been discredited.”

TAKE ACTION: Tell BIO’s Dr. Cathleen Enright: The Debate over the Health & Safety of GMOs Is Not Over.Read more

Gene Giants Kick OCA Off SXSW Food Panel Discussion

Organic consumers - Thu, 2015-03-05 20:05
March 5, 2015Organic Consumers AssociationKatherine PaulGenetic Engineering Cathleen Enright

BIO's Cathleen Enright

If you’re headed to Austin, Texas, next week to attend the “Southbites: Feed Your Mind” session during Austin’s South-by-Southwest (SXSW) Interactive, don’t expect to hear an honest debate on the health and safety of genetically engineered crops or food containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs)—at least not if the biotech industry can help it.

According to Cathleen Enright, executive vice president food & agriculture, for the Biotech Industry Organization (BIO), there is nothing to debate. GMO agriculture is “sustainable” and GMO foods are “safe.” Anyone who says otherwise is making “scary” statements that have no basis in fact—because every shred of scientific evidence suggesting health or safety concerns related to GMOs “has been discredited,” Enright told me during a March 3 (2015) phone conversation.

We weren’t surprised to learn that BIO doesn’t want to debate the health and safety of GMOs. How do you defend a technology invented for the sole purpose of selling toxic chemicals—to spray on food?

So I guess we also shouldn’t have been surprised that after the organizers at SXSW invited OCA to participate in the conference, Enright told them to disinvite us.

I called Enright to confirm that she had vetoed OCA’s participation in a SXSW session entitled, “Can Common Food Goals Find Common Ground?” It was true, she said. Enright also confirmed that the session was proposed by her organization. (Neither Enright nor SXSW could/would confirm whether or not BIO is bankrolling the “Common Food Goals” session).

Briefly, here’s the background behind my call to Enright.

On January 19, I received an email from a SXSW organizer asking if someone from OCA would be available to “speak at SXSW Interactive this year, as a part of a new food-focused track of talks.” I accepted on behalf of OCA. The organizer responded thanking me, and wrote that she was “talking to Cathleen Enright’s folks about locking in a specific day for this.”

But then, the organizer went radio silent. I emailed her multiple times for confirmation, so I could make travel arrangements. No word. Finally, a month later, I emailed to say that I assumed the panel wasn’t happening, so I had taken the event off my calendar.

That’s when the organizer got back to me with this explanation, in a February 20 email: “Apologies for the much delayed response. To my surprise, the GMO answers folks were hesitant to commit to an OCA addition.”

The “GMO answers folks” refers to Enright and BIO, which funds the pro-GMO website, gmoanswers.com. That Enright and her industry front group didn’t want to include OCA on the panel wasn’t so much a “surprise” to us, as it was confirmation that BIO wants to control the message around GMO foods, rather than expose SXSW attendees to opposing views.

When I spoke to Enright on March 3, she told me that the panel was about “having a conversation” around achieving “common objectives,” and that she chose not to have that conversation with anyone from OCA because we have “demonized” the (GMO) technology and are more concerned about “fear mongering” than we are about “the facts” or finding common ground.

So who is approved to participate on this two-person panel?

Instead of someone from OCA, Enright will have her conversation with Chris Miller, social mission activism manager for Ben & Jerry’s. Because, according to Enright, Miller (and presumably the company he represents) believe there are no health or safety hazards associated with GMOs. So there will be no debate around that issue.

To get confirmation of Miller’s (and Ben & Jerry’s) position on the health and safety of GMOs, I spoke with Miller on March 4. Enright might be surprised to learn that that’s not exactly Ben & Jerry’s position. According to Miller, Ben & Jerry’s is “concerned about the lack of a proper regulatory scheme,” related to GE crops, and by the fact that GE crops are approved on the basis of industry-funded studies, not “peer-reviewed science.”

“I’m not going to go to Austin and say GMOs are either safe or not safe,” Miller said.

What he will say, according to our conversation, is that GE crops lead to an increase in the use of pesticides and herbicides, and that should concern everyone. “The only reason for the commercialization of GE crops is to sell pesticides,” he said.

Ben & Jerry’s publicly supports laws requiring mandatory labeling of GMOs and has pledged to remove them from their products.

Miller admitted, however, that Ben & Jerry’s products are not organic, and therefore the company sources dairy ingredients from farms where the animals are fed GMO crops. (Far more GE crops are used to feed animals in industrial factory farms, than are used by food manufacturers).

“We are working on transitioning to conventional non-GMO feed, but it’s a process that will require time,” Miller said. (We’d rather Ben & Jerry’s transition to organic, not conventional non-GMO, but that’s a blog post for another day).

I explained to Miller that Enright told me that BIO supports the consumers’ right to know—but not labeling, to which Miller responded: “That’s absurd on its face. If they’re so proud of their products, why not scream it from the rafters?”

Will Miller still be on the panel after “the folks at GMO answers” read this blog post? We’ll see. Either way, Miller insisted he doesn’t “intend to say good things about GMOs” and that if the organizers of the panel wanted only pro-GMO participants, “That’s a commercial, not a panel.”

But back to Enright, the SXSW panel and our phone conversation. During the course of our approximately 30-minute phone conversation, Enright hit all the industry talking points. GMO foods have been “rigorously tested” and “proven safe.” GMO crops represent a form of “sustainable” agriculture. GMO crops lead to a reduction in the use of pesticides. GMO crops are needed to “feed the world.”

And my personal favorite: “We have the science on our side.”

It was a private debate, during which I was told that I was being “argumentative.” I couldn’t argue with that—perhaps the one and only point Enright and I agreed on. And Enright did say that she would be happy to debate OCA anytime—a promise we intend to hold her to.

In the meantime, please sign this letter to Enright explaining why we reject all of her talking points, and why the real science is on our side.

And in closing, this from a new book by E.G. Vallianatos, who worked at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from 1979-2004. The book exposes how the EPA knowingly and systematically approves dangerous chemicals in the name of “free enterprise”:

Such a tectonic shift—from small, family-run, and largely nontoxic farms to industrial-scale, intensely toxic industrial farms—had ecologists and health experts worried from the beginning. Margery W. Shaw, a scientist and physician writing in 1970 (the year the EPA came into being), feared that the introduction of hundreds of chemicals into the environment would result in a “genetic catastrophe.”

Six years later, at a conference in Washington on “Women and the Workplace,” three American scientists (Eula Bingham, Marvin S. Legator, and Stephen J. Rinkus) warned of the high price we were likely to pay for the use of the “miracles” of the chemical age. Scientists, they wrote, “can only speculate on the detrimental effects on the genetic pool from injurious chemical exposure. In terms of ourselves as a population of living organisms, we are suffering chemical shock.” – Poison Spring: The Secret History of Pollution and the EPA, E.G. Vallianatos, 2014.

In the next conversation I have with Enright, I think I’ll ask her if she and her family eat pesticide-drenched, GMO-contaminated foods—or if they eat organic, instead.

Katherine Paul is associate director of the Organic Consumers Association.