Posts Tagged 'organic food'

Keep GMOs Out of ‘Organic’!

This crossed my desk today…take action if you care about keeping the definition of ‘organic’ from further erosion, and keeping Monsanto from creating an even larger agribusiness monopoly than they already have.

Take a stand for organics, tell Secretary Vilsack and President Obama to reject Monsanto’s GMO alfalfa

Keep GMOs out of Organics!

Clicking here will automatically add your name to the letter to Secretary Vilsack and President Obama:

The USDA must immediately ban Monsanto’s GMO alfalfa from the market and work to ensure that the organic industry is protected from genetic contamination and loss of profits and stand up for the basic rights for Americans to know what is in their food and how it’s produced.

Everything you thought you knew about organics is about to change. If the USDA and Monsanto get their way, organic integrity is about to go the way of the dinosaur.
Once again, the organic industry is under assault. This time the USDA is determined to let Monsanto ride roughshod over common sense environmental rules that would protect organic farmers from having their crops contaminated by Monsanto’s genetically modified (GMO) Roundup Ready seeds.

Last month, the USDA released its position on Monsanto’s GMO alfalfa, stating that the USDA would go ahead and allow GMO alfalfa to be planted in the U.S. despite the fact that is scientifically proven to contaminate organic alfalfa, a crop that organic dairy farmers and organic beef producers depend upon for feed. According to USDA organic standards, GMO crops are not allowed for animal feed.1

If organic and conventional alfalfa crops are allowed to be contaminated by GMO alfalfa, the organic dairy industry stands to lose more than $1.4 billion, as organic integrity is dependent upon GMO-free ingredients and feed.2

Click on the link below to tell Secretary Vilsack and President Obama that you refuse to accept genetic contamination of the organic industry. Tell him it’s time to stand up to Monsanto and the biotech industry. It’s vital that he hear from you today.

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/329?akid=284.53115.g1Of04&t=7

Coexistence and the Road to Continued Organic Contaminiation

In his most recent announcement, Vilsack hoped to be able to offer a “middle ground” on GMOs. The Obama administration’s bright idea calls for a new era of “coexistence” between the organic and biotech industries.

The “coexistence” model – one of the two proposed options – would create “geographic restrictions and isolation distances” between GMO and non-GMO alfalfa fields. The problem with “coexistence”, is that it looks a lot like the past 15 years where organic and conventional farmers have been forced to go out of business or adopt GMOs because the technology is so flawed that it can’t be planted in one farmer’s field and stay there.

No, GMO crops routinely contaminate other farmer’s fields — that is, genetically pollute other crops that don’t contain their patented genes. While prudent, non-corporate scientists have warned against the unknown long-term consequences of genetic contamination in nature caused by GMO seeds and crops, past administrations and USDA bureaucrats have gone ahead and recklessly approved these crops anyway.

Already the biotech industry is throwing a fit about this being a “dangerous precedent”, taken to mean that they could no longer fully dictate the terms of seed planting and approval. 3 But we need to let Secretary Vilsack and President Obama know that if they allow GMO alfalfa to be planted, from this point forward, the history books will write about the loss of the organic industry under Vilsack and Obama’s watch.

Click on the link below to tell Secretary Vilsack and President Obama that you’re outraged that they would needlessly put the organic industry, environment and future generations at risk in favor of corporate profits.

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/329?akid=284.53115.g1Of04&t=9

GMO Alfalfa Not Needed By Farmers, Not Worth the Risk

Unfortunately, rather than provide protection for the fastest growing and most profitable sector in agriculture, the Obama administration is needlessly putting the $26 billion organic industry at risk over a GMO crop that is not needed by farmers.

As a crop, genetically modified alfalfa is entirely unnecessary. Since alfalfa is a perennial grain, it has significantly less weed competition than annual crops where Roundup is normally used. Unlike corn, soybeans and other crops, alfalfa does not have persistent weed problems, therefore Monsanto’s and the biotech industry’s arguments for seeking approval of Roundup Ready alfalfa based on the need for weed control are completely without merit. It would appear that the only thing that Monsanto is seeking is another revenue stream for its failed line of Roundup Ready seeds.

Unfortunately, if Vilsack does go ahead with his decision to deregulate GMO alfalfa or opt for “coexistence”, things are about to get a whole lot worse for farmers. Not only will the organic industry have to deal with massive genetic contamination, but farmers everywhere will have to figure out how to deal with the further spread of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready resistant superweeds which have already spread to at least 10 species of weeds and have infested millions of acres in 22 U.S. states since 2000.4

For farmers the rise in superweeds leads to an increased usage of herbicides, which not only contaminate our rivers and streams, but also decreases profits for farmers and creates unknown potential human health problems. Already, farmers across the U.S. are being forced to use 2 or even 3 toxic herbicides to keep superweeds at bay.

Click on the link below to tell Secretary Vilsack and President Obama to stand up for organic integrity and that organic farmers and consumers have a right to eat food that is not contaminated with Monsanto’s patented GMO genes!

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/329?akid=284.53115.g1Of04&t=11

Thank you for participating in food democracy, your action today may help save the organic industry.

Dave, Lisa and the Food Democracy Now! Team

Sources:

1. “USDA Announces Final Environmental Impact Statement for Genetically Engineered Alfalfa” United States Department of Agriculture, Press Release, December 16, 2010.

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/326?akid=284.53115.g1Of04&t=13

2. “DeFazio Wants Rules on Genetically Engineered Alfalfa”, Natural Resource Report, July 3, 2010.

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/180?akid=284.53115.g1Of04&t=15

3. “Biotech alfalfa restrictions would be ‘dangerous precedent’”, Dairy Herd Management, January 7, 2011.

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/327?akid=284.53115.g1Of04&t=17

4. “Farmers Cope With Roundup-Resistant Weeds”, The New York Times, May 3, 2010.

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/328?akid=284.53115.g1Of04&t=19

Big Agriculture Declares War on Food Safety, Small Farmers

This just crossed my desk from Food Democracy Now, a grassroots advocacy group promoting slow, local, regional, and sustainable food for everyone. Please read and take action.

Urgent: Big Ag is trying to kill food safety reform in the Senate today – Give farmers and our children a fighting chance.

Click here to call your Senators Now!

So far you’ve made over 7,000 calls to your Senators – Can they Hear US Now?

Are you committed to change?  Call your Senator to pass food safety legislation now.

This past week the action in the U.S. Senate has been fast and furious. In the past 48 hours more than 7,000 Food Democracy Now! members have made phone calls to their Senators asking them to include provisions in the Food Safety Modernization Act that protected family-scale farm operations from excessive regulations. You’re incredible.

Remarkably, as a result of your phone calls the Senate reached a deal on the Tester-Hagan Amendment yesterday morning. Now Big Ag has decided to throw a tantrum. Late yesterday afternoon a coalition of 20 produce groups sent a “letter” to Senate leadership urging the defeat of the Food Safety Modernization Act.

Big Ag is claiming that these important farmer protection provisions are part of an “ideological war” and are doing everything they can behind the scenes to kill this important legislation.

But we can’t let them. There’s too much at stake. Every year more than 5,000 people die as a result of foodborne diseases and more than 76 million fall ill according to the Centers for Disease Control.

If you care about food safety and family farmers we’re asking you to make one more call to your Senators to make sure they understand how important passing this bill is to their constituents. We can’t let Big Ag lobbyists put petty politics over lives or farmer’s livelihoods.

Click below to tell your Senator to pass the Food Safety bill, tell them consumers and family farmer’s deserve to be protected, not Big Ag lobbyists!

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/279?akid=231.53115.cbSYY3&t=7

Late Thursday evening the Senate voted 57 to 27 to move forward on the food safety bill, incredibly, some 16 Senators skipped this important vote. No wonder they call it a lame duck session! As you well know, to get this bill to pass a full vote, we’ll need 60 votes, so every vote counts. Make sure these Senator are there for the next important vote!

Democratic Senators that missed the vote included:

Evan Bayh (D-IN) and Arlen Specter (D-PA)  – both lame ducks.

John Kerry (D-MA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Jim Webb (D-VA) — no excuses.

Since the bill is being supported down fiercely partisan lines, we wanted to make sure that Food Democracy Now! members knew which Democratic Senators did not make this vote. If they had showed up, the vote would have been 63 to 27 — enough to get it to a full floor vote and passed into law.

If you live in their state make sure you call them again and tell them how important this bill is to protect children and family farmers.

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/279?akid=231.53115.cbSYY3&t=9

Call All Republicans!  They are Scheming with Big to kill food safety reform.

On the Republican side of the aisle, support for the bill is weak, with only 4 Republican Senators voting for to proceed. As with everything in DC in these past few years, partisans would rather throw up roadblocks than do the people’s business.

It’s time to remind them who they work for. If you have a Republican Senator in your state, call them now.

In an odd show of weakness, 4 of the Republican sponsors of the bill either voted against cloture last night or skipped the vote.

Republican S.510 Sponsor who went AWOL on Food Safety Cloture Vote:

Judd Gregg (R-NH) lame duck Senator retiring – if you live in NH make sure that you call him and tell him to VOTE FOR the food safety bill and support consumer safety and family farmers.

Republican S.510 Sponsors who voted NO on Cloture Vote:

Richard Burr (R-NC) , Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Johnny Isakson (R-GA)

Remember, these are Senators who actually sponsored the bill, i.e. supported it until now, when the Tester amendment was added, the amendment that you called for, and then they started caving to industry pressure.

If you live in their state let them know you care about food safety, local foos and family farmers! Click below.

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/279?akid=231.53115.cbSYY3&t=11

Special Treat Performance on Food Safety

And last, but not least, Food Democracy Now! wanted to let you know about Senator Tom Coburn M.D. (R-OK), the single biggest obstacle preventing the food safety bill from passing.

Yesterday on the Senate floor, Senator Coburn gave an unbelievable performance, rambling and misstating basic facts about foodborne illnesses in the U.S.

Not only is Coburn ignorant about food safety, but in his fierce partisan desire to kill this important bill — which will protect us from serious food safety outbreaks — he proves he doesn’t care about America’s 300 million citizens who urgently need this bill.

Instead, Coburn would rather stall progress for family farmers by demanding that the U.S. ban all earmark spending through 2013. As a result of Coburn’s unreasonable demands, what food experts Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser have called “the most important food safety bill in a generation”, it languishes on a pyre of self-righteous political grandstanding.

If you live in Oklahoma, please tell Senator Coburn to stop playing chicken with your children’s food.

Let Senator Coburn know that AMERICA needs food safety reform now. America’s citizens and our farmers deserve protection.

Word on the street in DC is that Senator Coburn tried to broker a deal with Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) on the food safety bill and take away important provisions like “mandatory reporting”.

Tell Senator Harkin to steal Coburn’s cookies and stand strong! Pass the food safety bill as is. No more compromise, no more wasted time.

Don’t let Big Ag and one angry man’s crusade stand in the way of this important legislation — Act Today — this could be our last best chance to achieve important food safety reforms.

Make a call today — don’t let America’s children wait to grow up before this opportunity comes up again.

http://action.fooddemocracynow.org/go/279?akid=231.53115.cbSYY3&t=13

As always, thanks for participating in food democracy,

– Dave, Lisa and The Food Democracy Now! Team


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