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Please Help GMO Labeling Campaign In Washington State NOW, TODAY

DEADLINE TONIGHT: Who will protect us from Monsanto?

Over the protests of hundreds of thousands of concerned citizens, Congress cut a backroom deal with Monsanto last week that allows the biotech giant to plant genetically engineered crops and seeds, no matter how harmful they may be to our health and environment. Not even a federal court will be able to stop them.

The “Farmer Assurance Program” is hidden in the HR 933 Continuing Resolution, a stopgap spending bill to keep the government running through the end of September. But this sneaky provision, written by Monsanto itself, is better known as the “Monsanto Protection Act.” Because it does just that.

With Congress and the FDA protecting Monsanto, who will protect us?

We will. And one way we’ll do it is by passing statewide citizens’ initiatives to require mandatory labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

We need your help today. In November, voters in Washington State will decide on I-522, a citizens’ ballot initiative to label GMOs. Because this initiative is so critical to all of us, the OCA has pledged $500,000 to the campaign. A generous donor has offered $250,000 to help us get there, but only if we raise the first $250,000 by April 1.

Thanks to the amazing response so far from thousands of individuals, as of this morning, we have raised almost $231,000. That means we need to raise $19,000 more by midnight tonight. Can you help? You can donate online with a credit card or Paypal. Or you can mail a check. Or phone in your donation. (Mail-In donations postmarked by midnight April 1 will count toward the matching gift.)

This latest free pass for Monsanto is a slap in the face to consumers who have fought for the past 20 years for more, not less, testing and transparency around GMOs. From the moment Monsanto convinced the FDA that there was “no substantial difference” between genetically engineered crops and their non-GE counterparts, we all have been unwitting lab rats in one big biotech experiment. The FDA does not test GMOs for health and safety. Instead, it relies on the biotech industry’s word that GMOs pose no health threats. Even though scientists warn that this is not true.

The assault on our health, on our right to know, will not end until we pass GMO labeling laws with real teeth, not a watered-down, loophole-riddled federal law that, like the Monsanto Protection Act, would no doubt be written by the biotech industry.

In just this past year, thanks to all of you, we have made much progress in the battle for labeling. But we’re missing one critical victory, a victory Monsanto is desperate to deprive us of: the first statewide GMO labeling law.

Matching gifts of $250,000 don’t come along every day. This is a brilliant opportunity to double every donation, no matter how large or small, toward a victory in Washington State. The campaign is young. If we can fund it now, we’ll be able to reach more voters with the truth, before our opponents permanently sway them with their lies and misinformation.

Please help us raise $19,000 by midnight. Every dollar you contribute will go directly to support the I-522 campaign.

Thank you for being a part of this revolutionary food movement. You make it all worthwhile!

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

P.S. Just $19,000 more by midnight, and we’ll receive a $250,000 matching gift toward the I-522 GMO labeling initiative. Please donate today. (Mail-In donations postmarked by midnight April 1 will count toward the matching gift.)

Paid for by the Organic Consumers Fund Committee to

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Norovirus (aka the stomach flu) Can Be Caused By Pesticides

Lots of people have been sick this winter (and many are still battling lingering illness). So this article may be of interest:

Are Pesticides Making You Puke?

The Daily Fix Newsletter The Shocking Reason Your Salad Could Be Making You Fat
Pesticides Are Dumbing Down Our Kids

Norovirus is a nasty ailment unappetizingly named the winter vomiting disease. Currently there’s no cure, adults and kids just have to let the virus run its course, enduring the stomach cramping and gastrointestinal disease along the way. While not usually life threatening, the 7 to 10 days of discomfort keeps children out of school and parents home from work. Now, researchers thing they have pinpointed a previously unknown source of norovirus outbreaks —pesticides! Learn how chemical farming could be giving you the stomach bug!
9 Crazy Things Pesticides Are Doing to Your Body

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For Valentine’s Day: How ‘Bout NOT Buying Hershey’s Chocolate (Including Dagoba)

TRAITOR BOYCOTT

Sweet Revenge: Boycott Dagoba and Hershey’s!

TAKE ACTION: Tell Hershey’s: No Dagoba chocolate until you support GMO labeling!

Dagoba chocolate may be organic, but its parent company, Hershey’s, is a loser by any standard. Hershey’s spent more than a half million dollars to defeat Prop 37, the California Right to Know GMO labeling law. No wonder. The Hershey’s kisses and chocolate bars sold here in the U.S. are loaded with cheap genetically modified beet sugar and genetically engineered soy lecithin. And where does the giant chocolate maker get its cacao? From regions where child labor and workers’ rights abuses run rampant.
Hershey’s cuts corners by using cheap GMO ingredients and exploiting little kids in impoverished countries so its CEO, John Bilbrey, can personally pocket millions – $10.6 million in 2011. But guess what? In the UK, where consumers have the right to know what’s in their food because they’ve insisted on mandatory GMO labeling laws, Hershey’s products are GMO-free. The company once said: “We took this decision based on our belief that customers in the UK do not currently wish to see GM ingredients in these products.”
What about Hershey’s customers here in the U.S.? Let them eat GMOs!
TAKE ACTION: Tell Hershey’s: No Dagoba chocolate until you support GMO

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Macro and Micro


Obesity and less nutritious foods—two reasons to care about a warming planet.

The federal government has declared that 2012 was officially the hottest year on record, with July alone setting the record as being the hottest month ever recorded in the lower 48 states. The worst drought in 50 years hit (and is still plaguing) the Great Plains, while Superstorm Sandy hit the Northeast and caused $79 billion in damages, making it the second most expensive natural disaster in history, after Hurricane Katrina.

In his inaugural address, President Obama vowed to act on climate change, which independent climate scientists have agreed is making extreme weather worse, “knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations,” he said.

Yet, it’s not just the raging fires, crippling drought, and more powerful storms he cited that people need to be wary of. Climate change is also exacting a toll on people’s health in ways that are both overt and subtle. Epidemiologists have known for a while that increased heat and stronger storms can inflict a range of problems, including strokes, heat-related illnesses, and more logistical problems such as waterborne diseases from overwhelmed water-treament facilities. But there are other, more subtle health problems that are being exacerbated by higher global temperatures:


11 Climate-Related Health Threats


Greater obesity. More climate-change-driven droughts will lead to higher food prices—which inevitably leads to obesity, according to a series of letters published recently in the American Journal of Public Health. Nutritionists from the University of Washington who have researched the link between food prices and obesity write that droughts tend to raise prices on healthier foods, particularly vegetables and fruits, as well as on dairy, eggs, and meat. “As food prices continue to increase, refined grains, added sugars, and vegetable fats will replace healthier options, first for the poor and later for the middle class,” they write.

Poorer nutrition. In addition to raising food prices on healthy foods, climate change could be making those foods less nutritious. According to the newest National Climate Assessment from the U.S. Global Change Research Program (a government scientific advisory panel), elevated levels of carbon dioxide (which, along with other greenhouse gases, cause climate change) has been found to lower the nitrogen and protein content of grains, which are cheap, healthy vegetarian protein sources for millions of people around the globe. Likewise, scientists have documented declines of calcium, iron, zinc, vitamins, and sugars in fruits and vegetables because carbon dioxide causes plants to grow bigger and more rapidly, but their ability to absorb nutrients from the soil can’t keep pace.

More hormone-disrupting chemicals on food. That same government report noted that the carbon dioxide that causes plants to grow big and fast also causes weeds to grow big and fast—even more so than crops. As a result, “both herbicide use and costs are expected to increase as temperatures and CO2 levels rise,” the report states. Roundup, the most widely used herbicide in the U.S., is suspected of interfering with hormones, as is 2,4-D, the second most widely used herbicide in the country. Because weeds are becoming resistant to Roundup, “higher concentrations of the chemical and more frequent sprayings thus will be needed.” Or farmers will start turning to 2,4-D, a more potent and dangerous chemical without as many weed-resistance issues.

More contaminated fish. The United Nations recently concluded a meeting in Geneva at which governments of 130 countries were addressing the problem of mercury in the environment. The toxic heavy metal is emitted primarily by coal-burning power plants and builds up in fish, which serve as the main exposure source of mercury for people all over the globe. At the meeting, scientists presented research suggesting that climate change could exacerbate the levels of mercury in our food chain. One reason: Arctic ice deflects mercury in the air as a gas, and as we lose our polar ice stores, more atmospheric mercury lands directly in the water, where it builds up in the fatty tissues of fish. In addition, warm temperatures stunt the growth of certain cold-loving fish species, such as char and lake trout, concentrating the mercury in their systems. (Want to avoid mercury in fish? Stick with the 10 Healthiest Fish on the Planet.)

More birth defects. A number of studies have found that a high fever during certain critical stages of a mother’s pregnancy can trigger birth defects in babies. But it turns out that heat waves and unusually high temperatures raise a mother’s internal core temperature and can have the same effect. Researchers from New York State’s Department of Health and the University of Albany recently analyzed 15 years’ worth of data on birth defects and compared those to average daily temperatures and heat wave occurrences; they found that mothers who experienced high temperatures or heat waves during their pregnancy were more likely than the mothers who didn’t to have babies with congenital cataracts. Congenital cataracts are cloudy spots on an infant’s lenses that blur vision and can lead to permanent blindness if not surgically removed. They are considered to be the leading cause of preventable blindness. The mothers of these babies were exposed to high temperatures during weeks four to seven of their pregnancies, which is the most critical period for eye development.

Fix It   You don’t have to accept that climate change is inevitable. Here are five easy ways you can do your part to combat climate change.

• Demand organic. The nonprofit Rodale Institute’s 30-year comparison of organic and chemical farming methods found that organic farms use 45 percent less energy (reducing the need for globe-warming fossil fuels) and produce 40 percent fewer greenhouse-gas emissions. Not only that, but organic farms don’t need Roundup, a chemical linked to DNA damage, infertility, and low sperm counts.

• Sign up for a CSA. Community-supported agriculture programs allow you to buy produce directly from a farmer at the start of the growing season, which helps guard against sharp increases in food prices that can make cheap, unhealthy food so attractive. If that’s not an option, try one of these 7 Cheap Ways to Eat Healthy.

• Turn down the thermostat. Yes, it’ll save you energy and keep tons of greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere, but it’ll also help you lose weight, according to a 2006 study from the International Journal of Obesity. The study was looking at a number of reasons people have become more overweight in the past 30 years, one of which was that the “thermal standard for winter comfort” in U.S. homes was 64ºF in 1923—and 76ºF in 1986. Your metabolism speeds up in the winter to keep you warm, the study said, but when you’re in a constant state of shirt-sleeves comfort, your body’s warming system doesn’t have to work as hard.

• Walk more. Transportation accounts for nearly 30 percent of global greenhouse-gas emissions, yet the World Health Organization estimates that 3.2 million deaths from non-communicable diseases, such as heard disease, diabetes, and obesity, could be prevented worldwide if people just led less sedentary lifestyles. Need more convincing? A recent study in the journal Preventive Medicine found that walking just one mile extra every day instead of driving led to weight loss comparable to eating 100 fewer calories per day.


3 Ways Fighting Climate Change Is Really Good For You


• Cut down on meat. And save your heart—as well as our air quality. Reducing animal product consumption by 30 psercent could reduce the amount of heart disease by around 15 percent. Also, agriculture contributes to 12 percent of global greenhouse-gas emissions, many of which come from raising animals. Not only do animals produce methane (a potent greenhouse gas), but raising them also usually means cutting down trees to create more land for them to breathe. Deforestation accounts for 30 percent of global greenhouse-gas emissions.

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Help Defeat GMO Corn on Steroids (Agent Orange, Folks!)

Dow’s 2,4-D corn is a bad idea. Pass it on.

Stop the GE pipeline

Let’s change “on hold” to “denied.” Urge your friends to help us stop             2,4-D corn!

Dear Friend of Healthy Farming,

There will be no 2,4-D corn planted in 2013. This is very, very good news for farmers and rural communities across the country — and you helped make it happen.

The outrage of farmers, consumers, public health officials and concerned citizens like you has slowed approval of Dow’s new genetically engineered (GE) product. But the company is still pushing hard for approval, now hoping to have this next generation of herbicide-tolerant corn in the ground by 2014.

Tell your friends!» We need all hands on deck for a final push to change “on hold” to “denied.” Your signature — along with more than 400,000 others — has already been delivered to USDA Secretary Vilsack. Now we’re asking that you urge your friends to sign on.

Farmers don’t want these new GE crops. Organic and conventional farmers alike are worried about damage to their crops from 2,4-D drift; they also cite health risks to their families, especially their children who are particularly vulnerable to the chemical.

And as you already know, Dow’s 2,4-D corn is just the first in a full pipeline of new herbicide-tolerant GE products. Millions of acres of weeds are now resistant to Monsanto’s RoundUp, leading farmers to spray more and to turn to older, even more hazardous herbicides (like 2,4-D) to try to beat back the weeds. No one wins in this chemical arms race — except the “Big 6” pesticide companies.

 

All hands on deck» We can win this battle. As the 2,4-D delay shows, our opposition is making a difference. Now we need to see it to the finish line, and stop the GE pipeline once and for all. The next batch of signatures will be delivered soon; please urge your friends to sign on.

Thanks for all you do!

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For A More Digestible Holiday

Cornucopia commends Organic Valley, Kalona Supernatural and Straus Family Creamery for offering organic, carrageenan-free eggnog.  Horizon organic eggnog should be avoided to protect your health.  We hope that all organic dairy manufacturers will make the commitment to their customer’s health and remove carrageenan from their products.  To find carrageenan-free organic foods, use Cornucopia’s shopping guide.

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Pesticides in Food Proven to be Dangerous

Now for many of us, this seems to be a no-brainer. Any chemical residue on our food (or in our homes from using bug killer chemicals) is going to have some kind of probably negative impact on our health. Common sense says, if there is an “impurity”(something we haven’t coevolved with), it most likely isn’t really safe.

Bad for adult brains, too. On the heels of last week’s strong report from pediatricians  highlighting the harms pesticides can cause children’s developing  minds, a new study finds that pesticides are clearly harming adult  brains, too.

In the “meta-analysis” published in Critical Reviews in Toxicology,  scientists reviewed 14 separate studies of neurobehavioral changes  linked to low-level organophosphate (OP) pesticide exposure. They found  that workers exposed to OPs — particularly over long periods of time —  had reduced working memory and were slower to process information.Read more »

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GMO Political Action: Please Help and Forward to Friends

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ESSAY OF THE WEEK

Dr. Oz Flip Flops as Mass Media Attacks Intensify

                                                              Less than two months after telling millions of TV viewers that organic food is “worth the investment,” America’s most popular TV doctor is singing a different tune. In the December issue of Time, Dr. Oz described organic foodies as “elitist” – part of the 1% – and claimed that conventional foods are nutritionally equivalent to organic foods.
In the cover story, Dr. Oz directly contradicted his October 19 attack on the controversial Stanford study, published in September, which concluded that organic fruits and vegetables are no better than their conventionally grown counterparts. The famous TV doc devoted an entire program to lambasting the Stanford study because it didn’t address the toxic health consequences of foods loaded with pesticides.
Why the flip-flop? And what’s up with all the highly publicized mass media attacks on organics? Are Big Food, Big Ag and Big Biotech getting nervous?
Read the essay here

ACTION ALERT

Stop the ‘Monsanto Protection Act’ and Other Dangerous Riders!

TAKE ACTION!
Monsanto could get everything it wants for Christmas, unless we convince legislators this week to strip both the 2013 Agriculture Appropriations Bill (H.R. 5973) and the Farm Bill of dangerous riders that would give the biotech industry unprecedented power and immunity from not only an already-weakened review process, but also from federal law.
Here’s what’s at stake. Attached to the Agricultural Appropriations Bill is the “Farmers Assurance Provision” (Section 733) which is nothing more than a sneak attack on American farmers, consumers and the environment. If passed, this rider, aptly renamed the “Monsanto Protection Act,”  would give Monsanto immunity from federal law by allowing the biotech industry to plant genetically modified crops, even if a federal court has ordered the planting be halted until an Environmental Impact Statement is completed.
On the Farm Bill side, Monsanto lobbyists have bought themselves several anti-regulatory riders that would effectively gut the USDA’s ability to regulate the use of genetically engineered organisms (GMOs). The riders would speed up the review and approval process for new GE crops, and authorize the USDA to consider exempting certain GE crops from any review at all.
Now that Congress has returned, both bills are on the agenda. The Agriculture Appropriations could become part of an Omnibus Appropriations Bill and the Farm Bill could be included in a deficit-reduction agreement to avoid the “fiscal cliff.
Thankfully, we have at least one friend in Congress. Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR) is circulating a letter to all of his colleagues in Congress opposing the “Monsanto Protection Act.” By signing our action alert below, you can ask your legislators to sign on to Rep. DeFazio’s “Dear Colleague” letter. You’ll also be asking your legislators to oppose the Farm Bill riders.
Don’t let Monsanto get away with this latest attack on farmers, consumers and the environment!
TAKE ACTION!

SUPPORT THE OCA AND OCF

Help Stop the Attacks on Organics

                                                              Organics are under attack. From every which way.
The USDA, headed by Tom Vilsack, Monsanto’s Man in Washington, is greasing the tracks for approvals of new GMO crops and Biotech-friendly laws that will devastate farmers, consumers and the health of our planet.
The FDA, an organization that’s supposed to protect the people but whose real loyalty lies with corporate lobbyists, is being guarded by Michael Taylor, another former Monsanto gun.
And lately, Big Media is looking more and more as if it’s on the payroll of Big Ag and Big Pharma, too. In September, the New York Times, Associated Press and CBS News all picked up and ran with a dubiously funded study from Stanford University. The study told consumers that there’s no nutritional difference between organic fruits and vegetables and their conventional counterparts. The study failed to mention that conventional food is loaded with pesticides and pumped full of hormones and antibiotics. But that didn’t stop mainstream media from giving it plenty of play.
Even Dr. Oz, once a big promoter of organics, has gone over to the dark side. His latest cover story in Time shockingly contradicts what he’s been telling loyal viewers for years: Eat organic, stay healthy.
As more people wake up to the reality of our broken, unhealthy food system, we can expect the attacks on organics to grow louder. And more frequent. We can’t let Big Money destroy the progress we’ve made in the past few years. We have to work harder than ever, in Washington, in the media and on the ground. We’re committed to doing all this and more, but we need your help. Please contribute today.
Thank you!                                                                  Donate to the Organic Consumers Association (tax-deductible, helps support our work on behalf of organic standards, fair trade and public education)                                                                  Donate to the Organic Consumers Fund(non-tax-deductible, but necessary for our legislative efforts in California and other states)

Action Alert

Stop Agent Orange Corn! USDA  Planning Pre-Christmas Approval for Spring 2013 Planting

TAKE ACTION
Remember Agent Orange? The 2,4-D chemical concoction commissioned by the U.S. Army to defoliate jungles and destroy food crops during the Vietnam War? It could soon be coming to a grocery store near you. Within a week, the USDA could approve Dow’s new “Enlist” brand corn, genetically engineered to resist massive doses of the herbicide 2,4-D. Unless we stop it.
The list of reasons to tell USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to reject Dow’s Agent Orange Corn is long. A large body of evidence indicates major health problems result from exposure to 2,4-D, including cancer, reproductive problems, neurotoxicity, and auto-immune disorders. And 2,4-D is devastating to the environment. It’s currently the seventh largest source of dioxin pollution in the US. The use of this toxic herbicide is projected to increase 50-fold if the USDA approves this crop.
The USDA has already received more than 450,000 comments opposing Dow’s new GE corn. But it has a long history of avoiding protests and bad press by issuing unpopular decisions right before the holidays.
We have one more week to show Sec. Vilsack that the American people are united in opposing dangerous new GMOs that put farmers’ crops and livelihoods, local economies, and the health of farmers, farm workers and rural communities at risk.
Sign this petition to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack urging him to reject Agent Orange corn!

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Time for Some Good Old-Fashioned Boycotting

Punish the ‘Natural’ and Organic Traitor Brands: Download Your Boycott Guide

The parent companies of some of our favorite organic and natural brands contributed nearly half of the $46 million spent on the deceitful advertising that sunk Prop 37, the California Right to Know GMO labeling initiative. How do we prevent Pepsi, Kellogg’s and other multinational Junk Food Kings from pouring money into anti-GMO campaigns in Washington, Vermont, and other states?
Millions of consumers need to send these Traitor Brands a clear message: If they continue to side with Monsanto and the rest of the chemical companies, instead of with the consumers who have made them wildly profitable, we won’t buy their organic brands.

Why not just boycott the parent company brands? Those of us who support organics rarely buy products like Diet Pepsi or Kellogg’s Genetically-Modified-Sugar-Coated Frosted Flakes. The only way to pressure Big Food is to boycott the brands we actually buy. Brands like Kashi, Naked Juice, Horizon, Silk, Honest Tea and yes, even Ben & Jerry’s.
Let’s be clear. These Big Food companies are gobbling up organic brands to make money and to greenwash the fact that industrial agriculture, factory farms, and their so-called “conventional” brands are undermining public health and destroying the environment and climate stability. They recognize the huge profit potential in the fast-growing organic and natural markets. They want our business. If we stop buying their organic and so-called “natural” brands, they know there’s a good chance we’ll find alternative brands. We might never look back.
America’s Traitor Brands can redeem themselves. All they have to do is publicly – and financially – support the consumer’s right to know about GMOs, beginning with I-522 Label It WA, a Washington State labeling initiative planned for November 2013. And while they’re at it, they should tell their parent companies to stop opposing our right to know.
Download your wallet-sized boycott guide
Download a poster-sized boycott guide
Join the nearly 15,000 people who have already signed the boycott pledge
Learn more about the boycott
To order printed copies of the boycott guide or poster call 218-226-4164 or email campaigns@organicconsumers.org

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Some Really Good News About Chocolate

So much of the time we are told that whatever “goodies” we like are not really “good for us.” Well here is a ray of hope: several studies have linked dark chocolate consumption to both relieving stress and lowering blood pressure. Go HERE to read the entire article.

Caveat: you must have a cacao content of 70% or more. This is DARK chocolate, folks, not milk chocolate or high sugar chocolate candy. M and M’s are NOT gonna do it! Better yet, find raw chocolate nibs (available at many natural foods stores and readily available online). They are fabulous as an ingredient in smoothies, and contain NO sugar. They are my personal favorite. PS: organic really matters.  Chocolate that is not organic runs the risk of being processed with child labor in Africa.