Organic Bytes #383: Food Safety Alert, Subverting Democracy, Passing GMO Labeling Laws, and More on the Farm Bill


Another Monsanto Handout: EPA Set to Raise Limits on Glyphosate

In another glaring example of how Monsanto has the U.S. government in the palm of its Roundup Ready-covered hands, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is poised to raise – yes, raise – the limits for glyphosate residue allowed on fruits and vegetables sold in the U.S. stores. Glyphosate is the key ingredient in Roundup, Monsanto's widely used broad-spectrum herbicide. The deadline to tell the EPA what you think of its new ruling is July 1.

The new EPA ruling is incomprehensible in light of the barrage of new studies revealing how much more dangerous glyphosate is than we originally thought. Monsanto's story has always been that Roundup is harmless to animals and humans. Not so, say scientists who point out the many ways in which glyphosate causes widespread systemic damage to human health. One recent study found traces of the poison in the bodies of people in 18 European countries. And far more glyphosate is used in the U.S. than in Europe.

Unless the EPA changes its mind, and decides to protect us rather than Monsanto, flax oil, canola oil, soybean oil and olive oil will be allowed to contain glyphosate residues of over 100,000 times the concentration known to cause cancer. And that's just the half of it.

Read the essay

View the EPA Regulation

TAKE ACTION BY JULY 1: Tell the EPA to Lower the Allowed Limits for Monsanto's Roundup!


Are the 'Traitor Brand' Parents Hiding Behind the GMA?

We knew Monsanto and the rest of the pesticide-makers would top the list of corporations bankrolling the campaign to quash the next ballot initiative to label GMOs, I-522 in Washington State. But we were hoping that with your help, the "Traitor Boycott" would persuade the "Traitor Brand" parent companies to stay out of the fight.

So far, they have. Or have they?

The money to fund the NO on I-522 campaign has started rolling in, and topping the list of donors is the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA). The GMA spent $2 million to defeat California's Proposition 37 GMO labeling initiative. On May 5, the GMA made its first contribution of $472,500, to NO on I-522. Will the junk food trade association stop there? Or will it donate more, maybe even more than the $2 million it gave to the NO on Prop 37 campaign, to build another anti-labeling war chest?

Will the "Traitor Brand" parent companies, like Pepsi, Coca-Cola, General Mills and other junk food manufacturers, funnel their donations through the GMA this time around, rather than face another round of wrath from consumers? Time will tell, but this we do know: Every single one of the "Traitor Brand" parent companies is a member of the GMA.

It's time to take to the phones and facebook pages and twitter accounts. It's time to hammer the parent companies about belonging to an association that's hell bent on keeping consumers in the dark. And it's time to remind their natural and organic subsidiaries, the "Traitor Brands," that we won't be buying their products until their parent companies pull out of the GMA and donate to the YES on I-522 campaign.

Download your wallet-sized boycott guide

Download a poster-sized boycott guide

Sign the boycott pledge

Order printed copies of the boycott guide or poster


Idiots? Not You! Not Us!

The indefatigable, fearless, one-of-a-kind Jim Hightower gets the credit for reminding us of the origin (Greek) of the word "idiote." Recounting his speech earlier this month to the Denison (Texas) High School Class of 2013, Hightower recently wrote:

"Idiotes were not people with low-watt brains, but individuals who cared only about themselves, refusing to participate in public efforts to benefit the larger community – the common good. The Greeks, I told the students, considered such people selfish, contemptible, and stupid... and so should we." – Jim Hightower

Here in the OCA offices, both brick-and-mortar and virtual, we remind ourselves every day, that without you, our loyal and committed donors, volunteers and co-conspirators, we would be powerless to confront the corporate thugs who are destroying our soil and water, the air we breathe, the food we eat, the democracy we believe in.

So thank you. For caring about the world. For making a difference. For not being an "idiote." As we gear up to defeat Monsanto and Big Food in Washington State, we will need all the support we can get. Please make a generous donation today. Thank you.

Donate to the Organic Consumers Fund (non-tax-deductible, but necessary for our legislative efforts in Washington, Vermont and other states)

If you need your donation to be tax-deductible, you can donate to the Organic Consumers Association (tax-deductible, helps support our work on behalf of organic standards, fair trade and public education)


The 2013 Farm Bill: What's Next, What's at Stake

TAKE ACTION: Demand a Better Farm Bill! Contact your Representative!

They call it the Farm Bill. But it's really about food. And bad food, mostly, at that. Here's where the 2013 Farm Bill stands, why you should care, and what you can do.

Last week (June 10), the Senate passed its nearly $1 trillion version of the 2013 Farm Bill. This week, House members are slugging it out over some of the 103 amendments to the House version of the bill. If the House is able to pass its version, both versions will go to conference committee, where the House and Senate will have to iron out their differences if Congress is going to pass a five-year Farm Bill this year. Assuming they can (they didn't last year, which forced them to extend portions of the 2008 bill), President Obama could still veto it.

You would think that in a country where climate change is threatening crops, a country whose population is increasingly plagued by skyrocketing obesity rates and chronic illness, a bill about food would look to foster sustainable farming practices that produce healthful, nutritious food. Yet sadly, within those 103 amendments are billions of dollars' worth of tax giveaways, to subsidize the wealthiest farms, that grow the most environmentally destructive conventional and genetically engineered crops, to produce the least healthy processed and factory farm food.

You deserve better. We all deserve better. It's time we demand better.

TAKE ACTION: Demand a Better Farm Bill! Contact your Representative!


Wanted: Highly Skilled Professional Liar to Make Over Monsanto's Image

Perception is everything. And the public's perception of Monsanto is, well . . . "World's Most Evil Corporation" neatly sums it up.

Most of the world has awakened to the dark side of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). People are literally marching in the streets, all over the world, to show their disdain for Monsanto's planned takeover of the world's food supply and its penchant for drenching the planet in herbicides and pesticides.

Monsanto, meanwhile, has awakened to the fact that it has a little PR problem. According to the Holmes Report, a resource for public relations professionals, the Biotech Bully is looking for some experts to help paint a pretty face on its evil deeds. Talk about a challenging job.

Meanwhile, someone is obviously already helping Monsanto smooth over its little problem concerning the killing off of honeybees. According to the Pesticide Action Network, Monsanto had the gall last week to host something called the Honey Bee Health Summit, a gathering at the company's headquarters in Missouri where, presumably, the pesticide-maker feigned great concern for the plight of honeybees. It just tests the limits of credulity, doesn't it?

More from the Holmes Report

More on the Honey Bee Health Summit

More on the no. 1 killer of bees


The Gene Revolution and the Future of Agriculture

There's the research that's being paid for by the biotech industry. And then there's the independent research being done in foreign countries, mostly in Europe, and foreign universities. Most, if not all the research sponsored by the biotech industry says genetic engineering is innocuous and safe. But most of the research done elsewhere concludes otherwise. So says Thierry Vrain, retired former pro-GMO scientist for Agriculture Canada, now campaigning against GMOs.

Watch the video

'American GMOthic': Not Just another Logo Shirt

Want to make a fashion statement, feed an artist and support the OCA all in one fell swoop?

Moondoggie Designs, a Southern California-based surf-inspired apparel company, is pairing up artists with charitable organizations to create compelling artwork with a mission: to inspire positive change. Their initial offering? An anti-GMO inspired design called "American GMOthic," a Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) version of Grant Wood's iconic "American Gothic" painting. Created in the style of a classic wood block print, the shirt's bold design conveys the devastating effects that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have on the traditional family farm, and the environment.

The shirt is 100% organic cotton, manufactured in the U.S., and is hand silkscreened by the artist using environmentally friendly water-based inks.

Order your "American GMOthic" shirt today using this link, and Moondoggie Designs will donate 25% of the cost of each shirt to the OCA.

Order here

Calling All Moms (and Dads)! Let's March Across America!

The timing couldn't be more perfect. Just as we kicked off our plan to "out" the Senators who voted against states' rights to label GMOs, Moms Across America has organized hundreds of marches in July 4 parades, to draw attention to kids' health and GMOs. What better way to protest your Senators' votes, than by marching in a parade with thousands of moms (and maybe some dads) fighting for their kids' health?

The California State Grange and have teamed up with moms to launch the first Moms Across America campaign. Moms Across America is urging everyone who supports "the freedom to choose our food" to march in the hundreds of fourth of July parades scheduled for the summer's biggest holiday. So far, activists in 164 towns have heeded the call.

Fourth of July parades draw politicians and decision-makers of all stripes, and the 71 U.S. Senators who recently voted against states' rights to label GMOs are certain to be at an Independence Day event somewhere in the their home state. Let's make sure that they and their voting public are made aware that the nine out of 10 citizens who support GMO labels aren't happy with their votes against our right to know.

Join Moms Across America on July 4

Find out if your Senators voted against your right to know


Essential Reading for the Week

New Studies Confirm: Raw Milk is Safe

Where Corn Is King, a New Regard for Grass-Fed Beef

Bloomberg Wants Mandatory Food Composting in New York City

Six Horrifying Things About Pork Everyone Should Know

Chipotle Becomes First US Restaurant Chain to Voluntarily Label GMOs

Food Companies Work to Make It Look Natural


Green PolkaDot Box: GMO-Free Right from the Start!

Whole Foods is getting all the applause this week, for announcing that it will label GMO's by 2018. But the Green PolkaDot Box (GPDB) has been committed right from the start to a 100-percent GMO-Free line of products, at prices you won't find anywhere else.

GPDB wants you to give them a try. For $10, you can place an order and we'll let you see the value you get back. You'll recover your $10 in savings, easily. However, in the checkout process, after you see the savings, you can switch to a Club membership if you want and get FREE shipping on orders over $75.  When you take into account the FREE shipping, plus the savings, you'll see how you recover the cost for the Club membership with your first order.

OCA-endorsed GPDP's home delivery service for organic and non-GMO foods is growing rapidly. Since last October, OCA is happy to report that our staff, as well as hundreds of our members and subscribers, have been ordering and receiving regular home deliveries of organic and non-GMO foods with free shipping on orders of $75 or more. This means that organic consumers who live in "organic food deserts," far from the nearest organic food store, have been able to buy more organic food, while those of us on a limited budget have been able to buy organic products at a reduced price. Let's support this company!

Please forward this publication to family and friends, place it on web sites,

print it, duplicate it and post it freely. Knowledge is power!


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Tom Usher

About Tom Usher

Employment: 2008 - present, website developer and writer. 2015 - present, insurance broker. Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration. Volunteerism: 2007 - present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.