If you think the U.S.
government is doing a sub-par job of keeping your food safe, brace
yourself. You could soon be eating imported chicken, beef and seafood
products that don’t meet even basic U.S. standards for food safety. The
Obama Administration is allowing corporations like Dow AgroSciences,
Cargill and DuPont, and industry trade groups like the Pork Producers
Council and Tobacco Associates, Inc. – 600 of them in all – to weigh in
on negotiations on two of the largest free trade agreements in world
Who doesn’t get a
seat at the table? Consumers, farmers, even members of Congress. In
fact, the President wants to “fast-track” the two agreements. That means
Congress will be forced to vote on them, after they’ve already been
finalized and signed, without benefit of the normal democratic checks
and balances that include debate and the ability to introduce
Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and Trans-Pacific Partnership
(TPP) pose direct threats to consumer safety. They will weaken U.S. and
world food safety standards, threaten domestic and international food
sovereignty laws, and allow transnational corporations to sue
governments for alleged future lost profits unless the corporations are
allowed to freely peddle their unproven, unsafe goods with reckless
regard for existing food safety laws. Read the essay Read the press release TAKE ACTION: Tell President Obama and Interim U.S. Trade Rep. Miriam Sapiro: Trade Agreements Shouldn't Be Secret!
GMO LEGISLATION UPDATE
Winning! Connecticut and Maine Make History, Pass GMO Labeling Laws
It’s Monsanto’s worst
nightmare come true. One by one, states are passing GMO labeling laws,
despite Monsanto’s best efforts – and deep pockets – to prevent them.
Will the Biotech Bully follow through on its threats to sue? We say:
Bring it on!
Kudos to the
hard-working, take-no-prisoners, not-takin’-no-for-an-answer activists
in Connecticut for scoring the first GMO labeling law in the country.
And a tip of the hat to Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who has
promised to sign the Connecticut bill, lawsuit threats and all. The
Connecticut bill received bipartisan support, passing the Senate
unanimously and winning a 134-3 vote in the House. Maine followed
Connecticut’s lead, with the House passing LD 718 yesterday, June 12,
also by an overwhelming majority vote 141-4.
Neither bill is perfect.
Connecticut’s requires four other states, including one that borders
the Constitution State, to pass GMO labeling laws before it kicks in.
Maine contains a similar trigger, but requires five other states to pass
GMO labeling laws, before LD 718 can take effect. But it just could
turn out that the trigger clauses prompt other nearby states, including
Vermont whose bill H.112 will be taken up in January, to follow suit.
knew they’d show up, sooner or later, with their bulging wallets. Can
their fake science, sleazy ads and bogus voter guides be far behind?
This week, the money
started flowing in to the campaign to defeat I-522, Washington State’s
ballot initiative to label genetically modified organisms (GMOs). If
history is our guide, this is just the beginning. A mere trickle
compared with the flood that’s sure to follow.
Manufacturers Association is leading the way, with its first donation,
$472.5k. Monsanto has plunked down $242.2k so far, a mere pittance
compared to the nearly $8 million the biotech giant forked out last year
to defeat Proposition 37, California’s GMO labeling initiative. The
other usual suspects include DuPont Pioneer, Bayer CropScience, Dow
AgroSciences – you know, the guys who make all those nasty pesticides,
and don’t want you to know they’re putting them in your food.
Experts tell us that
neither side in the I-522 fight will need to spend as much as they spent
in California. We can reach far more voters, with far fewer ads, in
Washington. The opposition could spend the same amount it spent in
California, nearly $46 million, to try to defeat I-522, but you can only
saturate a market so much before you put off voters. That said, we know
these early donations will be followed by many more, much larger ones.
The biotech industry
will pull out all the stops to defeat I-522, especially in light of the
recent GMO labeling law wins in Connecticut and Maine. We don’t have any
huge corporations on our side in this fight. But we have you. Hundreds
of thousands of individual donors who, together, can make a huge
difference. Please make a generous donation today. Thank you!
It’s been more than six
months since consumers began boycotting the “Traitor” brands: the
organic and natural brands of the parent companies that spent millions
to defeat Proposition 37, the California Right to Know GMO labeling
initiative. When we launched the boycott, we explained that we’d be
happy to start buying brands like R.W. Knudsen, Naked Juice, Odwalla and
others again - just as soon as the decision-makers at those brands
guaranteed us that their parent companies wouldn’t pour money into
defeating future state labeling campaigns, but would instead pitch in to
support those campaigns.
We’re still waiting. So
far, there’s been no sign of donations from companies like Pepsi,
Coca-Cola, ConAgra, etc. to the NO campaign for I-522, a citizens’
initiative to label GMOs in Washington State. That’s encouraging. But
there haven't been any donations from those companies to the YES
campaign, either. Even though we know a lot of these Big Food companies
have signaled that they now support GMO labeling laws, at least at the federal level. If you’re missing your Honest Tea or Boca Burgers or Hunts Organic, now would be a good time to visit the facebook pages of all the Traitor Brands and post a little reminder: You’ll become a loyal fan again, as soon as their parent companies promise to support I-522. Until then, you’ll make do with their competitors’ brands.
Senator Promises Monsanto Protection Act Won’t Be Renewed without a Vote
It pays to complain. Thanks to your calls and letters to your U.S. Senators, the movement to repeal the Monsanto Protection Act
has scored a preliminary victory: The much-maligned rider, slipped into
the Farm Bill without debate, will not be renewed without a vote. Sen.
Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich., pictured), chairwoman of the Agriculture
to oppose the extension beyond its September 30 expiration date. Sen.
Stabenow made the promise to Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), who had pushed
unsuccessfully for a vote on his own amendment to repeal the Monsanto
rider. Sen. Stabenow’s promise represented a compromise.
Great news, but we have to keep up the pressure to make sure Sen. Stabenow honors her pledge. Please call and email your Senators and ask them to pledge to vote against the Monsanto Protection Act if Sen. Blunt proposes it again.
What’s next for the Farm Bill? The Senate completed its work on June 10, passing the legislation without voting on many of the other amendments
we asked consumers to support. The bill now moves to the House, where
floor debates and votes on amendments are scheduled for the week of June
17. The House version of Farm Bill contains an amendment proposed by
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) that would rob states of the right to regulate
factory farms. That's bad enough, but the King Amendment is so broadly
written that it could also overturn hundreds of state laws regulating
agricultural products, including laws like the one Connecticut just
passed, and many other states are considering, that would require
mandatory labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). There’s still
time to make your voice heard on the King Amendment, and other key
amendments that will have an impact on food, environment and climate
change policies. Let Congress know where you stand! Learn the fate of the Senate Farm Bill amendments and find out what amendments will come up for a vote in the House TAKE ACTION: Don’t Let Congress Stomp Out States’ Rights. Stop the King Amendment!
Love a Parade? March with Moms Across America on July 4!
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 fighting for their kids’ health?
The California State
Grange and LabelGMOs.org have teamed up with moms who have seen their
kids' health improve by going GMO free. Together they've launched 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 July 4 parades scheduled for the summer’s biggest holiday.
So far, activists in 147 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 them and their voting public aware that the nine out of 10
citizens who support GMO labels aren't happy with their votes against
our right to know.
“Its’ not about taste.
For me, it’s not even about the science. It’s about freedom.” Craft
Restaurants founder Tom Colicchio, known also for his work as the head
judge on Bravo’s hit competition show Top Chef, discusses what it means to be a food activist. Watch the video