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Friday, August 30, 2013

Organic Bytes -- August 30, 2013


Fat Chance: Diet Coke Fights Obesity?

It was laughable when Coca-Cola launched a campaign to fight obesity. And even more laughable when the king of soda’s anti-obesity campaign shifted all the blame for those extra pounds to lack of exercise and chairs (yes, chairs).

But now, the company that donated $1.7 million to defeat last year’s GMO labeling initiative in California has gone from laughable to dangerous. In the wake of declining sales of its Diet Coke brand, Coke has rolled out an ad campaign carefully and deceptively crafted to convince consumers that aspartame, the artificial sweetener (whose patent was at one time owned by Monsanto) in Diet Coke, is a “healthy alternative” to sugar.

Aspartame, a synthetic compound (as in, not a food) has a long history of controversy. It’s been linked to a host of health conditions. Some studies have concluded that it actually causes, not prevents, weight gain. The FDA once put its approval on hold. But thanks to Donald Rumsfeld, the artificial sweetener gained approval in 1981. That’s right, the guy who led us into war in Iraq hand-picked the FDA commissioner who rammed through approval of aspartame. Rumsfeld was previously the CEO of G. D Searle, the company that discovered aspartame. He pocketed a nice little $12-million bonus after the FDA approved aspartame and Monsanto bought Searle.
Read the essay



Tell Coke: End Your ‘Killer’ Ad Campaign

We know. You don’t drink Diet Coke.

But half of Americans drink diet soda, and they consume about 4 billion gallons of it every year. Diet soda is a $10-billion industry. It’s making people fat. And sick. Which makes it all the more appalling that Coca-Cola is running public service-style ads aimed at promoting aspartame as a “healthy alternative” to sugar, and Diet Coke as a weight-loss strategy.

Coca-Cola is testing its deceptive ads in Chicago and Atlanta. Want to help us convince the company to end the campaign, before it expands to other markets? Sign our letter below to CEO Muhtar Kent, and other top executives. Then call the company. Then share your thoughts on their facebook page.

TAKE ACTION: Tell Coke: Stop Running Ads Claiming that Diet Coke and Aspartame Are Healthy

Call Coca-Cola: 1-800-438-2653

Diet Coke on Facebook



Calling All Volunteers . . . Let’s Win GMO Labeling in Washington!

One of the most critical food policy fights of our lifetimes will be decided in less than 10 weeks. I-522, the initiative to require mandatory labeling of GMOs in food products in Washington State, is our next best shot at forcing food manufacturers to label GMOs in all of their products in all 50 states.
All of us, no matter what our zipcode, will either win or lose on Nov. 5. That’s why we need everyone’s help to pass this initiative.

Do you have time to help persuade Washington State voters to cast their ballots on Nov. 5 in favor of I-522? One of the easiest, and most effective ways you can help is to become a phone banker. All you need is a phone and an internet connection. It won’t cost you a dime. We’ll supply training, scripts – everything you need. You can make the calls anytime that’s convenient for you, from your own home. The first training session is tonight at 7 p.m. PST. Can’t make it? No worries. Training sessions will happen every Thursday at 7 p.m. PST from now until voting day. There will also be two 4 p.m PST trainings, one on Sept. 5 and one on Sept. 19.
We lost in California last year by a razor-thin 1 percent. Your phone calls to Washington state voters could make all the difference this year.
Sign up to call Washington voters




Now You See It . . .

Now you don’t. Just four days ago, you could go to the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) website, and click on a link that listed their 300-plus members.
Suddenly, poof, the link is gone. Just days after the GMA dumped an additional $1.75 million into the campaign to defeat I-522, Washington State’s GMO labeling initiative. The trade group’s total donation so far? Just north of $2.2 million.

Did the GMA hide its member list because its members don’t want you to know that they’re funneling donations through the GMA to keep you from knowing what’s in your food? And they don’t want you to know that they don’t want you to know?

But we do know. Companies like Safeway, which wants you to buy its O Organics brand products. And companies like Target, which wants you to patronize its organic section. Companies like Starbucks, and Coca-Cola (owner of Honest Tea) and General Mills (owner of Muir Glen). The list is long.

We will no doubt be outspent in Washington. That’s okay. We can be outspent and still win. But we can’t be outspent six-to-one as we were in California and still win this fight. The next few weeks are critical. The clock is ticking. Can you help by making a donation 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 Washington, Vermont and other states)



Clothes for a Change: Is Your T-Shirt GMO?

You probably don’t think “GMO” when you buy a cotton t-shirt. But it’s Monsanto that now grows about half of the world’s cotton. On more than 40 million acres. The top three countries producing GE cotton? India, China and the U.S.
Monsanto’s control over the cotton seed market in India has been agriculturally and economically devastating. Millions of small cotton farmers have been duped into buying Monsanto’s high-priced GE seeds, only to go bankrupt. In despair, more than 200,000 cotton farmers have committed suicide. Cotton is the most pesticide-intensive crop in the world. Cotton farmers and farmworkers, and the people living in cotton-growing communities, are exposed to deadly doses of toxic chemicals. Most of the world's cotton clothes are produced in sweatshops, where people are paid low wages to work long hours in unsafe working conditions. In a tragic example of how dangerous conditions are, a building collapse in April 2013 left more than a thousand people dead or missing. Inside that building workers produced many of the leading brands for the U.S.’s $340-billion dollar garment industry.
It’s taken decades, but finally the issue of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in our food has gone mainstream. We’re poised to win what everyone agrees will be the deciding GMO labeling battle – I-522, the Washington State initiative that will require mandatory labeling of GMO ingredients in food sold in Washington. Combined with recent wins in Maine and Connecticut, a win in Washington will force food manufacturers to label nationally.

What’s next? More education and more consciousness-raising. Because truth is, most GMO crops don’t go into the food we eat. They go into animal feed, biofuels and clothing. Without proper safety testing. Without adequate environmental impact analysis. We can do better. Let's win the GMO food labeling battle. Then let's take on GMO animal feed, biofuels, cotton and clothing.
More on OCA's Clothes for a Change campaign



Hemp: Can You Help ‘Bring It Home?’

You can buy hemp seeds at your health food store, or hemp building materials from your building supplier. As long as the hemp was grown outside the U.S. But if you’re a farmer, you could go to jail for growing industrial hemp on U.S. soil.
Advocates of industrial hemp farming are working on state and federal legislation that would change that. They want to make it legal to grow industrial hemp, a sustainable, profitable crop, here at home. You can help their cause by hosting a screening of the documentary film, Bringing It Home. The film chronicles a father’s discovery of hempcrete, one of the most environmentally sustainable building materials available, and his “hemp trail” to the U.K. to interview farmers, researchers and business owners so he could eventually build the first hemp house in the U.S., in Asheville, N.C.
Are you in? Sign up so you can download a screening guide, film event flier and press release template. And to make things fun, break out the hemp-seed appetizers and finger foods while you and your guests enjoy the show.

Learn more

Watch the trailer

Sign up to host a screening & download materials



More Bad News on BPA

Boys exposed to higher levels of Bisephenol A (BPA) while they’re still in the womb are more likely to suffer from hyperactivity, aggression, depression and anxiety at the age of seven, according to a study released this month by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.
BPA, a man-made, carbon-based product commonly thought to be an endocrine-disrupter, is found in many plastic products, including the liners in canned food. It’s long been the subject of studies pointing to the harmful effects of its hormone-altering chemicals. A 2008 study showed that 95 percent of Americans had BPA in their urine, and that BPA was linked to increased body weight.



Essential Reading for the Week

All Hail Hungary: Country Bravely Destroys All Monsanto GMO Corn - AGAIN




  1. I am confuse about the coke. It increases the calories or reduce the fat?? Please explain me.

    Kopi Luwak

  2. As far as I can tell, Diet Coke does niothing to help one lose weight. Aspartame, the synthetic sweetener,is bad stuff for your body. If you want to lose weight, don't drink ANY soda or other sweetened soft drink.
    Uke Jackson