Current Action Alerts

EPA Accepting Comments on Pollinator Health Until November 24, 2014

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014

Beyond Pesticides

Co-Chairs of Pollinator Health Task Force:
USDA’s Tom Vilsack and EPA’s Lisa Jackson
Image Source: USDA

At the close of Pollinator Week 2014 President Obama called on government agencies to create a plan to “promote the health of honey bees and other pollinators.” However, at the end of last month the Task Force announced it would miss its self-imposed December 20th deadline on its action plan, delaying needed steps towards improving pollinator health.

EPA will be accepting written comments at this link until November 24, 2014.

Talking Points for Comments:

EPA and USDA have a duty to protect our nation’s pollinators, and the Presidential memorandum has directed federal agencies to take action. Given average loss rates near 30% over the past 8 years, there is an urgent need to move quickly on finding long-term sustainable solutions for pollinator protection. A growing body of scientific evidence reveals connections between pollinator declines and pesticide exposure, making it evident to the public and government agencies that action must be taken to rein in these harmful chemicals. Read Full Article »

Living With GMOs

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

The Letter From America

letter-from-americaAn open letter to the citizens, politicians, and regulators of the UK and the rest of the EU about the hazards of genetically modified crops

We are writing as concerned American citizens to share with you our experience of genetically modified (GM) crops and the resulting damage to our agricultural system and adulteration of our food supply.

In our country, GM crops account for about half of harvested cropland. Around 94% of the soy, 93% of corn (maize) and 96% of cotton grown is GM.1

The UK and the rest of the EU have yet to adopt GM crops in the way that we have, but you are currently under tremendous pressure from governments, biotech lobbyists, and large corporations to adopt what we now regard as a failing agricultural technology.

Polls consistently show that 72% of Americans do not want to eat GM foods and over 90% of Americans believe GM foods should be labeled.2 In spite of this massive public mandate, efforts to get our federal3 and state4  governments to better regulate, or simply label, GMOs are being undermined by large biotech and food corporations with unlimited budgets5 and undue influence. Read Full Article »

WHITE HOUSE PETITION: President Obama, Please Reverse USDA Coup Undermining Organics

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

[This petition is now closed]

WHITE HOUSE PETITION: Ask President Obama to Reverse USDA Coup Undermining Organic Governing Board and Shifting Power to Agribusiness Lobbyists

Stop allowing corporations to add gimmicky and risky synthetic chemicals to organics

sign petition button

When Congress passed the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (OFPA), they created a unique and powerful citizen advisory panel, with statutory authority, to assist the Secretary of Agriculture in implementing the act.   The independent National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) was a key component of OFPA when it passed Congress.  Without its creation as a buffer between corporate lobbyists and an industry-friendly USDA (the agency testified against the organic legislation before its passage), it is unlikely that OFPA would have received the requisite support in the organic farming community.

Now the independence and power of the 15-member NOSB – composed of farmers, environmentalists, public interest groups, food processors, a scientist, a retailer and a certifier – is being seriously undermined.  Last fall the USDA, in its most unapologetic and undemocratic power grab to date, broke with 15 years of precedent in stripping the NOSB of much of its authority and power.

Please help roll back these changes by signing this petition
to President Obama and USDA Secretary Vilsack. Read Full Article »

ACTION ALERT: Stop the Corporate Takeover of Organics

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

After years of pillaging the conventional dairy industry, Dean Foods recently spun-off their branded products division (WhiteWave), including the Horizon and Silk labels.  The company has cheapened organics and its brands.

CI_CorpOrganicsTakeAction

Now, at the nation’s largest organic farming conference, the company will again have a prominent role.  This Saturday, at the MOSES Conference, WhiteWave’s corporate representative will seek to teach farmers how to communicate with organic consumers and understand “consumer demographics, behaviors, attitudes, and mindsets.”

How will this WhiteWave executive help us better understand today’s organic consumer?  Will she encourage us to cheapen production costs by sourcing feed and ingredients from China or factory farms?  Will she instruct us on how to break contracts with family farmers? Or market new non-organic products with the same name and nearly identical packaging that’s already familiar to organic consumers?

Enough is enough!  Sign the petition asking the MOSES board of directors to cancel WhiteWave’s workshop.  Please tell MOSES’s leadership that we love this conference but it should not be for sale to the highest corporate contributor.

For too long Dean Foods/WhiteWave has purchased influence with many nonprofits running farming conferences across the U.S. and in the organic community.  It’s estimated that over the last 10 years, they have been the largest corporate contributor to organic nonprofits.  They buy influence in the organic community and access to farmers the same way their lobbyists buy influence in Washington with large campaign contributions

Help protect the reputation of the nation’s largest organic farming conference.  Please ask the MOSES board to cancel this inappropriate workshop or substitute marketing expertise from companies that truly believe in the values that have helped build the organic business industry.

To the MOSES Board of Directors,

I believe that the organic industry is about more than just increasing sales. Ethical farmers need ethical marketing partners in order to bring wholesome food to the tables of conscious eaters around the country.

In the case of Dean Foods and WhiteWave (Silk and Horizon), the corporations have premeditatively chosen to conduct their business like other large corporate agribusinesses. These multibillion-dollar enterprises, and their executives, seem more interested in maximizing profit and “selling the sizzle not the steak,” rather than upholding the ethical precepts the organic community was founded upon.

As an organic stakeholder I respectfully request that you cancel the workshop or substitute a more appropriate presenter on organic marketing at your 2014 organic farming conference in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Money buys access in Washington. And it’s obvious that one of the reasons some powerful corporations contribute handsomely to nonprofits in the organic sector, and sponsor conferences, is that it buys them goodwill and ready access to farmers.

Please protect the reputation and integrity of your very important conference by recognizing the discomfort that many of us have with the business practices of this particular company, and the potential that their money has to corrupt in the nonprofit sector.

Sincerely yours:

(Signatories will be listed)

We will not sell or share your email address with any other organizations.

Subterfuge: FDA’s Phase Out of Antibiotics for Animal Growth Purposes Ineffective — Will Disadvantage Small Farmers

Friday, January 31st, 2014

[Please note that we have updated the previously incorrect docket number on the sample letter.]

On December 11, 2013 the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) released a new draft guidance that asks animal-drug makers to voluntarily discontinue marketing antibiotics to farmers for faster livestock growth, limiting their use strictly to therapeutic uses. Will this billion-dollar industry make voluntary changes in order to protect the efficacy of important antibiotics used to treat human illnesses?

CI_FDAAntibioticsTakeActionWe need your help to push the FDA into addressing the draft guidance’s shortcomings.

According to the FDA an estimated 80% of all antibiotics manufactured in this country are administered to livestock — and most to promote weight gain and “feed efficiency.”

The draft guidance, written as nonbinding recommendations, calls for a voluntary three-year transition of medically important antibiotics to no longer allow their use for food-animal growth or feed efficiency purposes. However, some veterinarians and animal producers suggest drug manufacturers will instead start calling the continued use of antibiotics a “preventative strategy” to stave off bacterial outbreaks in their confinement facilities. Read Full Article »

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