Cornucopia’s Take: In the wake of the recent GMO labeling compromise, the Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) has withdrawn its membership from the Organic Trade Association (OTA).  OTA members include many huge conventional companies with smaller organic portfolios who would not like to see GMO labeling applied to their conventional products. The OTA has represented this terrible bill as a good compromise with lawmakers. Their support was critical to gaining the backing of many Senators in Congress and pushing the bill over the top. It remains to be seen how many truly organic OTA members will withdraw in the aftermath of this lobbying coup.

Organic Farmer Group Dumps Organic Trade Association
OSGATA Cites Betrayal Over Monsanto-Backed GMO Labeling Bill

by OSGATA; Contact Lisa Stokke, Secretary, OSGATA Board of Directors

Jim Gerritsen, OSGATA President

By a unanimous vote of its Board of Directors, the organic farmer-controlled Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association (OSGATA) has withdrawn its membership from the Organic Trade Association (OTA).  OSGATA’s decision was prompted by OTA’s duplicity towards organic farmers and consumers when a small number of OTA board members endorsed a dangerous Senate bill that would immediately preempt existing strong state GMO Labeling laws that are widely supported by the Organic community and ninety percent of consumers.

Biotech giant Monsanto is universally recognized within the Organic community as organic’s greatest threat.  Recent revelations have made clear that the OTA has created numerous close partnerships with Monsanto including intensive lobbying efforts by the notorious biotech-linked lobbyist Podesta Group on behalf of the deal brokered by Senators Stabenow (D-MI) and Roberts (R-KS).  The Stabenow-Roberts (S.764) is a Senate bill – backed by industrial agriculture and large food conglomerates and whose primary intent are nullifying of historic mandatory GMO Labeling laws passed by huge margins in Vermont, Maine, Connecticut and Alaska legislatures and relieving multinational food companies of the requirement to clearly label products that were produced by genetic engineering.   OTA support for the Monsanto-backed bill proved essential for passage. Last week Stabenow-Roberts passed in the Senate by a narrow four-vote margin of victory on a vote of 63-30.

“It’s important for the world to understand that it was the Organic Trade Association that killed our state GMO labeling laws by backing Monsanto’s Stabenow-Roberts bill,” said Maine organic seed farmer and longtime OSGATA President, Jim Gerritsen.  “It’s clear that Organic Trade Association has come under the control of a small group of lobbyists controlled by giant-food corporations that also own organic brands.  In an effort to protect their own bottom lines and those of their parent companies, the reckless actions of these large parent-owned organic companies threaten the survival of organic farmers and the organic community we have all worked so hard for decades to build.  The Organic Trade Association can no longer be trusted and it’s clear that organic farmers can no longer condone this dubious trade association’s troubling behavior.  Effective immediately, the farmer-run organic seed trade group OSGATA resigns from OTA and we call on other honest organic organizations and companies to do the same.”

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