Saturday, June 25, 2016


Organic Consumers Association
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The darkest DARK Act of them all . . .  

Dear Kat,
The long-awaited Senate bill to kill Vermont’s mandatory GMO labeling law was unveiled last week.
It’s worse than we imagined, the darkest DARK Act of them all.
The bill proposed by Sens. Pat Roberts and Debbie Stabenow is an anti-consumer, pro-Monsanto masterpiece, bought and paid for by some of the greediest, most deceptive corporations in America.
It’s full of loopholes and exemptions. 
It allows food companies to “disclose” GMO ingredients using barcode technology and websites, instead of clear words, in plain view, on the package.
It won't kick in for another two years, even though many food companies are already labeling in order to comply with Vermont’s law.
And here’s the best worst part: The Roberts-Stabenow bill gives food companies permission to flaunt the law by ensuring that there will be no penalites, no consequences, if they fail to comply. 
That's not a law. That's a joke.
I don’t know if we can stop this brazen attack on states’ and consumer rights.
But I know we have to try.
Natural health leader, your loyal ally in the GMO labeling battle, has stepped up to help us meet our summer fundraising goal by offering to match your donation. Please help us reach our goal bymidnight June 30, so we can wage the final leg of this fight. You can donate online, or by phone or U.S. mail, details here.
Roberts and Stabenow didn’t act in time to keep Vermont’s long-awaited mandatory GMO labeling law from taking effect on July 1.
But as soon as both the House and the Senate return after the July 4 holiday recess, Monsanto’s hired guns will move heaven and earth to ram this bill through Congress.
This federal, so-called “mandatory” labeling law doesn’t require labels on some of the most common GMO ingredients. 
It allows regulatory agencies to set thresholds so high that many, or most GE ingredients wouldn’t have to be labeled.
It also provides for defining “genetic engineering” in such a way that GMO corn and soy, the main GMO crops grown in the U.S., could be exempt.
The Roberts-Stabenow bill is so weak, it wouldn’t be worth the Senate’s time to vote on it, except for this one fact: If passed, the bill will achieve Monsanto’s two primary goals—overturn Vermont’s law, and give food companies a permanent free pass to deceive the public.
We owe it to ourselves to see this battle through to the end. Please call your Senators, visit their offices, then call them again.
If Congress fails us on this issue, we will use every resource we have to launch massive boycotts of the brands and companies behind this bill, including factory farm producers of meat, eggs and dairy.
And with your help, we will do everything in our power to make sure that the Congress members who sold us down the river never serve in office again.
Please help us take advantage of’s generous offer to match any donation made by midnight June 30You can donate online, or by phone or U.S. mail, details here.
In solidarity,
Ronnie Cummins
International Director
P.S. We still need to raise about $50,000 to reach our goal bymidnightJune 30. Win or lose the labeling battle, we have our work cut out for us if we want a regenerative, not degenerative food and farming system. Please know that every donation, no matter how small, will be matched by Mercola and will help build a better food movement. Donate online here.

Friday, June 24, 2016




Bill Wenzel,


Contact: Bill Wenzel, Agriculture Policy Program DirectorT: (202) 461-2451 | C: (608) 444-0292
Background: Legislation providing citizens with the basic right to know whether the food they are feeding to their families contain genetically engineered (GE) ingredients has been introduced in more than 30 states with Vermont, Connecticut and Maine enacting GE labeling laws. These legislative proposals have been met with fierce opposition from the biotechnology, farm and grocery manufacturers lobbies that have spent millions to defeat legislation in the states. With the Vermont law set to become effective on July 1, 2016, those powerful special interests have turned to Congress for relief.
On March 16, 2016, the Senate refused to consider legislation introduced by Sen. Roberts (R-KS), Chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, to preempt state GE legislation and impose a voluntary GE labeling standard (S.2609). The strong bi-partisan vote to defeat the Roberts’ bill, labeled the DARK Act (Deny Americans the Right to Know), was in response to the demand of millions of consumers nationwide. Subsequent to the vote, Kellogg’s, PepsiCo, General Mills, Mars, ConAgra and other large food companies joined Campbell’s Soups in announcing plans to label products containing GE ingredients.
Statement: “The message from consumers to Congress regarding the labeling of genetically engineered (GE) products and ingredients has been crystal clear from Day One – only a mandatory national standard requiring prominent, on-package labeling is acceptable in legislation preempting state GE labeling laws. QR codes, smart labels and other off-package labeling are unacceptable alternatives. Consumers who do not want GE products or ingredients should not need to have smart phones, download apps, or spend time searching the web for information that should be readily available on the product that’s in their hand when they are grocery shopping.
The compromise reached by Senators Stabenow and Roberts allows companies the option of using off-packaging labeling, which makes it harder, if not impossible, for all consumers to know whether products contain GE products and ingredients, and falls far short of our expectations for a national mandatory GE labeling standard. We oppose the Stabenow-Roberts GE labeling compromise, and urge all Senators to once again hear the voices of the 90 percent of Americans who demand nothing short of mandatory, on-package labeling of all GE products and ingredients, and vote “no” on the compromise.”


Subject: MESSAGE I SENT TO SENATORS TODAY on the DARK ACT from Howard Vlieger
I writing to ask you to OPPOSE the Stabenow/Roberts compromise on GMO labeling. This is a TOTAL denial of our constitutional rights. What right could be more fundamental than knowing what is in our food?

GMOs have NEVER been proven safe and there is a growing body of independent scientific studies showing many reasons for concern for the health of those consuming GMOs.

Couple this with the fact that more than 80% of GMO crops are resistant to glyphosate based herbicides and glyphosate residues are showing up everywhere (grains, bread, breast milk, baby food, cereal, water systems and much more). Glyphosate is a potent antibiotic and broad spectrum chelator and is wreaking havoc in the health of animals and people around the world. Just this AM it was announced that glyphosate herbicides will NOT be registered in the EU.

We deserve to know if GMOs are in our food. More than 90% of the citizens in our country want "ON LABEL" wording if food contains ingredients of GMO crops. Do what is right for the consuming citizens of this country, NOT corporate contributors. PLEASE vote NO on the Stabenow/Roberts legislation.

Thank you!

4947 US 75 Avenue
712-567-4151 OFFICE
712-441-3911 CELL

Thursday, June 23, 2016


Consumers Union Opposes New Senate GMO Labeling Proposal


Director, Food Policy Initiatives​
Senior Staff Scientist

For Immediate Release: Thursday, June 23, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) announced a deal on legislation related to genetically engineered ingredients, or GMOs. The new bill would nullify state laws requiring clear, on-package labeling of food with GMOs and replace them with an ineffective national standard to be set two years from now by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Jean Halloran, director of food policy initiatives for Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy division of Consumer Reports, issued this statement in response:

“This deal is unacceptable to the nine out of ten Americans who support mandatory GMO labeling. Consumers deserve to know what’s in their food and to be able to make informed decisions. They have been clear that they want straightforward GMO labels that they can read and understand at a quick glance when shopping. This law would instead allow GMO disclosure to be done through scannable codes, phone numbers, or websites – making it difficult, if not impossible for the average consumer to find out what they want to know as they try to decide which kind of cereal or snack to buy.

“While we appreciate efforts by Senator Stabenow and others to seek a better bill than the one passed by the House last summer, this deal does not meet consumer needs. QR codes, 1-800 numbers, or websites aren’t a solution. The new Senate bill is just another way to allow companies to keep consumers in the dark – especially the one-third of Americans who don’t own a smartphone and those in rural areas without reliable broadband service.

Michael Hansen, Ph.D., Senior Scientist at Consumers Union, added: “The bill’s requirements, limited though they may be, do not even apply to many forms of genetically engineered food. The bill is designed to cover only food produced with traditional forms of genetic engineering, and leaves out emerging techniques like ‘gene editing,’ which was recently used to create a mushroom that doesn’t get brown. The bill also completely exempts any food where meat is the main ingredient, even if there are other ingredients that are genetically engineered.”

Halloran also said: “The Senate shouldn’t fall for food and biotech industry scare tactics. They claim that Vermont’s law will cause ‘chaos’ and lead to higher food prices. But the fact is that food companies have already started labeling – we’ve received photos of labeled GMO products from consumers across the country. The sky has not fallen, and in general, prices have not risen on GMO foods.

“If this bill is passed by the Senate, it would be a clear case of Congress acting on behalf of industry interests, rather than on those of their constituents. We urge all senators to stand up for consumers – and real disclosure – and oppose this bill.”

Consumers Union is urging consumers to call on their lawmakers to oppose congressional action that would undermine state GMO labeling laws, and to support meaningful, mandatory on-package labeling for GMO foods, including engineered animals like salmon and engineered produce and processed food. To learn more, visit


Contact: David Butler,

William Wallace,, 202-462-6262


Federal Court Finds USDA Process for Allowing Pesticide-Contaminated Compost Improper and Stops Use

Washington, DC, June 21, 2016 – In a ruling that organic advocates say is critical to the integrity of the USDA organic label, a U.S. District Court judge found yesterday that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) violated public process when it decreed that pesticide-contaminated compost is allowed in organic production. Three groups that bridge environmental, consumer, and farmer interests sued USDA for ruling that green waste compost, which comes from lawn clippings and plants, may contain levels of the insecticide bifenthrin and other pesticides that have not been approved for use in organic systems through proper public hearing and comment procedures.

The case focused principally on whether USDA, in failing to conduct a formal public review, was operating “at its whim.” The court found that is exactly what USDA did and ordered the agency to stop allowing the use of contaminated compost by August 22, 2016. U.S. District Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley of the Northern District of California found that USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) operated without the required notice and comment. She explained that “the reach of the Agency’s new rule stretches beyond bifenthrin and instead allows green waste or green waste compost used in organic production to contain any synthetic pesticide of which bifenthrin is just one example.” The plaintiffs in the case are Center for Environmental Health (CEH), Center for Food Safety (CFS), and Beyond Pesticides.

“The court decision upholds an organic industry that has been built on a foundation of consumer and farmer investment in ecologically sound practices, principles, and values to protect health and the environment,” said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. “USDA has violated a basic requirement of public accountability in the standard setting process, which is fundamental to public trust in the organic label and continued growth of the organic sector,” he added.

“The decision is a vital victory for organic integrity, on behalf of organic consumers, organic farmers, and the environment,” said senior CFS attorney George Kimbrell, counsel for the plaintiffs.

In 2009, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) found compost contaminated with the insecticide bifenthrin and stopped the use of three compost products.

Bifenthrin is a possible cancer causing agent, endocrine disruptor, and neurotoxic chemical. After the UDSA contamination allowance in 2010, the California prohibition was lifted.

The Organic Trade Association, California Certified Organic Farmers (a certifying agency), and Western Growers Association intervened in the case, claiming that a decision that vacates the contamination rule would cause “profound disruptions to the organic industry” and require an “astronomical. . .testing regime.” The judge responded with, “Amici’s testing argument makes no sense.” As the Judge points out, testing previous to the USDA allowance had been done “when there is reason to believe that the agricultural input or product has come into contact with a prohibited substance or has been produced using excluded methods.” Testing performed by the Washington State Department of Agriculture (which tests for pesticide contamination to comply with Canadian organic certification) found that of the 13 tested composts, five had pesticide residues, according to court records. The Judge cited testimony that other compost was found during the prohibition of contaminated compost in California and the contamination is avoidable.

Advocates argue that when registering pesticides like bifenthrin, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency must be required to protect against contamination of the green waste stream because of pesticides’ adverse environmental and public health effects, as well as the adverse economic impact that contamination may have on the now $40 billion organic industry.

"We applaud the court's decision to protect the integrity of the organic program," said Caroline Cox, Research Director of CEH. "We will continue to watchdog the USDA to insure that the program meets consumers' expectations for meaningful organic standards."

Ed Maltby
NODPA Executive Director
30 Keets Road
Deerfield, MA 01342

The other side to the organic check-off:
Please support NODPA's efforts!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


Vermont's GMO labelling law: DuPont, Syngenta fight disclosure of internal studies

The Vermont Attorney General's Office is asking a federal judge to force Syngenta and Dupont to turn over internal studies relating to GMO safety
Disclosure of the GMO industry’s safety studies might reveal some interesting findings. In any case, full disclosure should be a prerequisite of GMO approvals anywhere in the world.

Vermont's GMO labeling law: DuPont, Syngenta fight disclosure of internal studies

By Robert Audette
Brattleboro Reformer, 21 June 2016

The Vermont Attorney General's Office is asking a federal judge to force Syngenta Corporation and Dupont to turn over internal studies relating to the safety of genetically modified organisms.

The state is asking the manufacturers of genetically engineered seeds — such as DuPont, Syngenta, Dow, Monsanto and Bayer — to turn over any studies conducted into the health and environmental impacts of those products and the producers of foods containing GE ingredients — such as Frito-Lay, Kellog's and ConAgra — to release consumer surveys to see if these companies know what their consumers think when they see the word "natural."

In May 2014, the Vermont Legislature enacted Act 120, which requires the labeling of foods produced or partially produced with genetic engineering or containing genetically modified ingredients and prohibits the labeling of such foods as "natural."

In response to the state's request for the documents, Syngenta and Dupont claim the state's motions are untimely; the documents sought are irrelevant to the underlying litigation; and it is too burdensome to look for the documents.

"All three of these arguments are meritless," states the motion to compel. "The State served Subpoenas upon Syngenta and DuPont well before the fact discovery deadline. The Subpoenas called for the production of documents well before the fact discovery deadline. It is undisputed that the parties engaged in many written and oral negotiations regarding the proper scope of the Subpoenas, as is typical and ordinarily occurs during the fact discovery process."

One month after the approval of Act 120, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, Snack Food Association, International Dairy Foods Association and National Association of Manufacturers filed suit in Vermont federal district court to prevent the enforcement of the legislation. In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs contend Act 120 violates their First Amendment right to free speech, is unconstitutionally vague, violates the Dormant Commerce Clause, and is preempted by federal labeling statutes.

The industry groups are seeking an injunction to prevent Act 120 from going into effect on July 1. A hearing on the motions to compel is scheduled in Burlington today. Since the start of discovery, notes the state, the plaintiff organizations have turned over thousands of documents and additional documents have now been provided by four of the subpoenaed parties.

The motion to compel filed on June 20 against Syngenta and DuPont notes that counsel for the two companies led the state to believe the documents would be produced, but then produced nothing. While the close of discovery was Nov. 24, 2015, the state "in active negotiations with Syngenta and DuPont," worked on narrowing the scope of the document request into mid-December. "Only after that date had passed did Syngenta and DuPont take the position that they could avoid all of their legal obligations to respond to timely served Subpoenas simply by running out the clock, and that the State would then be forever barred from moving to compel," notes the motion to compel. This is an incorrect assumption, contends the state, as a motion to compel filed after the deadline for discovery is timely so long as "it seeks to compel answers and documents that were demanded during the discovery period. ... Syngenta and DuPont also fail to recognize that after the Subpoenas were issued, any alleged delays are attributable to the State engaging, as the rules of discovery require, in ongoing attempts to resolve matters without court intervention. ... The State was attempting to avoid unnecessarily burdening the courts with numerous motions to compel by first trying to resolve its disputes with the Subpoena recipients."

The subpoenas were originally served in the District of Delaware, where the companies' headquarters are located. The cases were then transferred to Vermont, where the actual lawsuit has been filed. Before the cases were transferred, Syngenta and DuPont told the Delaware court that the all the documents the state is asking for are available to the public but when challenged by the judge, admitted that only summaries are available.

Of utmost importance, contends the state, is the safety of crops that have been modified to withstand the application of herbicides and pesticides.

"Plaintiffs have put forward an expert witness who has signed a declaration claiming that 'not one credible study has found any risk from GE not already present in traditional or conventional breeding.' ... If Plaintiffs' own members have studies showing risks from GE crops, it directly undermines the primary claim that Plaintiffs are making in this lawsuit." GE-related pesticides like Roundup are used on crops genetically engineered to be "Roundup Ready," "and the safety of GE crops — including environmental impacts — is thus directly connected to the safety and environmental impacts of pesticides and herbicides for which GE crops are specifically modified."

The claim by Syngenta and DuPont that the discovery sought creates an undue burden that is not proportional to the needs of the case, is incorrect, contends the state.
"The State's motions seek only 'the results' of studies or research since 1995 on the potential health or environmental impacts of GE crops, GE food products, or herbicide and pesticide usage on commercially available GE crops. Notably, Syngenta and DuPont implicitly concede that they keep track of precisely those results, since, as Syngenta puts it, federal law imposes 'ongoing reporting obligation to (federal) agencies that would apply to any later obtained adverse data.'"

Further, the minor burden on Syngenta and DuPont is far outweighed by the importance of the issues at stake in the action and the importance of the discovery in resolving the issues.

"First, the underlying litigation involves a constitutional challenge to the first-in-the-nation GE food labeling law. This case is precedent-setting, and the stakes are high both for consumers and for manufacturers. ... Second, the specific information the State seeks will be highly relevant if it undermines the central theory of Plaintiffs' case — that there is no scientific basis for labeling GE food. Plaintiffs should not be allowed to put forward such a thesis, and, more importantly, to ask this Court to make a holding to that effect, without the State having an opportunity to test it by viewing the documents that Plaintiffs' members have thus far refused to produce."

Dupont is also asking the Federal District Court for the District of Vermont to pay its attorney's fees but, notes the motion to compel, "DuPont does not cite a single case in support of its claim that attorney's fees would be appropriate here. Nor does DuPont even bother citing the applicable standard, which states that so long as the State is "substantially justified" in filing a motion to compel, DuPont cannot obtain fees. If anything, DuPont should be paying the State's fees for having to file a motion to compel documents that DuPont should have turned over months ago."

Most recently, a motion to compel filed against Frito-Lay was dismissed after the two parties reached an agreement. In that case, the state contended attorneys for Frito-Lay also delayed in responding to discovery requests and then told the court the state's requests were untimely.

Earlier this year, Mars, Kellogg's and General Mills announced they would be joining Campbell's in labeling products made with GMO ingredients.

"Each of the companies noted that the production costs associated with crafting a label specific to the Vermont market would be prohibitive; rather than absorb these costs, the companies made the calculated decision to label their products," wrote Chris Campbell, for the Food Institute.