Thursday, July 7, 2016


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Eager to do Monsanto’s bidding, the US Senate yesterday voted 65-32 to limit debate on the Roberts-Stabenow bill (also known as the DARK Act), a federal GMO labelling bill that allows companies to hide information about GMOs behind QR codes that are inaccessible to at least a third of Americans who don’t own smartphones. The Senate is expected to hold a final vote tonight to pass the bill, which would send it back to the House (which passed its own version last July), and ultimately to President Obama’s desk to be signed into law. TAKE ACTION: Call your Senators at 888-897-0174 to tell them what you think of their votes (the link above will tell you how they voted). Calls are the fastest and most effective way to get your message through to Congress. Organic Consumers Association
Senator Bernie Sanders is launching a final push to derail legislation in the US Senate that would nullify Vermont’s landmark GMO labelling law and replace it with a national law that undermines efforts to mandate GMO labelling. Sanders distributed a letter to his Democratic colleagues in the Senate outlining why the legislation is insufficient. He is also appealing to the full Senate membership to support an amendment that would replace the Senate bill with Vermont’s law on a national scale. Vermont Press Bureau
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, representing Hawaii’s 2nd district, has released a statement after the US Senate voted 65-32 to move forward on bringing the Roberts/Stabenow GMO labelling bill to a vote. Gabbard says: “Nearly 90% of Americans support common sense food labelling. Yet the GMO bill voted on by the Senate today is a weak attempt to placate American consumers by creating the illusion of transparency. If this bill was truly intended to expand consumers’ right to know, it would require a clear, easy to read, uniform food labelling standard. Instead, the bill creates a system of electronic codes, symbols, and text that are intentionally confusing to consumers.” Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard
Food & Water Watch researcher Tim Schwab was barred from a press conference about the Nobel laureates’ attack on Greenpeace over its opposition to GMOs and golden rice. The man who blocked his entrance was Jay Byrne, Monsanto’s former PR man and now head of a PR firm that works with biotech companies. Here’s Schwab’s account of the incident and his analysis of the laureates’ campaign. Food & Water Watch

URGENT ACTION! Call Senators 888-897-0174 NO on DARK ACT!

Organic Consumers Association
View This Email On the Web

Damn the Torpedoes! Full Speed Ahead on GMO Labeling.

Dear Kat,
Eager to do Monsanto’s bidding, the U.S. Senate yesterday voted 65-32 to limit debate on the Roberts-Stabenow bill, a federal GMO labeling bill that is unenforceable, full of loopholes and exemptions, and allows companies to hide information about GMOs behind QR codes that are inaccessible to at least a third of Americans who don’t own smartphones.
The Senate is expected to hold a final vote tonight to pass the bill, which would send it back to the House (which passed its own version last July), and ultimately to President Obama’s desk to be signed into law.
TAKE ACTION: Call your Senators at 888-897-0174 to tell them what you think of their votes! Calls are the fastest, and most effective way to get your message through to Congress.
The Senate needed 60 votes yesterday in order to limit debate on the Senate version of DARK Act. But the bill now needs only 51 votes to pass the Senate and move on to the House.
Both the Senate and House versions are intended to overturn Vermont’s mandatory GMO labeling law which took effect July 1.
We’d be lying if we said the chances of stopping this bill are good—they aren’t.But that shouldn’t stop us from going full throttle to try to win over more Senators, and even call on Obama to veto this bill if it gets that far.
At the very least, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said yesterday in a speech on the Senate floor that the measure hasn't been fully vetted, the Roberts-Stabenow bill deserves a full debate:
"It's not fair to get on an important piece of legislation and not have the opportunity to" have hearings on the measure and offer amendments. We must not stand for the Republican leader jamming this bill through the Senate."
TAKE ACTION: Call your Senators at 888-897-0174 to tell them what you think of their votes! Calls are the fastest, and most effective way to get your message through to Congress.
Scroll down to see you your Senators voted. If they voted against this awful bill, please thank them! If they voted for it, please let them know that QR codes are not labels, and a bill that exempts most of the common GMO ingredients isn’t acceptable.
Yesterday, OCA and many of our allies in the movement worked up until the last minute to convince more Senators to reject this latest version of the DARK Act. We made calls, we visited Senate home district and Washington offices.
We even staged a protest on the Senate floor, dropping 2,000 $1 bills to show our anger over how Monsanto’s money has corrupted the democratic process.
Some of our efforts paid off. Maine Senators Collins and King, who voted for the bill in a “test” vote on June 29, voted against the bill this time, after hearing from hundreds of their constituents who don’t want Maine’s GMO labeling bill overturned. If you live in Maine, please call today to thank Sens. Collins and King and ask them to vote NO again on the final vote.
Sens. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) also saw the light, and voted against the DARK Act yesterday—if you live in Florida or Nebraska, please show these Senators some love today!
But we also had some disappointing “flippers” yesterday, including Democratic Sens. Tim Kaine (Va.) and Bob Menendez (N.J.) who opposed the Roberts-Stabenow bill on June 29, but yesterday supported Monsanto, not consumers. If you live in Virginia or New Jersey, please call today and urge your Senators to support your right to know!
To reach any of these Senators, call 888-897-0174 and you will be connected to your Senator.

For everyone else, please scroll down for the vote count. There were 65 “yeas” and 32 “nays”. We’ve also included the amount of money each Senator has received from agribusiness over the course of their years in the Senate. The average agribusiness contribution for “yes” voters ($886,838) is more than twice as much as the average for "no" voters ($440,765).

TAKE ACTION: Call your Senators TODAY! Thank your Senators who voted “No”. “Spank” your Senators who voted “Yes”. Call 888-897-0174.

Here are some talking points you can use when you call:
I don’t want to have to pull out a phone and scan a QR code in order to know what I’m buying. The Roberts-Stabenow GMO labeling bill would kill the Vermont law that labels GMO foods as “produced with genetic engineering.” Vermont's law is working. GMOs are being labeled. Food prices are staying the same. The labels are being used nationwide. It exempts nearly all GMOs from labeling. It would take at least two years to take effect. And, it’s essentially voluntary because there would be no enforcement for non-compliance. At the very least, this bill deserves a full debate.
Tally for July 6, 2016 cloture vote
NO Votes (the "good guys"):
Blumenthal D-CTNO$43,033
Booker D-NJ
Boxer D-CANO$517,498
Cantwell D-WANO$273,246
Cardin D-MDNO$230,103
Collins R-MENO$596,291
Durbin D-ILNO$951,130  
Gillibrand D-NYNO$627,514
Heinrich D-NMNO$128,927
Hirono D-HINO$108,150
King I-MENO $74,515
Leahy D-VTNO$356,995
Markey D-MANO$118,144
Merkley D-ORNO$222,442
Mikulski D-MDNO$255,439
Murkowski R-AKNO$463,144
Murphy D-CTNO$132,650
Murray D-WANO$667,307
Nelson D-FLNO$873,540 
Paul R-KYNO$416,761
Reed D-RINO$110,550
Reid D-NVNO$691,398
Sanders I-VTNO$750,242
Sasse R-NENO $329,935 
Schatz D-HINO$88,750
Schumer D-NYNO$814,930
Sullivan R-AKNO$157,541
Tester D-MTNO$476,153
Udall D-NMNO$338,055
Warren D-MANO$91,243
Whitehouse D-RINO$98,408
Wyden D-ORNO
Total donations from agribusiness to Senators who voted NO: $12,212,251; Average donation: $440,765
YES Votes (the "bad guys"):
Alexander R-TNYES$980,283
Ayotte R-NHYES$235,956
Baldwin D-WIYES$160,709
Barrasso R-WYYES$207,250
Bennet D-COYES$473,397
Blunt R-MOYES$2,069,365
Boozman R-ARYES $646,471
Burr R-NCYES$1,933,705
Capito R-WVYES$456,720 
Carper D-DEYES $203,662
Casey D-PAYES$405,550
Cassidy R-LAYES$504,933
Coats R-INYES$527,927
Cochran R-MSYES$2,333,394
Coons D-DEYES $86,858
Corker R-TNYES $664,527 
Cornyn R-TXYES$1,688,149
Cotton R-ARYES$508,940
Crapo R-IDYES$1,170,466
Cruz R-TXYES$1,647,662
Daines R-MTYES$596,781
Donnelly D-INYES $363,199  
Enzi R-WYYES$350,502 
Ernst R-IAYES $256,998 
Feinstein D-CAYES $1,645,599 
Fischer R-NEYES$536,262
Flake R-AZYES$535,102  
Franken D-MNYES $286,547 
Gardner R-COYES  $946,349 
Grassley R-IAYES$1,929,489 
Hatch R-UTYES$725,633
Heitkamp D-NDYES$236,975  
Heller R-NVYES $258,140 
Hoeven R-NDYES$405,020
Inhofe R-OKYES$938,853
Isakson R-GAYES $1,227,649
Johnson R-WIYES$489,435
Kaine D-VAYES$140,825
Kirk R-ILYES$718,270 
Klobuchar D-MNYES$720,592
Lankford R-OKYES$226,040
Manchin D-WVYES$196,850
McCain R-AZ  YES $4,496,004 
McCaskill D-MOYES $383,024  
McConnell R-KYYES$3,373,204
Menendez D-NJYES$647,774
Moran R-KSYES$2,284,551   
Perdue R-GAYES $489,830  
Peters D-MI YES $238,147 
Portman R-OHYES$1,011,940
Risch R-IDYES $367,154  
Roberts R-KSYES$2,808,111
Rounds R-SDYES$258,600
Rubio R-FLYES$1,141,265   
Scott R-SCYES$403,300
Sessions R-ALYES$927,652
Shaheen D-NHYES$167,474
Shelby R-ALYES$843,957
Stabenow D-MIYES$1,565,978
Thune R-SDYES$1,900,160
Tillis R-NCYES$437,750
Toomey R-PAYES$682,904  
Vitter R-LAYES$657,365
Warner D-VAYES
Wicker R-MSYES$789,690   
Total donations from agribusiness to Senators who voted YES: $57,644,458;  Average donation: $886,838.
Not voting:
Brown D-OHNOT$379,952
Graham R-SCNOT$1,131,590   
Lee R-UTNOT$77,950 
(Senators and their votes, listed by state instead of alphabetically, here).
TAKE ACTION: Call your Senators at 888-897-0174 to tell them what you think of their votes! Ask them to vote NO on the Roberts-Stabenow GMO labeling bill!
Alexis, Katherine and the OCA team

Wednesday, July 6, 2016


The Roberts/Stabenow bill just passed the cloture vote, which was 65 yes, 32 no.  This means that there will be 30 hours of debate on the bill and then a simple vote, where they only need 51 yes votes, so this means the bill will undoubtedly pass.

Here are two articles from the Hill -- one about amendments Leahy filed and one on the money protest, which was OCA--they threw money onto the Senate floor while yelling "Monsanto Money" and "Senator Stabenow listen to the people not Monsanto"

Also, here is the press statement that we put out about this:
News Release
Consumers Union
Policy and Mobilization Arm of Consumer Reports
Wednesday, July 6, 2016
Consumers Union: Important Questions Remain About Loopholes in GMO Bill
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Senate today in a procedural vote moved to begin debate on the Roberts-Stabenow GMO labeling bill that would wipe out states’ ability to require GMO labeling and replace it with an ineffective federal program.
Jean Halloran, director of food policy initiatives for Consumers Union, the policy and mobilization arm of Consumer Reports, issued this statement following the cloture vote:
“We're disappointed that the Senate has pushed this bill forward when important questions remain about potential loopholes that would sharply limit its effectiveness. The FDA raised issues about language that could exempt most GMO products on the market. Moreover, this bill – which blocks state GMO labeling laws immediately -- doesn't require the USDA to establish the new national standard for two years, leaving a legal vacuum that would undermine GMO labeling already occurring in the marketplace.  We urge Senators to listen to the nine out of ten consumers who support mandatory, on-package GMO labeling and oppose this bill.”
Consumers Union is urging consumers to call their Senators at 1-855-977-1770 to oppose the Roberts-Stabenow GMO labeling bill, and to support meaningful, mandatory on-package labeling for GMO foods. To learn more, visit
Contact:  David Butler, or Kara Kelber, kara.kelber@consumer.org202-462-6262
Consumers Union is the policy and mobilization arm of Consumer Reports.  Consumers Union works for health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace. Consumer Reports is the world’s largest independent product-testing organization.  Using its more than 50 labs, auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually.  Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports has over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website, and other publications.

Sunday, July 3, 2016



Jun 30, 2016 by 


Purveyors of conventional and genetically-modified (GM) crops — and the pesticides and herbicides that accompany them — are finally getting a taste of their own legal medicine.

Minnesota’s Star Tribune has reported that the Minnesota Court of Appeals recently ruled that a large organic farm surrounded by chemical-laden conventional farms can seek damages for lost crops, as well as lost profits, caused by the illegal trespassing of pesticides and herbicides on its property.

Oluf and Debra Johnson’s 1,500-acre organic farm in Stearns County, Minn., has repeatedly been contaminated by nearby conventional and GMO farms since the couple started it in the 1990s.
A local pesticide cooperative known as Paynesville Farmers Union (PFU), which is near the farm, has been cited at least four times for violating pesticide laws, and inadvertently causing damage to the Johnson’s farm.

The first time it was realized that pesticides had drifted onto the Johnson’s farm in 1998, PFU apologized, but did not agree to pay for damages. As anyone with an understanding of organic practices knows, even a small bit of contamination can result in having to plow under that season’s crops, forget profits, and even lose the ability to grow organic crops in the same field for at least a couple years.

The Johnson’s let the first incident slide. But after the second, third, and fourth times, they decided that enough was enough. Following the second pesticide drift in 2002, the Johnson’s filed a complaint with the Minnesota Agriculture Department, which eventually ruled that PFU had illegally sprayed chemicals on windy days, which led to contamination of the Johnson’s organic crops.
PFU settled with the Johnson’s out of court, and the Johnson’s agreed to sell their tainted products as non-organics for a lower price, and pull the fields from production for three years in order to bring them back up to organic standards. But PFU’s inconsiderate spraying habits continued, with numerous additional incidents occurring in 2005, 2007, and 2008, according to the Star Tribune.

After enduring much hardship, the Johnson’s finally ended up suing PFU in 2009 for negligence and trespass, only to receive denial from the district court that received the case.

But after appealing, the Johnson’s received favor from the Appeals Court, which ruled that particulate matter, including pesticides, herbicides, and even GM particulates, that contaminates nearby fields is, in fact, considered illegal trespass, and is subject to the same laws concerning other forms of trespass.

In a similar case, a California-based organic farm recently won a $1 million lawsuit filed against a conventional farm whose pesticides spread through fog from several miles away, and contaminated its fields.

Jacobs Farm / Del Cobo’s entire season’s herb crop had to be discarded as a result, and the court that presided over the case acknowledged and agreed that the polluters must be held responsible (…).

Precedent has now been set for organic farmers to sue biotechnology companies whose GMOs contaminate their crops

The stunning victories of both the Johnson’s and Jacob’s Farm / Del Cobo against their chemical-polluting neighbors is huge, in that it represents a new set legal precedent for holding conventional, factory farming operations responsible for the damage their systems cause to other farms.

And with this new precedent set, many more organic farmers, for instance, can now begin suing GMO farmers for both chemical and genetic pollution that drifts onto their farms.

Many NaturalNews readers will recall the numerous incidents involving lawsuits filed by Monsanto against non-GMO farms whose crops were inadvertently contaminated by GM material. In many of these cases, the defendants ended up becoming bankrupted by Monsanto, even though Monsanto’s patented materials were the trespassers at fault.

Be sure to check out the extensive and very informative report compiled by the Center for Food Safety (CFS) entitled Monsanto vs. U.S. Farmers for a complete history of Monsanto’s war against traditional American agriculture:…

But it appears that the tables are now turning. Instead of Monsanto winning against organic farmers, organic farmers can now achieve victory against Monsanto.

In other words, farmers being infringed upon by the drifting of GM material into their fields now have a legal leg to stand on in the pursuit of justice against Monsanto and the other biotechnology giants whose “frankencrops” are responsible for causing widespread contamination of the American food supply.

Genetic traits are highly transmissible, whether it be through pollen transfer or seed spread, and organic and non-GMO farmers have every right to seek damages for illegal trespassing when such transmission takes place.

It is expected that many more organic farms will step up and begin seeking justice and compensation for damage caused by crop chemicals, GM materials, and other harmful invaders.

For too long, Monsanto has been getting away with suing farmers whose crops have become contaminated by Monsanto’s patented genetic traits and chemical materials, and winning.

Thankfully, the justice system seems to now recognize the severe error in this, and is now beginning to rightfully hold polluters and trespassers responsible. Monsanto, your days are numbered.