January 31, 2011

The Big Organic Sellout?

By admin

People should have certain expectations when it comes to farmers and companies that sell organic products and food.  We all seem to have this mystical image of the original concept being lead by ‘back-to-the-lander’ types with pony tails and a patch of marijuana tucked away in their back yard somewhere.

Fast-forward to the present and you’ll have to quickly acknowledge that if you did have this vision, it’s wrong.

This story (http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_22449.cfm) illustrates how several companies – including Whole Foods, Organic Valley and Stonyfield Farm (now owned by Danone) have surrendered to Monsanto – the anti-thesis of organic – by announcing that they will pursue a life of ‘co-existence’ with Genetically Engineered (GE) foods.

And just like that, ‘organic’ risks being seen as a big marketing scam.  The entire effort of generations of people that do not want to risk having their crops and services contaminated by Monsanto’s poisonous approach to farming is now put at risk by a single decision.

Here’s the rationale as to why it all happened:

The Organic Inc. CEOs (ie. those from Whole  Foods, Stonyfield and Organic Valley) are tired of activist pressure, boycotts, and petitions. Several of them have told me this to my face. They apparently believe that the battle against GMOs has been lost, and that it’s time to reach for the consolation prize.  The consolation prize they seek is a so-called “coexistence” between the biotech Behemoth and the organic community that will lull the public to sleep and greenwash the unpleasant fact that Monsanto’s unlabeled and unregulated genetically engineered crops are now spreading their toxic genes on 1/3 of U.S. (and 1/10 of global) crop land.

In order to eliminate any confusion about what’s in your food, the article we cited comes to a conclusion that we support:  truth-in-labeling.  It’s the only way to differentiate real food from modified food and it has to start immediately.

In the US, Dennis Kucinich (D, Ohio) has introduced a bill in Congress calling for mandatory labeling and safety testing for GMOs.  The chances of this being successful are slim.

With this in mind, the other opportunity is to keep applying the pressure:

The Organic Consumers Association, joined by our consumer, farmer, environmental, and labor allies, has just launched a nationwide Truth-in-Labeling campaign to stop Monsanto and the Biotech Bullies from force-feeding unlabeled GMOs to animals and humans.

You can also petition Whole Foods here:  http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_22309.cfm

In Canada, most of the information that I’m able to find is stale, but I’m hoping you can help by providing some additional links in the comments.  I do know that there is CBAN and they are encouraging Canadians to get their MP to support Bill C-474, a requirement to assess the economic impact of GE use with food production.

More information can be found here:  http://www.cban.ca/Take-Action/Act-Now

Click here to see how your MP voted on the original submission of the Bill.