"Agricultural biotechnology in its present form is a vast scientific and commercial error. The people who have invested their money, time and reputations in it cannot afford to admit this. Unfortunately, they will not be the ones that end up paying the heaviest price for their incompetence, greed and hubris. As usual, the bill will be met by those least able to afford it, and the currency in which it will be denominated will not be dollars or euros alone, but the health and livelihoods of human beings and the environment in which we live."

"Planting Lies" by Steve McGiffen
Environmental advisor to the European Parliament


This is good news!
Creating a GE-Free Northern California
It's official: Mendocino County, California has approved a ballot initiative that will allow voters to choose whether or not the County should ban genetically modified crops. Mendocino County's agricultural income is strongly rooted in organics, and local farmers are concerned about decreased revenues due to contamination from neighboring GE crops. The vote will be held March 2, 2004 and would make the county the first in the U.S. to pass an anti-GMO resolution. The Organic Consumer Association is also working with activists in several other California counties who are interested in joining Mendocino to create a GE-Free Northern California.



Action Alert: Keep Sewage out of Your Water!
A new EPA proposal would allow raw sewage to be discharged during rainstorms without treatment! By signing the petition at www.care2.com, official comments will be sent to the EPA on your behalf. The Clean Water Act requires that raw sewage be treated to remove dangerous viruses and parasites before it is discharged into streams, lakes and drinking water sources. But on November 3rd, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed a new policy that would allow sewage to be discharged during rainstorms without this treatment. The proposal would increase the amount of bacteria, viruses and parasites discharged into recreational waters and drinking water supplies. Contact with sewage in our water makes millions of Americans sick every year. But more sewage could be on the way unless you act now! Pathogens in sewage-contaminated waters cause gastrointestinal and respiratory illnesses, dysentery and hepatitis.

Take Action!


Ban Pesticide that Threatens Children
The EPA says lindane is too toxic for our pets, but when a child is exposed to lice, parents are often told to apply shampoos containing the pesticide. Lindane is a toxic chemical; Rachel Carson identified it as a serious threat to people and the environment in Silent Spring back in 1962. It's been on Pesticide Action Network's "Dirty Dozen" list of most toxic pesticides since 1985, and the U.S. has banned many of its uses, including use on pets, since then. Yet incredibly, lindane shampoos are still used on children even though safe, healthy alternatives exist. Using lindane to get rid of lice not only puts our children at risk, it also leads to serious and long-lasting environmental damage. A single use of lindane shampoo can contaminate close to six million gallons of water. This threat to clean drinking water, and the enormous costs of clean-up, prompted California to ban lindane shampoos in 2002. Lindane stays in the environment for a long time and travels great distances in air and water currents. In fact, lindane shows up more often than any other pesticide in the arctic region, especially in whales and people.
The U.S. EPA classifies lindane as a possible human carcinogen, and it is particularly dangerous to the nervous and hormone systems. Yet the United States is one of very few industrialized countries still using lindane in agriculture and for lice control.

Sign this petition to call for an immediate ban on lindane!

EU Bans Growth Hormone Beef
The European Union has announced it is permanently banning beef from cattle given synthetic growth hormones, due to a number of studies showing such meat to be a human health risk. It is likely the Bush Administration will be filing a complaint to the World Trade Organization against the EU, since the vast majority of synthetic hormone-laced beef comes from the US. Ninety-four percent of US beef cattle have growth promoting hormones implanted in their ears. Organic standards prohibit the use of growth hormones. www.organicconsumers.org/Toxic/hormone_beef_europe.cfm

EU Cleans Up
The European Union has also officially banned atrazine, a toxic herbicide that is both a carcinogen and endocrine disruptor. The decision was made after alarming concentrations of the Syngenta chemical have been turning up in waterways all over the world. On the other side of the pond, atrazine recently received re-approval by the Bush-led EPA. Atrazine is currently the most commonly used herbicide in the US, where 60 million pounds were applied in 2003 alone. The water supply in much of the US corn belt is contaminated with atrazine and other toxic chemicals routinely used in conventional agriculture.

Kraft is Starting to Listen--Take Action Now

Kraft is putting genetically engineered ingredients in our food, experimenting with our health and the environment, and hurting family farmers. Kraft's products are found in 99% of U.S. households, and Kraft refuses to label these untested foods, despite the fact that between 85 and 95% of Americans want labeling. Many of Kraft's products--including Boca Burgers--contain untested and unlabeled genetically engineered ingredients that put our families and the environment at risk. Risks include health hazards such as new allergies and plant toxins, as well as environmental threats like harm to wildlife, creation of "superweeds" from cross-pollination, and increased pesticide use. In addition, experimental "biopharm" crops, engineered to produce pharmaceutical drugs and industrial chemicals, threaten to contaminate our food supply.

Kraft is aware of these risks and has moved to avoid genetically engineered ingredients in their products in Europe. They could be doing the same around the world. However, Kraft continues to use questionable engineered ingredients in the U.S.

Tell Kraft that you don't want to be part of the experiment!

GET MORE INFO AND GET INVOLVED: www.organicconsumers.org/kraft
Call or write Kraft today! Betsy Holden, CEO Kraft Foods Three Lakes
Drive Northfield, IL 60093 1-847-646-2000



Supporting Labeling For GE/GM Foods!
Support the campaign to make sure that genetically engineered/genetically modified foods are labeled. Volunteers are needed. In the Northwest, Puget Consumers Co-ops (PCC) is leading a campaign. See www.pugetcoop.com/issues

Roundup Is Pollution
Scientists are trying to raise public attention about the fact that global overuse of Monsanto's Roundup herbicide is leading to weed resistance. "Farmers are planting too many Roundup Ready crops," said Stephen Powles, an expert on weed resistance at the University of Western Australia. Mark Vangessel, a weed scientist at the University of Deleware spoke of the Roundup (glyphosate) pesticides saying, "My gut reaction is that we do need to limit the use of glyphosate-resistant crops."

In response to the issue that farmers are purchasing and applying a toxic chemical that is no longer working, Monsanto spokesperson Greg Elmore said people are overreacting. In other Roundup news, Denmark officially banned the pesticide this month, saying the toxic chemical is not breaking down in the soil and, as a result, is polluting their water at a level that is 5 times what is considered safe for the environment and human health.


Food Supply Contamination Inevitable
The USDA has announced an interim rule that will allow for controversial "biopharm" crops, genetically engineered to create industrial chemicals and/or pharmaceuticals, to be grown as close as a mile from food crops such as corn. According to the Campaign to Label Genetically Engineered Food, since corn pollen is known to be able to travel well over a mile, "the USDA's rules will be inevitably lead to industrial chemicals and pharmaceutical drugs contaminating the food supply." The Organic Consumer's Association is actively involved in addressing these issues via dialogue with the USDA. Take action by signing the petition for global moratorium on GE Foods. www.organicconsumers.org/.


March of Crimes
The March of Dimes annually funds over one million dollars in animal experiments. Many charities, such as Easter Seals, help people without funding the torture of animals. For more info click here.

New Study: Sewer Sludge Stinks
According to the New York Times, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finally decided to research the toxicity issues associated with the common practice of using sewer sludge as fertilizer on conventional farms. The decision was sparked by a recent catastrophe on a family farm in Georgia, where hundreds of cows died from eating hay that was fertilized by sewer sludge. EPA scientists, including Dr. David Lewis, who won the agency's top science award in 2000, are gravely concerned about sewer sludge contaminating the nation's food supply. Although the USDA tried to degrade organic standards in 1998, by allowing sewage sludge to be used on organic farms, a mass consumer backlash forced the USDA to back off on this issue.

Genetically Modifying Consumer Rights
Monsanto is suing Portland, Maine-based Oakhurst Dairy for labeling their milk "Our Farmers' Pledge: No Artificial Growth Hormones."  Monsanto, manufacturer of the genetically engineered recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (known as rBGH or rBST), claims Oakhurst Dairy does not have the right to let customers know whether milk is laced with genetically engineered hormones. Although rBGH has been banned in every industrialized nation in the world except for the U.S., Monsanto continues to claim that rBGH milk is no different, despite documentation that rBGH milk contains substantially higher levels of a potent cancer tumor promoter called IGF-1. Monsanto sued two dairies and threatened several thousand retailers in 1994 for labeling or advertising milk and dairy products as "rBGH-free." Despite Monsanto's intimidation tactics, more than 10% of U.S. milk is currently labeled as "rBGH-free," while sales of organic milk and dairy products (which prohibit rBGH) are booming. In recent months a Monsanto-funded front group, the Center for Consumer Freedom, has launched a smear campaign against organic dairies, including Organic Valley, claiming they are defrauding consumers.

Human Children Are Actually Guinea Pigs!
Despite a landslide of public comments opposing the idea, the USDA has decided to begin bombarding school lunches with massive doses of radiation. Food safety groups slammed the decision, saying the action turns schools into the world's foremost purveyors of inadequately tested irradiated food, forcing millions of children to serve as guinea pigs. Countless studies have shown that irradiated foods lose nutrients, acquire known carcinogens, and contain new chemical compounds unique to irradiated foods.  Local school
boards will have the choice of refusing this dubious gift-which is actually more expensive. Spread the word and call your school board members now!

Take Action -- www.organicconsumers.org
Also - www.citizen.org


What Will the "Organic" Label Mean Next Year?
It took 12 years for organic standards to be introduced, and one night to undermine them. As Congress faced the pressure of completing the Omnibus Spending Bill, one company--without regard for the wishes of the public or other businesses-- convinced legislators to support a devastating exception to the new national organic rule. This sneaky one-sentence rider in the 2003 federal spending bill will harm both consumers and farmers.

The good news is this section can be repealed and the integrity of organic restored. Over 65 Senators and 75 Representatives have already co-sponsored companion bills to repeal section 771. This is remarkable, but for this bill to pass, still more Representatives must support it.

You can sign a simple and easy petition (this is a legit website, not a spam "petition") at www.care2.com

*If you want to be more specific and communicative to your legislators, you can write a letter. Tell them supporting HR 955 is good for business, the economy, and the environment.

*Here is a sample letter that I wrote to my reps.

*Use this easy, brilliant gateway to locate and send a message to ALL the congresspeople who represent you, automatically, all at once!





Creating a GE-Free Northern California

Action Alert: Keep Sewage out of Your Water!

Ban Pesticide the Threatens Children

EU Bans Growth Hormone Beef

EU Cleans Up

Kraft is Starting to Listen--Take Action Now

Supporting Labeling For GE/GM Foods!

Roundup Is Pollution

Food Supply Contamination Inevitable

March of Crimes

New Study: Sewer Sludge Stinks

Genetically Modifying Consumer Rights

Human Children Are Actually Guinea Pigs

What Will The "Organic" Label Mean Next Year?

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