The organic movement has been co-opted by Monsanto. What was once a legitimate grassroots movement has been co-opted by the very interests they were against. Remember how the Republican Party hijacked a certain legitimate grassroots movement called the Tea Party which was full of Democrats, Republicans, and Libertarians who were disgusted with the Bushbama regime. Now the “Tea Party” is nothing but a Republican shill movement co-opted by the Republican Party. So is the same with the organic movement.
The Organic Consumers Organization is funded by the Rockefellers, who have been pushing the GMO agenda for years.
CSPI is funded by the Rockefellers and aligned with several Monsanto front groups.
Whole Foods Market, Stonyfield Farms, and Organic Valley have sold out to the Monsanto agenda.
Hell, even Food Inc has been co-opted by Monsanto and is promoting anti-“Weston Price” propaganda.
Courtesy of NaturalNews.com
Friday, June 10, 2011 by: Ronnie Cummins
(NaturalNews) Organic Spies made news by releasing information on the financial interests and campaign contributions of the companies that are represented on the OTA board, but the underlying story of Food Inc.’s efforts to co-opt and water down organic, while protecting their interest in industrial agriculture’s GMOs and factory farms, goes back to very start of the National Organic Program.
(This article is written by Alexis Baden-Mayer, Esq., Political Director
Organic Consumers Association, June 9, 2011. A shortdocumentaryby Organic Spies details the corrupting influence of large multinationalfood companiesat the Organic Trade Association (OTA). Please watch the movie and take action herehttp://capwiz.com/grassrootsnetroot…)
A case in point is Oregon’s Measure 27 (2002), the first ballot initiative effort to require foodcompaniesto label products that contain genetically modifiedingredients. The Organic Trade Association ostensibly supported the measure, but didn’t chip in financially.
Thefoodand crop-biotechnology industries raised a war chest to fight the ballot measure. Ironically, some of these companies already had stakes inorganicand some had subsidiaries that were members of OTA.
General Mills (currently represented on the OTA board by Craig Weakly of Small Planet Foods), H.J. Heinz Co. (invested in the Hain-Celestial Group), PepsiCo (Tropicana and Quaker produce a feworganic products), and Kellogg’s (owns Kashi), joined a coalition of corporate giants – the “Coalition Against the Costly Labeling Law” – including chemical makersMonsantoand DuPont, agribusiness ConAgra, food processor Sara Lee, thepesticidelobbying group CropLife and the junk food lobbying group the Grocery Manufacturers Association, in spending some $5.5 million to defeatmandatoryGMO labels.
By contrast, the pro-label group, Oregon Concerned Citizens for Safe Foods, raised only about $100,000 in cash, loans and in-kind contributions and had already spent about $72,000 to collect signatures, when Food Inc. rolled in with $5.5 million to spend onadvertising. The Safe Foods group’s largest contributor was Mel Bankoff, founder of Emerald Valley Kitchen Inc., a Eugene, ORorganic foodcompany, who gave $47,500, most of it in loans, state records show. The second largest donor was the Organic Consumers Association.
In 2005, the same companies that worked through the Grocery Manufacturers Association to defeat the OregonGMOTruth-In-Labeling ballot measure worked through the OTA to execute a sneak attack onorganic standards. As Melanie Warner of the New York Times reported:http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/01/b…
Senate and House Republicans on the Agriculture appropriations subcommittee inserted a last-minute provision into the department’s fiscal 2006budgetspecifying that certain artificial ingredients could be used in organic food.
The Organic Trade Association, an industry lobbying group that proposed the amendment and spent several months pushing for its adoption, says that the measure will encourage the continued growth of organic food.
Some advocacy groups, however, say the amendment will weaken federal organic food standards, first established under a 1990 law. Ronnie Cummins, national director of the Organic Consumers Association, calls the initiative a “sneak attack engineered by the likes of Kraft,Dean Foodsand Smucker’s.”
One of the lobbyists for Altria, Kraft’s majority owner, Abigail Blunt – the wife of Representative Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri, who recently became interim House majority leader after Tom DeLay of Texas resigned from the post – has been working on the issue, the company says.
Dean Foods’ subsidiary Horizon Organic and the J.M. Smucker Company, the owner of Knudsen and Santa Cruz Organic juices [Dean & Smucker are currently represented on the OTA board by board president Julia Sabin, VP, Smucker Natural Foods, Inc., and Kelly Shea, VP, WhiteWave Foods], said they supported the work by the Organic Trade Association, which represents both large and small companies in thebusiness, but did no lobbying on their own.
In 2009, the same companies that worked to defeat GMOlabelsand weaken organic standards were at it again, slipping synthetic ingredients into organicproductsand stripping well-known organic brands of organic ingredients. As Lyndsey Layton reported in the Washington Post:
Organic advocates and food marketing experts said the introduction this month of new “natural” products by an organics division of Dean Foods is the latest sign that the value ofthe USDAlabel has eroded. The yogurt and milk products will be distributed under the Horizon label and marketed as a lower-priced alternative to organic products.
Congress adopted the organics law after farmers andconsumersdemanded uniform standards for produce,dairyand meat. The law banned synthetics,pesticidesand genetic engineering fromfoodsthat would bear a federal organic label. It also required annual testing for pesticides. And it was aimed at preventing producers from falsely claiming their foods were organic.
TheUSDAcreated the National Organic Program in 2002 to implement the law. By then, major food companies had bought up most small, independent organic companies.KraftFoods, for example, owns Boca Foods. Kellogg owns Morningstar Farms, and Coca-Cola owns 40 percent of Honest Tea, maker of the organic beverage favored by President Obama. …
The Organic Trade Association, which represents corporations such as Kraft, Dole and Dean Foods, lobbied for and received language in a 2006 appropriations bill allowing certain synthetic food substances in the preparation, processing and packaging of organic foods, creating conditions for a flood of processed organic foods.
The influence of non-organic corporate interests at the OTA explains why it has consistently worked for lowest-common-denominator organic standards.
It also explains why, by 2008, organic food sales accounted for approximately 3.5 percent of all food product sales in the United States, but the percentage of U.S. organic production has remained low, at 0.7 percent of U.S. cropland and 0.5 percent of U.S. pasture, and the US organic market is reliant on imports from countries like China where the rules are more difficult to enforce.
It’s time the OTA was led by organic companies whose real stake is in U.S. organicagriculture. The OTA should adopt rules that reserve a majority of slots on the Board for 100% organic companies andfarmerswithout conflicts of interest.
Once the OTA has stronger organic leadership, it will be able to advocate for stronger policies to strengthen organic standards, increase domestic organic production and protect organic from genetic contamination.
OTA has a 2003 policy statementhttp://www.ota.com/pp/regulatory/GE…insupportof a moratorium on genetically modified organisms in agriculture and for mandatory GMO labels, and OTA staff members have been active participants in anti-GMO efforts.
But, it’s clear that OTA member companies owned by Food, Inc., including those on the OTA board, haven’t put theirmoneywhere OTA’s mouth is on the GE issue.
Mandatory GMO labels is the only viable strategy to deprive Monsanto of market share and reduce the risk that our organic seed stocks will be permanently contaminated with Monsanto’s modified DNA.
Unfortunately, in our corporate-controlled pay-to-play system, passing mandatory GMO labeling laws inCongress, state legislatures, or through ballot measures takes money. As the Organic Spies documentary points out, OTA’s Food Inc. members spend plenty of money on politics. The trouble is, it’s going to politicians and lobbying groups that support approval of newGMOsand oppose mandatory GMO labels.
The only way for OTA to become truly effective is to demand of all of its members to invest in thecampaignfor mandatory GMO labels.
Silk spent $29.1 million to advertise in major media in 2009.
Horizon Organic’s advertising budget totaled $10.9 million in 2007, $9.3 million in 2008, $9.5 million in 2009 and $10.2 million last year.
They could also start leading by example. What if the OTA required all member companies to adopt voluntary GMO labels?
Smucker’s, which sells 6 flavors of organic preserves and two flavors of organicpeanut butter, would have to label their non-organic ice cream toppings, jams, butters, waffles, syrups and pastries, as “made with GMO high fructosecorn syrup,” “GMO trans fats,” and “GMO sugar.” The same would go for their Adams, Laura Scudder’s and Dickenson’s brands, which sell organic peanut butter and jams, but also sell varieties made with GMO hydrogenated vegetable oils and highfructosecorn syrup.
Dean Foods would have to reveal to consumers which brands of its milk were produced with the use of GMObovine growth hormone. A few of their milk brands are produced without artificial growth hormones (Alta Dena, Barber’s Dairy, Berkeley Farms, Brown’s Dairy, Creamland Dairy, Country Fresh, Gandy’s, Garelick, Horizon, Dean’s, Oak Farms Dairy, Organic Cow, Land O’ Lakes, Lehigh Valley, Mayfield, McArthur, Meadow Brook, Meadow Gold, PET, Schepps, Swiss, T.G. Lee, and Tuscan), but they don’t make that claim for Broughton Dairy, Friendship Dairy, Louis Trauth Dairy, Price’s, Purity, Reiter, Robinson, or Shendandoah’s Pride. The latter brands would have to be labeled “from cows injected with genetically engineered bovine growth hormones,” and all of their non-organic brands would have to admit coming from “cows raised on feed made with GMO soy,corn, cottonseed and alfalfa.” Dean Food’s International Delight Non-Dairy Creamer would have to label its GMO corn syrup.