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Whole Foods Puts Organic Integrity in the Health & Beauty Aisle

Quote of the Week

"We believe that the ‘organic’ claim used on personal care products should have very similar meaning to the ‘organic’ claim used on food products, which is currently regulated by the USDA’s National Organic Program. Our shoppers do not expect the definition of ‘organic’ to change substantially between the food and the non-food aisles of our stores."

– Whole Foods Market’s policy on the use of the word "organic" on personal care products, updated June 8, 2010

Victory of the Week…

Alerts of the Week Call on Office Depot, Office Max and Staples to reject paper from Genetically Engineered trees!

Despite emails and calls from over ten thousand OCA members, the US Department of Agriculture has approved a "field trial" of 200,000 genetically modified eucalyptus in Florida. The field trials are being conducted by ArborGen, a notorious biotechnology entity owned by the "Big Three" paper multinationals: International Paper, MeadWestvaco, and Rubicon.

Act now! Send an email to the nation’€™s top retail office supply stores and insist that they reject paper products from GE trees!

Alerts of the Week Urgent Alert From the OCA and the Pesticide Action Network: California Proposes Use of Methyl Iodide, Known to Cause Cancer, Late-Term Miscarriages and Chronic, Irreversible Brain Damage

In February 2010, a Scientific Review Committee commissioned by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) concluded that the use of methyl iodide in agriculture would endanger public health:

"Based on the data available, we know that methyl iodide is a highly toxic chemical and we expect that any anticipated scenario for the agricultural or structural fumigation use of this agent would result in exposures to a large number of the public and thus would have a significant adverse impact on the public health. Due to the potent toxicity of methyl iodide, its transport in and ultimate fate in the environment, adequate control of human exposure would be difficult, if not impossible. This is clearly shown in the DPR risk calculations and the evidence of the toxicity of methyl iodide upon which these conclusions are based is compelling. In addition to the evidence for significant toxicity there is a lack of information that adds further uncertainty to the evaluation of the toxicity. We have concluded there is little doubt that the compound possesses significant toxicity."

Susan Kegley, a consulting scientist for Pesticide Action Network, summed it up for the San Francisco Chronicle:

"This stuff just kills everything," said Kegley, a chemist, who pointed out that even low doses have caused neurological damage and fetal death in laboratory animals. "It is a known carcinogen."

Methyl iodide has been linked to thyroid disease, including cancerous tumors that can also affect the lungs and brain, she said. If tarps typically used to cover the treated soil were to blow off, she said, the substance could waft into the air.

"We are likely to see a greater incidence of thyroid disease with use of this chemical," said Kegley, who wears double gloves and uses syringes, a fume hood and ventilation devices whenever she handles the chemical in the lab.

Despite scientist concerns, on April 30, 2010, California proposed using methyl iodide in agriculture.

Take Action by June 29: Call Gov. Schwarzennegger

Methyl iodide is so reliably carcinogenic that it’s used in the lab to cause cancer. Scientists say it "cannot be used safely," yet DPR has proposed approval. We have until the end of June to register public concern. Call the Governor & demand that methyl iodide not be approved: (916) 445-2841

PLEASE DONATE! OCA Needs Your Help to Fight Monsanto and Spread the Organic Revolution

OCA and our growing network of organic consumers and farmers understand that we have a positive life-affirming solution for the global food, health, and climate crisis: organic food, farming, and ranching. But to fight Monsanto and Food Inc. and get out our all-important message we need your support. Please send us a tax-deductible donation today and we’ll send you a free "Millions Against Monsanto" bumper sticker so you can help spread the word in your community.

Note: please put "Monsanto Bumper Sticker" in the comment field to receive yours. Thanks!

From Copenhagan and Cochabamba to Cancun – Join the OCA at the historic COP 16 Climate Conference

In 1999 and 2003, the OCA helped organize protests and teach-ins against the World Trade Organization in Seattle and Cancun. The "Battle of Seattle", as it came to be known, and subsequent mobilizations were the coming of age of the global grassroots. Now you have the opportunity to join OCA Director Ronnie Cummins and other OCA staff on an escorted delegation to the historic teach-ins and rallies for climate justice and organic agriculture at COP 16 in Cancun, Mexico.

Over 100,000 concerned citizens from North and South America, Europe, Africa and Asia are expected to converge on Cancun, including leading farm, food, Fair Trade, climate justice, and anti-GE activists. They’ll attend a wide range of workshops, forums, and cultural events. Following up on the theme of the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil, "Another World is Possible," the emphasis in Cancun will be on presenting solutions and alternatives to the climate crisis.

The OCA delegation, limited to 100 people, will include international experts on organic agriculture and climate justice, including OCA Director Ronnie Cummins. The delegation will partner with OCA’s Mexico sister organization, Via Organica.

During the week of teach-ins and protests, November 29th to December 10th, the OCA delegation will be housed in comfortable accommodations in the city of Cancun. Costs for a shared double room, meals, seminars, and transport to and from the teach-ins and activities will be $1000 (airfare not included). Private rooms are available for an additional $200.

Call the OCA office (218-226-4164) or click below to reserve your place on the delegation (select "Campaign Manager").

Video & Book of the Week Diet for a Hot Planet

The era of climate-change deniers may (almost) be behind us, but a new battle has just begun. As we grapple with global warming, we will face increasing controversies over which industries are most responsible for the greenhouse gases of most concern and which actions and policies will most help us mitigate the crisis.

In these heated debates, the food industry has so far managed to stay out of the climate-change hot seat. Most of us don’t think about our lunch when we think about global warming.

In Diet for a Hot Planet, Anna plunge into the heart of this eras newest food fight with a simple message: if we are serious about addressing climate change, we have to talk about food.


1) Organic Gardening Tip of the Week:
Vermicomposting Is More Than Wiggle to a Worm

Jane Tunks, a novice gardener, is using her office’s rooftop garden as her classroom, with Fred Bové and Kevin Bayuk from the San Francisco Permaculture Guild as her teachers. Here is another of her lessons.

2) Forum Topic of the Week:
How Does Your Garden Grow?

Share stories and post pictures in the Organic Consumers Association’s online discussion forum.

3) Organic Consumer News of the Week:
Aurora, Supplier of So-Called “Organic Milk” to Wal-Mart, Continues Violating Organic Standards

The Cornucopia Institute, filed a formal legal complaint with the USDA in Washington alleging that one of the five industrial-scale dairies operated by Aurora, its High Plains dairy near Kersey, Colorado, is failing to graze their dairy cattle as required by the federal organic standards. OCA has called for a boycott of Aurora’s cheap feedlot milk, marketed under private labels as “organic” by Wal-Mart, Target, Costco, Safeway, and others.

4) GMO News of the Week:
ArborGen to Plant 260,000 Frankentrees Across the U.S.

International Paper’s ArborGen joint venture with MeadWestvaco Corp. and New Zealand’s Rubicon Ltd. is seeking permission from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to sell the first genetically engineered forest trees outside China.

5) Health News of the Week:
Pollution Causing Cancer in Animals, New Report Warns

Dumping of toxic wastes is contributing to cancer among wildlife, a new report says. Scientists say that tumors on beluga whales, sea lions and other animals are a warning signal.