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Ag-Gag Bills: Another Assault by Corporations on Consumers’ Right to Know

Ag-Gag Bills: Another Assault by Corporations on Consumers’€™ Right to Know

TAKE ACTION: Tell lawmakers in Wyoming, Nebraska and New Hampshire you want the Right to Know what goes on in factory farms!

How does corporate agribusiness keep consumers in the dark about the horrors of factory farms? By making it an ‘€œact of terrorism’€ for anyone to investigate animal cruelty, food safety or environmental violations on the corporate-controlled farms that produce the bulk of our meat, eggs and dairy products. And who better to write the ‘€œAnimal and Ecological Terrorism Act,’€ designed to protect Big Ag and Big Energy, than the lawyers at the infamous corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council.

New Hampshire, Wyoming and Nebraska are the latest states to introduce Ag-Gag laws aimed at preventing employees, journalists or activists from exposing illegal or unethical practices on factory farms. But you can stop them. Just like consumers and animal activists did in seven other states last year.

Read the essay

TAKE ACTION: Tell state lawmakers you want the right to know what goes on in factory farms!
Stop Wyoming’€™s Ag-Gag Bill

Stop Nebraska’€™s Ag-Gag Bill

Stop New Hampshire’€™s Ag-Gag Bill

October Will Be Too Late


Activists in Washington State expect that next week, the Secretary of State will certify the signatures required to put I-522, a citizens’€™ initiative to label genetically modified organisms (GMOs), on the ballot. Assuming history repeats itself, the most aggressive ‘€“ and devious ‘€“ opponent of I-522 will be Monsanto. Monsanto alone contributed $8.2 million of the $46 million used to defeat Prop 37, the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act. And it looks as though the World’€™s Most Hated Corporation is already at work to defeat I-522.

This past week, social media sites were buzzing with an infographic titled, ‘€œActions Speak Louder than Words: The Truth about Biotechnology.’€  The truth about the infographic? It comes from the Find Our Common Ground website, which claims to be the work of a group of volunteer farm women. Except that it’s not. The website’€™s domain name is owned by Osborn Barr, a public relations firm that works for Monsanto. In fact, Monsanto was its founding client. Most people wouldn’€™t know that. And many people, who may be hearing about GMOs for the first time, also wouldn’€™t know that the infographic promotes blatant lies about the safety of, and science behind, genetically engineered foods.

We will see more and more of this phony propaganda circulating in the media and on social media sites, as Monsanto tries to scare voters in Washington State out of voting for a simple label on their food. The same label consumers in 61 other countries already have. Monsanto will stop at nothing, including hiding behind a phony group of ‘€œvolunteer farm women,’€ to keep you in the dark about what’€™s in your food.

That’€™s why we have to act now. We have to get the truth out to Washington voters today. Next October will be too late. Please help us educate Washington voters with your donation today. Thank you!
Donate to the Organic Consumers Association (tax-deductible, helps support our work on behalf of organic standards, fair trade and public education)
Donate to the Organic Consumers Fund (non-tax-deductible, but necessary for our legislative efforts in Washington, Vermont and other states)

Talking Back: Is the Traitor Boycott Working?


The Traitor Brands are starting to talk back. Could it mean their parent companies will keep their millions of dollars out of upcoming GMO labeling battles in Vermont and Washington State?

Shortly after a $46-million campaign of lies and dirty tricks defeated Prop 37, the California Right to Know GMO labeling ballot initiative, the OCA launched its Traitor Boycott. The Boycott targets the natural and organic brands whose parent companies contributed nearly half of the $46 million that defeated Prop 37.

Thanks to all of you have sent letters, made phone calls, tweeted and posted on the brands’€™ facebook pages, we’€™re starting to hear back. Yesterday, Ben & Jerry’€™s came out with a public statement supporting Vermont’€™s proposed law to require mandatory labeling. Will they donate money to Vermont’€™s campaign? We talked to Chris Miller, Ben & Jerry’€™s Social Mission Activism Manager, who’€™s been hired to help with a national campaign to educate consumers about GMOs and promote transparency in labeling. He isn’€™t promising money yet, but he did say that the new campaign has the blessing of Ben & Jerry’€™s parent company, Unilver, which contributed $467,000 to the No on 37 campaign. Miller said he thought it would be ‘€œuncomfortable’€ for Unilever to oppose Vermont’€™s legislation, given Ben & Jerry’€™s public support. We hope he’€™s right.

Seth Goldman, CEO of Honest Tea, also responded to the boycott. Goldman wrote a letter outlining the many good things Honest Tea does. He said Honest Tea can’€™t control parent company Coca-Cola’€™s decisions around whether or not to continue pouring money into anti-labeling campaigns. Coke donated $1.7 million to defeat Prop 37. We’€™re still in talks with Mr. Goldman about Honest Tea sitting down with pro-labeling groups to discuss how we can work together. Is it just a coincidence that Coca-Cola was represented at a secret meeting with WalMart, Pepsi and others this month in Washington D.C., to tell the FDA it’€™s time for mandatory GMO labeling?

OK, so maybe let Honest Tea and Ben & Jerry’€™s off the hook this week. But let’€™s keep the pressure on the other Traitor Brands!
Learn more about the OCA’€™s boycott of all the Traitor Brands
Download your wallet-sized boycott guide
Download a poster-sized boycott guide
Sign the boycott pledge
Order printed copies of the boycott guide or poster

Look Who’s in Bed with Big Food!


Look Who’€™s in Bed with Big Food!

Does it really make sense, when America’€™s kids are growing increasingly unhealthy, that registered dietitians can earn continuing education units from Coca-Cola for attending classes on how sugar is not a problem for children? Or that Nestlé, the world’€™s largest food company, can pay $50,000 to host a two-hour ‘€œnutrition symposium’€ at the Academy’€™s annual meeting? Yes, if you’€™re running a pay-to-play organization.

It’€™s bad enough that Big Food is calling the shots, not just in Washington D.C., but in state and local governments, too. But a close look at who’€™s in bed with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) reveals the disturbing truth about how much influence companies like ConAgra, Kraft, Coca-Cola, Pepsi and others have over the folks charged with educating us about healthy eating. And who’€™s the most loyal sponsor of AND, the nation’€™s top nutrition organization? The National Cattleman’€™s Beef Association, according to the report issued this month by industry watchdog Eat Drink Politics.

Read the report

Agent Orange Corn Deregulation Delayed. For Now.


Agent Orange corn won’€™t be coming to a field near you. This year. But its maker, Dow AgriSciences, has its sights set on the 2014 planting season.

Dow’€™s Enlist corn, soy and cotton, all awaiting deregulation by the USDA, are genetically engineered to be immune to the biotech giant’€™s Enlist herbicide. Enlist herbicide combines the weed-killers 2,4-D, a key ingredient in Agent Orange, and glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’€™s Roundup weed killer. Studies link 2,4-D exposure to cancer, lowered sperm counts, liver toxicity and Parkinson’s disease. Lab studies show that 2,4-D causes endocrine disruption, reproductive problems, neurotoxicity and immunosuppression.

Last year, advocacy groups and medical and health professionals lobbed more than 400,000 complaints about Agent Orange corn at U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The National Resources Defense Council has sued the EPA in federal court over the use of 2,4 D in weed killers and other lawn products.

Who will win in the end? Clearly, Dow believes it will. The biotech bully is already gearing up for the 2014 planting season by opening five new ‘€œtechnology centers’€ in the Midwest and South to train farmers on how to plant Agent Orange corn, and to help to set up over 100 field plots at seed company and retail locations.

Learn more about the dangers of 2,4-D

TAKE ACTION: Tell the USDA: No Agent Orange Corn!

Whole Foods CEO: ‘Climate Change is Not Necessarily Bad’

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA’s Environment and Climate Resource Center page.

In 1978, John Mackey and his girlfriend used $45,000 in seed money to start “Safer Way,” a natural foods store in Austin, Texas, that was supposed to offer shoppers an alternative to “evil” profit-seeking corporations. But soon the long-haired 25-year-old found himself lumped in with the people he was supposed to be fighting. His customers complained that his prices were too high. His workers thought they weren’t being paid enough. Austin nonprofits said he should give them more money. And government regulators were slapping him with fees, fines, and taxes. He lost more than half of his investment before renaming the store Whole Foods and reconsiderng his take on corporate America. “My worldview underwent a massive shift,” he writes in
Conscious Capitalism, a new book about his business philosophy that Mackey coauthored with Raj Sisodia, cofounder of the nonprofit Conscious Capitalism, Inc. “I had become a businessperson and a capitalist, and I had discovered that business and capitalism, while not perfect, were both fundamentally good and ethical.” (A book review is forthcoming.)

Mackey responded via email to my questions, dishing on Obamacare, the relevance of labor unions, and the overheated rhetoric concerning climate change-which is, after all “perfectly natural.”

Mother Jones: You run Whole Foods Market as a liberal might-with generous wages and worker benefits and progressive environmental policies. Yet when it comes to politics, you are essentially a libertarian.

John Mackey: I reject the premise that liberal and libertarian values are necessarily in conflict. In fact, I often self-identify as a “classical liberal.” I am pro-choice, favor legalizing gay marriages, protecting our environment, enforcing strict animal welfare protection laws (I’ve been an ethical vegan for 10 years), marijuana legalization, having a welfare safety net for our poorest or disabled citizens, and a radically reduced defense budget and military presence around the world. However, I’m also a conscious capitalist-I believe economic freedom and entrepreneurship are the best ways to end poverty, increase prosperity, and evolve humanity upward. I believe that all forms of socialism have been proven over time to result in a loss of both economic and civil liberties, with increasing poverty. The truth is that I don’t fit into a simple ideological box. I read widely on issues, try to think carefully about them, and then I make up my own mind. 

Ask these Food Retailers to Reject Frankenfish!

The Organic Consumers Association contacted 17 national and regional food retail chains to find out if they would stock genetically engineered (GE) salmon if the FDA approves it.  We heard back from only seven of them. The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. (A&P) gave us a non-response. Safeway told us they don€™t carry GMOs, though we know they do. Aldi answered a question, just not the question we asked. Publix gave us a wishy-washy €œwe have no plans at this time to carry GE salmon.€ Only two – Whole Foods and Target – said definitively that they would NOT carry GE salmon. IGA deflected, saying that all its stores are locally owned and operated, and make their own buying decisions.

See the list of retail chains we contacted and read the responses. Then TAKE ACTION! Tell your food retailer that you will not shop in their stores if they sell AquaBounty Technologies Inc.€™s GE AquaAdvantage Salmon! Sign the letter or call their customer service lines.


Response. Sue K., an Aldi customer service representative wrote: €œWe have received your inquiry regarding genetically modified foods.  At this time we do not have a list of non-GMO products. If there is a specific product that you are concerned with, please email us the UPC code, and we would be happy to forward your inquiry to the appropriate supplier.  ALDI will continue to monitor this matter and, as the U.S. food industry and our customer needs evolve, so will ALDI.€ Um. That€™s nice, but we didn€™t ask for a list of non-GMO foods. We asked if Aldi would sell GE salmon to its customers. Oh well.

Call: 1- 630-879-8100

Delhaize Group

Operates Food Lion, Bloom, Bottom Dollar Food, Harvey€™s Supermarkets, Reid€™s, Hannaford Bros. and Sweetbay Supermarkets

No Response.


€¢Food Lion: 1-800-210-9569

€¢Bloom: 1-866-552-5666

€¢Bottom Dollar: 1-866-685-1180

€¢Hannaford: 800-213-9040

€¢Harvey€™s Supermarkets: 1-866-652-6090

€¢Sweetbay Supermarkets: 813-620-1139


Operates Baker’s, City Market, Dillons, Food 4 Less, Foods Co., Fred Meyer, Fry’s Food and Drug, Gerbes, JayC Food Stores, King Soopers, Owen’s Market, Pay Less Food Markets, Quality Food Centers, Ralphs, Scott’s Food & Pharmacy, and Smith’s Food and Drug

No Response.


Call: 1-800-576-4377  



Response: Teena Massingill from the Safeway Public Affairs Dept. told us that Safeway does not sell genetically modified products, and that all buyers must confirm to the best of their knowledge that their products do not contain GMOs. Really? We€™re not sure where Teena got her information, but we do know for a fact that Safeway carries many many products that contain GMOs.

Call Teena: 925-467-3000

Kmart Supercenters        

No Response

Call: 1-866-562-7848

Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. (A&P)

Response: From Joanne Fischetti, Communications Manager, a refusal to communicate: €œThank you for your email.  Unfortunately, we are unable to participate in your interview request.  Best regards, Joanne€

Call Joanne: (201) 571-8312


Operates: Save-A-Lot, Acme Markets, Albertsons, Cub Foods, Farm Fresh Food & Pharmacy, Hornbacher€™s, Jewel-Osco, Lucky, Shaw€™s, Shop €˜n Save, Shoppers Food & Pharmacy, and Star Market.


No Response.

Call: 952-828-4000

Super Target    


Response: €œIn 2010, Target eliminated farmed salmon in favor of wild-caught salmon, which was the first step in a long-term commitment to improving the sustainability of our seafood assortment. We also partnered with FishWise, a nonprofit organization that works with seafood companies to implement environmentally responsible business practices, to move toward sustainable seafood. Our commitment to 100 percent sustainable seafood was announced in 2011, and we included this goal in our 2011 Corporate Responsibility Report so that our guests can follow our progress.€ Go Target!

Call: 1-800-440-0680 (Tell them thanks!)

Trader Joe’s    

No Response.

Call: 626-599-3700

Walmart Supercenters

No Response


Call:: 1-800-925-6278   

Whole Foods Market

Response: Beth Krauss, National Media Relations Manager for Whole Foods, said, no, Whole Foods will not carry GE salmon. She wrote: €œWhole Foods Market€™s Quality Standards for farmed seafood prohibit the use of genetically modified animals. More information is available here. OK, We€™re going to hold you to it!

Call Beth:  (512) 542-0380. Tell her thanks!

Costco Wholesale

No Response.


Call: 1-800-774-2678


Response: Maria Brous in the Publix media relations department wrote: €œ At this time, we do not have plans to carry GE salmon.€ She added that if they were to carry it, they €œwould be transparent with our cutomers in order for each customer to make the appropriate buying decision for him/her and their families.€ A politically correct response, but €œat this time, we have no plans€ isn€™t terribly reassuring.

Call Maria Brous: 863-688-1188 ex 55339

Bi-Lo Holdings

Operates Winn-Dixie Stores

No Response.

Call: 1-800-862-9293


Response: Ashley Page, from the marketing dept. of IGA told us that each IGA store is locally owned and operated, and thus make their own buying/selling decisions.

Call: 773-693-4520

WinCo Foods

No Response.


Call: 208-377-0110



No Response.


Call: 1-800-289-8343

BJ€™s Wholesale Club

No Response.


Call: 800-BJS-CLUB (800-257-2582)