Organic Bytes
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small white crowned sparrow song bird in a tree

‘On Life Support’

It’s not just the bees that are dying from exposure to pesticides. The birds are dropping like, well, bees, too.

New research, published in the journal Scientific Reports, confirms that two widely used pesticide types—neonicotinoids and organophosphates—are causing migrating songbirds to lose weight and their sense of direction.

The report focused on two pesticides—Imidacloprid (a neonicotinoid) and chlorpyrifos (an organophosphate).  

Neonicotinoids, often applied to seeds before they’re planted, have long been associated with Colony Collapse Disorder—even though studies show that coating the seeds pre-planting provides little or no benefit to farmers.

Chlorpyrifos, a known neurotoxin, was set to be banned in the U.S.. But incoming EPA pick, Scott Pruitt, overturned the ban after a private meeting with Dow CEO Andrew Liveris.

Imidacloprid and chlorpyrifos are used on more than 100 different crops, including wheat and canola, and are found in dozens of commercial products, according to a report in Canada’s National Post.

Read ‘On Life Support:’ Research Shows Common Pesticides Starve, Disorient Birds’

Full report here

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‘Prince of a Guy’

Jack McCall, described by his wife Teri as a “prince of a guy,” avoided using most pesticides on the couple’s avocado farm. But he made one exception—Monsanto’s Roundup—because he was assured, over and over, that the weedkiller was “safe.”

Teri, along with hundreds of others, has sued Monsanto, claiming that Jack’s use of Roundup caused the non-Hodgkin lymphoma that killed him, and the family dog who often accompanied Jack on his farm rounds.

The last chapter of Jack’s life began when he sat up in bed one morning and said, “I have a lump in my neck.”

Now Teri is telling the beginning chapters of their story, in the hope that others will listen—and Monsanto will be held accountable.

Watch Teri McCall talk about her husband, Jack, who died of non-Hodgkin lymphoma

More on the lawsuits against Monsanto

Help us continue our support for the investigative work of US Right to Know, an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit Donations are fully tax-deductible.

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#GivingTuesday, #GivingHealthyFood

It’s that time of year again, when we pause to give thanks.
Here at OCA we’re always thankful. Thankful to be able to do the work we do. Thankful for your generous support, which makes our work possible.
This year, for the first time, we’ll participate in #GivingTuesday, described as a “global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration.”
We’d love your support. So here are a few things you can do to help:
• Create your own fundraiser for OCA on Facebook. Here’s how: Go to, click the blue button that says “Raise Money,” then type “Organic Consumers Association” in the search box.
Add a donate button to your Facebook post. Write a Facebook post, then tag “Organic Consumers Association.” Or add “#donate” to your post and follow the prompts to add a donate button after you post. You can set personal fundraising goal, and then promote your fundraiser to your Facebook network. 
Go Live on Facebook with your fundraiser. Using your mobile phone, go to your Facebook page, tap “Live” at the top of your newsfeed, then click “Add Donate Button” from the menu.
We know that next week you’ll be asked to donate to many worthwhile organizations, all of which are doing good work. Please consider putting OCA at the top of your list this year. So that together, we can ramp up the push for a healthier food and farming system.

Donate to the Organic Consumers Association (tax-deductible, helps support our work on behalf of organic standards, fair trade and public education)

Donate to Organic Consumers Fund (non-tax-deductible, but necessary for our GMO labeling legislative efforts)

hand holding a red marker making check marks on a list

Survey Says . . .

Need more proof that GMO foods are bad for your health?

As reported in Alternet, a new survey published in the International Journal of Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine confirms the reports “from hundreds of healthcare practitioners and thousands of individuals” that when “people from all walks of life eat less GMO foods, a significant percentage get better quickly.”

According to Dr. Jeffrey M. Smith, founder of Institute for Responsible Technology which conducted the survey:

The results, from over 3,250 people, mostly in the United States, closely matched reports by physicians around the nation who have seen similar results when their patients change to largely non-GMO and organic diets.

Participants reported improvements in 28 conditions; digestive problems was the most often cited at 85.2 percent. The vast majority said their conditions were significantly improved, nearly gone or completely recovered.

You might want to keep the journal article handy for the next time someone you know pipes in about how “safe” GMO foods are.

Read ‘16 Health Problems That Improved in Patients Who Switched from GMO to Organic Diets’

Read ‘Survey Reports Improved Health after Avoiding Genetically Modified Foods’

young child in a cabbage field wearing a cowboy hat

Thank the Farmers

Want to thank regenerative organic farmers this Thanksgiving? 

On a personal level, you can start by buying your holiday turkeys from them, and by buying as much of your food as possible from regenerative organic producers throughout the year.

On a bigger, policy level, the best way to thank organic farmers is to push Congress to fix the Farm Bill. 

In its current form, the Farm Bill’s impact is largely negative. It contributes to diet-related disease, water pollution and climate change

On Thursday, November 16, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) introduced an alternative Farm Bill: The Food and Farm Act

Please help us thank the farmers who grow clean food using farming practices that respect the environment.

TAKE ACTION: Tell Congress to Fix the Farm Bill!

Learn more about the Food and Farm Act 

turkeys on a cafo farm

Turkey Trouble

Can you trust the turkey on your Thanksgiving table? If it’s a Diestel Turkey, maybe not.

Diestel Turkey, sold by Whole Foods and other retailers at premium prices, says on its website that its “animals are never given hormones, antibiotics or growth stimulants.”

But Diestel Turkey samples tested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggest otherwise. According to testing conducted under the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) National Residue Program, samples of Diestel Turkey products tested positive for numerous drug and antibiotic residues. 

One of those drugs, Chloramphenicol, is strictly prohibited by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in food production. Why? Because it’s known to have “severe toxic effects in humans including bone marrow suppression or aplastic anemia in susceptible individuals.” 

According to a lawsuit filed November 14, against Diestel Turkey Ranch, the FSIS inspected Diestel turkeys on four dates in 2015 and 2016. What they found might make you lose your appetite.

Read ‘Popular Diestel Turkey Brand Sold at Whole Foods Tests Positive for FDA-Prohibited Drug Residue’

TAKE ACTION: Tell Whole Foods to Drop Diestel Turkey!