Organic Bytes
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chickens in a factory farm cafo cage with a red FAIL stamp

Grading the Gatekeepers

We’ve reported about them before. The corporate “organic imposters” who somehow manage to circumvent the rules and/or spirit of the organic certification.

There are the giant milk producers masquerading as organic. The giant egg producers. And more recently, the “organic” hydroponic fruit and vegetable growers.

The best advice so far for consumers (until we can force the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to clean up its act) has been to avoid the offending brands. Those brands include most store brands sold in the organic section of major national retailers, such as Costco and Walmart, and in many large regional retail grocery chains that peddle their own labels.

Now, consumers have a new tool to help them identify and support the brands that play by the rules. The Cornucopia Institute has issued a report on the organizations that certify organic operations.

As it turns out, some certifiers do a better job than others at policing the organic industry. That means consumers can have a higher degree of confidence in the organic integrity of the products certified by those organizations, compared with products certified by organizations ranked lower in Cornucopia’s Certifier Guide.

Cornucopia’s Mark Kastel told us:

“If you see a product certified by one of the unethical certifiers it doesn’t necessarily mean the product itself is illegitimate. But it should trigger additional research and encouragement to the brand marketers, if you appreciate their products, to switch to a more reputable certifier.”

Good advice. In the meantime, we’ll keep up the pressure on the USDA to keep organics strong.

Read ‘The Organic Food Industry Is Booming, and That May Be Bad for Consumers’

Read the full report

bales of hay in a farm field at suset

Last Straw

This week, many of our friends in Midwest farming communities are reeling—record catastrophic flooding is threatening their livelihoods and lives.

It’s the last straw for many farmers who were already struggling financially. As one of them told a New York Times reporter, “It’s probably over for us.”

There are still a minority of Americans who will argue over whether this new wave of extreme weather is a result of human-induced climate change.

But the debate over whether our dominant factory farm, GMO industrial food system is healthy for humans, animals or the planet is over.

And so is the debate over who is responsible for what’s gone wrong.

Read ‘It’s Over for Us.’

Make a tax-deductible donation to the Organic Consumers Association

Support Citizens Regeneration Lobby, OCA’s 501(c)(4) lobbying arm (not tax-deductible)

Click here for more ways to support our work

glass bottle of Coca Cola in a front denim pocket

It’s What???

Your tax dollars fund the CDC, a federal agency that bills itself as “the nation’s health protection agency, working 24/7 to protect America from health and safety threats.”

But emails between the CDC and Coca-Cola executives suggest the CDC cares more about Coke’s profits than your health.

According to a study published in The Milbank Quarterly, emails reveal that Coke used its cozy relationship with the CDC “to gain and expand access, to lobby and to shift attention and blame away from sugar-sweetened beverages.”

One of Coke’s most popular advertising slogans was: “It’s the Real Thing!” Too bad the company’s health safety claims aren’t.

TAKE ACTION: Ask the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform to investigate Coca-Cola’s influence on the CDC.

person in hazardous material suit inspecting GMO corn in a farm field

Unholy Trinity

Welcome to Degeneration Nation 2019.

Genetically engineered foods and crops, toxic chemicals and factory farms—the unholy trinity of industrial food and farming—are undermining our very survival.

Public health and the health of the living Earth—our soils, forests, wetlands, watersheds, oceans and climate—are rapidly being destroyed, collateral damage arising from the “profit at any cost” ethos of corporate agribusiness, Big Biotech, Big Pharma and Big Food.

Cancer, chronic disease, obesity, loss of fertility, mass depression, learning disabilities and reproductive disorders have now become the norm, along with environmental degradation. The rhythms and cycles of nature—the atmosphere, the soil carbon cycle, the water cycle, biodiversity, the climate and even the integrity of our DNA—are unraveling.

Can we turn this around? Yes. But we have to take bold and immediate action.

Read Ronnie’s essay: ‘Degeneration Nation: GMOs, Toxic Chemicals and Factory Farms’

logo for Bayer in neon lights against a sunset

Who’s Sorry Now?

U.S. regulatory agencies have failed miserably when it comes to protecting Americans from Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller and its key active ingredient, glyphosate.

But when ordinary people are presented with the truth about Roundup, and about Monsanto’s efforts to bury that truth, they seem to have no problem distinguishing between truth and lies.

For the second time in five months, a jury has unanimously concluded that Roundup is to blame for causing a man’s cancer.

The decision, once again, has sent the shareholder value of Monsanto’s new owner, Bayer, into a tailspin. 

This latest trial is considered a bellwether case for the more than 9,000 similar lawsuits coming down the pike.

After the first trial, Bayer CEO Werner Baumann brushed off the lawsuits as “nuisances.”

Sorry yet, Bayer?

Read ‘Monsanto’s Roundup Weedkiller Substantial Factor in Man’s Cancer, Jury Finds

Make a tax-deductible donation to OCA’s Millions Against Monsanto campaign

Shovel and rake gardening tools leaning in dirt

Dig In!

Ever thought about starting a business or building a career in regenerative agriculture? Prepare to get creative—and to get some dirt under your fingernails.

Ethan Soloviev is a founding team member of Terra Genesis, an international regenerative design consultancy. He helps create resilient and profitable businesses by redesigning supply chains to make them regenerative.

How did Soloviev find his way to his current career? Let’s just say that the guy who in his early 20s traveled the world to study apples, didn’t exactly follow a linear career track.

In this interview with Regeneration International, a project of OCA, Soloviev covers several topics related to regenerative agriculture, including what types of experiences you might want to get under your belt if you’re contemplating a career in the fast-growing field of regenerative food, farming, and natural products.

Read the interview with Ethan Soloviev from Terra Genesis 

Support OCA’s Regeneration International Project (tax-deductible, helps support our work on behalf of organic, regenerative agriculture and climate change)