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Tell Your Favorite Organic Brands: Exit the Organic ‘Traitors’ Association!

September 13, 2016 | Katherine Paul

Organic Consumers Association

“This is one celebration you don’t want to miss!”

That’s the message leaders of the Organic Trade Association (aka the Organic “Traitors” Association) sent to their members recently, in an email inviting them to the OTA’s 2016 Leadership Awards Celebration at Expo East.

Here’s one thing that OCA and organic consumers will not be celebrating—the fact that the OTA’s “Organic Elite” conspired with Sens. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) to overturn Vermont’s mandatory GMO labeling law, and ensure that food companies will never be required to reveal GMO ingredients in their products, using clear, on-package labels.

OTA has over 8000 members—which means the brands you give your money to are probably dues-paying members or the OTA. Click here to find out—then pick 4 or 5 of your favorite brands. Call, email, post on their facebook pages—ask these brands to exit the OTA!  (Click here to see who else is urging OTA members to drop out).

“We'll toast inspirational leaders building bridges and making connections that advance organic food, fiber, and farming,” wrote OTA leadership in its recent invitation to members.

“Inspirational leaders?” Here’s what the OTA leadership did to consumers. In a purely self-serving move, OTA Executive Director Laura Batcha, and board chair Missy Hughes (who also serves as general counsel for Organic Valley), with support from Organic Valley CEO George Siemon, endorsed the Stabenow-Roberts DARK—Deny Americans the Right to Know—Act.  Supporting this act of treachery were Stonyfield Farm CEO Gary Hirshberg, a prominent member of the OTA, and his so-called “Just Label It” organization, as well as Whole Foods and others.

Support from the OTA’s bureaucrats was all it took for Congress to pass the DARK Act, and for President Obama to sign it into law.

Why would the trade group that supposedly represents organic companies, the companies that organic consumers support, helped pass the DARK Act?

Here’s why: Because many of companies and brands are subsidiaries of multinational junk food corporations such as General Mills, Smuckers, or Dannone, who don’t want to label their non-organic products as containing GMOs. And, so USDA certified organic brands could make the label claim that they are GMO-free.

Never mind that, by helping to pass the DARK Act, the OTA stabbed the 90 percent of consumers who want GMO labels in the back.

It was all about them, and their bosses or business partners in multinational junk food corporations. Not you.

The movement was poised to win

After years of fighting for the basic right to know about GMOs, the GMO labeling movement was on the verge of winning. The courts had declared Vermont’s mandatory GMO labeling law constitutional. On July 1, more than two years after it was unanimously passed by Vermont lawmakers, the law took effect. Major food brands had already begun labeling their products as “contains genetically engineered ingredients” or “produced with genetic engineering.”

The U.S. Senate, under tremendous pressure from the Grocery Manufacturers Association, was struggling to pass a federal law that would preempt Vermont’s law with anything less than mandatory, on-package labeling—until the OTA got involved.

OTA’s endorsement was all Stabenow and Roberts needed in order to get the DARK Act passed, and forever deprive consumers of the right to know if their food contains GMOs.

The Stabenow-Roberts “no-labeling” bill continues to be sold to the public by Congress, and by the OTA and its allies in the Grocery Manufacturers Association as a “federal mandatory GMO labeling solution.” It is anything but.

The DARK Act exempts most of the most commonly used GMO ingredients; it allows companies to hide information about GMOs behind confusing and discriminatory electronic QR codes; and it contains no enforcement mechanism and imposes no penalties for non-compliance.

More than 60 organic brands and supporters of GMO labeling have signed our letter condemning the OTA’s role in passing the DARK Act.

Did the brands you buy and support secretly support OTA’s back-stabbing work on the DARK Act? The only way to prove they didn’t, is to show solidarity with you, by dropping out of the OTA.

TAKE ACTION: Contact your favorite organic brands and ask them to stand with you—not Monsanto and Big Food, and not the back-stabbing bureaucrats who run the Organic “Traitors” Association!

Click here to find out if your favorite organic brands are members of the OTA.