Frankenfood Update: Monsanto, Safeway, Farm Bill

Millions Against Monsanto: On the Road to Victory

“The harder they come, the harder they fall, one and all.”   ~ Jimmy Cliff

After a year of maximum profits, record stock prices, the defeat of a major GMO labeling campaign in California, pro-industry court decisions, and a formidable display of political power in Washington, D.C., the Biotech Bully from St. Louis now finds itself on the defensive.

It is no exaggeration to say that Monsanto has become the most hated corporation in the world.

Here’s just one reason Monsanto is in the hot seat. According to Green Medical News:

“ . . . “within the scientific community and educated public alike, there is a growing awareness that Roundup herbicide, and its primary ingredient glyphosate, is actually a broad spectrum biocide, in the etymological sense of the word: “bio” (life) and “cide” (kill) – that is, it broadly, without discrimination kills living things, not just plants.”

And there are so many more. Thanks to all of you, we’re making headway in the battle to reclaim our food system from the biotech bullies and Big Food. Let’s keep going by showing our support for I-522, Washington State’s GMO labeling initiative.

Read the essay



Safeway Plays Defense. Poorly.

Rebuttal Rule No. 1: Get your facts straight.

Last week we called for a boycott of Safeway’s O Organics™ brand products. Why? Because Safeway is a dues-paying member of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), a trade group that donated $2 million to defeat California’s Prop 37 initiative to label GMOs last year, and is now the leading donor to the NO on I-522 campaign to defeat a similar initiative in Washington State.

Safeway fired back. First with a statement on its Facebook page, claiming the store “fully supports voluntary labeling of products that are GMO-free and we have not made any contributions to defeat any GMO labeling initiatives.” Of course Safeway understands that California’s Prop 37 and Washington’s I-522 both call for mandatory labeling of all GMO-tainted foods, not just “voluntary labeling of products that are GMO-free.”

Then there was this statement by Safeway spokesperson Sara Osborne, quoted in an article circulated by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services:

“The OCA’s information is incorrect. Safeway has never contributed to efforts to defeat GMO labeling initiatives,” Sara Osborne, a spokeswoman for Safeway, said in an email to The Chronicle.

We thought we were very clear. By supporting the GMA, Safeway surely is – as we said, indirectly – contributing to efforts to defeat GMO labeling. Maybe you can help us get the message across? That Safeway needs to stop supporting the GMA, which is donating millions to defeat GMO labeling?

Safeway operates 169 stores in 93 cities in Washington State. That’s a lot of sales of O Organics™ products in a state where the GMA has already donated nearly a half a million dollars to defeat a labeling law. We need to let Steve Frisby, President of Safeway’s Northwest Division know, that it’s unacceptable that Safeway continues to support the GMA. Until it stops, and until Safeway steps up to support I-522, we won’t be buying any of Safeway’s O Organics™ brand products.

Read last week’s press release

Read the McClatchy article

TAKE ACTION: Just Say ‘O No!’ to Safeway’s O Organics™ Brand!

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



Back from the Dead. Worse than Ever.

Just when we thought the 2013 Farm Bill was dead. Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives surprised everyone by passing a last-minute House version of the Farm Bill. And it’s a doozy.

The House wants Congress to buy into a bill that has everything that Monsanto and corporate agribusiness wants. And not much of anything that America needs. Glaringly absent from the House version is the section that provides nutrition assistance to families. Because, well, you know, we shouldn’t be subsidizing food for hungry kids.

What did make it into the House version of the bill? Big subsidies for Big Ag, meaning lots of government cash for rich owners of mega-farms growing GMOs or torturing animals so we can have lots of antibiotic- and hormone-laced meat.

Here’s what else made it into the House version of the Farm Bill: The King Amendment. Introduced by the King of Animal Torture himself, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), the King amendment is an attempt to block modest animal welfare reforms. Like California’s voter-passed law that gives confined farm animals just enough space to stretch their limbs and turn around. But the King Amendment is written so broadly that some analysts say it might also block states from passing GMO labeling laws.

We have our own name for the King Amendment: The Monsanto & Animal Torture Protection Act. You might expect a Congressman from Iowa who gets money from Monsanto, the National Pork Producers Council and Coca-Cola to protect factory farms and GMOs. But does he really want to be known as an advocate of farm animal torture?

Where does the Farm Bill go from here? Leaders of the House and Senate are preparing to iron out the differences between their two versions, in the hope of passing a Farm Bill this year. King’s Monsanto & Animal Torture Protection Act isn’t in the Senate version. Let’s act now to keep it from becoming law!

Take Action: Stop the Monsanto & Animal Torture Protection Act!

Support the Industrial Hemp Amendment to the Farm Bill: Call Your Congressional Rep

There’s a reason the US government is trying to ban hemp! It’s a miracle plant given to the people of this planet for our health, healing cancer and many other needs.

Script and phone numbers are available below to make it easier.

URGENT! Please Call Your Representative in Congress Today!

Ask Them to Support & Vote for the Industrial Hemp Amendment to the Farm Bill

This message comes to us, and then to you, from our friends and allies at VoteHemp.

As you may know, the Senate has passed their version of the Farm Bill and Senator Ron Wyden’s hemp amendment failed to be voted on because of politics that was out of our control. This week the House is debating their version of the Farm Bill. This means that we have the opportunity to get a hemp amendment in once again! Representatives Jared Polis, Thomas Massie, and Earl Blumenauer have introduced an amendment to the Farm Bill that would allow colleges and universities to grow and cultivate hemp for academic and agricultural research purposes. It would only apply to states where industrial hemp growth and cultivation is already legal under state law.

We need you to call and email your Representative in Congress and ask them to support & vote for the Industrial Hemp Amendment to the Farm Bill and let researchers in the U.S. be able to work on the crop.

Please click here and make the call now!

We have a short, easy to use script and phone numbers will be provided after you enter your Zip Code on our web site at: Thank you very much for taking the time to call and sending us feedback on your call!

Calls are the most important thing to do now. If you can’t make a call please click here to send an email.

We ask that you pass this information on to friends and family and ask them to call and write as well. Thank you so much for your support!

About Vote Hemp
Vote Hemp is a national, single-issue, nonprofit organization dedicated to the acceptance of and free market for industrial hemp, low-THC oilseed and fiber varieties of Cannabis, and to changes in current law to allow U.S. farmers to grow the crop.

Web Site:

GMO Labeling Bill Passes the Connecticut Senate

imagesThe People have spoken once more. Not a drop of blood shed, but change takes place.

No time to rest on our laurels, however… they are not going down quietly. We have to watch everything they do, as you’ll see from the update below.

AND, you can now take action on the Farm Bill.  See the bottom of this post.

Now on to the CT House—where the opposition is stronger. Action Alerts!

It’s good news/bad news in Connecticut for GMO labeling advocates this week, where the state Senate voted 35-1 in favor of SB 802, a GE labeling bill that ANH-USA helped draft. After the Senate passed the bill, the Connecticut House accepted an amendment from Governor Dan Malloy and Speaker Brendan Sharkey, despite strong protest from advocates, that weakened the bill.

The amendment was a triggering provision which requires that three more of the nine states that make up the Northeast—Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey—would need to pass a similar bill before it could go into effect in 2015. However—and this is back to the good news—if the other states failed to adopt GMO labeling statutes, the Connecticut GMO law would still go into effect on its own, but in 2016, as a standalone provision. This provision rescues the bill. SB 802 is sitting in the House, waiting for a vote.

However, on Friday around midnight, the House passed and sent to the Senate its own bill, HB 6527. This bill is weaker than SB 802 because it removes that all-important standalone provision, and increases the number of states needed to trigger the GMO labeling requirement to five. Moreover, before Connecticut citizens would have the right to know what is in their food, the combined total population of at least two of those five states would have be at least 25 million people! This also appears to be a deal worked out between the governor and Rep. Sharkey.

Action Alert! Connecticut residents, please contact your representatives and thank them for supporting GMO labeling in HB 6527, but ask them to vote YES on SB 802 since this the stronger bill and provides the greatest protections to consumers! Take Action!

Also please contact your senators and thank them for passing SB 802. Thank you to CT Senate!

Connecticut seems to be following a familiar pattern. Maine’s GMO labeling bill (LD 718) recently passed out of committee 8-5—with the same proviso that it will go into effect only if three more of its nine neighboring states pass similar laws by 2018.

So far, Vermont hasn’t put the same restriction into its GMO labeling bill. Vermont’s House just passed H 112 by 99-42. The bill is now in a great position to be taken up by the Senate when lawmakers return to their work next January.

On the federal level, however, the picture isn’t as bright. The Sanders amendment to the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013, which would have permitted states to require the labeling of GMOs, failed with a vote of 71-27.

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) added an amendment to the Farm Bill, which has passed through committee and is waiting on the floor of the House for a vote. The King Amendment would “reinforce the Commerce Clause by asserting the right of a state to trade agriculture products freely with another state. One state cannot deny the trade of an agricultural product from another state based on that product’s means of production.”

This amendment may well have negative implications for GMO labeling. A state that requires GMO labeling on its food, it could be argued, creates a trade barrier between a state that does not require GMO labeling. This could run up against the dormant commerce clause, which limits individual state authority to regulate intrastate commerce even in the absence of a conflicting federal law. This is a back-door way of dissuading states from passing labeling laws. It could also prevent states from banning GMO products altogether.

Action Alert! Please contact your representative immediately and ask him or her for an amendment to strike the King Amendment from the House Farm Bill.


Time to Take Action to Protect the Miracles of Hemp

We can’t say enough about HEMP!  I buy mine monthly from a company in California called Nutiva. They’re reminding us we need to take action to secure our freedoms.

If you’re drawn to do so, please take action to ensure we can continue to benefit from this astonishingly useful plant.

They provide scripts and emails for us to use so it’s quick and easy to do.

Be a Part of Hemp History!

Call your Senators on behalf of Hemp.

We need your Senators to support & vote for Senator Mitch McConnell’s Industrial Hemp Amendment to the Farm Bill. The language is the same as S. 359, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2013. This amendment would allow farmers in the U.S. to once again have the opportunity to grow this profitable agricultural crop.

We have a short, easy to use script and phone numbers will be provided after you enter your Zip Code. Thank you very much for taking the time to call and sending us feedback on your call!

Calls are the most important thing to do now. If you can’t make a call please click here to send an email.  

Hemp History Week is June 3-9th 2013. Nutiva CEO is speaking at several bay area events. Learn about local events in your area:

The Many Uses for God’s Greatest Herb… That Would Also End a Hundred-Year Energy Monopoly! 

We are familiar with it because a lot of us wear Denim jeans, but did you know it’s also used to make bricks and building materials like chipboard… and plastics? That it makes a great nutritional supplement? Can replace almost all petrochemical pharmaceuticals… and gasoline?

Link: Full length US government movie promoting hemp for the war, “HEMP FOR VICTORY” (if broken, click here:

During the Second World War hemp farmers’ sons were exempt from the draft.

Did you know that hemp has a full growth / maturity cycle of just six to eight months and makes up to 4 times as much cellulose as the trees currently grown for paper production that take eight years to mature?

It’s the only known plant on earth with everything man needs… and THRIVES on neglect – Genetic Modification is unnecessary because it needs no fertilizers or pesticides.

But most of all, did you know it can replace petroleum, that it is a replenishable fuel?

It’s time for the US to finally legalize it… if the oil companies would allow that to happen in a free, democratic nation that makes its own choices… even if it might cut a little off their bottom line after more than a hundred years of energy monopoly…


Jeff Merkley Pushes ‘Monsanto Protection Act’ Repeal

Thanks for this, Patrick.

WASHINGTON — Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) is planning to push an amendment to the upcoming farm bill that would repeal the secret provision known as the Monsanto Protection Act, a rider attached anonymously to a spending bill that sailed through Congress in March. An outcry greeted the news of the legislation once the public learned that it had been passed by Congress with no debate and signed into law by President Barack Obama.

The provision allows Monsanto and other companies to continue selling genetically engineered seeds, even if a court has blocked them from doing so. Merkley will press for a floor vote on his repeal amendment when the farm bill is taken up next week, a Merkley aide told HuffPost.

Federal courts have recently ruled that the U.S. Department of Agriculture had failed to consider the potential harm some genetically engineered crops may have, and acted too hastily in approving their sale. The industry fought back with the farm bill rider, preventing the enforcement of court rulings.

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) spoke out against the rider on the Senate floor, but the chamber is typically empty, and his objection was not enough to block it from passage.

Jon Stewart helped elevate the issue with an extended segment on it, and the measure also found a number of conservative critics.

A Monsanto spokesperson wasn’t immediately available to comment.

See video…