Archive for Organic

Roundup Toxicity

New Research Fuels Roundup Weedkiller Toxicity Concerns

February 04, 2014 Thanks to Mercola.com

By Dr. Mercola

Last year, groundbreaking research was published suggesting that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s broad-spectrum herbicide Roundup, might be “a crucially important factor in the development of multiple chronic diseases and conditions.”

If you missed it, please take the time to listen to Jeff Smith’s interview with the lead author of that research, Dr. Stephanie Seneff, reposted above.

They spray nearly one BILLION pounds of Roundup  every year for conventional crop production, but genetically engineered (GE) crops see some of the heaviest use, as so-called Roundup Ready crops are designed to withstand otherwise lethal doses of this chemical.

Tests published last year also showed that people in 18 countries across Europe have glyphosate in their bodies,1 while yet a third study revealed the chemical has estrogenic properties and drive breast cancer proliferation in the parts-per-trillion range.2

Now, research published in the International Journal of Toxicology3 in January adds even more fuel to the fire, as it reveals that glyphosate-based formulations like Roundup pose a threat to human health through cytotoxicity and oxidative effects. Such formulations were also found to be lethal to human liver cells.

You may think you are safe if you only eat organic produce but nothing could be further from the truth as most of the glyphosate contaminated crops are fed to animals. This means you also need to get organic meat and eggs. Also, beware you CANNOT wash glyphosate off your produce as it is actively integrated into every cell in the plant and impossible to wash off.

Commercial Formulations of Glyphosate Threaten Human Health

The researchers found that while glyphosate and its amino acid metabolite, aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA) in isolation appears to be non-toxic to human cells, toxicity does become a concern when glyphosate is added to other ingredients found in commercial formulations.

It’s also well worth noting that the featured study assessed the effects of glyphosate-based formulations on human cells at dilutions that are far belownormal agricultural applications. As reported by the featured article by GreenMedInfo.com:4

“The researchers discovered that while glyphosate and its amino acid metabolite, aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA), showed little to no observable toxic effects in isolation, a glyphosate-based formulation containing adjuvants produced a variety of adverse effects on cellular oxidative balance, including the following signs of oxidative stress:

  • Increases in reactive oxygen species
  • Increases in nitrotyrosine formation
  • Increases in superoxide dismutase activity
  • Increases in glutathione levels

The glyphosate formulation studied also triggered two ‘death proteins’ in human cells known as caspase 3/7, inducing pathways that activate programmed cell death (apoptosis), a clear sign of significant toxicity.”

According to the authors:

“These results confirm that G [glyphosate] formulations have adjuvants working together with the active ingredient and causing toxic effects that are not seen with acid glyphosate…

Altogether, these results challenge the establishment of guidance values such as the acceptable daily intake of glyphosate, when these are mostly based on a long term in vivo test of glyphosate alone.

Since pesticides are always used with adjuvants that could change their toxicity, the necessity to assess their whole formulations as mixtures becomes obvious. This challenges the concept of active principle of pesticides for non-target species.”

Glyphosate in Isolation Preferentially Targets Beneficial Bacteria

Please note that in my earlier interviews with Dr. Don Huber, who is one of the most prominent scientific experts in plant toxicology, he firmly believe glyphosate is FAR more toxic and dangerous than DDT.

Previous research also shows that glyphosate alone wreaks havoc on soil and gut bacteria, so while glyphosate in isolation may not be able to kill your liver cells, ithas been shown to wreak havoc on the beneficial bacteria that are absolutely critical to your overall health. Your gut bacteria (opposed to other human cells) are a key component of glyphosate’s primary mechanism of harm, as microbes have the same pathway used by glyphosate to kill weeds.

The issue of glyphosate toxicity—whether in isolation or in formulation—implicates genetically engineered foods as being potentially far more hazardous to your health than less contaminated crops, and is indeed a significant reason for opting for organically-grown foods.

Labeling GMOs could help you select products that are less likely to have heavy contamination, although you’d also avoid many other hazardous chemicals used in conventional farming by opting for products labeled 100% organic.

There’s also the environmental angle, as glyphosate also effectively kills beneficial soil microbes and damages the fertility of the soil. Glyphosate is in fact patented as an antibiotic, and killing bacteria is the main function of such drugs. It’s also a potent chelator, which prevents valuable minerals like iron, calcium, manganese, and zinc from being utilized by the plant.

As previously explained by plant pathologist Dr. Don Huber, genetically engineered (GE) foods, as well as conventional crops that are heavily sprayed with glyphosate, have lower nutrient density than organic foods for this very reason. GE crops also contain high amounts of pesticides with documented harmful health effects, along with novel, highly allergenic, proteins.

Glyphosate’s chelating and antibacterial activities also promote soil and plant disease, including but not limited to fungal root disease, highlighted by USDA scientist Robert Kremer in a previous Mother Jones article.5 The chemical’s damaging effect on soil has a detrimental effect on yields too, of course, which appears to be part of the explanation for why the chemical technology industry’s promises of improving yields have largely fallen flat. The only “yield” that’s really gone up is that of glyphosate-resistant superweeds which, as of 2012, affected nearly half (49 percent) of American farmers!6 That was up from a reported 34 percent of farmers in 2011, so clearly, the spread of resistance is swift, and the entire agricultural system is at stake.

Global Land Crisis and the Threat of Worldwide Famine

In related news,7 a recently published paper in the journal Science8 by a Colorado research team found that modern chemical-based agriculture has “drastically altered” the biology of American farmland across the prairies, concluding that: “The soils currently found throughout the region bear little resemblance to their pre-agricultural state.”

The paper calls for dramatic and swift changes to our agricultural system, stating that it’s the “only viable route to feeding the world and keeping it habitable.” A key factor causing the rapid degradation of soil, topsoil erosion, and declining soil fertility, is the adverse effect that agricultural chemicals have on the soil.

Academic analysts from South Africa’s Witwatersrand University also weighed in on the issue, warning that unless we change course in how food is grown, we will repeat the same mistakes committed by civilizations in the past, where overexploitation of the land resulted in a vicious circle of famine and social disintegration… To learn more, you can review the PDF booklet, Food Plague Primer: Glyphosate and Genetically Engineered Crops,9 which is a free preview to the book: Food Plague: Could our daily bread be our most deadly exposure,10 written by Arden Andersen PhD, DO, who is both a medical doctor and horticulturist.

Food Industry Pulls Out All the Stops to Prevent GMO Labeling

There’s also important news from the GMO labeling front. I recently told you about the Grocery Manufacturers Association of America‘s (GMA) multi-pronged game plan for preventing US states from implementing any kind of GMO labeling. A major part of the GMA’s plan is to prevent states from creating their own labeling laws by pushing for an industry-friendly, voluntary labeling law at the federal level. But that’s not all.

A GMA document11 created for use by industry lobbyists also lays out a clear-cut strategy for addressing any state that successfully implements a GMO labeling law, stating that, “The first state to implement a GMO labeling law will be sued on the constitutional grounds seen in IDFA v. Amestoy.”Costly litigation is clearly part of the GMA’s master plan to protect industry profits in the face of growing consumer awareness about the many problems inherent with potentially toxic, genetically engineered, and grossly adulterated, processed foods.

Maine and Connecticut both passed GMO labeling laws last year, but they contain “trigger” clauses that prevent them from taking effect until or unless at least four neighboring states, with a combined population of at least 20 million inhabitants, pass similar bills.

Vermont also produced a GMO labeling bill in 2012, which was quickly put on ice when Monsanto threatened to sue the state. Still, Vermonters pushed through and, last year, the Vermont House of Representatives passed H.112, which would require GE foods to be labeled as such, and would prohibit GE foods from being labeled “natural.” While the bill didn’t make it into the Senate before the end of the legislative session in 2013, now that the state legislature has reconvened, the bill has been taken up by the Senate’s Agriculture Committee.

The problem Vermont now faces for the second time is the threat of being sued by the industry. The GMA document referred to above falsely insinuates that GMO labeling is in violation of the First Amendment, which protects commercial speech, and therefore unconstitutional.

Breaking News: Highest Rated Law Firm Confirms GMO Labeling IS Constitutional

Alas, one of the highest rated law firms in the US, Emord & Associates, has analyzed the Vermont Genetically Engineered Labeling Bill, H.112, concluding that the bill is, in fact, constitutional.1213 Emord & Associates is an AV-rated constitutional and administrative law firm located in Washington, D.C., Clifton, Virginia, and Chandler, Arizona.

An AV rating is the highest rating a law firm can achieve, based on legal ability and ethics, from the Martindale-Hubbell organization. Since 1999, the firm has successfully represented clients in eight First Amendment challenges against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Vermont Law School’s Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic has also concluded that Vermont’s GMO labeling bill would withstand a legal challenge from industry, stating that:14

“We have researched and analyzed challenges that may be made in opposition to such legislation and have concluded that Vermont can pass GE labeling legislation that will meet all constitutional requirements.”

That said, the threat of costly legal battles may still have a cooling effect on legislators that would otherwise support GMO labeling, which is surely the GMA’s intent. As reported by the Organic Consumers Association:15

“…GMO labeling activists are also concerned that some lawmakers will use the GMA’s threats as a convenient excuse to reject the majority opinion of their voters, in favor of siding with industry instead. Or as a means to convince their colleagues to add trigger clauses, similar to those in the Maine and Connecticut bills, in an attempt to stall or permanently sabotage GMO laws.

Food manufacturers insist that GMO ingredients are perfectly safe. Still, they’ve spent more than $70 million–some of itillegally laundered—to defeat GMO labeling initiatives in California and Washington State. And the GMA, representing more than 300 food makers and trade associations, has drafted a bill (which so far has no sponsors) that would preempt state mandatory GMO labeling laws and allow the use of the word ‘natural’ on GMO-contaminated products.

…What’s next? Vermont lawmakers could pass a clean bill. Or, they could pass a meaningless bill with a trigger clause. Or, they could cave into industry’s threats entirely, and vote against the 90 percent of Vermonters who support H.112—knowing that the bill is bullet-proof, and their failure to pass it a failure of courage.”

Take a Stand Against Industry Bullying

Vermont isn’t the only state having to muster up a backbone to face a potential legal challenge by the GMA. Rhode Island and Florida have also introduced GMO labeling laws this year. Massachusetts and New York are expected to follow suit. But no matter where GMO labeling laws are considered, you can be sure GMA lobbyists will be present, spewing falsehoods and intimidating lawmakers. The Organic Consumers Association has created an Action Page where you can voice your opinions with the lawmakers in your state. Please tell them to stand firm; ignore the threats from the food industry, and do what’s right for the people they were elected to represent.

Vote with Your Pocketbook, Every Day

Remember, the food companies on the left of this graphic spent tens of millions of dollars in the last two labeling campaigns—in California and Washington State—to prevent you from knowing what’s in your food. You can even the score by switching to the brands on the right; all of whom stood behind the I-522 Right to Know campaign. Voting with your pocketbook, at every meal, matters. It makes a huge difference.

As always, I encourage you to continue educating yourself about genetically engineered foods, and to share what you’ve learned with family and friends. Remember, unless a food is certified organic, you can assume it contains GMO ingredients if it contains sugar from sugar beet, soy, or corn, or any of their derivatives.

If you buy processed food, opt for products bearing the USDA 100% Organic label, as organics do not permit GMOs. You can also print out and use the Non-GMO Shopping Guide, created by the Institute for Responsible Technology. Share it with your friends and family, and post it to your social networks. Alternatively, download their free iPhone application, available in the iTunes store. You can find it by searching for ShopNoGMO in the applications.

For more in-depth information, I highly recommend reading the following two books, authored by Jeffrey Smith, the executive director of the Institute for Responsible Technology:

For timely updates, join the Non-GMO Project on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter. Please, do your homework. Together, we have the power to stop the chemical technology industry from destroying our food supply, the future of our children, and the earth as a whole. All we need is about five percent of American shoppers to simply stop buying genetically engineered foods, and the food industry would have to reconsider their source of ingredients—regardless of whether the products bear an actual GMO label or not.

Chemical Lawns

Posted in the Everett Herald on May 7, 2013

Putting in more effort is worth it

A pesticide-free park or yard does take more work, but, it can be done, and you will like the results. (Sunday article, “Pesticide-free is not so easy.”)
The easy way to kill dandelions is to chop them up in place. A shovel works better than a hoe in hard ground. Just make sure the root is cut in several places, and the plant will probably not come back. Also, the flowers of the true dandelion — which has only one flower per plant — are edible and tasty.It saddens me to see people applying chemicals just to make their lawn look like a green carpet. The way to fertilize a lawn is to go out when it is raining and sew in clover — the kind with the small white flowers, not the larger purple clover. Clover is a legume and fixes nitrogen. Grass grows greener and stronger intermixed with clover. And clover is more drought tolerant.Roundup is unnecessary. If you want to kill weeds coming up through cracks in the driveway, hit them with a spray of vinegar. Acetic acid kills pretty much all plants.

Turf Builder and Weed & Feed contain 2,4-D, a possible endocrine disrupter and carcinogen. When you use it, you are poisoning children, birds, and our salmon too because some of your chemicals flow into the Sound. We are concerned about the gradual extinction of the salmon, so why are these chemicals still legal to use here?

Anything that can be grown organically should be grown organically[, and that includes lawns].

James Robert Deal 
Lynnwood 

Posted in the Everett Herald on May 7, 2013

Organic Now Big Business

July 7, 2012

Has ‘Organic’ Been Oversized?

By

ANN ARBOR, Mich.

Michael J. Potter is one of the last little big men left in organic food.

More than 40 years ago, Mr. Potter bought into a hippie cafe and “whole earth” grocery here that has since morphed into a major organic foods producer and wholesaler, Eden Foods.

But one morning last May, he hopped on his motorcycle and took off across the Plains to challenge what organic food — or as he might have it, so-called organic food — has become since his tie-dye days in the Haight district of San Francisco.

The fact is, organic food has become a wildly lucrative business for Big Food and a premium-price-means-premium-profit section of the grocery store. The industry’s image — contented cows grazing on the green hills of family-owned farms — is mostly pure fantasy. Or rather, pure marketing. Big Food, it turns out, has spawned what might be called Big Organic.

Bear Naked, Wholesome & Hearty, Kashi: all three and more actually belong to the cereals giant Kellogg. Naked Juice? That would be PepsiCo, of Pepsi and Fritos fame. And behind the pastoral-sounding Walnut Acres, Healthy Valley and Spectrum Organics is none other than Hain Celestial, once affiliated with Heinz, the grand old name in ketchup.

Over the last decade, since federal organic standards have come to the fore, giant agri-food corporations like these and others — Coca-Cola, Cargill, ConAgra, General Mills, Kraft and M&M Mars among them — have gobbled up most of the nation’s organic food industry. Pure, locally produced ingredients from small family farms? Not so much anymore.

All of which riles Mr. Potter, 62. Which is why he took off in late May from here for Albuquerque, where the cardinals of the $30-billion-a-year organic food industry were meeting to decide which ingredients that didn’t exactly sound fresh from the farm should be blessed as allowed ingredients in “organic” products. Ingredients like carrageenan, a seaweed-derived thickener with a somewhat controversial health record. Or synthetic inositol, which is manufactured using chemical processes.

Mr. Potter was allowed to voice his objections to carrageenan for three minutes before the group, the National Organic Standards Board.

“Someone said, ‘Thank you,’ ” Mr. Potter recalls.

And that was that.

Two days later, the board voted 10 to 5 to keep carrageenan on the growing list of nonorganic ingredients that can be used in products with the coveted “certified organic” label. To organic purists like Mr. Potter, it was just another sign that Big Food has co-opted — or perhaps corrupted — the organic food business.

“The board is stacked,” Mr. Potter says. “Either they don’t have a clue, or their interest in making money is more important than their interest in maintaining the integrity of organics.”

He calls the certified-organic label a fraud and refuses to put it on Eden’s products.

Big businesses argue that the enormous demand for organic products requires a scale that only they can provide — and that there is no difference between big and small producers. “We’re all certified, and we all follow the same standards,” said Carmela Beck, who manages the organic program at Driscoll’s, which markets conventional and organic berries. “There is a growing need for organic products because the demand is greater than the supply.”

Many consumers may not realize the extent to which giant corporations have come to dominate organic food. Then again, giant corporations don’t exactly trumpet their role in the industry. Their financial motivation, however, is obvious. On Amazon.com, for instance, 12 six-ounce boxes of Kraft Organic Macaroni and Cheese sell for $25.32, while a dozen 7.25-ounce boxes of the company’s regular Macaroni and Cheese go for $19.64.

“As soon as a value-added aspect was established, it didn’t take long before corporate America came knocking,” Mr. Potter says. He says he gets at least one e-mail a week from someone seeking to buy Eden, which is based in Clinton, Mich., and does about $50 million a year in sales. “Companies, private equity, venture capital, even individuals,” Mr. Potter says. “The best offer I ever got came from two guys who had money from Super Glue.”

Between the time the Agriculture Department came up with its proposed regulations for the organic industry in 1997 and the time those rules became law in 2002, myriad small, independent organic companies — from Honest Tea to Cascadian Farm — were snapped up by corporate titans. Heinz and Hain together bought 19 organic brands.

Eden is one of the last remaining independent organic companies of any size, together with the Clif Bar & Company, Amy’s Kitchen, Lundberg Family Farms and a handful of others.

“In some ways, organic is a victim of its own success,” says Philip H. Howard, an assistant professor at Michigan State University, who has documented the remarkable consolidation of the organic industry. Organic food accounts for just 4 percent of all foods sold, but the industry is growing fast. “Big corporations see the trends and the opportunity to make money and profit,” he says.

BIG FOOD has also assumed a powerful role in setting the standards for organic foods. Major corporations have come to dominate the board that sets these standards.

As corporate membership on the board has increased, so, too, has the number of nonorganic materials approved for organic foods on what is called the National List. At first, the list was largely made up of things like baking soda, which is nonorganic but essential to making things like organic bread. Today, more than 250 nonorganic substances are on the list, up from 77 in 2002.

The board has 15 members, and a two-thirds majority is required to add a substance to the list. More and more, votes on adding substances break down along corporate-independent lines, with one swing vote. Six board members, for instance, voted in favor of adding ammonium nonanoate, a herbicide, to the accepted organic list in December. Those votes came from General Mills, Campbell’s Soup, Organic Valley, Whole Foods Market and Earthbound Farms, which had two votes at the time.

Big Organic lost that round. Had it prevailed, it would have been the first time a herbicide was put on the list.

Kathleen Merrigan, a deputy secretary of agriculture, disputes that corporate interests are behind the increase in nonorganic materials deemed acceptable in “organic” food. “The list is really very small,” says Ms. Merrigan. “It’s really very simplistic and headline-grabbing to throw out those sorts of critiques, but when you get down into the details, there are usually very rational and important reasons for the actions the board has taken.”

The expanding variety of organic products is partly behind the list’s growth, Ms. Merrigan says, adding that the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, which governs certification, has tried to check the powers of board members. It requires, for instance, that the board reconsider each substance five years after the last approval of it — though only just a few have ever lost their status.

“Yes, there are some large organizations that make up a portion of the board, but they’re not at all a majority,” says Will Daniels, senior vice president for operations and organic integrity at Earthbound Farms Organic, one of the country’s largest organic produce processors. “Four of the 15 board members could be considered from a corporate structure, a number that means they don’t have power to do much of anything.”

Those four are Earthbound, Driscoll Strawberry Associates, Whole Foods and the Zirkle Fruit Company. Only one of them, Earthbound, has a fully organic business.

Critics say the system has never truly operated as intended. “It’s been neutered,” says Mark Kastel, director of the Cornucopia Institute, an advocacy group.

Cornucopia began taking a harder look at the history of the addition of carrageenan and other substances to the accepted organic list after a bruising battle last December over the addition of docosahexzenoic acid algae oil, or DHA, and arachidonic acid single cell oil, or ARA. Its research led to a paper titled “The Organic Watergate.”

“After DHA got onto the list, we decided to go back and look at all of the ingredients on the list,” Mr. Kastel says. “The average consumer has no idea that all these additives are going into the organic products they’re buying.”

Mr. Potter of Eden Foods was initially supportive of the government’s efforts to certify organic products. But he quickly became disenchanted. He has never sought a board appointment, for himself or anyone at Eden. “I bought into the swaddling clothes wrapped around it,” he said. “I had high hopes the law and the board would be good things because we needed standards.”

By 1996, he realized that the National Organic Program was heading in a direction he did not like. He said as much at a National Organic Standards Board meeting in Indianapolis that year, earning the permanent opprobrium of the broader organic industry. “They think I’m liberal, immature, a radical,” Mr. Potter says. “But I’m not the one debating whether organics should use genetically modified additives or nanotechnology, which is what I’d call radical.”

Charlotte Vallaeys, director of farm and food policy at Cornucopia, found that two large companies, General Mills and Dean Foods, and the vast cooperative Cropp, which sells produce under the Organic Valley brand, “have held nearly continuous influence on the board.”

Such influence is not always obvious. For instance, early members of the board from Cascadian Farms, Muir Glen and Small Planet Foods were the chief advocates for allowing synthetics into organic production. By the time synthetics made it into the final rules, passed in 2002, all three had been swallowed up by General Mills. Tracy Favre, newly appointed to the standards board, works for Holistic Management International, a nonprofit that advises clients on sustainable agriculture. Holistic Management has done work for Dean Foods to help it address criticism of production practices for its Horizon organic milk brand.

Ms. Favre referred calls to the Agriculture Department.

Cornucopia has also lodged complaints about the board’s composition with the secretary of agriculture and the department’s inspector general. Based on one of the complaints, the inspector general is looking into how materials are added to the list.

Cornucopia has challenged the appointment of Ms. Beck, the national organic program manager at Driscoll’s, to a seat that is, by law, supposed to be occupied by a farmer. Officially, “farmer” means someone who “owns or operates an organic farm.”

The Organic Foods Act calls for a board consisting of four farmers, three conservationists, three consumer representatives, a scientist, a retailer, a certification agent and two “handlers,” or representatives of companies that process organic food.

Ms. Beck works with Driscoll’s organic farmers here as well as in Mexico and Chile, helping them develop and maintain their organic systems plans. “I work with growers from as few as a couple of acres to up to hundreds of acres,” she says.

But Ms. Beck does not own or operate a farm.

In contrast, Dominic Marchese, who produces organic beef in Ohio, has tried and failed three times to win a board appointment as a farmer. “I don’t have anything against her,” Mr. Marchese says, referring to Ms. Beck. “She’s probably very smart. But how do you select someone who’s not an organic farmer to represent organic farmers?”

Driscoll’s nominated Ms. Beck for one of the handler seats — but Tom Vilsack, the agriculture secretary, appointed her to one of the seats reserved for farmers.

Similarly, the three consumer seats have never been filled by anyone from a traditional consumer advocacy group like the Organic Consumers Association or the Consumers Union. Instead, those seats have largely gone to academics with agricultural expertise and to corporate executives.

“If you fill the slots earmarked by Congress for independent voices with corporate voices, you greatly mitigate the safeguards built into the supermajority requirement of the law,” Mr. Kastel says.

MILES V. McEVOY, deputy administrator of the National Organic Program, says that all appointments are cleared with the Agriculture Department’s general counsel. “The board is designed to have interests and for the members to have biases and represent their particular interest groups,” he said. “We are trying to make sure the board represents the diversity of the American public and of organic agriculture.”

Alexis Baden-Mayer, political director at the Organic Consumers Association, says her group has no quibbles with that goal: “I understand that there are very few 100 percent organic businesses left. But to add someone from a company like General Mills that has such a big interest in promoting genetic engineering, promoting nanotechnology, promoting a variety of things that are so antithetical to organic principles, is that really necessary to achieve diversity?”

She was referring to Katrina Heinze, a General Mills executive who was appointed to serve as a consumer representative on the board in December 2005 by Mike Johanns, the agriculture secretary at the time. The outcry over her appointment by advocates and independent organic consumers was so intense that she resigned in February 2006 — but rejoined the board late that year after Mr. Johanns appointed her to the seat designated by law for an expert in toxicology, ecology or biochemistry. During her second stint on the board, which ended last December, critics said they were shocked when she did not recuse herself from the vote to add DHA to the list, since its manufacturer sometimes uses technology licensed from General Mills in making it.

Ms. Heinze is responsible for food safety and regulatory matters at General Mills and has degrees in chemistry. She referred calls to General Mills, which in turn referred questions to the National Organic Program.

Driscoll’s was the only company that allowed an employee serving on the board to talk to The New York Times. The rest — even Cropp, the 1,400-farmer cooperative that sells more than $700 million in products, many under the Organic Valley brand — had more senior executives do the talking.

Organic purists would consider Cropp’s board representative, Wendy Fulwider, as one of the corporate executives on the board. During her tenure, Ms. Fulwider, Organic Valley’s animal-husbandry specialist, has voted almost in lock step with its corporate members, even though her vote may be supporting something Organic Valley does not allow its own members to do.

“Wendy’s a public citizen on that group and is supposed to vote what her own integrity is and not what our company’s view is,” said George Siemon, Cropp’s top executive and a former member of the organic standards board.

Ms. Fulwider surprised many observers at a board meeting in May by voting in favor of keeping carrageenan on the organic list. Before that meeting, Organic Valley was saying that it planned to find an alternative to the additive, and there is a long and active list of consumer complaints on its Web site about the cooperative’s use of it in things like heavy cream and chocolate milk.

Ms. Fuldwider has also voted to let organic egg producers give their chickens just two square feet of living space, when Cropp requires its own farmers to provide five.

Most controversially, she voted to add DHA and ARA to the list for use in baby formulas. Milk fortified with DHA commands premium prices, and Mr. Siemon said Organic Valley had to have a version of its milk with the additive “because that’s what the consumer wants.”

He said, however, that Organic Valley uses DHA derived from fish, not the variety Ms. Fulwider approved for the list. “For us, algae didn’t seem like the real deal. It’s almost like a wannabe,” Mr. Siemon says. “But hey, what do I know? I’m told all the studies showing the benefits of DHA are based on the type from fish oil, so we use the type from fish oil.”

Mr. Siemon says Organic Valley’s goal is to eliminate all additives from its products. The cooperative, for instance, is working to find a substitute for carrageenan, which it uses to prevent separation in products like cream and chocolate milk.

AMID such issues, Mr. Potter has tasked his daughter, Yvonne Sturt, to find a way to preserve Eden’s independence after he’s gone. Four of his children are now involved in the business and, he says, they must earn any control of the family company.

“People keep telling me that all the work we’re doing with organic farming and agriculture and processing, some of that could be deemed charitable work,” he says. “Maybe we should start a church.”

Thanks to the New York Times.

Monsanto Contaminating World Agriculture

(NaturalNews) My expose last week, The Organic Elite Surrenders to Monsanto: What Now? (http://www.organicconsumers.org/art…) has ignited a long-overdue debate on how to stop Monsanto’s earth killing, market-monopolizing, climate-destabilizing rampage.

Should we basically resign ourselves to the fact that the Biotech Bully of St. Louis controls the dynamics of the marketplace and public policy? Should we seek some kind of practical compromise or “coexistence” between organics and genetically modified organisms (GMOs)? Should we focus our efforts on crop pollution compensation and “controlled deregulation” of genetically engineered (GE) crops, rather than campaign for an outright ban, or mandatory labeling and safety-testing? Should we prepare ourselves for a future farm landscape where the U.S.’s 23 million acres of alfalfa, the nation’s fourth largest crop, (93 percent of which are currently not sprayed with toxic herbicides), including organic alfalfa, are sprayed with Roundup and/or genetically polluted with Monsanto’s mutant genes?

Read the rest of the article:
http://www.naturalnews.com/031263_Monsanto_organic_consumers.html