There are two pieces of organic news regarding the government that I wanted to share with you. One piece is good, the other piece is not great.
So let’s start with the good news.
STATE OF OHIO DAIRY LABELING LAWS
If you live in the State of Ohio, the bureaucrats there do not believe that consumers have a right to know what’s in their dairy products.
In 2008, they passed an emergency regulation which banned any dairy manufacturer from putting on their label “Made without Hormones, Antibiotics, or Pesticides.”
Have you ever heard of anything so un-American in your life?
Why were they so against honest labels?
Because consumers would start to ask questions about milk, cheese or yogurt made with hormones or pesticides and would stop buying the products that used these toxic additives.
With help from The Center for Food Safety and a brief that it filed, the first victory came in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2010 when it was ruled that:
– There is a difference between milk from untreated cows and conventional milk.
– The use of rBGH (rbST or bovine growth hormones) in milk production has been shown to elevate the levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), a naturally occurring hormone that in high levels is linked to several types of cancers, among other things.
– rBGH (rbST) use induces an unnatural period of milk production during a cow’s “negative energy phase.” Milk produced during this stage is considered to be low quality due to its increased fat content and its decreased level of proteins.
– Milk from rBGH-injected cows contains higher somatic cell counts, which makes the milk turn sour more quickly and is another indicator of poor milk quality.
Despite this ruling, the State of Ohio kept the labeling regulation in place.
So, in order to get the labeling restrictions removed, the Organic Trade Association, on behalf of its members including Stonyfield, Organic Valley, and Horzon Organic, took the state to court.
Just this past week, we got some great news.
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals correctly ruled that these restrictions were unconstitutional and violated the free speech rights of organic and conventional farmers and marketers of milk within the State of Ohio.
This was an important victory for both citizens of Ohio and organic advocates everywhere.
Ok, that was the good news. Now, here’s the not-so-good news.
FARM BILL NEGOTIATIONS
When President Obama came into office, I specifically remember him saying that there will be “no more business as usual in Washington D.C.”
Yet, there is plenty of “business as usual” going on right now, and we need your help to stop it.
For those who don’t know, the very, very important Farm Bill (which gets voted on and funded every five years) is expiring at the end of 2012.
With huge cuts coming across all government agencies, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) proposed to cut farm subsidies to anyone with an average income over $1 million.
(GMO seed companies, chemical companies, GMO farmers and many others make WAY MORE than $1 million per year, thanks to our generous tax dollars/subsidies.)
This cleared the Senate by a vote of 84-15 and was a huge blow to Big Ag.
Obviously, Big Ag is not going to take this lying down and wants any Farm Bill to be secretly negotiated behind closed doors within the Super Committee. If this is done without any debate or open discussion, organics will definitely suffer and GMOs will definitely benefit.
Right now 4 members of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees are meeting to rush the 2012 Food and Farm Bill to the Super Committee and steal any chances for reforms for local, organic and healthy food until the next Farm Bill comes up in 2017.
Please make an urgent call to the listed leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees today to tell them to say no to corporate greed and NO to the “Secret Farm Bill”.
Personally, I have called all four Congressional representatives below.
And their people are telling me that all the calls are making a difference. Please pick up the phone and complain. It doesn’t matter if the people below are not from your state.
Thanks to Food Democracy, here’s a sample script.
Hi, my name is _______ I’m calling to put an end to corporate greed and say “No” to the Secret Farm Bill. Rushing this vital piece of legislation behind closed doors is unfair and undemocratic.
Please tell Congressman / Senator _____ that I care about America’s family farmers and support the right to an open and transparent Food and Farm Bill for the benefit of farmers and eaters everywhere.
Senate Ag Committee Leadership:
Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) Chair of Senate Agricultural Committee – call: (202) 224-4822
Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) Ranking Member Senate Agriculture Committee – call: (202) 224-4774
House Ag Committee Leadership:
Congressman Frank Lucas (R-OK) Chair House Committee on Agriculture – call: (202) 225-5565
Congressman Collin Peterson (D-MN) Former Chair House Committee on Agriculture – call: (202) 225-2165
If you feel like calling additional members of the Senate or House Ag Committees to tell the to Kill the Secret Farm Bill, click on the links below.
Thank you so much for interest in and support of organic food. I sincerely appreciate it.