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Organic Trade Association: Wolf In Sheep's Clothing?
By Theodora Filis
In the US and Canada, the Organic Trade Association (OTA) claims there mission is to promote consumer ethics, protect and promote the benefit of organic trade environment, and promote the economy of the public and farmers as a whole. OTA is a member of the International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements (IFOAM).
“Organic” refers to the way agricultural products are grown and processed. It includes a system of production, processing, distribution and handling to maintain the organic integrity that starts on the farm. Governed by government standards, organic requires that products bearing the organic label are made without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides, synthetic nitrogen fertilizers, antibiotics, synthetic hormones, genetic engineering or other excluded practices, sewage sludge, or irradiation.
Sixty percent of OTA members are micro and small business trade members. The OTA originally went under the name Organic Foods Production Association of North America or OFPANA which was established in1985. Consumers have relied on the OTA for protecting and promoting organic advocacy and standards, instilling confidence in the production of certified organic produce.
The following documentary by Organic Spies tells how the OTA purports to represent organic food companies and farmers, big and small, but is dominated by the organic and so-called "natural" boutique brands of a few big multinational food companies -- whose real stake is in genetically modified foods, industrial agriculture, and factory farms.
This films helps to explains why the OTA has consistently worked to weaken organic standards and has never taken a strong stance against genetically modified crops that threaten to destroy organic seed stocks through contamination.
Providing your family with quality foods that do not contain artificial colors, artificial hormones, and artificial preservatives, or GMOs should not be a guessing game, or a game of Truth or Dare. So, how can you be sure the food you're buying is in fact organic? In order to be labeled organic, foods must fall into one of the following categories:
100% Organic: All ingredients, with the exception of salt and water, must be produced organically. The agency certifying the product must be clearly stated on the label. The USDA organic seal may also be included on the label.
Organic: This label applies to products with at least 95% organic content. The balance of the ingredients must be all natural ingredients not commercially available organically, and must be listed on the USDA's National List of non-organically produced products not available in organic form. The agency certifying the product must be clearly stated on the label. The USDA organic seal may also be included on the label.
Made with organic ingredients: This label applies to products with at least 70% organic content. The balance of the ingredients can be made up of all natural ingredients or items listed on the USDA's National List of non-organically produced products not available in organic form. The label may state "Made from Organic" and list up to three of the organic ingredients. No other organic claims can be made on the package other than the designation of specific organic ingredients in the ingredient statement. The agency certifying the product must be clearly stated on the label. The USDA organic seal may not be included on the label.
Cosmetics: not regulated by any government agency, which means there are no specific federal standards for such products. However, personal-care products are allowed (but not required) to display the US Department of Agriculture’s Organic seal if at least 95 percent of their ingredients were organically produced.Some health and beauty products might reflect the basic ideas of an organic lifestyle. For example, they might contain no artificial ingredients or additives. But the only way to know if a health or beauty item is truly certified organic is to look for the USDA Organic seal.
An international Food Label battle, involving more than 100 countries that comprise the Codex Alimentarius Commission, ended on July 5, 2011 in Geneva when the US "surprisingly" withdrew its objection to listing GMO ingredients on food labels. However, If you think US food packaging is about to provide consumers with full disclosure of genetically modified ingredients… think again. The US ended the stalemate with conditions...
The new Codex agreement allows any country to use food labelling that advises consumers a product contains genetically modified ingredients -- this disclosure is not the law -- it is completely voluntary, and at the discretion of the country.
Since the US is the largest producer of Genetically Modified foods in the world, it remains more than likely consumers in the US will remain in the dark about exactly what they are eating.
GM potatoes, grown in the US, can now be imported and sold as processed food in Australia. Simplot, the developer of the GM potato, is a large multinational with brands.
Australian regulators don’t test, don’t require peer-reviewed studies and never refuse GM food applications Peer-reviewed evidence of damage from eating GM dismissed by a regulator.
FSANZ have ignored scientists warnings of potential harm. The Centre for Integrated Research in Biosafety (INBI) “predicted that dsRNA (i.e. RNAi) could be transmitted to humans through food, and that dsRNA would be sufficiently resistant to cooking and normal stomach pHs to potentially be taken up by cells or circulated through blood. GM foods are being tested on us You are probably eating GM food every day.
Currently, GM crops including soy, corn, canola, sugar beet and cotton, are processed into ingredients that avoid labeling in Australia. The GM potato is different. It is a whole food that will contain GM DNA and protein. Will Simplot, the c…
Mayflower, Arkansas, Oil Spill
On March 29, 2013, the 65-year-old ExxonMobil Pegasus pipeline ruptured beneath a subdivision in Mayflower, Arkansas, soaking lawns and streets with an estimated 210,000 gallons of heavy toxic tar sands crude. For Mayflower's 2,200 residents, the existence of a pipeline running under their homes (and partially through the watershed that provides water to 400,000 people) came as a shock.
Considered a "major spill" by the EPA, it sickened hundreds of residents and exposed them to known carcinogens like benzene and to hydrogen sulfide, which causes respiratory illnesses.
ExxonMobil. The Pegasus pipeline was built to carry lighter oil north from the Gulf Coast. In 2006 it was repurposed to carry the far heavier bitumen south from Canada. Bitumen is so thick that it has to be heated and diluted with gas in order to flow properly. In November, PHMSA proposed fining ExxonMobil $2.6 million…
The health ramifications of human testing are unknown Radiation Survey: Procedures Three members of Congress are demanding answers after a St. Louis scholar’s new book revealed details of how the U.S. government sprayed, injected and fed radiation and other dangerous materials to countless people in secret Cold War-era testing. The health ramifications of the tests are unknown. Lisa Martino-Taylor, an associate professor of sociology at St. Louis Community College who wrote “Behind the Fog: How the U.S. Cold War Radiological Weapons Program Exposed Innocent Americans,” acknowledged that tracing diseases like cancer to specific causes is difficult. But three congressmen who represent areas where testing occurred — Democrats William Lacy Clay of Missouri, Brad Sherman of California and Jim Cooper of Tennessee — said they were outraged by the revelations. Martino-Taylor used Freedom of Information Act requests to obtain previously unreleased documents, including army records. She also reviewe…