Big organic companies give approval for Monsanto’s GMO alfalfa — WTF?

From Raine Saunders at Agriculture Society:

“I’d say this is the straw that broke the camel’s back…but I dare not, because I know this is only the beginning. Whole Foods, leader of natural grocery stores nationwide, and other industry leaders in “organic” foods Organic Valley and Stonyfield Farm relented under mounting pressure from all angles Thursday, and gave their approval for the USDA to use genetically-modified alfalfa seed in crops – proving once again that in this world, commodity-driven, profits-based monopoly models are what drive all decisions made in political and legal realms.

And sold the future of real organics and sustainability down the river.

Of course it’s not just the fact that those seeds will eventually contaminate everything in the environment (and that’s pretty bad as it is). In addition, anyone practicing any other type of farming will lose sales and be be left high and dry if any trace of genetic engineering is found in their crops. And cross-pollination is more than just a possibility when fields containing genetically-modified seeds are nearby. Exports of non-organic but non-engineered crops to certain countries can be jeopardized if genetically engineered material is detected in significant amounts. Farmers can actually be held libel if these substances turn up on their land – even if they don’t want it there in the first place.

Tell me, does this even make sense?

What’s going on here is not concerned with ethics, morals, the health of human beings, animals, the environment, or anything that’s inherently good for the planet. And this type of thing has been going on for decades. Look at any of our major laws and regulations (and many minor ones too) – all dominated by big industry and crooked government decisions…but this has sunken to a new level of corruption and deceit. Especially when large, hypocritical “organic” companies agree to something like this. When that happens, it’s evident that right and wrong simply don’t matter.

GMOs cause many health issues

This should go without saying, but here’s some information from the Institute for Responsible Technology:

In 2009, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) stated that, “Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with genetically modified (GM) food,” including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. The AAEM has asked physicians to advise all patients to avoid GM foods.

GMOs cause allergies, infertility, liver problems, infant mortality, sterility, widespread disease…and death.  From the Institute’s web site: “Unlike safety evaluations for drugs, there are no human clinical trials of GM foods. The only published human feeding experiment revealed that the genetic material inserted into GM soy transfers into bacteria living inside our intestines and continues to function.  This means that long after we stop eating GM foods, we may still have their GM proteins produced continuously inside us.”….”

Read it all on Agriculture Society.

31 Comments

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31 responses to “Big organic companies give approval for Monsanto’s GMO alfalfa — WTF?

  1. nedlud

    What have I been telling you?

    Organic Valley S-U-C-K-S.

    And Stonyfield and Whole Farm and all those bastards…

    They S-U-C-K.

    Damned bastards!

    Listen man, The Bovine and Michael Schmidt (et al):

    Love YOU and RAW milk and local markets, and family farmers (like me) and peoples’ rights and freedom!!

    nedlud

    • CuriousG

      nedlud,
      This story is flat out wrong. These three companies did not give their approval for this USDA decision. The decision purely belongs to the USDA. All three companies have been fighting GMOs for years and will continue to do so.

      • nedlud

        Sorry man (not really) I don’t believe you.
        The reason I don’t is I have insider information on how Organic Valley conducts its ‘business’.
        Besides that, I know what Curious G., stands for.
        Curious George–Stupid monkey.
        Interesting it is, that George is the first name of George Siemon, pres. of OV.
        Get out of my face!
        And stay out of my face!

        (the Bovine–don’t fall for this jerk’s act)
        nedlud

      • CuriousG

        Sorry, man you don’t have to believe me, just believe the truth. And, the story above is slanting away from the truth.
        You may indeed think you have some insider information, but I’d be double checking your sources veracity. I’ve known George Siemon and Mark Castel, at Cornucopia, for over 10 years, so I think I too know a little bit about what I’m saying. I can’t believe you or anyone could believe a company whose existence depends on the purity of Organics could, in any way, support the deregulation of GE crops.
        I’d encourage you to read the companies stories linked below, to get a fuller understanding of both sides of the situation.

  2. Michael

    A shocker beyond believe.
    Wait and listen and read their reasoning for their decision.
    When are we truly waking up and take things into our own hand????????????????????

  3. thebovine

    And we’d have thought companies like these would have been on OUR side!

    But it looks like they are “corporations” first. And no doubt shortsighted ones at that!

    • CuriousG

      Sorry, but you’ve got this story wrong and should have done a little more research before posting it. This was totally a USDA decision with a little arm twisting by Monsanto, of course. But, WFM, SF, and OV had no power to prevent the decision, only argue against it. When they saw the inevitable coming, they started trying to argue for restrictions and again were rebuffed by the USDA. If you want to be angry, be angry with the USDA.

      • nedlud

        CuriousG~

        You can’t even spell Kastel’s name right. Tell me, do you know Doran Holm too? Do you know Jim Wedeberg, Kevin Jahnke, Steve Kretchmer, Rachel Turgason…?

        I know all those bastards. And more. A lot more.

      • CuriousG

        Sorry I misspelled your name Mark.

        And, yes, nedlud, I know all those folks. And, boy they sure must have gotten your goat somehow, because they’re some of the nicest people I’ve ever met and have nothing but the best interest of OV farmers at heart.

        What did they do to you for you believe calling them bastards is warranted? Must have been something very egregious for you to be so angry at everyone at OV.

      • CuriousG

        Oh, I see, you’re a farmer that didn’t like the position OV took on raw milk. Sorry. Though, they’re certainly not preventing you from selling raw milk, you just can’t sell raw milk to the public and the rest to OV. You certainly don’t need this link, but I’ll post it for others.
        http://www.organicvalley.coop/newsroom/press-releases/details/article/organic-valleycropp-cooperative-statement-on-raw-milk-decision-2/

  4. thebovine

    Curious G,
    I’d like to think that your version of the story is the right one. Perhaps more news on this will surface in the coming days.

  5. nedlud

    Yes, Curious Monkey, they teach the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus dialectic at Organic Valley. Don’t you just love the coloring books and safe, ‘non-toxic’ (oh joy oh joy) crayons they provide for your education? It’s all so much fun and games! Smiley Face stickers everywhere for Organic Valley and its products and Mr. Yuk stickers for all those that don’t believe in the Organic Valley label.

    ‘Choose OV, choose goodness!’ Rah-rah-rah. SIS-BOOM-BA!

    Good monkey.

    Good, good, GOOD monkey.

    Go on believing in yourself, Curious Monkey, your make-believe heroes, and your little life’s fairy tales and fables.

    And stay the hell out of my face, I don’t like you. There is a -rotten, evil- side to Organic Valley and its deeds that you’ll never comprehend. You’re blind.

    Good-bye.

    (This site tends to be for mature audiences….)

    nedlud

    • CuriousG

      And, you think your responses are mature? Right.

      If Organic Valley is so evil, educate the rest of us as to why you feel that way. If you aren’t willing to educate us, I can only conclude your grudge against them has left you in such a rage you’ve lost any sense of rational thought.

  6. CuriousG

    Here’s another take on the USDA action by Gary Hirshberg, CEO of Stonyfield. http://tinyurl.com/4hq3xbj

  7. nedlud

    Soothing the savage monkey:

    http://www.opednews.com/articles/COMMENTARY–A-Shot-Across-by-Mark-Kastel-110119-607.html

    You can tell your good buddy, George S., that I figure Organic Valley owes me about $250,000 by now. And the amount keeps going up. And you can tell Doran Holm, that–had I some money and a good lawyer–I have a serious slander claim against him and I would be attempting to take away his farm in pursuit of damages against him, were that the case. But I don’t have any money and I don’t have a good lawyer and I barely am hanging onto this farm, where I live, and where my wife and I and my precious family have struggled mightily for 30 years now as small farmers.

    So I guess y’all–all you wonderful folks at OV– lucked out.

    This ain’t funny anymore, Monkey.

    I’m not telling you again.

    GET THE HELL OUT OF MY FACE.

    nedlud

    • CuriousG

      I’m sorry for your troubles, and I’m not in your face, I’m on a public blog.

      I also don’t know what a story about Dean/Horizon has to do with anything here.

      But, it now comes out that your anger at OV has nothing to do with GE Alfalfa but something you feel they did to you.

  8. Judy Palmer

    I’m not a regular commenter to The Bovine, but I’ve written an article for another site describing, in part, Ned’s troubles with OV. For you two to argue back and forth without telling the backstory is, I think, an exercise in futility.

    http://www.opednews.com/articles/The-Loss-of-One-Small-Dair-by-Judy-Palmer-100906-531.html

    I’m sure there are good people at Organic Valley and that if we dealt with them as individuals as you have, Curious G, we’d be defending them too. But when these individuals participate in corporate groupthink, the dynamic changes. If asked individually, I would not be surprised if many of the people mentioned would not approve of growing or using GMO alfalfa. But when the pressures of groupthink are applied, they will not stand up to corporate pressure.

    Ned was caught up in a particularly odious form of groupthink and became a victim of the carelessness of an impersonal machine that grinds down the individual. As a result, he lost his dairy operation, his livelihood, and a lifetime of hard work. Is he angry? You bet he is…and although he jumps into arguments without telling his story, I can tell you a part of it, although without Ned’s righteous fury. So I’ll leave the fury to him and I’ll be the one who fills in the details. I wouldn’t do this unless I was positive he was right. Ned is fighting for all of us…each and every one of us who stands to be mowed down up by a mindless, heartless, greedy corporate machine. He was the canary in the coal mine…if we don’t want to be the next victim, it would pay us to heed his story.

    • CuriousG

      Judy,
      Thanks for the background info. I, of course, started this based on the thought that Ned was upset over the GE Alfalfa situation and not continuing a grudge fight with OV. That said, I am truly sorry for his situation. And, because I don’t know the specifics of his situation and Organic Valley’s decisions, I can’t and won’t try to defend them other than to say that in my experience with OV, I’ve found them to operate with the utmost integrity always looking out for what’s best in the long run for their over 1600 farmer members. Despite Ned’s unfortunate experience he should also have experienced that integrity at some point in his long relationship with the co-op.

      I can tell you there is no ‘corporate group think’ at OV, only cooperative think. I also hope you’re aware that OV’s average herd size is 76? I think that hardly qualifies them as having “changed from a small, ‘family of farms’ concept to larger economies of scale. The co-op has always kept it’s focus on family farms. It certainly does have a few (less than 10) large dairy farms, but even those are family owned and run.

      As for the GE Alfalfa story, I hope Leslie’s account will help sway some of those who were so quick to condemn, Organic Valley, Stonyfield, and Whole Foods.

  9. As one of the brands mentioned in this article, we feel it’s important to address the misinformation that is going around, and ask that you look at the available evidence before drawing conclusions about our cooperative.

    Organic Valley does not have a relationship with Monsanto, nor did we come up with any sort of compromise or “deal” with them or the USDA. We’ve always advocated for the strongest restrictions against GMO alfalfa available. It was dishonest of the Organic Consumers Associations to declare us part of a “cabal,” and irresponsible of them to suggest our actions were motivated by anything other than a desire to fight for the best interests of our farmers and consumers. That they have no evidence to back up these claims hasn’t seemed to keep people from believing their lies.

    Here’s what really happened: Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack had asked for stakeholders to weigh-in on the USDA’s impending decision regarding GMO alfalfa, and we were a part of these talks. Organic Valley has advocated to keep GMO alfalfa off the market from the start, and this was originally an option according to the USDA. However, as of December, they had left only two options on the table: allowing unrestricted commercial growing, or partly restricted growing. When we understood the only options the USDA were open to considering involved the legal planting of GMO alfalfa, we knew we had a responsibility to advocate for the most restrictive set of regulations possible, so that farmers would have legal recourse in the face of contamination, and contamination could be avoided by mandating sizable buffer zones and geographical planting restrictions. To have taken any other route at that juncture would have been a clear abdication of our responsibility to our organic farmers and consumers. Walking away from the table was not an option, and would only have furthered Monsanto’s interests.

    The USDA’s decision on Thursday was deeply disappointing, but we have not given up the fight. Organic Valley will continue to explore all available legal and regulatory actions we can take to protect organic farmers and consumers, and develop ways to maintain the integrity of our products given this new decision. Ronnie Cummins and the OCA have needlessly injured the organic movement in what appears to be a shameless attempt at self-promotion. We hope people will see through their deceit, and continue to support the farmers who work so hard to put good, organic food on our tables.

    Leslie Kruempel
    Organic Valley

    • shane

      Dear Organic Valley/Leslie Kruempel:
      Please ensure all GMO contaminated Organic Valley foods are appropriately labelled so we can vote with our dollars. Thank You.

      • Hi Shane– As certified organic, all Organic Valley products have been and will remain GMO-free. Choosing organic foods will become all the more important in the absence of other GMO labeling, and the prohibition against GMOs in organic foods will not change as a result of the USDA’s recent decision. -Leslie

  10. thebovine

    The author of this story, Raine Saunders, has posted a lot of additional commentary following her original post, addressing many of the questions and concerns people have raised here:

    http://agriculturesociety.com/politics-and-food/whole-foods-et-al-grant-blessing-of-gmo-alfalfa-to-monsanto/

  11. CuriousG

    Here’s another perspective on the USDA’s approval of GE Alfalfa. I find this version of events to be much more believable than Ronnie Cumins’ from the OCA.
    http://www.bnet.com/blog/food-industry/the-usda-says-yes-to-monsanto-and-now-organic…-milk-may-cost-even-more/2384

  12. I am sickened and appalled by this situation. These companies stated that they chose the lesser of the “two evils” in agreeing that partial deregulation was the best choice. In my opinion, the ONLY choice would have been to take a stand, in solidarity, for real sustainable and organic practices and not backed down for any reason whatsoever. And by taking a stand, they should have insisted that neither of these choices were acceptable. That’s what you do when you have ethics and stand up for honest and ethical principles. There should have been a protest so loud to this situation that you would have heard the ruckus from miles away. Instead, the USDA got their wish and convinced these companies to succumb. I stand by my story and maintain that although these companies were had by the neck, they sold out. And they know it.

    • CuriousG

      Raine,

      What would taking a stand in solidarity have gotten them? The only two options on the table were complete deregulation, which was the USDA’s choice, and partial deregulation, the choice of those battling Monsanto. The USDA doesn’t take votes in these cases, they decide, period.

      Whole Foods, Stonyfield, and Organic Valley, did not sell out. They didn’t have anything the USDA wanted to buy. These companies had no power in the situation at all. So, there was nothing the USDA needed to get them to succumb to. You acknowledge the USDA had them by the neck, then say they sold out. Your logic doesn’t follow. Again, these companies had no power to wield at all.

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