Filed under: News

Looking for Kids’ Books? Avoid This Propaganda

- by Rebekah Wilce

Did you know that genetic engineering (GE) “is helping to improve the health of the Earth and the people who call it home”? A trade group funded by Monsanto wants your kids to believe it.

The Council for Biotechnology Information (CBI) has published a kids’ book on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) that purports to give kids “a closer look at biotechnology. You will see that biotechnology is being used to figure out how to: 1) grow more food; 2) help the environment; and 3) grow more nutritious food that improves our health.”

If that book doesn’t appeal to you, you could try a nanotechnology coloring book made by a company that produces such things as “colloidal silver nanoparticles” used in antibacterial products that find their way into the water supply and can be poisonous to the human system. It compares nanotechnologies like these silvers to “the smell of baking cookies.”

Or perhaps a “biosolids” workbook made by wastewater treatment facilities? It directs kids to grow sunflowers in toxic sewage sludge to see how they grow. (more…)

1 Comment August 22, 2012

Good Week for Chemical Reform

Toxic Chemicals

- by Rebekah Wilce

A bill to improve reporting standards for toxic chemicals has passed out of committee to the U.S. Senate for a vote, and anti-regulatory czar Cass Sunstein has headed back to academia.

The Safe Chemicals Act (S. 847) would promote the use of safer alternatives to hazardous chemicals and put common sense limits on toxic chemicals. It has been approved by the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and passed to the full Senate for a vote. (more…)

Leave a Comment August 9, 2012

Three California Democrats Team Up with Monsanto

- by Rebekah Wilce

In California, the battle over Proposition 37, which would require the labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food products, is heating up. In late July, pro-labeling groups obtained a flier sent out by a group opposed to the proposition containing the endorsements of three Democratic California Assemblymembers, even though the Democratic Party of California (and 90 percent of consumers) support GMO labelling.

The group that ran the flier is “No on 37: Coalition Against the Deceptive Food Labeling Scheme, Sponsored by Farmers and Food Producers,” formerly known as “Coalition Against the Costly Food Labeling Proposition.” “No on 37″ receives major funding from the Council for Biotechnology Information (CBI) and Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), both front groups for the “Big 6” pesticide and genetic engineering companies: Monsanto, Dow Chemical, Syngenta, Bayer, Dupont, and BASF. The flier proudly bears the endorsements of Assemblymembers Henry Perea, Manuel Perez, and Alexandra Rooker, the Vice-Chair of the California Democratic Party. This despite the California Democratic Party announcing its endorsement for Prop 37 on Monday. (more…)

Leave a Comment August 2, 2012

Fighting GMO Labeling in California is Food Lobby’s “Highest Priority”

The Center for Media and Democracy’s Food Rights Network is cross-posting this article by food policy expert Michele Simon, author of Appetite for Profit, as part of our work to expose the undue influence of the “Big 6″ pesticide and genetic engineering companies (Monsanto, Dow Chemical, Syngenta, Bayer, Dupont, and BASF) on our nation’s food and farming policy. The article was first published on the author’s website.

GMA logoIn case you had any doubt that California’s Prop 37 — which would require labeling of food containing genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) — is a significant threat to industry, a top food lobby has now made it perfectly clear.

In a recent speech to the American Soybean Association (most soy grown in the U.S. is genetically modified), Grocery Manufacturers Association President Pamela Bailey said that defeating the initiative “is the single-highest priority for GMA this year.” (more…)

Leave a Comment August 1, 2012

Monsanto’s Quiet Coup: Will Congress Limit Scope and Time for GMO Reviews?

Monsanto skull- by Jill Richardson

After a series of court defeats over the past few years, Monsanto and friends are trying to use Congress to make an end-run around the courts and current law. Lawsuits brought by opponents of genetically engineered (GE) crops resulted in the temporary removal of two products — Roundup Ready Alfalfa and Roundup Ready Sugarbeets — from the market. If the biotechnology industry and the legislators they support have their way, future GE crops will not suffer the same fate. (more…)

Leave a Comment August 1, 2012

WTO Not So COOL: Rules Against Popular U.S. Meat Labeling Law

The World Trade Organization (WTO) issued a final ruling today against the U.S. country-of-origin labeling (COOL) law. This popular pro-consumer policy, which informs shoppers where meat and other foods were raised or grown, enjoys the support of 93% of Americans, according to a 2010 Consumers Union poll. Now Congress must gut or change the law to avoid the application of punitive trade sanctions. (more…)

Leave a Comment June 29, 2012

Farm Bill Passes Senate

The farm bill. S. 3240, passed the U.S. Senate on June 21. The bill, which is renewed approximately every five years, dictates congressional spending on not only farm issues such as crop subsidies, but nutritional programs like food stamps and the supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP), and conservation programs. Total spending controlled by this one bill is in the billions of dollars each year. In 2010, farm bill spending amounted to $96.3 billion, according to the Environmental Working Group. (more…)

Leave a Comment June 22, 2012

Farm Bill Status (Thursday)

The Farm Bill passed the Senate Thursday. (For details of how Senators voted, see the roll call here.)

Important amendments approved or rejected on Thursday include:

  • Senator Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) amendment 2310, the “Consumers Right to Know About Genetically Engineered Food Act,” which would have allowed states to adopt labeling requirements for genetically engineered foods, was rejected.
  • Senator Pat Toomey’s (R-PA) amendment 2247, which would have required consumer confidence reports to be filed on community water systems, was rejected. Rural water infrastructure projects are routinely funded under the rural development programs of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and already have a significant regulatory and paperwork burden.

For more on the hundreds of amendments proposed to the Senate version of the farm bill, see the Farm Bill Primer.

According to Politico, the Chairman of the House of Representatives, Frank Lucas (R-OK), intends to start to amend the House version of the Farm Bill when lawmakers return after the July 4 recess.

Leave a Comment June 22, 2012

Farm Bill Status (Wednesday)

The U.S. Senate started voting yesterday on 73 of the 320 amendments proposed to the current Farm Bill. Of the amendments already considered:

  • Senator Jeff Merkley’s (D-OR) amendment 2382, which addresses barriers to make crop insurance more accessible to organic farmers, was agreed to. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) currently charges a five percent surcharge on crop insurance for organic farmers who participate in federal crop insurance programs. Organic crops are also insured at the same amounts as conventional crops, despite often being worth as much as two times as much as a conventional crop in the marketplace. This means that organic farmers currently are not adequately compensated if they suffer a crop loss, relative to conventional farmers’ compensation.
  • Senator Saxby Chambliss’ (R-GA) amendment number 2438, which would link the receipt of federally subsidized crop insurance to basic conservation requirements, was agreed to.
  • Senator Tom Coburn’s (R-OK) amendment number 2439, which would limit the amount of insurance subsidies going to the wealthiest farmers, persons or corporations grossing more than $750,000 a year, was agreed to, although this limitation wouldn’t take effect until the completion of a study on the effects of the limitation.

For more on the Senate amendments, see the Farm Bill Primer.

According to Politico, the Chairman of the House of Representatives, Frank Lucas (R-OK), intends to start to amend the House version of the Farm Bill when lawmakers return after the July 4 recess.

Leave a Comment June 20, 2012

Farm Bill Status

The U.S. Senate started voting yesterday on 73 of the 320 amendments proposed to the current Farm Bill. Of the amendments already considered:

  • Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-NY) amendment, 2156, which would have struck $4.5 billion in cuts to the supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP) and invested $500 million over ten years in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) providing fresh produce snacks to schoolchildren, was rejected. However, Senator Jeff Sessions’ (R-AL) amendments, 2174 and 2172, which would have further cut SNAP funding as well as limiting eligibility, were also rejected.
  • Senator Sherrod Brown’s (D-OH) amendment, 2445, which would fund rural development and beginning farmer programs, was agreed to.
  • Senator Pat Toomey’s (R-PA) amendment, 2217, which would have eliminated the organic certification cost share program, was rejected.
  • Senator John McCain’s (R-AZ) amendment 2199, which would repeal a provision from the 2008 Farm Bill that created a USDA inspection program for domestic and imported catfish, was agreed to. The provision which would be repealed protects consumers from potentially dangerous fish imported from Asia where food safety standards are lax. (Even U.S. catfish farmers are asking for more inspection.)

For more on the amendments, see the Farm Bill Primer.

Leave a Comment June 20, 2012

Previous page



Food Rights Network

Follow us on Twitter!

  1. Food Rights Network
    Food Rights Network: Did you know #GMOs are "helping to improve the health of the Earth”? #Monsanto wants your kids to believe it. #Big6

  2. Food Rights Network
    Food Rights Network: "@wendellpotter of Big Food" @AuthorBruce supports #labelgmos and #yeson37. Learn what you can do to fight the #Big 6:

  3. Food Rights Network
    Food Rights Network: Good week for chemical reform: #SafeChemicalsAct passed out of committee & anti-regulatory czar #CassSunstein resigned.

  4. Food Rights Network
    Food Rights Network: Michael Schmidt's Ontario farm has been raided again: #rawmilk #foodrights

Recent Comments


Keep up on Twitter!

  1. Dady Chery
    Dady Chery: Focus on #Haiti – The Politics of #Rice. #USAID #FarmBill

  2. Brad Wilson
    Brad Wilson: #CornSubsidyDebate: Henry Wallace: We made #FarmAndFoodbill that did NOT need subsidies, #farmbill that made a profit!

  3. Political Activism

  4. Jenae Hansen
    Jenae Hansen: America needs a #farmbill now! #agchat #foodchat RT @HuffingtonPost Drought continues despite cooler weather