The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.


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Organics Under Attack

The OCA has a long history of defending the integrity of organic standards.

Last September, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), under pressure from corporate interests represented by the Organic Trade Association, made our job harder.

They also made it more important than ever for consumers to do their homework, even when buying USDA certified organic products.

Without any input from the public, the USDA changed the way the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) decides which non-organic materials are allowed in certified organic. The change all but guarantees that when the NOSB meets every six months, the list of non-organic and synthetic materials allowed in organic will get longer and longer.

The USDA’s new rule plays to the cabal of the self-appointed organic elite who want to degrade organic standards and undermine organic integrity. For consumers, farmers, co-ops and businesses committed to high organic standards, the USDA’s latest industry-friendly move is a clarion call to fight back against the corporate-led, government-sanctioned attack on organic standards.

Read the essay

 


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Cornucopia Institute Supports Ecological Principles Underlying Sustainable and Organic Agriculture

If you are interested in abating the cruelty perpetrated on animals by industrial agriculture, I highly recommend you familiarize yourself with the Cornucopia Institute, which audits and rates dairy and egg producers on a wide range of ethical standards. They go far beyond “free range” or “organic” labeling and identify producers that really do avoid some of the worst practices, such as the debeaking of egg-laying hens.

The Cornucopia Institute engages in educational activities supporting the ecological principles and economic wisdom underlying sustainable and organic agriculture. Through research and investigations on agricultural issues, The Cornucopia Institute provides needed information to consumers, family farmers, and the media.


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Symbio Vanilla is not Natural

synbio vanilla to replace real vanilla in natural products

In Eco Childs Play, Jennifer Lance warns of a new product, Synbio Vanilla, being labeled as “natural” that is anything but:

As a consumer, I do depend on the term “natural” to identify products I feel comfortable feeding my family. I do read labels. Even my kids read labels.  I trust in ingredients I can pronounce and have heard of before.  Vanilla, is obviously, one of those ingredients that gives me assurance over the synthetic, gluten containing vanillin.
Now, the FDA is poised to approve an “extreme” genetically engineered version of vanilla called Synbio that could be allowed in products labeled “natural”.
What is Synbio Vanilla? Continue reading


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Anti-GMO Movement Flourishing

Lots of news today on the anti-GMO front. NASDAQ notes that the right-to-choose movement is gaining strength and may be negatively impacting Big Food Stocks:

Companies like Monsanto — the dominant producer of most genetically modified corn, soybean, and cotton seeds — see its revenues tied to extreme weather conditions that affect crop yields, not consumer sentiment. In fact, analysts predict a rise in corn seed pricing in fiscal 2014, which will likely lead to higher Monsanto revenues. Yet when Monsanto slipped below its 200-day moving day average of $97.94 in late May, following the announcement of this fall’s “March Against Monsanto,” scheduled for October 12, 2013 in 250 cities and 36 countries, some analysts said that the drop was a result of the extreme negative sentiment. Others pointed to the fact that it was also a time when the market as a whole was weak. Either way, the stock never recovered and is currently trading at around $95.10 as of August 15. Some predict that momentum has weakened in the face of negative press, which continues to escalate. The company is also subject to a court ruling against it in Brazil where it stands accused of overcollecting royalties. Currently the decision is under appeal, but if it fails, the case could result in a $2 billion payout due for restitution.  Continue reading


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Key summit set in genetically modified food label fight

Published in The Hill by Ben Goad:

Major players in the food industry have scheduled a crucial meeting for next week that could become a turning point in the regulatory battle over genetically modified foods.

Challenges to the use of biotechnology have created an “unprecedented period of turmoil” for food producers, the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) said in a letter circulated among trade groups that was obtained by The Hill.

“We have reached a pivotal point in this effort and believe now is the time to bring together a broad coalition to confront these challenges,” the GMA wrote in the letter, which invited CEOs and top industry officials to a Wednesday summit in Washington.

Just how the food industry might move forward appears up for debate. Though organizers of the GMA summit were tight-lipped, advocates and industry officials said the options could ultimately range from a coordinated attack against labels to acceptance of a national standard.

The GMA’s membership list includes more than 300 companies, including food giants Kraft Foods, Coca Cola and General Mills. The group declined to discuss the meeting or whether it would propose a particular strategy. Continue reading


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Greenpeace exhorts FDA to stop misleading the public

Greenpeace calls on the FDA to stop feeding the public propaganda about the safety of eating GM products:

‘The FDA should stop feeding the public with propaganda. They are not truthful in saying that GMOs are safe for consumption. There is no scientific proof that GMOs pose no danger to human health and the environment. Even the scientific community is divided on whether GMOs are safe,’ said Daniel Ocampo, sustainable agriculture and genetic engineering campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

The group sent a letter this week to the state agency urging it “to be more forthright in providing public information on the propagation of GMOs by disclosing that 80 percent of the GMOs in the world are planted only in four countries, namely the (United States), Canada, Brazil and Argentina.”

Amid a growing debate on its consumption, the FDA announced last week that eating GM foods is safe, citing the Codex Alimentarius or the United Nations’ regulations on the safety of eating them.

Greenpeace said these are just protocols for risk assessments of GMOs and that there are no set standards in the consumption of food with GM ingredients.

‘…We call on the FDA to maintain its role as a regulator and to protect the welfare and health of the people by being more discerning in assessing the safety of GMOs. We ask that the FDA retract its statement about GMOs being ‘safe’ and to stop making conclusive statements that may mislead the public into thinking that the safety of GMOs has already been established,’ Ocampo added.

The entire article by Jovan Cerda in The Phillipine Star can be found here.


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The Truth About Organic Foods from China

The information provided by Dr. Josh Axe in his post  The Truth About Organic Foods from China is disturbing but not surprising.  There has been one scandal after another regarding the substandard quality of products imported from China.  Why should organic foods be any different? As long as shoddy standards, little regulation and rampant corruption exist, these scandals will continue.  I’ve posted Dr. Axe’s entire article and links to his sources:

There are articles all over the Internet right now about “fake organic” food from China. Wanting to keep you informed, I read through many of them. The problem was, they all seemed to quote other sources and reading on, I found that these sources quoted other sources and so on. There didn’t seem to be any credible first-hand sources for this information. Was this all just rumor run rampant, as Whole Foods claims?

Whole Foods has been accused of selling these “fake organic” foods from China but they claim that “any product sold as organic in the US, regardless of where it’s grown, must be certified to the USDA’s National Organic Program standard by a USDA-accredited certifier.”

Well, I wanted to know more about this USDA certification of imported organics. It took quite a bit of digging but what I eventually found was more disturbing than any of those copycat articles.

I found frightening information about all food from China, frightening lack of regulation concerning organic food from China, and, worst of all, shocking information about our National Organic Program (NOP).

Before I go on, I want to reassure you about your options. You don’t have to break the bank buying all of your foods organic. Read which foods are commonly pesticide-ridden and those that usually aren’t in How to Buy Organic. I’ll tell you about the “beyond organic” movement that has arisen in response to NOP problems. Check out this source here to learn more, What is Beyond Organic? Continue reading