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.”
Yikes! Still think GMOs are perfectly safe?
This type of organism is also thought to be something that will contribute to yet even more anti-biotic resistant strains of bacteria, as if we need more instances of those in the world.
From the Democratic Underground:
Top executives from these companies have publicly admitted that they no longer oppose the mass commercialization of GE crops, such as Monsanto’s controversial Roundup Ready alfalfa, and are prepared to sit down and cut a deal for “coexistence” with Monsanto and USDA biotech cheerleader Tom Vilsack.
In a cleverly worded, but profoundly misleading email sent to its customers last week, Whole Foods Market, while proclaiming their support for organics and “seed purity,” gave the green light to USDA bureaucrats to approve the “conditional deregulation” of Monsanto’s genetically engineered, herbicide-resistant alfalfa.”
Apparently, Mr. Vilsack persists in the delusion that somehow these genetic seeds will be able to peacefully co-exist with all other forms of crops. Although laughable, this horribly frightening notion is reflected in his quote from the NY Times: “We want to expand and preserve choice for farmers,” he told reporters. “We think the decision reached today is a reflection of our commitment to choice and trust.”
This nail in the coffin will essentially provide a no-holds barred ticket to Monsanto to commit their long-awaited, hostile takeover of the planet. I’m not even sure if it’s possible to really grow organic anymore and call it organic. Some of these other inept corporate heads like George Siemon of Organic Valley are pushing for “more federal oversight” to keep genetically-modified material out of organic crops. Keep dreamin’ George.
But it’s not over yet.
Executive Director of the Center for Food Safety, Andrew Kimbrell, the advocacy group that organized the lawsuit against the Agriculture Department, stated that his organization would be making a request in the near future to the judge to find that the environmental impact statement remains unanswered in terms of what effects will be had on human health and the environment.
“It’s clear that Vilsack caved to pressure from the biotech industry and Monsanto,” he said. “We’ll be back in court seeking to vacate this approval, as we have done in the past.”
What can you do about genetically-modified alfalfa in our food supply?
Guess what folks, it’s way past time for us to stand up for what’s moral and ethical. It’s time for us to understand that each time we buy something from these companies, we are supporting their efforts to continue to poison our food supply, the environment and take away our rights to eat real, honest food – all under the guise of “feeding the world”. I’m sorry, but what a bunch of bullshit!
It’s time for us to take a stand for ourselves, our children, and grandchildren, and refuse to lay down in the road and be run over by these corporations. They have gone too far, and in the name of all that is good, decent, and right, they should not be allowed to continue. We must make an effort to support real, sustainable growers and start growing our own food whenever we can. We can also continue to make our voices loud and clear to decision-makers. With these three actions, we could potentially defeat these criminals who have been allotted free-rein of our food supply, and gambling with the sustainability of our future.
Demand that President Obama reverse this dastardly decision!
Make your voice heard and send your message today!!!
This post is part of Food Renegade’s Fight Back Friday Carnival.
54 replies on “Whole Foods, et al, Grant Blessing of GMO Alfalfa to Monsanto”
[…] via Agriculture Society » Whole Foods, et al, Grant Blessing of GMO Alfalfa to Monsanto. […]
I think farmers should use alternatives to alfalfa, such as field peas, beets, and fast growing spinach varietals. There are tons of alternatives to alfalfa! My husband and I have actually talked of buying property and raising our own livestock (for dairy and beef –Dexter is a good breed for this as they can be used for both and are smaller and don’t require as much “input to the system”)
There is a website:
“Keeping a family cow” that is a great resource for alternative feedstocks, especially in the winter including pumpkin/squashes, sweet potatoes, and even beets.
I personally cannot afford to put such things in the bodies’ of my family. We already are recovering from poor gut health and stored toxins (along with rampant oxidative stress that accompanies both) from ignorance of the food and medical system in our country.
I guess yogurt will be one more thing to add to the “homemade” box, as I was a fan of the Stoneyfield cream on the top and yobaby brands. I will have to contact my milk supplier and see what they plan on doing about the alfalfa mess also. It’s amazing how much this one thing can affect so many aspects of your foodstores. It is sad that it has to be reduced to supplying yourself, but unfortunately, with the corporate friendly rules in this country there is no other alternative.
Hi Katie – I agree, there are always alternatives to what’s currently being done. It is scarier and scarier to buy anything from any store, unless it’s a local product from a farmer you know and trust. I find that my habits of not buying from chain stores and eating out at restaurants have definitely paid off – I’ve been doing less and less of it. The only thing that scares me more than what’s going on right now is being in a position where I have to buy that type of food if I’m someplace where I can’t eat my own food – it does happen from time to time. Every time we eat somewhere else now it’s going to be like playing Russian Roulette.
These three companies did not ‘give their approval’ for the USDA to permit the use of GM Alfalfa. In fact, they’ve been fighting this for months. With the recognition that the USDA was going to permit GM Alfalfa, these companies shifted their battle to getting some constraints on the use of GM seeds.
That is a totally different story than what you’ve printed. You might also want to check your sources a little better. The Democratic Underground reprinted part of a story from The Organic Consumers Association with the accusation that these companies caved in to Monsanto. Nothing could be further from the truth.
If you’re going to do this kind of story deriding good companies, you should at least call them for a statement.
Just another reason not to shop there. Along with the pro vegan brainwashing campaign on their grocery bags. Along with overcharging for everything. Along with banning raw milk.
Still, a stunning betrayal. But why am I surprised ? Profit is more important than health, even the survival of humanity, to these dead, soulless companies.
Everybody who supports the real food movement should consider boycotting each and every one of them. The best thing we can do is to buy directly from farmers. Real farmers, not big companies that pretend to support them.
Crap, I really like French Vanilla Stoneyfield yogurt, too.
Well, I still like Whole Foods as its a great place to get such organic products.
George – I’m sorry you feel that way. I stand by my statements with honor, integrity, and with a clear conscience. hings are the way they are, and money talks in ways that nothing else can. If you believe these companies to be innocent, that is certainly your choice. I for one, don’t intend to support nor give my good words to corporations who behave like this. Shame on them, and most decidedly, shame on you and others who believe all these terrible lies and coverups.
Did you know that the CEOs of WFM and Stonyfield Farm are personal friends of Mr. Vilsack, and have made sizeable donations to his campaigns in the past? Do you realize that when you walk into a WFM store there are a plethora of GMO products right there on the shelves? No company or business that really wanted to stand against GMOs would ever allow those products to be sold in their store. In fact, at least 2/3 of their 9 billion dollar annual sales figures come from these products. Do you think they’re going to give that up? If you do, you’re just being delusional. Companies like this rely on consumer loyalty, and will tell them anything to keep them coming back and buying their products. WFM has for the last number of years been engaging in the Non-GMO Project, but this also has been a ruse. It’s really just a clever marketing campaign to keep customers buying products, making them feel “good” about making the planet “green”. Notice how OV and Stonyfield Farms are also brands you’ll find in WFM? They are all in collusion together, working to make themselves look clean and shiny, while behind the scenes they are rolling in the mud with the denizens.
Hi Stanley –
I totally agree with you, and I don’t buy these brands and don’t shop at WFM. I have been disgusted with them since their pro-vegetarian/vegan campaign last year, and also with the banning of raw milk. Of course, I really think raw milk belongs on the farms where real farmers care about practices that are safe and healthy and who will sell and honest product to their customers.
WFM has shown themselves again and again to be dishonest and not standing up for true sustainable principles, and it’s up to those of us who care to talk about it to help educate the masses. I’m not going to shy away from this just because it’s a controversial topic – that means there is even more reason to shout it from the rooftops. I’m done buying foods and products from massive corporations. Everyone needs to understand the depths of their lies and malign, because it’s deep.
Thanks for your comments, wisdom, and support as always!
Kelli – have you ever made your own yogurt with real vanilla? There are plenty of products I liked from companies who are unethical too, but I instantly disliked those products when I found out how deceitful and unethical those companies are and were. Somehow the taste just isn’t the same to me, and I am completely turned off. Plus, I don’t want to support any company who makes those decisions.
do you have any idea how intimidating and especially powerful Monsanto’s lobbyists are? How can you expect family owned businesses to compete with a company that practically runs the only organisations that monitor it?
Just today, this appeared on the Whole Foods website: “We are very disappointed in the USDA’s decision to deregulate GE Alfalfa with no conditions (meaning no restrictions to support coexistence). Planting GE alfalfa without restrictions may cause potential contamination of organic and non-genetically engineered crops. Despite this setback, Whole Foods Market will continue to be strong advocates for non-GE foods, their clear labeling and offering them in the marketplace.”
So. We have to have each others’ backs. Thought you could use that.
Hang in there. Stay warm!
Louis – I do know how intimidating Monsanto’s lobbyists and all the other special interest groups are. I’ve been working to counter their movements for the last 5 years, I read all the literature and know what’s going on. I’m very disappointed that there wasn’t more opposition, or really any that held any water, from these companies. If there were, we wouldn’t have the problem we do now, which is soon-to-be free-reign of GMOs in the food supply. As I stated earlier to George, no company opposing GMOs would stock those products on their own shelves.
Stanley is right, the only way to support the non-GMO food of the world is to continue to buy from local farmers. Even if markets like WF and corporations like OV and Stonyfield farm had not lay down and allowed this to happen, they still are part of the problem by not adhering to real sustainable standards – such as WF carrying GMO products on every aisle (unthinkable!), imposing a vegetarian/vegan based health program, or banning raw milk from the shelves, and OV using ultra-pasteurization to destroy any sustainable quality their dairy products may have had, or OV disallowing their farmers to have their choice to sell raw milk to their customers.
Organarchist – I’m not sure what you mean by “we have each other’s backs” but your comment basically says that WF denied having anything to do with the USDA’s decision to allow GMO alfalfa. You can see by reading that my post specifically says WF, OV ,and SFF are part of that problem to begin with, so you must have misunderstood. These companies are not helping the problem, and they need to be shown that they cannot continue to use these faux-sustainable practices and that just making statements doesn’t speak louder than their actions. And their actions have shown us what they are really made of (see my comment above about how these companies declare they are sustainable, but then do the opposite).
I’m very interested in this discussion. I would like to know your source for this information and also can you give an example of what particular foods in WF are GMO?? This news is quite upsetting and I for one would like more proof. Otherwise it sounds like heresay to me.
[…] how organic and GM should work together. It’s a philosophy that even Whole Foods bought into. But it’s a lie. Genetically modified plants aren’t peaceful and they don’t co-exist. They don’t […]
Louisa – just go down the aisle in any WF store and you can find GM foods – a very good example is the use of canola oil, soybean oil, and cottonseed oils in many of their products. Most of these oils are GM – and if the label says they are organic, just know that organic oils of these types are pretty difficult to come by (and are extremely unhealthy to consume as well). Look at any product containing cereal, crackers, breads, salad dressings, marinades, sauces, mayonnaise, “food bars”, possibly some soups, and many other processed foods – and 90 percent of the foods sold in their deli – because they use a lot of canola oil in many of the foods they prepare in the deli. So, this information is definitely not hearsay, I’ve personally looked at labels on products in their store many times, and if you do any research you can find that these oils are almost always GM.
[…] So much so that it has spilled over from the usual suspects (biotech corporations and government) into the laps of traditional organic proponents – some of the largest corporations that make and sell organic products. Calls for boycotts of […]
Get your facts straight before you write garbage like this….. They did not relent!
Milana – I do have my facts straight. None of these corporations are innocent! All of them have committed transgressions in the past, and their customer base is trusting them less and less. Read what I wrote above – NO company would carry GMO products in their stores who was committed to banishing GMOs in the marketplace. WFM is as hypocritical as they come, and if you believe otherwise, you are just deluding yourself. No one can trust corporations, nothing is transparent, and you’ll never get a straight answer. You’ll always be second-guessing your buying decisions. WFM can’t say no to these products – there’s too much $$ at stake. They generate at least a third of their income from their 9 billion dollar a year annual earnings. ONE THIRD – there’s no way they are giving that up. It’s all about money. Buy from local, sustainable farmers. This is the only way to boycott GMOs and ensure real sustainability.
Sorry you ARE wrong and you DON’T have your facts straight. Please tell me — What are YOU doing to stop GMO? How much time and money have you spent fighting this? Sorry, but you can’t trust all local, sustainable farmers either and you ARE delusional if you think otherwise. Are you at their farm 24/7? Wakeup!! They’re salespeople and in business to make money. They’ll tell you whatever you want to hear even if its not true? (I know some of your “local, sustainable” farmers that laugh all the way to the bank)
Milana, if you applied the same standard of due diligence that you require with local farmers to the large corporate grocery chains, you may very well arrive at the same conclusions Raine has expressed here. For you to distrust a neighbor farmer that you can look in the eye, question, and befriend, all the while simultaneously showing disdain for someone, like Raine, who is questioning the motives of a greed driven, soul-less entity, indicates much as to where you are as a human. Many of these farmers started, and have continued, in search of better nutrition, and therefore, better health. The health of corporate providers is defined, not by nutrition, but by profits – and that’s the glaring difference between the two.
To ask someone on their blog – on THEIR website that they use to inform – what “they are doing about it,” is an example of how truly blind you may be.
I’m done with you.
Milana – where is your proof that WFM is trustworthy, virtuous, honest, ethical? They have been caught again and again, disappointing customers, who are turning away in droves for not representing and delivering true sustainable products. Anyone who puts that kind of trust in an enormous corporation like this, where there is NO way on God’s green earth of really knowing the truth about everything they do, is the delusional one. A big company is going to do what makes profits, not what brings health – because those two things never meet. That’s why we have so many health epidemics going on in our nation. WFM is selling some “idea” of health with things like their “Health Starts Here Campaign”, telling customers to eat a vegetarian, plant, and grain-based diet, and to avoid or at the very least, cut back on animal products a great deal. Any corporation telling me to eat like this is one I’ll distrust to the core.
A small-time farmer is not “laughing” all the way to the bank. Please provide the names of these farmers, if you are going to bring it up, along with some proof. If you think there is any comparison between a small farmer and a bloated corporation like WFM, I don’t even know what to say. All the farmers I support work day in and day out to bring healthy and safe products to our community. And they aren’t getting rich, in fact, some of them are going in the hole and almost bankrupt. One of those farmers, where we get our meat and milk, has been considering shutting down their raw milk operation because the state department of agriculture has been trying to push raw milk out of our state, little by little. They lost their primary milking person and had to ask their customers to come and milk their cows on different days of the week so they could continue to bring that milk to their customers. I know because I was one of those customers! I went out two days a week for 5 months to milk their cows, and they were 30 miles away. So just like all the other farmers I get my food from, I know these people personally, and have seen their farming practices first hand. I worked on their farm and pulled weeds because they are certified organic and don’t use pesticides, herbicides, etc. and I KNOW they don’t use GMOs. These farmers have integrity and want to see a healthy future where we don’t have people dying from consuming toxic substances found in our food.
It is insipid for you to insinuate that I’m not doing anything to stop GMOs when that’s the whole purpose of this web site. I spend 40 hours a week or more educating, inform, don’t support any farmers or corporations who produce GMOs, and encourage people to get to know their farmers and support those who don’t use GMOs. I have clients whom I help to educate their customers about on these issues as well. I also belong to Real Food Media Network, the only group of its kind on the Internet, and we all work tirelessly to support each other and work with producers, groups, and organizations who are committed to sustainability – including the Weston A. Price Foundation, The Cornucopia Institute, the Institute for Technology, and others. So please, take your arguments elsewhere because they don’t hold water.
I saw exactly what we are talking about here before my very eyes! I started working for Freshfields where I was so proud to be working , helping others to eat healthy! Whole Foods came in, changed everything and lost a “whole” lot of great customers and many dedicated employees. I can barely stomach myself to.shop there anymore. The entire company has changed for the worse all the while trying to keep up their persona.
Thank you Raine! I did spend quite a bit of time on Friday trying to speak to these companies. I got a response on Facebook, of all places, from OV. They were not nice at all. I kept digging for more information online and discovered the link between WFM, OV, Stoneyfield, AND the Non-GMO movement….which is funded by WFM. This explains why Non-GMO movement refuses to take a definite and public stand against this whole catastrophe. I was under the impression that this movement was a stand-alone nonprofit-type organization that was out for the true best interest of this country. That was a very sad eye-opener for me to learn this.
I didn’t want to believe any of this. I didn’t doubt you, I just didn’t want to believe I had been lied to and mislead by anyone who claimed to “care” about my health. (and food) I understand why people are upset and defensive but in the end the truth will surface and no matter how much we all don’t want this to be true…it will be. We have to ban together and fight to stop this. And NOT ban with any of these companies and help promote their interests. Our health, our animals health, and the safety of our food depend on all this country’s citizens to demand this be stopped.
Thank you for speaking out on such a controversial topic and not backing away from it despite the possible backlash. Whole Foods is, and has been, an utter mess for quite some time; this is just another prime example of their shady practices.
They’re all set to open a shop here locally, and I only wish there were more people in opposition to their expansion. Buying farm direct – and when that isn’t possible, buying from local businesses that carry products from brands that are researched and trusted – is really the best option. So many people will argue, will trust what they are told by large corporations, and will complain that they don’t have time to research what they put in their own bodies…and that is a sad sad thing. If you don’t have the will or want to care for your body, your community, and your planet – then what exactly are you doing with your time that is so important?
Thanks for your comments and support, Mendy. We all have to work together on this to expose the untruths and deceptions that are going on. If we don’t, justice will never prevail.
Hi Kiki – thanks for your comments, and I appreciate your awareness and support of local farmers. I too have not been happy about the idea that WFM is going to open a store in Boise. I hear people complaining all the time about how expensive the Boise Co-op is, and how much better it will be when WFM is here to “lower the cost of food”. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. The Boise-Co-op is not a for-profit organization, and they actually have lower prices than WFM. If WFM comes here, people will really get to see how much more economical, by way of comparison, the Boise Co-op’s prices really are. When you shop at WFM, you are paying for the name. When we’ve visited other cities and gone to WFM because there was no where else to shop, most of the cars in the parking lot are Mercedes, Volvos, and other high-end models. That says something about its customer base – that they have a lot of money to spend (and clearly don’t want to spend the time or effort to worry about finding out where the food they are buying comes from). Now, I’m not bad-mouthing people with expensive cars, but it definitely says something about who’s spending money there. It’s not the average person, I’ll tell you that much.
Also, WFM doesn’t support local farming markets or seasonal foods. Many of their products are shipped in from hundreds if not thousands and thousands of miles away. But, the Boise Co-op does both of those things to a great extent.
I don’t like how the average person is made to feel powerless against the huge food system such that they don’t believe they can afford to eat healthy because they can’t afford to shop at WFM or other places like the Co-op, so they resort to shopping at one of the big supermarket chains (which are also expensive if you look at the prices per pound on many of these foods – they are actually more than whole, real foods. Compare for example a whole, pasture-raised chicken to a box of cereal. Chicken costs about $3.99 a pound while the cereal is, on average, $6 – 9 per pound). And what are you getting for your money? At WFM, cereal costs even more, and it’s no better. It’s still processed, full of refined carbohydrates, and empty of nutritional integrity.
Most of the time when I shop at the Co-op, I’m buying specific things I can’t get anywhere else. But most of the meat, eggs, dairy, and produce I buy is from local sources. I’d estimate that at least 80 percent of what we buy is from local farms, and some of what I buy is from local farms that are in other states such as a box of raw cheeses we bought last fall and froze from Trickling Springs Creamery in PA.
Follow the money. I bet Vilsack got money from Monsanto. How will we stop Monsanto??????????????/
Apparently the apple doesn’t fall too far from the GMO contaminated tree:
Organic Valley Producer makes SHOCKING statement over the deregulation of GMO alfalfa.
I don’t know if this sounds overly paranoid, but I don’t think I’m buying all the consumer debate as real consumers. This blog especially seems fishy to me: http://zweberfarms.wordpress.com/ Although the writer is upfront about being an OV supplier, she doesn’t come across as a genuine person to me, more of a sales tool.
Hi Tim – thanks for sharing this link. I placed my comments there on the Facebook page where this note appears. I’m appalled at Emily’s clear lack of understanding about what’s really going on in this situation, and I’m disappointed that people like this are working to “make peace” with the USDA and just go on and accept what’s happened since “acting like crying children” doesn’t help. Doesn’t she realize that reacting to this scenario doesn’t fall under the category of being childish? It’s about making noise and standing up for something that is so important, there are hardly many other things in this world that matter as much. Just because someone objects to GMOs (like me, other anti-GMO bloggers and farmers, and others who leave their comments and support on this and other web sites) doesn’t make him or her a spoiled, crying child. What utter nonsense!
Hi Allison – I’m certainly open to the idea you posed that this person might be an employee of one of the entities in question, whether it be OV or possibly the USDA. Her language is incredibly sales-y and it sounds like she’s trying to make light of what’s going on in similar ways to some of the other proponents of the decision made by the USDA on Thursday to deregulate GMO alfalfa.
Why is it so hard to believe that there are very greedy people in the world . Monsanto has co-opted our government to pass all the legislation it needs to justify its ambitious agenda to control the worlds food supply . Invading countries with GMO crops that suppress their local farms to be dependent on roundup resistance seeds that cross contaminate all farm land crops , all in the name of greed. Those local farm then have to buy all future seeds from Monsanto cause Monsanto has a patient on all their seeds and as farmer did in the past save seeds for their next crop , it is now illegal to save those seeds. Monsanto has it own security force to police farms to make sure they are not saving seeds . This is a world wide conspiracy .
Hi Ellis – yes, Monsanto is very powerful and has duped millions and millions of people into thinking they hold the answer to the world hunger problem. And indeed, they have figured out a way to appear as though they are solving that issue, while killing people slowly who eat the food produced from their seeds. It’s ingenious, really. And they are making money. They are fooling some people, but not those of us who speak out and boycott them.
The truth is probably somewhere inbetween but you might all want to read
He’s right that we’d better all unite if we want to defeat Monsanto.
United we stand, divided we fall.
Wow, attitudes like Milana’s towards people who are actually trying to do so good in the world are appalling. They think local farmers are “laughing to the bank”? I’m sure local farmers don’t make nearly as much money as giant corrupted corporations like Whole Foods. People like Milana are the reason we have GMOs, dangerous chemicals, dangerous drugs, corrupt corporations, etc. It amazes me how easily people are duped by the callous advertising tactics of the big industries.
[…] surprising attack on three well known organic brands, the Organic Consumer’s Association and the Agriculture Society reported that the named brands gave a supportive nod to what they’re calling “the conditional […]
I’m sorry to say it again, but you’re wrong about Stonyfield and Organic Valley. You have some legitimate gripes with some of Whole Foods past actions, though I’m not sure those actions are reason enough to indict them using false information over the current GE Alfalfa situation.
I’d encourage you and the other posters here to read OV’s statement regarding the GE Alfalfa issue at
And, this response to a poster regarding their concerns on the issue.
The bulk of your story seems to be based on hearsay and innuendo rather than fact. And, I’m concerned for the reality of your integrity more than the perception.
Sorry, my link to OV’s GE response was stripped out of my previous comment.
We’re still doing what we’ve always done (which doesn’t include “surrendering” to Monsanto)
George – any answer besides an absolute no is allowing the USDA to do whatever it will, and those corporations have gone on record as publicly stating they voted for partial deregulation. There is no co-existence to be had in this situation.
You don’t need to worry about my integrity, it’s still intact. My conscience is clear and I would be more concerned about supporting and standing by the words of companies who have clearly not stood up for true principles of sustainability – which leaves no room for partial deregulation, and that is precisely what these companies agreed to. A wolf in sheep’s clothing is still a wolf in sheep’s clothing – the fact that they made this statement “We’re still doing what we’ve always done (which doesn’t include “surrendering” to Monsanto)” doesn’t matter. You can mouth any words you want, but it is your actions that speak the loudest.
They stated that walking away from the table was not an option, but in a case like this you don’t just give in because the authorities provide no other choice. If you don’t believe that they stated this, just go to either the OV or Stonyfield Farm’s web sites and you’ll find it. In fact, here’s a run-down of what happened from one of the Organic Valley farmers themselves:
“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.”
There is a clear statement made in this paragraph that partial deregulation was essentially the “lesser of the two evils” and they agreed to this. True sustainability will never exist under partial deregulation of GMOs, only complete and utter withdrawl! Please get your facts correct before you start accusing me of reporting untruths.
It’s too late for OV and Stonyfield Farms, their reputations are permanently soiled. Their customer bases are shaken and those who were once loyal are walking away, disgusted and disappointed.
What’s really sad is both Stoneyfield and OV have had really good ratings thus far. I hope their ratings takes a dip and they understand customers are serious. Yogurt is far too easy to make at home for them to get away with this. As for milk, if available, people should go raw. If they can’t get raw milk, then I hope they will find alternative organic milk providers through the Cornucopia Institute (or other source) who have good ratings and aren’t part of a large corporation as Horizon is. Too bad we can’t all own our own cows or goats. Pretty sad we’ve come to rely on these companies for our food. We should take it all seriously, because it’s our health–our very lives–in the hands of these strangers.
Good news! Neither Stonyfield or Organic Valley did the things Raine is accusing them of. Both companies fought very hard to prevent the sale of GE Alfalfa. Unfortunately, in the end, Monsanto’s political reach was just too deep. The USDA decided against protecting our food supply and we and these organic companies lost this battle. But, it wasn’t for lack of trying on SF and OV’s part.
What is your last name. It wouldn’t be Seimone would it?
George – I’m well aware that this web site is not from a farmer, however, the statement that I quoted is from one of the farmers who attended the meeting, and that’s what I was referring to. I’m also aware who all the people are that you described, and never stated that those individuals were farmers. No, I haven’t spent time arguing with Washington bureaucrats, but I don’t need to in order to understand what’s going on.
I’m also well aware of who George Siemon is, and the “standards” which he and his company have claimed to spent their time defending. And guess what? Those may be “the toughest food standards in the U.S.” but that doesn’t mean they are as strict as they need to be. From what I’ve seen, standards are becoming so lax and bendable, they mean nothing anymore. The only thing that matters is the stuff people are waving that is green. And I know what speaks to people, when push comes to shove.
To answer your question, what does OV or Stonyfield Farm have to gain by giving the okay for partial deregulation? One word: money. These companies still have customers buying their pseudo-sustainable and organic products because most people won’t believe the truth when they read it, or have not even a clue of what is going on in the first place, and the people who run these companies are counting on uninformed consumers. Organic food sales make up a very small majority of the total market, so people are going to continue to support dirty food suppliers because they either feel that they have no choice but to surrender, don’t care, or just want to believe all the food they are eating is “just fine”. WFM and the other companies I mentioned can’t afford to lose money standing still fighting a fight over GMOs that most people perceive is going to be lost. It’s much easier to give in to a big government entity, especially when there is a lot of money at stake, than put your sales figures on the line by stopping to defend something that such a small segment of the market supports in the first place. And it’s this defeatist attitude that has sunk these companies reputation. I’m also fully aware that there were only two choices, George, I never said there was a third choice. But when the two choices are still unacceptable, if you have ethics and morals, the answer is not to cow down and just say “okay”. The answer is to fight any way you can and know how. If it means walking away and staging your own protest, then that’s what has to be done. Nothing will be accomplished by simply accepting the USDA’s authority. But, by making a statement and saying, “I’m not going to accept this” and by showing in your ACTIONS that you are going to protest the measure, you are making a statement to the world. Big companies have a responsibility to protest these types of measures, and when they don’t, it just shows their true colors and that they can be bought. This is what OV, Stonyfield, and WFM should have done, but instead, they succumbed to pressure from the feds and Monsanto, and relented. It’s not like the USDA could have threatened the lives of these people if they had not made only one of these two choices, there is always another way. It may not be easy, but it is necessary to preserve standads and integrity.
Have you read the statements I made about all of these companies having soiled past reputations? Apparently those things don’t bother you – the fact that WFM banned raw milk from their shelves last January – even though they were selling clean, wholesome raw milk from Organic Pastures in CA and no health issues had arisen. The fact that they continue to carry tainted products on their shelves that are contaminated with GMOs – I’ve personally seen these products as I used to shop there (such as nearly every product in their store containing soybean, canola, and cottonseed oil – the majority of which are GMO-based), the fact that OV forbade any of their farmers to sell raw milk to any of their own personal customers last year, and use ultra-high heat pasteurization on dairy products, which is not sustainable in the least – killing all bacteria and making their products dead and worthless, and the fact that they sell a product called “raw cheese” in the grocery stores that is in fact not raw and is heated up to 160 degrees. How can these actions be considered sustainable? Anyone who dismisses these things is just making up their own rules about sustainability, and companies who make these kinds of business decisions and try to pass them off as sustainable have no integrity and are likely to allow standards to slip again, and again, and again. This is why we cannot trust big companies and the only choice left is to abandon supporting them and rely on our local, sustainable farmers with whom we have personal relationships and have knowledge of their practices. The business and farming practices of these companies are far from transparent, they cannot be checked by individual consumers, even if phone calls are made. Our hands are tied George. I’ve spent most of my life trusting big companies to feed me and I’ve seen what they are capable of doing. I’m not convinced, and nothing you say will ever change my mind.
You obviously know nothing about these companies. OV just came off one of their most profitable years, have money in the bank, and have no long-term debt. They don’t need any money from Monsanto. Stonyfield has access to all the money they need from Dannon, so they too don’t need any money from Monsanto.
I still don’t know where you’re getting the impression one of the OV farmers was in the room. The only OV farmer in the room was George Siemon.
Your writings sound far more like a conspiracy story based on imagination, than a news story based on fact. I live in Southwest Wisconsin and know many of the folks that work at OV and can categorically say you’re supposed understanding of them is flat out wrong. If I’m wrong, share your ‘facts’ with us.
Sorry, George, I’m done arguing with you on this topic.
I am just absolutely amazed at the naiveté of these Kool-aid guzzlers who rush to the defense of Organic Valley, their partner in crime Stonyfield (The Stonyfield Supply Group are comprised of Organic Valley farmers) and the “natural” foods corporate beast Whole Foods Markets. This was an opportunity to see the true colors of these outfits, and for that I am grateful. Now many people will know them for what they are; Big Ag, whether they are “organic” or not.
This situation bears an amazing resemblance to the time when British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain attempted to appease Hitler by handing over a large chunk of Czechoslovakia (The Sudetenland) on a silver platter like some girl-crazy schoolboy fool trying to win the affection of a girl that was totally out of his league. We all know where that got Chamberlain and the rest of the world, don’t we?
The case is simple. GMO alfalfa poses a a real and substantial THREAT to the livelihood of organic dairymen and poses a threat to all consumers of GMO contamination and/or reduced availability of product, PERIOD. Are there alternatives to feeding alfalfa? Yes there are, but as Biotech has shown in the past, NO plant matter is safe from their laboratories. This is NO time for compromise, also known as “coexistence”, because this exercise in futility of conceding one forage/crop after another to GMO contamination will continue until Monsanto owns us all and organic has finally been wiped from the face of the earth. Plant pathologist Don Huber, PhD, professor emeritus of Purdue University, says the repercussions of introducing Roundup Ready technology to another crop, like alfalfa, could be disastrous. “If indications hold true, we’re set up for the greatest disaster that this country or the world has ever seen, that will dwarf any major famine or drought that has ever been recorded,” says Huber. But what does he know? Well let me ask, “How many of you defending OV & Co. have a PhD in Soil Microbiology & Biochemistry?”
There are a lot of good, honest, hardworking farmers that are members of Organic Valley. There are also a few loyal subjects who scurry about lapping at the boots of King George like medieval peasants hoping for scraps, who drop everything they are doing to call La Farge and make sure that King George knows all of the blasphemous acts that are afoot in his kingdom. Do yourselves a favor, pray to your God for a little courage to get out of the “cult” while you still have a chance. As for anyone else interested in “coexistence”, look at the track record of the USDA and tell me what you think your chances are of success when making a deal with the devil?
Hi Tim – many thanks for your intelligent reply to all of this nonsense. I wish there were more people in the agricultural world like us, who know just what the implications are of this outcome…and how it will destroy the world as we know it.
Anyone who trusts the USDA or any corporations who claim to know what’s best for the health of the population by convincing people that these measures are necessary for the good of us all will indeed be sorry someday soon – and so will the rest of us, even though we’ve opposed it vehemently since the beginning. And trust means cowing down to government agencies who put the screws on corps to do so. You said it best, making a deal with the devil is never going to get you anywhere but in worse condition than when you started. Anyone who tries to convince you that you only have two choices, bad or worse, does not have your best interest at heart and the only thing to do is to get up from the table, state your opposition, and walk away. Why didn’t anyone at this meeting who says they oppose GMOs the way they do think to just refuse and walk away? Don’t people have any motivation to use their brains and think for themselves anymore, or do they simply believe that if the USDA says jump, you reply , “how high?”. The USDA certainly is good at making threats and forcing people to choose one bad choice over another, aren’t they? Fools!
George, You should at least be grateful that you have had the opportunity to state your case here, even if it is painfully weak and no one is buying it. That’s more than I can say for Organic Valley as they blocked me and others from the OV facebook page. In spite of your censorship, you can see it hasn’t slienced us on speaking out about your bullying tactics and big ag methodology.
You may complain about Raine’s words, but you aren’t fooling anybody here. Actions speak louder than words and we are all watching you. We will continue to shine the light on the dark, dank little corners that you hide your secrets in. Speaking of actions George, here are a few of your latest and “greatest” so folks can see what you are really all about:
– Buying milk from a 7,000 cow CAFO in Texas and passing it off as produced by family farmers
– Shipping milk from Texas to NY and then back to Texas again
– Banning farmers from selling raw milk and depriving them of a little extra cash ot keep their farms afloat while your 7 figure bank account becomes 8 figures
– Decieving the public with your “organic” eggs from some hens and pullets raised in very “industrial” settings.
Care to bother denying them?
Tim – it’s so sad that these are the realities we have to deal with in regard to big “organic” outfits. When these things come out, more and more customers who realize just what’s going on lose loyalty. I liken it to being cheated on by your spouse. It’s a slap in the face, and there are more reasons everyday to stop supporting these big corps and stick to our local, sustainable farmers. I think the lack of answer on George’s behalf certainly speaks for itself.
It is all so depressing.. trying to do the backtracking even with local farmers.. are the seed and grains they used GM? Do they even know for sure themselves? Keep up the good work!
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There are some misconceptions about companies accepting this and also being forced to sell GMO foods.
[…] attack on three well known organic brands, the Organic Consumer’s Association and the Agriculture Society reported that the named brands gave a supportive nod to what they’re calling “the […]