Farm and Food Groups Say No to the TPP

The Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance has joined with 160 farm, food, rural, and faith groups to send a letter to Congress urging legislators to vote no on the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership (TPP).

As the letter points out: “Independent family farmers and ranchers will see little benefit” from the TPP.  “The main beneficiaries of the TPP are the companies that buy, process and ship raw agricultural commodities, not the farmers who face real risks from rising import competition.”

Here are just some of the problems with the TPP:
  • Importers will be able to challenge individual border inspection decisions, second-guessing U.S. inspectors about what food is safe and not safe to let into our country.
  • Agribusiness and biotech companies will be able to use international tribunals to challenge any real limitations on GMO crops and food, including any country, state, or local government that bans GMO imports, tests for GMO contamination, does not promptly approve new GMO crops, or requires GMO labeling.

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DARK Act moving forward

 

This week, the Senate Agriculture Committee voted to undermine states’ rights and deny you the right to know what’s in your food.  By a vote of 14-6, the Committee approved S.2609, Senator Roberts’ version of the DARK Act to prohibit mandatory state labeling of genetically engineered (GMO) foods.

The next step is the full Senate, and we have to stop this disastrous bill there!Big Food Doesn't Label Image

There’s talk of a “compromise,” which is likely to include a proposal for QR codes — patterned boxes on a package that you can scan with a smart phone, which then takes you to the company’s website which you have to search to find out whether or not the food has GMOs.

There’s a reason why we call the bill that passed the House last summer the Deny Americans the Right to Know Act (DARK Act).…

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Is your fish GMO?

Last December, the FDA caved to industry pressure and approved GMO salmon for introduction to the food supply.

It’s not in stores yet, but when it is, shouldn’t you have a right to know whether you’re eating it?

The FDA has proposed voluntary labeling for GMO salmon. But “voluntary labeling” almost always translates to “no labeling,” keeping consumers in the dark about what they’re eating and feeding their families.

The FDA is accepting comments on this labeling policy until this Monday, January 25. Tell them labels need to be required, not optional.

FDA’s proposal is in the form of a guidance document, and normally we would not urge you to take the time to comment on a non-binding guidance document – particularly since FDA has so consistently refused to require labeling.

But the issue of GMO salmon is unusual because even Congress has weighed in to support mandatory labels.  At the end of last year, Congress expressed disapproval of the FDA’s decision not to require labels and even included a provision in the annual spending bill that called for GMO salmon labels to be mandatory.…

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Stop the Trans Pacific Partnership

 

The World Trade Organization (WTO) recently held that the U.S. could be subject to up to $1 billion in trade penalties simply because our law requires that meat be labeled with the country where it came from. According to the WTO, Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) is a “trade barrier” and Americans have no right to know where their food comes from.

Within days, Congress bowed to the threat from the WTO and repealed Country of Origin Labeling on beef and pork.

How many times does this have to happen before we learn a lesson? COOL, dolphin-safe tuna labels, and so much more have been attacked due to international trade agreements. Twenty of years of so-called free trade agreements have given us millions of lost jobs and an economy that benefits huge corporations at everyone else’s expense.

Now, the President is asking Congress to approve the latest – and worst – deal: the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership.

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Good news – but action is needed

 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced it is revoking the registration of “Enlist Duo,” a toxic herbicide developed to be used with genetically engineered “Agent Orange” crops!

The agency approved this combination of glyphosate and 2, 4-D (one of the main ingredients in Agent Orange) just over a year ago, to be used on genetically engineered crops designed to withstand this potent herbicide cocktail. But after being challenged in court, the EPA has stated that it realized that the combination of these chemicals is likely significantly more harmful than it had initially believed.

This decision means that the Agent Orange crops will not be widely planted this spring, relieving the fears of many non-GMO farmers who could have seen their crops wiped out by herbicide drift.

But, even as we celebrate this good news, Monsanto, Dow, and their Big Food allies are working on a new, underhanded approach to hide information about GMOs.

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TPP text released – 90 days to stop it!

 

The text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership has finally been released — and it’s as bad, if not worse, than expected.

When you think of “free trade,” you probably think about cargo ships, tariffs, and quotas. But only a small portion of the TPP addresses those issues. Instead, the majority of this long, complicated agreement sets the rules for all the countries in it – including the U.S. – on issues such as agriculture, food, intellectual property and patents, banking, and more. The agreement gives international corporations the ability to trump properly enacted domestic laws by attacking them as supposed trade barriers.

Here are just some of the highlights:newTPP map cropped

  • The TPP gives importers the ability to challenge individual border inspection decisions, second-guessing U.S. inspectors about what food is safe and not safe to let into our country.
  • The TPP threatens any serious limitation on genetically engineered foods. Although this portion of the text still isn’t available, the USDA’s website states: “The TPP … includes provisions on agricultural biotechnology that commit TPP countries to foster transparency in their decision-making processes, to work together on situations of low-level presence, and to promote timely authorization of products of modern biotechnology.”  Translating that into regular English: Agribusiness and biotech companies will be able to use international tribunals to challenge countries that ban GMO imports, test for GMO contamination, do not promptly approve new GMO crops, or even require GMO labeling.

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Stop Monsanto’s Dream Bill in the Senate

The U.S. Senate has scheduled a hearing next week on Monsanto’s and Big Food’s dream bill to crush the right of states to require labeling of foods containing GMO ingredients.

The House has already passed this dangerous bill, so we must stop it in the Senate! H.R. 1599, the so-called “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015,” has been dubbed the “Deny American the Right to Know” or DARK Act by grassroots organizations, because it will:

  • Overturn state laws that require the labeling of genetically engineered or GMO foods, such as Vermont’s law that is supposed to go into effect next year;
  • Enshrine FDA’s failed policy of voluntary labeling – under which not a single company has labeled GMO foods in the last 14 years;
  • Allow food companies to continue to make misleading “natural” claims for foods that contain GMO ingredients;
  • Create a federal government bureaucracy for non-GMO labeling, usurping the private system that’s already working well (the non-GMO Project); and
  • Pre-empt state and local regulation of the planting of GMO crops (although the exact scope of the pre-emption is unclear).

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Largest trade deal in history

October 6, 2015: Yesterday, trade negotiators finalized the text for the largest trade deal in history – the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). While the public has been shut out of the process, massive multinational corporations have been deeply involved in developing the TPP and have crafted it to suit their interests.

Leaked documents have revealed just how terrible this trade deal is, including a provision that would allow companies to sue the federal, state, or even local governments over democratically enacted laws that they claim hurt their profits.

That means that if the TPP is approved by Congress, local initiatives like GMO labeling laws and Buy Local preferences could be challenged in international trade courts.

We’ve had two decades since NAFTA to see the results of free trade agreements that override domestic policy: lost jobs and lower standards. The TPP will take us even further down this failed path.

Now it’s up to Congress to pass or reject the TPP.

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Tell Congress to support local meat production

We have an exciting opportunity to expand access to locally produced meat for consumers around the country! U.S. Representatives Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Chellie Pingree (D-ME) have introduced legislation to make it easier for small farms and ranches to sell locally raised and processed meat to consumers.

H.R. 3187, the Processing Revival and Intrastate Meat Exemption (PRIME) Act, would give individual states the freedom to permit intra-state distribution of custom-slaughtered meat to individual consumers and to restaurants, hotels, and grocery stores that directly serve consumers. Custom-processed beef, pork, lamb, and goat are covered under the bill.vaca-y-vino-meat

Under current federal law, farmers often have to haul their animals several hours away to reach a slaughterhouse that has an inspector on-site, even if they’re selling the meat directly to consumers at a local farmers market or similar venue. This increases expenses for the farmer, raises prices for consumers, creates stress on the animals, and undermines the concept of local food.…

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House passes bill to ban GMO labeling

Last week, a majority of the U.S. House of Representatives sided with giant biotech and food companies instead of their constituents. By a vote of 275 to 150, the House passed H.R. 1599, the so-called “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015,” which has been dubbed the “Deny American the Right to Know” or DARK Act by grassroots organizations.

The DARK Act would overturn state laws that require the labeling of genetically engineered or GMO foods, such as Vermont’s law that is supposed to go into effect next year. In their place, it would effectively enshrine FDA’s failed policy of voluntary labeling – under which not a single company has labeled GMO foods in the last 14 years.

The DARK Act would also allow food companies to continue to make misleading “natural” claims for foods that contain GMO ingredients, while creating a federal bureaucracy that ethical food companies who wish to label their products as non-GMO will have to pay to comply with.…

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