Organic Consumers AssnAug 25, 2018

And the latest “Best Public Relations Stunt” award goes to (drumroll please) . . . Ben & Jerry’s.

On July 10, we sued Ben & Jerry’s for deceptive marketing and advertising. (You can read the lawsuit here).

It didn’t take long for the iconic ice cream brand to launch a media blitz in the hope of polishing its tarnished image.Just weeks after news spread of our lawsuit, the Unilever-owned Ben & Jerry’s hit the airwaves with a new feel-good story—this time, touting how “successful” the company’s “Milk with Dignity” program has been.

Successful? Not so, reports Michael Colby, founder and executive director of Regeneration Vermont, OCA’s Vermont-based Ben & Jerry’s campaign partner. Colby writes in this week’s guest blog post:

These are harrowing times for the nearly 1,500 migrant workers laboring on Vermont’s largest dairy farms. These farmworkers, predominantly from Mexico, are forced to live in the shadows, where their farm bosses harbor them in exchange for long hours, low wages and cheap housing. It’s a human rights stain on the state, allowing these migrant workers to live and be treated this way. And it continues because there’s a whole lot of “looking away” from the deep-rooted ugliness of this system, which has been described by human rights advocates as “close to slavery.”

Who employs Vermont’s migrant workers? Ben & Jerry’s, for one. And no amount of catchy campaign phrases and upbeat promotional press releases can cover up the truth about what working conditions are really like for migrant workers laboring on behalf of an ice cream company that rakes in more than $477 million in annual sales.

Ben & Jerry’s continued its “positive press” campaign last week with the announcement of a new CEO, who the company said has “rock-solid values” and a “courageous vision for the role businesses can and should play in the world.”

We suggest that Ben & Jerry’s new CEO, Matthew McCarthy, live up to this glowing description by transitioning to a 100-percent organic dairy supply in order to clean up the mess its conventional dairies have made of Vermont’s waterways—and clean up its glyphosate-contaminated ice cream.

Oh, and while he’s at it, maybe McCarthy can do something about the deplorable conditions endured by Vermont’s dairy farmworkers. Just sayin.’

Read ‘Migrant Injustice: Ben & Jerry’s Farmworker Exploitation

Support our ‘Ben & Jerry’s: Go Organic!’ campaign (donations to OCA, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, are tax deductible)



Think About That.

Monsanto Trial

“If you know you’re dying, it gives you that extra push. You can’t just die for nothing.”

Those words were spoken by Dewayne “Lee” Johnson in a recent TV interview with CBS News. Johnson was interviewed after a jury in San Francisco found that Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller caused his cancer.

Until he became too sick to work, Johnson was a school groundskeeper. His job required him to spray Roundup on school properties, including on playgrounds.

Playgrounds. Think about that.

Then think about the recent reports of widespread contamination of food with glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup. How many of those foods, or foods just like them, are served up in school lunches?

Despite all the evidence of collusion and deception, Monsanto continues to dig in its heels. The poison-maker is sticking to its story that “800 studies” showing Roundup and/or glyphosate is safe.

But Monsanto never tells you how many of those studies were ghostwritten or paid for. Or how many tested glyphosate in isolation, rather than the full Roundup formulation, known to be even more toxic.

If we were running a school district, right about now, we’d be at the very least, worried about liability issues. More important, we’d be worried about the health of the kids we’re supposed to protect.

TAKE ACTION: Tell the National School Boards Association: Get Monsanto’s Roundup and other toxic agro-chemicals out of schools!

Make a tax-deductible donation to OCA’s Millions Against Monsanto campaign


First Steps


It’s one of the industrial food industry’s biggest marketing scams—labeling a product “natural” or “all-natural” or “100% natural” in order to sell more product, despite knowing full well that the product contains ingredients that consumers would reasonably conclude are not natural.

We call it the “Myth of Natural.”

This week, we settled a lawsuit with General Mills.

According to the joint statement we issued with our co-plaintiffs, Beyond Pesticides and Moms Across America:

At a time specified by the agreement, packaging for General Mills Nature Valley Granola bars will no longer bear the term “100% Natural Whole Grain Oats.”

Agreements like the one with General Mills are just the first step. We still have to push for a long-term solution to glyphosate contamination of our food supply. And that means banning glyphosate (and other pesticides) from our food system.

Read ‘Natural’ Settlements Good for Consumers—but Ridding the Food Supply of Pesticides Would Be Better’

Read our press release


Back to School

Millions Against Monsanto

We’re determined to honor Dewayne Johnson by doing everything in our power to get Roundup weedkiller and other pesticides out of schools—off of school playgrounds and lawns, out of school lunches.

Here’s how you can help. We need you to contact your school district and ask the school superintendent’s office, or the president of the school board, if the schools they oversee use Roundup or other pesticides on school grounds, and if the schools serve conventionally grown food (likely to contain high levels of pesticides) or organic food.

You can use this form to guide your questions and record your answers.

According to the latest figures available, there are about 98,000 schools in the U.S. We don’t know how many of those schools spray pesticides on their properties. But we do know this: In the U.S., 26 million pounds of Roundup (that’s just Roundup) are sprayed on public parks, playgrounds, schools and gardens every year.

In March 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancerclassified glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, as a “probable” human carcinogen.

California’s Supreme Court recently ruled that the state can list glyphosate as a cancer-causing chemical, under California’s Proposition 65.

The jury in the Dewayne Johnson v. Monsanto Co. trial unanimously decided, after eight weeks of testimony, that Roundup caused Johnson’s cancer—and that Monsanto had known for years that the weedkiller could cause cancer, but hid (and continues to hide) the truth from the public.

Should we still allow schools to spray this product on playgrounds? And serve food contaminated with cancer-causing weedkiller?

At the very least, schools should err on the side of caution. If school leaders won’t make the right decision on their own, we, the parents and the public, need to pressure them until they do. We owe it to Dewayne Johnson and to all Monsanto's victims.

Most of all, we owe it to our kids.

TAKE ACTION: Help us identify schools that use Roundup and other pesticides

Make a tax-deductible donation to OCA’s Millions Against Monsanto campaign


It's About Time.

Monsanto Trial

It’s been nearly two weeks since the historic verdict in theMonsanto trial and the news is still buzzing.

On Friday, Aug. 10, a jury in San Francisco ruled that the world’s most widely used herbicide—Monsanto’s Roundup—caused Dewayne “Lee” Johnson’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The jury found in favor of Mr. Johnson on all 16 questions the court asked them to answer.

Widespread media coverage of this landmark case has included articles by most major mainstream news organizations, including CNN, CBS, NBC, ABC and others—a signal that concerns about the health impacts of Roundup are mainstream, not limited to “fringe” groups, as the chemistry industry would like us to believe.

Though extensive, the recent news coverage of Johnson’s trial marks just the beginning of the story of Monsanto being held liable for its decades of deception—because Johnson is just the first of more than 4,000 people in the U.S. to file suit against Monsanto in state and federal courts, alleging Roundup caused their cancer.

Check out these four must-see videos that help sum up the gravity of the outcome of the first trial of a non-Hodgkin lymphoma victim against Monsanto.

Read ‘4 Must-See Videos on Huge Win in #MonsantoTrial’

This Week's Essential Reading

André Leu on Monsanto/Bayer Trial: Glyphosate Safety in Question

Expert Witness from Landmark Monsanto Trial Offers 5 Fixes to Shortcomings in Current GE Food Regulations

Monsanto Verdict Shines Spotlight on Glyphosate Residue in Food

We Are Climbing Rapidly Out of Humankind’s Safe Zone:’ New Report Warns Dire Climate Warnings Not Dire Enough

Report: Monsanto’s Glyphosate Found in Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Quaker Oats and Other Popular Breakfast Foods

America’s Waterways Have a Huge Problem with Contact Lenses

Vaccines, Autoimmunity and the Changing Nature of Childhood Illness

The Benefits of Bitters