2.Hormone-free claims banned from milk labels in Ohio
3.Ohio Milk Labeling Ruling 'Extreme'
1.A Second Letter to Hillary Clinton on Her Ties to Monsanto
By LINN COHEN-COLE
CounterPunch, February 21 2008
This is my second letter to you. I am writing again because I feel badly for you that you seem not understand what is wrong.
You are going into Ohio soon. The issue is that you don't travel alone.
Your and Bill's history with Monsanto is going with you.
Your campaign strategist, Mark Penn, goes as well, putting Monsanto by your side.
What does Ohio have to do with you and Monsanto?
Did you know that dairy farmers there had the battle of their lives to prevent the banning of rBGH labels on their dairy products?
Let me put that into plain English.
Monsanto tried (and may try again) to make sure dairy farmers in Ohio, and across the country--have no 'real' freedom of speech. What simple thing are Ohio farmers denied saying? 'We don't put GE crap in our cows.'
Dairy farmers want to tell that truth, consumers want it. You'd think that'd be simple. Yet, farmers - the only ones telling the public the truth - are doing so in the absence of governmental help and, in fact, up against it, as it favors Monsanto.
Monsanto, the agribusiness/pharmaceutical giant who made Agent Orange, PCBs, pesticides, nuclear weapons components, and Aspartame - killing or sickening things - now handles food - genetically engineering hormones, making steroids, patenting GE seeds of every kind, cloning animals, blocking 'free speech' and fair competition (or it looks like that to me, when someone can't say what's good about their product), suing farmers, ...
You care about Ohio's health, Hillary?
One of Ohio's consumer advocates, who is supposed protect their well-being, used to work where? Guess. And the issue that consumer advocate considers bad idea for consumers? Labels on its milk.
Yet, Monsanto's bovine growth hormone, the thing farmers wish to say they don't use, puts (and has put for years) Ohio citizens at greater risk for breast (7 times greater), colon and prostate cancer.
Where is your support for farmers or consumers?
And what else is Monsanto doing in Ohio?
For farmers who buy GE seeds, Monsanto uses Pinkerton agents to go onto their property to check the farmer hasn't collected GE seeds - Monsanto's patented 'intellectual property.' Monsanto uses other means as well, to check up on farmers.
For those who collect their own seeds (since time immemorial) for free, Monsanto wants an Ohio law to require:
'seed cleaners to keep detailed records on every seed cleaning transaction, to document the name of the farmer, seed variety names and whether or not the seed is protected by patents or breeders' rights.'
In essence, the bill discriminates against farmers who are lawfully saving and re-planting open-pollinated seed varieties,' asserts RAFI (Rural Advancement Foundation International)'s Shand.'
Monsanto (and USDA and big meat packers) is seeking something similar with animals - NAIS (the National Animal Identification System), tagging of every single farm animal in the US with a global tracking system, to be fed into a 'corporate' data base.
Businesses normally oppose regulations Monsanto seeks. These land on small farmers, making saving seeds and raising animals, overwhelmingly burdensome and intrusive. And Monsanto learns exactly what normal seeds or animals still exist and who owns them.
How are you protecting farmers from this crushing?
In the Farm Bill, you support Credit & Crop Insurance, calling on 'colleagues to address the serious lack of credit opportunities that is making it almost impossible in
It sounds so good until one learns that:
'the U.S. Department of Agriculture has struck an unusual arrangement with agribusiness giant Monsanto Co. that gives farmers in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Minnesota a break on federal crop insurance premiums if they plant Monsanto-brand seed corn this spring.'
You and the USDA use their need for crop insurance to help Monsanto trap farmers into a difficult to escape system of GE seed patents and intellectual property laws. If you were truly helping them, you'd be shouting from the rooftops that farmers must have free-and-clear access to government crop insurance, and the USDA must stop making sweetheart deals with Monsanto or other corporations.
In Ohio, people are now watching:
'America's Heartland, a new national public television series about American agriculture, and Ohio Farm and Country, an Ohio Farm Bureau produced television show, are now on the air.'
The show is funded by Monsanto and the American Farm Bureau, with support from soy, corn, cotton and grain associations, all crops Monsanto primarily owns.
Corporate programs on their own area of activity are commercials and Ohio public television does its public a serious disservice in allowing material that should be labeled honestly as 'public relations.'
Monsanto won't allow information on its own products, demands detail on farmers' holdings, and is putting out commercials as information about 'farming.'
You say you care about education.
Are you aware Monsanto is moving to control the land grant colleges and what is taught there?
This is corporation education for GE food which is proving to be dangerous Many people fear and hate it. Even were it wonderful, it shifts ownership of seeds from Ohio's farmers to corporations.
You want Ohio's support? 'Get real' Get rid of Monsanto. Denounce what it and Bill did.
People in Ohio and elsewhere need to hear you say:
'I will help get this and other corporations off your farmers' backs and work for a government to help you compete fairly against Monsanto, not one that takes sides with them against you.
'I am sorry for the degrading of and non-labeling of food through Bill and Monsanto's involvement. I will get ALL food labeled clearly, not just with country of origin labels, but with what is 'in' US and foreign food: genetically engineered food or not, pesticides or not, antibiotics or not, hormones or not.
'I will not let the USDA dump degraded foods onto nutrition programs and schools anymore. I will make sure known-Mad Cow related material is ABSOLUTELY 'banned' from ALL food - stopping its inclusion in pet food, fish feed, chicken feed, pig feed - not just cattle feed. And I will not allow it to be sent overseas to other countries as 'food aid.'
'I will work to stop the industrialization of animals - including bees - and the torturous conditions they live in. I will stop food scares, here or around the world, from being used to crush small farmers who are not responsible for Mad Cow and Bird Flu and bee colony collapse but connected to the industrialization of land, plants and animals by giant agricultural corporations.'
You could also apologize for what Bill's NAFTA and multinational corporations did to Ohio.
That's real, Hillary. Ohio people are not fools. Around the country we all are sick of the slick laws, government lies, and an insane corporate drive for profit, threatening our lives. Devote yourself to reversing what Bill and Monsanto let happen to our food and to farmers around the world.
Being President doesn't matter. Power doesn't matter. Saving a world for Chelsea does.
2.Hormone-free claims banned from milk labels
Strickland rules that labels can't make unverified statements about rbST.
By Ben Sutherly, Staff Writer
Dayton Daily News, February 08 2008
Gov. Ted Strickland on Thursday issued an emergency rule banning unverified milk labels that claim the milk comes from cows that were not given an artificial hormone.
Monsanto sells recombinant bovine somatotropin to farmers, who use it to boost milk production in cows. A 2007 U.S. Department of Agriculture survey found 15 percent of U.S. dairy farms use the hormone, also called rbST.
The Food and Drug Administration approved rbST in 1993, deeming milk from treated cows safe. Despite that assurance, a fall 2007 survey of 3,000 Ohioans found 59 percent had concern about milk from cows given growth hormones.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture will allow label claims such as 'this milk is from cows not supplemented with rbST,' but only when accompanied by a disclaimer that the FDA found no significant difference between treated and untreated cows.
Verification, which will be the responsibility of the dairy product's marketing organization or labeling entity, is a vexing issue. Tests can't tell milk produced by cows given rbST from that produced by untreated cows.
As a substitute for testing, ODA Director Robert Boggs on Thursday said the department will accept documentation such as affidavits signed by farmers stating they don't use rbST.
Milk marketing cooperatives have asked farmers to sign affidavits stating they won't use rbST. But critics have said that's not enough, and have told ODA it shouldn't permit any food labels it's not willing to verify independently.
The department also said it will not allow labels such as 'no hormone,' 'hormone-free,' 'rbST-free' or 'bST-free,' nor claims that milk has no antibiotics and pesticides.
ODA notified dairy processors that it wants to review their dairy labels by Feb. 15.
Carol Goland of the Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association said she's glad the state didn't ban label claims, but said the disclaimer requirements go too far.
'I'm a little disappointed that the Department of Agriculture seems to have yielded to the pressures of a very vocal but minority segment of producers,' Goland said.
The emergency rule will remain in effect for 90 days while ODA completes the statutory rule-making process through the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review. That process will include a formal public hearing.
---3.OEFFA Calls Milk Labeling Ruling 'Extreme'
Compiled By Staff
The Agriculturalist, February 12 2008
The announcement by the Ohio Department of Agriculture to implement new rules on labeling of dairy products produced without the use of artificial hormones (rbST or rBGH) was greeted with mixed reviews by the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA). The new rule states that such labels are permitted, but invokes restrictive language in their use.
Under the new rules, a dairy label may contain a production claim that 'this milk is from cows not supplemented with rbST' as long as it meets two further conditions. The claim has to be verifiable based on documents such as producer signed affidavits, farm weight tickets, and plant audit trails. The label panel must also include a contextual statement such as 'The FDA has determined that no significant difference has been shown between milk derived from rbST-supplemented and non-rbST-supplemented cows.' The rule specifies that this contextual statement must be contiguous to the production claim and identical to it in size and font style.
The ODA's decision is significant in that it allows milk to be marketed as coming from cows not injected with artificial growth hormones. 'This is important for consumers, who will be able to have choice about the milk they drink and whether it comes from cows not treated with rBGH,' says Carol Goland, Executive Director of OEFFA. 'But even though consumers' right to know has been successfully defended, this new rule is otherwise extreme in the restrictions it imposes.'
The ODA's decision exceeds FDA guidance issued in 1994, when Posilac (trade name of rBGH) was brought to market. The FDA says the use of the contextual statement is voluntary. The FDA also approved label claims such as 'rBGH-free,' 'rbST-free,' and 'artificial hormone free.' 'The Ohio Department of Agriculture needs to explain why it believes a label that says 'rBGH-free' is false and misleading when every other state and the FDA accept it as accurate. This, along with dictating what labels have to look like, represents an unprecedented infringement on commercial free speech,' says Goland.
Michael Hansen, a senior scientist with Consumers Union, has raised other concerns. 'We object to use of the term 'supplemented,' in describing the use of this drug,' says Hansen. 'The proper term is obviously 'treated' as rBGH is a drug that is injected into cows. This is the language the FDA uses, following its legal definition of 'dietary supplement' which excludes drugs that are injected,' Hansen says.